Rupert Pupkin Speaks: My favorite Childhood Cartoons ""

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My favorite Childhood Cartoons

To say I watched a lot of cartoons as a kid is a gross understatement. I was full on addicted to them. At a certain age, I watched cartoons on Saturdays from like 6:30 AM(after the detestable New Zoo Review) to about noon(when Looney Tunes ended). Sometimes Sunday mornings had a few cool things to offer to(the amazing THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN for example). Several of these shows informed my toy buying habits for years and years(G.I. JOE and M.A.S.K.). The fact that they were always intended to do just that still kind of irks me. It is a bit shocking to look back on those Saturday mornings only to realize that they were like some sort of stream of consciousness infomercials meant only to sell all kinds of products to kids. Nonetheless, I took great joy from my Saturdays and on weeknights I'd often be glued to USA Cartoon Express' glorious mix of oddball shows. I have to acknowledge the classics though. Looney Tunes, though they were already 20 or 30(or more) years old when I'd see them, were(and still are) endlessly entertaining. Those characters are still so wonderful to this day. On the lesser side of character development(beyond speculation of drug use) there was of course the gang from Scooby Doo. Not sure why, but even right now, whenever I hear the bit of interstitial music that plays over the episode titles it has this warming nostalgic calming effect on me. Like I've just been told a bedtime story and am drifting off to sleep. Scooby Doo seeped into my consciousness so much I even went as far as to have a "Scooby Doo chase" in one of my student films in college. Along with cartoons, another of my biggest interests as a child was video games. I loved arcade games from the first time I laid my eyes on their gloriously hypnotic flashing lights. Whenever my family went on trips and stayed in hotels, I'd stake out the gameroom right away. So when Saturday Supercade started airing in the early 80s, it was a dream come true of sorts. Looking back on the few episodes I've been able to get my hands on in the past 5 years, I see just how poorly constructed and written the show really was(despite a catchy theme song). It was just a cheap cash in on the arcade game craze going on at the time. Pac-Man was a slightly better show, but I never really got into it all that much. One thing I didn't notice too much as a kid was how much cannibalization went on from one show to another. Jabberjaw is just a cheap Scooby Doo knockoff or there's a musical lick from the Scooby Doo theme in Richie Rich's intro. M.A.S.K. seems to be clearly trying to mesh both The Transformers and G.I. Joe into one show. As a kid I know I didn't care. Just funny too look at now, how much the cartoon "industry" observed successes in the same way that movies and other TV shows did. Lots of imitation, very little in the way of inventiveness. All that being said, they still gave me hours and hours of enjoyment as a youngster and I really do appreciate that. I should mention that this post is inspired by and a direct tie-in to a Top 7 Tuesday post I was asked to do for the wonderful Cineawesome site.

1. Looney Tunes

2. G.I. Joe
3. Superfriends

4. Scooby Doo

5. Thundarr The Barbarian

6. M.A.S.K.

7. Saturday Supercade

8. Spiderman and His Amazing Friends
9. Jonny Quest

10. Space Ghost

11. Dungeons and Dragons

12. The Herculoids
13. Hong Kong Phooey

14. Help!... It's The Hair Bear Bunch

15. Grape Ape

16. Dynomutt Dog Wonder
17. Speed Buggy

18. Richie Rich

19. Shirt-Tales

20. Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch

Below, please enjoy many of the opening themes to some of my favorite shows. First and foremost, my current favorite theme, the one from M.A.S.K.

Saturday Supercade:

Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch:

Richie Rich:

Dynomutt Dog Wonder:


Thundarr The Barbarian:


SteveQ said...

Okay, it's not cartoon, but nothing beats this for nostalgic children's show themes:

Rupert Pupkin said...

Steve-Agreed, this is maybe the quintessential theme ever. Ridiculously catchy!

Tony B. said...

