On September 12, 1940, near Montignac, France, four teenagers followed their dog down a narrow cave entrance and discovered a cave full of the worlds best examples of Paleolithic Era cave art. The cave, named Lascaux Cave, contained over 600 paintings and 1500 engravings of a variety of animals and mythological creatures said to date back as far as 17000 B.C. Of all the paintings and engravings, there is only one representation of the human form. The figure is dressed entirely in black with a black beret and is clearly being condescending to the other painting, proving that French artists were pretentious jerks even back then.
The cave was opened to the public in 1948, but had to be closed again in 1963 as the artificial lighting and tourist’s stanky breath had noticeably degraded the vivid colors of the paintings. In 1983, a replica cave was opened to the public in which cave officials claimed that painstakingly crafted recreations allowed its visitors the experience of the original cave without having to compromise its integrity. In actuality, the replica cave was finger-painted by Ms. Dubois’ third grade class from Montignac Elementary School. It still draws thousands of tourists each year. Unfortunately, the third graders were strong armed into signing releases and were therefore not entitled to any royalties coming from entry fees.
As for the original four kids and their dog, they went on to solve a series of mysteries all over the French country side. In the late 1960’s, American writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears learned of the teen’s exploits and created a television show around the concept. On September 13, 1969, 29 years and 1 day after the cave was discovered, “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!” aired on CBS and became an American classic. As tribute to a their French inspiration, an episode was crafted around Scooby and The Gang finding a cave of ancient art. The episode did deviate from the original story though, in that the cave was suspected to be haunted and Don Knotts and the Harlem Globetrotters helped the group unmask a cantankerous old farm couple who wanted to drive the tourists from their land. They would have got away with it too if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and their dog.
*Note: There are actual two dates in this post applicable to this week. You’re welcome.