It’s time for another nostalgic trip down Memory Lane. In this week’s Roundtable, we reminisce about the cartoon series that captured our imaginations when we were younger. Share your favorites with us, won’t you?
I’d be afraid to watch an episode now, since I can only imagine how poorly the show was written and animated, but boy did I ever I love ‘G.I. Joe‘ as a kid. The first thing I did in the summers was climb out of bed, run into the kitchen to grab a bowl of cereal, and plop down on the floor by 8 AM sharp in order to watch that day’s episodes. The rest of the day was usually spent playing with my G.I. Joe action figures.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
I don’t think any cartoon has defined my life the way ‘Masters of Universe‘ has. I religiously tuned in every afternoon, just about every square inch of my bedroom was blanketed in He-Man action figures and playsets, and my friends and I would have air-sword clashes as we pretended to be characters from the show. I have more childhood memories tied into that cartoon and action figure line than just about anything else. When I first got Internet access all the way back in 1995, ‘Masters of the Universe’ was predictably one of the very first things I searched for. There wasn’t much around in those dark days — no photographs, screencaps, video clips, episode guides, lists of figures, fan-art or anything else — but I collected what little I could find into the first full-featured He-Man site on the web. It gradually evolved into he-man.org. Although my involvement with the site is pretty minimal these days, the friendships I’ve made through it have been a huge part of my life for approaching twenty years now. I’m still geeky enough to have complete DVD sets and original cels framed on my wall, which I guess means that I continue to have the power.
Do you remember that ‘G.I. Joe’ knock-off called ‘M.A.S.K.‘ (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand)? I never got into ‘Joe’, but I was all about ‘M.A.S.K.’ The spelling change of the word “Command” to “Kommand” was intentional, so as to make the series’ name ‘M.A.S.K.’ and not ‘M.A.S.C.’, which would just be silly, wouldn’t it? The gimmick of the show was that each of the characters had a distinctive battle helmet with a sci-fi power (laser blasts, levitation, invisibility, etc.) and drove a vehicle that transformed into some other type of vehicle (car-to-jet, motorcycle-to-helicopter). The good guys in the M.A.S.K. agency were always foiling plots from their sinister arch-nemesis rivals, V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem). Sure, ‘M.A.S.K.’ was nothing more than a rip-off of another popular series, but it was pure entertainment for my eight-year-old mind. That, and the action figures with their removable masks were pretty sweet.
What’s not to like about ‘Darkwing Duck? His outfit was phenomenal. He always captured the bad guys, who were some of the most inventive villains on television. The theme song was incredible and laugh-out-loud funny. I wish some network would bring back ‘Darkwing Duck’. Until then, I’ll resort to watching my DVD copies.
Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)
I’d have to say that ‘Scooby Doo‘ was one of my all-time favorite cartoons growing up. I probably would have gotten more homework done if it weren’t for those meddling kids. It’s fun to see that the series still has relevance as my kids (ages 8 and almost 10) still love checking out the original episodes, newer episodes, and the more recent animated and live action movies in the franchise. I never understood why Freddie Prinze, Jr. was cast to play Fred in the live action flicks (blonde hair just isn’t his color), but kids tend to be less critical of such stuff.
In my younger days, I lived and breathed ‘G.I. Joe’ and ‘The Transformers’. Those shows were my religion. I watched them every day after school. With that said, I have some very vivid and very fond memories of some lesser-remembered series. Tops among those would be ‘The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers‘, a cornball amalgam of the sci-fi, Western, superhero, fairy tale, pirate, and sword & sorcery genres, among others. The heroes were a team of cowboys – complete with Stetson hats and robotic horses and laser pistols that looked like six-shooters – who cruised across the galaxy, taming the wild frontier and facing off against villains who typically looked like pink aardvarks, purple gargoyles, or (their main nemesis) an evil Disney queen. Each member of the team had a unique super power. One had a bionic arm, one was a shape-shifter, one was psychic, and one was… good with computers. Hey, it was the ’80s, when computer technology seemed more or less like magic to kids.
The series ran every weekday for one season, which comprised 65 episodes. Many years later, I caught up with some of the episodes on DVD. No surprise, they were goofy as hell, with a slow pace and low production values by today’s standards. Nevertheless, in my pre-adolescent fantasy life, I found the show’s characters and concepts so compelling that I actually dreamed about being part of its universe. The ability to reach a child’s subconscious that deeply is no small feat.
I’ll also toss out an honorable mention to ‘Bionic 6’, another very silly and short-lived show. This one was about a whole family endowed with ‘Six Million Dollar Man’-style cybernetic enhancements. I still have the entire line of action figures for this show in a box in my basement.
What were your favorite cartoon series when you were a kid?