California Raisins

Remember the California Raisins?

Do you remember the California Raisins? I sure do…for starters, I remember actual raisins from California. I’ve always had a love hate relationship…great in old people cereal but they make a pretty lousy snack. For the most part, I’ll buy a package of tiny boxes of the dried grapes, eat them the first couple of days, then get real bored, real fast. But enough about California raisins…let’s talk about California Raisins.

In the 1980’s, The Claymation Giants at Will Vinton Studios produced commercials that would change the raisin game forever. Suddenly bluesy anthropomorphic raisins were everywhere! TV, radio, novelty items…even one of those cool stuffed toys that hung on your car window (usually reserved for Garfield) I have a vivid memory of Raisin Mania…what I don’t remember however, was the actual California Raisins Show.

This ends today.
California Raisins: “Meet The Raisins”

California Raisins Part 1

So far this cartoon is pretty freaking great (by my standards anyway) to start with I have always been a huge fan of Claymation and Stop-Motion, if you couldn’t figure that out, and Will Vinton was one of the legends. The character design is fantastic, the doowap and Motown rock hits are outstanding and the fruit related puns are non stop. Together that is a formula for success! The entire show is done in a faux documentary “behind the music style that really works with the program narrated by a nerdy british carrot, showing video clips on a vin-tone television (get it?)

Up until now we have seen them ditch an early member of the group (a “bitter” grapefruit) and then go on to success after hiring his replacement ala The Beatles dumping Pete Best for Ringo Star.

They became a hit on a singing reality competition gameshow that I would actually watch wherein if the contestants did not have enough talent they would be squashed, heated up or otherwise brutalized on national tv. Now that’s entertainment!

Side Note: they also have these great commercial breaks with fruit and vegetable related products and television shows including “hair styling products” and a Vegetable Soap Opera “the young and the seedless”

California Raisins Part 2

They’ve begun to pop the Grapefruit guy into the background as an ongoing joke (he’s constantly trying to get into the act.)

The Raisins career has hit a sour note since their discovery on national tv. They had to start over, performing on the street, then live elevator music and then singing telegrams; in a brilliant scene in which they terrorize and nearly kill a mountain climber. They gain national attention for saving his life and are once again discovered, this time by a Raspberry, Italian film maker. And are put into a Spaghetti Western where they apparently use live ammunition.

**they star in some other movie parodies including a 2001 a space oddysey movie and my personal favorite a star trek parody! “My alien side does not reason…but my raisin side say mmbo bowow boppa mmbow ba bow…” Pure Brilliance!

California Raisins Part 3

The raisins go on a goodwill tour through the arctic circle and play for snowmen, penguins and a walrus.

Not surprisingly the tour loses money and the crew begin their flight home, broke and frozen together somewhere over the US the plane gets struck by lightning and crashes right in the middle of a concert by Lick Broccoli and the herbacides (the current band of the grapefruit ex member)

The Raisins steal the show…literally. They thaw out and start playing for an audience that apparently hates the herbacides even though they are sitting in their concert. (maybe they were assuming a better band would crash an airplance into the concert hall and start performing?) at any rate the crowd and the tv audience at home eats up the Raisins and they go on to greatness and fame (in the 80s).

The End.

California Raisins Recap

There really isn’t too much more I can add to this. I wish I would have seen it sooner. I watched this, so mesmerized by the claymation that at times I wondered if I enjoyed the show as much as I thought, or just fell in love with the visual masterpiece that it was. In reality the writing was my cup of tea, the puns were great and the ongoing gags never got old. Although only produced in 2D animation (my second favorite animation style) this production makes me want to check out the television series. I hope it wont leave a sour taste in my mouth. Nobody likes sour grapes.

Kidd Video The Full Moon Review

What can I say about Kidd Video? …seriously, somebody help me out here! Okay, at the risk of making myself sound like an absolute imbecile, I know nothing about this cartoon. In fact, upon the few occasions where I accidentaly ran across pictures of it, I believe that I thought it was the same show as Captain N the Game Master. You know…videos…games…video games? It makes sense right. Anyway, now I’m older and wiser and ready to let what Im sure is a great cartoon, stand on it’s own two feet.

