Welcome to “Right in the Childhood.” A new column reviewing all things retro. The first subject is the 1980s cartoon series Thundarr the Barbarian. It was suggested to me and I was skeptical on whether I would like it or not, at first. I will warn you this is FULL of spoilers if that sort of thing matters to you. If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop right now and order the DVD set on Amazon like I did.
According to the intro… The year 1994, from out of space comes a run-away planet, hurtling between the earth and moon! This causes destruction to Earth and the climate. Somehow, this also splits the moon in half.
Now, I’m not sure on whether this is possible or what exactly would happen in said scenario. Unfortunately Neil DeGrasse Tyson isn’t returning my calls, so…we will just have to suspend disbelief.
Then, according to the intro, 2000 years later, a strange new world rises with “savagery,” “super science,” and “sorcery.” Rising from his chains is Thundarr the Barbarian and his “sun sword.” (lightsaber).
The announcer on this intro is freaking epic. Check it out as it on the YouTubes:
Thundarr is joined by Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel. Ookla is basically Chewbacca. He yells in giberrish and has crazy strength, yet everyone understands what him. Princess Ariel is a sorceress and basically the only character that behaves rationally and logically. The source of her sorcery or anything of that sort isn’t really explained in the first episode, but we will keep plunging along.
The Curse of the Black Pearl Beginning
The first episode does not mess around. TV shows and even kids shows these days take like 3 episodes to set up a concept and introduce all of the mainstay characters. Back in the day, they just jumped right in, which is fairly refreshing.
An old man passes on a magical black pearl (not to be confused with Pirates of the Carribean) that will help save the humans. Not much about it is explained. However, this is the 1980s, our heroes don’t need explanations. 1980s heroes are like immigrants…they get it done.
Then some Rat-Men come riding on motorcycles to try to intercept the Black Pearl. Princess Ariel, aka the reasonable person in this show, tries to reason with Thundarr that it might be best to fight another day.
Thundarr exclaims “There’s only 50 of them.” HELL YEAH! Now that is what I like to hear in my heroes. This was basically Thundarr…
Best One Liner
Unfortunately, they split up searching the subway tunnels of “Manhat.” (New York City) At one point, Gemini tries to cast a spell on Thundarr… but it doesn’t work. See the whole scene below…
My favorite line, the enemy Gemini tries to use a spell on Thundarr and it has no effect because he holds the Pearl. Then Gemini threatens him to give him the pearl.
Thundarr says “Or what? Your spell will fail again. Try to destroy me… if you can!”
Aww damn, Thundarr completely roasted Gemini in that exchange.
When Thundarr Gets Amazing
The best part is easily in the climax of the episode. Thundarr refuses to give Gemini the black pearl. So the baddy uses a spell to bring the freaking Statue of Liberty to life to battle Thundarr and the gang. HELL YEAH!
Our hero decides to use the Black Pearl to defeat the Statue of Liberty and Gemini. Yay! However, Thundarr is understandably upset with how he had to win. He had to destroy the mysterious black pearl in the process, possibly dooming the human race from ever recovering.
Our old man from earlier is all like “Nah, it is ok, bro.”
Thundarr is like “Phew! That makes me feel better.”
Thus concludes Episode 1.
I loved this. Yes, it is a very silly show. However, they just don’t make cartoons like this anymore. Saturday mornings back in the 70s and 80s were the golden age. There is so much I am unfamiliar with. Some of it great (like this), and some of it is going to leave me speechless (Jabberjaw review coming soon). However, I think this is going to be a fun for all of us.
That is the first edition of Right in the Childhood. I will cover Episode 2 of Thundarr soon (plan to do all 16 episodes) plus other series. Switching off. Got any suggestions for any entertainment be it TV, Movies, Music, Games, etc from your childhood? Let us know in comments or on social media! In the meantime, check out these comic book covers that give you a spit take.