Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Top 5: Hottest Cartoon Girls Of The 80's

The Cartoon Historian proudly presents...The Top 5. Todays Top 5 will be about The Hottest Cartoon Girls of the 80's. Let's get busy!

5 - Princess Lana (Captain N): The Ruler of Videoland is #5 on my list. Lana is very beautiful,smart,and has lots charm. She's also a good leader. However,Lana's hotness can't compare to the others on this list.

4 - Lady Jaye (GI Joe): Haven't seen the show in years,but what I do know is that Lady Jaye was the hottest girl on the show. I know many of you are gonna kill me for choosing her instead of Baroness or Scarlett,but hey,I think Lady Jaye is much hotter. She also kicks more ass. And I like short haired girls. :)

3 - Cheetara (Thundercats): The Hottest Chick in the whole damn series. Cheetara is not only hot,but She's kind,very fast,and a skilled fighter. Cheetara also has special telepathic and telekinetic powers.

2 - Janine Melnitz (The Real Ghostbusters): The Woman who inspired me to make this list. The Ghostbusters secretary is hot. She also has a cute voice,though some might disagree with me.

1 - April O'Neil (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): Now don't tell me you weren't expecting this woman? April O'Neil was the crush of almost every cartoon fan in the 80's. She's also everyone's favorite Damsel in Distress (or DiD). I've had a crush on April ever since I rediscovered the Original Ninja Turtles cartoon. As far as I'm concerned April O'Neil Is the Hottest Cartoon Girl of the 1980's.

Please keep in mind that these are my personal pics and you may have different ones. God Damn,this was a tough list to make! Over 60% of 80's Cartoon Girls were babes.

Well that's all see ya next time on The Top 5.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cartoon Quickie: American Dragon Jake Long

Jake Long,A Teenager with the ability to turn into a Dragon,battles the forces of evil and defends Magical creatures.

Jake is an American teenager who battles Evil by turning into a Dragon. In his Dragon form Jake can Fly,Glide,Breath Fire,Attack with his tail and Claws,and use Martial Arts.

In this form,Jake is Known only as The American Dragon. Whenever things go bad for Jake,he almost always says his signature phrase "Aw,Man!". While a great kid,Jake sometimes doesn't take his job as a hero seriously.

Jake comes from a line of 'Dragon Morphs'(for lack of a better name) on his Mother's side. His Father is an ordinary man with an ordinary family tree.

Training Jake in the ways of the Dragon is his Grandpa,Lao Shi. Like Jake,Lao Shi can also turn into a Mighty Dragon. Lao Shi in a way is the Master Splinter of the series. He's very wise,yet has a decent sense of humor. In his heyday,Lao Shi was the Chinese Dragon and a secret agent.

Sometimes,Lao Shi aids his Grandson in battle. When he's not helping Jake,Lao Shi runs a small Antique Store with Jake's Animal Guardian,Fu-Dog.

Fu-Dog is Jake's wise cracking,food lovin',lazy Animal Guardian. As a fighter,Fu is pretty much useless. However,just Because Fu Dog is a bad fighter,doesn't mean he's completely useless. Haylie is Jake's cute little sister. Like her Brother and Grandpa,she too can turn into a Dragon. Haylie is playful and sometimes likes to upstage her Brother.

Jake's Mom,unlike her Father and Children,can't transform into a Dragon. But that's fine, because she doesn't need to. She's a great mom and is always there to give her Children moral support.

Jake's Dad is 100% Normal. By observing him closely,It would be very tough to believe that he is Jake's Father. Mr.Long is a bit of a geek and works as a pencil pusher. He's still a good guy though. Mr.Long doesn't know about the heritage of his wife's side of the family.

Trixie and Spud are Jake's best friends and sidekicks. Trixie is a hip-talking chick with attitude. While,Spud is your typical baffoonish buddy. Both Trixie and Spud are great friends and help Jake in any way that they can.

The Huntsman/HuntsMaster is the Leader of the Huntsclan,a ruthless organization that hunts magical creatures. The Huntsman/HuntsMaster is Jake's Main Enemy. Rose aka Huntsgirl is a Member of the Huntsclan and Jake's crush. In early episodes,Both Jake and Rose were unaware of each others secret identities.

The Theme Song is great and there are 2 variations of it(1 for each season). The Music fits well and the sounds effects are perfect. The Voices Actors are very good. Dante Boscoe(i think that's his name),aka Prince Zuko,does a Great job as Jake Long.

The Animation and Artwork of American Dragon:Jake Long is pretty good. The Fight scenes are entertaining. Plus,like all Disney Cartoons,ADJL has no Animation errors.Another good thing about this swhow is the Fact that it contains Humor to go along with the action.

While the series is Awesome,It has it's flaws. For instance,the series ended too soon,leaving some unanswered questions Also,In some ways this show feels like a clone of Nickelodeon's Danny Phantom. Another thing that kinda annoyed me,was the constant slang.

American Jake Long is a great series and If you can find it on Youtube,watch it.

Well,thats all for now,see ya next time on Cartoon Quickie.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Top 5: Stupidest Cartoon Duos

The Cartoon Historian proudly presents...The Top 5. Todays Top 5 will be about The Stupidest Cartoon Duos. Let's get busy!

5 - Big Dog and Little Dog(2 Stupid Dogs): Well it wouldn't be a stupid duo list without these pinheaded pooches. Compared to the rest of the Teams on this list,The 2Stupid Dogs are quite intelligent.

4 - Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo (Captain N): King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard are 2 buffoonish henchmen of the Evil Mother Brain. They are easily outsmarted by the Good Guys and have a habit of forgetting how to fight. Hippo and Eggy are such screw-ups,but not as much as Bebop and Rocksteady.

3 - Bebop and Rocksteady (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): Bebop and Rocksteady are the biggest buffoons in Any TMNT Universe. They screw things up for the villains and make the Shredder look bad. They're also somewhat child-like. Like King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard,Bebop and Rocksteady are also easily defeated by the Good Guys.

2 - Scratch and Grounder(Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog): Dr. Robotnik's main henchmen are so easily outsmarted and beaten by Sonic and Tails,it's pathetic. They also have a habit of fighting with each other. The main reason why they are ranked higher than Bebop and Rocksteady is because,Bebop and Rocksteady were actually treatening in the early episodes of TMNT. They were also a bit more realistic in their actions,while Scratch and Grounder went with a Cartoony approach to stupidity.

1 - Beavis and Butt-Head(Beavis and Butt-Head): Ah,the Unbeatable Tag Team Champions of Stupidity. In every episode,Beavis and Butthead would demonstrate realistic stupidity. In fact,That's the reason why the Producers of the show put that Warning message at the beginning of each episode. That was very responsible of them. Anyway,Beavis and Butthead proove that there's no toon duo that is stupider than they are.

