Posts tagged ‘80s cartoons’

Merry BetamaXmas!

BetamaXmas is a fantastic website. It’s possible that it is one of the greatest websites of all time. It appeals to me in every way, not just in concept but in execution.

In case you’re a lazy bastard and didn’t click the link, I will elaborate. Basically, it simulates sitting in a 70s/80s basement and watching Christmas specials on television. The details are fantastic– you can even “adjust” the “rabbit ears”. I’ve been in many a house with fake wood paneling and have sat on plenty of tacky plaid couches and have cuddled up with lots of crocheted afghans. And of course, I have had the experience of having to get the rabbit ears just right. Also, the “channel” seems to change of its own volition, which simulates the experience of watching the tube with dear old Dad, who is, to this very day, obsessed with changing the damn channel at least five times during every show, usually right when a show starts to get interesting.

Oh, here’s a quick tangent: I’d heard of the show Silver Spoons, but had never seen it until I discovered BetamaXmas. So I watched five or six episodes on Hulu. It’s a cute concept and I’m actually pretty impressed with the kid’s acting, but it pushes my schmaltz tolerance a bit so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it through the whole first season, haha. But it’s nowhere near as bad as Full House– so far.

Anyway, this site brings plenty of 80s Christmas Spirit to the holiday table. In fact, I was so filled with it after watching it that I got my husband’s presents out of hiding and wrapped them and stuck them under the tree.

I really don’t know what it is about 80s Christmas commercials that get me in the spirit. Maybe it’s because they’re fuzzy wuzzy and sentimental, and they bring back rosy memories of a time when the most complicated issue I faced was being afraid of the dark.

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I Got Mad Retro Lootz

So I went to my dad’s place the weekend before Christmas to visit my other sister that I hadn’t seen in several years. Since Dad’s a big junk hunter just like me, and there was nothing better to do, we all went and checked out some of the junk shops/antique stores in the small town where he lives. And boy, am I glad I did!

The first place we went didn’t have much that I was interested in, honestly. However, at the place across the street, I scored:

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It’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms II for the NES! Actually, I didn’t buy this for myself. It’s for my husband, who is a huge fan of video games in general, and he likes old games, AND he’s a very loyal follower of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series. So when I saw this for two dollars, I couldn’t resist. I’ve just done a quick eBay search, and this game typically goes for at least twenty bucks!

This place also had a couple of Barbies from the 80s, complete with triangular neon earrings and crimped hair, but I couldn’t decide which ones I wanted, and if something doesn’t make me say “HOLY SHIT” aloud and snatch it off the shelf, I typically don’t go for it. So Barbie will just have to wait.

Next, we went to the downtown area, which has certainly seen better days. There was an antique shop there, and the place was a damn goldmine. I could’ve easily spent a hundred dollars in there if I’d had it to spare. They had toys, they had pretty things, they had mugs and jewelry and art and lots of other great stuff. But, of course, I stuck to the 80s memorabilia, which they had plenty of.

I ran around like a kid in a candy store for a while before I finally decided to go with a Gloworm (which still works!), a vintage My Little Pony, and a Garfield mug. 😀

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Among the things I wanted to get but couldn’t afford were various old character glasses. You know, the ones that places like McDonald’s and Burger King used to sell. They had Return of the Jedi, Great Muppet Caper, Care Bears, and a few other ones. They were marked at about three dollars a piece, which is pretty reasonable compared to what most eBayers are charging. I would have bought every single one of these if my funds weren’t so limited. So with a heavy heart, I left them all behind. If they’re still there the next time I’m in Sulphur, Oklahoma, I’m gonna go snag a couple.

A Vintage Stock store recently opened near me, so I went to check it out. They sell lots of cool junk, like old video games, action figures, DVDs, comic books, and VHS tapes. There were actually quite a few NES games that I wanted to pick up just for the hell of it, but again, none of them jumped out and said “HEY HEY BUY ME”, so I left them for now.

What I was really interested in was the huge collection of VHS tapes. I went over it with a fine-toothed comb, with a few specific titles in mind. I didn’t find any of the ones I was looking for, but I did find something that I was definitely not expecting to find!

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It’s a VHS of the first two episodes of the Rainbow Brite cartoon! With the original clamshell case, even! Admittedly, the case is in poor shape, and it’s an ex-rental, which is usually risky, but I popped the tape in the VCR today and it plays like a charm. The picture’s not even particularly deteriorated like you’d expect from a 20-year-old tape.

The cartoon itself, of course, is pure unrealized potential. By that, I mean to say that it wasn’t all that great, but I had a good time with it and I’m ecstatic that I was able to add it to my collection.

I also picked up another tape: the first volume of a short early 90s anime called Detonator Orgun. My husband is really into mecha series, new and old alike, and even though he’s already seen this rather obscure offering, I thought it might amuse him to actually own this tape. If only they’d had the second volume, too!

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A few months back, when we were getting ready to move, we took some stuff we didn’t need anymore down to the Goodwill. When we got there, I saw these guys in the window:

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I don’t know why Garfield would dress in a football jersey or a fisherman’s outfit, but do you really think I, of all people, would pass these things up? Like hell I would! They’re now on my shelf with the rest of the plushies.

