So this is my second article, and my first article written here on RetroJunk since '09. First and foremost I'd like to give you all a brief history of my early life...
I was born in September 1989, and my earliest memory dates back to 1991 or '92. The first time I've ever stepped into a classroom was in September 1993, when I attended Head Start. Back then my sole entertainment relied on how much money my parents were willing to spend at Caldor.
Usually they bought me whatever video I saw advertised on TV. I mostly had Disney movies and sing-alongs, and a few non-Disney kiddie movies. Anyways I'd like to include a picture to keep you all from skimming my article...
Now who remembers this? I sure do! It would come on before the movie, but I'm not sure if it was before the trailers or after 'em.
I entered Kindergarten in 1994, back when whatever notably happened in that year took place. These where the days when I was surrounded by thirty other kids, and we mostly talked about Power Rangers. Sadly, I had to leave the days of watching PBS behind. Sorry Thomas, I still love you!
While I still watched Thomas and Mr. Rogers in secret, I started watching more and more shows on Fox Kids. Mind you most channels stopped showing kids shows at 5 in the afternoon. So what was a kid like me to do without cartoons to watch? Mind you, this was a year or so before we got cable at my house. I could watch one of the VHS videos, butttt I've already seen them at least ten times over. Well I did have some videos recorded off Cartoon Network by my grandma. However, they didn't satisfy my increasing hunger to be entertained.
This hunger to watch cartoons was satisfied thanks to Space Ghost. It all started when The Mask came out on video. I was mesmerized the minute I saw/heard Space Ghost say: "Interview with Jim Carrey after the movie!!"
After the interview, I probably said... "Mommy can we get cable?"
(You can see the interview here: http://www.jimcarreyonline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10582&p=175341)
Eventually we did get cable around 1995, and I was allowed access to watch cartoons 24/7. And by being exposed to watching cartoons, I was also exposed to commercials and other media that was marketed towards kids.
Now I'd like to start off the main idea of this article, which is to list some of the most memorable figures of my childhood.1994
Since I started school in '94, it was really the first time that I was exposed to what a majority of America's kids were watching at the time. This year is notable because it features two figures which equally appealed to me.
Now if you know your stuff, you wouldn't have to ask who this is.
That's right! It's the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, whatever you'd like to call him. If you were a regular watcher of Spider-Man TAS, Kingpin was the main villain. He wasn't some cheesy villain that would set up a plot to destroy whoever and was put in jail. Kingpin controlled most of the show's other villains at one point or another in the series.
What I found so appealing about him didn't hit me until I got a bit older. It wasn't because he was some ruthless villain who was immune to the law. Kingpin was appealing because of his humble origins and troubled childhood. One episode of the series reveals Kingpin's troubled relationship with his father, and how he managed to become a major crime lord after being left to rot in prison by his father.
(You can view a clip of his story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWgET9Ao-6E&feature=related)
Forgive me for drifting off, back to the list. Kingpin shares the year 1994, with one of my favorite video game characters.
Yeah, that's Knuckles! Well here's how the story goes, me and my mom were at McDonalds one day and I got this toy along with my Happy Meal...
I had a genuine interest in Knuckles from then on. I asked myself "Who is he, and why isn't in he in any of the Sonic cartoons?" The toy spins. From then on I thought that Knuckles' main power was spinning. I didn't find out what his true powers were because I didn't have a Genesis, I had a SNES. I eventually found out years later when I played Sonic Adventure.1995
I don't have too many memories of 1995 since it wasn't very different from '94. However, this villain made watching Power Rangers worthwhile. Power Rangers episodes have the same plot: Rangers at school, Villain sends down minor villain to combat rangers, Villain grows in size, Rangers call on Zords (giant robots), Zords destroy villain
It got boring after a while. This character breathed a bit of life into the show's second season, even though the show's plot remained largely the same.
Yep, Lord Zedd. What was so cool about Zedd was that he looked so damn real. From a little kid's perspective, he looks like solidified lava with a metal skeleton. At one point in the series he took on the Rangers himself, with his own Zord. As the series went on though, Zedd and the rest of the villains became more comical. Zedd gradually lost his villainous ambiance. I still enjoyed watching the series, even after he became a complete joke.
If my memory serves me well, this was the year when Pepsi cans became blue. It was the year when Space Jam came out, and in my opinion the year in which Fox Kids started to gradually turn into crap. Like the Animaniacs, (My absolute fav. cartoon of all time!) I switched from Kids WB on weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings.
Fox Kids still aired good stuff like X-Men and Spider-Man, but "the good stuff" was coming to an end. This marked the rise of Steven Spielberg produced cartoons, such as the Animaniacs, Pinky & the Brain, and Histeria. One particular character from this show was a classic example of the randomness of these "Steven Spielberg cartoons".Hey Freakazoid, wanna go build a Go-cart?
