The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Gadget Wheels, dinos, mice and banana peels: my Top 4 cartoons of the 80s

with 22 comments

The children of today are screwed. I was writing another piece for today, but I realised it was shit and going nowhere at about the exact time I was hit by a wave of laziness; the notes I had scribbled were scrunched up and thrown across the room, and I plonked myself on the lounge, flicking casually through the channels with no destination in mind. Amidst the soap operas, news programs and advertisements, I came across a children’s cartoon. I have no idea what it was called, but it appeared to be a terrible amalgamation of poor animation, talking dogs and painfully cheerful theme music. Was this really the best we could come up with in the 21st century to entertain kiddies? What the hell happened to the awesome cartoons of the 80s and early 90s?

Feeling lazy and overcome with nostalgia, and with Heather’s article on The B(itch)Log earlier this week still fresh in my mind, I decided to take a stand against the fucked up children’s entertainment of 2012. How am I going to do it? Easy. I’m going to regress twenty or so years and reintroduce the world to my four favourite cartoons of the 80s. Given that I’ve got intellectual maturity of a 9-year-old, it’s not going to be that difficult.


Eric Wimp was just a normal boy who lived at 29 Acacia Road until he indulged in the tropical delight, at which stage he transformed into a nutritious vigilante, intent on keeping the world safe from the evil schemes of corny supervillans. With an outfit that would make Batman reassess what it meant to wear a cowl, Bananaman got around by flying, albeit with a technique reminiscent of a swimming stroke. When the Australian Banana Growers’ Council was working on its marketing strategy, it should have looked no further than the quiet British schoolboy: he’s the poster child for potassium.

Bruce Wayne, eat your heart out. Source:

His greatest achievement? Wearing banana skins as boots and never slipping on them.

This is a banana man, not THE Bananaman. Source:

Danger Mouse

Eye patches: not just for pirates. Source:

The British know comedy, and in the 80s, they were all over cartoons like a fat kid on a cheesecake. Aided by his nerdy hamster offsider Penfold, Danger Mouse was the James Bond of the rodent world, complete with flying car and an eye patch. How could you not love a Mickey Mouse 007 wannabe whose arch-nemesis was an obese toad with emphysema called Baron Silas Greenback?

Ever tried to picture Ernst Stavro Blofeld as a cartoon? Source:

The biggest question to come out of the series pertained to the preferred garb of the furry secret agent: did Danger Mouse wear pants?


Dinosaurs. Lasers. Aliens riding said dinosaurs. This concludes the lesson on why Dino-Riders was such an awesome cartoon. Hell, it was that amazing, it made kids want to learn about palaeontology; there was a time circa 1990 that I could spell the names of most dinosaurs, including Ankylosaurus, Diplodocus and Quetzalcoatlus.

Prehistoric creatures with firepower: the 80s had it all. Source:

Inspector Gadget


Calling this detective bumbling is like calling Kim Jong-il misunderstood. As dumb as he was, you have to respect a guy with rocket-powered roller skates and rotor blades built into his hat.

Inspector Gadget was the pioneer of the cyborg anti-discrimination movement, and taught us to love our fellow man, regardless of whether they were black, white or had telescopic extremities.

Being dumb doesn't matter when you have gadgets. Source:

Important safety tip: do not go out wearing a trench coat and ask women if they’d like to see your Gadget Periscope.

Go-Go Gadget Nostalgia!

Damn. If I could go back to 1989 knowing what I know now, my goal of world domination would be a lot easier to achieve. And I’d be able to appoint Bananaman as the Vice President of Kick-Ass Superhero Costumes. And ride an angry Pachycephalosaurus*, adorned with armour and lasers, instead of catching the bus.

* Author’s note: best dinosaur name of all time.

22 Responses

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  1. I loved every one of those cartoons. Duh duh duh duh duhhhhh Inspector Gadget…….and omg I had forgotten about Bananaman. Thank you for reminding me of those. Cartoons these days are pretty crap really, I agree.


    January 11, 2012 at 22:29

    • I didn’t realise Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor (The Goodies) provided the voices for the main characters until I was googling tonight.


      January 11, 2012 at 22:35

      • I did not know that either. Goodie, goodie, yum yum 🙂


        January 12, 2012 at 06:25

      • David Jason (Inspector Frost, Granville from Open All Hours, Pa from Darling Buds of May, Count Duckula etc, etc, etc) was the voice of Danger Mouse.


        January 14, 2012 at 21:27

      • Who would have thought that Del Boy moonlighted as a cartoon mouse?


        January 14, 2012 at 21:38

  2. I’ve heard of Inspector Gadget, but not the other cartoons. Of course, I was a child in the 60s so my memories of favorite cartoons are Bugs Bunny, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Underdog. I don’t think any cartoon character will ever top Bugs Bunny in “coolness.”


    January 11, 2012 at 23:07

    • I like Daffy Duck’s attitude, and the fact that his bill spins 360 degrees around his head.


      January 11, 2012 at 23:14

  3. You’ve brought back so many memories with those. I loved Dangermouse 🙂


    January 11, 2012 at 23:15

    • Do you think an eye patch, a white jumpsuit and a flying car would make me more popular with the fairer sex?


      January 11, 2012 at 23:19

  4. I loved Inspector Gadget!!

    Heather Christena Schmidt

    January 11, 2012 at 23:39

    • I was devastated when I went to buy a car and was informed that the Gadgetmobile wasn’t real.


      January 11, 2012 at 23:43

  5. Funny enough, I was told the other day that my scary voice sounds like The Claw… So, my boys just laugh at me now…


    January 11, 2012 at 23:57

  6. Inspector Gadget’s always on duty!

    Neil Fein

    January 12, 2012 at 01:17

    • That’s fantastic! Thank you for sharing it. “Who bookmarked dog-on-dog porn in my browser?”

      Guys and girls, click on the link Neil has posted above to check out a Robot Chicken take on Inspector Gadget.


      January 12, 2012 at 07:40

  7. Inspector gadget and dino riders by far are the best ever. Compare them to crap morning cartoons now and you can see the difference. Another great blog

    Cameron Keane

    January 12, 2012 at 06:58

    • Out of curiosity, I checked out what the old Dino-Riders toys were selling for on eBay. I should have kept mine.


      January 12, 2012 at 07:43

  8. I have something for you on my blog – it’s a good thing 🙂


    January 12, 2012 at 14:08

    • Thank you for the gong! I like the sound of your coffee that’s strong enough to wake the dead; there’s nothing worse than a weak, watery caffeine hit.


      January 12, 2012 at 14:51

  9. Bananaman and Danger Mouse are the best! But you forgot Mysterious Cities of Gold. It was on ABC, nobody remembers it, but I *loved* it.

    Catty (Fresh Bread)

    February 3, 2012 at 09:13

    • How good was that show? I was smitten with the theme song, and spent considerable time running around with my arms outstretched, pretending I was a giant golden bird.

      Thank you for your contribution to the discussion, and welcome to The Dissemination of Thought. Just remember: if you do find a city of gold, you need to share.


      February 3, 2012 at 15:31

  10. Inspector Gadget was pretty cool, but disappointed you have not listed ‘Tom & Jerry’… THE alltime classic.


    June 8, 2012 at 12:03

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