Dual lives, transformations, secrecy and hip fashions sum up the characteristics of many ’80s cartoons.
Saturday morning cartoons, as well as their after-school counterparts, were a staple for everyone growing up in the 1980s.
Although most were broadcast on the weekends, which meant we were free to sleep-in, cartoons were so amazing we were eager to rise early to watch our favorite characters.
These blue characters that lived in the mushroom homes of Smurf Village are synonymous with the ’80s.
Created in 1958 by Belgian Peyo Culliford, the little blue ones started off as minor characters in a cartoon strip.
After their success in Belgium, producers Hanna and Barbera brought Smurfs to the United States in 1981.
With over 100 Smurfs, everyone was bound to have their favorite, whether it was Brainy, Papa, Grouchy, Smurfette or Sassette.
(Yes, there was another female Smurf.)
“They were so cute,” said Temple University sophomore Daniel Bagonis.
“I wanted to join their little Smurf village.”
These robots in disguise thrived from 1984-1988.
The Transformers were constantly battling the evil Decepticons, often turning into vehicles, weapons, and even boom boxes.
Unlike many cartoons from the ’80s, Transformers occasionally had elaborate plots that spanned two to five episodes.
The immense success of the show produced equally successful comics and toys.
Temple senior Jermaine Smith remembered this craze.
“I was obsessed with the Transformers,” he said.
“I had everything from the toys to the bed sheets,” said Smith.
“Thundercats, HOOOOOO,” ring a bell?
Thundercats hit the airwaves in 1985 and had a massive impact on the world of cartoons.
Lion-O, Cheetara, Tygra, and Panthro: super felines with ripped bodies and funky costumes.
They fled their home planet, Thundera, just to arrive on Third Earth and continue to battle their Mutant nemesis.
“Cheetara was my favorite,” said Temple senior Monica Joseph. “She represented for the females.”
It’s hard to believe, but Thundercats only lasted two seasons.
Although short-lived, the cartoon continues to have fans that devote hundreds of fan pages to the heroes from Thundera.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
From 1983-1987 the saying, “By the power of Greyskull! I have the power!” boomed from the TV in one of the most popular cartoons of the 1980s.
By day he was Prince Adam, but once he raised his sword and uttered his trademark phrase, he turned into He-Man, ready to battle his archenemy, Skeletor.
When it came time for battle, his cowardly tiger would turn into a kick-ass battle cat.
“I knew there was gonna be some serious butt-kicking every time he would raise his sword,” said Temple junior Andrew Hull.
The success of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe led to a live action picture in 1987 with Dolph Lundgren playing He-Man in Masters of the Universe.
Let’s not forget that He-Man’s little sis, She-Ra, got her own show in 1985.
Although plots were a bit sketchy, the Princess of Power managed to succeed without any prominent male figures.
Jem and the Holograms
Before the Spice Girls and “Girl Power,” there was Jem and the Holograms.
From 1985-1987, Jem and the gals epitomized the big hair and flashy getups of the ’80s.
The cartoon started as a part of Marvel’s Super Sunday, but became its own show after gaining immense popularity, mainly among young girls.
Jem and her girls- Kimber, Shana, Aja and Raya – made numerous young female fans fantasize about the life of girl glam-rock.
“I loved Jem,” said Temple freshman Mimi Procta.
“She made me want to be a rock star, even though I had absolutely no musical ability.”
The show also dealt with issues such as illiteracy, poverty and drug abuse.
The success of Jem and the Holograms was heightened with the production of dolls, accessories and even a contest in which fans were asked to sing the Jem theme over a 1-800 number.
No matter what your favorite cartoon from the ’80s was, we all know the joy associated with watching toons on a Saturday morning or after school.
The cartoons that we once loved may seem a bit silly and their plots somewhat ridiculous, but they have the ability to bring us back to a time free of tuition costs and stress.
Patrice Williams can be reached at email@example.com