From Inspector Gadget to Ducktales, the 1980’s were most memorable for overusing hairspray, cult classic movies, robotic music and, the awesome cartoons. Although a very hard list to compile because of the large number of cartoons to choose from, we’re going to do our best and look at our pick of the “Top 10: Nostalgic Cartoons From The 1980’s”.
Topping our top10 list for most memorable cartoons from the 1980’s is a Hasbro classic that has stood the test of generations and has always come out on top. G.I. Joe was first aired as a 3-part mini-series in 1983 and 1984. These series led up to the main series starting in 1985. The beginning of every show started, “G.I. Joe is the code name for America’s daring, highly trained special mission force. Its purpose: to defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.Hasbro had a corresponding toy line out in stores and would air episodes based on marketing tactics centered around which toy was about to be released, always encouraging children to beg their parents for the newest G.I. Joe paraphernalia. Some memorable names that may have graced your lips as a youth might be, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Rip Cord, Destro, Hawk and many, many more. Every episode ended with a public safety lesson directed towards kids, using a G.I Joe character. These lessons gave birth to the catch-phrase “And Knowing is Half the Battle”.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Mutated by radioactive goo first in May of 1984, these Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit the TV screen and toy shelves like a force to be reckoned with. Named after renaissance geniuses such as Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael, they live in the sewer and were raised and trained in the art of Ninjitsu, by their master Splinter, a mutated Rat. The show picks up when the Turtles venture outside the sewer and run into April O’Neil, a reporter for the local paper. April was in need of help and the turtles heroically save her. The team was paired together in countless episodes to take on the maniacal forces of the Foot Clan and their leader Master Shredder and the crazy floating brain, Krang. These turtles, even to this day, are considered true Heroes in a half shell.
Most of us know the action packed CGI movies of the modern era when it comes to the Transformers, but some of us remember how it all started. In 1984, famous company names such as Hasbro, teamed up with Mattel to create a masterpiece that has lasted to this day. Theses robots that could transform into everyday vehicles and machinery, consisted of 2 warring factions that left their home planet of Cybertron in search of resources. Plots usually centered around the Decepticons, led by Megatron, trying a new trick or invention to defeat the AutoBots and their leader Optimus Prime. Notable characters of the series were famous Autobot names such as Bumble Bee, Ratchet, IronHide and Jazz. Just as popular for their evil minds were famous Decepticons such as Soundwave, Shockwave, Starscream and Devastator. These cartoons and their characters were truly, more than meets the eye.
Anyone who knows who the Thundercats are, will be happy to see them in this list. This cartoon first was shown in 1985 and soon became popular. The plot was based around Thundera, the Thundercats home world which was destroyed and only one ship full of Thundarians escaped harm. Inside, was Lion-O, the Thundercats leader, along with 6 others in sleep stasis. Jaga, the eldest Thundercat, piloted the ship to the nearest planet and died along the way, sacrificing himself. Once on the new planet, Third Earth, the leader, Lion-O and his Sword of Omen, which held the Eye of Thundera, had to lead the 6 other Thundercats, Cheetarah, Panthero, Tygra, WilyKit, and Snarf through perilous and courageous journeys to defend themselves and the inhabitants from the devilish attacks of Mumm-Ra and his evil forces.
Produced by Disney and airing in 1987, Ducktales storyline was based around Scrooge McDuck and his 3 grand nephews Huey, Louie, and Dewey. Scrooge McDuck is a wealthy duck and villains are constantly trying to steal his gold horde. In other episodes, the group is chasing after secret treasures in far off lands. The other shows characters were too many to list but the show often mentioned references of famous historical people, popular cultural icons or even fictional characters such as Shakespeare, Jack the Ripper, James Bond , Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes. The show was such a great success that it spawned into video games, movies, toys, and rumor has it, the show may make a comeback in 2017.
Voltron: Defender of the Universe
The cartoon focused on 5 different colored Robotic Lions and their pilots as they try to save their planet, Arus, from the evil invading forces of King Zarkon and Prince Lotor of planet Doom. In each episode, the evil forces of Lotor and his witch Hagger, would send a huge creature of some sort to try to destroy planet Arus. All five characters: Keith, Lance, Pidge, Sven and Hunk, would be called upon to pilot the Lions and try to save the planet. Most of the time the lions were not strong enough to destroy the beast on their own, but they had a secret weapon. The lions could all connect together to form Voltron, the defender of the Universe and eradicate any threat to Arus, always saving the day.
The Care Bears
Originally produced as artwork for greeting cards by artist Elena Kucharik and American Greeting Corporation, in 1981, Kenner toy company soon took these colorful bears to the toy shelves as plush toy bears. The bears became so in demand that in 1985 they grew into their own TV show. The basis of the show was centered around The Care Bears living in their home high up in the clouds called Care-a-lot. Each bear came in a different color and each had a special insignia on its belly, known as a “Tummy symbol” or a “Belly Badge” that corresponds to the bears duty and personality. When the symbol was rubbed by the bear it would create different feelings of good morals and ethics in their adversaries. When bears combined with other bears, they would form a rainbow and thwart the evil plans of Professor Cold Heart and Lord No Heart.
Motorized Armored Strike Kommand, or alternately known as M.A.S.K., was a very popular cartoon that aired in 1985, about two rival factions. M.A.S.K, was the law enforcement team led by Matt Trakker, against the criminal organizations known as V.E.N.O.M. led by Miles Mayhem. Each organization was compiled of vehicles that relied on illusion and stealth to achieve the ultimate goal of surprising the enemy. The automobiles transformed into fighting vehicles at the press of a button and would do battle throughout episodes. The show was so widely popular that it spun off a movie, toys, comics and video games.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Also debuting in 1983, and running until 1985, He-Man, as the show was called for short, delighted children everywhere. Prince Adam and his fellow companions would travel their home planet of Eternia looking for trouble caused by the evil forces of Skeletor. When Prince Adam called upon the power of GreySkull, by holding his sword high into the air, he would be granted the powers of the universe. He and his pet tiger would be transformed into the universally known and exponentially strong He-Man and Battle Cat. A list of memorable side characters includes, but is not limited to, Teela, The Sorceress, Orko and Man-at-Arms.
In 1983, a trio of writers consisting of Andy Heyward, Jean Chalopin and Bruno Bianchi put together an unforgettable, hilarious cartoon called Inspector Gadget. This cartoon portrayed the main character, Inspector John Gadget, a half man, half robot, trying to solve the crimes of the villain, Dr. Claw and his unforgettable sinister cat. The side characters, who consisted of Inspector Gadgets niece Penny and her dog Brain would always somehow involve themselves in the detective work without the knowledge of the Inspector. Inspector Gadget would use his catch phrase “ Go! Go! Gadget!”, before he would try to utilize his different crime fighting robotic appendages. Usually his gadgets would fail and he would be left helpless, leaving the true heroics to Penny and her dog Brain.