A hippo and a cat (and sometimes a pig and/or a dog) engage in a competition of sports…and that’s not the beginning of a bad joke. In the world of 1980s animation, it actually exists as Sports Cartoons!
And in the spirit of the Olympics, there was no way I could let this one get past me!
But Seriously, What Are Sports Cartoons?
Sports Cartoons are a series of short cartoon produced by Lamb-Perlman Productions in 1985, and resemble the National Film Board of Canada’s animation style. The shorts feature anthropomorphic animals as the participants of various sports.
The participants are:
The Big Cats…
And the Dog.
The concept is simple – the animals (usually the Hippo and the Cat) engage in various sporting events. By his own disastrous design, the antagonistic Cat never wins.
However, through pure dumb luck, the sweet Hippo (or the Pig) always succeeds.
Actually, there was that one time The Big Cats won…
That’s it, really. No dialogue, no voices (except for the screeching cat). The shorts range in running time – 40 seconds to two minutes in length.
Sports Cartoons As Filler Material
In the United States, Sports Cartoons filled commercial space between programs on Nickelodeon in the late 1980s and until the mid-1990s. I have vivid memories of watching the animals duke it out frequently, and loved watching the Hippo come out on top. When one watched, one never rooted for the Cat. You rooted for the Hippo (or Pigs).
Besides, the Hippo was adorable.
All told, the entire series ran forty-five minutes (for forty-five episodes), and saw a home video release by Family Home Entertainment.
Yes, mom and dad…you’ll love it too!
What Types of Sports Were Featured in Sports Cartoons?
Well…everything! And probably some you haven’t thought of! Common sports, such as Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Hockey, and Boxing had their moment, as did anything construed as a sport.
That’s right – nestled with the “typical” sports, Hippo, Cat, and Friends also competed in Darts, Chess, Skydiving, Karate, Swimming, Pommel Horse, Gymnastics, Skeet Shooting, Hot Air Balloon, Javelin, Shot Put (this one was a two-parter), Fencing, and Table Tennis.
Meet the Flintstones. Are they a modern Stone Age family or a family with a hidden past?
Neighbors Betty and Barney Rubble “We thought they were so nice!”
Fred works at the local quarry and is a popular member of the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos. Other than occasionally being caught talking to an invisible friend Gazoo, Fred seems like an average Bedrock citizen.
He was the star of a popular television series in the 1960s and is still a celebrity. It is impossible to waltz up and down the cereal isle without finding Fred on a cereal box. Unfortunately, it is all a sham. Karen Williams and a team of investigative reporters for The Retroist have uncovered undeniable evidence that Fred and Wilma have a sordid secret history that escaped the light of public knowledge.
When we first met the Flintstones, they were living under the assumed name the Flagstones. That should have been the first sign of a hidden secret. But shortly afterwards, Fred and Wilma’s hit TV series premiered and everyone forgot about their past.
What if they were living under a different name because they were trying to hide something? Or better yet…someone? Before we go any further, we should introduce the players in this unsolved mystery.
“Meet Fred Flintstone …
His boy Junior ….
Daughter Pebbles ….
Wilma his wife …..”
I know what most of you are thinking – who is Junior? What if cute little Pebbles wasn’t Fred and Wilma’s first child? What if they had a long forgotten son, Fred Flinstone, Junior? I know it sounds like the plot from an outlandish cartoon, but we have found undeniable proof.
Before September of 1960, when the Flintstones TV show premiered, Fred and Wilma were totally unknown, so William Hanna and Joseph Barbera began a publicity campaign. For adults, Fred and Barney promoted beer and cigarettes.
For kids, there were Flintstone comic books and story books. And appropriately enough, that is where our story begins. These images come from the great site – Golden Gems.
In 1961, Little Golden Books published their first book about the Flintstones.
