The handful of people who read this blog knows that I used to watch Saturday morning cartoons in the 80’s. There were great show that personally, I think are not matched with the cartoons that are presently aired. For instance, when I was seven years old, cartoons like Dungeons and Dragons, Muppet Babies, and Saturday Supercade were big hits in my household. However, the one that I’m focusing on here stuck in my head for one reason or another. That cartoon is Kidd Video.
I caught this show when it first aired in 1984. Kidd Video’s format was part animated and part live action. It’s clear that the show wanted to take advantage of MTV’s popularity, which debuted a couple of years earlier. Not only would actual songs found on the radio featured in an episode, but the Kidd Video gang would have a video of their own played at the end of an episode. Obviously their stuff was not the highest caliber considering it was made for a show, but it was memorable enough for me to spend time writing about them. The premise in the show is that a garage band gets kidnapped during practice by a villain from an alternate universe to entertain him at a moment’s notice until he is satisfied(musically).
They manage to escape with the help of a fairy and they have adventures in this alternate world, based on music, while trying to figure out a way to get back home. In case you’re wondering, the cartoon is actually weirder than it sounds. I have read somewhere online tha the people who worked on this cartoon were on drugs at the time. With that bit of information, this animated show suddenly makes sense.
When I decided to write this post, I checked YouTube to watch the intro. All of my past memories of this show came flooding back, which I loved. However, there are some things that stick out of the intro. For example, the video starts with a bell-ringing alarm clock going off and Carla, the Hispanic girl slowly wakes up and gets out of bed. I’ve owned several of these bell alarms and every time they went off, I would jump out of bed in sheer terror and confusion, tumbling around and knocking things over until I realize what that sound is and then turn off the alarm.
Another point is that Kidd and Carla goes to the warehouse on a scooter while Whiz and Ash takes a weird yellow pickup. Now, people who were or are now in bands need to help me out here. I’ve noticed a sense of hyper excitement in the intro. Kidd does a fist pump and yells, “YEAH!”
Carla is really enjoying riding bitch, Whiz can’t stay still in his car seat, and Ash has his hands and feet in the air as they pull off.
WHOO HOO! Lets practice the same 10 seconds for hours!
It’s reasonable to assume that they’re all psyched for rehearsal. Is it really that exciting to meet up for practices? I remember going to meet up with friends when I was younger specifically to abuse substances. I was having loads of fun back then but I was never as charged like these guys were. Was something sexual going to happen after practice? Was the coke dealer gonna show up later? (It was the 80’s). I dunno.
Before I go any further, I feel that I should introduce the characters to get a better feel of the show. Kidd is the bandleader and main star of the show. He does fist pumps, sings, looks like Julia Roberts, and plays guitar in front of the mirror.
Whiz is the Donatello of the group. He can build all kinds of crap and is kind of nerdy. I don’t mean to be a jerk, but Whiz’s look brings up a red flag. He’s a guy with blond shaggy hair and big glasses. His look totally screams pedophile. It’s bad enough that he has access to a car and a deserted warehouse. It’s the perfect storm.
Hey kids! Want some candy?
Ash is the keyboardist. He’s as plain and forgettable as you can imagine. To have him stand out, he sometimes throws rhymes about their current situation. It kinda reminds me of Wordsworth the cat on the Heathcliff cartoon, except Ash can turn it off.
“You think you’re better than me? I’m more memorable, just wait and see!”
The three guys are a real band, so that explains why Ash is there. He’s grandfathered in to the cartoon from earlier band membership, otherwise his boring ass would have caught the big ugly axe.
The last member of the group is Carla, a Hispanic girl with Hispanic mannerisms. She originally wasn’t part of the Kidd Video band, but she was added into the show so that it wouldn’t be a complete sausage-fest. I think the show added Carla also for diversity. I used the term “hispanic mannerisms” because she uses Spanish words such as “chevere” or “aye yai yai!” As a Hispanic myself, I’m somewhat conflicted by this. On one hand, I’m happy to see the race represented in the show. On the other hand, I have a problem with Hollywood and stereotypes. Some mannerisms drive me crazy, and I can’t blame no one but Hispanics. Watch a movie with Hispanics/Latinos and see what happens when spanish music such as salsa comes on. They go into a frenzy and lose voluntary control of their feet and start dancing to the music like a trained dog and a dinner bell. Why not just take the next step and eat a plate of rice and beans while dancing and drink Coronas? This never happens to me…although I’ve gotten real good at jumping fences.
Let’s go dancing!
