1. We are looking for a volunteer to help out with entering the DC and Marvel comics solicitations. If you are interested, please contact Harley.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Just in time for Halloween, enter for a chance to win a $50 Gift Card from FUN.com! Details here.
    Dismiss Notice

Most Underrated 80's Cartoon

Discussion in 'Back To The Inkwell - Classic Cartoons Discussion' started by CookieS, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. Jeff Harris

    Jeff Harris Creator/Webmaster, TXB

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2001
    Messages:
    7,272
    Likes Received:
    6
    Galaxy High (this show, sadly airing only one season, still has the best animated theme song . . . ever; it's theme song was the animated equivalent of "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle"

    Disney's Wuzzles (funny, humorous, slightly adult, shame it only lasted one season and up against . . . )

    Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears (Gummi Bears is the best American fantasy series ever; heck, it's so rich in mythology and folklore that there's a reason Gargoyles fans like myself look at it with reverence)

    The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers (I'm sorry I don't have much to say about this series; it never came on in my neck of the woods, but since so many people have much love for it, I'm inclined to include it on my list)

    Teen Wolf (most often, animated versions of movie franchises rarely work; this one actually outclassed and outshined its live-action counterparts [and great opening and closing theme songs too])

    Foofur (urban, sophisticated, mildly silly, perhaps a little too New Englandish/New Yorkish for the rest of the country)

    The Trollkins (another show with a blue dog [this time, the dog's named Flooky], I don't remember its CBS broadcasts, but the USA Cartoon Express introduced me to this show many people wrote off as a weird mix of The Smurfs and The Dukes of Hazzard)

    Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors (if you can imagine a land-based Star Wars in a world where plants could take on human forms, you have an idea what this show is all about, and why people remember this great show rather than the toyline that inspired the series to be created in the first place)

    Dragon's Lair (ah, Dirk the Daring and Princess Daphne . . . great show that actually showed what would happen if Dirk picked the wrong path; too bad ABC didn't focus on this series the way they did Turbo Teen [please don't let me tell you about that show])

    Rude Dog and the Dweebs (think Top Cat 80s style; a great show that CBS didn't really give a fair chance to . . . CBS had a fondness of cancelling good shows in the 80s before it got caught on, like Pandamonium, Trollkins, Saturday Supercade [of course that show got cancelled because the video game industry "died" for a few years], Superman [I think if they had another two seasons and airing in a timeslot that wasn't 8 AM, it could have really exploded], Meatball and Spaghetti, Jim Henson's Little Muppet Monsters, Galaxy High, Teen Wolf, Wildfire, and countless others)
     
  2. Chris Wood

    Chris Wood Desslar

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2002
    Messages:
    14,332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Robo-Force??? Please explain. I've never heard of that one. I seem to recall some toys by that name, but not a show.

    M.A.S.K. was a great one. Cool toys too.
     
  3. Jeff Harris

    Jeff Harris Creator/Webmaster, TXB

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2001
    Messages:
    7,272
    Likes Received:
    6
    I remember the toys, heck, I had three of them. But the show was just a one-shot prime-time special that aired on NBC many, many moons ago. A lot of people have love for the one-shot cartoons of the 80s. I dug The Jackie Bison Show one-shot myself.
     
  4. Cullen

    Cullen Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    0
    I remember Teddy Ruxpin. Where episodes kept continuing like a soap opera or an anime. Teddy and his friends discover a series of magic crystals and they learn the secrets each crystal possesses and discover lots of interesting ancient items and machinery along the way. And all the secrets got revealed in the final episode. It was truly a warm hearted series with adventure, villain defeating, and lots of original songs.
     
  5. Magentabeams

    Magentabeams Tell them Lage Marge sent you

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think I may stil have one of those videos from when I was little. I kind of want to find it now. Just for nostalgia sake. As for the talking doll, I believe it is far gone. But, I still have the memories. :( Sorry if a little off topic. hehe


    Sarahanne
     
  6. Howard Fein

    Howard Fein Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    508
    Likes Received:
    0
    Unlike most critics and animation buffs, I never cared for THE SMURFS, arguably the most acclaimed made-for-TV cartoon of the eighties. Here are some of my guilty pleasures made in the eighties:

    PAC-MAN (H-B, 1982-83): Unexpectedly clever writing from workhorse Jeffrey Scott, wringing many variations out of the game's central theme. It was a nice touch making the title character a harried family man and working stiff, with an engaging performance by veteran comic actor Marty Ingels. Nice byplay between the Ghost Monsters, one of whom is voiced by another legend, Chuck McCann. Superior Hoyt Curtin score composed exclusively for this series and never recycled on any other H-B show.

