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Chuck's column: Remembering the classics

I amuse myself with desktop patterns. Doesn't everyone?

I recently put my winter desktop away and sought something far more fun and indicative of my personality than a snowy landscape. What did I come up with?

Cartoon characters. A collage of Hanna Barbera cartoon characters. Remember Hanna Barbera cartoons? The Flintstones? Quick Draw McGraw? Scooby Doo? Of course you remember. How could you not remember?

So, I had a few extra minutes at the end of a class, and I told the kids to quickly grab a piece of scratch paper and prepare for a pop quiz on current issues.

Then I revealed my desktop on the board behind me and using my laptop's cursor, I hovered over several characters, one at a time, asking the students to identify them.

The first one I hovered over was SPACE GHOST. How many sophomores knew who Space Ghost was? None. Next, Yogi Bear. My spirits were lifted. An echoing refrain of, "Yogi Bear!" rang out through my room. Next up, Huckleberry Hound. Not a clue. They had all sorts of names for the blue-colored dog, but Huckleberry Hound wasn't one of them. My cursor traveled next to Atom Ant. "Up and at 'em, ATOM ANT!" Silence. Blank stares. Pins dropping everywhere!

This next one I knew would be impossible, but I simply wanted to tell them the story. The Great Gazoo. The little green martian with a big helmet on his head, jettisoned to earth as a punishment to learn how to treat others well. He meets Fred and Barney in the last year or two of The Flintstones show. Not sure they even understood who The Flintstones were. Ugh.

One of my sophomores knew the next one - Mr. Spacely from The Jetsons. He also knew Astro, their dog, and Rosie, their in-house maid robot. He said his mother told him The Jetsons was a good cartoon show, and she was going to make him sit down and watch some episodes. Good mother. Enrich his life.

One of my favorite stories of my career took place 28 years ago. I was in the job for my third year. A group of guys, juniors then, from the class of '86, a class I've mentioned before, joined me on a field trip to the old Cooper theater up in St. Louis Park. There were about 10 of us going in three cars. We ate at Fuddruckers on France and 494 and then went north to the theater. I thought they'd be totally mesmerized by the Cooper Theater since it was one of the few beautiful old theaters left with a balcony, smoking pits and a huge screen with great seats. I convinced them they'd love the theater and the movie that had been rereleased after having been enhanced by new technology. The colors and the succinctness of the picture was supposedly much improved. The movie?

Hitchcock's "Vertigo."

Dinner was awesome and they were all ready for a great movie experience. About an hour into the film, I looked around me. They had all moved to other seats where they could stretch out. And sleep. Yup. They slept through "Vertigo."

For the next year, I'd hear, "Hey, Mr. Brooks. Any word about when they're releasing 'Vertigo II' or 'Son of Vertigo?'"

It took me forever to live that down. That's what I get for trying to open up their worlds to the classics. Oh well.

Gotta run. "Tom and Jerry" starts soon. See ya next week.