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Archive for the ‘TV – Cartoons’ Category

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Telebugs

Posted by Big Boo on January 11th, 2012

TelebugsThe Telebugs was a cartoon shown as part of the after school children’s programming on ITV. It was about a group of three flying robots who would come to the aid of people in distress, and because they were also kitted out with microphones and cameras would double up as TV news reporters, reporting back on their own daring rescue missions! Not a bad idea really, a good way of making your life as a superhero pay for itself!

All three Telebugs looked somewhat similar, with sleek curved bodies and a television screen for a head. They differed in size and colour. CHIP (Coordinated Hexadecimal Information Processor) was the notional leader, and was the tallest and white in colour. SAMANTHA (Solar Activated Micro Automated Non-inTerference Hearing Apparatus) was yellow and, being a girl had a red ribbon moulded to the top of her head (in so far as a robot can be called female anyway).

The smallest Telebug was called BUG (Binary Unmanned Gamma camera) and he was red in colour, and was, I suppose given his name, the cameraman of the group. He also had a pet named MIC (Mobile Independent Camera) who flew alongside him and helped in filming duties.

The Telebugs travelled around by flying. Instead of legs they had booster rockets, which enabled them to both hover in place and fly off to the rescue of some poor hapless civilian.

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Yogi’s Treasure Hunt

Posted by Big Boo on November 14th, 2011

Yogi's Treasure HuntThe cartoons of Hanna Barbera had a distinct influence on me as I was growing up, though I have to say mainly through their older work. I loved Scooby Doo (before it was ruined by the addition of he-who-shall-not-be-named), Top Cat and The Flintstones, and I was also very keen on most of their shorter cartoons, featuring characters such as Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.

Most of these cartoons had been made in the Sixties, but they were still regularly being shown on kids TV as I was growing up, such was their enduring appeal. What better then than a cartoon that brought many of these great characters together?

The result was Yogi’s Treasure Hunt, which featured Yogi, Boo Boo, Top Cat, Huckleberry Hound, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Snagglepuss and more. It also featured my favourite ever cartoon villains Dastardly and Muttley from Wacky Races and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (better known, albeit wrongly, as Stop the Pigeon due to the theme song).

A quick aside about Wacky Races. Dastardly and Muttley always tried to prevent the other competitors in the race from winning by planting traps on the course for them. However, given that the courses didn’t appear to be lap based in any way, this meant Dastardly and Muttley always had to get in front of the pack to set their surprises. This being the case, and if they really wanted to win, they must have had the fastest car on the track, so why bother with the traps?

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The Raccoons

Posted by Big Boo on September 23rd, 2011

The RaccoonsThe Raccoons was a Canadian cartoon that was shown on the BBC on Saturday mornings (and I’m sure it also occupied the 5.30 time slot before the Beeb started showing Neighbours at that time).

As the name suggests, it was about some Raccoons! They lived in a place called the Evergreen Forest, and the show primarily followed the fun loving and mischief making (though never in a bad way) Bert Raccoon. There to keep him out of too much trouble were his good friends Ralph and Melissa (also Raccoons), who were also husband and wife.

Between them the trio ran a newspaper called The Evergreen Standard, with Ralph as editor, Bert as reporter and Melissa the photographer. The newspaper was very important to the inhabitants of the Evergreen Forest as it helped thwart the plans of the nasty Cyril Sneer.

Cyril Sneer was a tycoon who was always trying to find some way to make a profit, and this usually involved the forest being threatened as part of his schemes. Cyril was an aardvark who was pink in colour and had a nose that looked something like a water tap. He was usually seen chomping on a half smoked cigar.

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Gobots

Posted by Big Boo on September 5th, 2011

GobotsWhen you think of mighty warrior robots that can transform into vehicles (and other things) most people would immediately think of the Transformers range. There’s no doubt that this brand captured the market, spreading from toys to cartoons to videogames to Hollywood movies. However, there were another set of contenders for the robot toy crown, and they were the Gobots.

Gobots actually started life in Japan (where else) as the Machine Robo series of toys, slightly before the Transformers even came into existence. In 1983 western toy manufacturer Tonka licensed the toys for the US market, and renamed them Gobots in the process.

Sales of the toys were initially very good, as the concept resonated with many a young lad. However, when Hasbro launched Transformers the Gobots suffered. This can be attributed to many things, but ultimately the Transformers toys were just a whole lot cooler. The Transformers looked more robotic an futuristic in many cases that their Gobot cousins, and they had better names too. Where the Transformers had Optimus Prime and Starscream, Gobots had Scooter and Tank (no prizes for guessing what they transformed into).

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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The Wuzzles

Posted by Big Boo on June 24th, 2011

The WuzzlesThe Wuzzles was an animated series made by Disney in 1985, and given it only managed to notch up a single series of 13 episodes obviously was at the back of the queue when the usually Disney magic sparkle dust of success was being handed out.

It first aired at around the same time as Gummi Bears, another series aimed at a similar target demographic. The Gummi’s managed to do a little better for themselves that The Wuzzles, but only slightly.