    The Q*BERT segments of SATURDAY SUPERCADE (R-S, 1983-84): Ruby-Spears' designers did an excellent job re-creating the whimsical settings and characters of the game. The expected virtuoso voice acting by Frank Welker and Nancy Cartwright, with unknown 'Billy Bowles' (who sounds very much like Billy West to me) as the title character.

    HULK HOGAN'S ROCK & WRESTLING (DIC, 1985): The only DIC show I really enjoyed. Not being a WWF fan probably helped, as those in the know claimed the characters of the featured wrestlers were completely bastardized. Network Standards & Practices made it impossible to actually show wrestling, so the stories were generally comedy/adventure capers or straight mini-sitcoms portraying Hulk, Cap'n. Lou, Andre etc. as 'regular guys' bumbling their way through everyday life or capturing the bad guys through dumb luck. This fondly recalls the original (1970-71) H-B HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS. A very amusing running gag has mike-wielding Mean Gene popping up unexpectedly during a climatic chase scene to 'describe the action'. Early voice work from virtuosos Brad Garrett and Charlie Adler (as Hogan and Rowdy Roddy respectively). Avoided annoying DIC trademarks of grating synthesized Levy/Saban score (employing an unplifting heavy rock background score instead) and murky anime style. Heavy use of 'H-B SFX', common to early DIC productions, helped retain a nice lighthearted feel.

    YOGI'S TREASURE HUNT (H-B, 1985-87): At first appearance, two tired H-B genres blended together: Comedy/mystery/quest blended with a Combined Classic Character reunion. But the mistakes of 1973's YOGI'S GANG (overt moralizing, alleged social commentary, laugh track) were thankfully shelved in favor of some very clever, satircal writing that skewered both the conventions of the format and the beloved characters- who retained their original personalities. Merging relatively modern creations Dastardly and Muttley as villians pitted against the earliest H-B menagerie (and a welcome return of Snooper & Blabber, whose appearances in LAFF-A-LYMPICS were sadly limited) seemed jarring at first. Lots of funny throwaway lines and gags: Boo-Boo confiding in the camera that "Yogi's rhymes are really starting to get on my nerves"; D & M brainwashing the others to endlessly chant the theme of their starring series ("Stop the pigeon- stop the pigeon-"); an entire episode laid as a 60 MINUTES spoof with a cranky commentator correctly observing that when the writers are stuck, they throw in an extraneous chase scene. Many future writers from TINY TOONS & ANIMANIACS, such as Tom Ruegger, Earl Kress, Charles Howell IV and Gordon Bressack cut their teeth here. (Another, less endearing trait carried over to those two series was the dreaded 'cameoitis', quick appearances from such external H-B characters as Ricochet Rabbit, Maw Rugg, Peter Potamus, Baba Looey, Yakky and Chopper designed to elicit a knowing chuckle from boomer generation viewers.)

    13 GHOSTS OF SCOOBY-DOO (H-B, 1985): Heavily villified by animation buffs and sited as the series that killed the franchise. But it's probably my favorite permutation despite the horribly annoying Flim-Flam, the only one who could possibly make Scrappy seem sympathetic. The return to full half-hour episodes allowed tighter, more effective storytelling, as did the introduction of real supernatural creatures- not just a guy in a facial expression-changing mask. There was both genuine scariness (very well-designed guest monsters) and hilariously ironic writing with just the right amount of fourth-wall breaking, again from Ruegger & Co. (A scene with a fire-breathing dragon being 'interrupted' by an objecting parent group advocate is classic!) And let us not forget the participation of Vincent Price, who plays his often ludicrous dialogue entirely straight. The animation budget seems to have been increased in this case which, along with the compelling stories, gave the series an almost movie feel. A welcome return of long-lost H-B icon Howard Morris.

