The Way It Was: Eighties Cartoons, Part One

This one might not be interesting to everyone, we’ll be the first to admit. We further admit that it be primarily of interest to Ben and Brady, perhaps no one else. That said, this isn’t an Exclusive Club, so instead of emailing an impersonal link to these two guys, we’ll just share the whole thing with you, our faithful readers and our best friends.

It’s a Top Ten 80’s Cartoon Theme Songs countdown, in case you are interested. There was like one or two on there that I wasn’t familiar with. And there was one or two that nearly had me falling out of my desk chair (much to the consternation of Renee the Secretary, who was trying to hand me a packet of very important documents).

Media Nostalgia is a weird thing, a two-dimensional audio/visual cue that says yes, twenty-some years ago your brain absorbed something, only because that’s what young brains tend to do. Can we gain anything from this nostalgia? Do we remember the dampness of late-fall afternoon rain sliding down the windows outside of the clammy room in which we were watching this thing? Do we remember the big bowl of colorful and soggy Fruity Pebbles that accompanied us through our first half hour of Saturday Morning cartoons? And if we do, what can we do with this memory?

There’s lots of stuff you can do with it. If you’re a negative person (and we’re not), you could shake your head at how your childhood was consumed by media, by cartoons that sold you commercials that sold you toys that sold you comics and cards and prepped you for an adulthood of “needing” iPhones, Yaris’s (Yareye?), XM Radios, Internet service providers, Diesel jeans, and Bose speakers. But ew, gross, no thanks, here at FSD we don’t think like that.

What you should do with the trigger memories that come from watching the old cartoons of your lost youth is to make it your found youth. I mean you ever get into kids? For one, they’re way younger than you are. They’re like supergeniuses. Clearly, they have all the Secrets of the Universe. Anyone can tell you that. So that means that at one point in the ever-more-distant past, YOU had the Secrets of the Universe too. So remembering what it was once like to be a kid — thinking about your own childhood for a few minutes a week, even — can really do you some Serious Good. Who told you stop watching cartoons anyway? Your parents did. And everyone knows that parents are the Enemy!

Anyhow: Ben, Brady: this one is for you. And oh yeah! Holly, you should watch this too. There’s one on there for you as well.



13 thoughts on “The Way It Was: Eighties Cartoons, Part One

  1. How sad! Saturday morning cartoons were indicative of my childhood. Its practically dead now. If you’re a kid without cable you’re fucked. All 3 major networks held it down when I was growing up. ABC NBC CBS. You cant turn on any of those networks now on a Saturday morning without seeing some lame recreational sport being televised, some cheesed out weekly teen action show, or just plan old random crap. Saturday morning Cartoons have escaped over to cable. FOX KIDS, KIDS WB, UPN KIDS, ABC KIDS, NICK, CARTOON NETWORK, DISNEY CHANNEL, ETC…. I Remeber the USA cartoon express being on cable, but that never really mattered as much as Superfriends, Smurfs, Scrappy Doo, and Gummybears!

    Cable, satellite TV, the Internet and video games killed Saturday Morning TV! And soon after that TIVO or ITV.

    I rememeber the first signs of Saturday Morning Tv going to shit! Around the time ABC merged with Disney and started airing crap like The New Kids and MC Hammer Cartoons and NBC started airing Saved by the Bell, and Discovery Kids. Im not sure what CBS was up to, cause seriously who watches CBS aside from a few NFL games and Cold Case and thats just to peep some dope scenes of Philly.

    Urgh this is to much to comment on! My hearts broken.

    What Can I say.

    I dont know, You know!

  2. Masked Crusaders, Working Overtime,
    Fighting Crime, Fighting Crime!
    Secret Raiders Who Will Neutralize,
    As Soon As They Arrive, At The Site
    Trakker’s Gonna Lead The Mission,
    And Spectrum’s Got Such Super Vision!
    Is The Mighty Power That Can Save The Day!
    No One Knows What Lies Behind The Masquerades!
    Always Riding Hot On V.E.N.O.M.’s Trail!
    Come See The Laser Rays!
    Fire Away!

  3. HE-MAN!
    And the Masters of the Universe.

    I am Adam, Prince of Eternia AND defender of the secrets of Castle Greyskull. This is Cringer, my (ha-ha!) fearless friend.

    Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword and said,

    Cringer became the mighty Battle Cat, And I became He-Man – the most powerful man in the universe!

    Only three others share this secret: Our friends the Sorceress, Man at Arms and Orko.

    Together we defend Castle Greyskull from the evil forces of Skeletor.


  4. Heres a short list of saturday moring cartoons shows that im still able to remember. Theres a few more rattling in my head I cant quite sound out. Childhood!

    Thundarr the Barbarian

    Kidd Video



    Peter Pan and the Pirates

  5. First of all – thank you for the time machine, man. Seriously – when I was a kid this stuff lit up so many pathways in my brain and seeing/hearing it again does indeed connect me to childhood magic (indeed, the world was more magical – did you know that children can see into the UV spectrum? Their corneas are not yet clouded by age and they see things that adults can’t, colors – all things – are vivid and crisp… crazy!) Anyway, has anyone else noticed that many cartoons from the era place all of the good guys as older caucasian dudes with gleaming technology and the BAD guys are always colored mutants or something that use nature as a weapon? Not every cartoon was like this, thank god, but I see some kind of weird, secret Department of Defense agenda here to indoctrinate American youth into a culture of militarism where the mall is the top-secret base, the bombers, jets and battleships are piloted by the good guys and the bad guys (nature, foreigners, minorities) must be subjugated. It’s like there’s this secret super-rich militaristic think tank that wanted to control the minds of young boys in the 80s… nahhhhh! I’m just pissed that Bravestar wasn’t on that!

