If there’s one thing that animation fans may love more than watching entertaining cartoons, it’s talking about them with someone else who likes them just as much.
Perhaps that’s because many of us grew up—though that term’s kind of relative—viewing our favourite animated characters in relative solitude, maybe with a brother or sister at best. It becomes a revelation to find that you are not alone, that someone else shares your love and wants to tell you all about it. Watching cartoons almost becomes a combined experience.
It’s therefore with sadness, though with some understanding, I note that Jon Cooke has announced the Golden Age Cartoon forums are about to close this weekend after a long run of service.
The internet is evolving. An increasing number of years ago, people discovered something called Usenet where they could get together and talk about anything one could conceivably talk about. It was a time when internet speeds were slow, so web sites were rudimentary and just discovering their potential. Text was the way to go. So people flocked to text-only Usenet spots like rec.arts.animation or alt.animation.warner-bros to talk cartoons.
300-baud modems gave way to high-speed cable connections, making graphics on the internet practical. Web sites grew in popularity and soon cartoon discussions moved from spam-attracting Usenet to various web forums, each with their own individual flavour, kind of like how no two shops which sell ice cream are alike. I found the flavour of web forum I liked was the Golden Age Cartoons forum and was pleased when I was accepted as a member. A number of the people I had chatted with on alt.animation.warner-bros were there, bringing with them their well-thought-out opinions and expertise.
It’s been a real pleasure over the years to have a chance to read, comment and—best of all—learn about cartoons from people who love them as much as I do, though, granted, our tastes vary and not everyone likes the same thing. Many of the people who are friends on my Facebook account are people I first chatted with on GAC who satisfied their curiosity by stopping by the Yowp blog (or this recent one).
What a shame it is there won’t be—at least for now—a place for us all to get together. There are other places on the net and they aren’t quite the same. Who else has dancing poissons d'Avril?
I started typing a list of the friendly people I’ve appreciated reading there, and those with amazing depths of knowledge, and realised that, despite its length, I’ll end up leaving out names and unwittingly disappointing someone. Instead, I’ll thank everyone there who I’ve corresponded with for their insights and their ability to put up with my occasional snarkiness and irreverence. However, I am going to mention one name. Steve Stanchfield has affectionately restored, as best as possible, cartoons that big companies have ignored as being a not-profitable-enough use of their resources. I love the Van Beuren cartoons and his SNAFU set is something every Warner Bros. cartoon fan unquestionably must own. Had it not been for the GAC forums, I never would have learned about them and been able to watch them in the comfort of my palatial estate. Thanks, Steve.
And thanks, GAC. Until we meet again.