    POUND PUPPIES (H-B, 1986-87): Oh no, not another toy-based/'cute character' cartoon! And it wasn't, at least not the first season's 13 full half-hour episodes. Also from Ruegger & Co., more great- and intelligent- writing incorporating full-blown parodies of NORTH BY NORTHWEST (with "Mount Muttmore"s' head being composed of top H-B dogs Huck, Scooby, Muttley and Augie), CASABLANCA (grainy B&W imaging when necessary) and the overall James Bond mileu (complete with a more-or-less straight version of the classic "Secret Agent Man"). The villianness is an obvious Joan Crawford/Faye Dunaway parody (by the great Pat Carroll), the 'top dog' a Fonzie characeture, and young Whopper an offshoot of Jon Lovitz' compulsive liar personna- all elements that would certainly go over young viewers' heads. You also have to love how schizophrenic Howler, accused of petty theft, does a quick Nixon ("I am not a crook!") imitation. Alas, the second season of originals (two 11-minute shorts per half-hour) dumbed down the series to make it appealing to three-year olds. Worse, the characters were largely redesigned and rewritten- most blatantly, chien fatale Nosemarie was changed from what seemed like an imitation of seductive Blanche on THE GOLDEN GIRLS to an apron-wearing Mother Figure. (ABC similarly emasculated REAL GHOSTBUSTERS and FLINTSTONE KIDS when both series were rewarded with second seasons in 1987.)

    Others in this thread have mentioned GALAXY HIGH, ED GRIMLEY and (I think) GARFIELD, so I'll only say that I loved them as well. Even the first season of MUPPET BABIES, a series I'd be dead embarrassed to be caught watching, was rather clever and original.
     
  7. Steve Carras

    Steve Carras SUGAR RUSH!!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2002
    Messages:
    4,120
    Likes Received:
    0
    I liked TROLLKINS, the 80s JETSONS [which John Kricfalusi, whose touch is purty evident there,worked on] and the KWICKY KOALA SHOW. The YOIG'S TREASURE HUNT series tohugh didn't feel that Baba Looey was politically correct enough for TV,though..:)

    As for TROLLKINS, I enjoyed stuff from Jeff Scott like Blitz (LAUGH IN writer Steven Spears) asking for a deli sandwich of hamburger but.. "hold the mayo"--then the waiter doing JUST THAT-hold the mayo, then splashing it with the trademasrk H-B sound effect on the burgert. Jennifer Darling,Paul Winchell and Alan Oppenheimer were among ther others.

    THE JETSONS [1985-186;then a few more for 1987-188 coniciding with the Judy Jetson movie*] had John Kricfalusi trying to pout his touch iunto the show whichmanaged to have Gero. O'Hanon, Penny Singleton,etc.from the 1962-1963 original; in the new show., *ROCKIN'WITH JUDY JHETSON,starring original voice Jante Waldo as Judy (with BJ Ward singing for her) before the dreaded 1990 "(singer) TIffany as Judy" Fiasco that was JETSONS THE MOVIE]

    The POUND PUPPIES were from time time quite funny until the 1987 seaosn yoiu mention--the mystical Q-5 braintrust at work0--Bright eyes anotherr female LB puppy was horribly cutened..Thanks to a entitty called Q-5., who did the same that Howard Fein above mentioned happened to the GHOSTBUSTERS---and different voice cast for them (whereas the LB pups, as I'll call them, retained their respective voices.) Interestingly, the voice of the little girl who ran their LB, :))) Holly, was by PUNKY BRESTER snoot Ame (sic0 Foster, and Dan Gilvezan (sp) did a Marty Ingles/Beegly Beege (as iN GRAPE APE) soudning dog for the leader of the dogs, Cooler..Ron pallio did his Horshacking Sandra Bullock in 2000's MISS CONGENIALITY does a little Pallio-isam, grunting here and there).
     
    #27 Steve Carras, Nov 22, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2004
  8. Matthew Hunter

    Matthew Hunter Super Genius

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2001
    Messages:
    6,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats. I haven't seen this show in years, but I used to just love it. The Heathcliff segments were great, and I thought the supporting segments with the junkyard cats were even better. I think it was one of Mel Blanc's last projects, he played Heathcliff.
     
  9. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    21,025
    Likes Received:
    141
    Shame on ALL of you for leaving out Mighty Mouse The New Adventures. I will also second Ed Grimley and the Gummi Bears.

    By the way what WAS Meatballs and Spagetti?

    I was never into this show but I remember a line from it that stuck to me to this day. The villian had something very special in his possession and he said it was so special because "My Grandmother sold me it on her deathbed."

    If only there were more lines like that in eighties cartoons.
     
  10. tedcassidy

    tedcassidy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    0
    My favorite forgotten cartoon from the 1980's was a Rankin Bass toon called "Tigersharks." It was part of a show called the Comic Strip that came out in about 1986 or 87. Anyway, It was an underwater version of their other superhero series Thundercats, and Silverhawks. The main thing I liked about Tigersharks was the character design for "Mako" (shark man), "T-Ray" (manta ray man, and a main villian), and "Octavia" (a cool looking octopus woman). There were several other interesting looking characters as well, and they were all designed by a guy named Michael Germakian. I would love to see some company do high quality maquettes of these cool looking characters.....
     
