Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Dudley Do-Right

Do some of my readers remember this bumbling Royal Canadian Mountie who chased Snidley Whiplash, loved Nell Fenwick, and was always upstaged by his Horse?

The original cartoon was written by Alex Anderson during silent film days but came into vogue in the 20th century on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Many a Saturday morning was set aside to watch poor Dudley always rescuing Nell, who had affections for Horse.

Actually the real Royal Canadian Mounted Police was organized to protect the Native Americans living in the western part of Canada. The story goes, after the Civil War in the states, some horses were stolen from hunters up near Fort Benton, Montana near the Canadian border. Angry and unable to locate the stolen animals, the men, seeking revenge, cross the border and came upon the Assiniboine Indian village. They raped the women and killed most of the tribe, including the children.

Also whiskey flowed across the border from American Whiskey Traders into Indian villages which gave wave to trouble like those at Fort Whoop-Up.

This began the search by the Canadian government for good clean men with moral character. About 200 to 300 men were selected and trained. The uniforms were patterned after the British soldiers of scarlet coats, blue jodhpur pants with a gold stripe down the side. Their duty was to patrol the western part of Canada to protect The People (better known as Native Indians). Eventually, troubled times slowed to a halt and the need for the mounted police subsided.

However, in 1899 gold was discovered in the Yukon and the Mounties were sent to the Klondike to keep the peace as men rushed to get rich. The courageous Mounties handled the situation and the aggressive prospectors.

From this romantic image of a man in a red uniform came the inspired story “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon” portrayed on radio, movies, and comic books. Things have changed since Sergeant Preston. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police abandoned their horses in 1966 for cars and now wear standard police uniforms. Only the red uniform with the blue pants are brought out for parades and celebrations.

One more little tidbit: Their motto was never “They Always Get Their Man.” The phrase was dreamed up by a reporter. The real motto is “Maintain the Right” which they do an excellent job.

Taken from Uncle John’s Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader, 2001, Page 254.

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