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This podcast episode is dedicated to the old Rankin/Bass Productions cartoons from the 80’s.
The legendary duo, Rob Lee & Dann D., are children of the 1980’s. So this episode is a love letter of sorts to the now-defunct production company. The idea of recording this episode came from a conversation that Rob Lee had with his girlfriend. Have you ever taken an internet journey and got lost in Water-O? Rob Lee did and he found the TigerSharks.
Rankin/Bass Productions had a formula and it was recycled over and over. Those recycled ideas were then copied to varying degrees of success. The copying got the legendary duo thinking – “How can we capitalize on this?” In the last section of this podcast, you’ll see what the legendary duo comes up with. For those who don’t remember these cartoons, where’s a brief refresher of some of the cartoons discussed on this episode?
Per Wikipedia – Rankin/Bass Productions was an American production company, known for its seasonal television specials, particularly its work in stop-motion animation. Rankin/Bass stop-motion features are recognizable by their visual style of doll-like characters with spheroid body parts, and ubiquitous powdery snow using an animation technique called “Animagic”. Often, traditional cel animation scenes of falling snow would be projected over the action to create the effect of a snowfall.
Nearly all of the studio’s animation was outsourced to at least five Japanese animation companies. The quality of the animation is what hooked a young Rob Lee.
ThunderCats was an animated television series that debuted in 1985 rebooted in 2011 – which wasn’t that bad. The premise included cat-like humanoid aliens on a planet called Third Earth. The ThunderCats, led by Lion-O, fought the Mutants of Plun-Darr, led by Mumm-Ra, for the next four seasons.
SilverHawks is one of those cartoons classed by Rob Lee as “if you know, you know”. Essentially, SilverHawks was the space equivalent of ThunderCats. SilverHawks was 65-episodes of heroes who were “partly metal, partly real” battling the evil Mon*Star and his intergalactic mob featuring Mumbo-Jumbo, Pokerface, Windhammer and, who could forget, Melodia.
To round out this trio of Rankin/Bass Productions cartoons is TigerSharks. TigerSharks proves the law of dimishing returns and that you can only go back to the well so many times. In this instance three is too many times. Where ThunderCats and SilverHawks were successful – the formula – TigerSharks failed. The show lasted only 26-episodes despite featuring the many of the same voice actors from ThunderCats and SilverHawks. Further, the 26-episode series featured the protectors of Water-O, Mako and the TigerSharks battling villians like the Mantanas and Captain Bizzarly.
Additionally, the show was a part of The Comic Strip, a show containing animated shorts. TigerSharks didn’t have its own slot like its more successful predecessors. TigerSharks made a cameo on the 2011 ThunderCats reboot. The TigerSharks wasn’t good and aided the end of Rankin/Bass Productions – but making fun of it led to one of the legendary duo’s funniest Oneshots.