So what on Earth is a Wuzzle then? Well, a Wuzzle is a creature that is a mix of two regular animals. For example there was Bumblelion, who was a mix of a lion and a bumble bee. In appearance he looked pretty much like what you would expect a anthropomorphised cartoon lion to look like, except he also had antennae, wings and a stripy stomach.

Other characters from the Isle of Wuz included Rhinokey (rhino and monkey), Eleroo (elephant and kangaroo), Hoppopotamus (rabbit and hippo) and Butterbear (butterfly and bear). These were all good guys, but of course there has to be bad guys, the main villain being Crock, who was somewhat bizarrely half crocodile and half dinosaur (though which particular dinosaur I don’t know, though I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was a Tyrannosaurus Rex – it usually is).

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The Smurfs

Posted by Big Boo on May 25th, 2011

The SmurfsI think my first encounter with a Smurf wasn’t with the comics or even the cartoon series, but with the little plastic figurines of the Smurfs that were given away as part of a promotion with a petrol garage. Wikipedia claims it was BP, but that’s only partly right. It was actually a chain of garages called National, which admittedly BP happened to own, but as far as the general public was concerned it was National. They even had a little musical slogan “you’ll get service with a Smurf“. Thanks to Kitty’s Cavern for clearing this one up for me.

There obviously wasn’t a National garage close to us though, as I remember we only had a couple of the freebie Smurf toys. My sister had a Smurfette one, and I remember having a Smurf that was black instead of blue. It always puzzled me at the time why he was black, but in this case I have to thank Wikipedia for putting my mind at rest, as the black Smurf was actually a blue Smurf who was bitten by a fly and went a little insane. He was the central plot for one of the Smurf comics.

Before National used Smurfs as a promotional aid though, I had never heard of them, despite the fact they were actually created way back in 1958 by Belgian cartoonist Peyo. Whilst they are known in Belgium as De Smurfen, which is where the English name for them comes from, they were first given a French name, Les Schtroumpfs.

This odd name came from Peyo asking a French friend to pass him the salt at a meal, but he had forgotten what the French word for salt was, so said “pass me the schtroumpf” instead. This led to Peyo and his friend continuing their conversation substituting the word schtroumpf in place of other words, thus inventing the manner in which the Smurfs tend to speak, substituting the word Smurf for other verbs and nouns. Whilst you could normally work out what they were saying from context, “I’m smurfing my smurf to the smurf” could mean anything really.

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Barbapapa

Posted by Big Boo on April 20th, 2011

BarbapapaYou’ll need to be an older Child of the 1980’s to remember this one (i.e. you were actually born in the Seventies), but I’m including it because it was one of those things I have very fond memories of from my childhood, even though those memories are lacking in any real clarity of details. All I really remember is that at the time, I loved it!

Barbapapa was a series of originally French language books, and later a cartoon series (which is how I mainly remember it), created by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor. The first book was published in 1970, whilst the most recent appeared as recently as 2005!

So who is this Barbapapa then? Well, he’s a big pink blob, who’s natural shape appears to be something like a pear. I say natural shape as he has the ability to squish and mould himself into any shape he chooses (a bit like The New Shmoo, another obscure reference for you there).

Whilst something big, pink and amorphous might seem terrifying, Barbapapa was anything but. He was a friendly sort who liked to help out people with problems however he could, which usually meant he would transform himself into some object or other that would prove particularly useful for the situation at hand.

He may well of started off on his own, but it wasn’t long before he got himself a family. First he met Barbamama, a female blob who was jet black in colour, and with curves that suggested a more feminine form. I guess the writers probably regretted their choice of colour for Barbapapa at this point, as pink might have made more sense for a female of the species, but there you go. However along with her shape, she also wore a ring of flowers around the top of her head, to make her look just a little more girl like.

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M.A.S.K.

Posted by Big Boo on April 4th, 2011

M.A.S.KSome cartoon series in the Eighties were notable for being more a glorified TV advert for a range of toys rather than just a piece of children’s entertainment, and M.A.S.K. was no exception to this. This doesn’t mean that the cartoon wasn’t good, indeed far from it, as a poor cartoon is not likely to make kids want the accompanying toys, is it?

M.A.S.K. was a high action cartoon aimed squarely at young boys, and can best be described as a mix between Transformers and Action Force as it featured cool looking vehicles that could transform into even cooler looking vehicles, and a group of highly trained action men and women.

As the dots in the name suggest, M.A.S.K. was an acronym. It stood for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (how Kool is that?) which was an organisation intended to fight crimes that were carried out by the also acronymed group named V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem – so no mistaking them as the bad guys then!).

Both M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. were made up of experts in various different fields, each of which drove their own appropriate vehicle. When the need arose, these special agents could don a special piece of head gear (a mask, see, the acronym works on two levels) and their vehicle would transform itself into something with a bit more oomph, whether that be in speed terms or just extra firepower.

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