Aloada Childhood Nostalgia: The Cartoons

Aloada Childhood Nostalgia: The Cartoons

With only three weeks before I get older than old (if you’re older than me, this is not meant as an insult, my brain just can’t really compute that I’m entering a new decade!) I’ve decided to have a little look back at my childhood by way of the TV that defined it. Because, I’ll be honest, I watched A LOT.

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My days consisted of riding my bike, watching TV, re-enacting said episodes, balancing badly on rollerskates, (note ‘skates’… I actually started with those ones you attached to your shoes before progressing to ‘roller boots’. No blades here!) attempting to complete the Rubik’s cube (by peeling off the stickers, obviously!) and back to more TV.

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As an 80s child, I was spoiled for choice with excellent shows – yes I’m biased but I’ve seen kids cartoons these days and they are not a patch on what we had then.

Many of them still crop up anecdotally, the mere mention of a particular word is enough for me to recite their entire theme tunes (which were an event in themselves) and there are at least two of them I briefly lost my heart to (who said you can’t find a cartoon character attractive?!)

So here, for your nostalgic pleasure (or education, depending on age!) are some of my favourites. There are plenty more I watched and loved, such as He-Man and Transformers but these remain the ones I immediately think of when recalling my youth.

THE VERY BRITISH TOONS

Coming home for lunch meant I was able to enter the world of Mr. Benn. The suited, booted, bowler-hat wearing man would visit a fancy dress shop daily and go into the changing rooms. He would leave by a secret entrance to embark on a journey defined by his costume. It was magical, barmy and always had a moral.

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The Poddington Peas followed the adventures of …erm… peas. At the bottom of the garden. I loved it but I think most of it had to do with the theme tune. Still know every word!

Another that I can still recite the intro to perfectly is the The Raggy Dolls. Centering around the antics of a load of mis-fit toys, it embraced being different. I mean, how sweet are these words?

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‘….Raggy Dolls, Raggy Dolls, made imperfectly. So if you’re not at ease with your knobbly knees and your fingers are all thumbs, stand on your two left feet and join our Raggy Doll chums!’

Pigeon Street was about…a street full of pigeons (kids programs remember, we’re not into the cutting edge cartoons yet!) I couldn’t tell you much about the plot but I was weirdly fascinated by the animation – I mean, who thought arms and legs should look like that?!

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THE ANIMAL STARS

It was quite likely that your leading stars in 80s / early 90s cartoons were animals – Okay some of them had amazing powers or fighting skills, like the Hero Turtles and Samurai Pizza Cats but they were animals nonetheless!

The Gummi Bears bounced here, there and everywhere by drinking their Gummiberry Juice. As a consumer of a large amount of Ribena (which was the same colour), I naturally thought I could BE a Gummi Bear – I’m sure my bouncing got annoying VERY quickly…

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Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds was fun and the first time I was aware of a ‘crossover’ or homage to something else. I loved the play on their names from the more well known Muskateers and it educated me about a time period that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about. And they had cool swords fights!

80 Days Around the World was based on the adventures of not Phileas but Willy Fog and his sidekick Rigadon. Educating its viewers to the countries of the world whilst traveling on Victorian modes of transport, apparently the show remained so popular in Spain that in 2008 there was a live action, theatrical version to commemorate its 25th anniversary!

I never could work out what Tiko was saying… ‘I’ma Tiko from that Scotland’ is all I ever heard. Any offers?

The best character in The Raccoons was by far Cyril Sneer. Who was an aardvark. A pink, smoking, money laundering, scheming aardvark at that. Thank goodness for Google because I didn’t have a clue what animal he was supposed to be as a child!

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THE TOP 5

These are the ones that I would still watch now – I’ve even converted some of the children at school to their awesomeness. They might not make cartoons like they used to but at least kids still recognise a good one!

Defenders of the Earth…. Defenders! I wanted to be Phantom and talk to the animals. I wanted to be the ‘ghost who walks’ – how cool does that sound? It had a fab theme tune (…master of magic, spells and illusion, enemies crumble in fear and confusion…MANDRAKE!) and adventures a-plenty. Loved it.

Weird vehicles. Space. Lasers. A proper 80s power ballad opener (always a good choice in front of the mirror with a hairbrush) and a crush on the leading ‘man’ ( I liked his two-tone hair), Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors was one not to be missed. Yet it seems largely forgotten by most.

I’m not sure how I saw it but many of my friends have never heard of it. I do remember we were one of the few people who had cable at the time, so perhaps it was on this. Frankly, being in the minority just made it cooler!

The BEST theme tune and overall, continuing plot goes to The Mysterious Cities of Gold.

Set in the 16th century, it followed the adventures of orphan, Esteban (which I considered the most exotic, amazing name ever at the time!) and his friends. A mix of archaeology, science fiction and education about the Mayas, Incas and Olmecs, it was like a historical soap opera!

Thunder, thunder, Thundercats….Ho! Still gets shouted when there’s a storm. Every. Single. Time.

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Cheetera was all kinds of amazing and I longed for a pet Snarf… he still gets channeled when I have the sniffles! Just brilliant. 🙂

And in first place, with another character who stole my heart, is Dungeons and Dragons.

I wanted to run around in an invisibility cloak, with thigh-high boots on. I wanted to be married to Hank. I NEEDED a tiny unicorn and hoped that if I went on a roller coaster at Alton Towers, I’d get thrown off into a parallel universe (Well…maybe not the throwing off bit!) And I HAD to fight a dragon…

This probably cemented my love for fantasy adventure as a genre and it has remained my favourite category as an adult, whether it be in books, films or games. I even auditioned for a real-life version of D&D…but I’ll leave that until next time!