I present Kidd Video episode #23: Twilight Double Header.

HOLY CRAP ladies and gentleman I appear to have stepped into a goldmine! This intro is one of the single greatest things I have ever seen! It’s like some kind of amazing part animated part super cheesy teenager focused 80’s commercial and part super cheesy 80’s music video. There’s the greatest group of teenage stereotypes ever and there in a band together and the keyboardist is super nerdy and they have a preppy girl drummer and the lead singer looks at himself in the mirror while he sings…and the bassist has keyboard suspenders! Haha! Sorry I have to geek out about this for a moment. So they get pulled to the “flipside” and become cartoons captured by some fat businessman looking guy who says they’re going to be his “musical slaves” but a fairy in 80’s hair and legwarmers. Legwarmers! Sneezes and frees them! Seriously sorry to spaz out but I could honestly write a whole blog just about these opening credits. And the theme song is amazing! “From my video to my radio!” Does anyone out there know if this was a real song or just the theme to Kidd Video?

The episode opens with that awesome Flash Dance looking fairy getting chased by a very Dr Seuss looking elephant.

Then some weird creature throws a banana peel on the ground and it slips and flies about a hundred feet into the air and comes down, landing on a cactus…bad…luck. Then it runs away screeching and Glitter (the fairy) is safe and the band (kidd video) finally shows up. They try to think the creature (a member of an underappreciated race known as the jelly bellys) but he freaks out and runs away. Apparently they are a sweet but very shy people who noone ever does anything nice for. Kidd Video is gonna change all that and give them a concert! We get a little bit of an introduction of some of the characters at dinner. The girl drummer is a fitness freak and into vegetables and tofu, bean sprouts wheatgrass…you get the idea. The keyboardist is the nerdy complaining guy with the sarcastic quips, the lead singer is totally full of himself and the bassist is insensitive less talented and always trying to get the spotlight (Think Reggie to the lead singer’s Archie)

The band arrives in some random town full of weird random weird creatures that are hard at work rebuilding the concert hall and just generally being awesome. Unfortunately, this world has other plans for them. The heat is on, the fish are frying in the lake the thermometers are busting and the sun from the raisin bran commercials has appeared to have gone evil. We get this whole trippy “world getting hotter” scene all done to the tune of “Shout”

We get this long crazy scene with a jelly belly creature trying to drink water but the sun eye zaps it and turns it in to steam and all that’s left is one drop. He chases it all over the place even tunneling underground after it. Finally I think he gets carried away on a river of water (it’s kind of hard to tell) but the song ends and we are now watching the Reggie guy obsessively working on the song he’s writing and a two bodied one headed character that looks straight out of Yellow Submarine

shows up and criticizes him. Apparently, everything is hot because the nights are short. The nights are short because the guy who controls the night is that one eyed two bodied freak (who, by the way, is waaaaay bigger than he looked before) can’t sleep. And he can’t sleep because the bass player keeps working on his sucky song, in what is apparently the monsters bedroom! Way to go Reggie!!!

Reggie feels bad and apparently doesn’t want an entire race of giant jellybean people to melt and die so he takes it upon himself to risk his life and go on a quest to retrieve the one woman who can put the monster guy back to sleep.
We finally get treated to the bad guy. He must have been to busy to be in the show up until now…he does look like an executive after all. He’s addressing his trusted army of a…cat band?

He entrusts the cat band with the mission to stop kid video from finding the wonderful and mystical Sylvia. So they set a bunch of Wile E Coyote traps for our heroes.

The nerdy guy with his trusted assistant Flash Dance Fairy, climb the mountain with a siren singing machine in their own unstoppable quest to find Sylvia, and bring the land of the Belly Jellys some long overdue nighttime!

Part 3:
Only a couple minutes into part three and Reggie is being chased by a giant arachnid bush/tree monster

And Kidd and his Drummer Girl are being chased through the sky by…wait for it…twin giant cats riding tricycles. Holy acid trip Batman!

