Category: Saturday Mornings

Looking Back at Hulk Hogan’s Rock and Wrestling Cartoon

Hulk Hogans Rock and Wrestling

Professional wrestling had been around long before television, but the mid-80’s brought new levels of popularity to the much-maligned “sport.” Due to the business savvy of Vince McMahon, pro wrestling became one of the most successful entertainment ventures in the world. Relying heavily on the “good guy vs. bad guy” storyline and giving each wrestler ample time to speak to the viewers at home, McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation became a national phenomenon. It was only a matter of time before a Saturday morning cartoon was developed based on the WWF.

The show featured any wrestler who was popular at the time (Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, The Junkyard Dog, etc.), but the focus was on the WWF’s biggest star, Hulk Hogan. Hogan, who was a positive role model for all, never turned down an opportunity to help out those in need, the springboard to the plots of most episodes. In many cases, Hogan was forced to ally himself and his “good guy” cronies with the “bad guy” wrestlers in order to get things done. The bad guys were usually only looking out for themselves and reverted to their abhorrent ways immediately after solving that week’s crisis.

 

More Saturday Morning Cartoons  |  Alvin and the Chipmunks

 

The series also featured live segments in which Hogan, along with announcer “Mean” Gene Okerlund, would relay a positive message to the kids, generally one that fit with the day’s episode. The show satisfied its “rock” quotient by featuring a montage of the wrestlers performing a variety of acts, backed up by popular tunes in highlight reel fashion. The concept for the series came from musician Cyndi Lauper, who often appeared in the cartoon as herself.

Amazingly enough, none of the wrestlers provided his or her own voice for the cartoon. Apparently, the eloquence they showed in pre- and post-match interviews was too difficult to capture in a voice-over studio. Hogan’s cartoon voice was performed by Brad Garrett, who would eventually find fame as Robert Barone on the popular CBS series Everybody Loves Raymond.

 

This post originally appeared on the long defunct Yesterdayland website.  We archive it here to preserve it.

1983 NBC Saturday Morning Cartoon Lineup

So way back in 1983, I would have been just 5 years old.  Even though I was that young, I can still vividly remember this lineup, and watching the heck out of it on Saturdays.  I seriously doubt I ever changed the channel, because I know I watched ALL of these shows, with the exception of The Flintstone Funnies.  Maybe I was eating cereal at time of morning, who knows.

This lineup is a who’s who of some of my absolute favorite cartoons from any era.  The Shirt Tales were a perennial favorite with Bogey and Rick being my guys.  The Smurfs never disappointed, and even today I still watch those classic episodes with my daughters.  Same goes for Alvin and the Chipmunks as well, as we own all of the DVD compilations that were released several years ago.  Mr. T is easily in my top 5, and once his show was over, I would break out my Mr. T action figures and relive the action.  Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and The Incredible Hulk were big in my house too due to my brother being a huge comic book fan.  And rounding out the lineup was Thundarr the Barbarian, which was my favorite cartoon of that genre right up until He-Man came along and took over the world….err, Universe.

Help Chance Rasberry Bring Little Billy to Life

Little Billy

My friend and Emmy award winning animator on The Simpsons, Chance Rasberry, has a new animated series that he needs our help with.  This new series titled, Little Billy, is right in our wheel house too, because it’s set in the 80’s, and is chocked full of our favorite 80’s cartoons, toys, cereals, and so much more!  Not only that, it’s done in the classic animation style of the 80’s.  The premise?  I’ll let Chance explain that himself….

Little Billy

Chance is looking for help from folks like to get this off the ground, and has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money.  And brother, he’s got some very cool perks that come along with your pledge.  Things like awesome t-shirts, Count Chokula inspired Little Billy prints, the Little Billy Poster in the style of Garbage Pail kids, and my favorite…the set of Little Billy stickers done exactly like Garbage Pail Kid’s stickers we used to love in the 80’s!  And if you’re feeling really generous, you can get an hour long, one-on-one animation lesson from Chance himself!

I would love to see this dream become a reality for several reasons.  One, this world can never have enough 80’s fueled entertainment.  Two, I miss the classic animation style of the 80’s and am craving some more of that goodness.  Third, I love the premise, and with a daughter that has severe tics herself, I know how important something like this could be for kids like her.  And fourth, the trailer is just oozing with retro goodness…..