As much as I love this old stuff, I don’t think I’ll be buying any more for a while. Two reasons: number one being that I need to stop spending money, and number two being that I’m running out of places to put it!

Nostalgiathon #6: Transformers!

When I was little, I always thought the theme song lyrics were “robots in the skies”, not “robots in disguise”. True story. Oh, and every time I say “Transformers”, I always have the urge to sing the word as it’s sung in the theme song, and in an 80s rock-star voice to boot. Transformaaaahs!

Anyway, I apologize if this post turns out to be less-than-awesome. I just decided about five minutes ago that I was going to do Transformers. The inspiration struck me to write about that instead of the other stuff I had planned. I’m also going to go ahead and split this into two posts, because I’m firing on all cylinders right now and I might as well use some of that energy for my seventh and final post of the Nostalgiathon. So there. (Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I can’t find any decent ones!)

So…I like Transformers. However, this is a fairly recent development and I’m hardly a hardcore fan. I enjoy the characters, and the animated movie, and some of the toys. But until last year, I was barely familiar with the franchise at all. I knew the theme song and who Optimus Prime and Megatron were (who the hell didn’t?) and that’s where it ended.

See, contrary to what you might think, I was and am a girl, and in the 80s I was more interested in Rainbow Brite and Teddy Ruxpin than robots (which should be pretty obvious if you’ve been reading this blog at all). Also, I sort of missed out on the heyday of Transformers not just because I was a little girl, but because I was about three years old when the movie came out, and after the movie, the popularity apparently took a big nosedive.

How’d I come to like Transformers when the odds say that I should hate it or at least be indifferent to it? Well, it all started with the animated movie. My fiance has fond memories of it, so I decided to watch it with him sometime last year. I also felt obligated to do so because it’s an 80s cult classic.

Needless to say, I enjoyed it immensely even though I didn’t know who the hell anybody was. I’ve been considering writing a full-fledged review of it, but I think a (relatively) brief one will suffice.

Reasons to Love Transformers: The Movie

1. The animation. It’s really good. Probably some of the best animation to come out of the 1980s. It’s flashy, colorful, and stunning at times. Everyone’s favorite characters are looking better than ever (well, before they get killed off, that is).

2. The music. The soundtrack to this movie is one of my favorite animation soundtracks ever, possibly one of my favorites period. Yes, some of the vocal songs are cheesy 80s rock tunes– okay, they’re ALL cheesy 80s rock tunes –but the score itself is not to be missed, especially if you love synth music. It fits with the movie so well and really adds a lot of atmosphere. Even a couple of the vocal songs are nice– mostly just The Touch and Dare, though. The others I could take or leave, though they do fit into the movie well enough.

3. The dialogue. This movie has better one-liners than it has any right to, being an 80s animated film based on a 30-minute toy commercial– er, I mean television show. I don’t want to spoil it for anybody; if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.

4. The characters! I’m going to take some heat for this one from fans, probably, but I happen to like Hot Rod, Kup, and Springer a whole lot. (Note that I said Hot Rod and not Rodimus Prime.) However, Wheelie is on my shitlist same as he is on everyone else’s. He’s the Jar Jar Binks of Transformers.

Anyway, the chemistry between Hot Rod and Kup is so much fun. But I tend to like that whole “old codger versus young punk” thing. They both seemed to have so much more depth to them than some of the original guys. Not that I don’t like those guys, but you gotta admit they aren’t exactly well-rounded characters. Also, remember that when I saw the movie, I had no idea who Ratchet, Wheeljack, Ironhide or any of the other guys were, so even when they snuffed it, I was like, “Uh, okay. That sucks, I guess.” So I have a pretty different perspective than most.

5. They took this movie seriously. Aside from the silly songs and the one-liners and dumb stuff like Wheelie, this movie is serious business! They don’t pull any punches. You see Autobots and Decepticons alike get destroyed. There’s lots of darkness and danger. There are a couple of swear words. Hell, they even had the balls to kill off a beloved hero and icon. Maybe this is why it was a box-office failure– it was too far ahead of its time. Only recently has America been making animation that even comes close to being “adult”. The look and feel of it are more like what’s typical of Japanese anime than American animation.

Phew, that went on longer than I thought it would.

Stay tuned for more Transformers ramblings, coming soon!

Nostalgiathon #3: Random Thoughts on a Few 80s Shows

SDSKLDFCNDCFMKEF DAMN IT. I said I was going to have another post up before midnight and I didn’t because life always gets in the fucking way lately ARGHHHHHH. It figures that things to do would actually keep popping up at a time when I promised to write every day. That’s it; no more promises. If I get seven posts up by the end of this thing, I do. If I don’t, I don’t. And that’ll be that. Honestly, this has been a real learning experience so far.

So here, have a post that I didn’t really plan out in advance and am kind of just making up as I go along. We’ll see how this turns out. The title is exactly what you’re gonna get. My friend ArgentShade made a few suggestions to me, and they were all TV shows, so I figured I’d just write a little post about them.

