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When I was a kid, back in the 80's and 90's..(yeah, I am in my 30's, sue me) I remember that kids shows were sort of a roll of the dice. Some were great and lived on as classics that are still show today, and others vanished over night.
The 90's were pretty tame, as that was sort of the decade of clones. Power Rangers gave way to VR Troopers, Big Bad Beetle Borgs and a lot of other shows that didn't last past a couple of seasons.
Ninja Turtles also spawned many clones that failed within one or two seasons, like Street Sharks, Biker Mice from Mars and a bunch of other similar flops.
One could say that the 90's were pretty tame, just repetitive.
The 80's though, my very early years, those were a time when a kid could turn on a TV and either be delighted or deeply disturbed. Here are a few examples of what I remember.
-Pinwheel House on Nickelodeon was sort of their version of Sesame Street. It had a pretty normal puppet cast, but in between the puppet/live actor scenes, they showed a lot of shorts from what I believe to be European kid shows. Some of the more disturbing scenes I remember as a kid from that show were,
A frog and some kids lived around a pond under the care of a wizard. The frog was sort of the antagonist of the show, not in a villainous way, just sort of mischief. In one episode, I think the frog was mocking other animals because he could swim in the cold water while they were sweating on the shore. So, the wizard casts a spell on the frog, freezing him in place while being forced to wear a winter coat and hat. The frog stood there, dying from the heat, while all his friends swam and splashed just inches from him. In the end, the frog learned his lesson and the wizard allowed him to move again, but still...it seemed pretty morbid that all of his friends just ridiculed him as he was slowly dying from dehydration.
-There was a Claymation movie made in the 80's that told many of the Mark Twain stories. One of course was 'The Mysterious Stranger.' In this short scene, Twain, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer meet Satan. He allows them to build a civilization complete with families, governments...pretty much a representation of our own world. Satan then proceeds to bring down all the curses upon these little people, causing them all to die. Twain and his friends quickly leave, but not before the Satan character gives a freaky telling of the futility of mankind. (This one can be found on Youtube if anyone wants to be disturbed.)
-Anyone remember David the Gnome? A great story that used to come on in the late 80's and early 90's. He was kind, loving and taught us all lessons about respecting nature and each other. In the last episode, he and his wife both die. It isn't a notional death either. He takes his wife out to a field where they proceed to turn into trees. The end. (Also on Youtube.)
-When I was a kid, I remember there was this cartoon that came on that taught biblical lessons. They did an episode about a man going to hell, and I have to say, it was one of the most graphic and drawn out 'hell scenes' that I ever saw in a cartoon. Unlike in other cartoons, like Bugs Bunny, where hell was shown to be occupied by a cheesy cliché devil, this really showed people suffering, badly. I remember it went on for a few minutes too. I have tried to find this on Youtube, but it seems to not be uploaded anywhere.
Those are the ones that I can still remember. They stuck with me because, as I said, back when I was a kid, you sort of had no idea what you were about to get into. There was no internet to go and get answers from later either. You just got your warped message or freaky scene of suffering, and had to just sit there and digest that.
So, does anyone else have any strange, disturbing or just plain horrifying kid shows that they stumbled upon by accident back in their development days? Share 'em so we can all be disturbed together!