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10 penguins even Bruins' fans can love

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  May 29, 2013 12:10 AM

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Bugs Bunny's nemesis (who looks like a dead ringer for Matt Cooke) the 1949 classic "8 Ball Bunny" summed it up best:

"Peguins is practically chickens."

Penguins, as a rule, can't fly.

We know the NHL's Penguins aren't practically chickens, they're already there. (See Cooke, the Mario Lemieux who has inhabited his team's the front office or Sidney Crosby any day he's whining about something).

The Penguins of Pittsburgh need not slander by association the penguins of elsewhere. Those flightless, aquatic birds of cold are woven into our hearts, while the skaters who bear their name remain objects of scorn.

There's lots of hatred brewing toward the capital "P" Penguins from hockey fans across New England.

Stay tuned for our list on Friday.

With Boston's Eastern Conference showdown against Pittsburgh and its dreaded Penguins looming, we decided it was time to take a look at our Top 10 penguins - both real and imagined.

The NHL's Penguins got their name when the wife of one of the original owners (Jack McGregor) took it upon herself to by-pass a "name the team" contest and name the team.

Her logic: "I was thinking of something with a P. And I said to Jack, 'What do they call the Civic Arena?' And he said, 'The Big Igloo.' So I thought, ice. . . Pittsburgh. . . Penguins."

Yeah, there must be millions of igloos in Antarctica.

Any second-grader who has visited the New England Aquarium, or Sea World, knows that penguins live in the South Pole (or in the Southern Hemisphere), save for the rare exceptions living at Sea World or the New England Aquarium.

There was one North Pole penguin of note, who helps to kick off our Top 10 list.

1. "The Skating Penguin" - This Looney Tunes character scores because he allows us to run this awesome seven-minutes of Bugs Bunny in his prime.

"Rabbits is bigger than penguins."

And so are bears.

Love the scene when the crying penguin's tears turn to ice cubes. Look for similar tears from Tomas Vokoun during the Bruins' power play.

We think more tears will be flowing in Pittsburgh when this series is over.

Another gem from this animated classic. Bugs refusing to pay the 25-cent Panama Canal toll, opting to take the long way across South America. Always think of Slim Pickens putting out the call for a "s--tload of dimes" whenever I see that scene.

Way back in the day, Jeremy Jacobs probably passed the hat more than a few times when the team bus was going through the Callahan Tunnel to cover the tolls en route to Logan Airport.


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"Great Quivering Jellyfish!" ―The Penguin


2. "The Penguin (aka. Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot)" - The best "Joker" may be up for debate, but there's only one "Penguin" when it comes to "Batman." And he isn't Danny DeVito. Burgess Meredith was a serious actor back in the day, but then he opted for a recurring gig on the short-lived but ever-lasting ABC series. Penguin was always causing Batman trouble by winning the hearts and the minds of Gothamites before unleashing some sort of dasdardly scheme upon them. His umbrella was high-tech when high-tech meant Polaroid cameras and five Xerox copies a minute from a machine the size of a bathtub. Penguin always ended up being foiled but somehow managed to escape from Adam West. His henchmen were part of group called "G.O.O.N." - (Grand Order of Occidental Nighthawks). Another perfect Matt Cooke reference. While Meredith's Mickey Goldmill never lived to see Rocky Balboa reclaim his heavyweight title from Clubber Lang, his "Penguin" lives forever.


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3. Tennessee Tuxedo - This was one of the low-level cartoon characters of your parents' youth. (It originally aired on CBS for three years before being regulated to afternoon programming on Channel 56 - always a staple when you were home sick from school). Tennessee (voiced by the inimitable Don Adams) and his Walrus pal Chumley were always getting into trouble after escaping from the zoo on an almost daily basis. Chumley is a dead ringer for Claude Julien circa 2010. The above clip - called the "Rainmakers" - is vintage Tennessee, complete with a visit to Mr. Whoopee and his never-in-doubt 3DBB, which was a 1960s version of the internet. The cartoons were really thinly disguised science and history lessons. Not too bad for a cartoon. Bruins' fans hope to learn as much about good hockey starting on Saturday.