First on his list was He-Man/She-Ra. Um…I can’t really talk about this because I’ve actually never seen either show! Yeah, I’m a failure. Alls I know is that Prince Adam looks like he belongs in a ballet troupe and that She-Ra looks slightly more masculine than he does. (Also, oh my God my tooth hurts really bad right now.)

I remember watching that Masters of the Universe movie ages ago, but I don’t remember it very well, and from what I hear, it’s probably better that I don’t. I wonder if it was as bad as the Super Mario Bros. movie or the Street Fighter movie? Or that damned Garbage Pail Kids movie?

Anyway, since He-Man was so big in the 80s, I’m going to have to watch it eventually. I just hope it’s at least halfway enjoyable. Contrary to what you might think, I am actually NOT a big fan of 80s cartoon shows. A few of them are good fun. Some of them are just okay. But the majority of them are pieces of shit. And that’s what we’ll call them from now on: shitpieces. Just ’cause it was made in the 80s doesn’t mean it’s any good. For example, leg warmers came from the 80s and they’re one of the most pointless, ugly things ever. The same descriptors can be applied to many 80s cartoons. I might talk more on this topic in the not-so-distant future.

The next thing ArgentShade mentioned was DiC. Now, they’re pretty prolific, so I can find at least one or two shows to blather on about for a minute.

Let’s see. Ah yes, The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin! There’s a show I have something to say about.

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It started in 1986, and ended in 1988 with a whopping 65 episodes. However…I’ve only seen about 15 of them, and ten of them I just watched this year. I bought the DVD set that contains the first 20 episodes but, unfortunately, haven’t been able to make myself finish watching it.

See, the first five episodes showed some real promise. They have a contiguous plot, for one– very rare for an 80s show! I had these five episodes on tape because my dad recorded them for me, and I watched them over and over (my dad and I even have a few inside jokes from that show). I still have a good time watching those episodes, but after that…things turn episodic and inane in true 80s cartoon fashion. I tried to slog through the whole DVD set to no avail. It’s a shame, really. Hopefully it picks the story back up later on. Not sure how long it’ll be before I find out, or if I’ll even bother at all. Honestly, I think I’d rather just stick with my good memories of the first five episodes.

Here’s another one I can give a brief blurb about: Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theatre.

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I don’t remember the actual content of the show, because I never really got to see it. The local CBS affiliate aired it at like 6 in the morning on Saturday when I was about four years old. Of course, I loved Hello Kitty and had a few of the toys, so I wanted badly to see this show. But I could never get up early enough to catch it! I have a clear memory of struggling to wake up only to catch the end credits. Made me so sad. Oh well…it probably wasn’t that great anyway.

Also, we can’t be talking about DiC and neglect to mention Rainbow Brite! I didn’t get to see all the episodes of this show either…it was almost before my time, as it started in 1984 and ended in 1985. I had a couple of episodes on CED, and let me tell you, I watched the hell out of that thing. One of these days I’m going to have to find the rest of the episodes and watch them. There’s been no DVD release, which is actually very surprising to me. If all 65 episodes of Teddy Ruxpin can get a DVD release, there’s still hope for Rainbow Brite.

Last one by DiC that I’ll mention is The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. I loved Nintendo when I was little (like every other kid back then) and so I watched this show religiously when I was in kindergarten. It taught me how to tell when it was 3:30, because that’s when it came on. However, for some reason, I HATED the Zelda cartoon and, on Fridays, would always change the channel in disgust. I haven’t seen either show in ages, but ArgentShade’s got one of the DVD sets. I need to borrow it from him sometime.

Another one he suggested was Nickelodeon game shows, but I don’t really have time to talk about those right now. There are only 500 different ones. But I’m gonna keep it in mind.

Next on his list was Full House. Oh God.

I am ashamed to admit this, but…I used to love Full House. Keep in mind that I was about 7 years old at the time. I would watch this every fucking week at Grandmama’s house, and I loved every minute of it. The sad part is that I kept watching it until I was old enough to know better. Nowadays, I can’t sit through an episode. It’s just…too much for me.

The concept of the show was good. It could have been good if it hadn’t been so…well, you’ve seen it, I’m sure, so you know how it is. Plus Bob Saget’s presence on any show is an automatic minus five. (Yes, even America’s Funniest Home Videos.) At least John Stamos was hot.

Finally, he mentioned Small Wonder. This is a show that I only saw one time when I was very young, didn’t remember the name of, and wracked my brain for years trying to think of it. The only thing about it that I could remember was the little android girl, Vicki, and her red-and-white dress. And I remember being creeped out by her.

I saw an episode on Youtube several months ago and…it’s a “wonder” that this show lasted four seasons. Here, just watch the intro. The first time I saw it, my eyebrow was stuck in a raised position for like twenty minutes.

I guess I can see why five-year-olds might have liked it, but this is one of those shows that proves– to me, anyway –that the 80s weren’t necessarily the golden age of television that a lot of people make it out to be.

And now, I am extremely fucking tired so I’m going to bed.