Keep banging on that gong long-time, Donald...
by, 15th May 2011 at 05:01 AM (147 Views)
Last weekend, I managed the incredibly pathetic feat of accidentally banging my head three times in three separate places throughout the course of the weekend. On one occasion, I think I was playing under the bed with Hannibal and Murdock and simply misjudged the point when my head would be entirely clear of the bed frame. I don’t remember what happened on the other two exactly. Am I losing my sense of spatial awareness? Or am I just clumsy? Either way, I’d wound up with three painful bumps on my head by Monday morning and I was none too happy about it.
I mention this because it seems to have direct repercussions on my perception of the week that followed. Somehow, it hasn’t quite seemed real, and I’ve been staggering through the whole thing as if in a semi-conscious daze. Mind you, that movie I watched on Monday about the killer care tyre who blew up its victims’ heads with psychokinetic powers was bound to seem like a peculiar, trauma-induced hallucination on the best of days.
I’ve also been feeling kind of sad lately because that man who always sits in that driveway of the house up the adjoining street and waves to passers-by hasn’t been seen for well over a week, and I’m starting to worry that something may have happened to him. He’s been there ever since we moved in. I never knew his name, but whenever anyone passed him by he always seemed so genuinely happy to see them, and he would smile and wave. I’m not sure if I’m exactly comfortable about the idea of living in a world without him. :(
I didn’t get the letter I was so urgently hoping to this week. Guess I’ll have to wait a little longer. What did come this week for me in the post, however, was the Chronological Donald Volume Three. This one had to be imported from Scandinavia, since, for some frustrating reason, very few of the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs have been released in the UK, and think it’s safe to say at this point that they never will be. It’s probably one of the most expensive DVDs I’ve ever invested in, but I figure it’ll be worth it to own cherished childhood memories like “Crazy With The Heat”, “Sea Salts” and “Wide Open Spaces” (not to mention the gut-wrenchingly traumatic “Donald’s Happy Birthday”) legally and in beautiful, pristine quality.
One of the special features this thing boasts is all ten of the variations to the original Mickey Mouse Club opening sequence, which always ended with Donald banging a gong, but with a different (usually unpleasant) outcome for the hapless duck every time. I believe this is actually what inspired The Simpsons to later do that whole couch gag thing in their own opening sequence. In my naivety, I was expecting them all to be collected into a single featurette, which would play all the variations in succession. Instead, clicking on the relevant link took me through to a short video of Leonard Maltin explaining that they were hidden around the two discs as easter eggs, and that it was up to me to find them all. Okay, that was the easy part. I was more put out to find that, not only did each variation contain the full, two and a half minute long opening sequence, but for some reason my media player wouldn’t allow me to fast forward through them. So yes, for the purposes of personal completism I forced myself to watch the whole thing ten times in a row just to see the three-second gag at the end of each one where a cartoon duck motions to strike a gong and suffers some undeserved consequence.
Do you know what happens if you watch the Mickey Mouse Club opening sequence in full for ten times in succession? I’ll tell you. First, that evil little earworm of a theme song gets in your head, wraps itself around your brain and takes a complete hostage of it. It haunts you in your sleep. You find yourself singing it at work in front of all your colleagues. You can’t remember any of the words to the songs you usually like to sing, because it’s taken over and expunged them from your memory. No matter where you go, or where you turn, you’re never free of that high-pitched little voice in your ear which proclaims, “Hey there! Hi there! Ho there! You’re as welcome as can be!”
I figured that someone, somewhere should at least benefit from my reckless masochism, so I’ve compiled a little reference guide detailing what happens in each variation. That way, if anyone is curious about them but really doesn’t feel like sitting through the whole thing ten times, they can check here and find all the answers they need:
1. The gong explodes, leaving Donald a soot-blackened mess.
2. The gong turns out to be a big fruit pie which explodes up impact and covers Donald with gooey pie remnants. Donald seems curiously happy about this. Guess it must be a frickin’ good pie.
3. One of Donald’s nephews (I can’t tell which one - not just because it’s all in black and white, but because colour coding for those guys didn’t properly start until the 80s) runs in and bangs the gong before Donald has a chance to. Much to his chagrin of course.
4. The gong is made of paper, and Donald merely sends himself flying through it.
5. Two of Donald’s nephews (again, can’t say which ones) emerge from behind the gong and attack him with water pistols before he can strike it. This displeases Donald.
6. The gong shatters into little pieces.
7. Donald motions to strike the gong, but then pulls a triangle out of nowhere and strikes that instead, smiling knowingly at the audience (this is probably my favourite of the lot, since Donald actually “wins”).
8. Initially, the gong makes no sound, which prompts Donald to listen closely. Then, the sudden burst of sound waves catches him off guard.
9. Bad vibrations.
10. The gong spins around...taking Donald with it.
And finally, I’m disappointed that after banging my head three times my singing voice still hasn’t improved at all...as one of the Donald Duck cartoons on the first disc tells me it should. Well, maybe it only works if you’re hit by a flower pot. Either way, I wouldn’t try that at home kids.
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