December 29, 2012

Pole Position, episode 2 "The Canine Vanishes"

At the stunt track, Tess, Daisy, and Kuma are getting tired of waiting for Dan to join them for breakfast, because he's been busy practicing a new routine all morning and wants to run it one more time. He almost splats into a brick wall, but opens his break chutes in time. Dr. Zachary calls, with a mission to protect Dr. Michael Hastings in his lab in the everglades. When they arrive, they find the lab ablaze with Dr. Hastings inside. They crash through the wall in Wheels, saving the professor and his beloved dog, Pandora.

December 22, 2012

Pole Position, episode 1 "The Code"

The crowd roars at a racetrack set up for a stunt show by sibling drivers Dan and Tess Darrett, and their artificially intelligent cars Roadie and Wheels. Watching from the stands are their spunky young cousin Daisy and her pet... something, Kuma. Also is the crowd is a bland guy in a suit, the studly Greg Dumont, who shares a meaningful nod with another bland guy in a suit, the sinister Vance.

December 19, 2012

Our next Showcase will be... Pole Position!


As a kid, there were few things I enjoyed more than to be wrapped in the ambient cacophony of a video arcade going full tilt. For me, the arcade was like a portal to a hundred worlds where adventure was just a quarter away. And it wasn’t just me. Video games went mainstream in the early 80s, and soon they were a part of our pop culture fabric. From top-40 hits like Buckner and Garcia’s “Pac-Man Fever” to R-rated movies like Joysticks, adults as well as kids got swept up in the hysteria.

Obviously, the networks wanted to cash in on the phenomenon, and it wasn’t long before you could follow the adventures of your favorite video game heroes every Saturday morning on your TV. Naturally, there was a Pac-Man cartoon, as well as The Saturday Supercade, which was comprised of animated segments that featured such popular characters as Frogger, Q*Bert, and Pitfall Harry. Given that few of these video games actually had much of a storyline, the people behind the cartoons had to fill in a lot of blanks. And that brings us to our next Showcase: Pole Position.

For those of you too young to remember - which, sadly, is most of you - Pole Position was a racing game where you controlled a Formula-1 style car in a series of qualifying runs and races. It was one of the more popular games of its era, particularly the cockpit version, which allowed the player to sit down and featured a gearshift, accelerator, and brake pedal. The high octane world of Formula 1 racing would seem to be the perfect backdrop for a cartoon, so of course the producers chose to ignore that and create something totally unrelated.

I watched Pole Position religiously during its original run, but the only thing I remember about it is its absurdly catchy theme song. Even in the cartoon theme halcyon days of the 80s, it was a standout. The rest was a blur until I re-watched the opening a few minutes ago. Kids, talking cars. Yeah, yeah, I remember now. But what is behind their stunt show? Let’s find out together.


Way back when Tony and I began our pen pal buddyship (it's going on 5-6 years by now, isn't it Tony?), one of the first ways we got to know one another was by exchanging our favorite cartoon openings from the 80s (mostly old Tony) and 90s (mostly young me). One that stuck with me was the intro for Pole Position, a show I'd never seen, loosely "based on" a plotless Atari racing game I'd never played.

The song is a rocking number of simple lyrics produced to perfection, and would be perfectly at home on an album alongside other classic Haim Saban and Shuki Levy hits like M.A.S.K. and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. It's not quite as catchy as those two, but it's got a strong Euro rock beat and a great soar to the chorus. Shame they stuck some crapy dialogue over it instead of just letting the song play, but oh well.

The visuals are just as bright and and catchy, showing off the strong designs and instantly distinctive cast typical of a show by DiC co-founder Jean Chalopin. You have a brother and sister of around the same age, equally matched with suped up racing cars that come complete with 8-bit smiley faced A.I. computers and limited transformational abilities. Well, I say equal, but the woman is given a back seat so she can be the one to cart around a hyperactive little girl in pigtails and some kind of cat/monkey/squirrel hybrid creature, the two of which are likely the comic relief. Chalopin casts usually have an older mentor figure, and we briefly glimpse him here as a stuffy looking guy in a pencil moustache and grey suit, who contacts the kids on a monitor to remind them of who they are for our benefit, and reveals they're following in the footsteps of their parents, the tragic or mysterious absence of whom will likely come up during things.

It's all a wonderful bag of candy, complete with the woman's hair magically poofing out into a perfect 80s do when she removes her helmet (safety first, kids!), but what the opening lacks is any form of opposition. It tells us who our leads are, but not who they'll be fighting and/or racing against with each episode. Those characters are usually just as colorful an element as the heroes in a Chalopin show, so their absence is surprising.

