Top Ten Cartoons of the 80s
The era of Saturday Morning Cartoon is sadly over. Back in the 1980s, we all sat in front of the tube watching cartoons while growing up, but today, most of those shows we’ll never admit to having liked (Gummi Bears, anyone?). But there are at least a few that we can still admit to having watched without sounding like we were dorks. Granted these cartoons didn’t all play on Saturday Mornings, but they’re still relics of a bygone era, that we don’t want to let go of. If you’re too young to remember the 80s, you’ll probably recognize many of these from recent movies.
10) Duck Tales
Huey, Dewey and Louie move in with Uncle Scrooge and outright hilarity ensues. Favorite character: Launchpad McQuack, who crashed every plane he flew. And let’s not forget those crazy masked Beagle Boys, who always tried to steal from Scrooge’s money pit.
Here we follow the adventures of the eponymous team of cat-like humanoid aliens from the planet of Thundera. Thundercats, ho!
8) Voltron, Defender of the Universe
There were two variations of Voltron in the early seasons… the vehicle Voltron and the robotic lions. Haggar the witch split it into five parts, each a large robotic lion. One day Keith, a space explorer, found the parts and reassembled them. With his friends, Voltron was revived to protect the planet Arus once again from evil forces.
7) Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
Out of all these cartoons, perhaps the only one that taught us any moral values. Bill Cosby’s creation ran for 12 years, far longer than most shows. Who can forget the North Philly Junkyard Gang with Fat Albert, Mushmouth, Dumb Donald and Weird Harold? Hey hey hey!
6) Inspector Gadget
What people most remember about this show is the theme song, and of course, when he said “Go go gadget (fill in the blank)!” This clumsy, absent-minded and oblivious detective, along with his dog Brain, battles Dr Claw.
5) Real Ghostbusters
Based on the 1984 megablockbuster Ghostbusters, this series continues the adventures of paranormal investigators Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, Dr. Ray Stantz, their secretary Janine and their mascot ghost Slimer. All the kids in my neighborhood ran around wearing proton packs. Did you know that Arsenio Hall did the voice of Winston?
4) G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
This show, which made kids want to join the army and fight Cobra, actually had two runs by different companies, after starting off as a mini-series. Favorite character, Snake Eyes, the ninja. Sgt. Slaughter of wrestling fame was a great addition to this cast of characters.
3) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Four wise-cracking, pizza-obsessed superheroes named after Renaissance artists fight the forces of evil from their sewer hideout. Who can forget Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and their mutant rat leader Master Splinter? And, of course, the oh-so-hot April O’Neil.
2) He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
By the power of Grayskull, I have the power! He-man and his band of merry men face off against Skelator. The spin-off, She-Ra: Princess of Power, was good too only cause She-Ra was hot. What ruined this show was the addition of Orko, that red alien character brought in for comic relief. My favorite toy was Battle Cat.
Generation 1 lasted from 1984-1987, as the More than meets the eye guys feature the Autobots with Optimus Prime against the Decepticons with Megatron. Anyone remember the GoBots? They actually came first, but when Transformers came around, GoBots got Betamaxed.
Honorable mentions: MASK, Dungeons and Dragons, Superfriends, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, Heathcliff, Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, Scooby Doo, Smurfs.
Notes about the list: It’s obviously for guys, so I left off Care Bears, Rainbow Brite and My Little Pony. Considering there were literally hundreds of cartoons back in the 80s, this list was extremely difficult to make, and I had to leave off some of my favorites, like Muppet Babies, because the Gunaxin audience would never admit to watching that, even though you did, you pansies. And yes, the Simpsons technically came out in the 80s, but it’s quite clear the difference between that and the above cartoons.