March 30, 1998 in Nation/World

They Still Love Bugs Cartoon Festival Evokes Nostalgia; Pass The Popcorn, Kids Insist

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Greg Preston says a day at the Bugs Bunny film fest was his 8-year-old son’s idea.

Max’s response: Yeah, right.

Cartoons were adult material Sunday, as crowds abandoned the spring sun for a day of Bugs at the Spokane Valley Mall movie theater.

Kids were ubiquitous. But most, like Max, were rookies to the antics of the rascally rabbit. Max announced his loyalty on his Power Rangers T-shirt.

He knew no Fudd.

The loudest laughs came from deeper voices - college students dodging their studies, truck drivers, housewives. Kids giggled, but seemed more concerned with the popcorn.

“It makes me remember what things were like as a kid, to a simpler time,” said Sharon Pearson, 42. She came with a middle-aged friend, who was too embarrassed to be identified as a fan of Bugs.

“If you got up past 7 (a.m.), you missed all the good cartoons,” said Pearson of the old days.

Two screens showed an hour and a half of clips with campy names - “The Rabbit of Seville,” “Sigmund Frog,” “Ali Baba Bunny.”

Characters carried anvils in their pockets and TNT exploded in time with opera music.

The bad guys always forgot the passwords.

“Open sarsaparilla!” yelled a perplexed Ali Baba at his treasure trove’s door. “Open Saskatchewan!”

Connivers still won the day. Bugs always out-foxed the dopey Yosemite Sam, and blew off Daffy Duck’s bill a dozen times.

Ticket sales for the two screenings - one featuring Loony Toons, the other Tasmanian Devil shorts - rivaled those of Titanic and Grease, said a ticket-taker. Lines stretched out the door.

Preston, a graphics designer, wasn’t surprised. Cartoon collectibles are booming business among baby boomers; a New York gallery charges $1,000 for hand-painted movie stills.

“I wanted my son to experience something from my youth,” he said. “I learned how to watch TV with Bugs Bunny. This is like a revival.”

By the end of the afternoon show, some in the younger crowd were converts.

Bryce Eschenbacher, a 15-year-old with a buzz cut, was glassy-eyed after watching two screenings back-to-back. But he admired the cartoons’ art work and witty story lines.

“It’s better than South Park,” he said. “It’s rated for most everybody.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

Booming interest

Cartoon collectibles are big business these days. One New York gallery charges $1,000 for hand-painted movie stills.

This sidebar appeared with the story: Booming interest Cartoon collectibles are big business these days. One New York gallery charges $1,000 for hand-painted movie stills.

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