The main villain in the show is a fat, rich man in a barber chair named Master Blaster. This name is not to be confused with Blaster Master, the game about a boy who went through insane and dangerous heights to save his pet frog (or just used that as an excuse to be able to drive a cool tank). Master Blaster is a villain because he kidnaps actual recording artists from the real world and enslaves them in the cartoon’s alternate world, called the Flipside. Apparently, he forces the artists to play music and kidnaps Kidd Video with a Kryptonian prison transporter.
“A little off the sides, please”
Ok, here’s another problem I have with the show. It’s obvious that Master Blaster is powerful since he can grab celebrities from another dimension. So, if he can grab anyone, why would Kid Video be in the mix? The band does have some catchy songs, but with other artists out at the time, it seems like a waste. Ozzy Osbourne, Hall & Oats, Twisted Sister, Billy Joel, the black Michael Jackson? C’mon! I know it’s only a cartoon mostly for kids, but it’s also bad storytelling. Cartoons had more sophisticated stories back then so it’s no excuse. I am talking crap though. Even with these holes, I enjoyed the show a lot.
Kidd Video is better than this?
The other regular characters left is Glitter and the Copycats. Glitter is a fairy who left the movie Flashdance in order to live in the Flipside and helps Kidd Video when they arrive. She’s basically the guide for the band of this alternate world and gains the power of super strength when she sneezes. Glitter is also in full-on 80’s mode. She has leg warmers and wears a headband. All she was missing was a hard body and the ability to pop and lock on the ceiling.
The Copycats were the henchmen of Master Blaster. Not only did they do his bidding, but they were able to perform the songs of others. The only catch is that they could only perform songs of the performing artists they kidnapped. Once they captured musicians, the Copycats were able to mimic their talents perfectly. They were the worst kind of tribute band.
As I said before, Kid Video would air one of their own live-action music videos at the end of the episode. These videos are what I remember the most of the show because of the catchy 80’s tunes. The two videos I remember the most was “You Better Run,” and “TLC.” You better run was basically a standard performance of the song.
Watching the video reveals how gloriously cheesy this was. It screams 80’s with the heavy emphasis on the synthesizers, square and triangle shapes, and steel décor. Every time I watch it, I’m transported to a simpler time where I had no worries and could play Nintendo all day. What would make this perfect is a slice of pizza and Yoo Hoo.
TLC actually has some sort of story to it. Carla is unconscious in the hospital and the rest of the band members sneak into the hospital to help her. A sign on Carla’s bed states that she needs a little TLC. She finally wakes up when Whiz connects a wire to her temple and pushes a key on the synthesizer, then they celebrate in the hospital. We find out later that TLC stood for Totally Lackluster Chorus.
Regardless of how cheesy this show was, it still is a pretty cool show and I would love to see it restored and released. The only problem with that is the music rights would hold back this cartoon from being released on DVD. According to this website, the show producers only paid for Saturday morning rights to the music. This means that the work of other recording artists could be used only on Saturday morning. The show was shown elsewhere in syndication but most of the songs were replaced. The Kidd Video music is usable but that’s it. You can see how this is a problem when Lionel Richie was kidnapped. The show wouldn’t work without him or the other songs.
I’ve seen this happen with other shows and it is annoying. I’ve watched shows like Captain N: the Game Master and the Super Mario Bros. Super Show on DVD and a bunch of songs used in action scenes were cut and replaced with generic crap. One idea is to release a few episodes at a time, but that may be too expensive. It’s why we never see box sets of Muppet Babies; the cost to pay for extra movie clips are expensive. Bold people make their own DVDs and sell them on eBay but I don’t know if I want to risk getting screwed on there. It’s bad enough that I get screwed by others who enter stores and restaurants and sell bad quality bootleg DVDs from their black plastic bags.
As I said before, the show ran for two seasons and then ran a couple more in syndication. You may see it around, but for the most part it disappeared. Fans of the show have uploaded episodes on YouTube and/or wrote about it, like me. What’s strange about the cartoon is that it became really popular in Israel. I mean really popular. The band performed there and everything. What solidified their popularity over there is an actual album release. Kidd Video released an album of their song from the cartoon only in Israel.
See the hebrew text?
Now, I’m not a legal genius (not yet), so I don’t know if its legal to download an album that’s never been released in the U.S., Canada, or a country outside Israel, especially with the law constantly changing. However, this fan site hosts the actual album. I figure if there’s no way to buy the album, then why can’t I download it?
It is a good album and it’s fun to play when feeling nostalgic. The quality is pretty good, especially since I do not believe a CD album was released. It’s something good to have tucked away in your iPod for when the mood arrives.
Kidd Video was an awesome show that was in tune with its time. There’s no mistaking what decade this show was released in when watching it and I think that’s good. It’s definitely a weird show, but that’s part of its charm. I hope fans of the show enjoyed reading, and if you never saw this, I recommend trying a few episodes with an open mind. It’s definitely not a waste of time.