A few years before Pebbles was born, the Flintstones were Fred, Wilma, and Junior. While grilling, a little dinosaur snuck up and ate every hamburger that Fred had cooked. Fred was furious, but Junior thought the little dinosaur was adorable. After pleading with him, Fred gave in and let Junior keep the little dinosaur as a pet.
Junior named him Harvey and built him a dinosaur house. Harvey was happy, but the more Junior fed him, the more Harvey grew.
Harvey grew so large that finally, Fred put his foot down and sent Harvey away. A few days later, Fred was fishing in a little row boat when a storm suddenly appeared and capsized his boat.
Harvey saw that Fred was in trouble and rescued him. After this, Fred decided that having a giant dinosaur for a pet wasn’t so bad after all.
And, they all lived happily ever after? Yeah, right! What do you think this is – a cartoon? While Fred and Wilma became famous, Junior and Harvey were never heard from again. Inquiring minds want to know – what happened to Junior and Harvey?
We interviewed Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, but they claimed that they’ve never heard of Junior or Harvey. I don’t trust any of the Flintstones, but Pebbles may be telling the truth since she wasn’t born until 1963.
We also interviewed Fred Flintstone, but he is old and unfortunately his memory is fading. So, he was no help.
The mystery remains regarding The Flintstones – what happened to Fred Flintstone, Junior?
If you have any information about Junior’s final fate, please contact any of The Retroist staff.
Just in time for the Holidays, DuckTales Woo-Oo! hits DVD. This is of course the hit Disney XD show and not the classic 1987 series. I certainly had my doubts about a reboot of DuckTales as I didn’t see any need. But in all honesty the new show is worthy of the name as well as the works of Carl Barks. In fact I think ol’ Scrooge McDuck himself would gladly store DuckTales Woo-Oo! in his fabled money bin.
This first release of the 2017 reboot features the pilot movie. Entitled Woo-Oo! obviously. The story concerns Donald Duck, who finds himself needing to find a place to leave his three nephews, while he goes on a job interview. Huey, Dewey and Louie are indeed good kids…but they are danger to themselves when left alone. To say the very least.
So Donald finds himself having to turn to his alienated Uncle Scrooge McDuck. While the two definitely have some bad blood between them, Family wins out in the end though. Well, more like thanks to Mrs. Beakley in fact.
Of course it’s not long after the boys meet Webby Vanderquack that adventure comes calling. In the form of accidentally releasing ancient spirits from McDuck’s relic room. However this does help the former adventurer feel the need to seek out the Lost Jewel of Atlantis!
On the other hand this causes some Family issues as Scrooge’s old rival, Flintheart Glomgold, has secured himself a new employee. Donald Duck. And of course Flintheart is totally looking for the Lost Jewel of Atlantis as well.
While this new DuckTales has been updated for a new generation. There are MANY nods to the original series. Not to mention that this series has an embarrassingly amount of incredible voice talent. Case in point David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck, Danny Pudi as Huey, Bobby Moynihan as Louie, and Ben Schwartz as Dewey. Tony Anselmo lends his voice as Donald with Kate Micucci playing Webby!
Furthermore beyond the 44 minute film, the DVD includes six bonus shorts as well. Those six bonus make up Welcome to Duckburg!:
Meet Mrs. Beakley
You can totally pick up DuckTales Woo-Oo! on DVD starting tomorrow! Of course you could hop on over to the official Disney shop and secure your copy today.
Until you get a chance to add DuckTales Woo-Oo! to your home collection. Why not enjoy the updated theme song?
I remember a whole other time in the world of My Little Pony. It was pre-brony, but just as colorful and cheesy.
Didn’t They Make This My Little Pony Movie Already?
So there’s this movie out this weekend, you’ve probably seen at least one movie poster for it on your way to the bathroom in your local movie theater…
*Snort* I wish.
It’s more like this…
If you type in the exact title My Little Pony: The Movie, you’re going to see two very different posters. And depending what era MLP you like, you’ll likely react with nostalgic awe toward one, and revulsion toward the other.
