Loosely based on the TSR role-playing game of the same title, Dungeons & Dragons brought swords and sorcery back to Saturday morning, along with a bevy of orcs, goblins, and one mean Eye of the Beholder.
During the opening credits, five teenagers and one tag-along little brother entered the “Dungeons & Dragons” ride at a local amusement park and found themselves magically transported to a medieval land. There they met the Dungeon Master, a diminutive wise man who presented them with six enchanted objects. Dashing blond Hank got a bow with an endless supply of energy arrows, Presto an unreliable magic hat, Diana an extending acrobat’s pole, Sheila a cloak of invisibility, and Sheila’s hot-tempered brother Bobby got an earth-shaking club. Eric, the arrogant and cowardly one, was presented with a magic shield, which he generally used to duck and cover. Uni was the team’s pet unicorn (voiced—or rather, “brayed”—by Frank Welker, of course).
More Classic Saturday Mornings | The Smurfs
Guided by “DM,” the kids entered a long-standing battle against the bat-winged and one-horned Venger, who rode a flying black steed. Even more nasty menace came in the form of a multi-headed dragon named Tiamat, possibly the most powerful being in the realm. Other characters included the ethereal Shadowdemon, Venger’s stealthy lackey.
Aside from cartoon mainstays Frank Welker and Peter Cullen, the cast included Adam Rich and Willie Aames of Eight Is Enough fame and Donny Most, best known for his role as Ralph Malph on Happy Days.
Dungeons & Dragons became the target of The National Coalition in Television Violence, who claimed that the cartoon contained 65 acts of violence per hour. In response, kids across America said, “Well, duh.” The very appeal of the show came from the fact that it was darker, more dangerous, and yes, more violent than the rest of Saturday morning. Kids continued to tune in, and CBS continued to air the show for several years. Harry Potter mania helped get the series back on Saturday morning on Fox Kids in 2000, but alas, no new episodes were produced.
This post originally appeared on the long defunct website, Yesterdayland. It now appears here as a way to preserve it.