Growing up in the 80's and 90's, I was a major Pony Girl. I had a TON of My Little Pony toys, including the Pretty Parlor and the Show Stable (alas, no Dream Castle, or Paradise Estate. Oh well). But my fondest memory of MLP was the very first My Little Pony special. It aired in syndication in 1984, and was named, "My Little Pony" (originality strikes again, doesn't it, folks?) It was part of my old "Bit the Dust Tape" (as was the Get Along Gang pilot, which I reviewed awhile back). There were two celebrity voices in this special. Sandy Duncan was the voice of Firefly, the starring pony, and Tony Randall was the befuddled Moochick.
And no, this is not the same as the 1986 My Little Pony movie.
Where do we begin? Dream Valley, of course! Our story starts out in Dream Valley at the Dream Castle, where all the little ponies live. It's a beautiful day, and all the little ponies are playing.
After a morning of play, all the pretty little ponies sit down and rest up. Baby pony Ember asks the unicorn Twilight if she'll ever fly like the Pegasus ponies, or jump like Bow Tie (an earth pony), or disappear like Twilight can. Twilight tells her she'll be her "own special little pony" and has a cuddly moment with Ember (awwwww!)
But life is not just a dream in Dream Valley. Twilight and Ember's cuddly moment is interrupted when a dark shadow looms over the valley. It's . . . . . THE STRATTADONS! (bum, bum, BUUUUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!
The giant flying lizards, led by a brown, furry . . . . . eeeehhhh . . . . . creature called Scorpan, start rounding up ponies. Poor Bow Tie is almost captured, but she gives one of them a good old fashioned kick in the face (you go, girl!)
Unfortunately, the Strattadons scoop up two ponies anyway (Cotton Candy, who's an Earth pony, and Moondancer, who's a unicorn), and flies away with them. Despite the urging of her equine sistren (which is the female equivalent of "brethren," since all the little ponies in this special are girls), Firefly (the star of the show) flies off to find help.
Cotton Candy and Moondancer have been taken to a place known as Midnight Castle and they are locked away in a cell. Scorpan then informs his master, Tirac (though we don't really get to see what he looks like just yet), that two of the ponies were captured, but Tirac needs four
ponies to pull his chariot, and sends Scorpan to prepare another raid. Through this sccene, you can see Tirac's hand petting a pulsating bag of some sort.
Meanwhile, Firefly flies to a farm house and encounters a girl named Megan and her pony, TJ. Megan is at first shocked to see a talking pony who can fly. Firefly tells Megan she and her friends need her help, but Megan doesn't think she can be of any help to the little ponies, despite Firefly saying that she's strong and she can fight (to which Megan replies she's not, and she can't). But Firefly gives her a boost of confidence (via song, "Dancing On Air") and the two of them are off to Dream Valley.
But the minute Firefly arrives with the little ponies' blond savior, guess what? To quote Heather O'Rourke from Poltergiest
"They're baaaaaack!" Scorpan and the Strattadons return for another roundup. This time, they take off with Bubbles (an earth pony), and baby Ember (how low can they stoop?!) One Strattadon also grabbed Megan in the scuffle (they must be awfully nearsighted not to be able to tell a pre-teen girl from a little pony!) and Firefly goes to her rescue with her "Double Inside Out Loop." Unfortunately, that didn't work out so well. The Strattadon drops Megan, sure, but Firefly can't fly fast enough to catch her. However, Scorpan catches Megan and drops her safely on the ground, only to tell her to leave Dream Valley. "This battle is not
yours!" he says to her, and flies off. Once the they leave, Megan and the ponies go off to rescue their friends.
Back at Midnight Castle, Tirac as the four ponies chained to the floor by their necks, and he has the guards remove Ember from the line up, claiming she's too small to pull his chariot. Tirac then steps into the light and we get to see his face. He also opens that pulsating pouch of his and says, "Behold the power of darkness!" and the Rainbow of darkness shoots out.
The Rainbow of Darkness surrounds Cotton Candy, Moondancer, and Bubbles, turning them into hideous dragons. Tirac then warns Scorpan if he doesn't find Tirac a fourth pony, then the head of Scorpan's little friend, Spike the baby dragon, will roll. Spike and Ember are then taken to a dungeon while Tirac cackles maniacally.
Meanwhile, Megan, Firefly, Bow Tie, Twilight, and Applejack are on their way to the Moochick, since he has magic powers. They have to cross an old bridge to get there, but Applejack (who's a tad accident prone) doesn't think the bridge is safe to cross. After taking a step across a gap in the bridge, she falls into the river. Megan dives down to save her, and they both end up enclosed in a giant clam shell.
But a couple of seconds after the clam shell closes on them, it opens up again, and Megan and Applejack are in a giant bubble, and they hear "Shoop-ee-doo, shoop-shoop-ee-doo!" And if you're a big fan of My Little Pony like I am, we all know what that means! It's the Sea Ponies to the rescue! After their catchy tune ("Call Upon the Sea Ponies"), they deposit Megan and Applejack safely back onto the surface, where they regroup with Firefly, Twilight, and Bow Tie. The Sea Ponies then toss Megan a small shell, telling her and the other ponies if they need them again, "just call." Then they dive back under water with a "Shoop-ee-doo, shoop-shoop-ee-doo!"
