With the Super Mario videogames proving so popular, it was inevitable that Mario would sooner or later receive his own animated TV show, and sure enough in 1989 it happened. In actual fact he had more than one show, but the one I remember most was the Super Mario Bros Super Show.
As I recall it was shown in the UK at the end of TV-am at the weekends (though I might be wrong about that) and it was kind of unusual for a cartoon show because it also featured a couple of live action sections at the beginning and the end.
The cartoon itself was pretty much what you would expect, with Mario and Luigi having to rescue Peach from Bowser in many episodes, all set for the most part in a version of the Mushroom Kingdom not dissimilar to that from the games.
The live action section is what I remember most about the show though, if only because it was cheesier than a 12 pound chunk of cheddar. It featured Mario and Luigi running their plumbing business in Brooklyn, and was basically a bunch of corny sketches which normally bore little in the way of links to the cartoon segment.
Mario was played by ex-wrestler “Captain” Lou Albano whilst Luigi was portrayed by Danny Wells. Both were dressed like their videogame counterparts and it has to be said that Lou Albano was actually a pretty good match for Mario. As well as looning about in the sketches the pair also provided the voices for the characters in the cartoon, so at least there was some continuity there.
The absolute funniest thing about the show though was the end titles. These involved Mr. Albano “Doing the Mario”, which consisted of him swinging his arms about and generally just jigging around a bit. Indeed, the dance was so terrible that the producers quite rightly decided to take the emphasis off it a little by making Mario pop up in different places on a hand drawn desert background.
What I find most hilarious about it though is that after going to the effort of making Mario appear in different places on the screen, they couldn’t just edit out the very last bit where he goes for a Broadway style “ta-da” finish, and obviously loses his balance and stumbles forward a step. Check it out below, right at the end. Oh, and to really rub salt in the wounds the production company was called DIC, and their little ident at the end has a little kid saying “DIC”, which sounds more like they are passing on judgement on what they think about Mario’s dance…