One year after I was born a cartoon that I would watch more times than I would like to admit swam its way to the airwaves. Originally airing as a 5 minute segment break on the popular children’s show Captain Kangaroo, The Undersea Adventures Of Captain Nemo surfaced. The show very loosely based on the Jules Vern story 20,000 leagues Under the Sea was brought to life by a Canadian Animation studio called Rainbow Animation based out of Ontario Canada. In my Canadian market it would not be until the early 80s before I saw the show. Honestly I struggle to understand why this show stuck hard in my memory banks. The 70s Viewers would get 5 minutes of Nemo where as on the Television network I watched most as a kid, NTV, we were honored to get a full half hour block of this show. 5 back to back episodes aired with the time slot constantly changing. So Nemo was a show that was almost omnipresent on Saturday mornings for us.
The first thing that stands out for me looking back was the shows intro. The theme song for this show was actually mind numbingly decent. If the beginning of this show was any indication all signs pointed to this show being the second coming of Johnny Quest. Sadly it was not. But in its own environmentally friendly way, this show, in moderation, was fun and enjoyable.
The show was about the Submarine adventures of Captain Mark Nemo, and two overly educated children, Robbie and Christine. Born out of the 1970s ecological movements each show was a mini class in conservation of our oceans and the inhabitants there in. Nemo and the kids would rescue Sea creatures and explore Undersea environments while foiling the efforts of some bad guys along the way. The shows were so short in duration, Nemo and his submarine were the most efficient eco-rescue team ever. Saving the day in a short 4 and a half minutes can really add some work place pressures on a guy.
Lets find out more about the crew. First Captain Mark Nemo The blond haired researcher who has a knack for finding himself in the midst of some sort of ecological incident at every turn. He is also a mentor two his two student followers who travel with him all over the globe saving Sea life from certain doom. Mark himself more than slightly bared a likeness to DC comics Aquaman. He was a submarine expert and the captain of the gimmick laden Nautilus. The Sub itself was filled with plenty of attachments and gadgets that can get you out of any situation.
Next was child researcher Robbie. Robbie was a highly educated boy who joined the crew of the Nautilus at a young age. Even though his age was never given it appeared Robbie was about 10 Years old. Robbie was interested in Nemo research and would from time to time find himself in some sort of underwater trouble and need to be rescued. Just where is this kids parents?
Next Teen researcher Christine. Seemingly the level headed one of the two children. Obviously the older of the two kids was a very astute student of Marks with a remarkable knowledge of the Undersea worlds they explored. It was never apparent if Robbie and Christine were brother and sister but the implication was there in many stories. Christine often controlled her own underwater vessel under Marks watch. Hmmm.
One interesting side note on this series was that all the voice work for the show for Mark, The Children, the scientists and bad guys were all done by two people, Len Carlson and Billie Mae Richards.
Where can I find this show now? It had been released on VHS for the hardcore collectors in the 80s and the video tape contained a big block of the series.
The fine folks at F.H.E. always brought quality animation to their video cassettes. Some rare cartoons found a second life on the video market because of Family Home Entertainment.
In today’s market if you look hard enough you can find this series, or at least large chucks of it on value DVD collections, like the ones featured below.
Here are a couple of the episodes that still exist around the web for your enjoyment (for now). If you are a Dolphin saving Ecologist, these shows are right up your alley! If not they are still an okay shot of retro fun. Enjoy!