Please keep in mind that these are my personal pics and you may have different ones. Plus,I couldn't think of anymore Stupid Duos. Though idiotic,you can't help but to laugh at the antics of these Duos.

Well that's all see ya next time on The Top 5.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cartoon Quickie: Samurai Jack

In the distant past a Heroic Samurai Warrior,challanged a tyrant demon called Aku. The Samurai defeated Aku,but it was Aku that has the last laugh. He banished the Samurai to the far future,a future where Aku Rules.

Once in the Future,the Samurai gets confused about the new world around him. After getting the name Jack from some young street punks and aiding some dogs in their battle against aku's robots,Samurai Jack goes on a quest to find a way back to his own time and undo the Future that is Aku.

However,Jack's Quest won't be easy. He has to deal with not only Robots,Mutants,and Bounty Hunters,but also Aku Himself. But,Jack is fully prepared for the challange. With the Mystical Sword that his father gave him,Jack is ready to slice and dice evil's ass.

This show is Kick Ass!! The animation is cool,the action is beast,and the sound and music are awesome. If you haven't watched Samurai Jack....do so Now!!

Well that's all for now. see ya next time on Cartoon Quickie.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 10: The Tick

Welcome My Students. Today's lesson is all about The Tick.

Ah,The Tick! One of the greatest cartoon icons of the 90's,whose fandom still lives on today. But how did this guy came to be? Well,we're about to find out.

The Tick was created by cartoonist Ben Edlund in 1986 as a newsletter mascot of New England Comics for a chain of Boston comic stores.

The Tick is a spoof of comic book superheroes. After the Tick's creation,Ben Edlund,spun it off into an independent comic book series in 1988.

The Tick gained popularity through an animated TV series on Fox Kids in 1994. The Tick also had a short-lived live-action TV series(also aired on fox),a video game and even a toy line.

The Animated series debuted on September 10, 1994 on the Fox network's Fox Kids block and was responsible for introducing the satirical comic book character to a mainstream audience.

Lasting three successful seasons,the final episode aired on November 27, 1996. Since then,The show has gained a cult following,and has been released on both VHS and DVD. A live-action series was created in 2001. Though It didn't do to well.

Ben Edlund was producing his independent comic book series based on the Tick while he was still in collage. Sometime later,he was approached by Kiscom,a small,New Jersey-based toy licensing and design company.

Kiscom wanted to create a successful toy line off The Tick similar to that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They then wanted to do an independent comic series a year later.

Unfortunatly,major TV networks and studios were reluctant to take on an animated series based on an absurd character like the Tick. Kiscom stayed in touch with Edlund and finally Sunbow Entertainment, a small animation company based out of New York,paired him up with writer Richard Libmann-Smith.

The two had virtually no experience in animation or television,but for two months worked on the first episode of The Tick. Neither man held high esteem over their final script and their feelings were validated when FOX turned down the first pitch.

They were given one more chance to refine it within five days. Over the following weekend, the two worked with little sleep,but ended up satisfying FOX. Edlund later reflected, "We kind of defined in one weekend exactly where the show went for that first season, which was cool."

While some darker characters and mature elements seen in the comic series would be removed for its animated counterpart, Sunbow's Tick series would still hold to its satirical roots.

Writing duties were also given to Christopher McCulloch who had met Edlund prior to their television work and wrote several issues of the Tick comic book series.

Edlund,who co-produced The Animated series,remained very hands-on during the production of episodes and delayed the series. According to Edlund:

"There was a period where I was extremely attentive to everything that had to be solved, and these efforts ultimately made the show a year late. I saw the storyboards that were being done and realized that if The Tick were animated off of those, it would fall apart.

It would be a shadow of what it is now, which is something that isn't massively successful, but has this real staying power. So now instead of looking like bad '90s animation, it kind of looks like bad '70s superhero animation, which definitely has a unique style about it."

The Tick Show finally premiered on September 10,1994 and met with success. Edlund later expressed his view that, because the series did not reach the commercial heights of Ninja Turtles,its merchandising success deteriorated by the end of its first season.

However,he gave a positive view,stating that that's essentially good as far as he's concerned and that to him this failure makes The Tick a much more sincere proposal.

Rather than being an asylum escapee,like in the comic book series, the animated version of The Tick crashes a superhero convention to win the "protectorship" of The City.

The Tick became a Saturday morning icon during the Fox Kids block. Its title character was voiced by the versatile Townsend Coleman and his sidekick, Arthur, by Micky Dolenz for Season 1. Arthur was an Accountant who always wore his Moth costume. He always got annoyed when people confused his Moth costume for a Rabbit Costume.

Anyway,Rob Paulsen would take over the part of Arthur during Seasons 2 and 3. The series also features Die Fledermaus as a shallow,self-absorbed Batman parody; Sewer Urchin,a Rain Man-like version of Aquaman; and American Maid,a more noble superheroine featuring aspects of Wonder Woman and Captain America.

It's also woth noting that in the pilot episode,The Tick's color switched from being blue to green. Now,I don't know why that is,but my guess would be blundering by the color artists.

The show's opening theme wes written by Doug Katsaros. Katsaros also did the music for every episode. The music for the show consists mostly of of big band music and scat singing.

A typical episode plot would have The Tick battling a villain until Arthur devises a solution that saves the day. The Tick also had a catch phrase/battle cry that was as absurd as he was. And that word was "Spoon". That's right Spoon. I told ya it was absurd.

Anyway,At the end of each adventure,The Tick declares a slightly absurd moral regarding the previous conflict. Although the series was initially aimed at the 8-12 croud,The Tick features an absurd parody style that appeals to an older audience as well.

After three seasons,on November 1996,The Tick had come to an end. The following year,FOX began talks with Sunbow Entertainment about producing a prime time Tick special,but this never came to be.

In May 2001,the pilot episode for a live action series of The Tick was created. FOX attempted to capitalize on the adult fan base by introducing this new incarnation in November 2001,but the series couldn't match the success of its animated predecessor.

In 1995,The Tick was nominated for several Daytime Emmys. Emmys For Outstanding Achivement in Animation,Outstanding Sound Editing,and Outstanding Achivement in Sound Mixing.

In March of 2008,Wizard magazine ranked The Tick #16 on its Top 100 Greatest Cartoons. In January of 2009,IGN ranked The Tick #6 on its Top 100 Animated Series list. IGN went on to regard The show as the first great lampooning of the superhero genre and compared the series to Mel Brooks and Monty Python.

