Wednesday, December 11, 2013

King Koopa's Kool Kartoon Klub for Kkids!

One of the things about The Simpsons that has always seemed anachronistic to me is Krusty the Clown. Bart and Lisa being kids born in the early 80s, they shouldn't be watching a live-action Bozo the Clown type, and it's all the more so now that Bart and Lisa are kids born in the early 2000s. I didn't grow up watching any Bozo facsimile every weekday afternoon. My cartoons just introduced themselves. In fact, I think I wouldn't have liked a non-animated presence in these children's programming blocks. (No, shut up -- it's perfectly normal and healthy for children to relate more to anthropomorphic cartoons than it is to other humans.) But apparently this wasn't the case for all kids my age, and some of us actually had regional kids shows.

via retrojunk
Like the ones who got King Koopa's Kool Kartoons.


Yep, King Koopa -- that is, not Bowser but his hairless DIC-universe alterego -- hosted a half-hour live show as a spin-off to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, which also featured live action intros to the cartoons. But while Super Show had Captain Lou Albano (R.I.P.) and Danny Wells (R.I.P.) introducing licensed Nintendo-themed cartoons, Kool Kartoons had Koopa (Cobra Commander voice actor Chris Latta, also R.I.P.) pushing public domain animated shorts, which must have seemed neither kool nor cool by comparison. According to Wikipedia, the show aired only during the 1989 holiday season in the greater Los Angeles area on KTTV Fox 11, though that was enough to earn it a local Emmy nomination. (I hope the nom was for excellence in terrorizing sensitive children via grotesque masks)

Apparently the kids in the audience got to take the T-shirts home with them, but they had to turn in the Koopa Troopa helmets after taping completed, which makes me wonder if any of them are still floating around in L.A. A Google search, alas, has turned up nothing. I'd imagine that most thrift stores that actually had these weird, flesh-colored turtle helmets sitting around wouldn't even know what the hell they were supposed to be.

 At least one kid from Whittier got a Power Glove out of it, though. That's something.


I mean, someone should have gotten something out of this -- you know, aside from nightmares about a real-life malformed Koopa forcing you to watch public domain cartoons.

Discussion question: Should 1989 be far enough along, culturally speaking, that people should know that switching out the letter "C" for the letter "K," especially in alliteration, has some nasty associations?

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:41 PM

    I'm younger than you and I got Bozo (I think; I at least attended a game show emceed by him, but I don't think it was televised), but I grew up in Great Lakes region.

    I've also long suspected that he was named after the Algonquian folk trickster-god Manabhozo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manabozo), though I've nothing substantiate it aside from general region and the fact they're both clowns. But, if true, I think it's neat that a piece of precolonial culture had such an impact on modern America (albeit one that's on the fast track of obscurity).

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  2. As someone from Ohio, I got to see a lot of Bozo, since his most popular incarnation was based in Chicago. I don't really remember if he introduced cartoons, though. I mostly remember his live action skits and the ball in cup game for prizes.

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