Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Top 5: Greatest 80s Cartoon Themes

The Cartoon Historian proudly presents...The Top 5. Todays Top 5 will be about The Greatest Cartoon Theme Songs of the '80's. Let's get busy!

5 - The Real Ghostbusters: Who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS! I love the animation for this opening. It goes very well with the song.

4 - Silverhawks: Part Metal,Part Real. The Silverhawks theme was short,but sweet. Ya gotta love Bluegrass's Guitar solo.

3 - G.I. Joe (movie version): Ah,the Extended version of the classic G.I Joe Theme. This is the absolute best version of the theme.

2 - Thundercats: Thunder,Thunder,Thunder,Thundercats HO! The Thundercats theme was one of the best around. It had a great beat and it kinda got you psyched for the show.

1 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Heroes in a Half-Shell,Turtle Power! Everytime this theme is played,I get excited. TMNT was my favorite childhood fact,I still enjoy it to this day. Only 1 word can describe this song: Epic!

Please keep in mind that these are my personal pics and you may have different ones.

Well that's all see ya next time on The Top 5.

Rock On and Stay Cold,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cartoon Quickie: Hulk Hogan's Rock N' Wrestling

Hulk Hogan is the most famous Wrestler ever. but did you know he had a Cartoon series? It's true?

The series starred animated versions of WWE/WWF superstars of that era. The heroes were: Hulk Hogan(natch),Andre The Giant(who was portrayed as very slow witted),Captain Lou Albano,Tito Santana,The Junkyard Dog,and Wendi Richter.

Representing the bad guys were: Rowdy Roddy Pipper,Big John Studd,Mr. Fuji(omega sized kudos if you remember who he is),Nikolai Volkoff,The Iron Sheik,and Fabulous Moolah(r.i.p.).

In each episode,when they're not wrestling,Hogan and his crew help out their friends,participate in community service,or do charity events.This is easier said than done,because Piper and his friends constantly try to sabotage the hero's work.

But in the end,Piper's deeds backfire and everything turns out alright.

The Show lasted a single season and,like 49% of 80's cartoons,had animation flawes. The show itself wasn't very good as 95.5% of the series contained mediocre-bad story telling. It was also kinda corny at times.

On the up side,the theme music is kinda cool.

See ya next time on Cartoon Quickie!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 6: Saban Moon

Welcome Students to the next Cartoon History Lesson. Today we're gonna do something different today.

Sailor Moon! One of the most popular and influencial Anime's of all time. Now before you say anything,I'm not breaking away from the purpose of this site by talking about Anime. So,just sit tight alright,I'm gonna explain everything.

Anyway,Sailor Moon fandom still lives on strong today. In fact I myself am a total Sailor Moon-Head. I Love almost everything Sailor Moon. But did you know that there was originally gonna be an Americain show.

Now,I'm sure most of you probably seen the "pilot" video for this on youtube,under the name of "Saban Moon". Strap yourselves in and pay attention Students,'cuz I'm about to reveal the Truth about Saban Moon.

It all began when Sailor Moon was up for bids by Toei to be produced in North America. Renaissance-Atlantic Entertainment,along with Bandai and Toon Makers, Inc., conceptualized their own version of the series. It was was half live-action and half Western-style animation.

Toon Makers produced a 17-minute concept video, as well as a two-minute music video. Renaissance-Atlantic presented the video to Toei. Toei ultimately rejected Renaissance-Atlantic's bid because it would have cost significantly more than simply exporting and dubbing the original anime.

The music video was exhibited at a panel at Anime Expo 1998 by Allen Hastings, then with NewTek, Inc., and met with scorn, ridicule, and derision. A convention attendee taped the music video off the screen and uploaded the footage, which includes an introduction by Hastings and brief comments by other convention attendees afterwards, to the Internet.

The clip has since been copied numerous times and can currently be viewed on many streaming video sites. Because of the relatively poor quality of the source video and circulated footage, many anime fans believed that the music video was actually a leaked trailer for the now-inactive project instead of a promo.

Additional copies of the footage, with Hastings' intro, have since been uploaded to the Internet and served only to bolster the mistaken belief.

Because Renaissance-Atlantic had previously been instrumental in Saban Entertainment's acquisition of Toei's Super Sentai series,people who viewed the music video mistakenly believed that Saban had actually created it and began to call it "Saban Moon."

The Toon Makers music video has been called a worst-case scenario with regards to how Sailor Moon would have been presented in North America, in comparison to the original anime episodes that were eventually dubbed by DIC Entertainment and then later by Cloverway.

Rocky Solotoff, Toon Makers' president and founder, wrote, directed, and produced the pilot episode of Renaissance-Atlantic's version of Sailor Moon, which to this day, has not been exhibited publicly.

And Now,here is a Rarely seen Interview with Rocky Solotoff,President and CEO of Toonmakers.
In the December 2000 issue of Animefringe Online Magazine we ran a story chronicling the history of one anime fandom's most mysterious pieces of nostalgia, the legendary live action Sailor Moon clip (see Sailor Moon à la Saban[article on their website]). The article presented, at the time, the most in-depth coverage of all the known facts surrounding the clip's convention screenings, the supposed involvement of Saban, and one of the most anal looks at how the characters actually are in the live action and animated segments.

Since that time Animefringe has had the privilege to speak to a number of otaku who have helped us towards the goal of finding the definitive ‘truth' concerning this clip. It is with great pleasure that Animefringe is proud to present the transcript of a no-holds-bar interview with Toon Makers, Inc.'s president and founder Rocky Solotoff who wrote, directed, and produced the fabled live action Sailor Moon pilot.

The pilot was made in created in late 1993 and was pointed at Saban in hopes of being picked up for airing on FOX in the fall of 1994. Toon Makers was working for Bandai in conjunction with Renaissance Atlantic, but the Japanese were already making so much from the anime that the deal just fell through. The thing is no one other than the companies involved were ever meant to actually see it. In fact, the two minute clip that is plastered all over the Internet is in reality on Toon Makers company reel as a music video.

Animefringe: I want to thank you for allowing Animefringe Online Magazine this opportunity to debunk some of the myths surrounding the live action Sailor Moon clip. Having personally watched the two minute clip so much, I think that the original clip would have made a real fun and original series. But, I think that a lot of peoples lives, including my own, would be vastly different if this pilot had of aired in place of the DiC version. How did Toon Makers get involved in Sailor Moon in the first place?

Rocky Solotoff: Well, we do a lot of work for a company called Renaissance Atlantic and Bandai. So we do a couple of pilots for them every year. And this was the first pilot that we ever did for them which kind of cemented the relationship. So, that's how Toon Makers came to be on the project.

AF: Wow. [laugh] That's uh... I'm without words. Why a live action Sailor Moon mixed with new animation instead of the original anime?

RS: Well, eventually they did use the original anime which was a deal that was struck with Bandai and DiC. But this was a concept created by Renaissance Atlantic which I think you and I are in agreement that would have probably been more least here in the United States and probably throughout Canada, Europe, and South America.

AF: I agree the live action pilot did have a lot good concepts in it especially some of the vehicles and such. And it would have hit off well with the live action segment that was alive at that time and a lot of girls would have especially tuned in to it just to catch it.

RS: Actually, I wrote the pilot script which was, if you've only seen two minutes...there was an actual pilot [written] with the input from both Bandai and Renaissance. And I think Renaissance and Toon Makers, more than anyone else, really felt that we had something least at the time when that was done...which I guess I have to remember back... we did it in 93... 94... something like that. And we thought we'd pretty much grabbed the gold ring...we thought we had something that would go really well. But, what happened was there was a deal struck for the already completed animated series. So, they didn't want to come out and compete against themselves.

AF: What part did Renaissance Atlantic have in the production?

