Monday, September 30, 2013

30 years of Roll Out - by Jon Cain

          I was reading a article over retro things last week. All the normals were there Nintendo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dino Riders etc. However, Transformers were not listed among the many toys and electronics, and that kind of put my nose out of joint. I mean quite possibly the greatest longest lasting toy line ever, snubbed. I was only slightly vindicated when he mentioned the comic line, but when he broke into the shows he snubbed it again. He mentioned shit like Silver Hawks,  Bucky O' Hare and Samurai Pizza Cat, but no Transformers. At this point, I was livid. None of theses shows lasted as long as Transformers. Granted, the original series lasted only 4 seasons, but the follow up series propelled it until the mid 90's. Yet this guy acts like this he has never even come across it.

            I might sound a bit bitter, but coming from me, would you expect anything less? Transformers is the very first show I  remember. In many way the lessons I learned from it shaped my young life. To not give this animated series its proper respect is a hot button topic of mine. Yeah it is campy and the catch phrases are a bit hokey but that's it's charm. I  would argue to say that never has such a powerful show existed until Transformers. There was not a person in the 80's or 90's who didn't know what the Transformation sound was. I mean for a television show to start 29 years ago and a comic 30 years ago and still be relevant says something.

            I often try to remember what it was that drew me into it in the first place. I truly come up blank. I mean really as along as I have been in this world so has transformers. I mean nothing I watch feels so comforting to me then good old G1. From the moment I hear Peter Cullen “Optimus Prime” say Roll Out I feel home. Just in voice casting alone there is a wealth of talent. With the likes of  Scatman Crothers,  Casey Kasem, and  John Moschitta Jr., you would be hard pressed to find a better pool of talent. So if I can't discover my own origins, it brings me to a question. At bass level, what is Transformers exactly?

            It is about a bunch of giant shape changing robots who crash on Earth. Once awake from their multi million year nap they continue the war that broke out on their planet. What a great concept for a kids TV show. Giant war thirsty robots wanting to kill us all. Stopped by friendly giant robots bent on our protection. How does it get any better?

            This show could pull things like a space bridge, which looked like a rainbow road in space, and we bought it. They could give the Italian sports car an Italian accent and we saw Side Swipe, not a overly racial filled caricature of a Italian person. They could say leaking lubricant and we never thought ewwww.  The 1986 animated movie actually used the song Dare to Be Stupid by Weird Al and ended  with a circle dance. Yet we loved and I still do love it. This movie killed Optimus Prime and yet we still watched it. Tear filled eyes in our head but damn it we watched it. How much more can TV series do before it is classified as an amazing series?  Transformers G1 had 98 original episodes - that’s a lot by kid shows standards. Hell, the only one I know that had more was He-man and The Masters of the Universe.

            Love it or hate it, Transformers G1 left a mark on the 80's and 90's no other cartoon series could have. It showed some the wonders right out their door. Others, it caused them to look towards the heavens in hopes of not being alone. In my case it made to brothers closer and closer with every single episode. We may not have always got along with each others, I may have been the annoying younger brother and he the bully older. However Transformers was neutral ground. During that brief 30 minutes  day all was right with the world. So be it nostalgia or whatever you want to call it, I love Transformers, and will always do so.

This article was written in memory of
William E. Cain
Till All Are One

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