Cartoon theme music…

Does anyone remember the music in the ’80s Transformers and GI Joe cartoons that I can only best describe at “battle music”? It was only really played when the good guys were staging some sort of comeback, and the best example I can think of (supreme nerd alert here) is in the GI Joe “Serpentor” mini-series which introduced Sargent Slaughter, where Sgt. Slaughter led the charge against the BAT battalion in the first few minutes and then later in the third episode or something, fighting Dr. Mindbender at Sun Tzu’s tomb.

(Yeah I told you it was supreme nerd alert!)

It was reused a number of times in both series, and while I can find the clips on YouTube, I can not find any other references yet on the web—much less an MP3 of said music. Other than most of that music for those cartoons was composed by Robert Walsh, I think.

Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? Or am I just crazy?

Paper Transformers

Via Boing Boing tonight comes a link to the PaperFormers, where you can print out the PDF files of cut-and-fold Transformer designs, and actually build working Transformers out of paper.

This takes me back; when I was young—probably around 12 or so—I used to create paper Transformers pretty much like these, though not nearly as elaborate. All I used was white paper, masking tape and small modelling sticks. Basically, I’d draw the design I’d want on the paper, usually in several pieces. Sometimes I’d color them. They were drawn to be foldable, with overlapping tabs for the tape and/or sticks to attach to. And they transformed, which of course was essential.

None survived to this day, of course. But they’re fun to do; maybe I’ll make some for the kids.

More than Meets the Eye

To my great delight, Amazon.com has the entire first season of the Transformers on DVD. This was the perfect television show that embodied the 1980s: a wildly popular cartoon whose sole purpose was to support an insanely popular line of toys, and yet there was such a seamless integration between the two that at times it seemed toys were introduced because they had characters in the cartoon (like the Dinobots and Constructicons).

I was a total tool for the Transformers— the toys and the cartoon both. One thing that always bothered me about them, though, was the names of the various factions; in the beginning, there were two: the good guys were the Autobots, and the bad guys were the Decepticons. Simplistic, yet descriptive: the Autobots were robots based on cars, and the Decepticons were deceptive robots that were bad (like cons— as in convicts). If you didn’t look for any real meaning behind the names, fine. But why did they always have new factions or groups with names ending in “bot” (for the good guys) and “con” (for the bad guys)?

That was just plain silly, even to my brainwashed mind. It was the laziness of marketing greed going too far, and destroying the illusory experience of deeper meaning. I mean, really. Right off the top of my head I can recall (aside from the Autobots and Decepticons) Dinobots, Constructicons, Insecticons, Aerialbots, Motorcons, and Predacons.

So then, I have to ask: where do Emoticons fit in? You know, emoticons— those plain-character simulated facial expressions that are an inseparable part of Internet culture (like

:)

to indicate a smile,

;)

to indicate a wink, and

:P

to indicate sticking your tongue out). Are they what they appear? Or are they really a new breed of Decepticon? Or, a clever synergy of ’80s toy culture and post-modern Internet culture?

Perhaps only I know the true answer…

Some Transformers links for the stalwart: