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Children’s Day Special: A walk down toon lane

For years, animated shows or cartoons have enticed the young and not so young. Switch on any kids’ channel today and one is greeted by one cartoon show or the other – be it Chota Bheem or Motu Patlu or Shin-chan or Oggy and the Cockroaches or Bean and more. These animated characters often come to the rescue of harried mothers by keeping their young ones engaged and even help in having their meals. 

Cartoon shows on Indian television have evolved over the years. Today, there is a flux of Japanese anime and manga cartoons and indigenously created cartoon shows like Chota Bheem, Motu Patlu, Shiva and more. 

Till some years back, cartoon shows for kids were populated by Disney characters and there was a heavy dose of Made in America content. 

Those in their late 30s and 40s will definitely remember shows like ‘Scooby Doo’, ‘Duck Tales’, ‘Road Runner’, ‘Bugs Bunny’, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and the likes. Yes, one still catches glimpses of Mickey & friends and the BEFs (Best Enemies Forever) Tom & Jerry here and there on kid’s channels. 

This Children’s Day, Adgully takes a look back and attempts to revive the cartoon shows that have graced our small screens and continue to live on in our memories. 

Ghayab Aya – The country’s first Made in India serialised animation film was directed by Ashok Talwar and animated by Suddhasattwa Basu. The film was first aired on Doordarshan in 1986. The story revolved around the adventures of Ghayab, a friendly, always do-gooder Casper-type naughty ghost. 

Is there anyone on Earth who doesn’t know of or like Tom and Jerry? You don’t? You must be from some other planet. The famous American animated series of short films was first created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It revolves around two cute little characters – Tom (cat) and Jerry (mouse) – who continuously keep on fighting with each other. It’s a game of one-upmanship that has no winners – so far, and we love it for that. 

Now we are in serious nostalgia territory. Mickey Mouse, the great Walt Disney’s creation, has been winning hearts since he first made his appearance in 1928. The films, which introduced Disney’s most famous cartoon character, were released on a regular basis from 1928 to 1953 with four additional shorts released between 1983 and 2013. A total of 130 animated short films were produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The series is notable for its innovation with sound synchronisation and character animation, and also introduced other well-known characters such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy. 

‘DuckTales’, another American animated television series, was also produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. The cartoon series premiered on September 18, 1987, and ran for a total of 100 episodes over four seasons. ‘DuckTales’ has received a franchise of merchandise, including video games and comic books, along with an animated theatrical spin-off film, titled ‘DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp’. ‘DuckTales’ is about the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his great-nephews – Huey, Dewey, and Louie. The nephews, who were originally living with their Uncle Donald, are left in Scrooge’s care when Donald joins the Navy. 

Popeye the Sailor probably made us all fall in love with and eat spinach. Created by Elzie Crisler Segar, the cartoon character first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip, Thimble Theatre, on January 17, 1929. Popeye became the strip’s title in later years. Popeye has also appeared in theatrical and television animated cartoons. He also appears in a number of Popeye comic books. In 1960, King Features Syndicate commissioned a new series of cartoons, titled ‘Popeye the Sailor’, on television with the title track ‘I’m Popeye the Sailor Man’ on Cartoon Network. 

Who can forget the sing-song ‘Scooby Dooby Doo’ – yes, we are talking about the Great Dane who has gone on several adventures with his human friends. Scooby Doo is the protagonist character of the animated television franchise of the same name created in 1969 by Hanna-Barbera. The mystery and detective show had a blend of comedy. Scooby speaks in broken English and usually puts the letter ‘R’ in front of words and noises. The title track of this show, ‘Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!!’, still lives in our memories. 

‘He-Man and the Masters of the Universe’ was probably one of our earliest introductions to the world of superheroes on television in India. The American animated television series produced by Filmation was based on Mattel’s toy line, Masters of the Universe. The show was one of the most popular animated children’s shows of the 1980s and has retained a heavy cult following to this day. It made its television debut in 1983 and ran until 1985, consisting of two seasons of 65 episodes each. Reruns continued to air in syndication until 1988, at which point USA Network bought the rights to the series. USA Network aired He-Man until September 1990. People of a certain age group would surely remember running around, wielding a ruler like a sword and yelling at the top of their lungs – “By the power of Grayskull!!” 

The Fleischer Superman cartoons are a series of animated short films released in Technicolor by Paramount Pictures and based upon the comic book character ‘Superman’, making them his first animated appearance. A total of 17 shorts were produced. They were originally produced by Fleischer Studios, releasing the pilot and eight cartoons in 1941 and 1942 before being taken over in May by Famous Studios, a successor company, who produced eight more in 1942 and 1943. ‘Superman’ was the final animated series by Fleischer Studios, before Famous Studios officially took over production. 

Before Tobey Maguire and Andy Garcia turned Spider-Man into a conflicted young man, pining after the red-haired Mary Jane Watson and having best friend issues with Harry Osborn, the animated Spider-Man was what we loved to watch – a crime fighter who did not take himself too seriously. And we still hum the theme song – ‘Spiderman, Spiderman, friendly neighbourhood Spiderman…’ 

Another song that we all remember is that super cute ditty about Mowgli – ‘Jungle, Jungle baat chali hai pata, chaddi pahan ke phool khila hai phool khila hai’ (Salute to Gulzar sahab and Vishal Bhardwaj). The song opened every episode of ‘Jungle Book Shōnen Mowgli’, the anime adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s original collection of stories, ‘The Jungle Book’. It aired in 1989 and consisted of a total of 52 episodes. The series, a compromise between the original Mowgli stories and the Walt Disney version, received international acclaim and was aired in different countries around the world. We all know the story: Mowgli is a ‘man-cub’ (human child) who was raised by Akela’s pack of wolves. He grows up in the jungle with Baloo, Kaa and Bagheera, while ending up having to deal with the plots of Shere Khan and Tabaqui. 

There would be more that we might have left out inadvertently. Do mention about them in the comment below…

 

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