This is the first time I've watch the end credits for the series, just to get a sense of who's involved, and a couple names jumped out at me. The first is Michael Reaves, the show's head writer and co-developer. Reaves is a legend in my book, one of the best of the 80s/early 90s Saturday morning cartoon writers, with freelance credits on half the shows out there, who made a name for himself as story editor of the first few seasons of Batman: The Animated Series and as producer and co-creator of Disney's Gargoyles. As a fan of his tv work and novels (often co-written with Steve Perry, another ace writer of the era), his name alone is enough to instantly shoot up my interest in a show.

The second name is Shinji Aramaki, a massive name in anime fandom for his mech designs on shows like Bubblegum Crisis, Gasaraki, Megazone 23, Genesis Climber Mospeda (released over here as the "New Generation" section of Robotech), Wolf's Rain, and Madox-01, the last of which he also wrote and directed. In recent years, he's continued making a name for himself as the overall designer of Fullmetal Alchemist and as a pioneer in the field of Japanese CG animation with his design and direction of both blockbuster Appleseed movies, and the recently released internation co-production Starship Troopers: Invasion. Which was written by none other than our blog's figure of worship, Mister Flint Dille!

So with Aramaki on the vehicle designs, Reaves supervising the scripts, Saban/Levy dancing those keyboard keys, and Jean Chalopin keeping it all colorful and fun, I'm absolutely eager to give this show a try and figure out why it only stuck around for 13 installments before veering down Short-Lived road.

Tune in this Saturday as we race towards our first Pole Position with "The Code".

If you'd like to watch along with us, the complete series of Pole Position is available on DVD through Amazon or other online retailers.

December 15, 2012

Quark, final thoughts...


Earlier this year, Buck Henry sat down for an interview with the website TV Time Machine, where he had this to say about Quark:

Did the show fulfill your vision?

Not remotely. But that's partially my fault. We made the pilot. We could have made it a little better, but we made the pilot and the network didn't say whether they wanted to go ahead for a very long time - months - during which time, I got the offer to go and work with [Warren] Beatty on Heaven Can Wait. And I couldn't turn that one down, so I went away. They started doing the show almost immediately when I went, and I left a number of wishes. Not instructions, because you can't instruct talent, but I wanted them to not lapse into parody. I wanted it to be satire.

December 8, 2012

Quark, episode 8 "Vanessa 38-24-36"

At Perma One, everybody is buzzed with good cheer, stringing up decorations and buying presents for Holiday Number Eleven. Palindrome is especially chipper, reassuring Quark that he's got a tasty gig lined up for the Commander. Quark joins two other Commanders for an assignment briefing with the Head - the first finally gets a weekend with his wife, whom he was in the middle of marrying before being sent on a two year mission; the second is put in command of a brand new, top-of-the line starship - and eagerly waits to hear what his mission will be, but all he's told is he'll be the subject of a new experiment. Which has him stewing over the last few experiments he's been the subject of.

December 1, 2012

Quark, episode 7 "All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms, Part 2"

We left off with the Betties locked in a room where the walls are closing in, Ficus strapped to a table with a laser about to bisect him, Gene/Jean handcuffed to Andy and disguised as a scientist dragged into a hall to give a lecture on It, and Quark gaping in horror as he learns he's just handed massive cosmic power to the dreaded Zorgon the Malevolent.

November 24, 2012

We'll be back, after these leftovers.

With all the people in and out of town for the holidays, we're taking this weekend off from the Showcase. We'll be back next week. Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone. :)

November 17, 2012

Quark, episode 6 "All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms, Part 1"

While relaxing on his ship between assignments, Quark is contacted by The Head, who tells him about the starship Belcrow, which has spent the last 27 years travelling to our system to form an alliance with the United Galaxy. Quark, as a good-will gesture, is tasked with removing their 27 years worth of garbage. Quark and crew deflatedly set about their task, despite Gene/Jean again voicing hir longing for some heads to break.

November 10, 2012

Quark, episode 5 "Goodbye, Polumbus"

Before getting into this week's post, we want to say a big thank you to Christopher Mills, who wrote a nice recommendation for our site on his blog Space: 1970, a marvelous collection of 70s science fiction pop culture and nostalgia, which also happens to be where Noel first learned about the series Quark. Alongside this blog, Christopher is a short story and comic book writer (Noel treasures his complete collection of Tekno Comix, for which Mills was an editor alongside writing some great issues of Primortals) and reviews many a film and television show - and the occasional serial - at DVD Late Show.

On Perma One, The Head is holding his usual assignment briefing for Commanders. Commander Walker, a stubby little asshole of a robot, is to be a representative at an ambrosia tasting festival. Commander Freddy Estrow, a slowly shrinking giant alien Quark used to babysit, is sent on a five-day mission to explore strange new worlds and seek out new civilizations. Commander Quark is told to go to the planet Polumbus and figure out why nobody has ever returned from there alive. Quark panics over the suicide mission, well aware that it's already lost the Confederation eight previous commanders, but Palindrome won't back down and lays the salesman shtick on thick.

