Saturday Morning Flashback: 10 of the Trippiest Kids’-Show Intros Ever

by Mikey Rox

Remember when you burst out of bed on Saturday mornings at the crack of dawn to catch all-new episodes of your favorite animated and live-action shows. You’d were glued to the TV for hours, stuffing your face with sugar-coated cereal – right after you fished out the prize and made the box bulge – while popular characters of the day invited you into their wacky worlds.

Times, they sure have changed.

Not only is the no-frills animation of your childhood all but a memory, but somebody better be on their death bed for you to witness the weekend sunrise after a long workweek.

Still, you can reminisce. To facilitate this blast from the past, we’ve chosen 10 of the weirdest intros to crazy cartoons and live-action series that you didn’t think twice about then but can now appreciate in all their trippy glory given your worldly wisdom. Take a ride on the magic carpet – or school bus as it were – and when you’re done, let us know your picks for trippiest intros in the comments section below.

1. Smurfs’ Adventures

The 1980s gave us an abundance of trippy cartoon intros, which makes it all the more difficult to whittle down our selection to only 10. One spot, however, definitely belongs to the Smurfs, who, after having their entire village burnt to the ground and flooded by evil wizard Gargamel, close the opening credits of “Smurfs’ Adventures” running from vicious cat, Azrael, and hiding in the stump of a tree. A bit dark for a Saturday morning kids’ show, no?

2. Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears

You have to be pretty daft to miss the blatant suggestion in Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears that drinking a special concoction will give you magical powers. When we were kids, it was Gummi Berry juice. Now it’s gin and juice. Feel free to forward your rehab bills to the House of Mouse.

3. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse

Where to begin? If the rabid beaver or claymation pterodactyl didn’t scare the bejesus out of you, then Paul Reubens portraying a perpetual man-boy with a talking plush chair, beatnik puppet band, and a bodiless genie probably did. Unless, of course, you were already high on Cinnamon Toast Crunch by the time it came on.

4. The Magic School Bus

Your rowdy ride to school had nothing on “The Magic School Bus,” which saw Ms. Frizzle’s science class gliding through the depths of the ocean, soaring through space, and exploring the insides of the human body – boogers and all. We wish we were kidding. Don’t miss the snot rocket halfway through.

5. Los Fruittis

Unless you speak Spanish, you probably missed this foreign-born cartoon that made its way to the United States in the early 1990s. “Los Fruittis” was set on a volcanic island inhabited by a community of fruits (angry lemons with shark-like teeth among them), nuts, vegetables, legumes, and plants. At least they’re suppose to be fruits and veggies; besides the banana and strawberry, it’s hard to tell what the rest of the characters are in this very lengthy 2-plus-minute intro, which is clearly the result of too much tequila.

6. 12 oz. Mouse

We can pretty much assume that “12 oz. Mouse” creator Matt Maiellaro – also half responsible for “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” – was high as a kite when tossing around ideas for the spastic intro to this animated series that ran 20 episodes on Adult Swim. He might be a pyromaniac, too.

7. The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald

If you don’t like clowns, this is probably why.

8. Care Bears

The Care Bears were total junkies. If the original intro isn’t enough to convince you, this clip from their latest incarnation – courtesy of “The Soup” – will.

9. Spongebob Squarepants

Spongebob Squarepants Intro by WaksackisBack

Nickelodeon has a storied past of creating cartoons that appeal to both kids and adults – though for entirely different reasons. “SpongeBob SquarePants” is among the network’s most popular, and its intro (much like Clarissa) explains it all.

10. Pokemon

The original Pokemon intro is trippy all right, but there’s an episode out there that tops it. In December 1997, at least 618 children in Japan suffered seizures triggered by a scene that featured a “vaccine bomb” detonated to destroy a computer virus. A flashing red light in the eyes of Pikachu followed for five seconds, which allegedly caused many of the kids watching at the time to have an epileptic reaction that including convulsions and vomiting.

Have suggestions for the trippiest cartoon intros of all time? Let us know in the comments below.

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