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'Thundarr the Barbarian' has been one of my favorite cartoons for years, holding a place beside 'Dungeons and Dragons', 'Heavy Metal' and 'Pirates of Dark Water'. I started watching it when I was about 8 years old, and it was the coolest cartoon out there. You had a post-apocalyptic world full of mutated creatures and awesome sorcery. You even had the occasional army of robots. What's not to like? While Thundarr did refer to the females as 'woman', it was always amusing to me. He was the epitomy of what a barbarian would and should be; big and dumb. And Ariel just plain rocked! She could do anything from creating bridges to levitating Ookla, no small feat. Even though she was a sorceress, she always seemed to take the logical route in a battle, like locking Gemini's face plate shut so he couldn't shoot rays from his eyes. Ookla the Mok was like a cross between Chewbacca and a lion, and had one of the weirdest horses I ever saw! The animation was great and it inspired me to want to do animation. The show gave me an interest not only in animation and magic, but also in science. Everything about it was cool, and even now I enjoy the episodes so much, I have them on tape. It's really a shame that more weren't made. Demon dogs!
I'll never forget the first time I saw Thundarr. My mom actually watched it with me out of fear it my be some new wave of cartoon that would prove too mature for my still immature sensibilities. I won out and got to keep watching as the action proved not to much for me to indulge in. Thundarr was a fresh landscape for me. I hadn't really immersed myself in the "Post-Apocalptic" genre of scifi but this and a little Mad Max soon got me on my way. The stories were fantastic and though I am an animation snob now in my adulthood, back then I could really care less about the nuances in quality. It was just good ole fashion fun. I will say this though I remember very few of the actual episode story lines I remember a sense of sadness for the characters after the show ends. The idea that these rag tag warriors would be forever traversing the Earth, fighting for their lives and the lives of others and with the possibility of never knowing peace or true joy seemed very likely. I guess I was still too much the idealistic scifi dreamer to realize this was the only world Thundarr knew and would live in until society advanced beyond the means they existed in.
This had to be one of the best animated shows of the early 1980's. The plot was pretty simple; a barbarian, a witch and a mutant creature known as a mock travel across the United States a thousand years after a disaster destroys most of the world. They go around fighting wizards and other assorted creatures in hopes of bringing order back to the world. This main thing I loved about this show was the fact that it wasn't like most of the animated shows at the time that felt they had to give a weekly ethics lesson. This show was just pure action from start to finish and it was just great entertainment without any hidden messages. I think this show will always stand the test of time and will always be recognized as a great action/adventure series.
In the fall of 1978,long time collaborated animated partners Joesph Ruby and
Kenneth Spears set out to beginning their own animated production studio
after there long term success with Hanna-Barbera.
There years with Hanna-Barbera were absolutely brilliant as the team
produced a string of hits including "Wacky Races","The Herculoids","Space
Ghost", "Scooby Doo","The Hair-Bear Bunch","Speed Buggy","Jabberjaw","Josie
and the Pussycats",which proceeded throughout the decade of the 1970's. All
of that was about to change when the team produced there own production
The company would produced shows like "Fangface","Plasticman","The Heathcliff and Markaduke Show",and the best ever made,"Thundarr The Barbarian".
"Thundarr The Barbarian",was without a doubt their greatest achievement ever conceived and it was a winner with the kids on Saturday Mornings and a big hit in the ratings as well during the three years that it had kids in total amazement as part of ABC-TV's Super Saturday Morning Line-Up during the 1980's. However,Thundarr would come out two years before Arnold Schwarzenegger came out with "Conan",but this show just by itself was one action-packed a minute Saturday Morning cartoon show with surprises and unexpected twists at ever turn,in other words the greatest adventure cartoon of its day. "Thundarr" was part science fiction,part superhero,and it got most of its material from the Star Wars films. Combinating great characters with an imaginative setting and incorporate designs from such great animation masters as Alex Toth and Jack Kirby(whom were also behind the designs for several Hanna-Barbera cartoons including "Jonny Quest","Space Ghost" and others),it was totally different from the usual Saturday Morning fare.
It also boasted some brilliant writing from comic book greats Steve Gerber and Martin Pesko,and some breathtaking direction from director/animated artist Doug Wildey,the creator of the "Jonny Quest" television series and one hellvua musical score from composer Dean Elliott,whom was behind a lot of theme-oriented Saturday Morning animated series and specials,and still is to this day. As for the story line,well Thundarr is the big dumb barbarian who punches first and asks questions later plus takes out the villains and supercreatures with his sunsword. Ookla is sort of the Chewbacca character here and is the leonine biped who growls and smashes things in his path. And Ariel is the Asian sorceress,who was the smartest in the group,could levitiate things at will and had a knowledge of wisdom and reason.
