If you thought you knew everything about you favorite 80’s cartoons, think again! From the many great, and some not so great, cartoons that aired in the 80’s there is an abundance of things about them you never knew. Check out these little known facts about 25 of your favorite cartoons from the 80’s! Let us know which ones surprised you the most.
G.I. Joe A Real American Hero
Fact: G.I. Joe premiered in 1983 with a 5-episode story called “The MASS Device“. The fact that is was shown in 5 parts made it the first animated mini-series in television history.
Fact: BraveStarr has the distinction of being the last cartoon series produced by our beloved Filmation studios. Filmation was also responsible for bringing us The Archie Show, Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids, and it’s most famous creation, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Read about the rise and fall of Filmation Studios in the excellent book, Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation
Also, you can read more about Bravestarr over at The Robot’s Pajamas
Fact: The Wuzzles only ran for 13 episodes, making it the shortest running animated Disney series of all time.
The Shirt Tales
Fact: The Shirt Tales series was created from a line of Hallmark greeting cards. When the cards lost popularity, so did the cartoon series.
Get the Shirt Tales Complete Series on DVD here
Dennis the Menace
Fact: Phil Hartman of Saturday Night Live and NewsRadio fame, provided the voices of both Mr. Wilson, and Dennis’ dad Henry Mitchell.
Fact: The acronym MASK stood for Mobile Armour Strike Kommand
If MASK was your thing, check out the whole blog dedicated to it at Agents of Mask
New Scooby Doo Mysteries
Fact: While not much really memorable happened in this series, it did provide us with one important little nugget. We learned that Shaggy’s real name is Norville Rogers.
Hulk Hogan’s Rock & Wrestling
Fact: The Hulk Hogan character in the cartoon was voiced by Brad Garrett. You may know him as the guy who played Robert Barone on the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
Also check out the great post over at Rediscover the 80’s about the cartoon
Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin
Fact: All of the actors who lent their voices on the storybook tapes are also the same ones who voiced all the characters on the television cartoon, lending a sense of continuity to the series.
Star Wars: Droids
Fact: Stewart Copeland…the drummer for and one of the founders of the superstar band, The Police, wrote and performed the theme song “Trouble Again”.
Also check out the great podcast episode the guys over at The Retroist did on the Droids cartoon
Fact: The Galaxy High cartoon series was created by Chris Columbus….the same man who went on to direct both Home Alone AND Mrs. Doubtfire.
Bonus Fact: The theme song was composed and performed by The Eagles lead guitarist, Don Felder. He also co-wrote Hotel California.
Fact: Rainbow Brite’s real name is Wisp, and she is an orphan.
Beany and Cecil
Fact: The 80’s redo of the classic 60’s cartoon Beany & Cecil only lasted for one month, and only five episodes were shown….making it the shortest running cartoon series of the 80’s.
She-Ra: Princess of Power
Fact: When the series was in development, She-Ra and He-Man were originally supposed to be love interests of one another until it was decided they would be twin siblings instead.
Fact: The toy line actually came BEFORE the cartoon series. When it was released, it was the first cartoon series to be based on a toy line after the FCC revised it’s regulations regarding cartoons as “commercials” for toys.
Read all about the beginnings of He-Man in the great book, Mastering the Universe: He-Man and the Rise and Fall of a Billion Dollar Idea.
Fact: Jem’s original name was going to be “M”….which was meant to imply Music, Magic, and Mystique.
Bonus Fact 1: There were 151 different songs in the 65 episodes of the series, and 187 music videos!
Bonus Fact 2: Different than most cartoon series we grew up on, Jem had an actual series finale where the Holograms and the Misfits declared a truce.
Fact: The character of Ma Beagle was based on a real person. She was modeled after the infamous Ma Barker of the Barker-Karpis gang.
Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers
Fact: The theme song was written by Mark Mueller, who also done the theme song for DuckTales, as well writing Jennifer Paige’s 1998 hit song “Crush”.
Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers is now on DVD
Fact: All of the actors from the original Gilligan’s Island TV show lent their voices to their cartoon counterparts. All except Tina “Ginger” Louise that is. Her voice was done by Dawn “Mary Ann” Wells…along with performing her own character.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Fact: James Avery, better known for playing Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, was the voice of Shredder.
Fact: The planet that the Thundercats travel to from Thundera is actually Earth in the future.
Bonus Fact: Panthro was voiced by Earle Hyman. Probably better know for his portrayal of Grandpa Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
Fact: The Japanese version of the cartoon was not called Transformers. It was known as “Fight! Super Robot Life Form Transformers”.
Fact: Howie Mandel was the voice actor behind the characters of Animal, Benson, and Skeeter for two seasons.
Bonus Fact: When Mandel left the series, he was replaced as the voice of those same three characters by Full House star Dave Coulier.
The Real Ghostbusters
Fact: Arsenio Hall was the voice of Winston Zeddemore for 3 seasons. When he left the series, he was replaced by Buster Jones.
Bonus Fact: Dave Coulier also had a spot on this cartoon, voicing Dr. Peter Venkman for 62 episodes.
Bonus Fact: It was named The Real Ghostbusters, because there was already a cartoon called simply Ghostbusters.
Fact: While everyone always fondly remembers the Smurfs as a fun, lovable, family friendly cartoon, there were instances where that wasn’t always so. In the Smurfs Christmas Special, the Smurfs kill a villain by singing him to death.
If you miss the glory days of Saturday mornings in the 80’s, and you’d like to relieve a little bot of that magic, then I highly recommend picking up Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1980’s Volume 1 DVD