Each week Mike will look back to the decade of decadence and provide a list of eight things – from movies to music to memorable moments and everything in-between. Keep in mind, this isn’t a TOP 8 list and any numerical notations are included to merely designate one item from another. Because, frankly, how can you rate one thing over another when it comes from a decade as totally tubular as the 80s?
This week: Saturday Morning Cartoons
While it was no 1970s, the 80s had its fair share of memorable cartoons. And, unlike today when you can just turn to a specific channel dedicated to cartoons, we had to wait until Saturday mornings. Sure, there was syndicated stuff during the week like old Bugs Bunny, The Flintstones and what not – but if you wanted the good stuff, it was once a week. Here’s eight cartoons that were worth waiting seven days for.
8) Mr. T
I never liked Mr. T much. He was the bad guy in Rocky III and he was Roddy Piper’s opponent and friend to Hulk Hogan around the time of the original Wrestlemania. But he had a cartoon for a few years and a lot of fans, so he was a part of the pop culture zeitgeist in the 80s and gets a spot here.
Yeah, this one is kinda’ sketchy to include here since it’s really more associated with the 70s, but it lasted a few years into the 80s and it was still pretty cool having so many superheroes together in one show.
6) Alvin and the Chipmunks
The 80s saw the revival of The Chipmunks with a hipper look and attitude. The introduction of the Chipettes as their female counterparts and quasi-girlfriends was a bit weird, but it allowed them to feature songs with female leads, so there’s that.
5) Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
Fans of DC Comics has the aforementioned Super Friends, but Marvel Comics loyalists didn’t have much other than reruns of the old Spider-Man and Fantastic Four cartoons. But then this came along which occasionally featured guest spots by other Marvel characters and that was good enough.
4) Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling
Sure, the voices were nothing like the real-life counterparts and the bad guys, led by the late, great Roddy Piper, always came across as buffoons, but it was still fun. While obviously geared towards the younger WWF fans, there was enough for the older kids and adults to enjoy like the live action skits and promos. (Like the voice work on the cartoon, the accompanying video is of dubious quality and we apologize).
3) The Smurfs
Personally, I couldn’t stand these little blue Belgian demons, but they resonated with a lot of people. Originally created in 1958, they debuted in the United States in 1981 on NBC.
2) Dragon’s Lair
The Dragon’s Lair arcade game was ahead of its time and its animated style lent itself perfectly to a cartoon series. Sadly, it only lasted one season, but it was cool in that episodes would keep the “decision” aspect of the game and go to a commercial with a “what would you do” cliffhanger and then show you the two outcomes when it returned after the break.
1) Thundarr the Barbarian
It only ran for a couple of seasons, but Thundarr the Barbarian was an excellent entry point to the world of sci-fi. Set in a far-flung, post-apocalyptic world, Thundarr and his companions Ariel (a sorceress) and Ookla (a big, hairy Chewbacca type of dude) traveled the wastelands.
Next Week: Pop Music