November 3, 2012

Quark, episode 4 "The Good, the Bad, and the Ficus"

At Perma One, Quark is honored to be introduced to Commander Kroll, who just defeated a Bloaton Brigade, and Commander Stark, who just stole the Gorgon defense plan. When both learn Quark is in charge of garbage collection, they're quick to turn their nose up at him. Getting assignments from The Head, Kroll and Stark are given heroic assignments. Quark is sent after more garbage.

October 27, 2012

Quark, episode 3 "The Old and the Beautiful"

Three Commanders are again assembled in Palindrome's office to receive missions from The Head. Commander Haley, a looming alien, is sent on a 30 year mission to a distant planet. Commander Black, a smokin' hot blonde, is sent to personally disarm a batch of Gorgon explosives. Commander Quark is all set for another trash pickup, but he's instead tasked with an extended romantic interlude with a beautiful princess. Both Haley and Black are pissed at their assignments, but Quark is thrilled, even moreso when he learns he's in line for a promotion if the romantic interlude goes well.

October 20, 2012

Quark, episode 2 "May the Source Be With You"

At Space Station Perma One, Palindrome is in the midst of a frantic evacuation of all personnel. When three Commanders arrive, he steers them towards the communications room where The Head reveals the Gorgons, the long-standing arch-nemesis of the cosmos, have developed a new weapon of immense and unmatchable powers. The first Commander is told to evacuate all scientists. The second, to evacuate the top secret files. The third, Commander Quark, is tasked with hunting down the Gorgon doomsday ship and destroying it, even at the cost of his own life. Needless to say, Quark has his doubts. All of which are ignored by Palindrome as he gives Quark a metal orb to complete his task, which holds the galaxy's greatest weapon: The Source.

October 13, 2012

Quark, episode 1

April 2. 10:17 Galaxy Time. Two vessels drift among the stars. The one in the rear is captained by Adam Quark, a steadfast and sure captain who deftly maneuvers his craft just behind the other. As a countdown starts, the ship in the front craps out a massive bag of garbage, and Captain Quark opens the mouth of his craft to gobble the trash up. Mission completed, he has the ship perform an about face and we see printed on its side United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol.

October 10, 2012

Our next Showcase will be... Quark!


So we're planning out our next few showcases, and Noel suggests Quark. Immediately, I'm thinking the guy from that one Star Trek spin-off must've gotten his own spin-off. "Great. I'm going to spend the next two months following the adventures of an intergalactic bartender." - which could actually be fun if they did it in the spirit of the classic Tom Cruise film Cocktail "Bode's, Omega, ooh, I wanna take ya. Centaurus, Andromeda, come on pretty mama..." Turns out (much to my relief) Quark is actually a sci-fi themed comedy series from the late 70s starring Richard Benjamin (last seen on the back of a carton of milk, I believe).

October 7, 2012

Bigfoot, Robotix, and Robo Force - The Toylines


In this week’s Showcase, I’m going to take a look at the toylines and merchandising associated with our three special “Sunday Showcases”.

Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines

Of the three “bonus” animated shows we covered, only Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines wasn’t based on a toy line. Because of this, there really wasn’t much, if any, merchandise directly related to the cartoon. Sadly, that means no Yank Justice action figure and no Muscle Machines for him to drive. Had the series been picked up, you can bet your allowance that there would’ve been a proper toy line, along with lunchboxes, t-shirts, and perhaps a Yank Justice spoken word album titled “There ain’t nothin’ ‘dumb’ about ‘freedom’.” As it stands, the Bigfoot merchandise we did get - and we got a lot - is based on the actual car smashin’ monster truck itself.

September 30, 2012

The Robotix Comic

This piece was also going to feature a piece by Tony covering the toylines for the three shows covered as part of our special Sunday series, but he's on vacation this week, so I told him to relax and save that section for next week. As for the comics, Robotix was the only series to get a full issue, and it's only a one-shot. There was nothing for Bigfoot, and Robo Force had a number of mini-comics packaged with the toys. You can learn about them at the blog RoboPlastic Apocalypse.

September 23, 2012

Bonus Review: Robo Force, episode 1 "The Revenge of Nazgar"

Before we bring our Super Sunday tribute to a close, we thought we'd sneak in one last treat. No, Robo Force was not a part of Super Sunday, nor was it even a Sunbow production, but it's a one-shot pilot episode written by Flint Dille, and since we've already covered the rest of his work which is applicable to this blog's format, we decided this would be a good send off for the entertainment he's inspired us to write about. Mr. Dille, thank you for the wild inventiveness that is you!

