Animation Trails
April 1, 2020 posted by Charles Gardner

Beware The Leprechauns (part 4)

Into the 90’s – and beyond! Buzz Lightyear had no monopoly on LGM’s (little green men), as those pesky leprechauns continued to show up where you least expect them, full or tricks and Irish ire.

Over the Rainbow (9/28/91) a U.S. Acres installment of Garfield and Friends, finds Roy Rooster in a more energetic mood than usual, racing off the farm at full speed at the sight of a rainbow – in search of the pot of gold at the end of it. Not realizing how long a rainbow can be, Roy is soon at the point of collapse. But he finds a final burst of energy as a road sign gives him revived hope – “End of Rainbow – Next 3 Exits”. He arrives at his goal, shouting that he’s going to be filthy rich – or at least, slightly soiled. However, instead of a pot, he finds an elderly leprechaun in a rocking chair, and a trio of small buildings. Demanding his reward, Roy is tragically underwhelmed to be informed by the leprechaun that pots of gold are old hat and went out of style years ago. Instead, as his reward, the leprechaun hands Roy a dirty sock! Roy is about ready to murder – but the leprechaun adds, “However, you can trade it for what’s behind the curtain” (ushering in a full-blown parody of “Let’s Make a Deal’). A stage curtain conceals the contents of one of the small buildings, lit with spotlights. Roy is more than willing to trade, but expects the worst – “I’ll probably get two dirty socks.”

Instead, an offscreen announcer, “Johnny” (parodying famous game show announcer Johnny Olsen), together with a shapely female leprechaun, reveal the prize behind the curtain – an emerald green luxury limousine. with power everything. Roy is amazed – it’s no pot of gold, but certainly not bad after all. But the leprechaun is only beginning, and offers Roy a chance to trade the car for what’s behind curtain number 2 in the next building. An unseen audience (whom Roy looks for but can’t find) splits its shouted advice between keeping the car and choosing the curtain. Roy’s greed instincts kick in, and he risks it all on the next building. His prize package is labeled “Fame and Fortune”. Start with one Skillion dollars – in small denominations so he can run barefoot in it. A 700 room mansion with land rights to the entire state of North Carolina. Twin anatomically correct kidney-shaped swimming pools. Private limousine, jet, and yacht. Fame, including TV appearances, magazine covers, and bubble gum cards. Hobnobbing with the biggest stars (including animal caricatures of Jack Nicholson and Bill Cosby). Great power, the adoration of women, eternal life, and a two year supply of some rice product. What more could one possibly ask for? But wait – there’s still curtain number 3! Despite already having everything he’s ever wanted, the spirit of greed takes hold of Roy again, and he trades – for his original dirty sock! A deflated Roy returns to the farm, telling the others who see a new rainbow to “Forget it!” Meanwhile, at the other end of the rainbow, a new “contestant” arrives for the same treatment. The leprechaun tells us, “I’ve been doing this for 73 years – and I haven’t given away one car or one dollar. But I’ve sure moved a lot of socks.”

To look at the British cartoon character “Rupert” (who appears to be an overly fluffy, furry polar bear), a viewer from the States would instantly think him “too cute by half” to ever succeed as an American cartoon star. And perhaps they’d be right. But don’t count this furball out. As I settled down to actually view one of his episodes, expecting to wince all the way through it, I was struck between the eyes by the dialogue and plot line, which, if you turned off the visual, any U.S. cartoon fan would believe could easily be the soundtrack for some parallel-universe version of a show from “The Disney Afternoon”. Nelvana, a co-producer on this series, seems to have succeeded in bringing the style of Western animation writing into a curious mix with a character whose visual style might otherwise have relegated him to the role of a Care Bear understudy, resulting in a surprisingly entertaining and clever viewing experience.

In Rupert and the Leprechauns (9/27/92), Rupert, holding a part-time job with a local grocer, is sent on a delivery job across a dense forest to the residence of a Mr. Crumb. En route, he discovers a little man dangling upside down in a snare trap, and a cat taking swipes at him with his paw. Rupert chases off the cat, and frees the little man, discovering he’s a leprechaun. The leprechaun says his being there is part of a “deep dark secret”, but seems incapable of holding the secret, overly anxious to treat Rupert as someone who can be trusted to spill the tale to. But before he gets his chance, the leprechaun discovers Rupert is making a delivery to Mr. Crumb – the very villain the leprechaun was looking for. And who should approach through the bushes but Crumb himself, scaring the leprechaun away.

