Saturday, October 5, 2013
"Song of the Birds" with Little Audrey (1949)
The Little Audrey series of cartoons were not really on my radar as a boy growing up. As a matter of fact, until recently, while searching for a cartoon I had never really even watched one all the way through. I suppose as a boy I considered them to be “girl’s cartoons”; the same way certain films are labeled to be “chick-flicks.” This type of thinking can cause a person to miss out on some really fine entertainment. “Fried Green Tomatoes” springs to mind immediately, as does the classic novel “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”
In this 1949 cartoon, Little Audrey has a BB gun and; like all good children everywhere; she can hardly wait to shoot something with it. After a bit of practice on the cuckoo clock the family maid banishes her outdoors warning her of the trouble likely to come from Audrey’s BB gun. Although the maid may seem to be politically incorrect, she is always the smartest one in these cartoons, and you do have to wonder where the hell Audrey's parents are.
Audrey is nonplussed at being thrown out, and seeks to shoot the first thing which will stand still. The squirrel gets away after delivering a real tongue lashing at Audrey, who then proceeds to shoot at a baby bird who is just learning to fly. As the bird falls to the ground the mother is in anguish at the loss of her little one. And Little Audrey is grief stricken at what she has done.
The Weeping Willows weep, and the whole world of nature mourns the passing of the young bird as Audrey retreats to her house in shame and remorse. But sometimes miracles occur, and as the mother bird is burying her child a sudden storm breaks out, unleashing the rain which revives the fallen bird. As the animals rejoice Audrey hears the song of the birds and rushes outside in great relief, breaking her rifle in half to show that she has changed.
With a box of bird seed in hand she attempts to bring back the trust the birds once had in mankind, but that is easier said than done. As Audrey turns, forlorn and rejected, one brave little blue bird leaves the safety of the trees and lands on her shoulder. When the other birds see that no harm comes to the little blue bird they all come out and happiness is restored to the forest once again.
This cartoon is very reminiscent of the 1963 Andy Griffith Show episode in which Opie does the same thing as Little Audrey. The results are the same and Opie also learns the value of life by his mistake. You can view the first part of that episode here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhJeRaCwiNU
These old cartoons and television shows contain an awful lot of wisdom in them. In today’s world they may seem quaint and old fashioned, but the world was a seemingly less violent place just a few decades ago. In light of all the recent mass shootings I thought maybe a refresher course in responsibility was in order. And what better way to see things more clearly than through the eyes of a child.