RS: They have worked for many years with Bandai and they were instrumental in the deal made with Saban to do Power Rangers. We also did a pilot for a television series called DinoZaurs which was 3D and 2D animation which was done in Japan. So we did that. So the relationship that Renaissance has with not only Bandai, but with Saban is the project. They just need for someone to take an idea and run with it.

AF: Yeah, I agree. DinoZaurs was actually pretty good I've seen a lot of the episodes for it. But, back to the Sailor Moon pilot, it was to go on FOX correct?

RS: Well, we created it for Renaissance and I would imagine with there relationship with Saban...and later...slash FOX that that's where they intended it to go. But, with the deal that was struck with the old Sailor Moon anime with DiC, I just think it died on the vine.

AF: Did the old cartoon series She-Ra play any inspirational role in the original animated segment in that two minute clip?

RS: No, what we did was we tried to Americanize the animation. Which to this day we really are not happy with. We were kind of under a real low budget and a time constraint. So we didn't have time to go back and really massage the animation as we should. It was an attempt to make the characters, basically, more Americanized. So, no She-Ra really didn't get into it. We were looking for something that had kind of a Filmation style to it only for budgetary constants. You know we'd always like to have more money to make it look better, but based on the money that we had and the mandate of coming up with something that had more of an American taste to it is why we created the animation with that look.

AF: That's really interesting because I've read on the Internet that someone really did an in-depth look with comparisons and it really brought in the whole Saban principle into it. It's kind of interesting to hear that it only played a small role.

RS: Oh, believe me, had we had the budget... The original character designs that we created were really nice. The execution that happening in Korea...once again based on time and money...was not our real intent. We weren't really happy with it. But, the pilot was basically a presentation piece. And had it gone to series we would have definitely contracted a better studio and upped the budget per episode so we could do something we were a little happier with.

AF: What role did Allen Hastings, the author of Lightwave, play?

RS: The author of Lightwave...? I don't know an Allen Hastings.

AF: He played the clip at a convention and that's where the original two minute clip got video taped and somehow found it's way onto the Internet.

RS: Wow. Well, to be honest the bulk the CG effects were created on old Toasters from a company I think was called NewTech out of Kansas. We had one scene that was actually done by a CGI in Japan. But, we were using the old Toasters to create the CG effects. I don't believe that Lightwave was used. There is a company in Japan that did some they may have used Lightwave...but, I wasn't privy to what systems they were using... what programs. But, there was scene done in Japan and it very well could have been Lightwave. Since I don't know what he was showing, I can't say for sure. But, the name Allen Hastings doesn't really ring a bell unless he was working at NewTech at the time.

AF: I believe he did some designs for some the vehicles and such. I believe that's what came out of the convention.

RS: No, all of the... the vehicles?

AF: Uh, like the solar sail-board thing?

RS: No, all of that stuff was created by an artist named Dale Hendrickson.

AF: That's... that really... is very interesting. Kind of debunking that.

RS: Yes, we had specific concept requirements that were given to us by Renaissance Atlantic and the concept of the Sail Board was something that was thrown out to us by Renaissance. I think it might have had something to do with a concept of generating toy sales. The vehicle, to be very politically correct, especially for the time, we had a gal that was in a wheelchair. As they were one of the Sailors and to accommodate that, we had the Sail Boards for the majority of the group, but since she was a girl in a wheelchair, we basically created a flying vehicle that would allow her to do the same things as the other girls, only sitting down. But, those concepts were created by Toon Makers.

AF: That person in the wheelchair, which scout exactly is it? I have this theory that it's Sailor Venus, but a lot of people think it's Sailor Jupiter.

RS: No, it wasn't Jupiter. And to be honest, I'd have to go back and look at it [laughing] to find out who was who. The interest that has been generated on my e-mail as well as my conversation with you is that for some reason or another is that it's been slowing growing. But, the gal that we used is a really talented young actress and for love of Mike I'd have to back into archives to figure out who our cast was. Uh, yeah, it very well could have been. It was a while ago. But, it wasn't Sailor Jupiter.

AF: Ok, good at least I'm partially right. There is a rumor that Sailor Jupiter is the Moon Princess. Is there any credibility to that?

RS: No, the concept here was that Sailor Moon is Sailor Moon...she's the princess.

AF: So all these Sailor Scouts that appear, they correspond to the five original scouts; Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus?

RS: Absolutely.

AF: Luna is a white cat. What was the decision behind that?

RS: In the original animation there was a white and a black cat. Who, I guess, served as a telepathic link to Sailor Moon's mother. And the reason we put the white cat in the live action, and also in the animation, was that this white cat was sent to earth as pretty much someone who looks over Sailor Moon.

AF: So, witchcraft, or anything like that, didn't have anything to do with the decision to change from a black to a white cat, right?

RS: Well, there was actually a white and a black cat in the original animation and we just chose to use the white cat for the pilot.

AF: That makes sense. Was Tuxedo Mask in the pilot?

RS: Yes, he was.

AF: Yeah, because he didn't make an appearance in the two minute clip. Who was the chief villain?

RS: That's a tough one.

AF: Was it Queen Beryl like in the anime or was it someone new?

RS: Yes, and the only person I can remember because Sailor Moon's mother and Queen Beryl were played by Adrian Barbo. That's the only person in the cast that I can actually remember their name.

AF: That's pretty bad. [laughs]

RS: Well, it was a long time ago, ah? [laughs] But, I can tell you that the black girl, Sailor might have been Sailor Mars, I forget...went on and had a part in the movie Starship Troopers. I just remember looking at her and going, ‘oh yeah, we hired her at one point.'

AF: Yeah, that's another one of the mysteries. I always wondered why you choose do different ethnical backgrounds for the characters.

RS: Well, we were, you know, not exactly leading edge at the time. But, we did want to have a nice balance to be able to expand our audience. And in anime they very rarely portray anybody of color. And that's what anime does is they are looking for a world-wide market. So, even Asian characters aren't really portrayed as Asian. So, we decided to, kind of, update the idea and make it as politically correct and diverse as possible. And that's why we even brought in one of the sailors as paraplegic.

AF: That's a really interesting concept and Power Rangers touched on a lot of those worldly environmental issues as well. To begin to wrap things up. Bandai holds the rights to the live action Sailor Moon musicals known as SeraMyu. And I read that Bandai may authorize that this clip and trailer be released in the future. In your opinion, what's the chance of this happening?

RS: Well, no one has spoken to us about that. And since we retain the original materials. Well, they probably talked to us because we do have... Well, I take that back. I think we returned most of the original materials and we have cloned copies of them. So, if they choose to do that, that would be terrific. It would be great. I would love for this to be rekindled. I think we missed a very good opportunity to have something that, I think, would be very appealing...we thought it was at the time and we honestly thought that there was a real good chance of this having a lot more play than the anime version because it [had] a look and style that was something a little bit different. It was a la Power Rangers. But, then again instead of ‘morphing'...which we were told to get away from that word. Ah, but changing from like here on earth and they would go and fight ‘evil' in an animated world. So there was, I don't know if you ever saw it...I don't know what was in the clip you saw, but there was this great sequence where the girls changed over from their live action personas to their being animated characters. And I think that would... well it sure would have sold a lot of toys.

AF: I agree. The clip that I saw was basically two minutes and was set to some type of theme song. I've tried to decipher the lyrics but I can't because of the quality of the tape.

RS: We had a new song written for the opening titles and within the body of the pilot there was actually a music video.

AF: That's probably what I have seen then... the music video, because it has a number of clips of the girls dancing in the halls with the wheel chairs, and ‘morphing'... ah, changing into animation and going off and fighting in outer space on the Sail Boards.

RS: The feeling that the anime clip that your looking at if it's two minutes long might have been in our production reel to show them what we've done. So, that's where it may have come from. Because, hell, like any company looking for work, we send those little hummers out like popcorn. But, the actual pilot that was done belongs to Renaissance Atlantic and Bandai and that's probably why that's never been released. I think there was a guy on set and I forget where he came from, I don't know what company he was connected to, but he actually did a video of the ‘Making of' while we where producing this. And I've had people that have given us a call regarding well if there is a making of there must be an of... you see the ‘of' [laughs]. And you know, it's one of those things where Toon Makers is an animation studio that's basically work for heir and when we do work for people, once we turn it over, we're done with it.