Kidd and companion find a giant wind-up playing card queen woman (sheesh!) who claims to be Sylvia and they take her into the ship. Meanwhile the evil tycoon guy is berating his cat thugs. These cats are pretty cool but they really don’t feel like they belong in this cartoon at all. They don’t act like they should, the fact that they’re anthropomorphic cats doesn’t make any sense and the don’t even look like the same animation. In fact, it seems like the bad business man kidnapped friends of The Cadillac Cats and made them work in a different cartoon!

So he yells at them to stop the heroes in a scene very reminiscent of Scar yelling at the Hyenas in The Lion King but unfortunately he doesn’t sing “Be Prepared” (one of my all time favorite Disney Villain songs)
By this time Ash (the Reggie guy) has caught up with Kidd and the drummer and they are trying to get their ship off the ground but one of the tricycle kittens damaged a fuel tank (are you following this guys?) the only way they can take off is if they move a giant ice-cube shaped boulder so wind can blow on the ship…because wind can help a rocket ship take off? Kidd starts juggling rocks and then throws them one by one at the boulder which finally starts to roll off into the distance despite the fact that it’s square… Then we get treated to this fever dream version of the back of a dollar bill, that I assume is an establishing shot of the Evil Villains hideout.

Insert dollar bill

We get a bunch of random shots of weird characters that im not even gonna go into and then we join nerdy keyboard guy as he works hard on a piece of Seussian equipment that I don’t remember seeing. He apparently fixes it because onto the screen pops! The live action music video for The Monkees, Daydream Believer???
Insert daydream believer.

Apparently the gizmo was supposed to replicate a Siren song…which I thought was the whole purpose of looking for Sylvia. Not that I minded hearing some Monkees, loved them since I was a kid!

After some pointless, wacky highjinks from the fake Cadillac Cats Sylvia finally arrives to work her magic. She winds up her head begins to play sweet music and suddenly starts can-can dancing with three legs! This cartoon is going to give me some amazing nightmares folks!

There also appears to be money blowing around and I have absolutely no idea why. So she’s doing this cancan dance and caterwauling like Yoko Ono and it puts the big mutant guy (and Ash) right out! The day is saved and our prize? A live action Kidd Video Concert!

Did I mention live-action Ash plays the KeyTar? Best cartoon ever!

I really don’t know what else to add here. This show had great music, nonsensical plotlines and the visuals were weird as hell! Throw in that thing I love where live action characters turn into cartoons, some awesome keytar playing and The Monkees and you have by far, one of the greatest things I’ve seen in a long time. Go watch Kidd Video. Now!

Popples! The Full Moon Review

**One Monster’s continuing mission to explore strange new (old) cartoons. Shows he has never seen! Watched in small segments and reviewed immediately. No research! No rewinds! No shame! Join me as I embarrass myself for your reading pleasure. This is Full Moon Reviews!**

Very sorry to have missed you fine folks last week but Cartoon research can be an unbelievably daunting thing and I found myself with the need to go to The Elmo SputterSpark spa and recharge my battery! For those of you who got that I salute you.
This week I decided to review something for the ladies a little show I like to call The Popples. Actually this post was semi inspired by a conversation I had on The Twitter with friends @LamarRevenger and @Count_Marzo two manly, manly men like myself, who were and are big Popples fans. What I’m trying to say is I really don’t know whether Popples was technically supposed to be a “girls toy” I know I had a couple as a kid and I thought they were awesome.

Another thing I didn’t know was that the Popples had a cartoon, that is, until now. I don’t know whether the cartoon or the toys came first and I really don’t know whether the strange and wonderful style of the Popples will translate to animation. What I do know is that I’m about to get my first ever experience with animated balls of 80’s nostalgia awesomeness. This should be fun!