It's night. Shadowy, armed figures tailed by bulky robots are sneaking through foliage towards a home on the outskirts of the opulent, futuristic city of Celestia. In a laboratory inside the home, a professor named Dr. Fury is working on the speech program of Coptor, a propellered robot of his construction. Hearing a noise, they turn as the door is smashed in. The shadowy figures pour in, then are passed by the group of menacing robots, Hun-Dred at their lead. They've come for Fury. Coptor tries to fight them off, but he's overpowered and fried. When the voice of Fury's young son, Mark, calls from upstairs, Hun-Dred makes a threat against the child. When the boy enters the lab, no one is there. A ship takes off just over the hill, and Mark again calls out for his father.

Cut to ten years later.

September 15, 2012

No post this weekend...

Noel's on vacation in Illinois this weekend and we weren't able to get the Special Bonus Surprise post ready before then, so we'll hold off on it until next week. Sorry for the delay, but we hope the post will be entertaining enough to be worth the wait. :)

September 9, 2012

Robotix, chapters 13-15

Chapter 13: All For One

The giant wolf-like creatures are bearing down on the humans. They call out for help, but even Boltar is weak on energy by this point. Kanawk shoves Exeter towards the wolves, which Exeter decides to run with as he hops on the back of one and digs his fingers into its mane. Tauron leaps on, too, and together they use the wolf to leap out of their pit. Tauron frees the other humans and gives them crystal, which they use to power up and interface with the first Robotix they each reach. Exeter grabs a crystal and swings down to Jerrok, who's still hanging over the lava pit. He powers up and interfaces with the Protecton, who's now able to save himself and fend off the rock creatures while Exeter rallies with the others.

September 2, 2012

Robotix, chapters 10-12

Chapter 10: The Factory of Death

The Protectons manage to escape the conveyor belt leading to the furnace through Bront configuring into a ladder, but they end up on a factory floor with the Terrakors at the controls. Giant bulldozer bots roll in, separating the Protectons and driving each to either a press, or a smelting roller, or a pit compressor in the ground, or units that start taking them apart. Overrun, Argus signals Compucore.

August 26, 2012

Robotix, chapters 7-9

Chapter 7: Captured

The Terrakors leave the razed oasis, content that the Protectons and their humans died in the inferno. In actuality, they safely submerged themselves in the river, but the heat from the flames is causing even that to boil. They gather as much seaweed as they can as a likely food source, then burrow their way out to safety. When they realize they're unable to contact Argus, Bront takes on a vehicular configuration and races to investigate.

August 19, 2012

Robotix, chapters 4-6

Chapter 4: A Spy is Born

Nemesis catches Kanawk in midair. He figures these humans might be of some use after all. They head to the mountain vault where Nemesis burrows a scope into the ground and spies on the Protectons as, hoping to tip the odds further in the favor of good, they use whatever spare parts are left to assemble another Robotix. Compucore imbues it with the essence of Kontor, a famed architect and friend of Argus. While the new Protecton is still coming to his senses, the scope is observes and the others interface with human counterparts and race to the surface. They're ambushed by two of the Terrakors, whose humans augment them to new battle-ready configurations.

August 18, 2012

Robotix, chapters 1-3

We're sorry for taking a couple weekends off unannounced. Personal stuff came up that needed to be dealt with. But we're back, and thanking you all for your patience with a special double-post weekend, with this piece going up today and another installment appearing tomorrow. Enjoy!

Chapter 1: Battle of the Titans

Two ships streak into the upper atmosphere of a dead planet, passing over a ruined, ancient city. One ship is massive and black, unleashing a barrage of laser fire on the smaller underdog vessel piloted by the dashing Exeter. With him on the bridge are Tauron, a bearded and wise mentor figure, Zarru, the token annoying kid, and Kanawk, the constantly sneering voice of dissent.

July 30, 2012

Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines, chapters 7-9

Chapter 7

Barbarian comes to a stop at the edge of the pit, at the bottom of which lies a defeated Bigfoot, pierced all the way through by multiple spikes. The limo driver climbs down to retrieve the map, but all he gets is Yank's fist. The ensuing fight isn't exactly in Yank's favor as the limo driver has about a foot of hard muscle on the other man, so Sandra ends things by wedging the gas pedal of Barbarian and sending it racing through the woods, the limo driver in angry pursuit.

July 22, 2012

Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines, chapters 4-6

Chapter 4

Bigfoot is on the loosing end of his tug-of-war duel against the cheating Graveroller and is slowly being dragged toward the pit of bubbling acid. Yank kicks Bigfoot in reverse, having just enough room to slacken the chain and douse it in the acid. It snaps and Graveroller races out of the arena, Bigfoot right on his tail. A chase follows them through the neon streets of Vegas and even into a casino, where they pulp slot machines and chase showgirls off a stage.

