As a kid, Saturday mornings meant cartoons. An entire morning of them. I’d get a bowl, cereal and milk and watch my way through noon or so. It was my favorite day of the week and something I thoroughly enjoyed. I’d even get up early, sometimes so early I had to watch a test pattern until the shows started.
Loony Toons was a favorite, of course. And there were also such gems as Blackstar and Thundarr the Barbarian. Since my job sometimes requires me to surf the web, I thought I’d put that time to good use and look up some of the old cartoons Iused to watch.
Luckily, YouTube has a selection of things up to watch. Mostly the intros to these old gems, but I managed to watch entire episodes of Blackstar and Thundarr. Boy, is my memory flawed. Or my tastes have gotten better. Something.
While there is a nostalgic thrill to watching them again, through adults eyes they’re both pretty poor. The animation is rough, the dialog is laughable, and the stories are weak. But I sure loved them at the time.
Thundarr the Barbarian is about the world in the future, after the moon was ripped in two. Cataclysms rock the Earth and mankind degenerates into a more primitive state. Also, some science still exists though it’s poorly understood and magic has risen. It all sounds pretty good as a back story. Thundarr, the head of three escaped slaves, carries a
lightsaber sword on his left gauntlet. When he’s not using it just the hilt exists, but when he holds it in his hand a magic blade of light appears. He uses this sword to swing at bad guys until they get bored and go away. Ookla is a Chewbacca type character. And there’s Princess Ariel, who is the futuristic magic user.
Blackstar is a bit different. John Blackstar is an astronaut who got sucked into a black hole and ended up in a different universe. He’s stranded on a primitive planet and befriends these munchkin-types who live in a tree. He also has a magic sword. Half of a magic sword, anyway. The other half belongs to his enemy… The Overlord. I guess the whole point was for Blackstar to re-unite the sword halves and defeat… The Overlord. I don’t think it ever happened. The whole show is really hammy. Nobody makes reference to… The Overlord without putting in the dramatic pause (“We have to keep it away from… The Overlord!”). The Overlord himself talks in a very deep baritone and hams up his lines something awful. It’s really funny to watch.
I’m still trying to remember some of the other cartoons that I used to like. I keep thinking there was a cartoon that was related to Martin & Rowen’s Laugh-In but I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure it had Ruth Buzzi in it, reprising her role as the old lady with that old guy who would have been played by Arte Johnson on Laugh-In. I have no idea what the name of it was, or if it was part of another show. Someday I might remember the name of it.