Crumb takes Rupert back to his house, complaining at Rupert releasing the leprechaun from his specially-set trap. He argues that all leprechauns are devils, and can never be trusted. He demonstrates by showing a coffee table and chair in his own home, which the leprechauns have booby-trapped to fall apart at the slightest touch. Crumb has a deep dark secret too – and is as equally anxious as the leprechaun to “trust” Rupert so he can spin his tale. He tells of his great, great, great, great, great….. and then retracts a few greats so as not to appear too old……grandfather, who saved a leprechaun king’s life, and received in return a good luck amulet. But when the king later died, the leprechauns, unhappy that the amulet was not theirs any more, lied and cheated, claiming the Crumbs had stolen it from them – and stole it back. The story then becomes complicated, to the point where even Crumb has difficulty remembering how many times the Crumbs stole the amulet back, and the leprechauns in turn stole it again! After endless changes of possession, Crumb states he finally managed to get the amulet back, and keeps it on his person at all times. (He shows Rupert the “amulet”, which in fact looks like nothing more than the standard plastic four-leaf clover charm that grammar school kids used to get in a five-and-dime store or a claw machine.) But Crumb insists the leprechauns will stop at nothing for another chance to steal the amulet yet again. He holds onto a leprechaun hat retrieved by the cat we saw at the snare trap, as a trophy from his never-ending battle, while a chandelier falls from the ceiling, barely missing Crumb.

As evening falls, Rupert heads home, wondering how long this feud will persist before someone gets hurt. That someone is nearly him, as two leprechauns waylay him and push him into a doorway in a hollow tree. He meets the leprechaun prince, who refuses to believe that Rupert was just delivering groceries, and insists the bear is Crumb’s new accomplice. But the original leprechaun (named Owen) appears through a back entrance, yelling, “Run for your lives”, as he has been followed in by Crumb’s cat. Rupert proves his good intentions by luring the cat out the door with another leprechaun hat to take as a trophy. Now the leprechaun prince is willing to treat Rupert as someone to be “trusted” – and tells his version of the story of the feud, which is nearly identical to Crumb’s account. So much so that Rupert and the other leprechauns are yawning and nearly falling asleep by the time the prince’s story is through! The leprechauns are just as stubborn as Crumb, and swear to never give up until the amulet is theirs again.

Rupert finally gets home by next morning, and witnesses his Mom settle a minor argument between his Dad and a next door neighbor over a delicious tray of strawberry tarts. Maybe working on the adversaries through their stomachs might also work on Crumb and the leprechauns. So Rupert arranges a meeting on neutral turf at the grocery store between Crumb and the leprechauns, and supplies the strawberry tarts. All seems to be going well, but just as a compromise might be considered, the leprechaun prince uses the strawberry tarts as a weapon to throw in Crumb’s face for a distraction, then snatches away the amulet from Crumb’s neck. Owen gives Crumb a further distraction by upsetting a crate of oranges in Crumb’s way – but accidently trips himself on Rupert’s feet in making his retreat. Crumb captures Owen, and places him in a birdcage. Owen begs to be let go, stating that a trapped leprechaun will turn to clovers at sunset if not freed. Rupert pleads that he believes Owen, but Crumb insists, “Never trust a leprechaun.” Crumb sends Rupert to deliver an ultimatum to the prince that Owen will only be freed if they surrender the amulet. The prince will have none of this, and vows to take Owen by force. Rupert protests, but the leprechauns push him into a clinging vine that wraps itself around his hands and feet to hold him while the leprechauns embark on their rescue quest. The prince tries to get the attention of Crumb’s cat to draw Crumb outside, but gets more than Crumb as the cat pursues him across the garden. Inside, Owen’s face is indeed turning to clovers, and Crumb is moved to feel that even a leprechaun doesn’t deserve such a fate. But hearing the prince outside riling his cat, Crumb reverts to form, believing it’s all a trick, and runs outside to chase the prince away.

Two other leprechauns appear inside, but cannot open the lock on Owen’s cage. They try to bust the lock with an old spear point, but are too small to get the proper leverage – until Rupert appears, having broken free of the vine, and lends some extra weight to snap the lock. The prince finally eludes the cat, but not Crumb, and Crumb grabs back the amulet. “You son of a son of a son of a son of a son of a….son of a thief!” shouts the prince, but in trying to give chase, the prince catches his foot in a rope in Crumb’s stable, which runs upward through a pulley, suspending the prince in mid-air like the snare trap did to Owen. And Crunb’s cat appears at the ready to claw at the prince for more trophies. A missed pounce by the cat causes him to knock over a kerosene lantern, setting the stable on fire! Rupert sees the burning building and runs in to save the prince, but can’t get the rope loose. Crumb hears the commotion and charges in too, and with a strong tug snaps the rope holding the prince. A burning timber falls, trapping all of them in the fire – until a bucket brigade from the leprechauns outside quenches enough of the flames to give them a pathway to safety. Outside, Crumb surveys the damage to the stable, which has burned to the ground, while the prince realizes that Crumb has saved his life. Perhaps it wasn’t so hard after all to believe that Crumb’s ancestor saved a leprechaun king too. Both realizing the senselessness of their feud and what it almost cost them, the hatchet is buried. Well, almost, as Crumb and the leprechaun are both determined to surrender the amulet to each other, and almost come to blows again arguing as to who should take it. “I’ll take it!” says Rupert, settling the squabble. For once Crumb and the prince couldn’t agree with him more. And in appreciation, Rupert’s next delivery assignment is addressed to himself, paid for by Crumb and the leprechauns – a brand new soccer ball. The amulet brought Rupert luck after all.