I hope you enjoyed my first trip down TV memory lane – which do you remember and love? Next week, I’ll look at the live action and puppet shows that formed my youth, so stay tuned!


Image Credits: YouTube, Amazon and Wikipedia.

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41 thoughts on “Aloada Childhood Nostalgia: The Cartoons

  1. A wonderful trip down memory lane! I bought the whole series of ‘Dogtanian’ on DVD 10 years or so a go. My nephew quickly decided it was a wonderful series and borrowed them. He’s now 16 and still has them – and, yes, they are still regularly watched! Interestingly, of all of the dramatisations of the novel Dogtanion is actually truest to the original, except that they’re all dogs, of course… I recently started re-watching ‘Mysterious Cities of Gold’ on Amazon Prime. I love the little bits of historical information at the end of each episode. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard that before, about the accuracy of the Dogtanian series – great to see they’re still enjoyed by younger generations.
      I didn’t know Cities was on Prime though! Wonderful, I’ll have to look it up and binge! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My students will not stop playing Rubiks cube. It drives me nuts in the classroom. Otherwise, I still like to play games too.
    Congratulations on being Danny Ray’s featured blogger. I was his featured blogger too. Maybe you can check out my site if you need a blogging tip or two. That’s what I write about
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I didn’t know Rubik’s cubes were still popular, thought it was all Minecraft these days. Good to see they’re still entertaining people! And thank you – I have read a few of your articles, I often catch them on Twitter. 🙂

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  3. Oh my….this is a flashback. I had similar skates And my very own cube complete with stickers pulled off! I agree with the different us shows. Although….the gummy ears does look vaguely familiar!

    I keep trying to figure out what new decade you are nearing. The one i just entered or a different one. 😃

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    1. Agreed! I think I’m guilty of theme tunes sticking in people’s heads with this post though 😉
      My friend has tagged me to do 80s songs on Facebook – clearly I spent too much time watching TV in this decade because all the songs I can think of are from the 90s!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never could figure out the Rubik’s Cube! Annoying. I’m 2 years younger than you, I guess, and also can’t fathom that new decade looming in the near future… I lived in Australia in the 80’s and though there was a lot of British influence, it seems that our cartoons where different 🙂 I wathced a lot of cartoons back then, too! I loved Inspector Gadget (and also Maxwell Smart! And Murder She Wrote, though they aren’t cartoons), HeMan and Transformers obviously, but also the Jetsons and lots of Hanna Barbera productions… they were awesome! Like Yogi bear for example. Miss those shows, come to think of it! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!

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    1. Jessica Fletcher! I loved Murder She Wrote 🙂 And Inspector Gadget! I can’t believe I missed out all the Hanna Barbera stuff – Top Cat, Yogi, Flintstones, Scooby, Captain Caveman! Oh, I feel I should do another post, haha! Pleased it brought back good memories for you 🙂

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  5. Squeeeeeee! This was the sound I repeatedly made all the way through reading and watching this. It’s like you’ve gone into my memory and picked out all of my favourite shows I used to watch and had almost forgotten about. Poddington Peas, Raggy Dolls, Gumi Bears, Dogtanian, 80 Days Around The World, The Racoons, Dungeons and Dragons, Thundercats and Cities of Gold. Not sure if you are old enough to remember Willow The Whisp, Button Moon, Crystal Tips and Alistair, Count Duckula and Trap Door?

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    1. Yay, glad it brought back good memories! I remember all of those except Crystal Tips. Almost put Willow the Wisp in and Jamie and his Magic Torch – I honestly could have had my longest post ever!Button Moon and Trap Door will likely get a mention in next week’s post – I’ll group all the puppetry and stop-motion in that one. Didn’t Terry Wogan do the voices in Trap Door?

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    1. Well they don’t say that our childhood years are important for nothing! I don’t know that I’ve consciously held on to them, more that they’re ingrained into my head – TV brainwash!

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  6. I think that I’m the same age as you (I might be wrong by 10 years because I’m rubbish) but I don’t remember enough of those shows! I loved the Thundercats and the Poddington Peas and the Raccoons though. Cyril Sneer was a piece of work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I reckon I’m ten years older *sigh* Those three were towards end of the 80s I think, so it makes sense. Which means I was still watching them, heading into my teens – I’m sure I should have been doing something more rebellious!

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  7. Loved all of these. Dungeons and Dragons and Dogtanian are treasured parts of my DVD collection and totally stood the test of time and the Gummi Bears theme tune is something I turn to whenever I need cheering up.

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    1. I didn’t even know you could get those on DVD! I own the box set of Bagpuss and toyed with the idea buying Thundercats – I know what’s going on my birthday list though, if they’re still available!

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      1. Both still available and quite reasonably priced. Don’t be fooled by Dogtanian series 2 though – it was made in the nineties. It might be awesome but I’m not sure I trust it…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! Loved most of these too. Maybe except Mr Benn and Willy Fogg who were kind of dicks. I loved dogtanian and the raggy dolls. Did you ever go to that site where you can find out what was actually on tv the minute you were born, or even what the first tv show was?

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  9. I am in the US so we had different tv shows (though I do remember Thundercats). But I remember the Rubik’s Cube (still have one) and those skates! I loved them… and they were adjustable! How great was that? Not needing a new pair every time when your feet grew? Awesome! Plus… no need of the greater balance skills that roller blades require! Such a fun post!

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    1. Thanks Sandra! Yeah, I think many of the cartoons came from European animators but knew at least Thundercats and Disney’s Gummi Bears would be universal.
      I quite liked that the skates adjusted… Didn’t make me any better at using them though!

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