Sunday, November 02, 2014

Saturday Morning Cartoons - Superheroes edition

Sorry this weekend's instalment of the Saturday morning cartoon rewatch is late, everyone; yesterday turned out to be more hectic than usual.

Anyway, I hope your Hallowe'en was enjoyable this year; that you went to a good party, or had a fun time taking your kids out trick-or-treating, or answering the door and handing out candy. As a kid, one of the best times was when the calendar lined-up just right — like this year — with Hallowe'en on a Friday night, so I could stay up a little later because there'd be no school the next day, and then wake up on Saturday morning to watch new episodes of my favourite cartoons, with my sack of plunder beside me on the living room carpet so I could breakfast on chocolate bars and gum and bask in the afterglow of trick-or-treating.

While it's a little too late for that, I've lined-up a couple of cartoons that might re-awaken a little of that old feeling. This weekend, I'm going with a superhero theme, so grab a couple of left over chocolate bars, and get ready for some 80s-style Saturday morning fun!

First up, Spiderman and his Amazing Friends. This show featured the web-head teaming-up with college buddies and future (or was it former?) X-Men, Firestar and Iceman. They all lived with Peter Parker's Aunt May and her dog, and, somehow, without old May knowing it, they'd converted one of the rooms in her house into their high-tech superhero headquarters. Each week they'd battle another Marvel foe: from a scientist-turned-out-of-control-giant-spider-thing, to rogue Asguardian Loki, to Spiderman's old foe, the Green Goblin. Lots of fun action, and it helped cement my affection for comics. (full episode)

Next, it's time to SMASH!!!! with The Incredible Hulk. If I recall correctly, the big green guy was usually scheduled back-to-back with Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, with the whole thing billed as The Spiderman and his Amazing Friends and Incredible Hulk Adventure Hour or something like that. Marvel owned some prime real estate on our TV, in any case. Just like Spidey, the Hulk was another can't-miss show for my brother and I. (part of 1 of 3 of full episode)

Lastly, there was Hero High. I seem to remember a live-action stage show opening to the cartoon at some point, which is distinctly odd (although, didn't they do that with The Archies once upon a time too?), but I also remember wishing they'd just get on with the animation. Though this Filmation offering was nowhere near as cool as Spiderman, or the Hulk, or Superfriends, it was none-the-less reasonably entertaining when I was a kid. (intro)

One last thought about superheroes... I'd like to dedicate this post to a bunch of unsung superheroes I've met over the years: the caring siblings of kids with developmental disabilities. As some of you know, my wife is a volunteer coach with Special Olympics. Sometimes, when she hasn't had enough assistant coaches on hand, I've come in to help her with her two programs that teach younger kids about the value of playing well together, and the basics of different kinds of sports. On those occasions, I've seen something that's blown me away: siblings of some of the athletes — often younger siblings — coming in with their parents to help their brothers and sisters participate. I've seen a six-year-old girl — a pint-sized supernova — take her big brother under her wing like a mother hen, supporting him when he wasn't sure about what to do, and not only that, but going around the room and offering encouragement and help to other athletes, and then asking the coaches what more she could do to lend a hand. I've seen a seven-year-old steadfastly guiding his big brother towards a soccer net so that he could show off his ability to kick. And there have been others over the years, supporting their special siblings with a care and a maturity far beyond that of other kids their age. This at a time when they could be insisting on doing their own thing — playing with their own friends, competing in their own sports, reading, playing video games, or whatever. But rather than focussing on themselves, they've come in to be with their brothers and sisters. Some of these supportive siblings go on to join organizations as coaches or other volunteers, fundraisers, staff, or health and/or education professionals. Others may quietly support their special-needs siblings behind the scenes, because that's what families do for one-another — that's what you do when you care for your sibling. And so I think we ought to give a shout-out to the siblings who are always there for their special-needs brothers and sisters when they need them: you're the real superheroes among us.

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