Ok,so this wasn't the most exciting cartoon lesson of all,but at least we know where the Big Blue hero came from. I always liked this cartoon series and if you haven't seen it yet,look it up on Youtube.

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed. Spoon!!

Rock On and Stay Cold,
Stefan

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cartoon Quickie: Swat Kats

Rockin' the Sky-Ways in their Jet,the Turbokat,is the Swat Kats,ace pilots who defend Megacat City against the forces of Evil. Chance and Jake are 2 Salvage Yard workers,who always manage to have fun on the job.

But,when trouble arises,Chance and Jake become T-Bone and Razor,the Swat Kats. Team Work plays a very large part in the Swat Kat's victories. T-Bone's awesome piloting skills combined with Razor's sharp shooting,make the Swat Kats an unstoppable team.

But even without the Turbokat,The Swat Kats can still kick ass. They each posses fighting skills and a gadget glove called the Glove-O-Tricks. Supporting the Swat Kats is the beautiful Deputy Mayor,Calico Briggs;Lt. Felina Feral of the Enforcers;and Ann Gorah,a Reporter who will do whatever it takes to get a story.

Callie is the Swat Kat's biggest supporter and always defends them when Commander Feral speaks badly about them. Calli is smart,but sometimes she ends up being a DiD.

Felina appeared in season 2 and is the neice of Commander Feral. She lends the Swat Kats a hand when ever she can. Ann Gora is,in a way,the OT April O'Niel of the Swat Kat's World. Meaning she's a head strong reporter that doubles as a DiD.

Commander Feral is the leader of the Enforcers,the Swat Kat version of the Police. Feral doesn't like the Swat Kats and hopes that one day he'll have a chance to arrest them. Deep down,though,I think Feral is just jealous of their abilities...and maybe the fact that they have a cool jet like the Turbokat.

Running Mega Kat City is Mayor Manx. This guy is your typical politician. He's cowardly too. Though,he did save the city once,when he was forced to shoot down a Ghost Pilot.

Megakat City has it's fair share of Villains. Villains like: The Sinister Mutant,Dr. Viper;The Fascist and Undead Time Wizard,The Past Master;The Metalicats,a dead mob couple who were ressurected as robots;And the Demonic Dark Kat.

Swat Kats has got to be one of Hanna-Barbara's greatest animated shows. The fast action,good writing,and great art work make this show an instant classic.

Sure every character in this show is a humanoid cat,but it's still awesome nonetheless. The only gripe I have,is the fact that the show only lasted 2 seasons. In my opinion it should've lasted more.

All and all,Swat Kats is one cartoon that you don't wanna miss. Well thats it for now. See ya next time on Cartoon Quickie.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 9: Captain N Part 2

Welcome Students to the 2nd half of this 2-part Captain N Lesson. For the most part this Lesson will focus on Jeffery Scott,solo writer for Season 1. Well,enough introductions,Let's get started.

I'm gonna kick this Lesson off with a statement by Jeffrey Scott on Captain N: The Game Master:

"The series was originally titled 'Captain Nintendo: The Game Master', but apparently this was a problem for the network, so they shortened it to Captain N. I wasn't aware of it, but I presume they did the same thing to the pilot." (Mr. Scott gave the pilot episode the title "Kevin In Nintendoland". He also wasn't aware of the changes in "How's Bayou".)

"It was pretty much WYSIWYG. On a personal note, I liked What's-His-Name the best (the egotistical big chested jerk). He was fun to write for. Really over the top."

"The reason the characters changed is because when you develop a series there are certain criteria to make the stories work. When video game characters are created they are developed to make the game work. These don't always jibe. That's why the characters have to be changed."

"No, I didn't write any stories that were not used."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now,here is an Interview Mark Moore of the Unofficial Captain N Homepage did with Writer Jeffery Scott.
------------------------------------------------------
MM = Mark Moore

JS = Jeffrey Scott

JS: It's been a long time, so I won't be able to answer all your questions but I'll give it my best shot.

MM: How did you get the job of writing for "Captain N: The Game Master"?

JS: Interesting story. I had written several series for Andy Heyward at DIC, and he asked me to write the Captain N series. It was my m.o. at the time to write entire series. I had been doing this, on and off, for about 13 years. So I agreed to do the series.

But the Vice President of Childrens Programming at NBC, Phyllis Tucker-Vinson, somehow got the idea in her head that I wasn't that great of a writer. She told Andy that all of my Muppet Babies scripts had to be rewritten.

I wanted to write the series, but more importantly, I wanted to disabuse her of the idea that my Muppet Babies scripts were heavily rewritten. So I called Jim Henson, who was shooting a movie in London. It's a testament to the quality of Jim's character and kindness that he took the time to actually call Phyllis and set her straight about my contribution to Muppet Babies. The next day I got the job.

MM: How familiar were you with video games at the time that you got the job?

JS: Actually, I wasn't that familiar with video games. So Andy shipped me a Nintendo system and some games, and I started playing them. I didn't have to do too much, because all I wanted was to know the lay of the land and to understand how the various characters related to the game.

It wasn't important that I be a fanatic and know everything about a game, because we had decided that the stories would only be loosely based on the game environment. We wanted to tell stories about the people and explore parts of the world that were not part of the game itself. So I used just enough locations and characters and hardware references to keep the flavor of the games.

MM: Why and when was the title of the series changed from "Captain Nintendo: The Game Master" to "Captain N: The Game Master"?

JS: The series was initally called Captain Nintendo: The Game Master. But it wasn't long before we got word from the network that we needed to eliminate the Nintendo name. At the time there was a big outcry that Saturday morning cartoons were becoming commercials for toys.

And to have the Nintendo name in the title was just too much for the networks. It would have been like naming a show "Mattel's Barbie". So "N" was as close as we could get.

MM: Was the N Team originally called the Nintendo Team?

JS: Don't recall.

MM: You wrote the first 13 episodes. Why were you the only writer for Season 1 of the series?

JS: As noted above, that was just what I did. Studios trusted me to write all of the episodes because I had done so successfully many times before (and after).


MM: How much of the background and premise of the series were already set up for you, and how much was left to you to decide?

JS: I don't recall developing this series, which means that someone else probably laid out the basic elements. And I don't recall what, if anything, I added to the show.


MM: Did you decide which games to use in the episodes, or were you told which games to base the stories on?

JS: I believe the games were chosen for me by the network and/or Nintendo.

MM: Did you have to do any game research for your stories?

JS: Not much. Now and then I would play a game to better understand the environment and characters, but mostly I would just ask some questions in order to better understand the games. This was necessary because I could never get all the way through a game, at least without spending weeks trying.

So I'd get an outline of the game and characters from Nintendo. But I would play them a little so that I could get the feel of the action, music and interplay, and thus be able to bring this to the stories.