The Luck O’ the Pinkish (1993) is another of those disappointing Matt Frewer-voiced Pink Panther television episodes of the 1990’s that just never seem to recapture the panther’s old spirit. Cast as Farmer McPink in the old country, Pink tries to make a carefree life in agriculture, but has a downstairs tenant – a leprechaun (named Shenanigan) who lives in the ground below his fields like a gopher, and is constantly bothered by the rumbling of Pink’s tractor, overwatering of the crops which leaks into his tunnels, etc. The leprechaun takes it out on Pink’s tractor, disassembling it. Pink swears he won’t plow over the leprechaun’s tunnel again, and invites the leprechaun to shake on it – then claims a wish for capturing the wee one’s hand. He demands his tractor be reassembled. With a sneer, the leprechaun obliges – but assembles the pieces entirely randomly into a functionless mess. “Could I rephrase that?”, suggests Pink, realizing he’s been played for the fool. Meanwhile, however, landlord Mr. O’Greedy is heard hammering an “Evicted” sign on Pink’s door, and tells Pink the mortgage is being foreclosed as of daybreak tomorrow. Pink pleads for an extension. “I know my celery didn’t sell and my brussels didn’t sprout, but check out my potatoes!” The mischievous leprechaun casts a hex on the potato that instantly deflates it. “Lools a little flat”, comments O’Greedy – “Shoulda planted steel-belted!” But Pink spots a clause in the mortgage fine print that if he can produce a four leaf clover before his time’s up, he can’t be evicted. “I hate it when they read the fine print”, curses O’Greedy.

Pink searches his lands with his tractor for a four leaf clover, suspended just over the ground by a boom extension from his tractor hood – but nothing. The leprechaun appears and transforms the boom rig into marionette strings, making the panther do Irish jigs. But while he is engaged in this prank, a bird cage is slammed over him, and he is captured by O’Greedy, who demands his pot of gold. O’Greedy leaves with the leprechaun, also leaving Pink caught up in the marionette strings. By the time Pink catches up, Shenanigan is wearily trudging back from O’Greedy’s castle, a beaten man and down and out. “Bottom o’ the mornin’ to ya”, Shenanigan moans as a greeting to Pink. Without his gold, he has been drained of all his powers, and is “just another short guy who happens to be green”. Pink plots a gold rescue with the leprechaun, and they appear at the castle disguised as vacuum cleaner salesmen. Pink distracts with his home demonstration while the leprechaun “scouts for germs”, really looking for the gold’s hiding place. The gold is found hidden in the framework of a chandelier – but O’Greedy catches the leprechaun in the act, and carries the pot off en route to foreclose on Pink’s farm. Pink notices the prism effect of the chandelier glass, and with the help of the leprechaun hoists the bauble-studded framework up to the tallest castle tower. There, Pink focuses sunlight through the many facets of the glass crystals. About a dozen rainbows spring from the tower over the countryside – each one appearing to have a pot of gold at its end. O’Greedy lives up to his name, and sets his original pot down to chase after the others. But Pink makes each rainbow vanish just before O’Greedy can land on the pots. The distraction provides the leprechaun with enough time to jump into the real pot and regain his powers. O’Greedy dives for the real pot – but the leprechaun changes it into a bee hive, the swarm chasing O’Greedy down the road with menacing stings. Back at the farm, O’Greedy finally appears, face swollen with bee stings, to forecose. But just as Pink is about to leave with his meager belongings on a bindle stick, the ground around him sprouts in giant four leaf clovers – thanks to a little leprechaun magic as a reward for Pink’s efforts. O’Greedy receives one in payment – and comeuppance – for a happy, if not satisfyingly funny ending.

