"The Cat Came Back"

image via
This song has been around since the late nineteenth century, and has its origins in overt racism, but for some reason it's stuck around for over a hundred years.  There's no getting rid of it... much like the eponymous feline itself, I suppose.

I'm pretty sure I saw the cartoon version of the song on Nickelodeon, back in its early days when it used to broadcast a lot of shorts, not to mention a lot of Canadian content.  (Remember "You Can't Do That on Television?"  Barth terrified me, and why did they have a recurring sketch depicting a child's execution by firing squad?  Perhaps that's a post for another time...).

Anyway, the cartoon is essentially about a man's repeated futile attempts to abandon his pet.  Mr. Johnson tries dumping the cat deep in the woods, launching him into the air in a hot air balloon, and tying him up in a sack and drowning him at the bottom of the sea.  Mr. Johnson's home furnishings and sanity slowly unravel as he continues to try to dispose of the cat--and at one point we learn that there are women tied to the railroad tracks all around his isolated little house.  Who is tying these women to the tracks?  Our protagonist is clearly a psychopath.

This diagnosis is confirmed when old Mr. Johnson finally tries to explode the cat with about a ton of dynamite.  He blows up his house and himself in the process, and his dead body lands on the cat, killing him and leaving the cat's 9 ghost lives to torment Mr. Johnson forever in the afterlife.  Thomasina this is not.

Lesson learned:
Adopt your next pet!  Or your next pet might just adopt you.

"The Cat Came Back."  Dir. Cordell Barker.  National Film Board of Canada, 1988.
Watch it on YouTube here.

No comments:

Post a Comment