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.
Well, friends. In all honesty Star Wars: Droids has received a fan made update to the classic 1985 intro. With Al Scott’s student work placing this during the time of 2015’s The Force Awakens. Having said that it of course means that BB-8 is now tagging along with C-3P0 and R2-D2!
I stumbled across this video the other day although in fact it was released back in May of 2016. I really like what Al was able to accomplish with his reimagining for the Droids opening. Using the legendary “Trouble Again” theme song by The Police’s Stewart Copeland works rather well with the threats to the Droids by Captain Phasma and the First Order as well as Unkar Plutt.
Moreover I truly wish that Disney might think about resurrecting the ’85 television series. I believe that with the popularity of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and of course Star Wars Rebels – it’s time for a return to Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3P0…and BB-8.
From his YouTube Page, Al said of the student project: “…this is a contemporary reimagining of the cartoon “DROIDS” from the 1980’s! This newly imagined version of “Droids!” follows the day to day adventures of C3P0, R2-D2, and BB-8 as they constantly find themselves in trouble again avoiding the First Order, Bounty Hunters, Scavengers, and helping the noble Resistance further their cause across the galaxy!
Now while it’s nice to think about what a new animated series might be like. I would be remiss to not mention how much of a fan I was of the 1985 show. Certainly that puts me in the miniority as many fans of Star Wars seem to not look at the show as fondly as I do. Then again I also am a huge fan of the Droids that populate the movies, comics, animated series, and games. Even in my youth there were cases where I cared more about R2 or even the likes of 2-1B than Chewbacca.
I hope all of this has got you thinking about the 1985 animated series now. Which has yet to receive a DVD or Blu-Ray release, by the way. Because the Retroist has you covered with episode 59 of his podcast – in which he is joined by R2!
I couldn’t think of a more clever title! Give me a break!!!!
I danced for 21 and a half years (the 22nd year ended in injury halfway through the year, and signaled my “retirement” from dance). So if you ever want to know why I write as much as I do, it’s because I was initially filling a void left behind by dance. Now it is a hobby I embrace with the love and dedication that anyone should give to their talent. I pride in referring to myself as a writer and content contributor the way I referred to myself as a “Non-Professional Hip Hop Dancer.” Now I throw “Retired” in front of that and call it a day.
Me in 1988 (age 5) in my first recital.
I studied Jazz for eleven years, Ballet for four years, and Hip Hop for six and a half years (the half year was the injury year).
I loved to perform – there was nothing quite like a costume, enough makeup to impress a clown, and a huge stage. I loved it so much, that returning as an adult at the age of 25 was like a homecoming of sorts. Sure the studio and teachers were different, but there is nothing quite like feeling in your element, no matter where you are. A dance floor is a dance floor, a ballet barre is a ballet barre, and a stage…is a stage.
The one type of dance I never got into was Tap. I did take little kid classes until I was seven years old that involved Tap, but it wasn’t something I wanted to continue. Of course, all my friends did Tap in the adult classes, and I wanted to try it, but never did. Now I’m convinced I would have been forced into retirement sooner if I did.
Just because I never tried Tap, doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it – the kicklines, the sound of the shoes (which I LOVED as a little kid), the rhythm, the sound of the shoes, the costumes, the sound of the shoes…yeah, you get my point. I loved spectating when it came to Tap. Not having a mind for it (I’m a classic over-thinker, which can be a bad thing in dance in general, but worse for Tap), and having friends who were amazing at it was what interested me more.
The other thing that interested me more? Watching professionals do it. Like Gregory Hines.
I’ll confess, I’ve never seen White Nights. I know Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov were in it, I know Lionel Richie has a song on the soundtrack (“Say You, Say Me”), and I know Hines was a Tap dancer in real life the way Baryshnikov was a Ballet dancer in real life. Oh, and they play dancers in the movie.
Would you like to see the magic happen? Hit play, and be AMAZED!
Uploaded by jbbe2
And this is where I reference David Foster.