The Popples: Treasure at Popple Beach

Wow-wie! I just watched the opening credits and that stuff I said about the “weird and wonderful style of the Popples” I’ve got a feeling were going to get that and then some! The opening montage starts with kids jumping out of their toy-box and then there are Popples. Popples everywhere! They’re running around doing Popply things (which apparently also involves pulling anything they want out of Popple Space) and being cute alien mythological beast creatures. The whole time they are running around the worlds most bouncy (get it?) theme song is playing. The lyrics go a little something like this. Popples…Popples! Popples! PopplesPopples! The only other thing I was able to glean from the opener is that apparently one of the Popples is not too bright. He was falling and looking for something to save himself and he kept pulling out anvils and other iron type objects. I feel a little bit like I’ve just taken drugs, I really hope the rest of the show is this weird!

Part 1:

So we start off at the beach the two kids escaping there toy-box in the opening credits are apparently the stars of the show. The girl asks the boy if he’s sure he has the Popples. Sure he is! Right there in his backpack! Im not sure yet what the Popples are. Are they pets? Is this earth? Are they toys come to life? Aliens? Did their salesman dad by them from an ancient Chinese man at his antique store? At any rate the foolish boy was wrong because we pan to see two of the round little critters on a sandcastle on the beach. One is laying on top sleeping. I will call him Lazy Popple and the other one is talking to herself while she hangs curtains and frantically cleans while calling herself “one” as in one can’t choose one’s neighbors…her I shall call crazy OCD Popple!

We wont have to worry about these two characters for long however because a giant wave is coming in to destroy their sandy home. They survive the terrible ordeal and OCD Popple rises up out of the sand pile and starts joking about their near death experience with hand puppets. Then she starts pointing out all the garbage! (she really is crazy!) including…gasp! A treasure map!

Part #2

There are suddenly tons of other popples (I’m assuming that when the first two Popples got wet by the wave, they started to multiply…don’t feed them after midnight Timmy!) and they are all looking at the treasure map and fighting over it. We then get treated to a classic, knock down drag out, no holds barred Popple chase! They run after the Popple with the map but he’s too fast then he turns into a ball and bounce, flinging himself at a volleyball net bouncing back and then flying back at his pursuing allies and knocking them over, bowling ball style! Then they all form a group and rise up in front of the screen looking totally nuts and then their eyes turn into dollar signs. Sounds like me on payday! Wakka wakka!

The weird music started back up and things seem to be going back to that trippie feel from the opening credits. Sure enough! We get treated to a wild montage of the Popples exploring their new found wealth. It starts with them rolling around in vast amounts of treasure then they go to a big time Hollywood premier in a chauffer driven car and get out, all wearing top hats. Then they are swimming on the roof-pool of their amazing high rise apartment, sun bathing diving, opening bottles of Dom Peringnon you know…typical Popple stuff.

Side note: the premier is actually a performance that they are giving in front of a wildly cheering audience. The show seems to consist of them bouncing around on stage on and around a table, heaped high with tons of gold coins (loose, and bagged) They all snap our of their fantasy and begin to hunt for the treasure, which involves screaming Hey look over there! And running around aimlessly in all directions. The little green Popple who speaks in all P alliteration says something about a prognosticating probe (??) takes his magnifying glass, goes to the edge of the water, plucks out an electric eel, makes it bite the end of the magnifying glass handle which electrocutes the popple turns the eel stiff as a board and turn the whole contraption, somehow, into a metal detector…I really like this cartoon!

The other Popples all try their treasure hunting techniques as well. One of them tunnels, one of them turns his tail into a propeller and goes scuba diving. The electric Popple keeps being electric…and the ocd Popple fills in all the holes they dig (because she’s crazy)

Part 3:
None of them find the treasure but they swimming Popple give up and then for some reason, decides it can’t swim back to shore leaving his friends to device a plan of rescue. One Popple (I’ve given up trying to name them) pulls a cube from Popple Space and turns it into a kite. They rescue the Popple with the kite and a few bad puns about needing a tale (…Once upon a time…) and then they get back to the hard work of nonsense treasure hunting! The orange Popple goes manic and starts running around knocking things over, riding a surfboard through the air diving through a lifesaver and then hitting sand and flying (once again) back towards his comrades.

