I was sat in bed early one Saturday morning watching some children’s programs on television and it immediately struck me how rubbish they were compared to the ones I used to watch as a child. I started thinking about the cartoon heroes I had when I was a small boy and my mind was suddenly overwhelmed with loads of them. This post is dedicated to my favorite five – it might refresh your memory too!
For the record I was born in 1986, so I’m 26 now, therefore the vast majority of these were mid 80’s to mid 90’s. These lot made me the man I am today! 😉
He-Man is claimed to be the ‘most powerful man in the universe’ and I wouldn’t really argue with that. He was actually a prince but then received the power to transform into He-Man by raising his Power Sword and proclaiming, “By the power of Grayskull……I have the power!” (My mum often had to calm me down after impersonating that).
He also had a little cat which was a total coward, Cringer his name was. After He-Man’s transformation Cringer changed into Battle Cat, a brave armoured green tiger (don’t ask). Together they were an immense force to be reckoned with. The main baddie was a bloke called Skeletor, proper bad boy who was skilled in black magic and couldn’t half fight.
It was a great cartoon and was made into a blockbuster movie featuring Dolph Lundgren. Unfortunately I don’t think it did very well and I didn’t particularly enjoy watching it. They have since re-created him in different ways but nothing beats the original.
This was one of my favourites. It certainly wasn’t as popular as some of the others but the sci-fi and western plot really caught my attention.
The main character is a Native American bloke called Marshall BraveStarr, he lives on a planet called New Texas and he can call special powers from animals including
- Eyes of the Hawk – Enhances his vision
- Ears of the Wolf – Gives him super hearing
- Strength of the Bear – Amazingly strong
- Speed of the puma – Super fast
Just reading those aloud makes me excited so as a small child I was bouncing off the walls whilst reenacting the scenes. Whenever he called a power it was a VERY exciting time. He also has a pistol, rifle and some other gadgets.
I’ve always liked the companions of the superheroes, so I always liked tails and sonic, Battle Cat and He-Man and therefore BraveStarr and his horse Thirty Thirty.
Thirty Thirty is a talking horse who can stand on his hind legs, he’s equipped with a massive shotgun. He’s very strong but has a very bad temper and terrible temperament – he was like the Mike Tyson of cartoons, a real loose cannon. It was fairly common for Thirty Thirty to land both himself and BraveStarr in hot water.
There are loads of different characters in this cartoon but the main Baddie was a bloke called Stampede.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT)
TMNT are a team of four turtles, Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo living in New York city. They were trainer by their rat sensei named Splinter. Their main rival is Shredder, a ninjutsu master who is the leader of the notorious Foot Clan and Bebop and Rocksteady.
This cartoon was, quite frankly, brilliant. The history of the turtles and the different characters made a great storyline. It came as no surprise that these pizza eating turtles went on gain worldwide success and fame.
Interestingly when the series initially came to the UK the name was changed to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles as the word “ninja” was deemed a violent word! They went onto to make a few films, the first of which I really enjoyed.
The Thundercats are a group of cat-like alien things from a place called Third earth. Again this series features a lot of characters. The main Thundercats are Lion-O, Panthro, Jaga, Tyra, Cheetara, Snarf, Pumyra and Lynx-O. The fight baddies such as Mumm-Ra jackleman, Red-Eye and Slithe.
The best thing about the film is the sword which I was obsessed with, a few of these cartoons have main exciting bits but this was just immense. It was like a little dagger initially and then when activated it’s like a broadsword that could slice through anything.
It has a round embedded object in the middle called ‘The Eye of Thundera’ which is the source of the Thundercats’ power. When in danger the sword was raised above the head, the battle cry is shouted “Thunder, Thunder, Thunder…ThunderCats – HO!”, and it shoots a symbol into the air which summons and gives power to the Cats.
Mighty Morphin Power rangers
I was a little bit older when this was launched and it was quite possibly my favourite. This series was great as it used real actors and real people as opposed to the cartoons I was used to.
It’s set in a fictional town called Angel Grove. Five teenagers were given the ability to transform into fighting force called the Power Rangers, they are equipped with various weapons in addition to huge machines called Zords. These Zords can all combine together into something called the MegaZord.
Each ranger is a different colour and we started with Red, Black, Blue, Yellow and Pink and Green. A pinnacle moment of Power Rangers which I will never forget was when the white one joined the team and identified himself as the defunct green ranger!
Again power rangers was filled with lots of characters, you had to watch it religiously to keep up. Allies included Zordon and Alpha 5. Baddies included Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd. I watch this as recently as last week as it has gone on way too long now. Disgrace!
Take a watch of a video of them ‘morphin’ here. Total class!
One thing that struck whilst writing this post is just how repetitive these programs were. The interesting thing is that the repetitive bits are the ones that stick in our memories as young children, we could never get tired of He-Man raising his sword, the power rangers Morphin or BraveStarr calling his powers.
I’m obviously biased as these are my childhood memories but how can these compare to the mass produced garbage we see on TV today. It seems as though producers are scared of offending people or thinking outside of the box. Times have obviously changed but Ben 10 versus any of these lot? He wouldn’t stand a chance!
There are tons of other ones that I have remembered since writing this post and I’ve probably forgotten many more. Here they are (in no particular order) :-
- Bananna man – This is 29, Acacia Rd. And this is Eric, the schoolboy who leads an exciting double life. For when Eric eats a banana, an amazing transformation occurs. Eric is Bananaman. Ever alert for the call to action
- Superted – Then from outer space a spotty man brought him to life with his cosmic dust. he took him to a magic cloud where mother nature gave him special powers. That bear became… SUPERTED!
- Bucky O hare – Bucky! Captain Bucky O’Hare!
- Mister T – “I Pity The Fool” that did not watch this cartoon.
- Defenders of the Earth – Defenders of the Earth! (Defenders!) Defenders of the… Earth!”
- Duck Tales
- Inspector Gadget – De de de de de Inspector gadget!
- Akira (manga) – Absolutely crazy cartoon. Loads of violence, sex and hurting children. Brother introduced me to this!
- Fireman Sam and Postman Pat – Both of these are still at large. Pat’s flying round in a bloody helicopter!
- Thomas the Tank Engine –
- Magic Roundabout – A great success and I remember my mum watching it with me too!
- Rainbow – Zippy was a legend.
- Barney the friendly dinosaur – I was a little bit too old to watch this! But I still loved it!