23 Comments

  1. If he had been skiing with his eyes open, we wouldn’t have been able to do that. The tree would have hit him in the face. Things can only affect you if you can see them.

  2. Magoo syndrome: A character not seeing dangers blithely walks (or sleepwalks) through them. The moment he/she is cognizant of them, he/she panics and is now in much greater danger. It does predate Mr. Magoo. In Disney’s “Clock Cleaners”, Goofy takes a knock to the head and wanders off the edge of a skyscraper in a blissful daze, finally landing on a horizontal flagpole and bouncing back to safety. Olive Oyl had a similar experience in a factory in “Mess Production”, and back in Fleischer days went sleepwalking through a building under construction. In “The Bohemian Girl” an inebriated Stan Laurel is not only unbothered by the guard watching preoccupied Ollie try to pick a lock; he nonchalantly takes the guard’s keys when Ollie seems to be stumped. A related and more common gambit is the Double Take, where a character recognizes something as a threat, a prize, or a puzzle only a moment or two after seeing it (“It’s just a lion … A LION!!!”).

    I’m could go on indefinitely, but instead I’ll shift gears and note Addams’s skier seems to be a woman. Is that part of the joke, a surreal variant on the woman driver?

  3. Bill: Yes. The skier was skiing with his eyes closed, and has only just now opened them. The other skier is saying that was a good choice, and he should do it more often.

  4. Let’s not forget Wile E. Coyote, Elmer Fudd, and Yosemite Sam, each of which could step off into thin air without any problems, but when they looked down, they would immediately plummet into the abyss. This never happened to Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner, of course.

  5. P.S. @ narmitaj – The German version of that sign does not show the “side-swap” effect:

    I think the UK version may be a subliminal admission that they are all driving on the wrong side of the road.

  6. CIDU Bill: In the case of Magoo syndrome, eyes closed is good — but only to a point. Cognizance of peril eventually intrudes itself, as when the frequent fallers mentioned by Kilby look down — sometimes after intuiting a lack of terra firma and reaching down to feel for it before actually looking. In a few cases a Magoo syndrome subject may complete a perilous or impossible action without consequence. In those situations, another character witnessing the event may try to duplicate it on the strength of the visual proof it could be done. This character will then experience the full force of applicable physics, animal behavior, law, etc.

  7. “Slippery when wet!” So that’s what that road sign means!

    I always thought it meant: “Beware of cars with extremely wobbly tires.”

  8. Kilby: France used to have the side swap signs but not anymore; another example of British conservatism, maybe? But you might be onto something: they have the side swap signs in Australia, Japan and Ireland as well, but not in Canada.

  9. On that sign the side-swap just means the car’s done a 180 and is now facing the viewer, possibly still moving (backwards).

  10. “On that sign the side-swap just means the car’s done a 180 and is now facing the viewer, possibly still moving (backwards).”

    And the other pair of tires either don’t leave marks/are non-existent.

  11. “And the other pair of tires either don’t leave marks/are non-existent.”

    The British did have some three-wheeled cars. So… yeah.

  12. ” This never happened to Bugs Bunny”

    There’s an episode where he’s in an airplane that is diving at the ground, with Bugs in the pilot seat. A number of tension-building cuts take place, implying certain doom. Then Bugs screams, and closes his eyes… and the plane stops a couple of feet above the ground.

  13. “Outa gas.” Then he points to the A sticker on the windshield and makes a joke about gas rationing that only geezers will get nowadays.

  14. “Outa gas.” Then [Bugs Bunny] points to the A sticker on the windshield and makes a joke about gas rationing that only geezers will get nowadays.

    I don’t know… Wartime rationing was well before the time of most of the geezers here. so it’s still a matter of knowing your history.

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