They run around some more causing mayhem and creating some show stopping scenes of scintillating slapstick and then two of them fall over a hill and land in a picnic basket. No one seems to be claiming it so they decide it’s the treasure! They all gather round and start eating the food and having a sweet beach picnic

They decide its about time to go home so they create a bunch of flying devices out of garbage and take off. Each one leaves in a different contraption (I don’t know why) and they all arrive safely. The orange popple leans against a tiny volleyball net to catapult himself. Winks at the audience and says “I know this might be stretching things a bit” which seems to be the theme to this entire episode.
They all arrive safely at home after their adventure each making a spectacularly clumsy entrance and getting some wisecrack joke from the child who finds them. After the last one the show decends (as it has several times throughout the episode) into crazed laughter and that, my friends, is the end!


That was one weird show…which I like. It was colorful, funny, and more importantly, nonsensical! The only problem I have with it was the fact that at the end of the treasure hunt they just decide to eat a pi9cnic. I couldn’t help thinking that somewhere, just off screen The Littles were digging their treasure up and going on to dance around a money table wearing top hats and getting wild applause. Also, at the very end of the show the boy NEVER acknowledges that he left the Popples at the beach! He said he had them in his backpack! All they say is finally you Popples decided to come back, use the door next time! What??? The kid abandoned them. He’s guilty! I swear if Popples can’t get just in a cartoon. Where can they get justice?

Sky Commanders!

**One Monster’s continuing mission to explore strange new (old) cartoons. Shows he has never seen! Watched in small segments and reviewed immediately. No research! No rewinds! No shame! Join me as I embarrass myself for your reading pleasure. This is Full Moon Reviews!**

Oh Sky Commanders! What can I say about this great 80’s animated…adventure show? Seriously, what can I say? Confession time friends; except for the fact that I know this cartoon existed because I’ve heard the name before. I don’t know anything about this show other than the name and the fact that, by looking it up on you tube there seems to be some debate as to whether it was “anime” or now. I guess I’m about to find that, and everything else, out while I watch Sky Commanders: Episode 9: Deep Freeze!

Part: One
Wow. that’s one heck of a cartoon intro! I don’t know what’s going on yet but it looks like a frozen mountain based zipline action adventure show…of the future! Two rival factions (who’s names I didn’t quite catch) seem to be fighting over some kind of element that can be used to rule the world. Think: Kerium, or Energon… Aside from all the action there was some weird imagery in the opener. There was a ghostlike picture of a smiling guy; kind of “in memorial” and also a part where the ground broke open and there was fire, and something that appeared to be the devil. Hmmm.

The show opens up with a rugged blonde commander man explaining…lava?

Has caused a wasteland to become the highest mountain peak in the world at 60,000 feet. (their science it totally legit on this…I ran it by the boys in R&D) Now the mountain has large surface deposits of Beta-7 (that magic element I mentioned earlier) They are at some kind of command base in the city (I don’t know why I thought it was arctic based) So the very GI Joe like team starts throwing around ideas for the mission and a creepy acting Australian dude starts teasing a Jamaican green beret guy about how cold it’s going to be to which the Jamaican replies “Mon…I can’t take de cold!” the Aussy acts super creepy and the whole thing makes me very uncomfortable. You know, like cartoons are supposed to!

Speaking of awkward the stuff is actually called Feta 7… Not Beta 7 and they want to climb the mountain because the element can be handled if retrieved from such attitudes and they can find out how to destroy it. Before Plague (the rival team) can find it they need to get their buts up that mountain! We start going up a mountain in the sky drill, piloted by an old dude and the Jamaican guy. They get some awesome beeping and readout displays on their “video map” If you’ll notice, it also appears as though he has an email notification.

They continue driving with some bland banter that contains a lot of “hey mon” and they get passed by some guys on cables in fancy motorized zipline/cable car things (it’s pretty obvious what kinds of toys we were trying to sell here) and the guys get so destracted that they don’t notice they’re inside the mouth of a Boulder Monster!

This thing is awesome, fierce, and adorable! Really I want a cool toy…or a tattoo or something, of this monster. Hands down, the best part of the show so far! They’re all fighting amongst themselves and walking around in the snow and so far in terms of enemies all we have seen was the awesome monster (that they pushed off of a cliff) it really all seems a lot more like Rankin and Bass’ Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer than a GI Joe style cartoon.
The good guys are now not just wiring, they are HOT wiring…which I guess means that the cable glows and you fly way faster. Then we get introduced to my favorite part of any show…the baddies! At first glance they seem pretty uninspired.

