Quick, what character would you pick for wholesome entertainment aimed at the 8 – 11 year old market?
If you said Rambo, you’re not the only one. And I worry about you.
Picture the scene: 8 year old Judy is in the Blockbuster Video with her mom, and sees First Blood on the shelf. “Mom, I want that one! He’s the hero from my cartoon!”
This was a very bad idea.
The success of G.I. Joe, however, had proven that patriotic action cartoons could reap massive financial rewards. Studios like money, and a slew of tough-guy cartoons made it to production. Some, like the Mr. T. cartoon, came from comparatively safe sources; it’s hard to argue that The A-Team, although an action/adventure show, was particularly brutal. Rambo, on the other hand…
It lasted only one season… but one season was 65 episodes.
Oh, and if you’re thinking that the studios learned their lesson from this mistake, you’re incorrect. When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles struck it big a few years later, cartoon projects featuring all sorts of other independent comic stars were greenlit. There was The Tick, there was Sam & Max: Freelance Police, and there was one other that almost made it to the screen: Milk and Cheese, Dairy Products Gone Bad.
The only reason that didn’t see screen time was that the creator, Evan Dorkin, turned down a large check. Not because he wanted his creation to somehow remain unsullied by success, but because he thought that making a kid’s cartoon out of a couple of gin-swilling characters who regularly torture and murder people who anger them – including innocent children – was an abominable idea.
Question of the night: What was one of your favorite cartoons as a kid?