AF: It's ironic how the clip has gained such urban legend proportions on the net.

RS: I understand that. The same day you e-mailed me, I got an e-mail from someone else.

AF: I believe that that person was on the Pretty Soldier Mailing List and we were having a flame war at the exact same time about this clip... And I e-mailed you because some other people had tipped me off on the actual new address of Toon Makers because it had changed since the clip was shown.

RS: Well, the reason they have that address... and now the mystery is solved. The reason they have the old Chandler address is because whoever pulled the clip, pulled it off of one our demo tapes.

AF: Moving away from the clip. Are there any projects that you are working on right now that we should look forward to?

RS: Uh, yeah, actually. We are doing a couple of things for FOX right now and unfortunately I can't really tell you what they are because we work for them and we have to leave that kind of up to their publicity department. But, we're into 50 episodes of another Japanese acquisition. That we are working on right now. And we've done a pilot on a second one, actually we are in the middle of a pilot of the second one. Yeah, we are working away. Anime has become our specialty. We're originally a feature house, but as the work begins to diminish for original animation and television's eating up all the anime. That's basically what we're doing a lot of. We call it ADR work or Additional Dialogue Recording, where we reedit Japanese television. It's kind of like Mystery Science Theater 3000. We have writers sit around and we kind of look at the work and put our own words and music to it. We have a couple of things like that. They'll be out probably starting... I thing we strip the first show in September.

AF: Well, we'll be looking forward to it. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

RS: No, except, gosh, I'm really shocked that there are people out there feel the way that we do. That this was a missed opportunity. And if there's enough people out there you can't tell that since Sailor Moon has acquired a very small audience outside of the anime community. Because here in Los Angeles, I think Sailor Moon was shown at like 6:30 on one of the independent stations. It never really hit what we call prime time television for children. It never let up or followed Power Rangers. It just wasn't thrown into the mainstream. It was something that replaced the Farm Report in the morning. We are hoping that there is enough of an audience out there that feels that this is a good idea. We can always go back to it. The same people who owned the properties own the properties today. And if they feel it is something that should be rekindled, even for a niche audience, it would be fun to do. We thought it was a fun idea at the beginning and after all these years we still think it's a great idea.

AF: I agree as well. It was a really fun clip to watch and I enjoyed dissecting it, very anally, scene by scene, clip by clip.

RS: Oh, you should see the whole thing.

AF: I'd really like to one day. Maybe we'll see a release for it.

RS: It would be nice. Well, for those of us who do it on a daily basis, we really aren't aware all that much about the people who actually watch it and the fan base that obviously we have. It would be nice if we could hear from that fan base a little more often. It could be the tiny difference between a show getting on the air and off only because the networks are only looking at these tiny little percentage points. And if there were enough people who are older than 12-years old, which is the buying market. Most networks are looking for people between 6 and 12 because they are the people that actually watch television either at 6:30 in the morning or at 3 O'clock in the afternoon. And if the networks knew that there was an older audience out there that appreciates the work the sponsors would look at it differently and I'm sure the networks would to. And for the people who actually produce it, we would like to elevate the audience...just a tiny little bit so we could capture those, what they call it in the business, ‘tweens'. People between 12 and 20.

AF: And DragonBall Z and the Toonami shows, which are coming under fire right now due to the AOL/Warner acquisition, they've helped increase that teen audience as well.

RS: Well, in my personal opinion is that when Wile E. Coyote stepped in front of the moving train, I never really thought I could step in front of a moving train either. But, standards and practices which works very hard to make sure that networks and companies don't come under lawsuits... It's kind of taken a lot away from what it is that we can produce and unfortunately there's some great stuff for people that are old enough to understand that if they stand moving train...they'll get killed! We can't really touch that because it's an animation...a cartoon basically...we have to worry about children just watching cartoons. And because of that it's very difficult for us to create something as much as the Japanese do it where anime is considered as the same thing as a regular movie. We're kind of stuck and it's a tough thing.

AF: Well that about covers it. I want to thank you allowing me to conduct this interview.

RS: Adam, it was actually nice to reminisce about something that was so long ago. [...] Oh, congratulations on finding something that was like a jewel in the mud. [laughs]

AF: I've covered a lot of other things [...] and I've tired to just stick to the even ground and help people realize that they should get past their past grievances and try it out. And look at it with eyes unclouded.

RS: Well, the networks really respond to mail and sometimes they don't even realize there is an audience out there. The last pilot I did for an animation was actually shown to an audience between 6 and 11. But, you have to remember that the Warner Bros animation that we watched on television...or saw as a cartoon feature between two double features...was created for adults and unfortunately we grew up looking at that stuff and we appreciated what it was and as I said before nobody jumped off a cliff just because Wile E. Coyote did it. I honestly think we can elevate animation and bring things in that as long as we don't show anybody getting their head cut off we can go with it. So you never can tell.

AF: I agree. Thank you for your time.

All five Guardian Senshi are depicted in the music video. Though Solotoff is legally prohibited from divulging much information regarding the Renaissance-Atlantic/Toon Makers version of Sailor Moon, he does reveal, in an interview with Animefringe magazine, the origin of the concept and music video, debunking many of the stories and speculations that had been connected to both.

Details revealed in the interview include confirmation that both a white and black cat were planned to be in the series, although only a fluffy white cat is seen in the music video (according to the lyrics, this cat was meant to be Luna), and that each Senshi was written to be of a different nationality.

Two curious remnants of Toon Makers' involvement with Sailor Moon remained after Renaissance-Atlantic shelved the project. The Renaissance-Atlantic series featured vehicles which did not appear in the original metaseries. One of these was the Moon Cycle, which Bandai manufactured a toy version of as part of the North American line of Sailor Moon toys.

The Moon Cycle toy remains one of the more curious pieces of Sailor Moon merchandise produced for the North American market. More prominently, the Sailor Moon logo featured at the end of the music video was retained as the official North American Sailor Moon logo for the metaseries and all related programs and merchandising.
There you have it. That was an interesting ride wasn't it? Now,hopefully,I've cleared up the misconceptions about Saban Moon.

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed.

Rock On and Stay Cold,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 5: Ghostbusters

Welcome My Students. Today's lesson is all about The Ghostbusters.

*The Real Ghostbusters theme plays*

Whoa,Whoa,Whoa,Stop The Music. Stop the Damn Music! *Theme stops*

Not Those Ghostbusters...I'm talking about the Other Ghostbusters. Yup,tere aree 2 Ghostbuster shows. And the one that I'm gonna be talking about is completely different from the Ghostbusters that we all know and love.

Now,I'm not gonna compare the 2 shows,because that would make this long post longer. Plus,I don't feel like doing it. So anyway,here we go.

Ghostbusters (now known as Filmation's Ghostbusters) was an animated television series created by Filmation and distributed by Tribune Broadcasting and launched following the success of Ivan Reitman and Columbia Pictures' 1984 film Ghostbusters.

It ran from 1986-1988 in daytime syndication and produced 65 episodes. The cartoon was based on the live-action television show from 70's titled The Ghost Busters.

Columbia Pictures had to obtain the rights to the name from Filmation for its film, and after Ghostbusters was a hit, Filmation went into production with its animated series based on the characters from its series. The series is technically called "Ghostbusters", but home video releases use the name "Filmation's Ghostbusters" to avoid confusion.

So contrary to popular belief,The "Ghostbuster" name originally belonged to Filmation. I plan on doing a Lesson on Filmation in the future. So watch out for that.

