90s, Cartoons, Quick Lists, TV — August 1, 2014 10:53 am

7 Cartoons We Watched Before School

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Let’s face it, the only reason you woke-up before noon as a teenager was due to ridiculously early school start times.  Personally, I had to get up at 6:00am to get to school in time for my first class at 7:15am.  We were all fed blatant lies about start times in the “real world”.  A totally made up statistic shows that your job most likely starts at 9:00am or later.  Unless, of course, you ended up a high school teacher.

Early morning routines often consisted of grabbing a soggy bowl of Berry Berry Kix and turning on the TV.  The cartoons before school were the only thing that could keep me from falling asleep again.  I kept this routine through every grade, getting to know several shows I wouldn’t have watched under different circumstances.  Since most of these shows syndicated shows only had one season, I moved on to a new series each year.

Did you have the same routine?  If so, here are seven cartoons we watched because nothing else was on.

7 – Mummies Alive! (1997)

The best thing about this show is the episode titles, featuring such clever classics as “Pack to the Future”, “Sleep Walk Like an Egyptian”, and “Good Bye Mr. Cheops”.

I could never get past the title of Mummies Alive!  Something about mummies coming to life when I was just waking up at 6:00am gave me too many willies to enjoy the show.  The exclamation point also made it seem like an urgent problem, one that was certainly not welcome in my bedroom first thing in the morning.  Apparently, there is a small cult following for this series.  Then again, any cartoon you’ve never heard of has a cult following.

6 – Street Sharks (1994)

Best episode title here?  “Jurassic Shark”

Street Sharks featured shark-men who took took the hammer of justice in their own fins to fight crime.  There were several daily syndicated shows from this time that were created primarily to sell toys and this is one of them.  Not that it wasn’t completely obvious.  They took it a step further and created a spin-off show, Extreme Dinosaurs, in 1997 to – you guessed it – sellaction figures.

5 – Biker Mice from Mars (1993)

“It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it” might well be a good explanation of this show.

The premise followed the adventures of mice… from Mars… who happened to enjoy riding… motorcycles.  Well, at least, the plot is completely explained in the title.  If you stuck around after the opening credits, you knew what you were getting into.  Biker Mice from Mars ended up with a Super Nintendo game and, somewhat surprisingly, a re-boot series in 2006.  Flipping through channels during the early morning a few years back, I was pretty shocked to discover the new show.

4 – Samurai Pizza Cats (1991)

My school’s lunch menus featured the cats for several years.

What was it with anthropomorphic animal cartoons shown so early in the morning?  Is that the only time local affiliates thought these shows would make sense to viewers?  This one followed cyborg samurai felines who worked in a pizza place and fought the big crime bosses of Little Tokyo.  I always assumed this was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles parody series, but maybe it was a sincere attempt to capitalize on the whole kids-who-love-pizza-eating-animal-superheroes fad.

3 – Extreme Ghostbusters (1997)

This show featured a surprisingly pleasant update on the classic theme song.

You really had to question the expiration date on your cereal milk when you unexpectedly came across a show like Extreme Ghostbusters.  Like most kids who grew up in the late 1980s, I was obsessed with The Real Ghostbusters animated series.  Imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning to see a show that seemed like it was ripping off Ghostbusters left and right… only to discover it was a sequel series!  Extreme Ghostbusters was literally a dark show, with most episodes taking place at night.  The spooky ending credits would haunt me until at least my third class of the day at school.

Good luck sleeping (in math class)!

2 – The Bots Master (1993)

Check out that radical animated fisheye lens effect.

While I could never get that deep into the show, there were two selling points that kept me coming back to The Bots Masters every day: a kickass opening sequence and Lazer Time.  In each episode, Ziv Zulander, the human leader of the robot crew, would proclaim “it’s lazer time, boys!” which indicated to the viewers at home that an epic battle was about to take place… in three dimensions!  Sure, you had to buy at least one toy with special 3-D glasses to enjoy Lazer Time, but it was worth it.

1 – Mighty Max (1993)

The intro felt like one of the trippy scenes from Cartoon All-Stars.

The Polly Pocket toy line, aimed toward a female fan base, was a hit in the early 1990s.  Realizing the potential on their hands, Bluebird Toys quickly developed a counterpart for boys called Mighty Max.  From there, a TV series was born to promote the tiny figurine playsets.  Despite the series essentially being a commercial, I looked forward to the daily adventures of Max, his anthropomorphic bird friend Virgil (again with the talking animals?), and their bodyguard Norman.  Perhaps, I was drawn to the show because Max was voiced by Rob Paulsen who played Raphael for most of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Regardless of my enjoyment of this show, I never once purchased a Mighty Max play set.  Guess that marketing plan backfired!

Do you remember these shows?  What was your early morning school day routine?

 

3 Comments

  • Quite the tour de force of 90’s cartoons right there.

  • crookedninja Which one was part of your routine?

  • PopRewind Actually my routine was purely after school since mornings were often too crazy to sit and watch much of anything. After school cartoon blocks were a big part of my day. Early on it was whatever the main networks would play (Captain Planet, Garfield, some others) and later it was Toonami on Cartoon Network.

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