MM: Some episodes didn't seem to center on any particular game. Rather, there was an episode that dealt with a magic lamp and another episode that dealt with a made-up place called the Mirror World. Is there a reason that not all episodes were based on a specific game?

JS: Once we established the characters and their relationships, we decided to tell stories about them rather than simply focus on the precise game worlds. I'm sure hardcore gamers would cringe when we'd take license with the accuracy, but if kids wanted to see only totally accurate game play they could always play the game(s).

We were exploring beyond the games to what was happening "behind the scenes". So I had fun with the characters and their relationships, like when I had Simon fall in love with Mother Brain.


MM: Do you happen to know why Samus Aran, the heroine of the game Metroid, was not featured in the series, even though the main villain of the series was Mother Brain from Metroid?

JS: Never heard of her. That could be why. :o)

MM: Do you happen to know why Mario, the most popular video game character of all, didn't appear in the series?

JS: Mario wasn't used BECAUSE he was most popular. I think Nintendo knew that they wanted to save Mario for his own series. Companies like to develop their lesser known characters, and it's not uncommon for them to hold back the good ones for their own series or movies.

MM: The main villain in the CastleVania game series is Count Dracula, yet he's always refered to as simply "the Count" on Captain N. Were you told to avoid using the name Dracula?

JS: Don't recall.

MM: Were you given any rules about what you could and couldn't do in an episode?

JS: I'm sure I was, but I cannot remember anything specifically.

MM: Was there a writers bible for the series?

JS: Again, there usually is, but it's been so long I simply don't recall.

MM: Would you describe the stages of writing a Captain N episode from the idea to the final script?

JS: It was the same as with any series. Once you know the format and characters of the show, you come up with premise ideas that fit within both characters and format. So a story could come out of some piece of the environment or game action, or could come from one or more of the characters.

Premises lay out the simple beginning, middle and end of the story. Once these were approved I'd flesh them out into outlines. A half-hour outline consists of 15-20 "beats" or scenes, broken into two or three acts. In the outline the entire story is told, including a description of all the action, gags and plotting.

As with the premise, the outline is read by the network and studio and changes are made which are incorporated into the story. I rarely ever rewrote an outline, though this was occassionally necessary.

The outline is turned into a first draft script, which simply transforms the outline into dialog and description, much like a live-action script. The script goes through as many drafts as needed to make everyone happy (though I'm always happy with the first draft). Most scripts take two or three drafts.

MM: How long did it take to write one episode?

JS: It varies. I've written many half-hour scripts in one day, though two is more common. I usually have a week to write a script, so sometimes I would write an outline or premise while writing a first draft script which would make it take longer. The best way to describe how long a script takes to write is in hours not days. I would say it takes me about 10-12 hours to write a script.

MM: In "Kevin In Videoland", the scene that shows Kevin on Earth before he gets pulled into Videoland is live-action. Did you specifically call for that in your script?

JS: As best I can recall, that was the basic format of the show--i.e. that Kevin was sucked out of live action and into the animated game world. This was going to be shot for the opening titles of the show, so I used it in the opening of the pilot episode.

MM: There are two versions of "How's Bayou". Version 1 aired only once, and it looks far from complete. Backgrounds are missing. Some scenes are longer. Some scenes are shorter. Some of the footage is edited together badly. Do you know why this happened? Were you asked to revise your script for version 2 of the episode?

JS: I don't recall what happened with this episode.

MM: Did you ever attend a recording session for the series?

JS: No.

MM: Did you watch the series when it came on TV?

JS: A few episodes.

MM: Did you choose which songs would be featured in each episode?

JS: Nope.

MM: The Stooges are mentioned in two episodes. Any reason for that?

JS: Well, seeing as how my grandfather was Moe, I guess it's just something I think of now and then. If it made sense to make a Stooges reference, and was funny, I'd do it. Nothing more esoteric than that.

MM: Kevin references a specific classic "Star Trek" episode in "Simon The Ape-Man". Are you a "Star Trek" fan?

JS: Funny you should ask. I just returned home from 4 days in Las Vegas at the NATPE Convention (where producers and studios meet from all over the world to uy and sell television shows). I stayed at the Hilton Hotel, which is home of "Star Trek: The Experience", which is a virtual reality ride much like "Star Tours" at Disneyland.

They snap your picture with a digital camera before you take the ride. So after I got off the ride (which was pretty cool),I got a free picture of myself on the bridge with Captain Kirk and the gang. Ironically, I was wearing a yellow cap at the time which perfectly matched my Star Trek uniform. I'm sure my grandkids will think I actually flew with Kirk. So I'd say I'm a fan of the original Star Trek, and the subsequent movies with Kirk & Company.

MM: What was your reason for using so much slapstick humor in the series?

JS: When a series is bought the network ususally has an idea of how dramatic or comedic it will be. So I just put the level of humor in it that the studio and network wanted.

MM: About which age group was the series aimed at?

JS: I didn't think much about age groups at the time. In fact, I generally didn't think about age groups. I'd just write shows that I would like to watch. That said, I'd say the series was intended for the 6-11 market.

MM: Was it aimed primarily at boys, girls, or both?

JS: I don't recall specifically what the demographics were, but I'm sure we added the female characters to attract girls, even though boys were more into video games.

MM: Captain N seemed to be a Magic Reset Button series. At the end of every episode, with the exceptions of "Kevin In Videoland" and "Videolympics", everything was set back to the way they were at the beginning of the episode. Neither side came any closer to victory. Why was this done?

JS: Most cartoon series don't have a progressing arc like some live-action series. One of the reasons for this is that sometimes episode 7 gets finished, and airs, before episode 6. So the episodes are generally written as separate entities, with no consecutive timeline. Thus it's not possible to progress the story or develop the characters over time.

MM: Why did the N Team never go on the offensive against Mother Brain and instead just waited around until she attacked?

JS: I guess because it's not politically correct. Being "offensive" is something only a bad guys are supposed to do. Though you and I know that a good offense is the best defence, I don't think the networks could confront this concept.

MM: I'm going to ask you some questions about specific episodes now. If you don't remember what you were thinking at the time that you wrote it, then please just make an official ruling based on what I tell you.

MM: In "Kevin In Videoland", Kevin is shown to be live-action on Earth and animated in Videoland, yet he never seems to notice or ask about this. Later, in "Metroid Sweet Metroid", Kevin is fooled into thinking that he's going home. He walks into an area designed to look like his neighborhood. However, after a while, he says, "Something weird is going on.

