Super Mario Brothers (1989)
Over the years, I have enjoyed a lot of computer games that have featured the Super Mario characters, including ones on the Nintendo Game Boy, SNES, and beyond. By the late-80s, these games had become popular enough for there to be a cartoon version launched on TV. I do remember watching this series, but I’m fairly sure that it wasn’t shown on CITV’s afternoon strand (or if it was that’s not where I saw it).
In 1993 GMTV launched replacing TV-am. I was interested in what children’s programming they would offer, including what would replace the classic half-term show Wacaday. It turned out that the GMTV equivalent of this was It’s Not!, and among the regular features was the Super Mario Brothers cartoon, usually shown in two parts at around 9am.
The idea of the cartoon is that one day Mario and his brother Luigi are transported into the Mushroom Kingdom where they meet some rather strange characters. Among them are Toad and Princess Toadstool, and the main enemy is King Koopa, who has had enough of those pesky plumbers. Each episode would begin with Mario explaining the story in his “Plumber’s Log”, and he could also change colour to transform in Super Mario. As always, they’ve got to save the day, and one of the things that I liked about the show was that it contained a lot of the sound effects from the games. And of course, they all had lotsa spaghetti.
On GMTV, only the cartoon segment was shown. It wasn’t until I decided to a watch few episodes online recently that I realised that was only part of the show. As well as the cartoon, the actors who provided the voices of Mario and Luigi would also appear onscreen dressed as these characters (with their impressive moustaches), and they would take part in some rather corny sketches along with a few celebrity guests (and a good deal of canned laughter).
Every edition would also end with us being encouraged to “Do The Mario”, a dance routine that wasn’t embarrassing at all. There were 52 episodes of The Super Mario Brothers Super Show (to give it its full title) made, and a few of these were released on VHS in the UK. This led to two sequel series, The Adventures Of Super Mario Brothers (1990), and Super Mario World (1991). Again, I’m not if any of these were shown in the UK.
Some of the episodes from the show have also become a big success online in more recent years. There was also a Super Mario live-action film in the mid-90s, but let’s not think about that for now. Another popular computer game that was turned into a cartoon around the same time as this was Sonic The Hedgehog, and I plan to review that one soon too.