A Hard Day’s Luck, (11/12/94, Chris Reccardi, dir.), a one-shot episode from Ren and Stimpy without the starring characters, focusing on a Scotsman (Haggis McHaggis, voiced by Alan Young in a slowed-down version of his classic Scrooge McDuck voice), who despite having a large ancestral castle, is an unhappy man – as he is nearly bald, and hates it. His ugly manservant (three times his size with the brains of an Igor), tries to help, by letting Haggis tear a thick chunk of hair off of his monsterously-hairy back with a piece of Scotch tape, then put the tape on his head. But Haggis should have bought the double-stick roll, as the tape toupee slides right off. The houseboy serves Haggis’s favorite breakfast – a cereal box parodying “Lucky Charms”, inside which is magic leprechaun good luck charm – just add water. One drop, and the charm becomes a real live leprechaun. However, Haggis is offput by the stranger’s Emerald Isle brogue, and shouts “He’s a foreigner!” He and the houseboy prepare to drop the leprechaun out the window to an alligator-filled moat. But the leprechaun reminds Haggis that he is magical, and can grant wishes. All Haggis can see in his minds eye is a head full of curly locks. But the leprechaun doesn’t grant wishes without a show of merit, and insists that Haggis must pass his tests first. Test number one measures whether Haggis can hold his temper – something absolutely against the grain of his normal disposition. The leprechaun stands on Haggis’ head, telling insulting stories about Scotsmen, pulling out Haggis’ last three natural hairs, and sticking each hair in a painful or irritating place on Haggis’ person (in his eye, between his teeth, and into his ear), adding a bottle of ear mites as a crowning touch.

Of course, Haggis explodes, and not only doesn’t get the wish, but loses his houseboy in the bet. More bets ensue – and Haggis is depleted of everything except his shillelagh. Given one more chance, he is told to prove he’s not scared of the dark, by being lowered into a well where he is to spend a full minute without panicking. As the houseboy sits on the well opening to shut out the light, and ingests soda pop to emit mysterious gassy sounds, Haggis imagines monsters and snakes around him (the sound of the snakes generated by the rattling of dice in a crap game between the houseboy and the leprechaun above). Finally freaking out, Haggis lights a match, and finds a real monster who asks for a light. Haggis’s skeleton leaps out of his body ahead of his skin, and both parts of him streak upwards in screaming terror to the surface – where he emerges one grain of sand too soon on the leprechaun’s hourglass to pass the challenge. Asked to surrender his shillelagh, Haggis bursts into twin rivers of tears. Not knowing how else to turn off the water works, the leprechaun finally concedes that he has a reputation to uphold, and lets Haggis win. Giving him a rather filthy looking magic bean to eat, he announces that it’ll make his wish come true. Haggis swallows it – and lo and behold, instantly grows a thin tower of hair five times his height. Haggis goes skipping over the hills in happy delight – then for no particular reason whatsoever, finds that the bean is a booby-trap, and explodes in an atomic blast at the horizon’s edge, for the iris out.

Here’s a clip:

The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror XII includes the short, Hex and the City (11/6/01). Homer insults a gypsy fortune teller, inciting her to cast a curse upon him that horrible things will befall those around him. It doesn’t take long for the consequences to mount. Marge becomes a blue-bearded lady, and ultimately a blue hairball. One of Homer’s usual strangleholds on Bart has the unusual effect of stretching Bart’s neck out of proportion and depriving it of all ability to support Bart’s head (causing Homer to nickname his son, “noodle neck”). Horse-lover Lisa becomes a centaur. Maggie morphs into a giant beetle. And Homer’s drinking buddies expire in the crash of a helicopter right into Moe’s tavern, while Moe winds up fermenting in the jar of pickled eggs on his bar. Homer is told that a leprechaun’s powers might reverse the effect of the gypsy curse, so he digs a pit to use as a leprechaun trap. He announces to Bart that for bait he’ll pour in a box of Lucky Charms – but no sooner does he empty a box in than over a half-dozen tall thin white rabbits with large pink noses dive into the pit after the cereal. Homer looks closer at the box, and realizes his error, as the box is clearly marked, “Trix”! “D’oh!!!!” A correction of bait, and a leprechaun is captured, whose irascible dialogue sound like an endless stream of Irish swear words. Homer returns to the gypsy’s parlor with the leprechaun in a box, and releases the wee man on the gypsy for vengeance. But instead of a brawl, the leprechaun seizes the gypsy in fierce romantic embrace, insisting that the gypsy “Kiss me! I’m Irish!” The resulting animal passions are more than even Homer can stand to look at, and the short ends with a gypsy wedding between the leprechaun and fortune teller – with the curse still unlifted, thanks to Homer’s continued refusal to utter a simple apology.

