Category: Yesterdayland Archives

The Smurfs Cartoon


Proving that we indeed are a one-world community, NBC president Fred Silverman bought the rights to the Flemish created characters known as the Smurfs and turned them into one of the most successful and smurfiest cartoons ever to hit the air. Created by cartoonist Peyo Culliford in 1957, the Smurfs (called Schtroumpfs in their homeland) had already become popular as American toys when Silverman got the idea of turning the little blue guys into a bunch of big green.

The Smurfs were a group of over 100 dark blue, three-apple tall humanoids who lived in the mushroom homes of Smurf Village. They were led by 543-year-old Papa Smurf (who didn’t look a day over 530). Their lives would have been perfect were it not for the villainous Gargamel, a wizard who spent his days trying to capture the wee creatures. Gargamel’s cat Azrael added to the menace, always looking for a smurfalicious snack.

The single-emotioned Smurfs—including Brainy, Jokey, Vanity, Grouchy and Clumsy—were later joined by Grandpa Smurf and five Smurflings, who went back in time to become youngsters. Gargamel, too, got a friend in the form of the unscrupulous Scruple. Continue reading “The Smurfs Cartoon”

Shirt Tales Cartoon

Shirt Tales

Based on a popular line of greeting cards, The Shirt Tales were a group of adorable animals whose shirts would randomly proclaim things such as “Hug me” or “Let’s go!,” usually hinting at the current mood of the various “Tales.”

The group consisted of leader Tyg the tiger, Rick the raccoon, a girl panda named Pammy, Digger the mole, and a monkey called Bogey, so named because he called everyone “shweetheart” a la Humphrey Bogart. In the second season, another female character was added, young Kip the kangaroo. Continue reading “Shirt Tales Cartoon”

Man From Atlantis

Man From Atlantis

When the Star Wars wave hit in the late 1970’s, science fiction rode that crest back to the major media in a major way. Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century took most of the TV sci-fi glory, but one of the more unique shows to emerge during this time was The Man From Atlantis. Unlike its interstellar competitors, this show went into the undersea kingdom to find sci-fi magic. As a result, it became a cult sensation and produced a major new star in the process.

The saga of The Man From Atlantis began when a mysterious man washed ashore on a beach. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was discovered by scientist Dr. Elizabeth Merrill. As she nursed him back to health, she noticed he was possessed of superhuman abilities, including great strength, acute senses, and the ability to swim at great depths without any breathing equipment. It was soon revealed that this mystery man was Mark Harris, the last survivor of the mythical undersea kingdom of Atlantis, which somebody should’ve clued into based on his webbed hands and feet and the fact that he had gills instead of lungs.

Continue reading “Man From Atlantis”

Do You Remember Quantum Leap?

Quantum Leap

Time travel? Been there. Body switching? Done that. Time traveling into somebody else’s body? Friend, you got yourself a TV series!

Quantum Leap may have sounded like a gimmicky sci-fi drama on paper, but the accent was on the drama, not the gimmick. Through four prime time seasons, this show gave us a chance to look through a new set of eyes each week, exploring issues of gender, race, religion, and even rock and roll. It was an ambitious leap for a sci-fi series, but Quantum Leap made it work.

The leaping started back in 1995 (which was actually the near future when the show debuted in 1989), when quantum physicist Dr. Sam Beckett built a machine that would allow anyone to “leap” into different times within his or her lifespan. But the testing process went awry when Sam, ignoring the advice of supercomputer “Ziggy,” stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator… and vanished.

Continue reading “Do You Remember Quantum Leap?”

Saved by the Bell

Saved by the Bell

On July 11, 1987, a prime-time special entitled Good Morning, Miss Bliss aired on NBC. Soon after, it became a series on the Disney Channel, starring The Parent Trap’s Hayley Mills as the teacher, Miss Bliss. Among her students were a young Zack, Screech, and Lisa. Their principal was Mr. Belding, who could switch from best pal to stern disciplinarian at a moment’s notice.

The show moved to NBC in 1989, soon to become the network’s first live-action hit since Land of the Lost in 1977. Playing with the big boys now, the show got rid of its title character as well as its title. Now known as Saved by the Bell, the new show featured Zack, the “preppie” stud, Screech, the nerd, and Lisa, the aspiring dress designer, as well as their new friends Slater, the handsome jock, Kelly, the boys’ object of desire, and Jessie, the intelligent girl (who was just as pretty and well-dressed as the other two girls, but no one seemed to notice). Continue reading “Saved by the Bell”

Looking Back on American Gladiators

American Gladiators

TV was never really fair to jocks. If you were a nerd, there were any number of game shows you could try out for, but if you were a muscle bound fitness guru, your game show pickings were slim. But a little program called American Gladiators set out to right that wrong, taking revenge back from the nerds and putting it back in the brawny hands of workout kings and queens. Once more, might made right, and the rest of us got to sit back and watch the mayhem unfold on syndicated television.

The hour-long spectacle pitted four contestants (two he-men, two she-women) against a lineup of menacing Gladiators with names like Nitro, Zap, Gemini, Ice, Lace and Laser. The contestants were actually competing against each other (man vs. man, woman vs. woman), trying to outscore each other in a variety of events. The Gladiators were just there to make sure everybody scored as few points as possible. Continue reading “Looking Back on American Gladiators”

Do You Remember the Teen Wolf Cartoon

Teen Wolf Cartoon

A year after the big-screen version, Teen Wolf made its way to television as a cartoon. As in the film, the cartoon Scott Howard (played in the movie by Michael J. Fox) was forced to deal with the indignities of adolescence—acne, girl trouble, and extra hair…everywhere.

Unlike the film’s premise, wherein Scott became popular at school after his alter ego was revealed, the cartoon showed Scott hoping to keep his werewolf tendencies a secret. The animated series also added a pack of were-relatives, including Scott’s grandparents and semi-wolfen little sister Lupe. Continue reading “Do You Remember the Teen Wolf Cartoon”