Well, the New York Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs this week by the Detroit Tigers, and whether you’re a Yankee fan or not, that’s a sentence you probably never expected to read in your lifetime.
The Yankees, of course, are a pretty polarizing team, and I have friends and family who fall on both sides of the love ’em or hate ’em debate. As a kid growing up in the ’70s, I considered them to be my favorite AL team (I was primarily a fan of the Pirates, led by “Pops” Willie Stargell, an old man in his late 30s at the time).
This is where I admit that while I’m a baseball fan, I’ve never been a huge fan, nor do I know much about the details of the subtle rules or statistics of the game. I know now that Munson was actually a good player, but that’s not why I was a fan.
I was a fan because his name sounded like Herman Munster.
It should come as no surprise to you that I was (and probably still am) a bigger fan of The Munsters than of the Yankees. Believe it or not, though, I’m not going to write about the Munsters here now because it’s been a while since I’ve watched the show.
Instead I want to write about Looney Tunes.
One of the many favorite Looney Tunes cartoons of my family was one called, “Dog Gone South,” in which Charlie Dog, a northern pooch kicked off a freight train below the Mason-Dixon Line, tries to gain the sponsorship of Colonel Shuffle, a proud Southerner with a pampered bulldog named Belvedere.
There are some great lines in this episode, but because of this cartoon, I can never hear the word, “Yankee” without thinking of Colonel Shuffle’s incredulous interjection when Charlie Dog starts singing “Yankee Doodle.”
Now is when I ask you if you’ve ever heard of Senator Beauregard Claghorn. No, he wasn’t a real senator, but he was a character created by Kenny Delmar on the Fred Allen Show. He was a loud-mouthed, north-hating, southerner who was the basis for the Looney Tunes character Foghorn Leghorn.
Well, Foghorn took a lot of Senator Claghorn’s catchphrases, like, “That’s a joke, son,” “Pay attention now, boy,” and “I say, I say.” But it seems to me that Colonel Shuffle from “Dog Gone South” got the Senator’s distaste for the north. Listen to this exchange:
Senator Claghorn was definitely the influence for Colonel Shuffle even though Foghorn Leghorn is more well known. Here’s a longer video of Claghorn:
The irony about this character is that actor Kenny Delmar was actually from Boston. North Boston that is. Massachusetts.
I’m not sure what my point is about all of this is, except maybe that the New York Yankees divide baseball fans like the war between the states once did 150 years ago, but we can all agree that Looney Tunes are freakin’ hilarious.
One other note about the powerful influence “Dog Gone South” had on my family. For two years I lived on a street called Belvedere Avenue, and for two years I had to deal with my oldest brother calling out, “Oh, Belvedere! Come here, boy!” at the mention of the address. It’s the little things, no?
And that, I say, that is that.