The world is a post-cataclysmic Earth where man's own civilization is cast in ruines with long dead cities and total devastation across the land. It is populated by humans,mutants, and evil sorcerers/scientists and villains with powers far beyond the imagination. It had some far-out creatures that were awesome as well. This show had it all...What's not to like about giants,savage beasts and monstrous war machines and gigantic spaceships from other worlds? This was a kid's show.
During the decade of the late 70's/early 80's cartoon adventure shows were pretty tame with the excess amount of violence added,which some of them were not to be seen especially with the strict guidelines from the censors whom made sure that these shows follow them. With some of the shows that were out back then.....The Superfriends had their moments until the producers changed the formula with the course of the show with The Challenge Of The Superfriends which was particularly good; Godzilla was a good show,but it was very tame with the giant lizard doing good and fighting the forces of evil,and the one where they had this knockout blonde whom the censors says it was too explicit,but it was tame too with a female Tarzan character...Remember Jana Of The Jungle? Even Filmation's Tarzan and Batman,not to mention here as well the He-Man shows were pretty entertaining as well;but when it came to delivering the goods,nothing could hold a candle to Thundarr. It Rocked!
Thanks to Cartoon Network's sister station,Boomerrang,you can watch these classic episodes everyday!!! It's too bad that nowadays they have The Superfriends shows out of DVD,but where is Thundarr The Barbarian??? This show was the standard of shows that came out during the late 70's/early 80's but Ruby-Spears Productions,whom would give us shows like "Turbo Teen","Goldie Gold and Action Jack","Mister T","Alvin And The Chipmunks",and the animated shows featuring Hulk Hogan,Chuck Norris, and even Sylvester Stallone's character "Rambo". Check it out!!!!
The year 1980, from out of the void of Saturday morning tv comes a runaway
show, hurtling between the Superfriends and the latest Scooby Doo revamp.
It's a show of savagery, super science, and sorcery. But this show burst
its bonds to fight for freedom. With his companions Ookla the Mok and
Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage and his fabulous Sun
against the forces of boring cartoons. He is Thundarr the
Thundarr was the greatest adventure cartoon of its day. Combining great characters with an imaginative setting and incorporating designs from such masters as Alex Toth and Jack Kirby, it transcended the usual Saturday morning fare. It boasted writing from comic book greats Steve Gerber and Martin Pasko, and direction from Doug Wildey, creator of Jonny Quest. The only strike against it was the strict guidelines from network censors tended to hamstring the action; but, the creators found interesting ways to deal with the handicap.
Thundarr is the big dumb barbarian who punches first and asks questions later. Ookla is the leonine biped who growls and smashes things. Ariel is the Asian sorceress with a knowledge of the lost past and is the voice of wisdom and reason.
The world is a post-cataclysmic Earth, with long dead cities and devastated lands. It is populated by humans, mutants and evil sorcerers/scientists. There are giant, savage beasts and monstrous war machines. What's not to like?
The late 70's/early 80's cartoon adventure shows were a pretty tame lot. The Superfriends had moments, particularly Challenge of the Superfriends, and Filmation's Tarzan and Batman shows were pretty entertaining; but nothing could hold a candle to Thundarr. It was so imaginative and so much fun you had to watch it. Sure it borrowed/stole from every sci-fi idea under the sun, but so did Star Wars and other works of print and celluloid sci-fi. There are no original stories; just retellings. Yes, the Sun Sword looked like a lightsabre and many of the villains conjured up Darth Vader, but Flash Gordon had flaming swords in the 30's and Vader bore close resemblance to the Lightning, from the serial Fighting Devil Dogs.
One of my great pleasures is watching the episodes on tape, along with Jonny Quest and Batman, the Animated series. All are great adventures, put together by master craftsmen. Too bad all cartoons, and even live shows, don't reach this level of quality. Now where's the DVD collection?
Ahh, another Saturday morning gem. I liked (and still like) cartoons from my childhood like this one because they never talked down to kids. This series was a post-apocalyptic sword-and-sorcery epic, and it was treated exactly as such. There was some great animation and the post-apocalyptic backgrounds were just amazing. And Thundarr had the ultimate weapon--a sunsword! I really like the fact that there were no cute sidekicks here. There was Ariel, the sorceress, who was the smartest in the bunch. And then there was Ookla the Mok, one of the most awesome sidekicks ever to fight for the cause of good. You just had to admire his "horse" as well! Cartoon Network aired this one for a while, and I wish they would air it again.