Anyway,the Main heroes of Filmation's Ghostbusters were:Jake Kong, Eddie Spencer and Tracy the Gorilla. Jake and Eddie Jr are the sons of the original Ghost Busters from the live action series of the same name; Tracy worked with their fathers.

Their headquarters, termed Ghost Command, is located in a haunted mansion nestled between a number of tall skyscrapers. They are supported by a number of secondary characters including Ansa-Bone, a talking skull phone; Skelevision, a talking skeleton television; Belfrey, a pink talking bat; and Ghost Buggy, their talking ghost car. They occasionally enlist the aid of Futura, a time travelling Ghostbuster from the future, and Jessica, a local tv news reporter.

Together, they have dedicated themselves to ridding the world of the evil ghost wizard Prime Evil and his henchmen. Prime Evil's headquarters, termed Hauntquarters is located in The Fifth Dimension.

In a typical episode, Prime Evil uses his magical powers to open up a wormhole to enable one or more of his henchmen to complete a particular scheme that serves to help him take over the world.

Famous guest-star ghosts that appeared on the show include Count Dracula (who is actually a vampire) and the Headless Horseman (who also appeared in an episode of The Real Ghostbusters written by Randy Lofficier).

Like almost all 1980s Filmation cartoons, each episode closes with Skelevision (sometimes accompanied by Belfrey) explaining a particular lesson that can be learned from the events that went on during the episode.

From time to time, Jake, Eddie Jr or another good character would talk with Skelevison about the lesson. Also some versions would not have Skelevision.

While The Real Ghostbusters had the catchphrase, "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!", each episode of Filmation's Ghost Busters also used a catchphrase: "Let's Go, Ghost Busters!"

And now,here comes the most interesting part of the lesson.

The show is also known as The Original Ghost Busters because when Columbia Pictures released the film Ghostbusters in 1984 it neglected the fact that Filmation had already produced a live-action comedy series with that same name in 1975.

Filmation sued Columbia in 1985. And as part of the out-of-court settlement,the cartoon based on the Columbia Pictures Movie could not simply be called "Ghostbusters". Columbia proceeded to name their cartoon show "The Real Ghostbusters" to directly distinguish it from the Filmation show.

Filmation had even attempted to work with Columbia and had completed initial design work for the cartoon to be based on the movie. Columbia changed its minds, deciding not to work with Filmation. The proposed deal fell through and Columbia worked with DiC instead.

Filmation's Lou Scheimer later admitted "We should have asked for the animation rights for their (Columbia's) Ghostbusters as part of the settlement." This prompted Filmation to create the cartoon based on its former live-action series

Filmation was known for re-using stock footage for its shows to keep down costs. Ghostbusters was no exception. The extensive sequence where they got their equipment and the Ghost Buggy is a prime example of overused stock footage.

This practice wasn't very uncommon in cartoons at the time.In fact,this very practice is Still being used today.

In the last years, thanks to the DVD release, a fan following has raised. Fans of the live action and animated shows use to call themselves "Go-ers" (from the popular catchphrase: "Let's go, Ghostbusters" used in the cartoon). The term was conied by Tiziano Caliendo, webmaster of the Ghostbusters forum.

There you have it,the legend of the Other Ghostbusters. Now that I've covered This Ghostbusters,I intend to cover the Real Ghostbusters in the near future.

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed.

Rock On and Stay Cold,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 4: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Welcome Students to the next Cartoon History Lesson. Today we will learn about The origins of the He-Man Cartoon series.

He-Man is one of America's most iconic cartoon heroes. In fact,some people say that he's even More iconic than the legendary Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He-Man and the Masters of the the Universe spawned 3 Cartoon series,3 toylines,2 comic book series,and even a live action movie.

Of course,being the Cartoon Historian,I'll only be covering the Cartoon series. Well,let's get started.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a television series produced by Filmation based on Mattel's successful toy line Masters of the Universe. So contrary to popular belief,The Masters of the Universe was originally a toyline.

The show, often referred to as simply He-Man, was one of the most popular animated shows of the 1980s and has retained a heavy following to this day.
ow how He-Man's popularity got started.

The Show made its television debut in 1983 and ran until 1985, consisting of two seasons of 65 episodes each. Reruns continued to air in syndication until 1988, at which point USA Network bought the rights to the series. USA aired He-Man until September 1990.

The show takes place on the fictional planet of Eternia, a planet of magic, myth and fantasy. The show's lead character is Prince Adam, the young son of Eternia's rulers, King Randor and Queen Marlena. Whenever Prince Adam uses the Power Sword, and when he holds it aloft and says the magic words "By the Power of Grayskull...I have the Power!" he is transformed into He-Man, The Most Powerful Man In The Universe.

Of course,that was an exaggeration.

He-Man,with the help of Battle Cat, Teela, Man-At-Arms and Orko,defends Eternia from the evil forces of Skeletor. Skeletor's main goal is to conquer the mysterious fortress of Castle Grayskull, from which He-Man draws his powers. If he succeeds, Skeletor would be able to conquer not only Eternia, but the whole universe.

Despite the limited animation techniques that were used to produce the series, He-Man was notable for breaking the boundaries of censorship that had severely restricted the narrative scope of children's TV programming in the 1970s.

For the first time in years, a cartoon series could feature a muscular superhero who was actually allowed to hit people (although he more typically used wrestling-style moves rather than actually punching enemies). He rarely used his sword and he often picked up his opponents and threw them.

The cartoon was controversial in that it was produced in connection with marketing a line of toys; advertising to children was itself controversial during this period. In the United Kingdom, advertising regulations forbade commercials for He-Man toys to accompany the program itself.

In similar fashion to other shows at the time,notably G.I. Joe,He-Man and the Masters of the Universe would include a "life lesson" or "moral of the story" at the end of each episode. This moral was usually directly tied to the action or central theme of that episode.

The show was so successful that it spawned a spin-off series, She-Ra: Princess of Power following the adventures of He-Man's sister. Mattel's subsequent attempts to relaunch the He-Man toy line have also led to the short-lived sequel series The New Adventures of He-Man in the early 1990s. As well as a 2002 remake.

I don't feel like covering the other 2 series,but I will say that The New Adv. of He-Man was not that well known. and some people were even upset with it because it strayed too far from the original animated series. Both series were also darker than the original.

It is also noted for featuring early script-writing work from later Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, Paul Dini of the 1990s Batman-fame, and David Wise, head-writer of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. One episode, "Battle Cat," was written by Star Trek's D.C. Fontana.

In 2009, IGN ranked the series as the 58th greatest animated show of all time in their Top 100 list. Amazing,huh?

Many episodes, particularly the early ones, are about Skeletor's repeated attempts and failures to enter Castle Grayskull. He-Man invariably defeats these attempts. Though the animated cartoons were similar to the version of the story presented by DC Comics, Filmation focused more on the lighter, humorous elements of the story rather than the violent ones, in order to render it more suitable for a younger audience. A new character was also introduced in the form of Orko, a small alien magician who shares Prince Adam's secret and provides the comic relief for most episodes.

The cartoon series was also remarkable because it was one of the first animated series produced directly for syndication, as opposed to most other syndicated cartoons of the time which were re-runs of old Saturday morning cartoons.

The most notable production fact of the series was that it was the very first animated series where a bulk quantity of 65 episodes were produced so that the series could be expanded across 13 weeks.

Due to the budget-constraints by Filmation, the He-Man cartoon only featured a voice-cast of four to five people, after Erika Scheimer joined the cast.

Linda Gary, who through an early mis-crediting was often assumed wrongly to be actress Linda Gray, single-handedly provided voices for nearly all the female characters, but the bulk of the character voices were provided by the show's executive producer, Lou Scheimer, one of the founding producers of Filmation and at the time still its chief producer, who in the earliest episodes went under the name Erik Gunden. The character voices of He-Man and Beast Man were provided by John Erwin; that of Skeletor, by Alan Oppenheimer.