Now what would Freakazoid be without Cosgrove? There are lots of colorful characters in the show, including a Scotsman kilt and all. I loved Freakazoid too, but Cosgrove's random appearances just made my day. In the midst of some grave situation, Cosgrove would show up and would take Freakazoid out to eat some place. In my opinion he was way funnier than Freakazoid ever was.
(I mean check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ND7S8JiGM4) 1997
I was at a crossroad. This year marked my transition from being a little kid, and moving on to being a big kid. I traded in my Ninja Turtles briefs for striped boxers. No longer did I regularly watch the Puzzle Place or Thomas the Tank Engine. At school we were allowed to use markers, with the school presuming that we were old enough not to "scribble scrabble" onto the desks. This year also marked a transition for many other children that were my age.Yeah i know... I gotta believe!
With the emergence of the N64 and Playstation in the mid-90's, a revolution was cast upon kids everywhere. No longer were we kids confided to 2D graphics. We now could explore everything around us, so long as the game permitted. While Parappa the Rapper isn't really anything compared to Super Mario 64, it grabbed me by the neck and said "Buy me!!!!!" I was in the living room watching some T.V., probably Cartoon Network. All of a sudden I saw a video game that looked almost like a cartoon. This totally turned me away from Nintendo for the moment, and I opted to buy a Playstation. I finally got a chance to play Parappa on Christmas Day in 1997. As a kid who was used to jumping over things and moving in one direction, I didn't get the gameplay right for a month or so. Leaving me to fail the first stage over and over. Oh well.. I still had the demo disc to play with.
(Here's the very same commercial that amazed me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37n8MbBJV9Y)1998
This was the year that I had truly started diversifying what appealed to me. I was a bit older than I was when I was watching Power Rangers, and I was able to sit through programs and movies that weren't specifically made for kids. Video games were no longer solely about colorful characters and their powers, but grabbing a gun and shooting some kind of creature. I was in the third grade, and more towards the end of the school year most of the school were listening to the Backstreet Boys and were buying Spice Girls lollipops.
Every boy that attended the school was a fan of this guy:
Oh the memories... Every boy was running around after school giving each other the finger, giving each other the "Stone Cold Stunner" or Stunner. While you were sitting at home watching Raw on T.V., the minute you heard that glass crack and the awesome guitar playing that came after, you felt like you were at the show in person. Everybody in the crowd went wild. Every time Stone Cold left the ring he would leave you equally overjoyed as when he entered. He usually gave the stunner to everyone in the ring. Afterwards he would have a drink, by standing atop the turnbuckle with two fizzed up beers which most of it would splash on his clothes.
(Classic Stone Cold moments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQfUW-hSQG0&feature=related)1999
1999 was a remarkable year for every child. It was when discussions about Pokemon, and where Pokemon cards flooded school yards everywhere. It marked the beginning of the end for
shows such as the Animaniacs and The New Batman Superman Adventures. If you tuned into Kids WB around this time, you'd notice the change. There was less of the Warner Brothers (and the Warner sister) running around the water tower and parking lot with their shenanigans. You'd gradually see more of Pikachu and less of the Animaniacs or Batman.
Kids WB wasn't the only place where this change was taking place, it was also visible on Cartoon Network. While Toonami had aired on Cartoon Network in 1997, it was at the height of its popularity in 1999 and 2000. As Pokemon was the crown jewel of Kids WB, Dragon Ball Z was the crown jewel of Toonami. It's host was Moltar, who was also the director of Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
Ah Moltar, how you would soon be replaced by TOM after the year was over. How I miss thee, TOM was no Moltar.
This man truly marked my transition into becoming a preteen.
Oh hey it's Eminem dressed as Bill Clinton when he was at that Monica Lewinsky press conference. Eminem made all of us fifth graders throw away our NSYNC CD's, and buy his album. It was common to see all the boys saying "Hi my name is.." throughout the cafeteria. There was even a school play where a friend of mine danced to the Real Slim Shady on stage. It suddenly became uncool to listen to boy bands, and pop music in general. And oh am I ever glad that Eminem made pop music uncool, it was crap that I pretended to like because everyone else liked it.
After 2000 I had graduated elementary school and went on to junior high. As the years went on, anime became the norm for most kids to watch. Afternoon cartoons blocs faded, and weekend cartoon blocs are just re-runs of Yu-Gi-Oh. Kid's really don't know how bad they have it. I guess they don't really care since the majority of them are cursing at me on Xbox Live.
Now let's run down the list,1994
: Kingpin and Knuckles1995
: Lord Zedd1996
: Parappa the Rapper1998
: Stone Cold Steve Austin1999
I wanna thank you guys for taking the time to read my article, please place your cursor on the thumbs up button and click.