Kids Cartoons Inspired By Geek TV Shows & Movies. Part 1.

Geek Dave looks back to some classic kids cartoons that were inspired by geek TV shows and movies.

After compiling the article on kids cartoons inspired by inappropriate adult movies, and it got me thinking back to some of the geek themed TV shows and movies that received animated spin-offs. It's actually surprising just how many there are, but I'm going to concentrate on the ones I remember watching as a kid, so here is part 1 of my geeky collection of childhood memories...

Star Trek
Their 5 year voyage may have been cut short by 2 years when the original series was cancelled in 1969 but success in US syndication meant that more Star Trek was ordered, albeit in an animated form. So in 1972 Star Trek: The Animated Series began with the broadcast of the first of it's 22 episodes.

The Animated Series was my first introduction to Star Trek, I still have fond memories of it (I wrote an article about it here). All the original actors voiced their respective characters, except Walter Koenig. Chekov was replaced by a new female character, and occasionally by an alien with 3 arms and 3 legs. It was actually a pretty decent series with lots of references to the original show and the first appearance of the holodeck, 15 years before it was common place on Star Trek: TNG.

Planet Of The Apes
The original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie was so successful that it spawned quite a legacy. After five movies there was a live action TV spin-off, then came this animated version. Just called Planet Of The Apes, but often referred to as Return To The Planet of the Apes, only 13 episodes of this series were ever produced which were originally broadcast in 1975. They were the last new Apes material (outside of comics and print) until Tim Burton's God awful re-imagining in 2001.

I have no idea what is going on here but it feels like we're invading one of Godzilla's private moments!

Up from the depths, 30 stories high, breathes fire, his head in the sky....
Tell me that as a kid you didn't like Godzooky? I don't believe you!!!

Yes now, it's a bit naff and we see how it kinda spoiled the Japanese towering icon but back in the day the adventures of a fire breathing, laser eyed Godzilla and his little cousin were essential viewing. The series started production in 1978 and ran for 26 episodes, frequently repeated during kids TV in the 80s. Apparently there was another version in the late 90s, but I've never seen that - no Godzooky in it!

Fonz And The Happy Days Gang
And they said the TV series 'jumped the shark'!.
Featuring the voices of Henry Winkler as The Fonz, Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham, and Donny Most as Ralph Malph. Fonz and the Happy Days Gang turned the 1950s themed sit-com into a science fiction, time traveling cartoon. 24 episodes of the show were produced and broadcast in 1980/81.

Along with a dog called Mr. Cool and a girl from the future called Cupcake, the Happy Days gang traveled through time. Their adventures saw them go back in time to 1,000,000 BC and forward to a Star Wars themed future, all the time trying to get back to Milwaukee 1957.

It was kinda like an early Back To The Future. Kinda.

Inspector Gadget
Arguably one of the catchiest cartoon theme tunes of it's era. With his go-go-gadget legs and helicopter hat, what was not to love about Inspector Gadget?

Interestingly, Inspector Gadget was actually a parody of a parody! It was based on Get Smart, a 1960s spoof on the popular spy-fi genre (depending on your age you may, like me, remember Get Smart when it was re-run at tea time on Channel 4 in the 80s. After school I'd settle down to some 'toons on BBC1 or ITV, switch of to C4 for Countdown and then Get Smart, then to BBC2 for Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers or Monkey - ahhh, memories of simpler days). Don Adams provided the voice for my favourite Inspector (outside of Clouseau that is) and he was also Maxwell Smart, the star Get Smart. 

Debuting in 1983, the show lasted 86 episodes. All of them infinitely more enjoyable than the God awful Matthew Broderick version from 1999.

It's the 30th Anniversary of Ghostbusters this year. 30 years have passed, how did that happen? Anyway, after the phenomenal success of the movie (of which you can read 10 bits of trivia about here) a cartoon version was quite likely to happen, and in 1986 The Real Ghostbusters began. None of the cast provided the character voices, but it did feature a young Arsenio Hall as Winston Zeddemore.

It was titled The Real Ghostbusters to avoid confusion, and expensive legal action! The movie previously had to licence the rights to the name because there had already been a completely unrelated live action TV show called Ghost Busters in the 70s. In 1985 Filmation rushed an animated version of that TV show into production, basically to cash in on the success of the film.

Not The Real Ghostbusters

That Filmation series lasted 65 episodes, 82 less than The Real Ghostbusters!

Back To The Future
Set after the trilogy (Trivia on Part I here, and Parts II & III here) and broadcast in 1991/2, the cartoon adventures of Back To The Future lasted 26 episodes and featured the voices of many of the original cast, the most noticeable exception being Michael J Fox.

Christopher Lloyd reprised his role of Doc Brown in the live action sequences which featured in the show, but in the animated sections Doc Brown was voiced by Homer himself, Dan Castellaneta...

In the live action segments Doc Brown was assisted by one Bill Nye. It was his appearances on this show that led on to him getting his own series, Bill Nye The Science Guy. So now you know!

I've got another collection of classic kids cartoons inspired by geek TV shows and movies coming up next Thursday, but before then, did you watch any of these shows? 

Follow Geek Dave on Twitter
Warped Factor
Daily features, news and reviews from the world of geek!