  11. Terri

    Terri Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    0
    Meatballs and Spagetti was about a rock band an their adventures. Correct if I am wrong but the main characters were married and there was a third person in the group. It was a petty good show that aired in the early 80's
     
  12. nweathington

    nweathington New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gummi Bears was good. The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse was better — I loved the Bat-Bat episode. But the two Alf cartoons — Alf and Alf Tales, if memory serves — were hysterical! I never was a fan of the Alf prime time sitcom, but these cartoons were brilliant, especially Alf Tales. I keep hoping they put these on DVD someday. I'd buy them in a heartbeat.
     
  13. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    21,025
    Likes Received:
    141
    Ah yes. Bat-Bat and the Bug Wonder by night Bruce Vein and his faithful ward Tick by day. I love their butler Belfry. Always serving croissants. But they were no good without butter.

    Bat-Bat: "Butter becomes weightless? Raymond Burr must be in orbit by now."
     
  14. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    21,025
    Likes Received:
    141
    I liked that cartoon if only because it had a story arc. The fish guy sidekick lost his father in the premeire and was reunited with him in the last episode.
     
  15. Gary L Thompson

    Gary L Thompson Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    3,652
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd have to say "Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers" certainly have to be the most underrated series from that decade, it was clearly ahead of its time. Hopefully the recent video release will acquaint a new generation with the charms of this series.

    And yes, "Galaxy High" should have gone on longer, with all the dreck on SatAM, you wonder why the few quality ones had such a tough time staying alive.

    I saw a few episodes of "Bravestarr", it wasn't that bad a show, but had the bad luck of coming along when Filmation was in its death throes.

    I don't think shows like "Mighty Mouse Adventures" and "Beany and Cecil" lampooned the originals anywhere near as well as "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" (also about the only "kid" version of classic cartoons to work superbly).

    I remember "Mighty Orbots" relieving the pain of "Voltron" deprivation somewhat. With CN's ownership of the HB library, and its good relationship with Sunrise/Bandai, I wonder why we don't see this show pop up there from time to time.

    "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs" was World Event's followup to "Voltron", didn't acheive the same success though it probably deserved to.

    I have yet to see "Yogi's Treasure Hunt" to this day, and frankly from Fein's description, I'm wondering why. HB released Yogi Bear back into syndication a few years ago, supplementing the original cartoons with "Yogi's Ark" and a much later SatAM series which I've forgotten the name of. While I agree from my current-day viewing of "Yogi's Ark" that it was ruined by too-blatant moralizing, it at least retained the creative energy of 1960s HB. The later series, featuring Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear with the stereotypical HB boss from hell and cowardly sidekick, all performing custodial duties on a space port, stood out terribly with the earlier episodes, because it was clear that the creative juices had run totally dry at HB during the time it was made (it must have stood out terribly to other viewers as well, because the show was quickly yanked). Why did HB choose to put that show into syndication, when it had available "Yogi's Treasure Hunt", which at least has some signs of effort put into it?

    The "Jetsons" stands alone as a successful continuation of a 1960s HB classic.

    "Wildfire" was a great fantasy that stood out above the SatAM dreck. I would love to see this show remade as an anime, retaining the identical characters and storylines, but without the limitations of SatAM TV.

    It would seem odd to mention "Garfield" in this thread, which was wildly popular at the time, but I guess the excellence of this series is starting to fade from memory. (The highlight of the series was an episode in which Garfield and Nermal fled from radioactive mutant guppies, capped by a brief cameo by the U.S. Acres crew, fleeing from the guppies bursting out of the well. After a moment of roaring and growling, the guppies stopped and looked at each other, and one suggested they head over to Muppet Babies!)

    Incidentally, the premise of "Muppet Babies" had absolutely no chance of working. They made it work anyway.


    I have some others of my own:

    "JEM". Criminally underrated. The songs were actually memorable, and there were actually some intriguing character arcs developing in the final season.

    "Pole Position". A SatAM show that I think was actually much better than DIC's overrated "Inspector Gadget".

    "Popeye". OK, the HB series didn't measure up to Fleisher. But it was more consistent than the 1960s King Features, and might have even bettered the Future cartoons.

    "Batman". OK, nowhere in the same solar system with the WB efforts. But for its time, Filmation did a pretty good job with its 1980s series (as it had done in the 1960s).
     
