The Red Moustache Manuscripts

The Red Moustache Manuscripts contains vignettes chronicling over a half century of adventures. Some of the stories are amusingly funny while others can be seriously enlightening. So come in and enjoy a truly unique experience!

Off Center?

Mister Trouble never hangs around
When he hears this mighty sound
"Here I come to save the day!"
That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!

That was the opening verse to the theme song of my favorite cartoon, Mighty Mouse. I admired Popeye and Underdog too. I watched shows on black and white TV back in the ‘60s and most of the shows had easy to recognize heroes (Superman, Tarzan, Zorro, The Lone Ranger).  Some of my other non-cartoon favorites included Andy of Mayberry, Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, and My Three Sons. The list goes on and on, but the more popular theme became family and learning right from wrong.

Andy Taylor always had time to do some “splainin” of life’s dilemmas to his young son Opie and Ward Cleaver did the same to Beaver in the privacy of his in-home library, doors closed. Weekly television shows were attempting to define the perfect American family. It seemed to be working and as a result other copycat shows like the Brady Bunch were created. The theme focused on the family and the Dad was at the center of most of them with Mom in the supporting role.

Modern TV hasn’t been as flattering to the American family and its Dads. See Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) and Peter Griffin (Family Guy), these guys are full-fledged buffoons and their families are highly dysfunctional, maybe as a result. It’s definitely funny stuff (haha), but the message to young children is that the average American family is dysfunctional and they shouldn't look to their Dads for role models…

Certainly Mom’s role in the American family has changed and is much more than that of supporting cast, but the entertainment industry has been consistently moving away from center because it has realized dysfunctional sells. No one’s buying expensive TV advertising during “normal” shows anymore.

Actor Ed O’Neill has made an incredible transition from one of America’s first dysfunctional families in Married with Children (1987-’97) to one of America’s most popular progressive families in Modern Family (2009- ). His TV characters are survivors in both sitcoms, and in the latter his character, 65+ year old Jay Prichett is rewarded with Gloria (Sofia Vergara), his younger, sexy, Columbian second wife. A “Lifetime Achievement Award” for an actor who was a Dad in television's ground-breaking dysfunctional family? Perhaps, but O’Neill has mastered the changing way TV Dads are perceived. When Gloria Prichett becomes pregnant the couple’s extended family, which includes Prichett’s gay son Mitchell from his first marriage, and his husband Cameron who have adopted a Vietnamese daughter (Lily Tucker-Pritchett), were all totally supportive.

Just maybe TV Dads Andy Taylor and Ward Cleaver were further from center than we originally thought and Hollywood has finally gotten it right; American families are totally dysfunctional. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact it's become quite normal.

The idea that a caped mouse could fly and be a superhero… Well, it was believable to many wide-eyed young kids back in the 60s and I was certainly one of them.

Here it goes, one more time for those of us whose inner child still yearns to believe-

Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right
Mighty Mouse will join the fight
On the sea or on the land
He has the situation well in hand!

So though we are in danger, we do not despair
For wherever there is danger he'll be there
He'll be there, on the land, on the sea, in the air!

We're not worrying at all
We're just listening for his call
"Here I come to save the day!"
That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!

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