I was very sad to learn of the passing of a great British talent recently – Orville, the green duck who wished he could fly. I guess technically the duck was never really alive, so can’t really have died – entertainer and ventriloquist Keith Harris is the true loss here, but I’m finiding it hard to mourn the man when it was his creation that was such a big part of my childhood.
I suspect if you’re not British, you’ll have no idea who Keith Harris is, or Orville. You’ve probably never experienced what it’s like to hear Orville taunted by Harris’s other character, Cuddles the monkey, whose catchphrase was “I hate that duck”. For the uninitiated, Orville was a young and naive green duck in an oversized nappy who seemingly had only one goal in life – to fly. In truth, that wasn’t the only thing the character aspired to, but Orville’s simplistic wish when captured in song became the defacto message that has lived with the character ever since.
If you’ve never heard Orville’s Song, or ‘I Wish I Could Fly’ as it is often referred to, now is the time to watch it sung by its stars over on Youtube:
If Orville made you smile, you should definitely check out Keith and Orville’s Quack Chat Show too!
As much affection as I have for Orville and Cuddles, I do hope that Harris’s passing is the end of the line for both characters. It’s been fun watching them show up in the decades following their creation but both characters need their master to breathe life into them and anyone who tries to mimic what Harris was so good at can only be destined for failure.
For this post, Sean turns his sights skyward to celebrate a hero that is all man, yet still has room to cram in some random bird stuff (I mean I guess he is part bird. Those wings seemed more like a disco era fashion accessory, but I know his race lives in nests. Oh Eternia, your mix of Hyperborea and Studio 54 shall never grow stale), a hero that has nerves of steel and giblets to match, a bastion of justice whose thickness of feathers is only matched by the bristles of his Gary Kurtz beard…Stratos from Masters of the Universe!
You know what screams 80’s? Ninja weapons like nunchaku. You know what screams massive drug abuse? Talking cat people. But somehow if you combine the two, you have an iconic character beloved to this day! And so, we have today’s hero, Panthro!
Panthro may not know what a Samophlange is, but he does know a thing or two about kickin’ mutant butt to all corners of Third Earth utilizing not only his cat’s claw nunchaku, but also his technological marvels such as the ThunderTank. It is also rumored that he sired a son who not only assisted in the birth of hundreds of babies on Third Earth, but has an affinity for loud, obnoxious sweaters as well.
In 1982, one of the greatest heroes of the entire decade exploded on the screen. His name? Snake eyes! While he was a man of few words (o.k., more like no words) yet his actions spoke volumes. Covered from head to toe in black, his face obscured by a featureless mask, Snake Eyes was all mystery, which made him the coolest mutha in the toy chest. But, kids weren’t the only ones that were enamored with the ol’ Snakester. The fact that he never spoke a word saved Sunbow a fortune, a fortune that was spent on bringing us shows even better than G.I. Joe, like The Charmkins and Moon Dreamers!
So, in honor of our cost effective friend, here are the top 5 quotes of Snake Eyes:
Can you believe it’s that time again? Time for that wizard of pen and ink Sean Hartter to present to us another stalwart hero of our misspent 80’s youth! Whom has Hartter chosen to bring to life this time you may ask? Why none other than that standard bearer of all that is manly, he who is unparalleled on the field of battle, and has earned his place in Valhallah…a hero of song and story…none other than Slimer! Wait…Slimer, that clumsy, potato lookin’, hot dog scarfin’ jackass? Hartter, you are a strange, strange cat my friend.
Anyway Slimer. You really can’t hate the dude (except maybe when the focus of The Real Ghostbusters seemed to eventual shift to focus purely on his antics). He’s lovable, green and an erstwhile companion…qualities we should all embrace really. Plus Ecto-Cooler may have been responsible for 90% of my cavities…Ackroyd and Ramis shall be hearing from my lawyer.
Hey, have you ever taken a look at that fur covered, rage packed space bear Chewbacca and wondered, “What could someone do to make this creature sexy?” No, of course you haven’t, because that would be pure insanity.
But, pure insanity must have been what was in the drinking water in California during the 80’s, ‘cuz that ol’ Wookie shoved himself into a mankini, and, like many stars of more “adult” entertainment, Chewie went ahead and gave himself a stage name, Ookla. Then he convinced Luke Skywalker to join him on his strange journey to the underbelly of Saturday mornings. Luke, always game to expand his horizons, changed his name to Thundarr…and for good measure took to calling his Lightsabre a SunSword. Then they convinced Joanna Cameron to join their depraved gang.
If any of the above makes sense, then you have seen one of the coolest cartoons to ever grace the airwaves, Thundarr the Barbarian. You’ve also witnessed why Disney is going to most likely seek legal action against me.