A common misconception about the cartoon series is that it was cheap to produce, due to the small number of voice actors and heavy reliance on stock animation. In fact, the series was one of the more expensive 1980s animated series to produce, primarily due to the entire series production being handled in the U.S., rather than having the animation done in another country.

There is an enduring urban legend about the so-called "Conan toy line." The story is that the Mattel Toy Company originally intended to base an action figure line on Conan the Barbarian, the pulp fantasy character created by Robert E. Howard which at the time was the lead in several popular series produced by Marvel Comics and due to be the subject of a major movie.

However, after viewing the film, the Mattel executives despaired at the thought of promoting a children's toy with ties to a film featuring such graphic violence. Thus they gave their doll blonde hair and re-dubbed him "He-Man".

The legend is unverified but persistent, and most likely false since the first He-Man action figures were produced in 1981, a year before the first Conan film. Roger Sweet, the originator of He-Man, asserts that the He-Man/Masters Of The Universe concept definitely was not an outgrowth of Conan.

The He-Man concept, later renamed the Masters Of The Universe, was originated and developed by Roger Sweet in late 1980. Later, that initial concept was followed by the original comics by Donald F. Glut.

The Conan license had been dropped by Mattel months before the He-Man concept was begun. Such fantasy artists as Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo,who were known for their barbarian themed art, were undoubtfully a great inspiration for the MOTU creators.

For instance, while designing the first He-Man prototypes, some artists like Mark Taylor brought forth a very Conan-esque dark haired He-Man bearing a horned helmet and barbaric outfit

Although Conan is not "officially" a source of inspiration, Mattel may have taken advantage of his resemblance by hiring comic book artists (mostly working for DC comics and Marvel Comics) to design the mini-comics and box art. Earl Norem for instance, having worked on countless Savage Sword of Conan covers for Marvel, was kept in high esteem by Masters of the Universe fans for his astonishing posters, package inlays and box art.

The confusion and "Conan toyline" urban myth may have stemmed from the striking similarities between Norem's Conan and He-Man depictions. This particuliar art can be seen in his galleries on the official Earl Norem site.

In conclusion,He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a Classic Cartoon that's proved it's worth. With it's popularity still going,I wouldn't be surprised if we saw yet another rendition of the series in the future.

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed.

Rock On and Stay Cold,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cartoon Quickie: Kim Possible

Kim Possible is a girl who lives up to her surname. She can do anything. Teenager,Kim Possible and her boyfriend/sidekick Ron Stoppable are heroes who go around the world battling evil.

Bad guys such as Professor Dementor,Lord Monkeyfist,and of course Dr.Drakken and Shego. But Kim and Ron are not alone in their battle against evil. They have help from Rufus,the naked molerat and Wade,the young dispatcher and inventor.

With it's awesome action,good animation,and great music,Kim Possible is possibly one of Disney's greatest action cartoons. As awesome as Kim Possible is,the show isn't without its flaws. Sometimes the the fight scenes aren't all that great and some of the newer villains are kinda lame.

Kim Possible is a great show and I highly recomend watching least once.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 3: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pt.2

Welcome Student's to Part 2 of my Ninja Turtle Cartoon lesson. In this part I'll be talking about the 2K3 Cartoon.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2K3 is an American-Korean animated series that was created to give the TMNT fans a TV show that was closer to the Mirage Comics.

It first aired on February 8, 2003 and ended on February 28, 2009. The series marked the revival of the franchise by Fox, with the help of 4Kids Entertainment, as a Saturday morning cartoon in The Fox Box programming block (now defunct)

The TMNT 2K3 TV series was produced by 4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Studios owned one third of the rights to the show.Also the show was coproduced by Shogakukan Productions and Dong Woo Animation.

The producers were Gary Richardson, Frederick U. Fierst, and Joellyn Marlow for the American team; Tae Ho Han was the producer for the Korean team.

The 2K3 series deviates from the 1987 TV series significantly. While still a Saturday morning cartoon, the show bears more resemblance to the original, "darker and edgier" comics, published by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Mirage Studios.

Many of the elements of the series are taken from a failed CGI pilot. Gone are a bafoonish Shredder and his dopey minions. Raphael is now a much more serious and intimidating character.

Most of the concepts and characters that were created for the 1987 TV series such as the Technodrome, Dimension X, Bebop,Rocksteady, Krang,and Dregg are all absent from this series; however, Shredder does have a number of elements from the latter.

April O'Neil is not a reporter,Instead she is a scientist and ex-assistant of Baxter Stockman. She met the Turtles in a similar manner that her OT counterpart did.

April's OT workmates Burne Thompson, Irma Langinstein and Vernon Fenwick are all absent from the show. Instead of being a meek little Caucasian meek who becomes a mutant fly, Baxter Stockman is a Africain-American Scientist,who is an overconfident,greedy,egomaniac that becomes a cyborg. He becomes this way when he is mutilated by the Shredder.

Leatherhead is a bright scientist and an ally of the turtles(he's great friends with donny)with nothing to do with southern United States. The Triceratons play a much larger role in the series. Most characters are portrayed as more serious in this series.

However Casey Jones, is the only one that becomes much less menacing, to the point that he is often used as comic relief.In fact This Casey seems,well,Real. His OT counterpart was psychotic who should've been put away.

The Rat King was an experimental super soldier who turned into a psychotic recluse. Like his OT counterpart,the Rat's are his only allies. Unlike his original toon counterpart,though,he has no intention to dominate the world.

Also notable is reduced amount of pizza as the Turtles' main meal, which was a main-stay in the 1987 TV series, including Michelangelo's insatiable appetite for it(although he still has the biggest appetite of all four Turtles).

Instead they are seen ordering Chinese, making eggs, eating popcorn,scarfing down burgers and hotdogs,and going on ice cream runs. The Battle Shell in the 2003 TV series is similar to the Turtle Van of the 1987 TV series. It is apparently based on an early Dodge forward-control van, due to its split windshield and engine under the front seats.

They also have new vehicles like the Sewer Sled. Raphael has his own vehicle, the Shell Cycle. Telecommunication devices are used in both versions; the TurtleComm in the 1987 TV series and the Shell Cell in the 2K3 series.

The 2K3 series also includes a main plot and several sub-plots running throughout, with revealing hints which developed as the series unfolded. Although many of the episodes are stand-alone, each usually has a key element that relates to the plot as a whole.

Furthermore, there are frequent 2-4 episode continuous stories. Most characters introduced in stand alone episodes are eventually seen again. (For example, the "green man," the Garbage Man, Savanti Romero, Nobody, etc.)

The science fiction elements that were in the old cartoon are still present, with were robots, aliens, and journeys through time and space. In addition, the 2003 TV series has supernatural elements to it. This includes things such as travel to other dimensions via magic, and the presence of supernatural creatures, such as the "original" Shredder, who is a demon.

A considerable change to this show is the number of deaths that occur over the series. People have been killed on screen while others have died off screen or else have been implied to have died. Examples include Hamato Yoshi(who isn't splinter in this show,but splinters owner), Casey Jones' father, Yukio Mashimi, and Tang Shen(lover of Hamato Yoshi).

The fifth season shows the apparent deaths of the Shredder and his heralds. The show has been changed so an older audience is drawn in easily with things such as when a group of vigilantes try and blow up New York City as well as when the Earth launches a nuclear attack on the Triceritons.

There is much more violence and darker themes. There were a few cases where characters who were thought to have died are revealed in later episodes to have survived such as the Fugitoid, Leatherhead, and the other heralds of the Ninja Tribunal.

In 2K3,the four Turtles personalities are in some ways very different from the 1987 TV series in an attempt to follow the Mirage Comics more closely. All characters are more fleshed-out and more sensitive,and have a stronger family bond.

Leo is more serious about being a Ninja Warrior. He also cares more about honor. Raph is a hot-headed bad-ass who loves to fight. This dude has quite a temper,and he never cracks corny jokes(unlike his OT counterpart).