Can you imagine that dividing line, moms versus their daughters?
Just Like Her Aunt…
I have a 2 1/2 year old niece. Right now, she’s not watching My Little Pony in any way, shape, or form, but she has a sippy cup (courtesy of my mom), a MLP figure (also courtesy of my mom), a Ty Beanie Plushie (courtesy of me), and a t-shirt (again, courtesy of me). The sippy cup was kept at my parents’ house, and my niece loved it so much, she took it home. My sister-in-law told my mom on the phone a week later that all my niece wanted to drink from was her “pony cup” and she would yell “PONY CUP! PONY CUP!” constantly. Kid loves that cup.
Of course, I loved my cup when I was three years old, but mine had a spinning pony attached to the straw! I’ve tried to find pictures of that cup, to no avail.
Me with my brother (my niece’s daddy) at four years old (1986). That’s also the same year I started watching and collecting My Little Pony stuff.
I have my doubts that my niece will see the current (and same titled) My Little Pony: The Movie right now, but when I was slightly older than her, I saw the original 1986 movie, albeit not in the movie theater. I know I liked it at the time, but time has made it look kinda cheesy, and well, the Cinema Snob made it look downright terrible. I’m sure in 30 years, this new release will look just as bad. And of course, the 1986 version will flat out look ancient.
In the Beginning…There Were Ponies!
35 years ago, My Little Pony took the toy world by storm, and it was only a matter of time before the toys became primetime specials, a movie, and then two TV series during Generation 1 (I should note that the original TV series actually came after the movie). The toy series has gone through several generations’ worth of changes from that point to now, and my mom decided to tell me in a store that the newer generation (G4) is much cuter than the ones I played with 30 years ago (G1). I always knew that she believed they were ugly, but to say these new ones are cute…um, no.
Over on You Tube, I was looking (like my search for the cup, completely to no avail) for the 1984 special which was pre-movie and pre-orginal series, and I came across a promo for it (which was the proposed pilot)..including the special. And as you know with anything nostalgia, I’m in my glory.
My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle Promo
This obvious end-of-another-video trailer is for the 1984 primetime special known as “Rescue from Midnight Castle,” and omits the scary part where the ponies get turned into dragons. Good lord, that scared me when I was little!
If you need something to compare it to, I recommend that scene in The Care Bears In the Land Without Feelings where Professor Coldheart turns the little boy, Kevin, into one of his green servants. That’s just scary now because the animation is terrible, but the dragons in this special are well-animated and terrifying.
This looks like a marketing trailer for retailers, based on the narration. In fact, on a Vestron/Children’s Video Library video, this trailer and Rainbow Brite: Peril in the Pits (that show’s pilot) come complete with prices should you want to buy it…
Seriously?! It’s not like Vestron was this amazing film company. People were buying these for their children – do you know how many kids watched videos until the tape eventually broke? $29.95 USD in 1986 equals…$66.16 today.
And don’t get me started on the Canadian price!
Now I understand why I didn’t own any videos that weren’t destined to become timeless classics. Because this price!
My Little Specifics
Marvel (yes, THAT Marvel), Hasbro, Sunbow, and Toei produced the special, with Claster Television distributing it. The pilot originally aired on April 14, 1984, and was followed by “Escape from Catrina.” The feature film opened in theaters in the spring of 1986, was a box office disappointment, and combined with the disappointing box office returns on Transformers: The Movie (why, I have no idea), resulted in a proposed Jem movie’s cancellation, and GI Joe: The Movie releasing direct-to-video in 1987.
But don’t weep for the ponies! They had another chance when they got their own series! My Little Pony‘n Friends. The “friends” were a B-side cartoon featuring either GloFriends, MoonDreamers, or Mr. Potato Head, his wife, and their children (the cartoon centered around the Potato Head Kids). The series ran in first-run syndication on weekdays from September 15, 1986 until September 23, 1987, spanning two seasons and 65 episodes. The GloFriends had 27 segments, Potato Head Kids 23 segments, and the MoonDreamers had 16 segments.
