For some unknown reason, I found myself humming this tune recently:
Now, for those of you under a “certain age,” Astro Boy was (I believe) the first anime -style cartoon serial imported to the United States in the early 60’s. The clip above is dated 1963, although the trailer has a copyright date of 1957. I would have been five years old in 1963 – Astro Boy is the first cartoon I remember.
And yes, cartoon. An imported, slightly-ahead-of-its-time, black and white anime-style cartoon. Cartoons originally came in black and white; color was an upgrade a few years later. I don’t remember a lot of the episode plots but I do remember wishing I could be Astro Boy. Astro Boy could fly. He was “good.” He ran around in hot pants and never seemed obsessed with body image. He was nearly naked all the time and yet, even when he flew close to the sun, never sunburned. Finally, he had a cool sound he made when he “had feet” and was walking like any other human. “Wockah wockah wockah.” Astro Boy was the man. Oh yeah, and that hair:
Astro Boy had amazing hair; I envied it even as a child. He has a pronounced widow’s peak supporting a hairline that totally and completely frames his face. And those points – is it product, is it the cut, is it a combination of both? Many years later I would see New Age musicians sporting similar looks.
Astro Boy was light years ahead of his time. For me, he was a style icon.
So I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise his theme song is still stuck somewhere in my mind, resurfacing from time to time.
Astro Boy was everything I wanted to be as a child – someone good, someone special (he could fly!) and someone with great hair. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be him?
As I left childhood behind, Astro Boy faded from my mind. In a way, my life has mirrored Astro Boy’s a bit. I always felt a little different growing up and I had to face a few of my own “monsters” along the way. I am happy to say that, so far, I have won every battle, just like my childhood hero. My own hair continues to recede a tiny bit more with each passing year, so I still envy him that hair. I guess no product or haircut will ever give me that hair. But, as I continue to grow and evolve as a person, I realize now that I AM special, and that maybe I have learned to fly – I just don’t have tiny, retractable jets in my feet. Thanks, Astro Boy, for inspiring me…