We didn't even change back to normal." This is the only episode that acknowledges a difference in Kevin's appearances on Earth and in Videoland. Later, in "The Big Game", which you didn't write, Dr. Wily brings some of Kevin's Earth friends to Videoland. They don't seem to notice or ask about being animated. Is there really a difference between the way people and things appear on Earth and the way they appear in Videoland?

JS: I'll have to take your word for it that Kevin doesn't react to the animated world because I haven't read the script in 14 years. As to why, you got me! I'm sure this was discussed at the time, but I don't recall. I'm normally very concerned to keep things logical and consistent, sometimes to a fault. It's possible that we simply assumed that Kevin just knew he was inside a video game and therefore didn't react to it or mention it.

MM: In "Kevin In Videoland", Mother Brain's army had been laying seige on the Palace of Power for the past seven years. After the rest of the N Team rescues Princess Lana from Mother Brain and returns to the Palace, the army is gone with no explanation. What happened?

JS: I give up! -- Seriously, it's been too long for me to remember any of these stories. As I am usually a very accurate writer, I can only assume that some part of the story was cut and left a hole. It couldn't POSSIBLY have been my fault. ;o)

MM: In "How's Bayou", a flashback is shown of Kevin on Earth just before he gets pulled into Videoland, but he's playing a different game (the one that the episode is based on) than the game that he played in "Kevin In Videoland". Did you make mention in the "Kevin In Videoland" script that he should be playing a specific game and then later retconed it in "How's Bayou"?

JS: Don't recall. Sounds like a simple production glitch, probably caused by having pre-production done in Hollywood and animation done overseas. When in doubt, blame it on the foreigners!

MM: In version 1 of "How's Bayou", when Kevin asks Lana to visit Earth with him, she replies, "Some other time, Kevin. I've got too many responsibilities here." Lana's response wasn't included in version 2. Later, in "The Big Game", Dr. Wily brings some of Kevin's Earth friends to Videoland.

After they're sent back to Earth at the end of the episode, Lana tells Kevin that they'll automatically forget their trip to Videoland, and so would Kevin when he goes back. This contradicts what you wrote in "How's Bayou". It's probably just a story goof, but would Kevin really forget, or did Lana just say he would to get him to stay in Videoland?

JS: Personally, every time I've returned from being stuck inside a video game I've forgotten everything that happens. The proff of this is that I can't even remember ever being in a video game. So it must be that we just forget it all once we return. How about you? Can you remember ever being in a video game?

MM: In "The Most Dangerous Game Master", Dr. Wily builds an android to defeat Captain N. He sends King Hippo and the Eggplant Wizard to the Palace of Power to get a recording of Kevin's worst fears, which Wily would use to program the android's mind. They get Kevin's memories of Mike Vincent, a school bully that beat Kevin up on Earth. Dr. Wily programs the android to be Mike Vincent. But the confusing thing about this episode is that Dr. Wily had already completely built the android and dressed it as Mike Vincent before he got Kevin's memories, so he had no way of knowing about Mike Vincent.

Right after Kevin's memories were downloaded into Hippo and Eggy's recording device, Kevin says, "I feel funny" and "It's as if someone was peeking into my darkest memories. And there was someone from my past, but I can't remember who it was."

What's more confusing is, when Kevin is told that "Mike" is really an "android duplicate", Kevin says, "So, that's what I felt before. You [Mother Brain] pulled Mike out of my memories.He's not even real!" Mother Brain replies, "Oh, he's worse than real. He's everything you're afraid of rolled into one."

Later, Kevin talks to the android and says, "But if you were really programmed from my memories of Mike Vincent, then you can't be all bad." After the android is destroyed by saving Kevin's life, Kevin says, "I became his friend again." So, did Kevin really know a guy named Mike Vincent back on Earth?

JS: Sure he knew a Mike Vincent. Either that or Phyllis Tuker-Vinson was correct and I can't write for s....

MM: That's all for now. Thank you for the interview, Mr. Scott.

JS: All for now?!?! You mean there's more? This felt like a college final. Do I get a PhD if I get these all right?
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We will now wrap this Lesson up with some N-factoids:

- The Reason Why Mega Man is green is because the directors played Mega Man on a crappy TV that made blue things green.

-Simon Belmont is modeled after a WW II pilot and possibly after his VA,Andrew Kavadas.

- Princess Lana is loosely based off of Goddess Palutina from Kid Icarus...although It's said that she looks like a female version of the main character from a game called Chesterfield.

- The Count's look was loosely based on Rock Legend,Mick Jagger.

- There are some debate in the Captain N community of weather or not the Princess Zelda,Link,and Ganon from the show were/are the same ones from the Zelda Cartoon Series.

- Jeffery Scott wrote ALL of Season 1's episodes.

- Season 2 aired on NBC alongside The Adventures of Super Mario Bros.3. It was part on an Hour show called "Captain N and the Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3"

- Season 3 was aired on NBC and was apart of the half hour series "Captain N and The New Super Mario World". Each Captain N episode (as well as each mario world episode) was 15 minutes long.

- While the Season 2 and Season 3 episodes were paired with the Super Mario Bros. Cartoons,the Captain N seasons themselves retained their title of "Captain N: The Game Master".

- Captain N's Donkey Kong was based off of King Kong,that's why he's so giant in the show.

- Kid Icarus and Mega Man's speach inpedements are mostly due to bad writing in Season 1. In other words,most of the blame for the "Megas-" and "-Icus'" are Jeffery Scott's fault. And it's Unfortunate that this carried over to the other 2 seasons.

- Mega Girl was originally gonna have a slightly bigger role in Captain N's "Mega Man" themed episodes. However,this was dropped. For those who don't know,Mega Girl is loosely based on Roll.

- There was No Castlevania-themed episode in Season 2. In fact,The Count never once appeared in Season 2.

- Princess Lana's Mother wasn't ever mentioned. Neither were the reasons Why Kevin was chosen to be the "Game Master".

- For unknown reasons,the origins of The War were never explained.

- Supposedly,Duke,Kevin's Dog can understand the other characters.

- Simon Belmont's backpack,supposedly can hold an infinite amount of items.

- Ninja Guiden was briefly parodied in Season 1.

- Final Fantasy only got 1 episode,even though it's more popular than Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest. Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest got at least 3 episodes.

- Stupidly enough,the Villains can teleport inside the Palace of Power when ever they want. but never ever tried to take the Palace when the Heroes are in another Game Realm.

- The Heroes can teleport to Metroid,Mother Brain's home,when ever they want. But usually they only go to Metroid when it's absolutely nessessary. Since Metroid has so many dangers,this is understandable.

- What Kevin's life was like before he came to Videoland remains Unknown.
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The series died a most pathetic death with Season 3 being weak quality wise. Still,despite its many flaws,Captain N:The Game Master is still a Cult Classic with many many fans world-wide. And I myself am one of them.

