[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

The Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon that debuted at 9:30 on CBS in 1983 was a historically significant milestone for Saturday Mornings on many levels, and I hope I can keep my thoughts collected/organized enough to convey the importance of this cartoon to you.

First of all, it was a milestone for the team at Marvel Productions. Since their inception just over a year ago, their cartoons fell in to two categories - Marvel Super Heroes, and Hanna-Barbera Rejects. When they made animation for established Marvel super-hero properties it was a huge hit, but when they tried to make original stuff like the other big names of Saturday Mornings we got forgettable stuff like "Pandamonium" and "Spaghetti & Meatballs". Dungeons & Dragons was their first non-comics property to become a HIT, consistently winning in the ratings for it's time slot for its first two seasons against shows such as Pac-Man and The Smurfs!

Second, it was a milestone in Voice Acting. This show had a star-studded cast full of folks who were actually on prime-time television shows at the time! Willy Ames from "Charles In Charge" (as well as movies and other TV shows at the time), Donny Most ("Ralph Mouf" from Happy Days) and Adam Rich (from "Eight Is Enough"), all considered to be "real actors", provided lead character voices for this show (Hank, Eric and Presto). Unlike other celebrity voice acting in cartoons, this was a real novelty to have professional actors providing voices for characters that they didn't already play on another show - the cast from Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy provided the voices for their animated counterparts, but never for original characters like this.

Third, it was the first (and as far as I have been able to tell, the ONLY) cartoon that the National Coalition on Television Violence (BOOO! HISS!) demanded that the FTC run a warning during each broadcast stating that "Dungeons & Dragons had been linked to real-life violent deaths". Their demand was ignored, but it had the effect of many scripts never even making it to the storyboard stage. As a result, the orders for new episodes each season kept dwindling - 13 episodes the first season, 8 for the second season, 6 for the third season. Basically, they starved the audience away :(

Fourth, this show had one of the best legends of all the Saturday Morning Cartoons, namely a fabled FINAL EPISODE that never aired but many kids SWORE they had seen it. The final un-produced episode would have revealed that the latter is Dungeon Master's corrupted son, and would have explained that the children were brought into the realm to help redeem Venger and restore balance. Want to read it? It's right here AND they even made an audio play of it for the deluxe DVD release of the full series so go pick that up if you're interested!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

I know so very little about this series! Looks like "Tenacious D: The Animated Series" to me. Yet another of the Marvel Productions attempts at a traditional Hanna-Barbera / Filmation action/comedy, The series centered on Meatballs & Spaghetti, a husband-and-wife singing duo who roamed the country in a mobile home with their friend Clyde (who was the bassist), and their dog Woofer (who was their drummer).

I have never seen an episode of this show... anybody care to share any thoughts about it?

Debuted in the 11:30 time slot of 1982, moved to 9am in the Spring of 1983, and then was *gone*.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

1982 was the second season of the hit NBC cartoon Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends only NOW it was joined by a second popular Marvel Comic character, THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

The Incredible Hulk is basically the story of a careless scientist with rage issues.

But the COOL PART of this serie was the narrations by my close personal friend STAN (THE MAN) LEE!


They even had good ol' Stan go back and record word-for-word narrations of the first season episodes (which had been narrated by Dick Tufeld) so that the series seemed cohesive. These narrations (for the first and second season) are unfortunately not on the current masters. They have not aired since the NBC airings :(
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

In 1982, CBS gave the Saturday Morning 11:00 time slot to a show called "Pandamonium", which was the new Marvel Productions team's first attempt at an original Hanna-Barbera-style Saturday Morning Cartoon.

The show had a pretty complicated set-up, but easy-to-follow episodes. When an evil alien named Mondraggor tried to steal The Pyramid of Power (an ancient artifact thingee with untold power and whatnot), the pyramid shattered into many pieces, which scattered around the world. Each week, Mondraggor would race against the brother/sister team of Peter and Peggy Darrow, and three talking pandas named Chesty, Timothy, and Algernon, who were irradiated by the Pyramid's magic. The three of them could come together Voltron-style to form Poppapanda, a being with supernatural power.

Over the course of their 13 episodes, the team of good guys found most (but not all) of the pieces of the pyramid and the show was cancelled before there could be any kind of resolution :(

(Also aired at 8:30 starting in the Spring of 1983)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Starting at 10:30 Saturday morning on NBC in 1981, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends debuted. It followed the adventures of Spider-Man, Iceman and Firestar as they fought crime in New York while also occasionally I don't think I've ever met a person over the age of 30 who hasn't seen this show and has at least one favorite episode :) What most people *don't* know is that it was the animated world's first (and possibly only?) *sequel*.

It all started in 1978, with the DePatie-Freleng Studios (founded by two Warner Bros. Cartoons alumni, director/producer Friz Freleng and executive David H. DePatie) producing a few higher-quality Marvel Comics cartoons such as The New Fantastic Four and Spider-Woman (previous incarnations of Marvel characters in cartoon form had been somewhat pathetic in their animation). In 1980 they made a single season of a new Spider-Man cartoon for syndication that was VERY well received. SO WELL RECEIVED, in fact, that it inspired the buy-out of the animation department of DePatie-Freleng and renaming it to MARVEL PRODUCTIONS (the folks who were behind dang near every beloved cartoon of the 80's.

Recognize any of these?
  • Muppet Babies
  • Transformers
  • GI Joe
  • Jem
  • My Little Pony
  • Inhumanoids
  • Fraggle Rock (animated)
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • RoboCop: The Animated Series
  • Dino Riders
  • Defenders Of The Earth

It all started right here, with Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends :) Often teaming with Sunbow Entertainment, these guys pretty much defined 1980's action/adventure animation!

So anywho, about it being a sequel. Unlike other cartoons that change the model sheets from season to season or from series to series in order to keep things unique (see the artistic and design evolution through animated Batman, Justice League, modern Spider-Man shows, etc) and copy-rightable as distinctly different properties, Marvel Productions used the existing model sheets and backgrounds from their syndicated Spider-Man cartoon and added just a few new characters.

This paid off BIG for Marvel Productions in 1984 when they decided to repackage the previous three seasons with the syndicated Spider-Man episodes, instead of making new episodes.

This show had many different incarnations over the course of the 80's, and each on will get their own entry in this community because they had a distinctly different opening title sequence for each one. In one way or another, Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends was on Saturday Morning TV all the way through 1986.


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1980's Saturday Morning Historical Preservation Society

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