July 15, 2012

Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines, chapters 1-3

Chapter 1

A woman bursts out the front door of a fancy mansion in the south, running, with a rolled up map in her hand. A trio of bikers appears and surrounds her. She escapes by tricking them into crashing into a fountain. The lead biker tells the others, "Nail her before she gets to the stadium!"

July 14, 2012

The Super Saturday Short-Lived Showcase Bonus Series: Super Sunday!

As we mentioned in our introduction to Inhumanoids, the five episode pilot of that series was actually comprised of 15 seven minute shorts that aired on an anthology show initially titled Super Week, then changed to Super Sunday (Super Saturday in some markets) the following weekend. Alongside Inhumanoids, the only other series of shorts to expand into an ongoing series was the now truly outrageous cult classic Jem and the Holograms. Since Jem went on too long to qualify for this blog as a Short-Lived series, we've decided to look at the remaining pair of Super Sunday offerings which weren't able to find a life beyond their initial shorts.

Starting tomorrow, we'll be looking at Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines, yet another tale written by Inhumanoids and Visionaries mastermind Flint Dille, with its nine segments spread across three weekly installments.

Then we're onto Robotix, the 15 chapters of which we'll cover in five posts.

After that, we'll wrap things up with a final surprise before moving back to our traditional Saturday schedule. Hope you all join along and enjoy the ride!

July 7, 2012

Our Final Thoughts on Inhumanoids


There's something about this odd little monkey of a show that I just can't help but love. It started out as absolute dreck, with awful designs, a flat concept, lousy animation, an indistinct vocal cast, and monsters that shriek and shriek and shriek. But instead of making it into a good show, they kicked this messy mess of a mess until it became a funny show, a gonzo show, a glorious tribute to just how awful it can be as it revels in every little bizarre notion that pops up in the creators' heads.

Where else would you have a show where the giant monster makes out with the Statue of Liberty, kidnaps her, then brings her to life as the nagging wife he never wanted, who wants him to cast aside his henchgoons and nefarious apocalyptic plots so he can do important things like shed some weight off his gut and make her a hottub. Where else would you have a young boy join a cult that turns him into a zombie, which allows him to finally get revenge on the brutal nerds of the Centerville Debate Team and finally ask out the girl he's been pining for. Where else would the most distinct member of the heroic team have his primary distinction be that he hurls his shoe through television sets that are the bearers of bad tidings, a joke that escalates to the point where the rest of the heroes permanently erect a net in front of their tv. Where else would you have a gorgeous movie star rolling her eyes as she operate the controls of a massive puppet being poorly hit on by a horny moron made out of plant tentacles. Where else would Hector Ramirez, a one-off Geraldo Rivera parody who made brief appearances in three past Sunbow properties, be so prominently featured and essential to several plots as to be worthy of the role of recurring guest star.

June 30, 2012

Inhumanoids: The Comic Books


In January of 1987, one month after the final episode of Inhumanoids aired, Marvel's Star Comics imprint started to release - as they did for every other Hasbro property they licensed/co-created - a comic book series. I don't know if the show had officially been cancelled by this point, or if they were hoping to keep the property alive in print, but the book lasted for four bi-monthly issues, ending in July of that year.

June 23, 2012

Inhumanoids: The Action Figures


Let’s face it, D’Compose and his grotesque cronies aren’t exactly your prototypical pitchmen, so it should come as no surprise that my research into Inhumanoids merchandising turned up little beyond the requisite toy line. In fact, the only non-toy I was able to find was a nifty looking coloring book. It’s hard to blame companies for not lining up to splash images of hideous mutants and heroes whose faces are obscured by masks on their products. Can you imagine hearing an announcer say "D’Compose-e-o’s are a part of this balanced breakfast!"? They were, however, very toyetic, and it’s here that this property truly shines.

June 17, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 13: "Auger ... for President?"

It's been three months since the last Inhumanoids attack, and Earth Corps is finding new ways to occupy its time. Liquidator clumsily hosts a series of tv science specials. Dr. Bright and his wife Stella battle a fake Tendrill in commercials for Mr. Foam shaving cream. Herc is on the Cover of News Speak. Sandra's been offered a cabinet position. The only one with nothing to do but sit around and watch tv is Auger.

June 9, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 12: "The Masterson Team"

As she lounges in Infernac, nagging Metlar, the Statue of Liberty watches Hector Ramirez on Twenty Questions introducing the team Senator Masterson has pulled together for his expedition to rescue her. Ramirez and Masterson themselves will be going, along with mustachioed leading man Dusty Aykroyd, former heavy-weight champion boxer Smokin' Joe Abdullah, film director George Landisberg (back from the previous episode), and famed French treasure hunter and explorer Jean Pierre Croissant. They'll journey into the Earth on four small dirigibles.

