The 80’s had entertainment value for days… heck, a decade! Saturday morning cartoons were appointment TV then and some of these lesser known gems were fascinating! Let’s get into some trivia about just what you may have loved.
1. In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon series, Casey Jones never removes his hockey mask despite the fact he is seen without it in the future films.
2. Denver, The Last Dinosaur was a series that ran for two years and was produced originally for French-Canadian & American television but was distributed during the larger Dinosaur boom of the late 80’s. It was one of my favorites, so I was stoked to see it for a reboot just last year! It was all about ecology and conservation efforts that were easy enough for kids to take part in.
3. 1984’s debut of The Snorks was well received despite the fact it was heavily inspired by The Smurfs and made by the same animators and studios. Animation cells and stories were recycled quite often and in some episodes, the same music score could be heard. I loved Smurfs more, so I’m not surprised!
4. It’s Punky Brewster was an animated series that was based on the character that NBC had as a major hit in the mid-80’s. It kept all of the main actors from the original show as voice actors for the cartoon and, though it’s considered to have It’s before the title, that actually never shows on the title card for the cartoon and was more or less used to not confuse people between the live-action and animated series.
5. Thundercats’ theme song had some help from James Lipton, of Inside the Actors Studio, in the way of composing. That’s going to make all those James Lipton stories even more peculiar, right?
6. One theatrical animated film in 1985 would end up making Disney nearly buckle when they saw the numbers it brought in at the box office in comparison to their feature film The Black Cauldron. The Black Cauldron had cost Disney 44 million to make but barely even earned half that in theaters while its competition had a budget of 2 million and made 25 in profit. That hard-hitting cartoon feature? The Care Bears Movie.
7. One of Tara Strong (of The Powerpuff Girls fame)’s first roles was in Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theater back in 1987!
8. The Chipmunk Adventure animated movie, based on Alvin and the Chipmunks’ television show, missed its theatrical debut four times before finally reaching audiences. A lot of places cite problems with licensing and others with releasing music to be used in the film. The timetables getting pushed back nudged the budget up almost astronomically for an animated movie in the 80’s. However, they more than recouped their losses thanks to an almost fanatical following once it came out on VHS.
9. The final episode to the animated Dungeons & Dragons series was never produced but its script can be found in special edition DVD sets. It aired all episodes on Saturday morning television save for that final episode, which executives at the network halted to start in on a new animated series.
10. Inspector Gadget was the first animated television series to be produced and aired in full stereo sound.