Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Crazy Youth: That Time That Thundarr Fought the King Kong Robot!

I was going to do a different Episode of Thundarr, but I watched this one- as I own the Complete Series DVD Set here- and said 'Nope- I'm doing this one!'  If you missed this show somehow (and still do, since it is on Boomerang), here's a rundown.  In the year 1994, a rogue planet (their words) flew between the Earth and the Moon, splitting the latter and tearing the Ozone Layer off of the former.  That all makes sense, right Neil DeGrasse Tyson?  The show takes place 2,000 years later (much like Adventure Time btw) and features creatures, robots and Wizards.  What other show had all three?  Thundarr- pre-dating He-Man by three years- uses his magical Sun Sword alongside human sorceress Ariel and Ookla the Mok to keep the surviving people free and safe from evil.  Incidentally, the show was based on ideas from Steve Gerber, the same man who wrote the Episode of Batman: The Animated Series where he fought Farmer Brown and his giant bugs.  The show also featured the behind-the-scenes work of Alex Toth, who any fan of Animation should know, and another famous Comic Creator.  This Episode features evil Apes, a Dragon and a then-recent movie prop playing a key role.  To find out the secret, read on...
Thundarr and company run across said evil Apes digging up something.  It is part of their plan to get rid of the humans that co-occupy the valley.  More on them later.
What could they be digging up?  Maybe this early Screen Cap will give you a hint.

If you know it already, don't share answers with the class.
Those humans are...well, just look.

Oh and the other Creator was Jack Kirby.  If you can't tell that he designed this Character, then you need to brush up on your Comic History.
Thundarr and company continue to try and stop the Apes from restoring 'The Mighty One.'  His parts were apparently buried all over the Studio Lot, so as to keep him from being recreated.

I'd say that it is just a conceit of the show, but I believe that it may have actually happened.
The Apes manage to capture our heroes and sick a dragon on them.  While they escape, he reforms 'The Mighty One' and uses his controls.  Time for mayhem!
For the three of you that didn't figure it out yet, I will spill the beans.  The Apes remade the 30-foot King Kong robot from the 1976 film!  Given that this Episode originally-aired in 1980, it sure was topical still.

You have to use some conceit for this to make sense.  For example, the King Kong robot works!
To recap, a Barbarian, a Wookie-like creature and a Sorceress must save a Village of 'little people' from talking Apes controlling the King Kong robot made by the late Dino De Laurentiis, which was buried for over 2,000 years.

All good.  Okay then- let's see how much sillier this can get.
Thundarr and company ran across an old WWII-looking plane earlier in the Episode (another prop?), so it is the natural weapon to use to aid them in stopping legally-not-called-Kong.
Sure enough, Thundarr manages to take down the creature and restore peace to the Valley.  Time to ride off into the sunset Scooby-Doo style (R.I.P. Casey Kasem).  The End.
Even I didn't expect this!  Bear in mind, other Thundarr episodes have Vampire Aliens from Outer Space, a Time Machine and an ICBM.  The show was weird- plain and simple.  From the premise to the execution, nothing was normal.  That, of course, is why I loved it then and I love it now!  Was the show the best?  No.  You could pick apart the numerous influences of the show, whether it is the lightsabers from Star Wars or Thundarr's Conan-like persona.  Having said that, it is so batshit insane that it is a must-see for people like me.  If you are into weird cartoons, I highly-recommend this show.  How can you not want to see a Barbarian, a Mok and a Sorceress battle a 30-foot tall robot of King Kong used for approximately 9 seconds in the 1976 Film (since it barely-worked)?  It is literally impossible.  Just bear in mind that this was made in 1980, so there are some animation hiccups like this one...
Next up, I find an Episode of Justice League to cover.  It may involve transformation, B'Wana Beast and...singing.  Stay tuned...


  1. Since you had such a crazy youth, say, do you remember the "Little Shop of Horrors" animation series? I'd give an arm to see it again.

    1. I honestly don't. Some quick YouTube searching has gotten me this though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kr3jMhz47E

      I will earnestly try to find some of it out there in the Internet ether and review it for you though.