June 2, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 11: "Primal Passions"

Over a patch of jungle, a squadron of American jet fighters swoop in, investigating reports of a large creature. Squadron leader Brad Armbruster discovers and is attacked by Sslither - still accompanied by Blackthorne Shore - and his jet violently crashes. A rescue crew arrives at the wreck and doubts anything could have survived, but they hear Armbruster call out from the cockpit that he's still in there.

May 26, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 10: "The Evil Eye"

At Infernac, Metlar flies into a rage when Tendril informs him that Blackthorne and Dr. Manglar have awakened Gagoyle.

At their underground headquarters, Blackthorne and Manglar observe the Gagoyle, which has grown larger and larger as it continues to eat and eat. Manglar knocks Blackthorne into the creature's pit, where the Gagoyle swallows the man whole on Manglar's orders. Visible in the creature's stomach, Blackthorne pleads for his life and is spit up when he agrees to Manglar's demand of absolute obedience.

May 19, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 9: "Negative Polarity"

Deep within the Earth, Tank has teamed up with Crygen and Pyre, the halves of Magnokor, to track down a galvacite stone, which massively increases their magnetic abilities. They arrive at Infernac to confront Metlar, but he escapes.

May 12, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 8: "The Cult of Darkness"

A nerdy boy named Jeremy runs through the dark city streets of the night. He ducks in an alley where he's caught by a group of other nerdy kids, who accuse him of crossing the Centerville Debating Society, then toss him in a dumpster.

May 5, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 7: "The Surma Plan"

Picking up where the last episode left off, Blackthorne is running like hell from the enraged pursuit of Metlar. In another cave, Earth Corps tracks down the rogue Tendril 2 and kills him with a missile. They decide to head to the Granites so they can put an end to the original Tendril, unaware that he just burst his way free from his imprisonment.

April 28, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 6: "Cypheroid"

Hector Ramirez, host of 20 Questions, airs a report on the Inhumanoids, recapping the events of the previous five episode while, along with the rest of the media, grilling Earth Corps about their methods and the assistance they received from other mysterious creatures (the Mutors, who Earth Corps is trying to keep under wraps). It's also revealed that Blackthorne Shore is serving a 5 year sentence in The Glades, a swamp-based prison, where his cellmate is Dr. Herman Mangler, a geneticist "who was convicted of creating nightmare creatures in his private lab." Ramirez ends on the lingering question of what happened to the missing piece of Tendril.

April 21, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 5: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 5"

It's the assault on the Russian military base again, with Tendril taking out all the defenses, D'Compose invading the barracks and turning the soldiers into zombies, and Metlar marching in with his army of statue warriors. The Inhumanoids tear through all opposition before getting their claws on a bunch of cluster missiles and retreating back into the Earth just as the sun starts to rise.

In the ruins of their HQ, Earth Corp, Sandra Shore, and the Mutores huddle around a campfire, debating their next course of action. A helicopter arrives, carrying Senator Masterson and General Krank. Earth Corps is pissed to see the Senator who cut their funding, doubly so when they realize Blathorne Shore is with them. Blackthorne is shackled and in custody, though, and Earth Corps is briefed about the missiles, Blachthorne revealing that Metlar plans to use them to destroy the Elemental Core, turning the surface of the world into a molten slag heap and filling the skies with smoke that will blot out the sun.

April 14, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 4: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 4"

Herc and the Granites continue their battle within the city full of skeletal warriors. Though severely outnumbered, the heroes steadily cut through the opposition through teamwork and brute force.

Metlar berates Tendril for being unable to capture any energy from the power plant on the surface, all the while using a magma concoction to give life to the bronze Civil War statues the tentacled beast retrieved. Metlar sends D'Compose to the power plant for another try. D'Compose rips out of the ground just before dawn and Dr. Bright is unable to help as D'Compose uses his poison to take out the Redwoods who stand guard. The Inhumanoid tears into the plant and makes off with its generator.

April 7, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 3: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 3"

We last saw our heroes deep in the bowels of the Earth, outside a Granite fortress where the evil Metlar had just been set free by Tendril and D'Compose. Lasers fly and debris is tossed, and Metlar hypnotizes Dr. Bright, Herc, and Sandra Shore, freezing them until he can pick them up and toss them into his magma-boiling gullet. Just before they go down, Liquidator swoops by, macing Metlar with a chemical blast to the face, then Auger tosses a bomb beneath Metlar's foot, knocking the beast to the ground.

Earth Corps regroups and pins down the Inhumanoids while retreating into the Granite fortress. The Granites are missing, but Sandra's sensors reveal they're sheltered in a secret chamber. The Inhumanoids stop to banter about how big of an idiot Tendril is, and then they're attacked by the mysterious figure in the black environmental suit: Blackthorne Shore. He assaults Metlar with magnetic bolts, telling the thrashing and roaring Inhumanoid to bow to his will and help him rule the surface. Earth Corps doubles back and Sandra confronts her brother, but she's attacked by D'Compose while Tendril knocks Blackthorne aside. D'Compose uses his powers to infect Sandra, causing her to twist and grow and take on a monstrous, zombie-like form as she wails "I am one with D'Compose!"

