This guy’s linked to YouTube hosted videos of the openings from many Saturday morning cartoons. Some of these are my favorites… like…
Flash Gordon, which was just released to DVD:
I know the harsh announcer and sounds seem cheesy, but the art for this show is extremely good for a Saturday morning cartoon in 1979. (I love that lighting special effect behind Ming the Merciless; yeah, it was overused later in the 1980s but that’s because it’s cool.)
Really, the Norm Prescott/Lou Scheimer adventure cartoons like Tarzan, Zorro and The Lone Ranger (When are THOSE out on DVD?) tended to have great visual quality. Okay, maybe not Gilligan’s Planet so much, but check out the intro for another cartoon I loved as a kid: Space Sentinels! (ALSO new to DVD!)
OH MAN! Moe looks very, very similar to the robot I used in “Enigma In Outer Space”, J.O.S.E. No, it wasn’t even a subconscious thing, because J.O.S.E. was designed by Phil Meadows and I’d completely forgotten about the robot on this show. All I can remember of Space Sentinels was the spaceship at the bottom of the volcano and the “wochita wochita” incidental guitar music.
Back to the ones on his list. For years, I’ve tried to figure out what was so great about “Inspector Gadget” aside from Don Adams supplying the voice. In rewatching the titles, I think I figured it out: the show is so much more animated than the standard Saturday morning limited animation of the time! Am I right, or is it just that the titles have more animation than the rest of the show?
If you want to look at a really overwrought opener for a show, try Shazam! The announcer goes into verbose detail about the premise…when it’s a concept so easy to figure out that it really doesn’t need this much setup. I think the cartoons of the time just liked being able to use up 90 seconds out of the half hour they needed to fill by going overlong on the opening. As a kid, of course, I never thought about things like animation cheats, where the animators fill as much time as possible with long intros, long endings and lengthy “power up” transformation sequences. Heck, “Battle of the Planets” used all three!
All right, I could go on all night, but I saved the best for last:
One of the all-time great opening themes. I’ve heard barbershop quartets performing this in the years since this left the air.
The episodes are actually all on YouTube! I guess that will do until someone wises up and releases a good copy of it on DVD. Here’s my favorite episode in its entirety: “Don’t Touch That Dial”
“I can feel my I.Q. dropping by the minute!”
I still can’t believe they said, “There’s nothing under here but a neck and some tendons,” in 1987!