Mikey is a goofball,who loves to goof off and tease Raph. However,unlike his OT counterpart,This Michaelangelo has a better serious side. Don is the resident boy genius. He's an even better inventer than his OT counterpart.

Master Splinter is a lot wiser than his OT counterpar. He also fights a lot more. The Shredder is a major bad-ass. Unlike Shredder of the Original Toon,This Shredder isn't as easily beaten by the Forces of Good.He's quite fomitable.

The original show's catchphrase, "Cowabunga", is joked about several times (with Raphael telling Michelangelo not to say "cowabunga" anymore). The "Turtle Power" catchphrase has been left out of the 2K3 entirely. During the "Fast Forward" season however a new catchphrase, "It's Ninja Time", is introduced.

Aside from showcasing new twists on familiar characters, the series introduces several secondary characters from the comics; such as Renet, a time traveler in training with the personality of a valley girl; the Fugitoid, a robot whose mind is that of the scientist Professor Honeycutt; The Triceratons, a race of Triceratops humanoids who desire galactic conquest;Hun,the leader of a gang called The Perple Dragons: And Karai, who is leader of the Foot Clan in Japan as well as the adopted daughter of the Shredder.

As the relationships and dynamics of the Turtles grow and mature over each new season, so does the legacy and identity of the Shredder. His origins differ considerably from his original comic incarnation and the version of the character from the Original TV series.

Clues and revelations throughout the series reveal that "Shredder" is really an ancient demon that has inspired many other evil beings to take up the persona. For the bulk of the series, however, Shredder is a human being who is ultimately revealed to be a member of the alien race known as the Utroms. These guys are what inspired the creation of Krang.

The character coloring in the 2K3 cartoon series is somewhat different from that in the original series. Each of the Turtles has a unique skin coloring.Unlike in the originally TV series where they were all the same skin color.

In 2K3, Leonardo is a basic green (much like the 1987 TV series), Raphael is dark green, Michelangelo is dark green-blue, and Donatello is a yellowish olive-green. These color schemes are very different from the color schemes within both the 1987 and 2K3 toylines, which have remained similar.

The Turtles bear their favorite colors on their weapon-handles. Also, the bands on their wrists, elbows, and knee-caps are brown, similar to the original comic book series and films. Like their OT counterparts,the Turtles bandannas were their favorite color.

The OT Turtles had their initials on their belts.The 2K3 Turtles on the otherhand, only had knots on their belts.

Splinter is a Grey, not brown, rat, with brown robes instead of magenta. he also has aa white beard. April O'Neil has long red hair instead of short auburn hair.

In addition, the Turtles' eyes are drawn without irises in the 2K3 TV series version when they are shown wearing masks, similar to most drawings of Batman.

In the Back to the Sewers season,the Turtles are drawn with irises and now resemble their 2K7 movie counterparts. Characters that were in the 2K7 TMNT movie such as Casey, April and Karai have been given new designs so they resemble their movie counterparts.

Characters such as Bishop, Hun and Stockman have been given new designs as well, though they're still similar to the 2K3 original style of them.

Dan Berger, TMNT comic writer, and correspondent to the fan base, confirmed that Peter Laird and his staff had been working hard on a fifth Season for the show that would have resolved the "Ninja Tribunal" storyline introduced in the Season 4 finale, producing thirteen episodes in total, but it was shelved in favor of the "Fast Forward" concept for the following season.

This "Lost Season" began airing selected episodes on 4Kids' on demand channels, beginning on August 9, 2006, but the episodes have since vanished. Dan Berger later confirmed in November that the Ninja Tribunal Season DVD release has been postponed, with at least one episode ("Nightmares Recycled") pulled from production due to sensitive issues (it dealt with the theme of conjoined twins).

The Season had a Region 4 release on March 8, 2007. This release lacks the first episode of the arc, "The Ninja Tribunal", which was not included with the Region 1 fourth Season releases. However, "The Ninja Tribunal" was later included in the region 4 DVD of Season 4 when it was released on July 4. The Season was released on DVD in region 1 May 20, 2008.

The plot of the season revolves around the Turtles (and four other ninjas) being trained by the Ninja Tribunal as "Acolytes" to prevent the return of the original Shredder, who was an ancient demon.

However, the Turtles weren't able to stop his revival and end up following him to New York where the rest of the plot revolves around the Turtles.the turtles try to stop the Shredder and his demonic army But when they transform into their dragon avatars the same time Karai drains the Shredder of his energy they beat him. Then they sacrifice their amulets on their necks to bring back Master Yoshi to deliver the final blow.

On January 25, 2008, 4Kids announced that they would be airing the Lost Season episodes (excluding "Nightmares Recycled" aka the deleted episode), beginning February 9, 2008. The season was given the title Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Lost Episodes. The final episode aired on May 3.

Other 2K3 seasons include,Fast Foward and Back to the Sewers. The FF Season followed the adventures of the Ninja Turtles and Splinter as they are accidentally transported one hundred years into the future by Cody Jones, the great-grandson of Casey Jones and April O’Neil and heir to the O’Neil Tech business empire.

Despite following and acknowledging the previous series, Fast Forward abandons most of its characters and storylines in favor of completely original ones.

Aside from the Turtles and Splinter, the only characters from the previous returning in 2105 are Agent Bishop, who has since become president of the Pan-Galactic Alliance (an Intergalactic version of the United Nations) and Baxter Stockman, who survived one of Bishop's labs' destruction in 2055 and secretly spent the last fifty years underground, trying to recreate some of his technology and take revenge on Bishop.

Taking place mostly 2105 New York City, the series deals mainly with plots such as Sh’Okanabo’s attempts to dominate earth. The Turtles also deal with Darius Dun,Cody's evil Uncle. Due to the multispecies population of the future, the Turtles are now free to move about openly and interact with everyday people. The season is lighter in tone and less violent than previous ones, with a greater emphasis on jokes.

Fast Forward spans one 26-episode-long season, although work had begun on producing a ten episode long follow-up season,which would have included a Triceraton version of The Shredder.

In 2007, 4Kids pitched a revamp of the series to Peter Laird codenamed "Superworld".Laird hated the idea. 4Kids then proposed a second revamp, called TMNT Overload, which was approved by Mirage, but rejected by Playmates. Playmates then proposed a reboot of the series, called "Ultimate TMNT", which was rejected by 4Kids and Mirage.

On October 24, 2007 Steve Murphy confirmed on his blog that Playmates, Mirage, and 4Kids had firmly agreed on the new direction, which would take place in the continuity of the 2K3 TV series and use the "more realistic aspects" of the aborted "Overload" pitch, with character designs similar to that of the 2K7 TMNT movie.

In BttS,The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back in present day New York,ready to take on all bad guys! Casey and April are back and ready to kick some bad guy ass. Also the Turtles get a new super advanced Turtle Lair (thanks to some hi-tech know-how Donatello garnered from the future).

Unfortunatly things aren't that great. Y'see,Viral(a villain from FF)interferes with the Turtles trip back home and causes Master Splinter to get trapped in cyberspace. Suddenly,bits of Splinter's data code gets scattered all throughout the digital domain. Now,The Turtles must access the virtual realm and gather Splinter’s code. The Turtles must save their beloved father before he is lost to them forever.

However this task won't be easy,because an old enemy has been reborn! The Shredder is back and in a new cyber form. In order to save their master, the Turtles must now face The Cyber Shredder,who's goal is to kill the Turtles and find a way into the real world!

With the Shredder back,The Foot Clan is rebuilt..with a new leader,Master Khan. Master Khan is quite the ass kicker and will do whatever it takes to bring his Master Shredder to the real world.

But Shredder and the Foot aren't the only Villains. The Turtles must also deal with Hun and his Purple Dragon Gang,Baxter Stockman,and some dangerous digital monsters! Long story short,The TMNT manage to beat them all,Save their Master,And attend Casey and April's wedding.