March 24, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 2: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 2"

Tendril continues ripping through the ruins of Earth Corps HQ, but runs off after Liquidator hits him with a beaker of acid.

At the Shore Foundation, Sandra enters her brother's office just as Blackthorne finishes a call to a Senator where he uses an upcoming election to threaten the man into cutting Earth Corps' funding. Sandra confronts Blackthorne on this, as well as pictures she sees of Tendril being freed by a Shore drilling platform, and as she leaves, a group of his goons jump her. She kicks their asses and drives off.

March 17, 2012

Inhumanoids, episode 1: "The Evil That Lies Within, Part 1"

What appears to be a miraculously preserved dinosaur is found in Big Sur national park, fully encased in a massive piece of amber. Journalist Barbara Walker is doing a report on the transportation of the monolith and tries to get a few questions in with Herman "Herc" Armstrong, the armor suited leader of Earth Corps, asking him about reports of strange voices heard by workers at the site of the discovery. Before he has a chance to answer, a shadowy figure in the woods pushes a giant tree on the two. Herc manages to knock Walker out of the way in the nick of time, and the figure is gone.

March 14, 2012

Our next Showcase will be.... Inhumanoids!


A lot of people don't remember that, back when Rhino put out the very first season sets of Transformers and G.I. Joe, they also released a pair of single disc releases for another Hasbro/Sunbow production called Inhumanoids. Only 9 of the show's 13 episodes were included on the discs, and the production quality was awful, with a sound mix that made the background music so faint as to be invisible, even during the opening sequence. Nonetheless, their rarity has made the discs rather pricey collectibles here in the States as, unlike in the UK, they have yet to be replaced by a full series set.

March 10, 2012

Our Final Thoughts on Street Hawk


With a spray of gravel and a mechanical shriek, Street Hawk came hyperthrusting back into my life after a 27 year absence. For 13 weeks, the strains of Tangerine Dream's unforgettable theme music wrapped me in a blanket of warm nostalgia, and the rocket powered adventures of Jesse Mach, Norman Tuttle, and their hi-tech wonder bike ripped down memory lane, pulling me along happily in their wake. But that's not to say the road didn't have a few bumps.

There’s a saying that goes “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” and so Street Hawk, being neither a horseshoe nor a hand grenade, gets only partial credit for proximity to greatness. The series, suffering from a lack of vision at the top, never lived up to its premise or the talents of those involved.

March 3, 2012

Street Hawk, novelization #4: Danger on Target


Here we are with the fourth and final novelization from UK publisher Target Books. I highly doubt the author, David Deutsch, is the noted Israeli physicist of the same name and is instead, like the authors of the last three volumes, likely just a pseudonym. As with the past three, this book adapts two non-sequential episodes of the series, with the common link that both deal with a woman from each of our heroes' pasts.

February 25, 2012

Street Hawk, novelization #3: Golden Eyes


Sorry. I said last week I was hoping to get through both the third and fourth novelizations in time for this post, but I was only able to get through Volume 3. Yet another release by Target, this installment was written by Charles Gale instead of the Jack Roberts who wrote the initial pair. Like Roberts, I can't find any information on Gale, who may very well be a pseudonym. As with the second book, this adapts two episodes from the series out of sequence from how they aired.

February 18, 2012

Street Hawk, novelization #2: Cons at Large


As with the pilot episode novelization, which I covered a couple months back, this and the two books I'll be covering were published by Target Books, a division of MCA Publishing known for their breezy film and television tie-ins, most notably adapting nearly every episode of the classic Doctor Who series. Also like the pilot, this novelization was written by Jack Roberts, an author I know nothing else about, with a name generic enough that it may very well have been a pseudonym. Unlike the pilot adaptation, each of the remaining books adapts a pair of episodes. I was curious if they'd keep each adaptation separate, like in the Star Trek books by James Blish, but was pleasantly surprised to find bridges and revisions that attempt to link the two stories into a single whole.

February 11, 2012

Street Hawk merchandise

Thanks to 80sKID for again giving us permission to use some of his pictures for this article. Check out to see his full collection of merchadise, as well as great items for Automan, Greatest American Hero, and other fun shows of yesteryear.


Back when I wrote the merchandising article for Automan, I used the biblical verse "A prophet is respected everywhere except in his hometown," to illustrate that, even though American-based corporations had essentially ignored the series, elsewhere, particularly in the UK, it got more love. In doing the research for this article on Street Hawk merchandising, I came across the same phenomenon, causing me to tweak Mark 13:57 just a bit to now read: “A profit is expected everywhere except in his hometown.”

