Humming just a few bars of the Garfield and Friends or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song brings up a slew of great memories, but what about those often overlooked shows and themes? Most of us have watched the following series, but maybe we’ve forgotten how catchy (and sometimes absurd) these shockingly awesome cartoon themes really are.
10 – DuckTales
Duckburg and Duck blur—best rhyming combo since Men At Work rhymed language and sandwich in “Down Under”.
I always wondered why I loved this theme song so much. Sure, DuckTales was a decent enough show, but there was something else—oh yeah, their theme is basically animated ducks over Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dream Come True”. Mystery solved.
9 – Samurai Pizza Cats
When I get drunk and sing theme songs, it seldom makes it to air.
The English theme song of this Japanese animated series is quite memorable for its B52s’ style. Interestingly, one of the show’s writers—Michael Airington—had a couple drinks before performing what the show would actually use as their intro. For those die-hard Samurai Pizza Cats fans, there will be a Speedy action figure out for purchase in Japan later this year. If you’re keeping tabs, that’s about 20 years too late.
8 – Inspector Gadget
Go ahead and look up the dubstep version of this. I’ll wait.
While the cartoon wasn’t necessarily the coolest, the theme song certainly ranks up there. Quasi-electronica with a seductress singing out “Inspector Gadget”—what more could you want?
7 – Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
If Indiana Jones and Magnum P.I. were crime-solving chipmunks, well, they’d have a hit series on their hands. And possibly rabies.
Besides being the longest string of clichés in existence, the lyrics and tune of this little ditty are quite pleasant.
6 – Hammerman
About 30 seconds, this turns into what I’m sure inspired the Trapped in the Closet series.
What can I say about this theme song that the theme song doesn’t already say about itself? Perhaps I’ll just have MC Hammer sing the rest of this article, and narrate as I type.
5 – Heathcliff
Heathcliff is to garbage as Garfield is to lasagne.
I’m going to throw a little bit of trivia at you—this is the second Heathcliff cartoon, often referred to as Heathcliff and the Cadillac Cats to differentiate itself from the other versions (Heathcliff and Dingbat and Heathcliff and Marmaduke). The original version of this theme had “Cats and Company” instead of “Heathcliff” throughout the song. Now take that to bar trivia night with you and amaze no one.
4 – Muppet Babies
I always enjoyed how Kermit’s pupils look like the punch out part at the top of cardboard packaging on action figures.
One of the greatest tragedies in DVD history is that this series has never been released in full. Some special tapes and promos are out there, but Muppet Babies suffers an all too common fate—the series features too many songs and video clips from other sources, making it entirely too expensive to get the rights and release it. The above YouTube clip on repeat will have to suffice for now.
3 – Jem and the Holograms
Yes, another Jem mention.
I feel biased for including this, but I have two reasons: one is that this is shockingly awesome. Who knew that a show based on dolls, and that included so much pink, would have a great theme song? Two, this theme legitimately rocks. And so does the syndication “Jem Girls” theme.
2 – Adventures of the Gummi Bears
Fleshier-tasting than other Gummi Bears.
The Adventures of the Gummi Bears had a pretty good run (six seasons), but I’ll bet the only thing you remember about it is this song.
1 – Denver the Last Dinosaur
This is a time traveling rockabilly dinosaur. Suck on those adjectives.
According to Wikipedia, which is always correct, Disney wants to crap out a full-length Denver movie. I’m in if it’s a 2-hour long dinosaur rock-out session.
What were your favorite shockingly awesome cartoon themes? Leave a comment below!