Cinequest: an old email from Richard von Busack

Last night, I saw the old restored black and white movie L’Atalante. It was hosted by Richard von Busack, the chief film and literature writer for Metro Newspapers. Years ago, Richard reviewed the Cowboy Bebop movie and said the character Edward was the most irritating character in cartoondom. I emailed him and mentioned several more annoying cartoon characters, such as Orko, Snarf, Hello Kitty, and a few others, one that was a true horror. Below is his reply, showing that he too knows his cartoons. I reprint it with his permission, editing out a little non-cartoon stuff at the start. Yeah, he remembered this after about ten years!

Dear David–
     Thank you for the praise and for your funny and even-handed (under the circumstances) letter. I saw that Hello Kitty animated, and it befouled the world by its very existence. I thought the point of Hello Kitty was that she had no mouth. And all of a sudden she’s saying these cutesy-poo things and trying to molest a bulldog in some kind of distressing cross-species romance.
     The bad magician character [Orko] in He Man was deeply hideous and turned up in a drawing by Butch Bradley in one of Peter Bagge’s comics…I never saw Thundercats, but they, too…
     oh, why pussyfoot: Scrappy Doo is a horror beyond reckoning, and the fact that he turns out to be the villain in the Scooby Doo movie gave it a few points in my book. Not that “points in my book” is worth much at the bank. Scrappy Doo’s annoying Brooklyn accent, his hydrocephalic head, his psychotic willingness to pick fights, places him below many other Hanna-Barbarous nervous-system abraders including Ogee (toddler slave master of Magilla Gorilla) and Tubs and Tyke–whalewatchers in Moby Dick: The Godawful Cartoon Series. Let’s remember least loved cartoon characters like Sick Sick Sidney the complaining elephant, would be hip 60’s Poochy-progenitors like Kool Kat, Drive-in movie fly repellant like Honey Halfwitch…I really should have watched my tongue about Edward,
who is merely the most aggravating JAPANESE cartoon character, making Sailor Moon look like Susan Sontag.
     Let’s don’t forget Ku Klux Clam and Yellowbelly Yak–best, Richard

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