February 4, 2012

Street Hawk, episode 13: "Follow the Yellow Gold Road"

A squad of heavily armed men in ski masks (led by Harry Northup and John Aprea) break into a Federal Gold Depository at night. They blow the safe, make off with a ton of gold, and put a couple bullets in a guard when he triggers the alarm.

In a dark side of town, Phil Simkins (Robert Costanzo) gathers a large force of friends and fellow blue collar workers - The 12th Street Protective Association - who, armed with baseball bats, surround the hangout of the Pugs, a street gang who's been attacking local women. Jesse had been patrolling the area on Street Hawk, and when he sees the Pugs pull out guns, he has Norman call the police and races into the scene, keeping both sides at bay until the cops show up.

January 28, 2012

Street Hawk, episode 12: "Female of the Species"

Street Hawk lingers in the shadows of daylight just outside of LAX. World famous industrial heir and philanthropist Steven Cavanaugh (Paul Rossilli) is in town and the place is swarming with Feds - lead by grizzled pin-striper Frank Menlo (Dennis Franz) - who are on edge because of threats made against Cavanaugh by international terrorists bitter at him for his father's past political ties, despite the young man not sharing them. Phillip Truman (Marc Alaimao - Gul Dukat!), a terrorist disguised as a nurse, suddenly pulls a gun and fires on the Feds. Street Hawk interrupts the hit and Truman hops in a car. Street Hawk pursues, but Norman orders Jesse to back off when airport security cars take up the chase. When Jesse returns to the Command Center, he's furious to learn Truman got away.

The Feds take out an entire floor of the hotel where Cavanaugh is staying, filling it with agents and a command post working round the clock to sort things out. Altobelli shows up and chews Menlo out for not making use of the local cops, and Menlo gets right back in his face for allowing Street Hawk to continue roaming the streets. After getting a brush off, Altobelli tells Rachel to work the press and Jesse to keep an eye on the hotel.

January 21, 2012

Street Hawk, episode 11: "The Arabian"

From stables emerges a veterinarian who tells Harry Stone (Jeff Pomerantz) that the horse within, Rebel's Choice, is dying and needs to be put out of its misery so it doesn't linger in pain until morning. This is a problem for Stone as the horse, a prize-winning breeder worth $8,000,000, is just a few days away from being sold, and if he dies, he's only insured for $4,000,000. Stone conspires with trainer Keller (Tom Simcox) and the two quickly kill the vet and swap out the dead Rebel's Choice for one of its siblings.

The horse's real owner, struggling actress Corinne Collins (Bibi Besch) is unaware of the deal hatched by her fiance Stone and even fails to recognize the new horse as an impostor when she visits the next day. Suddenly, a van full of armed men (all on Stone's payroll) squeals into the stables, firing machine guns into the air and catching a stable hand with a stray bullet. They make off with "Rebel's Choice", but are caught by surprise when Street Hawk, in the area on some test runs, shows up and chases them down. The crooks get away, but not before a stray thug, Belding, is left behind for the police to catch.

January 14, 2012

Street Hawk, episode 10: "Murder is a Novel Idea"

Street Hawk waits outside while a jewelry store heist is in progress. The crooks escape in a van and Street Hawk pursues. The thieves toss out an oxygen cylinder, which lands near a young boy and bursts into flames. Street Hawk stops to rescue the boy and loses the van.

At the Command Center, Norman gushes over Stefanie Craig (Belinda Montgomery), an author on television discussing her upcoming book in which she will reveal the identity of a killer in a twenty year old unsolved campus murder case. Jesse reveals that he knows her from her days on the police force. In an undisclosed office, two men watch the same program as Donald Jordan (John DiSanti), the campus police officer who found the body of the girl, is interviewed. They vow to find out what Stefanie knows. Back at the Command Center, Jesse and Norman argue over Norman hacking into Jesse's answering machine.

January 7, 2012

Street Hawk, episode 9: "Hot Target"

In the desert, a suited man in a limo meets a suited Charles Napier in a helicopter. The suited Charles Napier (Charles Napier) is John Slade, and he's all set to sell the other man an anti-tank laser weapon, but the buyer balks and backs out of the deal when Slade kicks the price up. When the buyer threatens to spread word to other potential buyers that Slade doesn't stick to his word, Slade uses the laser to blow the man and his car to bits. Jesse, out on a test run with Street Hawk, witnesses the explosion and follows the helicopter. Street Hawk gets close enough to record the chopper's ID numbers, but loses it when the road ends at a sharp cliff.

At the Command Center, Norman matches the ID to Marpell Industries, where he has a contact in the form of an old flame named Mona Williams (Joanna Kerns). While Jesse heads to work, where he finds out he has just one day to put together a speech honoring Altobelli at an awards luncheon, Norman builds up the courage to call Mona and arrange a meeting.