  16. Jon T

    Jon T Friendless Spidey

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Messages:
    1,708
    Likes Received:
    11
    Centurions (1986) - Some very neat science-fiction ideas in this series, including orbital elevators, virtual reality/cyberpunk concepts and lunar mass drivers. Not to mention some likeable lead characters and superb animation (at times) from Sunrise. It also helped that the episodes were written by the usual experienced suspects of many other 1980s animated shows.

    It's a pity Boomerang/Cartoon Network UK have only shown the series on very rare occasions compared to its many broadcasts in the US, as from what I gather, the show was slightly more successful in the UK. Oh well...
     
  17. Chris Wood

    Chris Wood Desslar

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2002
    Messages:
    14,332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mighty Orbots wasn't bad. I love the theme song, and the animation was sharp. I hated Voltron though. Same story day in and day out.

    Why was there a sudden explosion of scifi cowboy cartoons in 1986-87? You had Bravestarr, Galaxy Rangers, and Saber Riders all at once. Weird.

    I enjoyed Pole Position, but better than Gadget?? I can't quite swallow that.

    Urgh, I couldn't stomach much of that show or any of the other HB updates of classic shows - Flinstones, Tom & Jerry, Mighty Mouse, etc.

    There was Batman cartoon in the 80s??? I thought that was late 70s.
     
  18. Planeteer

    Planeteer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2004
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mighty Orbots had one of the freakiest villains in Umbra. I mean, a giant, disembodied head with five eyes isn't your average villain. I think he was really one of H.P. Lovecraft's Old Ones.

    You know that scene at the beginning of some shows where Umbra's head seems to swallow up the Earth? I used to have nightmares about that.
     
  19. Gary L Thompson

    Gary L Thompson Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    3,652
    Likes Received:
    0
    I never thought of that, but you're right, I guess it is sort of odd.

    I did like Voltron a lot, because I much prefer a "Popeye"-style eucatastrophe to having a fight drag on episode-after-episode "Dragonball Z" style. However, I preferred the vehicle team because it had a much stronger storyline in between the battles, plus they would occasionally play with the climax (like a couple standoffs between the Galaxy Alliance and Drull forces ending peacefully, or like the episode where the Voltron force just sat helplessly while Earth was under full-scale invasion).


    I'm not denying "Inspector Gadget" had a number of strengths. The designs were great, it had a great theme and musical score in general, it had winsome characters and a great villain, and it had a superb voice cast headed by the immortal Don Adams. There was just one problem--it wasn't very funny. Not compared to "Get Smart", but even to the other jewel in Don Adam's resume--"Tennessee Tuxedo and his Tales". The humor just seemed to limp along, I always got the sense that the scriptwriter was jabbing me in the side and saying, "Hah, hah, wasn't that funny?" For examples of adventure shows with some real belly laughs, try watching a half hour of "Kim Possible". Or "Freakazoid". Or "Samurai Pizza Cats".

    While "Pole Position" wasn't that funny either, it wasn't trying to be. What it did have were some nice designs, decent sound track, and one very winsome family with more heart than an entire season of new "Hot Wheels" episodes (I'm not talking about the 1960s show).

    Actually, I think "Mighty Mouse" was handled by Filmation and Ralph Bakashi, but I pretty much agree with you on HB's poor handling of old classic properties. However, I think "Popeye" on balance was an exception, despite some inept efforts like "Dinky Dog" and "Popeye and Son". But the actual HB "Popeye" cartoons are pretty watchable, which can't be said for all of the 1960s King Features efforts (they actually turned out near classics, but they also turned out some of the undeniably worst "Popeye" cartoons of all time).

    Woops. I would have sworn the cartoon was contemporary with "He-Man", but looking it up, you're right. (I also neglected to mention that Ruby Spear's "Superman" show, while again not as good as the WB efforts a decade later, was a pretty good show for its time).
     
  20. Tea

    Tea >:D

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Messages:
    2,040
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gotta agree with you there. The only thing I found on this show was the intro and it made me wish I could find episodes of it.
    http://www.feldermusic.com/galaxy.html

    I would like to say Jem is underrated, but I got the DVD boxset.. :sweat: The original Strawberry Shortcake may have spawned a second series and merchandise, but I can't find any of the original episodes on DVD. :shrug:
     

Share This Page

  • Find Toonzone on Facebook

  • Toonzone News

  • Site Updates

    Upcoming Premieres

  • Toonzone Fan Sites


Tac Anti Spam from Surrey Forum