“Awesome Cartoons” celebrates Earth Day with Captain Planet!!

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As you know J1 Fans, your pal Devildriver1313 has been taking you on a trip through time to the games and shows of the past. So far I have discussed the Cheesy side of the cartoon world. Now let me take on a journey to the awesome. This is the “Most Awesome Cartoons!!” Here I will feature cartoons that truly great and enjoyable in their own way. This first feature is significant with the day associated with it. To honor Earth Day, my first awesome cartoon is Captain Planet!


Our world is in peril! Gaia, the Spirit of Earth can no longer stand the terrible destruction plaguing our planet. She sends five magic rings to five special young people. We all know the rest, now don’t we?! Captain Planet and the Planeteers was the brainchild of media mogul and Turner Program Services founder Ted Turner along with Robert Larkin III, and Barbara Pyle. The series centered on a group of environmentally friendly teens who use the power Gaia gave them to defend the planet from pollution and promote ego preservation. Known as the Planeteers, they consist of Kwame, from Africa with the power of Earth, Wheeler, from North America, with the power of fire, Linka, from the Soviet Union (later Eastern Europe after the collapse of Russia’s communism), Gi, from Asia with the power of water and Ma-Ti with the power of heart. The Planeteers travel the world in their solar powered vehicles (so as not to pollute themselves) helping out whenever the environment is threatened, be it saving a whale from fishermen, stopping animal poachers or foiling the plans of the series’ Eco Villains who want nothing more than to turn the Earth into a wasteland. However, whenever the Planteers get into a jam, they combine their powers to summon Earth’s Champion, Captain Planet.

Actor Jeff Goldblum voice the sinister Verminous Skumm.

Actor Jeff Goldblum voice the sinister Verminous Skumm.

AWESOMENESS!! (no description necessary. It’s obvious.) What made Captain Planet awesome was that it encouraged kids then to be conservative about the environment and promoted that in a way that was easily relatable. The show’s Eco Villains have become just as memorable as the show heroes. They bared dastardly names that fit their favorite type of defecation. Hoggish Greedly was a pig like badguy who thrived on overusing fossil fuels and energy; Dr. Blight is a mad scientist who hides her scarred face behind her hair and represents the dangers of unlawful experimentation; Verminous Skumm is a rat/human hybrid who likes things filthy and loves crime and Duke Nukem (not to be confused with the video game character) is a radioactive mutant. And what is even more awesome is that many of these characters were voiced by well-known Hollywood and television actors including Levar Burton (Kwame), Jeff Goldblum (Verminous Skumm), Meg Ryan (Dr. Blight), Whoopi Goldberg (Gaia), Tim Curry (MAL), Maurice LaMarche (Duke Nukem) and Ed Asner (Hoggish Greedly).


Captain Planet is still an action cartoon even though it promoted environmental conservation and protection, and it did it in a positive way. The show was impactful in its campaign. It even dealt with real life scenarios. The “Say NO to Drugs” and AIDS Awareness campaigns were big talkers in the 90’s and those issues were featured in Captain Planet. In the anti drug episode, Linka’s brother Boris gets hooked on a fashion drug called Bliss and in turn becomes addicted herself. This episode showed the repercussions of drug abuse as Boris dies from an overdose. Yes, the show dealt with death which was something that wasn’t discussed in children’s programming. Very few cartoons would touch a sensitive subject such as this but Captain Planet conveyed the anti drug slogan in a very memorable and positive way. Captain Planet and the Planeteers spread their environmental protection message for six seasons, educating kids about the importance of preserving the environment and reducing waste. The Captain Planet Foundation was founded in 1991 by series producer Barbara Pyle who negotiated that a percentage of the show’s merchandising revenue would go to empower young people. Unfortunately in 2001, Time Warner decided to shut down the CPF due to a challenging merger with AOL. Laura Seydel and her husband Rutherford Seydel worked with Time Warner to orchestrate the transition of the corporate foundation to a public charity. In 2007, CPF acquired the rights to exhibit previous episodes of Captain Planet and the Planeteers online and on-air, thus “allowing this valuable resource to reach out and educate the children of today!”

Captain Planet is still adored by fans who listened to his message. Hey, how many crystal blue super heroes can rock a green mullet?!

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