Simply 6 Minutes: Dog & Koala

Two cute animals for us to deal with this week. On the right, a Dachshund, better known as a "wiener dog." They were originally bred to get badgers and other burrowing animals out of their burrows and to hunt mice and rabbits (their name literally means "badger dog"). A pretty tall order for a very short dog. I mean, badgers are tough bastards, so they have to be pretty scrappy little guys to put up that kind of a fight. They were brought here in part to deal with prairie dogs.

I worked with a guy who had a couple of long-haired Dachshunds. He really loved them. They come in short-haired, wire-haired, and long-haired varieties, and in three sizes, standard, miniature, and kaninchen, or "rabbit sized."

There was a bizarre cartoon developed in the ’50’s called Clutch Cargo. Clutch was a freelance writer and tough guy, who traveled around the world getting himself involved in other people’s lives and opening a can of whoop-ass on bad guys. He had two travel companions, Spinner (who might or might not be his son) and Paddlefoot, a Dachshund. There wasn’t a lot of movement in these cartoons, except the characters’ mouths, which were provided by live actors using a technique called Syncro-Vox. Observe…

They showed Clutch on the Garfield Goose & Friends afternoon TV show in Chicago. Garfield Goose was a delusional goose who believed he was King of the United States. There are a few episodes of the show on YouTube.

On to the koala, who looks like a bear but isn’t: it’s a marsupial. They come from Australia, which seems to have cornered the market in strange (and occasionally dangerous) animals. They live mostly in eucalyptus trees and hardly ever come down.

A year or two ago, Australia was beset with terrible wildfires that really threatened the koalas, many of whom were traumatized by the fires. They rescued as many as they could and gathered them into preserves, and as I understand it the firefighters, after a hard day of putting out fires, would go to the preserves and cuddle the koalas. Which isn’t that strange: I think lots of people would cuddle with a koala. I know I would.

The koala in the picture looks like a little one, or a joey, which seems to be the name given to all marsupials, like kangaroos, wallabies, and Tasmanian devils. Notice its paws: they all have five digits, two of which are opposable, like thumbs.

Australia’s national airline is Qantas. The name is an acronym for Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Service. When they began international service to the US, they ran commercials that featured a talking koala. The voice was provided by Howard Morris, who was best known for playing Ernest T. Bass, a crazy mountain man on The Andy Griffith Show, but who was also a very talented comedian, actor, director, and voice actor. The koala was none too happy with the airline for bringing so many visitors to the Land Down Under, and ended every commercial by saying "I… HATE… QANTAS."

I spent a week in Australia a few years ago and thought it was a beautiful place. If I ever go again, I’m taking Mary and we ain’t coming back…

Christine Bialczak is the brains behind Simply 6 Minutes.

18 thoughts on “Simply 6 Minutes: Dog & Koala

  1. OK…that cartoon looks like they had $2. for a budget and were smoking some weed like that Siberian husky. I just about fell off my chair seeing that husky who must have smoked some and drank some hooch. If anyone saw these cartoons today (with an actual mouth over the cartoon face), they would take a conniption fit over the Eskimo..oops, Inuit. Now that Koala baby looks like a stuffed koala they don’t look real. They are very cute and were so hurt, as were many other animals, from that wild fire(s). I bet the firemen knew how much it helped them mentally to just visit these koalas. Now I must bid you oogooloogoo

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    1. The cartoons looked even stranger in color, because they wore red lipstick. There was another cartoon called “Space Angel” made by the same people that used Syncro-Vox as well. The cartoons were anything but politically correct, but it was the ’50’s…

      I think the firefighters were as helped by holding the koalas as the koalas were being held by the firefighters. .

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    1. I got all choked up when I heard that story. You see pictures of cats who’ve been rescued from fires and how they’re all wide-eyed and clinging to the firefighter, I have to figure it’s the same with koalas.

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  2. Loved the sentence about Australia having “cornered the market in strange (and occasionally dangerous) animals.” That’s my thing about that continent, I love the people, love the accent but man, those spiders are something else! Main reason why I’ll never go there 🙂

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    1. That’s a shame, because it is really beautiful and the people are wonderful, plus there’s very little chance that you’d encounter any flora or fauna that would be dangerous. I’ll never forget it…

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  3. Loved the sentence about Australia having “cornered the market in strange (and occasionally dangerous) animals.” That’s my thing about that continent, I love the people, love the accent but man, those spiders are something else! Main reason why I’ll never go there 🙂

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  4. Great commercial and tv show. Did you already know about them before today? Great information too. My good friend had a mini and so did my niece many years ago. They pee on anything and everything. They get mad and that is how they get back at you! Thanks for participating!

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    1. I spent far too much time (at least according to the “experts”) watching TV when I was a kid, so I’ve see every episode of Clutch Cargo a dozen times or more and the Qantas commercials (there were a few of them, all using the koala) lots of times. My idea of stream of consciousness writing is to look at the prompt and come up with a mental list of what I want to write about before actually writing anything. I get further ideas after that. And I have more loose screws than a hardware store in an earthquake… 🤣 That helps…

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