The song playing in the background is the David Foster-composed “Tap Dance,” and it is on Foster’s 1986 album…David Foster. I’m sorry guys, I’m striking out with all kinds of non surprises.
I love the “It’s-So-1980s” appeal of this song. It’s like aerobics and tap dance got together, had a child, and raised up that child up right. Did I mention David Foster is a genius? Because he is the one that made this song happen.
Sadly, I can’t find a music video to back this song up (because let’s face it, David Foster must have felt the music with the song!), but why have a music video when you can have Gregory Hines tapping? That’s even better!
I especially love the dancing in this scene. Hines moves about the floor gracefully, all the while stomping with the glorious sound of taps. His was a talent lost with his passing, but thankfully is very well-preserved, based on what I found on You Tube. Every dancer should strive for so much! It seems that the dance world tends to get lost in the current trend of Hip Hop, but sometimes, the classics work well. And those who strive to preserve this art are keeping it alive and well!
The version heard in the movie has more tap sounds in it than the actual song does, so if you REALLY want to hear this song in all the glory it intends to have, here it is.
Uploaded by David Foster – Topic
Allison isn’t a world-class dancer, but she knows her stuff. She loves writing about David Foster (easily her favorite composer). If you like what you’ve seen here, she’d love for you to visit her on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. Ironically, her Twitter handle used to be @DancerChick1982.
She’s like Kevin Bacon in Footloose – she’s gotta dance!
Did you know you can see some of the best movies from our childhoods on YouTube in their entirety? They are
When I told you about the Smart Aleck’s Guide To Halloween Specials at the beginning of the month, I said they mentioned an ABC movie called The Midnight Hour which I never got the chance to see. I also said I had been looking for it but couldn’t find it. I remembered that sad fact yesterday and so gave YouTube another chance. And thank goodness for new content because there it was, the full movie. It was chopped into four parts, sadly, but it was all still there. And what a great movie it was. Well, it was great for the nostalgic factor anyway. This is something that just oozes with the spirit of the mid-80s and something I would have loved if I had seen it back then. I’m not sure today just how I missed this one, but I’m glad I got to see it now. And if you would like to see it as Halloween draws to its midnight hour, I’ve posted all four parts below.
A recent thread on the forums about cold war books of the 80s reminded me of a book I had seen in my middle school Scholastics flyer. I couldn’t remember the title, but I remember the book cover showed a tween boy crying down (or up?) a ladder into an nuked wasteland. After doing a lot of searching, I thought this book might have been in the Firebrats series. As it turns out, though, it was a short series called After The Bomb.
Is that little scene of empty suburbia chilling or what?
After The Bomb was a short Scholastic series from Gloria D. Miklowitz that came out in 1985. There were only two volumes: After The Bomb and After The Bomb: Week One. The second one is the one I remembered. The first starts the story of a boy, his brother, and his brother’s girlfriend as they attempt to survive and save family members after the LA area is struck by a rogue Russian nuke, and the second concludes it.
Based on the cover of the second book, I thought the story would be about a boy coming out of a nuclear shelter to find a Mad Max-ish apocalyptic society. Since I was terrified of such societies after being exposed to The Road Warrior at too young an age, I was terrified of this book. As it turns out, there was a nuclear shelter, but that was about the only similarity because my impressions and the actual tale. The book is not nearly as sensationalistic as Road Warrior but much more realistic. Over the two books are scenes in overloaded hospital, attempts to get water, evacuation to the desert, and life in a refugee camp. There are also scenes of the boy coming to his own, overcoming his negative self-image to save lives and help the recovery efforts.
Miklowitz says in the opening to the first book that she did a lot of research and is fairly certain that this is what a nuclear strike would be like. I imagine she is correct on that. I also know it is nothing I’d want to experience. It wasn’t Mad Max, but it was horrific in its own right. This is a prime example of the nuclear scares that we used to get on a regular basis in the 80s. If you have for some strange reason been waxing nostalgic for such scares, these books are for you.