Skip to main content

Cartoons Based on Popular Things (That Sucked)


On a recent post, we discussed some live action kid's shows that may have been ill conceived, badly produced or just plain sucked and likely got someone fired (or promoted -go figure). For every live action show produced in the '70s and '80s there were dozens of animated ones that tried to compete for a time slot in the lucrative Saturday morning cartoon market. Here's a look at some that were produced based on the popularity of certain trends or other shows that basically sucked.

Gilligan's Planet

Based on one of the all time Retro TV classics, Gilligan's Island, the ill conceived animated version had our ship wrecked crew flying through the cosmos dealing with all sorts of aliens and nutty situations.

So to recap, seven castaways can't get off a desert island, only have a radio with an awesome set of batteries, need an exercise bike made out of bamboo to wash their clothes but somehow can build a rocket and careen through hyper space on space adventures. Alrightie then.




Pole Position

Though named after the popular video game, the show really had nothing to do with the cartoon. Although it looked a lot like another car based cartoon that was pretty popular, Speed Racer, this one actually had a plot with a couple of crime fighting kids who also happened to be stunt drivers that were involved with a secret government operation. Happens all the time. What a stunt team has to do with a pole position on a racing grid, I'll never know. It only lasted one season.




Frogger

In 1983, Frogger the animated series made it's debut with our amphibious hero playing the role of a journalist - yup, a journalist. I suppose that answers the question as to why he was trying to get across the river - obviously there was a helluva story that needed to be written that was worth the risk of being eaten or crushed. You may have guessed that it only lasted a single season.




Q*Bert

Completing the trilogy of video game based cartoons is Q*Bert. He'd strut around the cube shaped town in a varsity jacket with a "'Q" patch (obviously) and along with his friends, constantly deal with the school bullies and their evil ways. This of course makes you think, what was he actually studying? What kind of future does a testicle shaped blob have? Again, one season. Starting to see a trend here.





The Snorks

So what do you do when a popular kid's show is owning Saturday morning ratings? You try to duplicate the formula (or ripoff) and come up with something to rival it. So first come The Smurfs and then come The Snorks. So named for the snorkel appendage sticking out of their heads. Snorks were a race of tiny sea creatures that lived pretty much like you and me. They lived in houses, went to d drive-in movies, drive cars etc. all while under the sea. Kind of like an early Sponge Bob. Only in this case they were constantly solving problems and trying to undo some of the dastardly plots of the mayor's son who was always up to no good. This actually lasted four seasons thanks to the introduction of new bad guys to content with on a regular basis.




Rubik the Amazing Cube

Invented in 1974, the Rubik's Cube is still a popular puzzle thanks to the introduction to a new generation. Jumping on the popularity of the Rubik's Cube craze in the '80s, "Rubik The Amazing Cube" animated series made its debut in 1983. Why they chose to give the cube an alien head, I'll never know. Really hard to believe they managed to come up with a full season of plots for a show about an animated cube shaped puzzle. Shockingly, it lasted only the single season.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Candies You Grew Up With That May Gross You Out Now (Part 2)

In part 1 of this series, we looked at some examples of candies that you may have grew up with in the 70s and 80s that hold a sweet memory in your mind of carefree and happier times when getting a sugar high after school was paramount on your things to do list. The reality is some of these treats were actually kind of disgusting but it took years of maturing before coming to that conclusion. Not all of it was that bad though. Here's a look at some more of our favorite sugar fix delivery systems. 
Candy Necklaces - Candy that allowed for sharing was always fun. These candy bracelets and necklaces allowed you to share with your nearest and dearest friends and make you the most popular kid in the schoolyard. Your friends would line up for a chance to chew off a sweet morsel off the string hanging around your neck. The wouldn't even mind or care that the string of candy has been hanging around your neck all day on a hot and humid summer day while you played soccer. Yummy.

Pop Rocks

I Want My MTV - To Start Playing Music Videos Again

There was a time when having your song played on the radio in a regular rotation was the most critical aspect of music promotion. Getting on the air in major markets was paramount to success. It was all about the quality of the music and vocals, there was substance, there was talent, you didn't have to be pretty or ruggedly handsome to have a hit record. Then it all went hell. Well, not at first.




In 1981, Music Television went on the air in the U.S. and single handedly changed the way music was marketed and promoted virtually overnight. MTV was the brainchild of Warner Communications and American Express, who funded Warners' cable business but wanted a commercial outlet to reach the teen and young adult markets who traditionally have high disposable income.

When Warner and Amex gave the go ahead for the channel, the timing couldn't have been worse. In the late 70s, record companies were hurting and looking to cut costs and one of the first things on the chopping block were m…

Retro Video of the Day - Max Headroom's Christmas Classic

Need a break from all the sappy Christmas music that is no doubt following you around everywhere you go these days as you prepare for the magic of Christmas while draining your savings account? Search no further - Max Headroom is back to bring you some retro joy.

Remember him? If your a retro fan then you are aware of the odd phenomenon from the mid 80s that spawned a bit of a craze. With technology becoming a bigger part of our lives and video technology pushing new boundaries, the timing was perfect for the emergence of a fictional artificial intelligence doing his thing on a video screen.

Max Headroom got his start as British TV series but became better known thanks to a video by Art of Noise that featured him performing for "Paranoimia". That led to a gig as a spokesman (spokesgraphic ? spokesimage ? spokesthingy ?) or talking head for New Coke that helped propel Max into the public conscienceness.

Due to his popularity, Chrysalis released a Christmas song featuring Max sin…

Happy Retro Mother's Day !!

If you happen to have forgotten mother's day, which is is today, don't be surprised if the looks your getting from mama look something like this.

And rightly so. After all, regardless of what you think of your mother, remember one thing - she grew a human being inside her body. Let me say that again - she grew a human being (or possibly a few) in her body. For that alone you have to respect her. She sacrificed her body, time and energy and smothered you with unconditional love to make you the person you are today and you couldn't take the time to drop by a Hallmark store? Mr T pities the fool that doesn't respect his mom. 

I'm still lucky to have my mom in my life and it amazes me that even at her age she seems to have more energy than I do and still manages to keep smiling even with all the aches and pain that come with getting older. What's the secret ? How does she do it ?

Many have entertained the Supermom theory and that would certainly explain a lot however …

The Return of Retroguy !!

Hi everyone - been a while since my last post. Hey, life happens! I had to put this on the back burner for a while but thanks for all the kind words! Fear not, I'm back!! Been working on the look of the page so this you may see changes for the next little while.

Plenty more to come but for now, check out this awesome cover from Hall and Oats from the "Live From Darryl's House" web series featuring the Canadian electro-pop duo Chromeo.

As always - Keep It Retro !