Fun fact: The first ten episodes of that series, “The End of Flutter Valley,” (airing September 15-26, 1986) served as the sequel of sorts to the feature film.
Of course, something had to come first, and after quite the search, I found the original special in its entirety!
I also made this. Because I can. :-)
That’s just as freaky as I remember. And the songs are terrible! I remember this plot like I just saw it (especially that Sea Ponies song, which sounds like a commercial jingle), and it has been at least 9-10 years since I’ve seen it on You Tube. Like everything else we loved growing up, this hasn’t aged well in terms of the actual dialogue, but the animation is pretty.
I remember in the original cut, an overly excited voiceover informs us that Sandy Duncan and Tony Randall are the stars of this show! And no, they didn’t make it to the actual TV series, though Randall did play the Moochick in the feature film. As an adult, this feels dark.
And Tirek the Centaur…*shudder*. As for Scorpan, you could feel his humanity trying to surface when he helps Megan and the ponies escape Tirek’s Rainbow of Darkness. And if you can last until the end, you’ll understand why.
As a plot, it works, but the uncut version is the better version. For some reason, the cut version that aired within the TV series feels disjointed when split up. Plus, one of those terrible songs was part of that cut. I hate to say it, but if that was the reason it felt disjointed, then maybe it was worth it?
And of course, there’s a happy ending. Because why not? Tirek is destroyed, his dragons are once again the innocent creatures they originally were…and Ember is allergic to butterflies. And giggling…lots of giggling to go around.
Oh, and bonus points if you remember which of the ponies you had.
Ten extra bonus points if you had the Megan and Baby Spike dolls (I did!).
Of course, if you’d like to see the special, you can! Just click play below!
My Little Pony: Rescue At Midnight Castle
From Daily Motion, Upload via Ponyrokkusu Pony
My Little Pony, My Little Pony…Now It’s Time To Say Goodbye
I have no doubt in my mind that today’s kids will have no clue there was originally a My Little Pony movie some ancient time 31 years ago, or how the whole animated world began with a pilot episode involving turning ponies into dragons. They were dark times indeed.
Do me a favor. If a little MLP-loving kid really needs to be shown the dark side of the Ponies, show them this special. If they question it, tell them this is all we had in the Dark Ages.
Yogis Space Race was a short-lived 90-minute Saturday morning cartoon. It ran on NBC from September 9, 1978 to March 3, 1979. That short run resulted in just 13 episodes.
While it might have been epic to have a 90-minute cartoon, the show was divided into segments to make it easier to hold young kid’s attention. Eventually these segments would get divided up into shorter shows and any of you might have seen them on the USA Cartoon Express.
The 4 segments from the show were:
Yogis Space Race – A outer space remake of Wacky Races. This segment had old and new characters participating in intergalactic racing competitions.
Galaxy Goof-Ups – Yogi and his gang are intergalactic police officers.
The Buford Files – A sleepy bloodhound solves mysteries with the help of two kids.
The Galloping Ghost – The oddest of the lot. Galloping Ghost features the ghost of an old west prospector.
Almost immediately the show was broken up into segments that received their own branding. Yogis Space Race would get its own show, as would Galaxy Goof-Ups. The Buford Files and The Galloping Ghost would get combined into the aptly named Buford and the Galloping Ghost.
I have fond memories of watching Yogis Space Race on the Cartoon Express. Reading about the show, I was surprised that only 13 episodes were made. I am probably mixing the show up with Wacky Races. If you have not seen an episode, you might need to look around. While these shows used to be on YouTube often, recent reports have made them dry up quickly. Although if you want to get a taste of the show, people do seem to be allowed to post opening and closing credits.
Yogis Space Race Opening Credits
Over the intervening years, I have also come to enjoy Galaxy Goof-Ups. While not as an easy to find as Space Race and not as star-studded, it is worth tracking down for its originality.