Today in these United States is Washington’s Birthday, or “Presidents’ Day” as it’s increasingly called (thanks to advertisers/possibly a push to combine Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays into one generic, days-off-minimizing holiday?). In honor of the country’s first president, mail isn’t delivered, banks are closed, and so forth.
Cartoons don’t seem to make much note of Washington’s Birthday/Presidents’ Day, but there are some instances of it being used as a setting:
Here Comes Peter Cottontail
The early 70s Rankin-Bass special “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” is an Easter special, but involves time-travel to various holidays. Toward the end of the special, we see Peter grow increasingly desperate as he runs low on holidays, and tries to give away his eggs on Washington’s Birthday (dressed as a bunny version of Washington).
Part of a line of late 70s/early 80s Flintstones primetime TV specials, “The Flintstones’ New Neighbors,” sees the Flintstones and Rubbles gain new neighbors, the Frankenstones, a family of “Munsters”-like monsters headed by patriarch Frank Frankenstone. The plot mostly revolves around Fred loathing his new neighbors as “weirdos,” but by the end of the special (and after the Frankenstones help save Pebbles’ life), he learns to like Frank. Too bad the Frankenstones’ next non-primetime special appearance in 1980′s “The Flintstone Comedy Show” has Fred loathing Frank again… and making matters worse, Frank can’t stand Fred either. After apparently living next door to the Flintstones from Pebbles’ infancy until her teen years, I guess even originally-easy-going Frank couldn’t take the stress of a loudmouthed boor like Fred as a neighbor.
Anyway, the special’s climax mostly revolves around a picnic held on “Washingstone’s Birthday,” a prehistoric holiday Fred has the day off of work for. Apparently the “modern Stone Age” version of the United States had a history reflecting ours as well, down to “Founding (Cave-)Fathers” like “George Washingstone.” The original series did make occasional reference to things such as Bedrock’s “Washingstone Bridge,” while the “Flintstone Frantic” episode featured a cameo by a prehistoric version of President Lyndon B. Johnson. (“Lyndon B. Johnstone?”) I’ll assume Fred got off work earlier in February as well for Lincoln’s Birthday, or whatever his “rock”-pun name is, though a “Pebbles” cereal box I once saw had Fred visiting the “Missing Link Memorial”…
The fourth season episode “I Love Lisa” sees Springfield Elementary put on a hilarious Presidents’ Day play, with a number about the “mediocre presidents,” then segues to a sketch about Lincoln’s assassination (which Bart manages to alter in his own way). It all wraps up with a sketch featuring Ralph playing George Washington and Lisa playing his wife Martha, Ralph (jilted earlier by Lisa) giving an uncharacteristically excellent performance that moves the audience to tears.
There’s also the second season episode “Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish,” where Mr. Burns runs for Springfield’s mysterious state’s governorship. This exchange between Marge and Homer was a pretty good take on Presidents’ Day:
Marge: Well, leave it to good ol’ Mary Bailey to finally step in and do something about that hideous genetic mutation.
Homer: (snort) Mary Bailey. Well, if I was governor, I’d sure find better things to do with my time.
Marge: Like what?
Homer: Like getting Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday back as separate paid holidays. “President’s Day” (blows a raspberry) What a rip-off!
George Washington appearances
Outside of the holiday, George Washington tends to turn up quite often in animation, via flashbacks, dream sequences, time-travel, history lessons, etc. A few examples of Washington’s animated appearances:
- Syndicated and PBS educational series “Liberty’s Kids” featured General Washington in various episodes, in stories involving various aspects of the American Revolution.
- “Peabody’s Improbable History” from “Rocky and Bullwinkle” featured General Washington in two episodes: the first was about Paul Revere’s ride, where Peabody teaches Washington that “famous old hog-call cry” as a way of rallying enough men as troops in “under sixty seconds.” One guess what Peabody’s episode-ending pun was, when Sherman asks if Peabody would call the assembled troops “sixty-second men?” The second was about British General Cornwallis’ surrender to General Washington at the Battle of Yorktown, though focused mainly on Cornwallis’ side of things (he needed Peabody and Sherman’s help in finding the sword he was going to surrender with).
- Educational cartoon “Histeria!” often featured Washington, who spoke with a parody of comedian Bob Hope’s voice/mannerisms.
- DC Comics’ funny-animal superhero comic “Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew” occasionally featured the crew visiting, or dealing with threats to, the capital of the “United Species of America,” “Waspington DC.” The 2007 “Final Ark” miniseries featured at one point what I assume is a statue of Earth-C’s first US president, a hornet wearing colonial-era clothes and a powdered wig… “George Waspington?” The original series also had a storyline involving the statue of another historical Earth-C American president, “Abraham Linkidd” (a goat).