Three samples of a new opening theme song were announced by 4Kids to be under consideration on February 22, with the option for fans to vote on each of the samples and determine an official opening theme song.

The voting for the songs ended March 19 with song #5, "RVTheme2008," winning. 4Kids TV ran two blogs on their website, with the first revealing a component for the Back to the Sewer season every week, while the second blog took a look into the designs that are showcased in the new episodes. TMNT: Back to the Sewer and aired from September 13, 2008 to February 28, 2009.

The Turtles Forever made-for-tv animated movie aired on November 21, 2009. The movie featured the 2K3 Turtles teaming up with their counterparts from the original animated series and the original Mirage Comics, and fighting both animated versions of Shredder (featuring the return of the Utrom Shredder, Ch'rell), Krang, Rocksteady and Bebop, and human & robotic Foot Soldiers, as well as Tokka and Rahzar from the second live-action Ninja Turtles movie.

And there ya have it,The History of the Ninja Turtle Cartoons so far.

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed.

Rock On and Stay Cold,

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pt.1

Welcome Students to the next Cartoon History Lesson. I'm your Teacher,Stefan the Cartoon Historian. Today we will learn all about The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Cartoon shows.

Ah,The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Who doesn't know who the Ninja Turtles are. The franchise was a cultural phenomenom and has spawned many movies,comics,cartoons and even video games. But,in this 2 part lesson,I'm just gonna cover the cartoon series.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a fictional team of four mutant turtles, who were trained by an anthropomorphic, talking rat sensei, Master Splinter, in the art of Ninjitsu. From their home in the storm sewers of New York, they battle petty criminals, evil megalomaniacs, and alien invaders, all while remaining isolated from society at large. The characters initially appeared in comic books before being licensed for toys, cartoons and film adaptations. During the peak of its popularity in the late 1980s through early 1990s, the franchise gained considerable worldwide success and fame.

Now that we cot that out of the way,lets focus on the Cartoons.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (known as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in Europe) is a joint-venture between American/Japanese animated television series produced by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson and Shogakukan Studios. It premiered December 28, 1987 , as a five-part mini-series animated by Toei.

Yes,Students,You heard correctly. Toei,the creators of the Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon Animes,were the original animators of the original show. Astounding,huh? So I guess that means this Ninja Turtle cartoon was originally part Anime.

The series featured the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,comic book characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird .The property was changed considerably, from the darker-toned comic, to make it more light-hearted.

The initial motivation behind the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series was that, upon being approached to create a toy line, Playmates Toys was uneasy with the comic book characters' bad-ass additude.

So apparently,Playmates didn't like the darker,more bad ass tone of the original Mirage Comic.

Playmates requested that a television deal be acquired first, and after the initial five-episode series debuted, the California toy company released their first series of Ninja Turtles action figures in the summer of 1988.

The two media would correspond in marketing style and popularity for many years to come.

Anyway,David Wise and Patti Howeth wrote the screenplay for the first five-part miniseries with input from Eastman and Laird. When the series continued in the second season, comic artist Jack Mendelsohn joined the show as the executive story editor.

The show was in Saturday morning syndication from October 1, 1988 to September 23, 1989. After it became an instant hit, the show was expanded to five days a week and aired weekday afternoons in syndication in most markets, from September 25, 1989 to September 17, 1993. On September 8, 1990, the series began its secondary run on CBS's Saturday morning lineup, beginning as a 60-minute block from 1990 to 1994 and then as a 30-minute block until the series ended on November 2, 1996.

The show helped launch the characters into mainstream popularity and became one of the most popular animated series in television history. Breakfast cereal, plush toys, and all manner of products featuring the characters appeared on the market during the late 1980s and early 1990s. A successful Archie Comics comic book based on the animated show instead of the original black-and-white comics was published throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Action figures were top-sellers around the world. In 1990, the cartoon series was being shown daily on more than 125 television stations, and the comic books sold 125,000 copies a month.

And now my students,you know why the Original cartoon was so different from the comic.

The origin story in the 1987 TV series differs greatly from that of the original Mirage Studios comics, presumably to make it more appropriate for a family audience. In this version, Splinter was formerly a human being, an honorable ninja master named Hamato Yoshi. Yoshi was banished from the Foot Clan in Japan after being deceived by the seditious Oroku Saki, who pinned Hamato Yoshi's dogi to the wall with a knife, preventing him from kneeling before their sensei, which was seen as an insult. When Yoshi removed the knife, the sensei was again insulted, believing Yoshi was drawing the blade in opposition to him. Exiled from the ninja clan, the disgraced Yoshi moved to New York City, where he was forced to live in the sewers.

While living in the sewers with the rats as his friends, Yoshi one day found four turtles, recently bought from a pet store by an unnamed boy who accidentally dropped them in the sewer. Yoshi returned one day from his explorations around New York to find the turtles covered with a strange glowing ooze. The substance caused the turtles, most recently exposed to Yoshi, to become humanoid, while Yoshi, most recently exposed to sewer rats, became a humanoid rat, and started going by the pseudonym "Splinter". This, and the following Archie TMNT Adventures Comics, is the only origin story in the TMNT franchise where the Turtles come to Yoshi before being exposed to mutagen.

Also, Yoshi becomes a rat, whereas in most other versions, he is Yoshi's pet rat that becomes humanoid. This is also the only version in which the Turtles become fully grown immediately after exposure to the mutagen, whereas Splinter raises them from infancy in other versions.

Yoshi adopts the four turtles as his sons and trains them in the art of ninjitsu. He names them after his favorite Italian renaissance artists: Leonardo da Vinci ( Leonardo), Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi ( Donatello), Raffaello Sanzio ( Raphael), and Michelangelo Buonarroti ( Michaelangelo). In most versions, the Turtles tend to go by nicknames Leo, Donny, Raph and Mikey, but in this version they are always addressed by their full names. Each Ninja Turtle wears a mask over his eyes. Each Mask is a different color (unlike the comics where the turtles masks were all red). Each turtle is also Trained with a personal weapon.

Meanwhile, Oroku Saki has left Japan and tracked Yoshi to New York City, where he intends to destroy him once and for all. He has become associated with Krang, a disembodied alien brain who has been banished from his home, Dimension X, where he was a great warlord. Now it's unknown how Saki met Krang. it was never ever explained.

Saki has taken on a new persona, donning a suit covered with razor spikes, complimented by a long cape, and a metal mask over his mouth. He has also taken on the pseudonym "The Shredder".

It becomes clear in the first season that the mutagen that transformed the Turtles and Splinter into their new forms was dumped into the sewer by Shredder in an effort to destroy Yoshi. Shredder thought it was a deadly poison. The Turtles vow to take revenge on the Shredder for dishonoring their master, as well as turning him into a rat.

The Turtles want to force him to turn Splinter back into a human again, though this quickly evolves into stopping Shredder's ongoing criminal career with the aid of Channel 6 reporter April O'Neil. The Turtles begin to take on the role of vigilante crime-fighters operating outside of the jurisdiction of law enforcement against any criminals, much like Casey Jones in the third season.

For the first couple of seasons, it seems as if the Turtles are constantly preoccupied with hiding their existence. This seems to be slowly relaxed and, by the last few seasons, most citizens seem to be well aware of them. They also frequently have to deal with citizens misunderstanding them, thanks to the efforts of Burne Thompson, April's employer, and Vernon Fenwick, a Channel 6 cameraman, who distrust the Turtles and frequently blame them for the trouble that the Shredder and Krang cause.

Shredder, Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady (two street thugs morphed into animal form by exposure to the Shredder's mutagen) and a small army of robotic Foot Soldiers try to destroy the Turtles and take over the World. Much of their quest for world domination hinges on bringing the Technodrome (Krang's mobile fortress, and his and The Shredder's base of operation) to the surface as it was either stuck in the earth's core, Dimension X, the arctic or Arctic Ocean.