What a great list! I count 11 of these as my favorites as well... possibly adding Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle, Godzilla, Dragon's Lair, Bullwinkle and Rocky, Captain Caveman, Drak-Pack (remember THAT one?), The Real Ghostbusters, The Jetsons and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Now since we're only talking animation, I've left off some of my favorite live action Saturday Morning Shows like Jason of Star Command (with Sid Haig as Drago!), Space Academy, The Shazam/ Isis Power Hour and Land of the Lost.
I can’t believe there are generations growing up now who will never know the sheer joy of Saturday morning cartoons. Thankfully, my kids have at least some notion of what it was like. I’ve explained that we didn’t have a Disney Channel or Cartoon Network for 24-hour-animation-fixation. You had to wait all week for a mere 5 or 6 hours of cartoons. They’ve watched Hong Kong Phooey, classic Scooby-Doo and Looney Tunes on DVD and Thundarr, Herculoids, Tarzan and others on Youtube. Now here’s the strange thing…. They love them! Shows that were targeting my age demographic over 30 years ago are still entertaining to kids in the 21st century! Wonder how much staying power Hannah Montana and Bob the Builder will have 30 years from today?
Flashback: Saturday morning, pajama-clad with bare feet patting across the cold kitchen floor trying to fix a quick bowl of Captain Crunch or Coco Puffs before the commercials were over. I remember always getting hungry when Time for Timer came on ABC and showed you how to make Wagon Wheels (cheese and crackers) or popsicles made from frozen juice and toothpicks. I inadvertently learned the entire preamble to the US Constitution via a catchy little Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. And ugh... rolling my eyes and suffering through the 5 minutes of sheer boredom of "In the News with Christopher Glen" on CBS. When American Bandstand came on at noon, Saturday morning cartoons were over for the day. I never imagined there would come a time when they would be over forever.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Tony-Love all of those you mentioned. Only saw the DRAK-PACK a few times but would love to revisit. JASON OF STAR COMMAND sounds pretty cool, never heard of that!MY wife loved LAND OF THE LOST as a kid(and ELECTRA WOMAN AND DYNA GIRL and some other Sid and Marty Kroft stuff). Recently showed her LAND OF THE LOST on DVD and she was bummed cause it didn't hold up for her. I still think it has a charm to it.Isn't that neat about those shows still appealing to kids? I love that. Showed my son Thundarr, Hong Kong Phooey, GI JOE and others and he loved all of them!Oh wow, I totally remember time for timer! The juice on toothpicks! havent thought of that in years!

Colonel Mortimer said...

Was the New Zoo Revue that variety like show with people in large animal costumes, and the News with Gary Gnu sketch...cause I kind of actually have fond memories of that.

My Saturday morning routine, at least when I didn't have soccer or Little League, was to wake up at 6AM, and catch Siskel and Ebert (I remember that episode where they praise Halloween and lambast the rest of the slasher genre that showed up on the Elite laserdisc) and then watch cartoons until 11AM when the Wide World of Sports began.

I share a lot of the same favorites as you, wasn't GI Joe a weekday afternoon show? Because I specifically remember an episode that ends with a teasing cliffhanger where it looks like they are going to show Cobra Commander face being all the buzz in the cafeteria and us being disappointed the next day when they flaked out on showing the goods.

Are there even Saturday morning cartoons today?

They Call Him Chad said...

M.A.S.K is such a great pick. Definitely in my top 10 as well. Shirt-tales is right in there, too.

Other than that I was largely mainstream -- GI Joe, Transformers, Masters of the Universe, Voltron, TMNT, COPS (fighting crime in a future time!!!), Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and Heathcliff.

I remember really digging BraveStar toys, but not the actual series so much.

Nice list, Rup!

Rupert Pupkin said...

Mortimer-Yeah I think that's new Zoo Revue. It was a cute show actually. I just hated having to wait for it to be over before cartoons started. I was a total cartoon junkie and needed my fix! I like your Saturday AM routine! Wish mine had started with Siskel and Ebert! Yeah GI Joe was an afternoon show. I mixed some Saturday morning favorites with afternoon show faves on my list. Not sure there is much in the way of Saturday cartoons now.They're on all the time. Not as special.

CHAD-COPS! wow I had totally forgotten about that show! Loved TMNT too, that shoulda made the list. I am so excited for that Shout Factory M.A.S.K. boxset!!

MarkusWelby1 said...

Mobile Armored Strike Kommand ruled. as did Thundaar

Dusty said...

Fantastic post. It does make me feel a little strange as an adult to think about how most of my favorite cartoons were marketing ploys. But what are you going to do? I haven't thought about M.A.S.K. in years...but I remember it being oddly violent for a kids show. I'm sure that's probably why I liked it. I also have vivid memories of a cartoon called K.O.P.S. Also sort of violent. Good times. I have no idea what kids watch these days, as I am not a parent. I can only hope it brings them as much joy.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Markus- you are correct! and I love Kommand spelled with a 'K'!

Dusty-Yeah I seem to recall M.A.S.K. feeling a bit more menacing than some other cartoons of that time. Can't recall why. My son(12) is certainly open to all these older cartoons. He currently watches stuff like Adventure Time, Regular Show and Futurama and the Simpsons. He loves Futurama. A lot!