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Remembrance of Courage Past

Click Here to see video: Pulling a Malade Out of the Hat from Liquid TV

One of the great shows to be showcased on Cartoon Network's "Cartoon Cartoon" campaign was John Dilworth's Courage the Cowardly Dog. Courage began life as a one-shot short, The Chicken from Outer Space, where a meek little dog who is tormented and mistreated rises to protect his caretaker from a alien chicken. It was popular enough to spawn a 52 episode series, noteable for its almost gothic atmosphere, which contrasts diametrically with the sunny affections that caretaker Muriel shows for Courage. This is pretty much all that allows Courage to persevere against not only all the outside threats that attack him and his caretakers, but to persevere against his mistreatment by Eustice, (presumably) Muriel's husband.

The video clip linked to predates "Courage" by 5 years. It was a segment on MTV's Liquid Television titled "Smart Talk with Raisin - Pulling a Malade out of a Hat". In it we have character which are precursors to those of Courage. Raisin, the little girl hosting the show has the same general sunny temperment that we would see in Muriel, while Malcolm is the misanthrope who would be reincarnated as Eustice. He insults the poor dog Hamilton much the same way Eustice does Courage.

The title of this post comes from the first of the two shorts that aired as the last episode of Courage. "Remembrance of Courage Past" was paired up with an episode titled "Perfect", where a strict schoolteacher continually punishes Courage for not being perfect. That character makes her appearence in this short, thus seemingly deliberately bookending the saga of Courage.

Unlike recent series, this shows appears to have ended at the time by creator Dilworth's wish. The show was not placed on a long hiatus, with the last episodes snuck in under cover of night; nor was it stealthly cancelled as several recent Cartoon Network productions were. This a shame to think what the checkboard network has become.

ALSO: Interview with John Dilworth in Animation World Network from 1999 as Courage first premiered as a series.