Cartoons of my childhood (the 80s)


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There’s almost nothing better than reminiscing over one’s childhood and remembering all the cartoons that we were brought up on, especially the ones that made us into the strapping men and caring women that we are today.

There are also no cartoons better than the hand-crafted animations of the 80s, which make today’s cartoons look rather crappy by comparison. The following make me slip into a nostalgic state and give me the urge to run around the garden naked climbing trees again. What? That’s not weird. It’s called my “inner-child” – eveyone has it… don’t they?

Gummi bears

They are the Gummi Bears

Gummi Bears has got to be one of the most popular cartoons of its time. People at varsity were constantly downloading episodes during exams. It also has one of the most loved theme songs ever – I’ve heard it in ring-tones. What we would have given for a pint of that drug concoction known as ‘gummi berry juice.’

Ducktales

Ducktales, whoohoo

Who ever thought ducks could be cool and more appealing on a television set than on a dinner plate. Huey, Dewey and Louie were the coolest kids on the block (Duckberg). They had a stinking rich uncle, Scrooge, and the coolest pilot ever, Launchpad, who were always taking them on wild adventures.

Chip n Dale

Chip n Dale

Who can forget the lovable chip-monks Chip n Dale – Rescue Rangers? Chip was the smart sleuth that we all aspired to as kids, while his doff sidekick, Dale, reminded us of our best friend in Junior school. That gadget-oriented female, (Gadget?), was a quite a looker too my mouse standards.

Pinky and the Brain

Pinky and the Brain“Wha we gonna do tonight Brain?”

“The same thing we do every night Pinky… try to take over the world!”

One of my personal favourites. Pinky and the Brain – the two mutated lab mice who were set on world domination. This made up a significant part of my childhood and persona, and I can still impress girls today by singing the theme song by memory.

The smurfsLet's smurf

I’m sure we all remember those little blue creatures called smurfs with all their hidden sexual innuendos. I’m also certain that we were all equally convinced that they lived somewhere in our enchanted back-yards. A little weird by today’s standards methinks, but brings back some fantastical memories nonetheless.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesHeroes in a half-shell - turtle power!

And who can forget these guys? The heroes in a half-shell were every boy’s role-model. I was a huge fan – my favourite turtle being the pizza-loving Michelangelo (orange one). My brother’s favourite was Donnatello (purple) – the sharp, computer-literate one. I remember the day we sat on Santa’s lap for the first time and he bestowed upon us Ninja Turtle outfits as Christmas presents. Mine was a Michelangelo one; my brother’s – Donnatello. I have believed in Santa Claus ever since.

Tintin

Tintin

I’m still not quite sure what my fascination was with the weird Belgian cartoon Tintin, but I remember waking up at 7am every Sunday morning and running to the couch with a duvet to catch Tintin and his somewhat annoying dog Snowy in an adventure. Perhaps I secreted wanted to be a reporter when I grew up… Nonetheless, the cartoon has a great 1930s European feel to it and is still great to watch today.

Don’t you feel all those youthful, care-free energies coming back to you? What joy! I thought this would be great 100th post…

Okay, back to work now…

Happy Friday! 🙂

8 responses to “Cartoons of my childhood (the 80s)

  1. It all started for me with an addiction to Bugs Bunny, and to all the rest of those wonderful left-field Warner Brothers cartoons of the 1950s: Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Pepé Le Pew, and Daffy Duck, Daffy always playing a Hollywood B-list try-hard, anything from a desperately incompetent Robin Hood to ‘Duck Dodgers … in the 24th and a half cent-ury!’

    That cartoon, just for example, was visually magnificent. It begins with Duck Dodgers entering Space HQ on a moving walkway, which draws him beneath a gigantic ‘all-seeing eye’. This sinister object, to which Dodgers seems oblivious as it tracks him, has nothing to do with the cartoon’s plot at all; it’s simply there. It has also long since been regarded by film critics as serious art.

    Our parents enforced strict limitations on the amount of afternoon telly we watched. If they’d ever realised what a marvellous education these shows were, what Heaven-sent stimulus they were for our budding brains, they would have done precisely the opposite. To them, cartoons were just trash TV, empty fodder for kids only and something they shouldn’t watch too much of. “Should be outside playing cricket,” Dad would say, or “actually do yourself some good by reading a book.”

    They never understood that a lot of these cartoons were adult-level comedies, and here we were as children directly benefiting from them. I think it was one of the creators of Sesame Street who said that the best way to educate children and the deliberate approach of that show was to talk slightly above the kids’ heads, causing them to make the step up, thereby raising their own cultural competence over time. I believe this was precisely what we got out of the high-quality afternoon TV during the seventies. If only our parents had known…

    From the Road Runner Show, for example, we were introduced to one of the cornerstones of human intelligence: a sense of irony. It was only years later when at university and studying film that I read Road Runner’s creator, Chuck Jones, confirming that, yes indeed, The Coyote had discovered Archimedes’ Principle for himself, yet with an ironic twist; namely, that if he had a fulcrum and a lever long enough, he could make the Earth fall on himself. Jones had consciously created Coyote as a parody of the human figure doomed by the ‘Curse of Knowledge’. Yes, each one of his cause-and-effect schemes to ensnare the Road Runner was immaculately reasoned and worked out on paper, yet it was his very ‘human’ rationality that brought him unstuck each time, by contrast to the Road Runner, who was merely instinctive. It was superb social satire.

    We were even introduced to the notion of the ‘fanatic’, the Coyote having initially chased the Road Runner as he was actually hungry, only to lose sight of the end for the means. He’d started out with a knife and fork, these becoming discarded for his endless ‘ACME’ gadgets, until he became nothing but the ultimate consumer, the mail order ACME junkie.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such an insightful comment 🙂

    It actually amazing to think how much thought is (or at least used to) go into creating children’s stories and programmes. Grown-ups forget how impressionable children are and how the stories and cartoons they are brought-up on will actually affect them.

    I remember my folks often watching my brother’s and my favourite cartoons with us. There were rarely times when they said, “this is absolute garbage” but would gently let us know when something had a brain-dead nature.

    If at all possible, find and watch the cartoons you loved as a child. You will be amazed at the perspective you will have gained…

  3. Thank you, Galen.

    Glad to contribute.

    Justin Sheedy

  4. I used to love duck tales. Definitely if u didnt grow up in the 80s, u missed a lot. Thanks for the memories.

  5. Well, firstly, you have left out the best cartoon of them all – Bravestarr. Bravestarr was the daddy of all cartoons in our youth. There was nothing he couldn’t do. Another favourite of mine was Alvin and the Chipmunks (though to this day I have no idea how Alvin ended up with top billing within this trio). Agree with you on the DuckTales call, but also their spin off ‘Dark Wing Duck’. TaleSpin was itself a class production, with Lauchpad McDuck of Duck Tales fame originally cited to play the lead, but contractual disputes meant that Baloo stepped into this role (I may have made that all up).

    On the note of Bravestarr – I recently wrote to Pat Fraley, the voice of Bravestarr, and the legend actually wrote back. No word on what happended to his sidekick, 30-30, though I believe he has retired to a stable somewhere in northern Ohio.

  6. Good times man, good times. I also loved the Visionaries and Gargoyles.

  7. Thanks onelargeprawn. Lol 😀

  8. The creators of old school cartoons knew how to use weird to get us to learn. My favorites were the wonderfull world of strawberry shortcake, muppet babies, smurfs, alvin and the chipmunks, barbie and the rockers, my little ponies and the singing rasins (I forget name of their show). I am sure I liked a few more but these stick out because they were my favourites.

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