Last week, I found myself in the middle minutes of my weekly shower when a song popped into my head that I couldn't place immediately.
A series of "da da da dahs" and then the words "dashing and daring, courageous and caring" were all I could remember. It wasn't until a revelation later that night—as my girlfriend was cooking dinner—that the champagne-soaked gummy bears gave me the answer.
It was the theme to Disney's "Gummi Bears" cartoon with a chorus you can't help but shout to the skies. "Guuuumi bears! Bouncing here and there and everywhere!" That song had bored into my subconscious and only poked to the surface at a later age. It's been in my head all week.
After my obsession with "Gummi Bears" subsided—and I finally gave up on making gummy berry juice (a mild amphetamine, apparently)—I started thinking about other TV themes of my childhood that still resonate. I've listed them below.
Of course, I'm sure you have a few catchy TV themes of your own. Any that are particularly clingy later in life? List them in the comments section.
"Let's introduce the Zoobles to you!" The elementary-age show "Zoobilee Zoo" was a noted program and an essential aspect of my formative years. It stars Ben Vereen as Mayor Ben and a cast of "Zoobles" with different interests and backgrounds. I most identified with Bravo the Fox and his eagerness to perform. My childhood friend Phillip would often have "romantic dreams" involving Whazzat the Kangaroo. It was the theme song—an introduction to the cast—that I'll still find myself singing on occasion. The late '80s to early '90s was a wonderful time to grow up.
"When your room looks kind of weird and you wish you weren't there" is only a portion of this weird show that took the cast of The Muppets—of which I was already familiar—and placed them in a nursery as animated toddler versions of themselves. Like "Zoobilee Zoo" above, the theme song is an introduction to the varying character traits of the cast. I'm not the only person to remember how weird this show was, with the headless nanny and Gonzo's odd (and that's putting it mildly) affection for a stuffed chicken.
"Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats"
Heathcliff was a junkyard Dumpster cat who—as the theme song suggests—spent much of his time "terrorizing his neighborhood." The theme song is memorable because it sounds like a parody of an Eddie Money song. The lyrics are also strange for a kid's show. As we see Heathcliff being chased down the street, the lyrics suggest the cat is "mixing with the ladies fair, always charming … debonair"—that last word I still have to look up whenever I use it. Another weird one that wasn't weird until I grew up and thought about it.
"Welcome to Pooh Corner"
Maybe it was the costumed characters that drew me to this show, but live-action Pooh is the only Winnie the Pooh that I ever appreciated. The show features, of course, Mr. Pooh, a bear who is "a tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluffies" as the central character. But all the characters are there: Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit and the inimitable Tigger. If there was one show that occupied my early childhood, it was "Welcome to Pooh Corner." As I look back at this show, the characters are actually pretty solidly designed puppets. I can see why I enjoyed this show so much. This theme is far superior, in my opinion, to the later cartoon theme.
I collected toys from many of the shows I watched as a kid. I still have toys stowed away from "He-Man," "Thundercats" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," as well as a bunch of World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling figures. But my favorite was always "M.A.S.K.," a show specifically designed to sell the toys. It only ran two seasons, but it left an impact on me that will remain for a lifetime. I need to find the original "M.A.S.K." episodes somewhere and have a viewing. I rarely hear people talk about "M.A.S.K.," but it was my jam back in the day. The theme song is terrible but memorable.
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