They all wear a TON of eyeliner and one has a scar. They catch wind of what the good guys have planned and hint that they might be ruining their day, with a little weather tampering!

The Japanese good guy accidentally detonates a bomb that causes an avalanche. He tries to warn everyone else but they are already suffering the consequences. The “avalanche” is actually giant, apparently adamantium, ice cycles that fall from…uh….well since they are on a mountain and these giant ice spears are falling, it’s really hard to say where they might be falling from but I would guess that they broke off of a giant rain gutter on a big ass roof! The icicles start raining down and cutting through stuff. The giant metal cable, even one of the zipline ships, seriously injuring Charles Nelson Reilly!

Then the snow waver (the actual avalanche part of an avalanche) begins to overtake the drill which is land based (which is the only vehicle that should have been affected by an avalanche) Man! The boys at Plague are gonna be pretty mad when they finally show up and all the good guys are dead by their own hands! The avalanche buries the drill but they are able to escape because they are of course in a giant drill. Everyone is celebrating and we see that the crew is being watch…by The Heat Miser! I knew this was a Rankin Bass Production!

The bad guys figure out what the good guys are after! Feta 7!!! Maybe this wasn’t as central an element as I thought it was, I mean could you picture Megatron saying…wait a minute I think the Autobots might be trying to get Energon! We must stop them! The bad guys all use vehicles that are very similar to the heroes, except they look was more sinister!

The Jamaican guy and the Japanese guy are out goofing around on the lines (the Jamaican guy still hates the weather…it must be a running joke) While they are talking about this the line breaks and the Japanese guy falls, probably to his death. This equipment seems pretty lousy. This is the second time it’s failed just in this episode! Two other good guy crew members find the Feta 7 and start to collect it.

Part Two:
The Japanese guy rescues Striker (the Jamaican) and they go hide in an ice cave.
We rejoin the bad guys, and speaking of faulty equipment one of their lines breaks the mountain top that it was tethered to, off and one of the sky riders falls to his death. He ACTUALLY falls to his death. The bad guys all look down and one of them says. “we lost another one” Haha! Wow.

The bad guys finally launch their attack and it is incredibly successful. They confuse the good guys, steal the Feta 7, enough of it to destroy every city on earth ( I think I really misjudged the nature of Feta 7.) they ride away saying that the general will be all tied up caring for his injured men! Things are finally starting to look good for the bad!

The heroes are planning to stop Plague just because they want to kill everyone on earth. They send Kodiak (the Japanese…of maybe Eskimo? Guy) to follow the baddies while the rest of the crew plans an ambush. The general and his men reach the baddy base-camp capture the guards at gunpoint, strip them down to their underwear tie them to a pole and leave them their…in their underwear…in the snow.

They put on the badguys uniforms, murder two more members of The Raiders and catch the Heat Miser’s ship on fire.

Then they take the material that explodes in heat and drop it in a hot spring, wear it…explodes. Plague gives the typical “you may have won this time but I’ll still destroy you!” speech. The mountain shrinks back down into the earth like real mountains do and they day is once again safe for…whatever the Sky Commanders are trying to make the day safe for. At any rate they won and more importantly Striker is back in the warm, warm cabin, kicking back and drinking booze. Because he really…really…hates cold weather.


Ummm this show was interesting. So far it’s definitely my least favorite of all these reviews. It does have it’s good points, that boulder monster was incredible and the technology from the suits, to the zipline backpacks, to the sweet vehicles. They move right they seem to use real(ish) physics and I bet they were some awesome toys. (they had to have had toys for this show, right? Anybody?) The characters were REALLY one dimensional at least in this episode they tried for diversity and ended up bordering on stereotypical it seems way more likely that the writers were focusing on tech and didn’t give one iota about character or story. Except of course for Heat Miser…he was a great guy. I really hope he’s okay.