    Braaaaaaave STAAARRR!!
    (Brave Star)

    Braaaaaaave STAAARRR!!
    (Brave Star)

    Bravestar was rad b/c he was like some cyberpunk shaman cowboy. The idea was way to ahead of it’s time…


  6. – Tranzor-Z (Please say you’ve heard of this, because I’ve never met anyone who grew up outside of Texas and watched this show)

    – The Disney Afternoon was chock full of great shows

    – Thundercats & Voltron were top notch

    – Danger Mouse

    – Those cartoon olympics that Hanna-Barbera used to show all the time

    – Other great non-cartoons of the late 80s: Alf, Airwolf, Salute Your Shorts, Clarissa Explains It All, Hey Dude

  7. I grew up watching Tranzor-Z during a brief time while my family lived in Vineland New Jersey. This place is located in South Jersey, so you could say it was the Texas of the North. The whole town was full of rednecks, trailor parks, Mack truck drivers, and hatred towards blacks. Some really intense, wonderful, and scary people come out of South Jersey, just ask the Corruption. The only guy I ever met that would get chauffeured round the badlands of Philadelphia in search of weed, by his close friend a hispanic kid he would refer to as “Nigger”. “You dumb Nigger, you were suppose to make a right turn!” And then after scoring, he would say, “You’re my best friend, you can take the first hit!” Ha! Anyway, For some unexplained reason to me, Tranzor Z, Q-Bert, Big Foot, The Atari Game Jaust, Miami Vice, The Movie Explorers, Teenwolf , ATVs, and McDLTS, were really popular on my block. The gang of kids I hung out with, all shared these crazy fascinations together. A few blocks away, were the kids that played with Transformers, and cheap battery powered electric keyboards. Camouflage sweat pants and karate styled sleepwear was really popular too. I can now picture myself laying on a carpet watching Tranzor Z at 3’oclock in the afternoon right after school chowing down on a Fruit Roll-Up and sipping on a huge glass of Juicy Juice.

    What can I say?

    I dont know, You know.

  8. I dreamt of fruit roll ups and juicy juice as I munched on generic cheerios with a cup of water while watching Tranzor-Z on a black & white TV in the searing heat outside of Houston… I’m sure we all got frustrated when we had to adjust the rabbit-ears in the middle of a good scene back then… I did have my Spiderman sneakers in first grade though.

    My parents have said I used to love to watch some cartoon with a frog in the early 80s, but they couldn’t recall what it was…. any ideas?

  9. Tranzor-Z was f-ing awesome b/c the monsters were huge!
    I loved that show.
    I was OBSESSED with The REAL Ghostbusters Cartoon.
    In fact, I still have it all on VHS tapes in my basement with each episdoe labelled. I thought I could learn more about the occult by watching that show! Truth is, Dan Akroyd wrote alot of those episodes and he is wayyyy into occult and paranormal shit. That’s where I first heard the name Cthulu, too!
    I used to dress up in camo and make ghostbusters proton packs and ghosttraps out of constructs and wire and stuff… wild!

  10. Childrens Popular Culture is a strange topic for me. In my poor pathetic white trash mind as a kid , so much of what my friends were into it was way out of my league. It wasnt because my family was broke, maybe they were at times, but more I think by how my mind looked at life.

    While Transformers were popular, I was way more into GoBots! Everyone Raved about the Star Wars Trilogy, I was into Mad Max. Van Halen! Dire Straits, for me. While everyone was collecting version 1 and 2 of Voltron, I was daydreaming about Tranzor-Z. I do remember attempting to make my own version of Z in the basement out of cardboard. I hopelesslly failed, do to the fact that I knew, no one I rolled with would seriously allow me to bring this fucked up, so called toy on to the playground at school. The only thing I could honestly say I really cared deeply about at all costs and was willing to switch the channel no matter what, I would have to say Professional Wrestling. That was my biggest love growing up. Nothing excited me more then watching the Moon Dogs, jimmy Superfly Snuka, Tito Santana, in action on Saturday Morning TV. I can even admit I got swept up more by Hulk-A-Mania then say Tennage Mutant Ninja Turtle Fever. Wrestlers were my Heroes. Those were the guys me and my best friend in grade school would pretend to be. We cared very little about collecting baseball cards and trading garbage pail kids and wondering what would happen in nexts weeks episode of Gummybears. We wanted to fight! To jump off the cafeteriea tables during lunch and drop kick each other in the face! Throw each other into the gym walls, and TAKE HOME THE BELT!

    Wrestlers Were Gods! And Still Are!

    As for a childrens show with a frog, Ricky Gervais is always referring to his friend Karl Pilkington, as having a Bod Head. They mentioned this show once during a podcast and referred listeners over to Rickys website to check out a description of what a Bod head was. Turns out it was a cartoon in England. After a bit I research and some downloading, I watch a few episodes,
    and theres a frog on the series called Alberto that conducts an orchestra of animals. Could this be it?

    Maybe you’re not thinking about a series as much as maybe a video cassette. Were you into Cinderella as a kid?

  11. Im done posting for that day. All this talk about Animation is Going to make me dissolve into one. I’ll catch you guys at a later date, when you wont need a pair of 3D glasses to read my sentences.

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