In the '80s and '90s, it seemed like every cultural phenomenon was turned into a Saturday morning cartoon. It was a simpler time when kids still wanted to be like their parents and older siblings, and these shows gave them time-traveling, crime-fighting versions of the stuff old people talked about (when they weren't singing Huey Lewis songs or doing blow off the kitchen table).
But, not all fads translated well to Saturday mornings. Below, the 10 worst Saturday morning cartoon translations, complete with symptomatic title sequences and probably too in-depth analysis of why they sucked.
10Rambo and the Forces of Freedom
The novel First Blood, as well as its film adaptation and its sequel Rambo: First Blood Part II.
Rambo was an expert in guerrilla warfare--a man who was the best with guns, with knives and with his bare hands. He was a man who had been trained to ignore pain, to ignore weather, to live off the land and to eat things that would make a billy goat puke. In Vietnam, his job was to dispose of enemy personnel. To kill! Period! Except in cartoon form, where Rambo was the leader of a multicultural, G.I. Joe-like squad of do-gooders, each with their own special backgrounds and talents.
Cartoon Rambo was a well-adjusted man, who never talked about his experiences in Vietnam as a prisoner of war or his lingering case of post-traumatic stress disorder. A man who was nonviolent and overcame his enemies through clever thinking rather than an explosive arrow tip to the chest. He was a man who could sustain a poorly-thought-out animated adaptation of source material wildly inappropriate for children for only one season before cancellation.
Evidence from the Title Sequence:
Here we have Rambo skiing down a snowy mountain and dodging flamethrowers, all in the name of protecting the innocent:
Nothing too outrageous there, right? Now check out the trailer for the upcoming John Rambo. Go ahead and skip right to 1:13 where Rambo starts decapitating people and turning entire human bodies into hamburger meat.
Coming out in January, just in time for those of us who grew up on the cartoons!
Not the 1984 film Ghostbusters, but the 1975—76 live-action TV show The Ghost Busters
After Columbia Pictures licensed the name Ghostbusters from Filmation for what turned out to be a surprise hit film, Filmation rushed to cash in with an animated revival of its live-action children' series about a pair of bumbling paranormal investigators. It's impossible to enjoy Filmation' Ghostbusters on its own terms. Many was the child who tuned in excitedly to watch the adventures of Venkman,Spengler, Stantz and Zeddemore, only to be crushed with disappointment at having to settle for the antics of Jake Kong, Eddie Spencer and Tracy the Gorilla (Why the gorilla isn't the one named Kong defies explanation).
Viewers used to the portable nuclear accelerators employed by the cinematic Ghostbusters may also be dismayed at the low-tech means used to capture phantasms here, which include trapping them in bubble gum and soap bubbles and throwing rope lassos around them.
Evidence from the Title Sequence:
It starts out as you'd expect: the busters are called to a scene that needs some ghost busting. When they arrive, the ghost in question inexplicably transforms into a random assortment of popular fictional characters including C-3PO, Skeletor and Pres. Teddy Roosevelt. Also, Tracy the Gorilla stands around and looks scared. Hopefully Shaggy gets him some Tracy-snacks from the van.
The first viewing of that opening sequence was a landmark event for many a young Ghostbusters fan, as it resulted in their very first utterance of the phrase, "What the fuck?!?" I mean, if only they'd made a cartoon based on the movie! That couldn't fail to be cool!