Sunday, October 23, 2016

Balto

Yesterday someone on Reddit, a Redditor I suppose, asked the question: Which childen's film or TV show is actually a masterpiece.

Before I continue with that let me say, just try to find something on Reddit. It's quite impossible. Finally I backed out and queried the entire internet [reddit, cartoon, masterpiece] boom, there it is right near the top of results.

On Reddit yesterday the question brought a lot of answers. Mostly things I hadn't heard of. Here are the threads that developed under the question. I don't know how to navigate Reddit. There are more responses that you must open than there are showing. I haven't a clue how that is managed. You risk missing some good answers if you skip over all the ones that are tucked in.

Right off,
* The Secret Garden.
* Over the Garden Wall
* Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
* The Prince of Egypt (I'm watching that on YouTube now)
* Babe
* Lilo and Stitch
* Kubo and the Two Strings
* The Land Before Time
* Wall-E
* Coraline

And many other common ones. Someone mentioned * Balto, that received interesting comments.

** Didn't realize Kevin Bacon voiced Balto
** Yeah. It was extra fun because I learned it via that "Seven Steps to Kevin Bacon game"
Oh, lets try this guy:
Result: 1 step, Balto
Kevin Bacon was in Balto? Who was he?
Result: Balto
Oh.
** I love it when anybody can end the Six Degrees game with a Balto.
Jane Fonda was the girl dog and Jim Cummings voiced the incredibly suave villain. Real ensemble cast, too bad it got overlooked

(This is wrong, it is Bridgett Fonda)

** Hands down my favorite movie as a kid. Still my go to when I'm not feeling well
** So when I was a tiny child, I was obsessed with Balto. Obsessed.
My uncle made the mistake of telling me that Balto was a real dog. I begged my parents for months to go and "visit Balto" before my stepdad finally cracked and told me that Balto was dead, and we couldn't visit him.
Cue five-year-old me, sobbing and gulping air on the kitchen floor because I couldn't pet Balto and tell him he was a good boy. My mother still lords this over him on occasion. I am 27.
EDIT: My most popular comment on this website is about me having a meltdown over Balto. I don't even know what to say. My parents are going to love this.
** Technically you could visit him, as he's stuffed in some museum somewhere.
** My sister sent me a ton of photos and almost cried when she saw the Balto statue in central park. She's 30
** I was randomly walking and got so excited when I saw it was Balto and like freaked out to tell my gf who looked at me like I was crazy.
** When you read what those poor dogs went through.... And how they soldiered on as if they knew what they were carrying.... They were heroes, very good dogs, every one of them.
** DONT MAKE ME CRY
** Who the fuck is cutting onions ;_;
** There's a goddamn motherfucking statue of Balto in Central fucking Park!?!?!?!?!?!
** It's how the movie starts! The little girl and her gramdma are walking thru central park and get to the statue and the grandmother tells her story of Balto. edit: the statue is in central park and his taxidermy body is in Cleveland.

Okay, that's enough. You get the idea. The thread continues at length.

The movie takes broad license with the true story of a real dog leading (I think) the sled team of the original track that became the Iditarod, Balto's team picked up some spot between Nenana to Nome. Several teams and mushers were involved. It's unclear precisely where the team with Balto picks up. As you know, the whole effort was to deliver serum through a blizzard that stopped engines to counter a diphtheria outbreak that threatened Nome's young people. It's all very dramatic. 

Here is the cartoon movie Balto on YouTube (within a tiny inset, to subvert copyright restrictions, I'm guessing.)
Here is the statue that totally flipped out the Redditors at Central Park, NYC when they realized the specific dog that it depicts.


Here is the real (and dead) Balto in Cleveland. 


This page is where I began looking and it confused the heck out of me through a typo. It's a page for BQ Adventures listing places to visit. The page has photos of Cincinnati Natural History Museum. I followed a slide show and it looks like the kids are having a blast with the museum's hands-on exhibits. Man, this would have been fun at that age. I was constantly told not to touch anything, we all were, and I mean constantly, and honestly, how is a kid supposed to learn anything when they can't jump into it and play and cannot even touch anything? Forcing children to behave as adults is just such a freaking drag and what a dumb way to induce children to go to a museum. How can they learn handicapped like that? GAWL! But these kids are touching everything and that really is the way to go. You can see them learning through their hands. What a tremendous breakthrough in museum ideology. I urge you to look at the photos because it's fun just looking at the kids having fun. 

It gives me joy. It gives me hope for the future. 

The next set of photos on the same page has this photo of Balto. But the photoset is titled, Cleveland Natural History Museum, Cincinnati. What? No, wait. What? 

Hey, it could happen. Cleveland could have a branch in Cincinnati, I'm imagining. I don't know. But no. Wikipedia straightens it out. 

I think this is interesting. 


Balto was neutered so obviously never bred. Bummer! So was relegated to vaudeville with his team. When the owner wanted to return to Alaska the dogs were sold. They ended up chained in a small novelty museum and freak show in Los Angeles. 

A onetime prize fighter turned businessman, George Kimble, joined the The Plain Dealer newspaper to bring Balto and his team to Cleveland, Ohio. The dogs were given a hero's welcome and a parade. Respect! They were taken to Brookside Zoo, now Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

After Balto died in 1933 he was mounted by a taxidermist and donated to Cleveland Museum of Natural History. In 1998 the Alaska Legislature passed "Bring Back Balto resolution but the Cleveland Museum of Natural History declined. However, Balto was loaned for five months to Ancorage Museum of History and Art which drew record crowds. 

Touching. No really, that's remarkable. 

So then, it's Cleveland after all, and not Cincinnati. If you want to see Balto, lush coat and regal in mien, a bit worse for wear, (mounted improperly with down-sloping tail,) then you must go to Cleveland, Ohio. 

8 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I think they call it, without irony, "Homeric warfare," as in The Illiad. Two superior guys battle one another in the middle while the two armies watch from the sidelines. Makes for better storytelling, I suppose. Less complicated.

A good storyteller can get some complexity in there, nevertheless, using their various means.

But my observations over the years have lead me to believe that the great majority of people are not interested in any of that. They have no use for that which is not obvious. The goal is to find something so abstract as to be meaningless, so you can impute to it whatever meaning you want, depending on the situation. Political controversies over the American flag or the national anthem come to mind. Pick a side or get sidelined.

I firmly believe that people are like dogs in that they are evolved to run in a pack, although there is always variation among complex individuals in any given species.

Balto is dead but there are statues that people can think of as Balto. Thing of it is, he was chained to a sled, same as all the other dogs, with a man holding the reins.

There was medicine to deliver.

AprilApple said...

"...Balto was neutered so obviously never bred. Bummer! So was relegated to vaudeville with his team. When the owner wanted to return to Alaska the dogs were sold. They ended up chained in a small novelty museum and freak show in Los Angeles."

This makes me angry. Very very angry.
Hillary would chain dogs up for money.

AprilApple said...

Thanks for the education. I had no idea.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I am surprised Iron Giant did not make the list.

Wall-E? That was horrible.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Balto was a good looking dog. Too bad about him being neutered.

bagoh20 said...

They should get his DNA and clone Balto. That's a real money maker.

Chip Ahoy said...

Iron Giant probably is on the list. It's a very long series of threads within threads and nearly every children's television show and movie is mentioned as somebody's masterpiece.

Trooper York said...

April said
This makes me angry. Very very angry.
Hillary would chain dogs up for money

So what? Obama would eat him lightly sautéed with a fine Chianti.