After their encounter with the Sea Ponies, Megan and the four ponies visit the Mushromp and encounter the Moochick, and his pet bunny rabbit, Habbit. He tells Megan and the ponies they have to hurry and stop Tirac before midnight. He plans to bring in the "night that never ends," by using the ponies he turned into dragons to pull his chariot and unleashing his Rainbow of Darkness. He tells Megan and the ponies someone has to go into his castle and take the Rainbow of Darkness from him. Then he tells them he has the only thing that can stop Tirac, the Rainbow of Light, which he has a little piece of somewhere, but can't remember where it is. He then proceeds to search his home and garden for it (in song, "Little Piece of Rainbow"). As it turns out, Habbit had the heart shaped locket containing the Rainbow of Light in his pocket all along. The Moochick gives it to Megan and the ponies, and they leave to stop Tirac.
Megan and the ponies arrive at Midnight Castle, only to be met by a raging river. Megan throws the seashell she has into the water to call the Sea Ponies. They arrive with their signature "shoop-ee-doo, shoop-shoop-ee-doo!" and help our heroes find a way into the castle, by taking them to a gargoyle statue, via giant half-shell. They tell the ponies to pull the gargoyle's nose to get into the castle. Firefly achieves this by flying up and stomping her hooves on the gargoyle's head, which lowers, and a secret wall opens up. Unfortunately, the action is not going to go unnoticed. One of Tirac's guards sees them come in, and informs Tirac of their arrival. Meanwhile, Scorpan goes to the dungeon, where Spike and Ember are being held. Ember hides behind Spike, but Spike tells her Scorpan is his friend. Scorpan rips the bars off the cell and tells Spike and Ember that they're getting out of the castle. Meanwhile, Megan and the four ponies are wandering around the maze-like castle, trying to find the Rainbow of Darkness. They are unaware they are being followed, until Applejack turns around. (bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-badah-daaaaaahhhh!!!!!
Our four remaining heroes arrive at Tirac's throne room, and Firefly then notices Applejack is gone. Suddenly, the doors close, and Tirac appears, indicating that the Rainbow of Darkness belongs to him, as does their friend (namely, Applejack). Tirac unleashes the Rainbow of Darkness, and it surrounds Applejack, turning her into the fourth dragon he needs to pull his chariot. Scorpan enters the room just then, and starts fighting off Tirac's guards. Then, he, Spike, Megan, and the remaining ponies race to the roof of the castle, but the castle begins to shake, and Tirac comes out, riding his chariot, being pulled by the ponies he had turned into dragons.
Just as Tirac is about to unleash the Rainbow of Darkness, Scorpan flies up and tries to grab it, resulting in a bit of a brawl. Tirac whacks Scorpan, and Scorpan falls, thinking "all is lost," but Megan mounts Firefly and manages to smack the pouch out of Tirac's hand. Bow Tie leaps, and catches it in midair. Then it turns into a bit of a game of "Monkey in the Middle," with Tirac's guards as the monkeys. Bow Tie throws the pouch to Twilight, who runs to the edge of the castle, and "winks out" when she realizes she's cornered. Twilight then tosses it to Firefly and starts to take it to Dream Castle, when she collides head on with a Strattadon.
Megan and the ponies try to make a grab at the bag, but Tirac swoops down and grabs it. Megan then opens the heart shaped locket, and a tiny rainbow comes out of it. Then Tirac unleashes the Rainbow of Darkness, which appears it swallowed up the Rainbow of Light. But then, the Rainbow of Light starts to fight back.
The Rainbow of Light then covers the Rainbow of Darkness, and wraps itself around Tirac, and Midnight Castle begins to fall apart. Debris is flying all over the place, and Tirac . . . . uhhhh . . . . explodes
let's say (it's the only way I can describe it!) Once Tirac is gone, the Strattadons turn into butterflies, and Tirac's guards turn into birds. Midnight Castle turns into trees, and the dragons turn back into ponies.
Megan runs over to Scorpan, and finds that he's changing, too. Scorpan turns from a hideous monster into a prince (cliched, no?) He tells Megan, Spike, and the ponies that Tirac changed him into "Scorpan" when Tirac took over the prince's kingdom.
With all the changing going on, Twilight comes up to Spike and asks if he's going to change back into what he was before, but Spike won't change. He's always been a baby dragon! The group then hears Ember building up a sneeze, due to a butterfly landing on her nose, and turn to look. Ember sneezes, and the force of her sneeze sends her backwards into a small stream, and everyone has a good laugh (they're not making fun of Ember, at least, I don't think), and everyone lives Happily Ever After.
I gotta tell you, this was surprisngly dark for a cartoon who's target audience were girls! Believe me, I certainly wouldn't expect stuff like this to appear in a girl's show! But I guess that's what made this special, in my opinion at least, the best of all the MLP cartoons made. The only thing I didn't care much for was Scorpan turning into "Prince Charming." I liked him better as Scorpan.
Another thing I didn't like was the fact the Powers That Be butchered . . . . . uhhh, I mean edited
this to show it as a two part episode of "My Little Pony 'n Friends." They edited out the original title and ending credits (that I can understand), but they also cut out the Moochick's song, "Little Piece of Rainbow." Considering I had this on tape since I was two years old, the fact that they edited out this song just bugged me. Unfortunately, this special is not available on DVD uncut. Rhino released it as a "bonus feature" on the MLP First Season DVD's, but it was the edited version.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed my article, and if you didn't, don't tell me. I don't want to know.