How To Google a Forgotten Cartoon
It’s late and time for bed. As I say my goodnights to my hosts, they are getting ready to turn in. One of these roommates changes into her pyjamas and returns wearing a pattern that catches my eye. I mean not provocatively, as it’s loose fitting flannel. It’s what’s on them: a pattern of anthropomorphized cats that trigger me. Seeing them unlocks a childhood memory of a forgotten cartoon.
It’s a movie featuring talking cats and with the main character having no tail. I remember a scene where a church structure morphs into a giant feline and a bully cat. I babble off a few more details to my hosts before I leave – hoping they know what I’m talking about. They do not. When I get home, I go straight to Google but don’t know where to start the search. I don’t know the title of this movie. What do you do when only frames from a forgotten cartoon appear in your head? What tips are there to help you with your search?
I start by entering variations on queries that list the details I know. I remember seeing the movie in our old house in my youth; therefore it cannot have a production date after 1988. It is likely an obscure cartoon, as my friends don’t seem to know of it – perhaps it is a European import? I only have vague fragments to go on.
I search “cat cartoons,” “cartoons with cats,” “obscure cat cartoons from Europe,” “obscure cartoons with cats with no tails,” “European cartoons of the 1980s,” and none produce immediate results. Some sites have promise – buzzfeed lists cartoons I also forgot about, but none are the one I’m thinking of. Bustle has a list of non-Disney animations that don’t fit either. Felinest has a list of popular cartoon cats that all have tails. Retrojunk and other sites have a list of cartoons from the 80s that take time to sift through. No results. I find Sylvester, Felix, Tom and Garfield. I’m running out of search terms and tricks.
Google Search Tips
Scouring the web for some obscure trivia like me? Better know how to make the best use of search engines. There are a few cheat codes to enter into the Google search bar to help filter though the countless pages that turn up.
Use quotes to look for exact phrases
This is good for finding song lyrics and titles. A simple trick yielding only pages that have the exact same words in the exact order as the quotes.
(‘“Cartoon with cat with no tail”’ for example)
Use an asterisk within quotes to specify unknown variable words
This one is helpful for song lyrics or finding certain forms of expression.
(‘* is thicker than water’ or ‘* is a cat with no tail’)
Use the minus sign to eliminate results containing certain words
To eliminate the results that Google generates that aren’t of interest to you.
(‘cat with no tail –lynx’)
Search websites for keywords
This option lets Google display results from specific websites.
(‘cat with no tail site:Wikipedia.com’)
You can search Newspapers back to the mid 1880s
Google also has a newspaper database: https://news.google.com/newspapers?hl=en
(Sadly, I cannot find any coverage of this forgotten cartoon)
Google Gumption Trap
Gumption is the combination of common sense and a sense of initiative. Alas, after a few days my search is still fruitless and I risk falling into a gumption trap – the feeling of loosing enthusiasm and becoming discouraged. My parents don’t know what movies I may have been watching at that age. My brother seems to know what I’m talking about, but is no help with the title.
My search is at a standstill and as such I take a break. No use getting frustrated. In any situation where you are running into a wall, it is good to step back for a moment and direct mental energy elsewhere. It does not help to loose your motivation in producing quality work. Do not let ego get into the way; tell yourself it is only a setback.
I start to think maybe I should begin scouring the ‘Deep Web’ – that dark world of code making up the majority of the Internet. In an ocean of information vast and deep that is the access point to database details and shady businesses, will my chances of finding the forgotten cartoon improve?
A Bike Ride and a Nap is All I Need
I tire myself with a long bike ride. I try to occupy my mind with anything other than the memory of this cat. After a long commute, I retire to bed for a good night sleep. When I awake the next morning, it comes to me: his name was Peter.
Peter No Tail in America. This is the movie – the forgotten cartoon that was haunting my mind. Just like that, a quick Google search produces the whole movie on YouTube. It’s about Peter, a cat with no tail that studies hard and has a bully tease him. The movie features an extended psychedelic dream sequence. In it, Peter travels to America to get a magic golden tail. It is a surreal show – with giant rats, and the Uppsala church turning into a huge cat just like I remember it.
The moral here is to not beat oneself up over answers that don’t come immediately. You can exhaust all options and avenues of pursuit only to have the solution to a problem appear suddenly after a good night’s rest. I’m happy to have found what I was looking for. The Swedish import, Peter No Tail in America is a trip to re-watch. I can’t believe my parents had a copy of this for me…