Films

Published on May 26th, 2006 | by admin

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Roger Ramjet (Box Set)

By Melanie Sheridan

“When Ramjet takes a proton pill the crooks begin to worry. They can’t escape their awful fate from proton’s mighty fury.” Ahhh, the 1960s. It was a pleasant decade (I’m told) when sex was plentiful and drugs so de rigueur that cartoons – for children! – could be made espousing their magnificent properties.

When Roger Ramjet was screened in five-minute grabs on the ABC decades later, I caught enough episodes that the awful, teeth-grinding theme song sunk into my long term memory, but I never really developed an appreciation of the knowing, self-referential – and yes, hilarious – humour. I’m cured now, thanks to this collectors edition box set.

Beginning in 1965 (as Gary Owens, voice of Roger, mentions in the single episode voice over he provides on disc four) Roger Ramjet and his American Eagles – Yank, Doodle, Dan and Dee – made the world a nicer place in which to do things on for 156 episodes. Some people maintain that drugs also make the world a nicer place in which to do things on. It’s an important point. The killjoys at the IOC would have you believe that drugs are bad. Don’t listen to them kids. Listen to Roger Ramjet, HERO of our nation (being the 51st state and all). If Ramjet didn’t pop all those pills, he’d never have achieved his world record feats of bad guy bashing; and I don’t see anyone stripping him of his winnings.

Sure Noodles Ramonov and N.A.S.T.Y (National Association of Spies, Traitors and Yahoos), Jacqueline Hyde and the buzz click robots tried. But they were defeated each time, if not by proton’s mighty fury then by The American Eagles. This is another important point. Kids are smarter than adults, and they don’t need drugs. Ramjet, the predecessor of Inspector Gadget, is as dumb as wet spaghetti. It’s quite possible that his intellect, like his face – a Dadaist masterpiece to make Picasso weep – is the result of all that drug abuse. In which case, drugs are bad.

Thus is the second-guessing nature of Roger Ramjet. I want to use words like post modern and deconstructionist, but I don’t really know what they mean (does anyone?). In one episode, the dwarf paramour Lotta Love challenges Ramjet and his arch-rival (for her affections) Lance Crossfire to a Romance Olympics. Ramjet declares “Well, this is silly.” Crossfire baritonely responds, “Well it’s only a kids cartoon show, Roger”. Touché.

And yet I extended my (fake) vocabulary each time this week’s insegrevious / connuvial / arbogastic episode began. Then there’s that social commentary on the American personality, still as relevant today as ever. And what adult can resist a clever aside like “he’s so rich he mixes alphabet soup with buckwheat flour so he can have monogrammed pancakes”? How ‘bout them popsicles? Yes, folks, thanks to Roger Ramjet the world is a cooler place to live.


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