In the fall of 1978,long time collaborated animated partners Joesph Ruby and Kenneth Spears set out to beginning their own animated production studio after there long term success with Hanna-Barbera. There years with Hanna-Barbera were absolutely brilliant as the team produced a string of hits including "Wacky Races","The Herculoids","Space Ghost", "Scooby Doo","The Hair-Bear Bunch","Speed Buggy","Jabberjaw","Josie and the Pussycats",which proceeded throughout the decade of the 1970's. All of that was about to change when the team produced there own production company....Ruby-Spears Productions.
The company would produced shows like "Fangface","Plasticman","The Heathcliff and Markaduke Show",and the best ever made,"Thundarr The Barbarian".
"Thundarr The Barbarian",was without a doubt their greatest achievement ever conceived and it was a winner with the kids on Saturday Mornings and a big hit in the ratings as well during the three years that it had kids in total amazement as part of ABC-TV's Super Saturday Morning Line-Up during the 1980's. However,Thundarr would come out two years before Arnold Schwarzenegger came out with "Conan",but this show just by itself was one action-packed a minute Saturday Morning cartoon show with surprises and unexpected twists at ever turn,in other words the greatest adventure cartoon of its day. "Thundarr" was part science fiction,part superhero,and it got most of its material from the Star Wars films. Combinating great characters with an imaginative setting and incorporate designs from such great animation masters as Alex Toth and Jack Kirby(whom were also behind the designs for several Hanna-Barbera cartoons including "Jonny Quest","Space Ghost" and others),it was totally different from the usual Saturday Morning fare.
It also boasted some brilliant writing from comic book greats Steve Gerber and Martin Pesko,and some breathtaking direction from director/animated artist Doug Wildey,the creator of the "Jonny Quest" television series and one hellvua musical score from composer Dean Elliott,whom was behind a lot of theme-oriented Saturday Morning animated series and specials,and still is to this day. As for the story line,well Thundarr is the big dumb barbarian who punches first and asks questions later plus takes out the villains and supercreatures with his sunsword. Ookla is sort of the Chewbacca character here and is the leonine biped who growls and smashes things in his path. And Ariel is the Asian sorceress,who was the smartest in the group,could levitiate things at will and had a knowledge of wisdom and reason.
The world is a post-cataclysmic Earth where man's own civilization is cast in ruines with long dead cities and total devastation across the land. It is populated by humans,mutants, and evil sorcerers/scientists and villains with powers far beyond the imagination. It had some far-out creatures that were awesome as well. This show had it all...What's not to like about giants,savage beasts and monstrous war machines and gigantic spaceships from other worlds? This was a kid's show.
During the decade of the late 70's/early 80's cartoon adventure shows were pretty tame with the excess amount of violence added,which some of them were not to be seen especially with the strict guidelines from the censors whom made sure that these shows follow them. With some of the shows that were out back then.....The Superfriends had their moments until the producers changed the formula with the course of the show with The Challenge Of The Superfriends which was particularly good; Godzilla was a good show,but it was very tame with the giant lizard doing good and fighting the forces of evil,and the one where they had this knockout blonde whom the censors says it was too explicit,but it was tame too with a female Tarzan character...Remember Jana Of The Jungle? Even Filmation's Tarzan and Batman,not to mention here as well the He-Man shows were pretty entertaining as well;but when it came to delivering the goods,nothing could hold a candle to Thundarr. It Rocked!
Thanks to Cartoon Network's sister station,Boomerrang,you can watch these classic episodes everyday!!! It's too bad that nowadays they have The Superfriends shows out of DVD,but where is Thundarr The Barbarian??? This show was the standard of shows that came out during the late 70's/early 80's but Ruby-Spears Productions,whom would give us shows like "Turbo Teen","Goldie Gold and Action Jack","Mister T","Alvin And The Chipmunks",and the animated shows featuring Hulk Hogan,Chuck Norris, and even Sylvester Stallone's character "Rambo". Check it out!!!!