Crocker of Gold (9/18/10), an episode of “The Fairly Odd Parents”, is virtually jam-packed with ideas and a complicated story-line. Timmy’s teacher Crocker wonders if his recurrent and disastrous failures in following his obsession with catching fairies have become too much for him – so he decides to trade up for a new obsession. Spinning a “Wheel of Destiny”, he finds a new fanciful target for his quests – leprechauns. Sounds suitable – they’re magical too, but can’t fly, making them easier targets. And there’s that golden fringe benefit – which he can “use to buy stuff…” His wheel chooses this moment to fall off the wall and flatten him, so he concludes his sentence, “…like a better wheel of destiny!” Unable to afford a trip to Ireland, he settles for a search through the regional ethnic neighborhood of Little Ireland (a place so green, it is the only color on the traffic signals, leading to the sound of non-stop offscreen auto crashes below them). Coincidentally appearing at an Irish restaurant are Cosmo, Wanda, and Timmy. “What are we doing here?”. asks Timmy. “I said ‘I wish’ – – not ‘Irish’!” Cosmo says he’s brought them there to celebrate the holiday of Leprechaunakah, where on the eighth day the Great Potato rises out of the four leaf clover field to give chocolate coins and potato wedges to everyone! Of course, nobody believes this blarney. But outside, Crocker baits a leprechaun box trap with Irish stew, attracting Cosmo, who has dressed himself like a leprechaun.

Crocker makes his catch, and demands that Cosmo produce a pot of gold. Surprisingly, Cosmo obliges – then is booted out of Crocker’s van as no longer needed. Back at the restaurant, he tells the tale to Wanda and Timmy. Wanda reminds Cosmo that fairies can’t just whip up fortunes in money, and demands to know where he got the gold. Cosmo replies he borrowed it from some real leprechauns. Timmy presumes that’s no problem, as leprechauns are such wee folk. Wanda informs him not all meet that description – as a green fist batters through the brick wall behind them. The group is captured by the McPunchy brothers – the largest, toughest, meanest leprechauns ever. “They’re not just leprechauns”, says Timmy, “They’re lepre – convicts!” The brothers seize the fairies’ magic wands, hold Wanda hostage, and have Cosmo direct them to the guy with their crock of gold. But there’s no gold left to be had, as Crocker has spent every last coin at the local electronics superstore, including purchasing not only a new and improved wheel of destiny, but a talking self-driving car. The McPunchy brothers threaten severe physical consequences if their pot is not returned by the last day of Leprechaunakah – and hold Crocker’s new Wheel of Destiny as collateral. Crocker, Timmy, and Cosmo (who Crocker still thinks is a leprechaun) try to hatch ideas to earn a new pot of gold – all with total failure. Time runs out, and Crocker is dragged over a rainbow to Ireland to be “boiled like cabbage”, while Timmy and Cosmo follow. Meanwhile, Wanda is having a surprisingly wonderful time in Ireland – all the marshmallow cereal she can eat, and deodorant soap growing on the trees! But the McPunchys change the mood and commence with a boiling pot to carry out their threat, tossing everybody in.

Cosmo insists that the Great Potato will never permit a boiling on Leprechaunakah – and to everyone’s amazement, a giant potato (strongly resembling Mr. Potato Head) appears with holiday greetings and instructions to stop boiling people, blasting the McPunchys into a charred mess. “He’s for real?” utters a flabbergasted Timmy. Before leaving, Timmy tells the McPunchys he’s sorry they didn’t get their gold. But the McPunchys say it wasn’t the gold they were after, but the pot, which was a family heirloom. The pot has been in the trunk of Crocker’s talking car all the time. “No!”, shouts Crocker, as the group gives the pot back to the McPunchys. “I could have used it as a planter!” Dejected, Crocker returns home for a final spin of his old-model Wheel of Destiny – which comes up “fairies” again, returning Crocker to his original obsession and everything to status quo.

The Game Is a Foot (9/23/15), is from the inconsistent Looney Tunes revival series, Wabbit (which featured one of the poorest voice replacements for Mel Blanc in studio history, much too high pitched). A “biker” leprechaun (Shamus O’Scanty) wild-rides on a sort of motorcycle rainbow cloud hopper, powered by “Luck”. When his tank reaches empty, he crash-lands, and has to find a way to refill his Luck tank. Spotting Bugs lounging nearby, and seeing the size of his lucky rabbit’s foot, the biker sees all the luck he’ll need to refuel for home. Of course, there’s the small matter that the foot is still attached to its owner. Bugs’ first response to a demand for his foot is to give just that – right in the seat of the leprechaun’s pants. Bugs next tries a fake-out, claiming to have found an alternate charm – a four leaf clover. The leprechaun grabs it and rubs it on his face – only to realize the plant has only three, pointy, waxy leaves – i.e., poison ivy. Next, Bugs engages in some “pronoun trouble” in a war of words as to whether the leprechaun wants “my foot” or “your foot”, causing the leprechaun to hobble off with his own. A contrived gag has the leprechaun talked into dancing on a “Malarkey Stone” wedged in a booby-trapped bridge. Finally, the leprechaun backs Bugs onto a springy sapling, which bends down under their weight. As the leprechaun demands both feet, Bugs obliges – by lifting both feet off the tree, springing the leprechaun clear across the valley. Before the leprechaun can mount any more plans, he is caught up with by his wife – a banshee – who is irritated at his being late coming home. As she lets out with a supersonic scream, Bugs, back on the other side of the valley, comments, “Some guys have all the luck.”

