Queue up the Cartoons

We all grow up wondering why TV and film aren’t as good these days as when we were young. Yes, nostalgia is rose-tinted. I fondly remember a lot of the cartoons and puppet-laden children’s shows of my early years, and I firmly believe the fact that I encountered dragons and gnomes and trolls as a young one opened up and fostered my imagination and contributed greatly to my current love of SFF.

I’ve been collecting some of the gems of my youth, to store away in rich chests of the finest Ikea make, for my children to watch when they’re old enough.

Here are a few of the shows and movies I’ve collected so far:


David the Gnomedavidthegnome

Flight of Dragons

The Hobbit

Last of the Unicorns

The Phantom Tollbooth

Rikki Tikki Tavi


I’ve also got my eye on adding:


Alice in Wonderland (1985)sheera

Schoolhouse Rock

Fraggle Rock 

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller

Samurai Jack (Ok, maybe I wasn’t a kid for this one, but)

The Secret of the Sword (I’ve got some of the old He-Man cartoons on DVD, but in my opinion this movie can stand alone just fine)


I’ll probably throw a little animu in there, as well – at least Spirited Away.

I remember liking a show called Eureeka’s Castle as a kid, too. Apparently R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame was its head writer! Would have loved to pick that up for future generations, but it seems not to have been released to DVD. Under the Umbrella Tree is similarly lost.

Dear readers – what were some of your favorite shows as a kid? Any that you’d like your kids to see someday, or that you introduced to them?


  1. Oh man, the Phantom Tollbooth. I re-watched it for the first time in 10 years last Christmas. Such a good movie. Hasn’t lost any of its magic, as far as I’m concerned. But it’s definitely a movie that you appreciate more as an Adult, when you can understand some of its subtler messages. The book is fun, but I actually think the movie is more appropriate for children.

    Another movie that I enjoy really fondly is The Pagemaster; a boy enters a library to escape a storm and is transformed into an animated illustration by the Pagemaster. He has to work through obstacles from classic books to return to real-life. Great, fun movie and educational at the same time.

    My favorite TV shows were more superhero ones, like Batman: The Animated series, the X-men, Spider-man etc. But I also really enjoyed Samurai Jack, Animaniacs, the He-man Series, Transformers and G.I. Joe.

    When I have kids I definitely want to introduce them to all of the above. They’ve contributed greatly to my love for heroic and adventurous stories, and for history as well.

    • You are a man of great taste.

      The Pagemaster! I need to revisit that. Barely remember it, but the premise sounds very fun.

      Oh yeah – X-Men was great. I forgot about that, and G.I. Joe and TMNT. Lots of great cartoons back then, though I wonder how it’s all aged. I revisited He-Man back in college and didn’t enjoy it as much as I remembered.

      • Yeah, some have aged like fine wine and some like sour milk. I re-watched a few episodes of He-Man again this year and promptly stopped. It’s not bad, still very enjoyable, but I’d rather remain with the old good memories than have them tarnished by new ones 🙂

        Would still take it over many of the cartoons these days.

        • I enjoyed He-Man back in the day and have it a try last year. And while it didn’t hold up as well, one thing I appreciated was som fantastic world building. I’d love some more stories set in the world of Eternia.

  2. Sorry, my kids are only going to eat branflakes and read Dickens. maybe if I’m feeling wild I’ll let them eat shredded wheat and watch The Andy Griffith show. Maybe…

  3. Bookstooge, you sound like my Dad. Except with him it was Cheerios and Shakespeare/Arthur Conan Doyle.

    And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

  4. I have been hoarding classic cartoons and tv shows for years and now that I have kids I have an excuse for keeping the cartoons without looking like a weirdo to most people. My complete collection is long, but the favorites that I really look forward to watching with the little ones are:
    G.I. Joe
    Thundarr the Barbarian
    Speed Racer

    David the Gnome is great, we actually watched that the other the day. I haven’t seen the Phantom Toll Booth in years, but your post has really made me want to find a copy again. I remember repeatedly checking out a copy from the library when I was a kid, along with the same Gumby and Fraggle Rock tapes. Probably drove my parents crazy.

    • Some excellent choices there. I forgot about Thundarr! And Gumby – yesss! Now did you get all these on DVD, or some other format(s)?

      • I’ve got them in a variety of formats. VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, and various digital formats. I’ve backed up most of the disks and have a nice media center setup with Kodi. But I haven’t gotten around to converting the tapes yet. It just seems like so much work.

        • Very nice. Yeah, my sister’s got one of those VHS > DVD converters, but we’ve never messed with it. Now you’ve got me curious about how easy it’ll be and how the quality will be.

  5. I too was a G.I. Joe fan. Besides the movie, which was great, I liked many of their multi-episode arcs (the Shipwreck based episode where he wakes up married to a woman he met in another episode is a stand out). Surprisingly mature storytelling.

    Pirates of Darkwater was another interesting show that didn’t last long enough. Tailspin was Disney was such a cool Dieselpunk series that Instill get a lot of inspiration from it.

    I was also a fan of M.A.S.K.: Illusion is the ultimate weapon!

    But my absolute favorite was a somewhat niche, esoteric show from PBS: The Secret City with Commander Mark. Commander Mark taught how to draw cool stuff in 3-D. I watched that whenever I was able.

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