Honestly, one of my favorite saturday morning cartoon shows from the early 80's. This Kirby-spawn only lasted 2 seasons... perhaps because of the fact that Thundarr often referred to his ally the sorcereress Ariel as simply "woman"... oddly enough, more often than not Ariel was the sole member of the group who saved their buns from the fire. Lots of great dialog. Possibly inspired by the role-playing game "Gamma World" (which is, sadly now out of print)... Basically when you are 11 years old and a post-apocalyptic barbarian with a lightsaber (read as "Sun Sword") and a cool Chewbacca substitute named "Ookla the Mok" show up on a Saturday morning world of Smurfs and Superfriends you think this is really cool!
Thundarr was one of best cartoons that has ever been made. I had to clean up my room every Saturday morning before I could watch it but it was worth it. At 32,I try to let the kids experience the things I grew up with. And they love them.Thank you for the memories and please bring them back.Is there any way these cartoons like Thundarr and the Herculoids be brought back to TV? Can we start a petition to these rolling? I would love my son be opened up to these cartoons I loved so much.Some can teach lessons that can be valuable in life. Remember how conservative Ariel was? How she was so calm in a crisis and Thundarr was so gungho. The love I have for this cartoon is extreme. Thanks for listening.I thought this cartoon was lost to the hands of time.Sometimes I look at the things that is on today and wonder where in the world do they get this stuff. They could teach a thing or two about friendship because they would never leave one another behind and that is #1 rule of being a friend.
....even if it did borrow a lot of concepts from the popular Star
movies. Thundarr with his Sun Sword (lightsaber), wise cracking Princess
Ariel (Princess Leia) and a large hairy, growling companion, Ookla the Mok
All these aside, it was still a great series. I liked how the items that are so common in our world, become totally new things in the Devastated Future World. It was also kind of interesting to see the new landscapes and realize that they were actually standing in ruined Los Angeles, Washington D.C., etc.
It was somewhat hampered by the cheap animation common to Cartoon Series of the day. I would love to see the series re-made with today's animation techniques. I'm sure it would be even more astonishing.
Fantasy and sci-fi have always been my favorite genres, part of the
reason is because both are always about possibilities and believing
that the impossible could be possible. When combined together the
possibilities are just endless.
This is one of my favorite animated shows of all time, and it's another childhood relic since I was a kid from the 80's; when I saw this show it just blew my mind and still does to this day.
The combination of the post apocalyptic sub genre and fantasy I think is a beautiful combination and it's one I honestly don't see much. The only other ones I can think of are the movie Ralph Bashi's "Wizards" and the pulp comic book series "Mighty Sampson" which may have been a partial influence to this cartoon due to the uncanny similarity.
The characters their not deep their simply there to serve their functions. But lets face it were all in this for the adventure and action and this show delivers well on both.
I really love the animation, sure it old but sometimes old fashioned can still be the best way to go and it has a retro charm for me. The character animation is good but it's really the background animation that impresses me the most.
It's a bit unnerving seeing how much of our world is in ruin because it also means a lot of culture that we thought would survive forever hasn't. For example, in one episode Thundarr sees a movie poster of "Star Wars" and Thundarr has no idea what the heck it is, let alone what a movie even is. It was a little disturbing but that little moment just shows how the things we take for granted once their gone their gone forever, which made me treasure things I love like "Star Wars" all the more.
However at the same time despite the ruin it also means new possibilities have opened up like with the film Ralph Bachi's "Wizards" we see there is magic back in our world along with some advanced technology which is scarce but still around all the same. These things just created a sense of broadness and made me wonder what more this world holds.
And the action is great and choreographed solid. I really like seeing the team just go on adventures and kick some asses that deserved to be kicked. They have to deal with Sourcerers, Evil Mad Scientiest, Robots, Monsters, Mutants, Faciests, Aliens, just a corn a coppia of bad which just makes it all the more tasty. Of course the highlight of the action is that Sun Sword which is obvious a rip on the light saber but all the same awesome, just seeing Thundarr using it to cut all things like butter and even block lazer bolts, you were almost indestructible with that sword. Along with seeing both Thundarr and even the Chewbaca like character Oo Loc both use their brute strength and force and Arial with her mystic powers which is also cool.
I would love to see a revival, where may'be we can have a little more depth on the characters as well as a developing plot line concerning on of the villains. As well as may'be even more depth into the ruined world, where it could take place further in the future and we would see what kind of technological advancements were made which could advance the plight of the villains but also question whether we were already on a way to ruin. Let alone an explanation where Thundarr got his sun sword, may'be he stumbled onto some ancient ruins and this was a mystical object from their society, I don't know something along those lines, but all the same the idea should be considered.
Overall, if you have a knack for retro toons then this show is one to check out, this series has plenty of thunder.
Rating: 4 stars
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