Beast Boy’s St. Patrick’s Day Luck, and It’s Bad (3/17/16) is a strange episode from an even stranger series, Teen Titans Go, a series seemingly dedicated to taking all the DC out of “DC”. Playing everything as a Krisfalisi-style over the top comedy rather than an action-adventure, the episode opens with the rest of the Titans congratulating Robin on his “big day”, St. Patrick’s Day. and serving him a bowl of ersatz-Lucky Charms. Robin can’t figure out what they’re talking about, stating that he’s not even Irish. However, based on his small stature, the rest of the gang is convinced that Robin is secretly a leprechaun. Beast Boy changes the subject to his favorite part of the day – pinching anyone who isn’t wearing green (seemingly the only cartoon to ever focus on this grammar-school tradition). The group points out that Beast Boy isn’t wearing green – but he claims his green skin counts just as well. Beast Boy administers painful pinches to the rest of the Titans. The Titans decide to retaliate, but Beast Boy warns if they pinch someone in green, they’ll be hit with a bad luck curse. His warning unheeded, the other Titans gang-pinch Beast Boy into a swollen green mass – and are struck with the curse (as well as double bolts of lightning, missing busses, dodging wrecking balls, and various kinds of bad luck big and small).

Fed up, the gang demands that Beast Boy show them how to rid themselves of the curse. The only cure is to obtain leprechaun gold from the pot at the end of the rainbow. But there’s no rainbow. Beast Boy claims rainbows develop from the love of leprechauns, and plants a romantic picnic lunch of corned beef and cabbage in the park. Sure enough, two leprechauns, male and female (though the female also has a beard), emerge from the bushes, eye each other and kiss. They instantly disappear in a rainbow. The gang jumps on the rainbow and ride it like a giant slide to the other end – still coping with their bad luck as they keep intercepting passing birds. At the rainbow’s end, they find a pot of gold – but the male leprechaun guards it as his last remembrance of a romance that broke up after two minutes, and whomps them on the hands with his shillelagh. He further accuses Robin of being a traitor, jumping to the same conclusion that Robin is really a leprechaun. He will surrender his gold only if the traitor defeats him in battle. Robin asks him what weapon he chooses. “Fingers and thumbs” says the leprechaun – a pinch battle. Robin curiously responds in a line that develops a noticeable brogue, then, in a glowing aura, transforms his outfit to emerald green with pointy shoes, his hair to red, with a matching red beard. The Titans’ eyes widen, as they say in unison, “We knew it!” – Robin is a leprechaun! The two wee men battle it out, including the real leprechaun mustering a rainbow into a giant pinching hand. Robin makes a shamrock grow to the size of a shield, countering the attack with a “Shamrock block”. He finally prevails by borrowing a move from Green Lantern – materializing a large extending green hand that pinches the leprechaun’s whole body between its giant fingers. The leprechaun yields, and the gold removes the Titans’ curse. All of them return to their headquarters except Robin, who seems now content to remain as the companion to the other leprechaun and follow his destiny. However, two minutes later, back at headquarters, another rainbow appears, dumping Robin out at its end. Robin explains, “His wife came back.”

And finally, we have an entertaining newcomer from the television run of “Mickey Mouse Cartoons” for the Disney Channel – Dumb Luck (6/9/18 – Dave Wasson, Paul Rudish, dir.) A mishap involving Goody and Pluto causes Mickey to break his living room mirror, and Goofy to evaluate him as “cursed” for seven years bad luck. No matter how hard Mickey insists such talk is “hooey”, or how hard he yells back “Not cursed!”, big and little mishaps befall him. Lightning strikes as with the Teen Titans. Falling safes. Parking tickets. Foreclosure on his house. And Minnie wants to see other people! A battered wreck, Mickey pleads to Goofy for help. Goofy states that no curse can stand up against a good luck charm – but he won’t share his own lucky rabbit’s foot, and insists Mickey has to find his own good luck. Mickey’s quest, among other objects, leads him to hunt a shamrock patch to find a four leaf clover. He does so, but is instantly confronted by a leprechaun, who shouts, “Unhand me lucky charms!”, and whomps Mickey with a shillelagh. An attempt to remove a horseshoe from Mr. Toad’s Cyril Proudbottom gets him a horseshoe-shaped kick in the face. Finally, he spots a penny lying on a busy street. “See a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck!”, says Mickey. (A little artistic license here? I remember the rhyme as “See a pin.”) He dodges through traffic to retrieve the coin. As two cars converge upon him, for once, disaster does not befall him – the cars head-on each other, but miss Mickey entirely, balanced above him with locked bumpers like a metal archway. A falling safe stops in mid-air, moves sideways, and crashes on somebody else. A banana peel on the sidewalk rises and walks away on its peel-points, to trip an old lady instead. And Minnie wants to get back together. Goofy arrives and is pleased to find that Mickey’s found his good luck charm. “Now you just have to find one every day for the next seven years!” Mickey gets to close the cartoon with the same line of dialogue censored in the 40’s from his color remake of “Orphans Benefit’ – Donald’s old curtain line, “Aw, nuts!”