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4. "Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin" - You just saved yourself the two-hour wait. You're welcome. The folks at Sea World in Orlando are trying to duplicate the magic of Penguin Encounter with this new exhibit that opened last week to less-than-stellar reviews. Sounds like another good omen to me.


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Penguin Diner.jpg5. "Penguin Diner" - Not much of a video game fan, at least since I ran out of quarters playing Asteroids. You play "Penguin Diner" while the theme of "Zorba The Greek" runs on an endless loop in the background. It has old-school ethnic, potentially offensive stereotype written all over it. Most Greeks, including this one, however, have no problem being linked to the finest eateries anywhere. We love to cook. We love to eat. Bingo.

The object of "Penguin Diner" is to serve as many customers/penguins while racking up sales in the process. Nothing wrong with a good cash business. The game is easily addictive. And it's a great way to kill the rest of the week at work during the eternal wait before Game 1.


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Happy Feet.jpg6. "Happy Feet" - The lead Penguin in this flick has to be a Boston fan - after all his name is "Mumble." This penguin can't sing but wins over his pals by his ability to dance, all the while saving Antarctica from the evil "aliens." He never says anything about "Varitek splitting the uprights" or "KJ and Hondo." The bad guys in this flick, naturally, turn out to be mankind. (A real shock, for sure.) The animated movie is great fun and makes for a nice escape for the little ones, who will no doubt be traumatized by the litany of curses emanating from the couch as mom and dad watch the Bruins battle Pittsburgh in the next round.


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Chilly_Willy_logo.png7. "Chilly Willy" - The Pittsburgh Penguins aren't the only ones who screwed up when it comes to penguins and geography. "Chilly Willy" spent about 10 years struggling trying to stay warm while appearing in 50 cartoon shorts made by Walter Lantz - living in Alaska. "Willy" spent most of the time over-matching his skills against Smedley, a somewhat dim-witted mutt. Usually, the two ended up being reluctant pals, since "Willy" was simply too lovable to hate. We won't have that problem with those other Penguins starting Saturday night. "Chilly Willy" often showed up on the back end of the "Woody Woodpecker" show, which pre-VCR people only watched if "Bugs Bunny," "The Flintstones," "Scooby-Doo" or "Speed Buggy" were not on at the same time.


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8. "The Penguins of Madagascar" - They are the stars of a TV show on Nickelodeon these days, but they earned fame with their appearances in the "Madagascar" movie franchise. Rico, Skipper, Private and Kowalski are probably the first characters anyone under 12 thinks of when you say "penguins." At least none of them was named Crosby or Mario.


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9. Le bébé, Le père, La mère - The three animal leads of "March of the Penguins" were the focus of one of the best live-action nature films ever made. Morgan Freeman, last seen dozing off with Michael Caine during their current promotional tour for "Now You See It," provides the narration. Freeman, who has played God, the president and speaker of the house, automatically elevates this flick's level of sophistication and gravitas. Not so much was its tongue-in-cheek sequel, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, called "Farce of the Penguins." Expect to see that headline on this site and elsewhere if/when the Bruins ice this series.


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10. Jaromir Jagr - Sure, he's here partly because he now plays for the Bruins. But he's mostly here for the mullett.

He also gets props for the above photo with little Milan Lucic.

Between the two, Lucic has three goals in the postseason.

Jagr could even score one himself before things are done.

The last time Jagr faced the Bruins in the playoffs 21 years ago, the Penguins won the series and finished the season with a sweep in the Stanley Cup finals.

The Bruins need a similar ending for Jagr this time.

(Not making the list: "Mr. Popper's Penguins," namely because Jim Carrey is a Maple Leafs fan, "Surf's Up" and the penguins from "Mary Poppins.")


Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.


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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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