Friday, January 2, 2009

Retro Friday: When Selling Out Goes Wrong

Saturday morning. A refuge for creative and original output. But more importantly, a source of advertising revenue and an outlet for outreach and promotion. And while I can't say just what each of these entries are, I can say that they were at the best very, very odd choices.

Let us go back in time to the early 80's. The video game era was just beginning to sustain it's consistent stars, and among them is the star of our first clip. None other than the godfather of all video games, the pellet gobbling, ghost chomping fiend: Pac-Man. Here, Pac and his family dealt with pesky ghosts and protected the power pellets from evil. I can't make this stuff up.


Moving on in the same era, we get an even odder entry. At some point, they decided to ignore games and just go with a popular toy of the time. For anyone who wouldn't believe this happened if I just told them, and for others who might have erased it from their memory: Rubik, the Amazing Cube. Rubik was exactly what they said he was. An evil magician made a magical living cube that could grant perform incredible feats of power. And of course, he loses said cube and has to try and get it back from them. The kids, of course, protect Rubik from the bad guy and get into all sorts of trouble of their own.

Aside from the almost certainly drug-assisted premise of the show, there are some other interesting notes. This was apparently the first (or one of the first) series starring a Hispanic cast. And the theme was sung by Menudo (who if you recall were actually an integral part of the Saturday Morning programming block of ABC at the time). Anywho, enjoy this short but disturbing intro, complete with Rubik's creepy demon-child voice.


And finally, to bring this to the pinnacle of selling out... or is this selling in? I'm not really sure what to make of this, except to say that if I ever become famous enough to push for my own cartoon show, I hope I have the fortitude to make sure that it doesn't end up like this. No explanation needed here. Just... just listen to the song. Oh, Stanley.

I feel the need to note here that I totally respect Hammer for both his music career and the things he did for his community. That said... what the deuce, man? Normally, a cartoon intro is better animated than the main series, but even this was poor. And the series was abyssmal.

It didn't even have a real series of plots you could follow. Some bad guy would do something. Stanley would screw around for 10 minutes or so before realizing that something was wrong (or being able to sneak away to do something about it). Then Stanley would put on his magic shoes - his magic, talking shoes - and become Hammerman. Then Hammerman would dance around in about four frames worth of animation (at best), and magical notes would fix whatever the problem du jour was. I can't stress to you how bad it was. And I would know, because as a kid I remember really, really wanting to like it. Ah, what might have been.

Tune in next week, when I think the celebrity theme of that last clip just might continue. Oh, the terror of it all...

2 comments:

Sam said...

Why man, WHy must you remind us of this crap? I swear, if you pull out "Monchichi", I will throttle you across the head and shoulders..

HouseT said...

See, the mistake with what you said there... was that you reminded me of something I would have never thought of on my own.

But you should be safe. Aside from memories of the vitamins, I don't think that I even liked Monchichis. But if it makes you feel better, I now have their theme song stuck in my head, so consider me punished.