More absentees for this installment include an obscure Scooby Doo short from the Richie Rich/Scooby Doo Show, Scooby’s Luck Of the Irish (10/3/81), of which only a short clip appears on the web. It appears to be another of those irritating episodes driven by the questfulness of Scrappy-Doo, a character who it was almost pleasant to see cast in the role of a villain in one of the fairly-recent Scooby-Doo live action/animation features, as it seems there is a sizeable group of fans who grew to hate him. From what I can gather from the clip, the episode is strictly comedy-adventure with no mystery to solve, with Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy in pursuit of a leprechaun. With much less comic impact than US Acres’ “Over the Rainbow”, the leprechaun pulls the game show “Door number 1, 2, or 3″ gag again. Shaggy is happy with his door, finding food. Scooby finds a banshee, but the leprechaun dispatches of him by transforming himself into a mirror, and scaring the specter away with his own reflection. Scrappy finds a rainbow outside door 3, which they all slide down into a giant pot. However, the leprechaun borrows from Felix the Cat’s King Barney, and tells them it’s Fool’s Gold – and the pot vanishes. The short ends anticlimactically, with everyone just laughing about their disappointment in unconvincing fashion. A second Scooby-Doo absentee, too recent for the internet, is a made-for-video feature, Return of the Leprechaun (7/6/13), of which I’ve not seen a frame. A complicated synopsis appears on a Scooby Doo Wiki, to which I defer.

A final absentee, too recent to show up even in a clip, is Cartoon Network’s Wacky Races revival episode, Under the Rainbow, where the racers are menaced by a clan of leprechauns who believe they’re trying to steal the leprechauns’ pots of gold. Anyone who can provide a plot synopsis for this or other unaccounted-for titles above is graciously welcomed.

It’s getting late in the evening – when even rainbows finally have to fade. And so too will we let our wee men and pots of gold fade from our attention – at least until next St. Paddy’s Day. Perhaps, with a bit of luck o’the Irish, there’ll be yet more new emerald green adventures to review next season. For now, we’ll set our sights next week on the dawn of a new spring day, and some Easter-themed delights to brighten the intervals between showers. Happy April, you fools, you!


  • That Scooby-Doo feature is a fan project from a fellow from the SD Fanon Wiki.

  • “Nelvana, a co-producer on [the Rupert] series, seems to have succeeded in bringing the style of Western animation writing into a curious mix with a character whose visual style might otherwise have relegated him to the role of a Care Bear understudy, resulting in a surprisingly entertaining and clever viewing experience.”

    Regarding Nelvana’s Rupert series: as far as I know, all the storylines were based on the original comic strip stories, which had been serialized in the Daily Epress newspaper since the 1920s. The most famous writer-artist working on Rupert was Alfred Bestall, who did the strip for decades starting in the 30s. I think a lot of the TV show’s material came from his stories.

  • My condolences for your having suffered through even a fragment of that terrible Scrappy-Doo show. People who only know it by reputation need to realise that it really was every bit as bad as everyone says. It’s not only that Scooby-Doo’s macrocephalic nephew is an exceptionally obnoxious character; there’s also the slipshod animation and layout, the migraine-inducing colour scheme, the inane dialogue, and worst of all, that maddeningly addlepated Hanna-Barbera ’80s music! It makes Bill Lava’s work for 7 Arts sound like a Mozart symphony!

    The franchise has improved immeasurably with this century’s series “Scooby-Doo: Mystery Inc.” and “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!”, and there is a leprechaun cameo in the Season 1 St. Patrick’s Day episode of the latter series, “Giant Problems” (Warner Bros. Animation / Cartoon Network, 12/3/2016 — Jeff Mednikow, dir.). The mystery-solvers have come to visit Daphne’s ancestral castle in Ireland, only to find a one-eyed giant terrorising the vicinity. There are a couple of very funny running jokes in this episode. One is that Velma, the most intelligent of the gang and a polyglot who is fluent in twenty-four languages, including Gaelic, is unable to make head or tail out of anything spoken with an Irish accent.

