|Comments by: johngaither||Rating:||Posted: March 16, 2002|
I saw Norman Normal once in the late 1970s but it stuck in my mind because it was unlike any other cartoon. The characters were all human beings, and it was a satire on contemporary society (as all cartoons are), based on the experiences of Norman Normal. The title character was a young man in his late 20s who worked in some office setting, maybe in advertising, in some urban environment. He goes to a party and sees various people his own age, each typifying some personality or psychological trait. This kind of social analysis was much in vogue in the late 1960s. For example, one character at the party was little more than a human head in a large plant, who called out "Attention! Attention!" as though what he craved was "attention." Norman fails to connect with anyone in a satisfactory manner, although he very much wants to be accepted. He says to the "Attention!" plant-person, "Yes, Henry [or whatever his name was], I notice you." He leaves, and something happens to make him angry -- maybe he reacts to the superficiality and unreality of the society he lives in. Next he's back at the party, or the same one another night. Everything is the same, but his reactions are more angry and assertive. When the plant-person says "Attention! Attention!", this time Norman responds with "Oh, shut up!", which is less acceptable socially but much more natural and personally healthy for him. That's the point of the cartoon I believe, and that's about all I remember. The music for the intro and closing was a twangy electric guitar band sound, very time-specific to the middle 1960s. It may have been a cover or the actual recording of the song "Norman Normal" by Noel Paul Stookey on Peter, Paul, and Mary's 1966 album, titled "Album." His experiences in the cartoon seem to match up with the lyrics of the song, which follow. Remember, this was over twenty years ago, so my recollection may be incomplete or mistaken, and I'd like to see it again, but this kind of thing is hard to find. http://www.peterpaulandmary.com/music/07-10.htm NORMAN NORMAL Noel Paul Stookey- New World Media Music Publishers ASCAP There's someone, you've got to meet him An' you see him every day, His face will look familiar, But in a most unusual way. He's Norman Normal, I said he's Norman Normal, You know he's Norman Normal, He looks a lot like you. Ev'ry party that Norman goes to You've been there before, He's got some funny things he might have said That he forgets until they close the door. He's Norman Normal, I said he's Norman Normal, You know he's Norman Normal, He acts a lot like you. He's a well respected man He's had his problems but he's left them well behind The only things he can't handle Are the hang-ups on his mind. He's Norman Normal, I said he's Norman Normal, You know he's Norman Normal, He looks a lot like you. He looks a lot like Jimmy, looks a lot like Billy, Looks a lot like Frankie, looks a lot like Timmy,
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