In the last two seasons of the show, the Turtles finally banish The Shredder and Krang to Dimension X. They destroy the engines and the "trans-dimensional portal" of the Technodrome preventing them from ever returning to Earth. The show, which had already lasted well past the average lifespan of most Saturday morning cartoon series, then went through dramatic changes. The animation became darker and closer to the original comic book style, the color of the sky in each episode changed from the traditional blue to a continuous and ominous dark-red sky (which was commonplace with newer action-oriented children's programming at that time), the theme song was changed, the introduction sequence added in clips from the first film, and the show took on a darker, more action-oriented atmosphere.

A new villain, Lord Dregg, an evil alien warlord, also appears as their new chief nemesis. Lord Dregg begins a propaganda campaign against the Turtles, turning the general population against them and in favor of him and his forces. In the last episode of the series, the Turtles trap Dregg in Dimension X.

In addition to the new story, the Turtles, as well as the other characters, are seen breaking the fourth wall by saying things to the audience and talking both about their themesong and about their episodes. It's also worth noting that the writers were used to writing Comedy,rather than true action. This is why the action scenes were so goofy and full of jokes and puns.

In 2009, the Turtles, Shredder, Krang and various other characters from the 1987 series returned for the 25th anniversary crossover movie Turtles Forever, in which they meet up with their counterparts from the 2003 series. Due to legal reasons, none of the original voice actors were able to reprise their roles, and replacement actors were used instead. It is unknown in the 1987 series continuity at which point in time its Turtles and the rest of the cast are taken from, though due to the style of animation used and comical personalities of the characters, it is assumed that they are from some point between Seasons 1 and 7 (1987 - 1993).

While the story diverged heavily from the original conception of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and has never been considered canon with the universe of the original Mirage comics, the 1987 television series is probably the most notable and popular incarnation, and drove the franchise to the phenomenal status it would achieve in pop culture. The series was in production for nine years, and was still quite popular when it went out of production. It was responsible for introducing many of the catch phrases associated with the Turtles, such as "Cowabunga!", "Heroes in a half-shell!" and "Turtle Power!", into the lexicon. The animated series was such a prominent part of the Ninja Turtles that many people consider it the definitive and canonical version.

This version is also renowned for its critically acclaimed soundtrack. Through most of the series, the episodes featured a background music which reflected the mood of the situation (e.g. danger, action, exploration, confusion, mystery, winning), as well as ID music for settings such as the Technodrome, the sewers, Channel 6, etc. which contributes to the show's dynamic uniqueness. The soundtrack was composed by Dennis Challen Brown (credited as "D.C. Brown" and later as "Dennis C. Brown") and Chuck Lorre. Lorre penned the famous theme song and became a successful television producer.

I'm now gonna explain how and Why Michaelangelo lost his Nunchucks and why The Ninja Turtles were known as The Hero Turtles in the U.K.

In the United Kingdom, TMNT was released under the name Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (TMHT). This was due to the controversy surrounding ninjas and related weapons such as nunchuks at the time. Not to mention that,at the time,Nunchucks were an extremely popular weapon amung Brittish Thugs.

So,the intro sequence was heavily edited because of these reasons,replacing the word ninja with hero or fighting and removing any scenes in which Michaelangelo wields his nunchuks,replacing them with random clips from the show. Speaking of which,in the show itself,all of Mikey's "Nunchuck Scenes" were cut.

Well after a while,the Creators of the show decided to give in to the British cencors and replace Mikey's Nunchucks with a Grappling Hook. Nowadays however,U.K has given up on it's "Anti-Ninja" and "Anti-Nunchuck" policy. And when the 2K3 series made it there,it stayed as is. The original title was even kept.

Our Next lesson will be the second part of this one. So Next time,I'll be talking about the 2K3 series. Class Dismissed.

Rock On and Stay Cold,
Stefan aka The Cartoon Historian

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 1: DIC Entertainment

Welcome Students to the first ever Cartoon History Lesson. I'm your Teacher,Stefan the Cartoon Historian. Today we will learn all about DIC Entertainment and it's unfortunate end.

Many of us who watched cartoons in the 80's and 90's probably know about DIC Entertainment and the shows it created. Nowadays,however,nobody knows Who or what DIC is. That's because it doesn't exist anymore.Wanna know what happened to it? Well,look alive class,'cuz your're about to find out.

DIC Entertainment (pronounced "deek") was an international film and television production company which was founded in 1971 as DIC Audiovisuel by frenchman Jean Chalopin in France, as a subsidiary of Radio-Television Luxembourg (RTL). So Contrary to popular belief,DIC was originally a French Company.

The company's name was originally an acronym for Diffusion, Information et Communication. In addition to animated television shows such as The Real Ghostbusters, (1986-1991),DIC produced live-action feature films while under Disney,like 1999's Inspector Gadget. This was before Disney turned to shit,but that's a lesson for another time.

Anyway,DIC'S American arm was founded in 1982 as DIC Enterprises. The company's United States headquarters, established in 1982 and headed by Andy Heyward, Robby London and Michael Maliani, were in Burbank, California. In 1986, Andy Heyward bought the company, thus making the US headquarters the main base of operations. And so,DIC became an American controlled company. DIC was definatly at it's best in the 80''s 80's shows were great. These great 80's shows include: The Real Ghostbusters,Inspecter Gadget,and Captain N.

In 1993, DIC Animation City (as it was then known) and Capital Cities/ABC formed a joint venture called DIC Entertainment LP and in 1995 it became a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The 90's weren't that bad for DIC either. They shows like: Sonic SatAM,and Mummies Alive.In 1995,DIC aquired the licence to Dub the Sailor Moon anime. The Dub got mixed reviews from Sailor Moon fans. Today,the SM dub has a cult following.

In 2000,with an investment by Bain Capital, Heyward re-purchased DIC Enterprises (as it was then known). He purchased Bain Capital's interest in 2004 and took the company public the following year. In 2003,DIC launched a syndicated children's programming block called DiC Kids Network.Unfortunately for them,it sucked.

In early 2006, DIC Entertainment and CBS Corporation signed a multi-year deal to unveil a new 3-hour long programming block for Saturday mornings on CBS. The resulting KOL Secret Slumber Party on CBS was launched the following fall. That block sucked even more. On September 15, 2007, a new programming block: KEWLopolis premiered, a joint venture between DIC, CBS, and American Greetings.This was one of DIC's biggest blunders. It was apparent that DIC's glory days were far behind them.

In April 2007, DIC Entertainment, Corus Entertainment's Nelvana and Sparrowhawk Media Group announced plans to launch KidsCo a new international children's entertainment network. It was a disaster. A disaster that DIC never recovered from. Then,On June 20, 2008, it was announced that DIC would be acquired by Cookie Jar Group,a Canadian entertainment company. And Finally,On July 23, 2008, Cookie Jar completed the acquisition of DIC Entertainment,and became Cookie Jar Entertainment,a Canadian/American(mostly canadian) Hybrid Company.

So there you have it,The rise and tragic fall of DIC. Had DIC kept on pumping out cool cartoons like they did in the 80's and 90's,maybe it would've survived and the Canadian buyout wouldn't have taken place. Y'know,I really miss DIC,It gave us such great shows in the 80's and 90's.

Rest in peace DIC. Rest in eternal peace.

DIC Entertainment

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed.

Rock On and Stay Cold,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Welcome to my New Blog.

Hey everyone,Stefan here and Welcome to The Cartoon Historian. This blog is all about Cartoons and the story behind them. Here you will get the origins of Cartoons,Animation Companies,and even Cartoon Blocks.

However one thing you'll never find here is Anime History. Even though I have nothing against it,I won't cover it on this site. This is the Cartoon Historian after all.

So anyway enjoy the blog. The first Cartoon History Lesson will be up soon.

Rock on and Stay Cold,