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed. Game Over!

Rock On and Stay Cold,
Stefan

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 8: Captain N Part 1

Welcome Students to the next Cartoon History Lesson. Today we will begin our 2-Part Lesson about The Cult Classic Series,Captain N: The Game Master.

Captain N was a Cult classic in the 80's and still is today. The Show Lasted 3 seasons and has Thousands of Fans. The Concept is spectaular,I mean who wouldn't wanna chill with their favorite video game Heroes.

Captain N: The Game Master is an American animated television series that aired on U.S. television from 1989 to 1991 as part of the Saturday morning cartoon lineup on NBC.

The show incorporated elements from many of the most popular Nintendo games of the time. There was also a comic book version by Valiant Comics, albeit only featuring characters from produced games by Nintendo.

The premise of Captain N first appeared in Nintendo Power magazine, created by a Nintendo staff member and magazine editor named Randy Studdard. The original concept involved Captain N (originally known as "Captain Nintendo") as a Nintendo employee and Metroid's Mother Brain as a Nintendo main computer that went rogue. Captain Nintendo had the power to temporarily give life to characters and use items from Nintendo games.

The story left a door open for a sequel (Mother Brain is temporarily defeated but her return was said to be inevitable, and Captain Nintendo vows to stop her when the time comes.)

Nintendo later decided to create a cartoon series, opting neither to credit or to compensate its creator. DiC was chosen as the animation studio,and very little of the original concept remained.

At the outset of the first episode, the hero of the series, Kevin Keene, a teenager from the Northridge,California and his dog, Duke, are summoned to another universe known as Videoland by being sucked into a vortex that formed in his television, called the Ultimate Warp Zone.

In order to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Kevin is destined to become the hero "Captain N" and save Videoland from evil forces. These Forces are led by Mother Brain from the floating world/fortress called Metroid. By the time Kevin arrives on the scene, Mother Brain has almost succeeded in conquering all of Videoland.

Kevin (who in Videoland is armed with a Zapper and a belt buckle shaped like an NES controller) and Duke appear suddenly on the other side of the Ultimate Warp Zone before the N Team

The N-Team consists of Princess Lana (the acting ruler of Videoland; a later episode explains the absence of her father the King), Simon Belmont(from castlevania), Mega Man(from megaman), and Kid Icarus aka Pit(from kid icarus).

None of them show any confidence in Kevin's ability in the beginning. After Lana is kidnapped by the enemy shortly after Kevin's arrival, the reluctant group puts their differences aside to go on a rescue mission where Kevin eventually gains the others' confidence.

In most episodes,the N Team's enemy is a group of video game villains usually led by the hidious and loud Mother Brain. Mother Brain is accompanied by her minions: the Bafoonish Eggplant Wizard(from kid icarus),the thuggish King Hippo(from punch-out), and the scheming inventor Dr. Wily(from megaman).

A 'villain of the week' is featured in some episodes when a particular video game becomes the setting. The Count(from Castlevania) is a great example. As he makes multiple appearances.

Donkey Kong also makes an appearance as a territorial, belligerent, Godzilla-sized gorilla in some episodes, but usually serves as a dangerous neutral character posing a hazard to friend and foe alike.

Further recurring characters include Dr. Light (Dr. Wright) from Megaman,Link and Princess Zelda from Legend of Zelda,and Game Boy. Game Boy is a giant Game Boy-shaped Computer who joins the N Team in Season 2.

The focus of the show is mostly action-adventure sourced from the video games they parody. Though there is lots comedic stuff. Cheezy Comedic stuff,but Comedic stuff nonetheless.

Many fans felt the characters of Kevin and Lana were inspired by Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski from another NBC Saturday Morning show,Saved by the Bell.

Before the show's third and last season, NBC made significant budget cuts to their Saturday Morning cartoon programming as they began their gradual move away from cartoons.

As a result, the third season has a cheaper quality of animation with certain elements missing from characters.Elements such as: Simon's goggles,Pit's sandals,and Lana's normal footwear.

Also, many episodes only featured only a few of the main characters,mainly the ones who were first party Nintendo characters (Kevin, Pit, Game Boy) to avoid paying royalties to Konami and Capcom for the uses of Simon Belmont and Mega Man respectively.

The episodes were also shorter and some didn't have many tie-ins to Nintendo games but other things such as fairy tales and sports.

Because Captain N took place in a universe where video games existed as reality, a multitude of video games were used in the thirty-four episodes of the series. In some cases only areas and elements from the game were used, but the protagonist was absent; some examples include Wizards & Warriors, Dragon Warrior, and Metroid.

The following video games were portrayed at least once during the series' run:

The Adventures of Bayou Billy
Bo Jackson Baseball
Burgertime
California Games
Castlevania
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (the music only)
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
Donkey Kong (music)(although Donkey Kongs World was 96% jungle,there was a Donkey Kong game simulator used in one episode)
Donkey Kong Junior (the music only) (Simon Belmont thought he was Donkey Kong Junior when he had amnesia in one episode)
Dragon Warrior (now referred to as Dragon Quest)
Faxanadu
Final Fantasy
Kid Icarus (the music also)
Marble Madness (the music also)
In the episode "I Wish I Was a Wombatman", the studio world of Marblopolis is structurally inspired by Marble Madness, right down to a giant black marble weapon with which Mother Brain attacks the N Team. Also, in the earlier episode "The Trojan Dragon", the theme from the first level of Marble Madness can be heard several times.
Mega Man (the music also)
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 3
Metroid (the music also)
Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (the music also)
Paperboy
Puss 'n Boots: Pero's Great Adventure
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Super Mario Bros. (In the first episode, Kevin briefly compares the Ultimate Warp Zone to this game. Many of the sound effects came from this game, such as jumping. The music for both the underground and fortress stages also is featured.)
Super Mario Bros. 2 (the music only)
Tetris (the music also)
Wizards & Warriors
In "Nightmare On Mother Brain's Street", the N Team traveled to the world of Wizards & Warriors and battled the resident villain, the wizard Malkil, who also appeared on a few times on The Power Team opposite his enemy, the Knight Kuros.
The Legend of Zelda (The music only)
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Although nearly every major Nintendo franchise at the time was represented at some point or another in the show (as well as a few obscure ones, such as Puss 'n Boots).

The Super Mario games were noticeably absent, although a line mentioning the game is included in the pilot episode, comparing the Ultimate Warp Zone that brings Captain N to Videoland to the warp zones in Super Mario Bros. This is because The Super Mario Bros. Super Show was airing during the same season, which featured the characters and world of the Mario games.

