If you've never heard of the term "fursuiting" before, consider yourself lucky. A large subculture of furry fans have sexual deviations ranging from lust over cartoon rabbits to fascinations with rebirthing. I promise you, I won't be talking about yiffing in this article nor, God willing, anything I ever write. Far be it from me to judge; furry fans are welcome to do as they like. Furry fandom may just a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.
That being said, I'd like to bring to your attention some of the lighter forms of anthromorphism. I'm not talking of the obvious examples of the Ninja Turtles movies. I'm not even talking about Howard the Duck. I'm talking more along the lines of old kids shows that no one but crazy people like me remember. Grab your animatronic fursuit and prepare to jumpstart your brain with shows you nearly forgot about.
An elephant never forgets, but you probably forgot about this elephant. Dumbo's Circus aired on The Disney Channel back before the channel was filled with shows emphasizing how devastatingly important it is to wear fashionable shoes to school. I still wear my cruddy black Vans sneakers til they're worn through, and I still like my Disney Channel without commercial interruptions. It was bad enough sitting through the 5 minute promos for the newest episode of Road to Avonlea.
The mouths on these costumes barely moved, but that didn't stop them from breaking into song several times each episode. I've never been to the circus, but my guess is they don't have the clowns breaking into opera about which side of the plate the fork goes on. Furthermore I don't think Koalas are a common circus critter. Where's the bear driving a unicycle while wearing a vest and a tiny little hat? Sebastian the Cat and his ventriloquist puppet were hardly a satisfactory replacement.
Anyone who got the Disney Channel when Dumbo's Circus was airing can still recite most of the theme song. That was one of the great things about the 80's, companies really put some damn work into their theme songs. I may not remember the capitals for all 50 states, but I can still bellow out the lyrics to the Gummi Bears.
Ever seen The Book of Pooh? Well Pooh Corner was like the Book of Pooh, only bigger, and on crack. This was back-to-back with Dumbo's Circus. Disney tried to transform the walk-around characters made popular by their theme parks into an interactive show. It wasn't interactive in the way Blue's Clues was-- that is to say, you weren't yelling and screaming at the TV. But you were having sing-alongs and craft corners. There were also plenty of bits that made you really question Piglet's sexuality.
There was no Christopher Robin to be seen in this Pooh Universe. Instead we had a paunchy British storyteller played by Laurie Main. He'd also butt-in during the second half of the show to politely tell the cast what idiots they are for not knowing the correct way to make paper cup telephones. The second half was also filled with catchy moralicious songs like "Try a Little Something New" and "Please and Thank You."
The Henson Co outdid themselves with Dinosaurs. First off, it was about dinosaurs! All kids love dinosaurs. Number one creature sculpted in Play-Doh? Dinosaurs. This wasn't just your run of the mill show about prehistoric ages. The humor reached out to all generations. It also reached out to all corners of merchandising. Videos, figures, fast food prizes, and trace plates filled every corner of every room of everyone in America.
One day I turned around and Dinosaurs was gone. I don't know what happened to it, but I still have the fond memories of watching it on TGIF with its endless puns about tar pits. I don't think anyone that was alive in the 90's will ever forget the "I'm the Baby Gotta Love Me" rap, no matter how hard one might try.
A long time ago someone took a poll of the best ways to frighten children using animals. The result of that poll was then put into script form and made into Zoobilee Zoo. Seven actors portrayed seven different animals that originated on Hallmark cards. The shows generally revolved around teaching morals to children. It wasn't as dry as Today's Special, but certainly not past the excitement of watching Boobahs.
Skinnamarinky-dinky-dink! Skinnamarinkydoooo! I LOVE YOU!!! I was never a huge fan of The Elephant Show, but I pretty much lived my childhood though Nickelodeon so I watched more episodes than anyone should have to endure. The elephant costume isn't the worst offender I've seen. It actually looks like a real elephant instead of a guy with a painted face draped in a gray shag carpet.
Sharon, Lois, and Bram looked old when I was a kid. They weren't grandparent old, but they were definitely heading towards 50. Imagine my surprise when I turned on my TV a couple years ago and found them still going strong on a new show, Skinnamarink TV. They still have an elephant, but this time they added a blue cat into the mix. Good thing they finally got something to chase away all those mice; hundreds of crew members were killed in all of Elephant's stampedes.
I remember the early days of the internet taking off. I think it was 1996 or so when AOL decided to finally get rid of hourly rates. One of the top things I used to do back then was play the KILL BARNEY games online. That and try to get on the MTV live music video chat thing they had back then.
I hate to admit it, but I did watch Barney for a brief period. The reason I hate to admit it is because I was in 5th grade at the time. What a twisted time line I have:
3rd grade - Bought first bra
4th grade - Became a "woman"
5th grade - Watched Barney
It wasn't even as simple as just watching Barney. It's forgivable if there's really nothing on TV. Oh how I wish that was my excuse. Regrettably I must admit I rented several copies from the local library. I probably even kept them late and paid overdue fees for them. Perhaps that's why I later spent so much time blasting away at him online. I could have better spent those overdue fees on Swedish Fish and the likes.
There you have it, some of the great "people in costume" type TV shows. I hope I didn't offend any fursuiters out there. I'm very sensitive to hate mail.
Related articles: Christmas at Pooh Corner