One of my favourite cartoons of the 80s, was based on a group of half human, half feline super heroes, known as the ThunderCats.
The ThunderCats were forced to flea their home planet of Thundera, when it was invaded, and on the verge of being blown to smithereens. They were the only survivors of their homeland and lead by Lion-o, who was just a kid when they originally fled. But because it took them a couple of decades to get to their destination, he was a grown man by the time they arrived… but only in body.
Lion-o, who was half Lion and half man, was assisted by his trusty weapon, the ‘Sword of Omens’, which allowed him to say things like ‘Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight!’ and it happened!
There was also his ‘Enchanted Claw’, which allowed him to get a heavy grip on the baddies. In addition, there were the words of guidance from Jaga, the original lord of the ThunderCats. He died during the journey to the Third Earth, but lived on in spirit.
The other ThunderCats were Panthro a mechanical whiz and a master with his laser-shooting nun chucks, Tygra, the resident architect, whose special power was the ability to place illusions in people’s minds. His weapon was a whip, and his special power, turning invisible. Then there was Cheetara, who could out-sprint Hussain Bolt, she was that fast. Her weapon was a ‘power staff’ and her special power, seeing into the future.
Twins Wilykit and Wilykat were the youngest members of the ThunderCats, and were mischievous kids, who helped foil the enemy with random pranks and tricks.
Lastly, there was Snarf, who was actually a fully-fledged feline. He was a bit of a scaredy cat (pardon the pun). He also acted as cook and cleaner for the rest of the crew. Lion-o’s longtime trusty companion, he surprisingly proved handy in saving his friends, every now and then.
(In series 2 there were additional ThunderCats, but by that time I had gotten too old to watch the show, so don’t really know much about them). Lol!
The ThunderCats new home was ‘Third Earth’, where they built the ‘Cat’s Lair’ – a high tech fortress, that housed all their vehicles and weapons, and they lived by the code of Thundera, which is
But instead of them being able to build a new life for themselves in peace, they were consistently pursued by evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra and his group of mutant goons, who wanted to get their hands on the eye of Thundera (the jewel etched in Lion-o’s Sword of Omens) and take control of Third Earth, by destroying the Thunder Cats!
The show was a huge hit in the UK, even bigger than it was in its home country, America. It premiered in 1987, two years after the US, and was on BBC1 once a week, first on CBBC, and then on Going Live and then other Saturday morning shows that succeeded Going Live. I still remember the theme tune “Thunder Cats are on the move, thunder cats are loose…’ And the way the logo shone out of Lion-o’s sword as the camera panned out at all of them. And that iconic call of: ‘Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, ThunderCats! Ho!’, which they echoed throughout the series!
Like all successful series, there were toys and other merchandise in large amounts as kids went mad for the show!
DID YA KNOW?
- There has been talk of Warner Bros putting together a big screen version of the cartoon. Actor /singer Tyrese has reportedly been signed up for a role.
- Earle Hyman, who provided the voice of the Thundercats’ resident mechanic Panthro, is better known to TV audiences as Russell Huxtable, Bill Cosby’s father on The Cosby Show.
Check out that memorable intro below! Ho!