While the premise was supposedly derived from The Chronicles of Narnia, Captain N also made many other references to other sources.

The series also shared many similarities to the movie Tron, including a human being drawn into a "game" world to save it, and the large supercomputer program with a face serving as the chief antagonists.

It is also reminiscent of Kidd Video and Dungeons & Dragons,two 80's cartoons where "real" people are pulled into another world.

Captain N was syndicated on The Family Channel in 1992, and on local affiliates weekdays in the Fall of 1992 as Captain N & The Video Game Masters. This hourly show was a package which included Captain N, The Legend of Zelda, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, and the ill-fated Super Mario World.

This compilation package is commonly referred to as "VGM" for short in the Captain N fandom.

VGM had its own theme song, followed by a commercial break, followed by the theme song of whichever series was being shown on that day. The lyrics consisted of "The world of Captain N is here" sung four times.

Like The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, original airings of the first season typically featured current popular music of the day,such as Bob Seger's "Shakedown" in "Kevin in Videoland" and "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins in "Mega Trouble for Megaland".

But when Captain N episodes were aired in the VGM package, these songs were removed and replaced by an instrumental version of the "Mega Move" song from Season 2's "The Feud of Faxanadu".Which is also used for the syndicated runs of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.

It's also worth noting that in the episode "The Most Dangerous Game Master",a woman sung some of Michael Jackson's "Thriller". This was done to avoid paying royalties to the (now dead) King of Pop. However,in the VGM,this too was replaced by "Mega Move".

Another thing worth noting is that instead of using cover songs from popular artists,Season 2 created their own songs,with most of them being loose parodies of existing ones.

The Zelda episodes were cut for time when aired in the VGM package, and two episodes were shown in each half-hour block. Also, at least once,the episode "Doppelganger" oddly aired with the title "Underworld Connections", which is a completely different episode.

In the Family Channel and VGM airings,the second season's opening theme song had the Mario segments cut out.

It is generally regarded that there are thirty-four unique episodes of the series. However,alternative versions of some episodes exist(mostly as a result of editing in the third season and later syndication).

Here is a list of episodes with alternate versions:

"How's Bayou": The original version of this episode that aired on September 16, 1989 differed from the version that aired on all later airings. This version featured some dialogue changes/rearrangements/etc., an alternate piece of instrumental music in the Kevin/Lana dancing scene, and several other small changes here and there.

The Shout Factory DVD release contains this episode (albeit with the cover of Born on the Bayou replaced with the generic Mega Move instrumental.)

Some of the episodes were remade to 15 minutes long for airing in season 3.

The Episode "Quest For The Potion of Power" was split into 2 episodes in Season 3.

"When Mother Brain Rules",a "clip show" episode that has at least two different versions. There are many scenes with dialog but no music, and vice versa.

In alternative versions of the episodes, many of these sequences are changed around.
Many episodes also received some minor changes as well. The only major change was removing the "popular" music and replacing it with the instrumental music from the "Mega Move" song from "The Feud of Faxanadu".

Now,just for Fun I'm gonna talk about the DVD releases.

Captain N was released on DVD on February 27,2007 by Shout! Factory and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Though the set is called "The Complete Series", there are some omissions.

Season 3 is not included. This is because Season 3 is considered to be part of a different series, due to sharing a half-hour block with the Super Mario World cartoon on NBC in the fall of 1991.

The copy holders required that the Captain N and Super Mario World episodes be released together. Captain N & The New Super Mario World has since been released on DVD in a separate two-disc set.

Episode 27, "When Mother Brain Rules", which was a clip show episode, was not included on the master tapes that DiC sent to Shout! Factory, so this episode is not included on the DVD set. In fact,NBC made the episode,not DiC.

Contrary to what many sites said prior to the release of the set, the primitive, first version of "How's Bayou" is included in this set.

However,it's the only version on the set. The better known,second version,unfortunatly isn't featured in this package.

The tapes that DiC lent Shout! Factory to make the DVD set are the ones from the NBC broadcasts,which apparently do not lose quality from copy to copy. It's unknown why DiC did not provide its own master tapes.

The opening "teasers" are not included on the DVD set,as these were not a part of Shout! Factory's deal with DiC. The only teaser on the disc is the one for "Kevin in Videoland", featured as a bonus feature on disc one.

A scene about two minutes long from the episode "Queen of the Apes" is oddly absent from the DVD, making the episode 19–20 minutes as opposed to its original running time of 21:39.

Also Missing from the DVD is the entire "underwater piranha battle" scene involving Kevin and Simon, and some of the "hoisting Mother Brain's body up a cliff" scene with Kid Icarus and Mega Man.

Brian Ward of Shout! Factory has stated that this was an authoring error and a replacement disc program is being initiated.

The popular remade songs from season one are not included,and have been replaced by an instrumental version of the "Mega Move" song from "The Feud of Faxanadu", even though Shout! Factory promised "similar sounding music." This is obviously due to rights issues involving the songs.

The songs in Season 2's episodes were not actual popular songs, but songs done exclusively for the series, so they are kept intact.

The DVD set is packaged in two double-disc thin packs. The booklet planned for the set was omitted due to time constraints,as no further delays were wanted.

Well that's gonna do it for today class. Next time we'll cover Part 2 of this lesson. Class Dismissed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 7: G.I. Joe

Welcome My Students. Today's lesson is all about The Real American Hero. That's right I'm talking about,none other than G.I. Joe.

Now,before I begin this lesson,I want to let you all know that I'm only gonna talk about the Original Show. I don't feel like going into great detail about the other series or the Movies.

Besides,you don't really need to learn a great deal about them anyway. Ok? Good! On We Go!

G.I. Joe is a half-hour American animated television series based on the successful toyline from Hasbro and the comic book series from Marvel Comics. The cartoon had its beginnings with two five-part mini-series.After that,it became a regular series that ran in syndication from 1985 to 1987.

Ron Friedman created the G.I. Joe animated series for television, and wrote all four mini-series. The fourth mini-series was intended to be a feature film, but was released as a television mini-series instead because of production difficulties.

The first G.I. Joe cartoon was produced by Marvel Productions and Sunbow Productions to follow the success of the toyline by Hasbro. G.I. Joe premiered as a five-part mini-series on September 12, 1983. Once that mini-series was successful,a second mini-series was made. It aired on September 10, 1984. This mini-series was titled: G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra,

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,was five-part pilot mini-series was alternately aired under the title "The MASS Device" during the series' syndication. Cobra develops an experimental teleportation unit, known as the MASS device, which has the ability to transport matter to any global location, using a satellite to relay the teleportation beam.

G.I. Joe must stop Cobra by creating a MASS system of their own, but first they'll need to gather the three rare elements that power the device, which consist of radioactive crystals, heavy water found in the depths of the ocean, and fragments from a giant meteorite. The elements are located in three different environments; thus, the story is structured in a way that showcases the Joes and their different specialties.

G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra was the 2nd Mini-series. In this Mini-Series,Cobra has returned in force, armed with a new weapon created by Destro — the Weather Dominator, which is able to manipulate storm systems. In the beginning of the miniseries, Cobra steals the power core for a new laser cannon the Joes were transporting to their headquarters, and adds it to the Weather Dominator, giving it unlimited power. Damaged in a preliminary battle, the device breaks into its three component pieces which scatter across the world.

The G.I. Joe team must recover the pieces before Cobra can reclaim them to rebuild their weather weapon. Noticeably similar in structure to the first mini-series, The Revenge of Cobra has the Joes and Cobra sent to dangerously exotic locations that allow team members to showcase their unique abilities. It also has familiar plot echoes, such as Duke being captured and forced to fight in the Arena of Sport, this time along with Snake Eyes, Destro being the lone Cobra operative to escape the climax, and the same closing dialogue.

G.I. Joe: The Pyramid of Darkness was The third miniseries installment of the G.I. Joe. It originally debuted in its complete form during prime time and was later adapted to the more familiar five-part daily miniseries format for rebroadcast. The story centers on Cobra's attempts to build and maintain a new weapon (of the title) that will neutralize all electrical power in the Earth's Northern hemisphere. Four giant "control" cubes are to be placed at key locations around the globe. Once the Joes orbiting space station is seized, the cubes are activated and the pyramid is complete. The Joe force must battle Cobra to destroy the pyramid and find the terrorist organization's secret headquarters.

G.I. Joe: Arise, Serpentor, Arise! was the fourth miniseries. It dealt with Cobra's attempts to genetically engineer a new leader, Serpentor. In light of Cobra Commander's persistent failings to lead Cobra to world domination, Dr. Mindbender, influenced by a vivid dream, sends Cobra's forces to locations around the world to gather DNA from history's most famous and ruthless leaders. DNA samples are collected from the graves of such historical figures as Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) and Sun Tzu (the one sample Cobra fails to obtain) Alexander the great and Ivan the Terrible, among several others. Mindbender even goes so far as to collect a sample from the captured Sgt. Slaughter (G.I. Joe).

The final phase of the process is partially disrupted by Slaughter himself, freed by Cobra Commander, who has naturally been resistant to the project from the start. The Joes fight Cobra around the globe in an attempt to stop them from collecting the DNA samples, however, Mindbender completes the process, creating the ingenious but impatient Serpentor who is installed as the ultimate leader of Cobra.

Following the first two mini-series, the regular series began airing on September 16,1985, debuting with a third five-part story, The Pyramid of Darkness.

Like a lot of cartoon shows at the time,a public safety announcement was featured at the end of each episode. These PSA's starred The G.I. Joe characters in brief scenarios to impart safety tips to children. These lessons gave birth to the catchphrase: "And knowing is half the battle."

In each episode's opening title sequence famed voice actor Jackson Beck states that, "G.I. Joe is the code name for America's daring, highly-trained, Special Mission force. Its purpose: To defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world."

Because the cartoons were produced as a vehicle to sell the toys, each episode typically focused on a particular G.I. Joe character. This wasn't a bad thing,as almost everyone is given a moment in the spotlight.

The animated series was not directly tied to the comic book produced by Marvel Comics, although several concepts, such as the Oktober Guard, Springfield, and Serpentor were all featured in the comic book and the animated series.

Season 2 featured former WWF/WWE Superstar,made cartoon hero,Sgt. Slaughter.

Yup,It's true. If you were a fan of WWE in back in those days,you'd be very familiar with this guy. So it looks like Hulk Hogan wasn't the Only Wrestler with a cartoon show.

Anyway,The Sarge appeared in the five-part season-opener Arise, Serpentor, Arise! The general consensus amongst fans of the G.I. Joe series is that the program reached its peak in its second season with the introductions of Sgt. Slaughter and Serpentor.

Slaughter was a popular member of the cast and even gained his own action figure. However after a 1990-91 WWF/WWE storyline in which Slaughter "turned traitor" during the first Gulf War, Slaughter was disassociated from the franchise.

Sunbow's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series ended on November 20, 1986 after 95 episodes. For various reasons, Sunbow Productions did not continue production for a third season. Despite G.I. Joe's success, no other studio offered to produce a new season until 1989 when DiC took over.

In 1989, DIC Entertainment produced a second G.I. Joe series, starting with a 5-part mini-series titled Operation: Dragonfire. A regular series was broadcast in 1990, also lasting for two seasons. 44 episodes in all.

The next few years, various cartoon tie-ins to the G.I. Joe franchise were released but they had no bearing on the A Real American Hero mythology.In 1996,Gunther-Wahl Productions was contracted and created a new series titled G.I. Joe Extreme. This series featured new characters and villains. As with the 1985 and 1990 series, this series was distributed by Claster. It didn't last as long as the others,though.

G.I. Joe: The Movie was released direct-to-video on April 20, 1987. G.I. Joe: The Movie was intended as a theatrical release to be closely followed by Transformers: The Movie. However, the G.I. Joe film encountered unexpected production delays which allowed the Transformers feature to be released first.

Due to the poor box office performances of the Transformers film and the My Little Pony film, G.I. Joe: The Movie was relegated to direct-to-video status before later being split into a 5-part mini-series for television syndication.

Here's a little tidbit for ya. During production of the Movie,Duke(i think it was him) was intended to Die. However,the Producers and Directors remembered the minor uproar over the death of Optimus Prime in the Transformers movie. So they decided to alter his death scene.

In 1994, G.I. Joe had a direct-to-video release. This one starred Sgt. Savage and the Screaming Eagles.

In 2003, Reel FX Creative Studio produced a cartoon based on A Real American Hero. Although it was only a direct-to-video CGI movie, G.I. Joe: Spy Troops. A second movie, G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom,was created in 2004.

Any planned follow-ups,however,have been shelved to make way for Hasbro's G.I. Joe: Sigma 6,in 2005. An Anime series was produced to go with the Toyline. The show didn't do too well.

Although Sigma 6 is superficially connected to A Real American Hero, its continuity is self-contained and Hasbro is not expected to return to A Real American Hero.

Well,there you have it,the origin of the G.I. Joe cartoon. To this very day,G.I.Joe remains one of America's most famous franchises. Spanning almost 3 decades and counting.

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed. Yo,Joe!!

Rock On and Stay Cold,
Stefan