Chance has some of our favorite creators involved in this project as well.  Folks like Charles Zimbillas who was the animator on the original He-Man and She-Ra series, Bill Kopp from Better Off Dead, the Roger Rabit shorts, the Simpsons Tracey Ullman shorts, and the creator of Eek the Cat.  Also involvedd is Joe Simko, the master painter behind the Topps Garbage Pail Kids cards of the 80’s, who also hand painted the Little Poster print that you can get a copy of with a pledge!  There is no shortage of talent in this project, so you know just how cool it can be if it gets made.

So give Chance a chance (see what I did there?), and head over to the Little Billy Indiegogo page and help get it funded!

 

Little Billy on Indiegogo

 

You can also help out by spreading the word by sharing it on your Twitter feed, Facebook page, Instagram, and wherever else you can.  Hell, if nothing else throw him some moral support by reaching out to his Twitter page, or Facebook page.  He would appreciate it, and so would all of us who really want to see this get made.

Little Billy

 

 

My 5 Favorite GI Joe A Real American Hero Episodes

It’s time to dig in deep, and talk about one of my favorite cartoons of all time….G.I. Joe:  A Real American Hero.  As a kid, I fell in love with not only the cartoon, but the action figure line as well.  G.I. Joe was always my go-to toy at playtime, and my preferred choice of after school cartoons.

Recently, Jason over at Rediscover the 80’s has been doing some really fun posts centered around the cartoon.  I approached him about doing a cross-over event where we present our 10 favorite episodes of the cartoon, with each of us reminiscing on 5 episodes.  So once you’re done here, be sure to head on over to his place and check out the other half of this list.  As a bonus, we’ve also decided to throw in our favorite G.I. Joe mini-series as well!  Let’s get to it.

The Funhouse

This episode was from earlier in the series, and one of the first batch to be released on home video cassette.  I remember very fondly the Christmas of ’86 that I received a copy of the episode Satellite Down, and my cousin Tim received a copy of The Funhouse.  We each watched our own copies numerous times over a couple of days, and then switched off.  The episode itself may not be a strong one, but the nostalgia I feel for it keeps it high on my list.

Anyway, Cobra kidnaps a bunch of scientists and holds them hostage someplace sinister to lure the Joe team there.  Once they arrive, they discover the temple where the scientists are being held is one giant “funhouse” that Cobra Commander has put together just to screw with the Joes.  Once inside, the Joe team discovers this, and splits up into three teams in order to hunt down Cobra Commander.  

Dusty and Airtight take off in one direction, and soon find themselves in a room full of falling balloons.  Dusty decides to pop one, and it releases a gas that make his hallucinate.  He sees Airtight as an enemy, so Airtight has to work some voodoo magic on him and knock him out with a karate chop.  He then sets off on his own to find Cobra Commander, but gets undone when he runs into a room full of giant Jack in the Boxes and gets taken out by a newspaper swat from one of them.

Meanwhile, Alpine and Bazooka’s path leads them to a roller coaster, and that leads them through a shooting gallery of cobra robots.  Bazooka takes a hit and goes unconscious as Alpine vows revenge.  Unfortunately, he finds himself running on an oversized bowling lane, and gets taken out by a falling bowling pin.

The final duo, Flint and Lady Jaye, end up running into robotic tin soldiers who all look like Cobra Commander.  They take out most of the robots, only for one to sneak up on Lady Jaye and take her out of the fight.  Flint goes on to find Cobra Commander’s control room, but he sets a bomb that is going to destroy the whole island before he, along with Zartan and The Baroness escape to another hideout.  Flint and some of the Joe cavalry rescue their teammates and escape the island in Sky Strikers just in time.

Wild Bill had been watching for anything to leave the island, so the Joes are able to track them pretty easily to their new location.  The Joes launched an all out assault on the Cobra base, yet Cobra Commander and his cronies escaped once again, but the Joes were able to rescue the captured scientists to end the episode on a successful note.

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What You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite 80’s Cartoons

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

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.

 

Bravestarr

BraveStarr

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

Wuzzles

The Wuzzles

Fact:  The Wuzzles only ran for 13 episodes, making it the shortest running animated Disney series of all time.

 

Shirt Tales

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

 

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