    The other is that the castle’s cook repeatedly tries to tempt Shaggy and Scooby into sampling the local cuisine, namely “crubbeens and farl”, in rhyming verse reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham”. Now, if you have been paying attention to the franchise at all in the past fifty years, you’ll know that Shag and Scoob will eat practically anything, and in large quantities; but even they draw the line at Irish food. (In the final scene, after they reluctantly taste the cook’s offerings, they immediately rush offscreen to “hurl”.) At one point in the poem the cook produces a diminutive man dressed in green and suggests: “Try them with this leprechaun!” “I will not be your denouement!” the little man responds indignantly — probably the only time in the history of poetry that those two words have been joined in a couplet. Brilliant!

    As for the foodstuffs in question, “crubbeens” are pig’s feet dipped in batter and deep-fried. I have never tasted them and never will. As for “farl”, it’s a kind of Irish soda bread, which I have tasted because my father once found a recipe for it and used to bake it occasionally until my family begged him to stop. It crumbled easily, spreads wouldn’t stick to it, and it tasted terrible. It took a bit of investigating to decipher exactly what the cook was talking about, as I have nearly as much trouble understanding Irish accents as Velma has, and the closed captioning read “crow beans and fowl”. But with due diligence, I eventually solved the mystery — and I never would have learned about crubbeens and farl if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!

  • There is a leprechaun in Winx Club. Professor Wizgiz, Leprechaun-in-Residence at the Alfea School for Fairies, teaches a course in “Metamorphosymbiosis” or shape-shifting, and is able to transform at will into a rabbit, a mouse, a snail, an elephant, and who knows what all. He’s a minor character, but he has appeared in every one of the show’s eight seasons so far. Although the Winx take his class year after year and are presumably at an advanced level, they have never incorporated Wizgiz’s shape-shifting technique into their repertoire of magical spells. It might have come in handy in Season 3 when Chimera turned Stella into a swamp monster. (Ah, but that spell could only be broken by using the Mirror of Truth.)

    Other elements of Irish myth have found their way into Winx Club, for example Tir Nan Og (Gaelic for “land of the young”), a supernatural realm analogous to the Elysian Fields of Greek mythology. In Season 4 of Winx Club, Tir Nan Og is an island off the coast of Ireland, at the intersection of Earth and the Magic Dimension. (Despite its geographical location it has such un-Hibernian features as palm trees and sandy beaches.) Tir Nan Og was the centre of the realm of the Earth Fairies, until the Wizards of the Black Circle imprisoned them and stole their powers, thereby eliminating magic from Earth for centuries. The Winx travel to Tir Nan Og and release the Earth Fairies but refuse to join the Warrior Fairies in their quest for vengeance against the people of Earth. Later, the Winx return to Tir Nan Og with the Wizards as their prisoners; the Wizards double-cross them, but the Winx and the Warrior Fairies join forces to banish the Wizards to the Dark Abyss for good.

    The Selkies are shape-shifting creatures of Irish myth, who live underwater as seals but can come ashore and live as humans by shedding their skins. In Season 5 of Winx Club, the Selkies are like small mermaids with snail-shell helmets, who guard the portals that connect the oceans of the various worlds of the Magic Dimension. They’re very ineffective as guardians because, like most marine creatures, they’re vulnerable to the effects of pollution, which is the source of Tritannus’s dark power. A Selkie’s power can only be restored if it forms a magical bond with a fairy, and in due course, each of the six Winx girls bonds with a Selkie. The bonding sequences are really quite beautiful.

  • In “Luck of the Spookish” (Universal, The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, 16/11/96 — written by Mark York), Casper and the ghost horse Nightmare encounter Seamus O’Sean the leprechaun, who has fled Ireland to escape from the great bully Timmy McFlynn and is now homeless in the New World. The friendly ghost invites him home and instructs his uncles, the Ghostly Trio, to be hospitable while Casper goes out to get takeout for dinner. The Trio, however, being decidedly unfriendly ghosts, go through the leprechaun’s belongings and, ignoring the pot of gold, seize upon a Book of Evil Spells. A magic battle ensues, culminating in the Trio getting trapped inside a wall with their heads sticking out like mounted trophies. When Casper returns, Seamus announces that he is now master of the mansion, and that Casper will henceforward be his servant boy. Thinking quickly, Casper pelts the leprechaun with takeout containers, wrests the spell book from his grasp, releases the Ghostly Trio from their curse, and finally makes the book vanish forever. He then tells Nightmare to take the leprechaun back to Ireland, where Timmy McFlynn is no doubt waiting to give him what for.

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