If you were anything like me in the 90’s, Saturday morning cartoons reigned supreme. At some point TV networks seemed to lose their minds and green light anything for a cartoon. Multiple Jim Carrey movies (which will be covered), Musicians, rated R movies and even toys that you would never think of as a cartoon. Have you ever thought back about these and been like “Hey, what the fuck was that about”. Well I did, and I’ve decided to go back and revisit some of these cartoons, for you all (and a little for me as well).
To launch this amazing new feature, we will watch the 1994 cartoon, “Creepy Crawlers”. In 1994 ToyMax’s Creepy Crawlers toy line was in full effect. It was essentially your own personal toy creator. With the metal tray and magic plastic goop, you could bake worms, roaches, and monsters to creep your parents out, fight with your WWF Jakks action figures or just stick up your nose and walk around. ToyMax branched out into licenses as well, working with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Toy Story and Looney Toons. The “Magic Maker” (We always called it a Thing Maker in my house) had a variety of different “goops” as well, some glowing in the dark or emitting a fruit smell after you baked them.
If that isn’t an amazing premise for a children cartoon I don’t know what is. I mean who wouldn’t want to watch a kid fill the tray with goop, put it in the magic maker, wait 20 mins for them to cook, wait another 10 for it to cool, and then take them out. I mean that’s a whole episode right there! (What’s funny, is as I type that I realized, that’s basically what 95% of YouTube channels are right now!). Ho ho! You’d be mistaken if that was what the premise would be. It definitely would not be about a kid that created friendly monsters during a lunar odyssey in a magic maker that help him battle evil monsters also created by said magic maker…. would it?
It would. Take a listen to the amazing theme song to “Creepy Crawlers”. It of course features a white kid rapping (it was the 90’s, we all did it). Evil Professor Googengrime is trying to take over the world and it’s up to the magic loving Chris and this friends the “Goop-Mandos” to stop him. The first episode is an origin story, it gives an overview of the professor, who is also a magician, and how he was embarrassed by his fellow magicians when he couldn’t make an African Elephant (who is dressed as a stereotypical Japanese caricature by the way) disappear. He’s pretty angry that they laughed at him, even though he COMPLETELY FAILED.
Chris works in the Professors magic store, yet does almost no work, and deserving so, gets fired. Why does he get fired? Rather than working and cleaning the shop, he is in the basement creating his “Magic Maker” which explodes in the Professors face. Chris is tossed out of the shop, but returns that night to break in and steal the maker back. All while the Professor is on the roof, getting ready to ruin the world with some magic and a “once-every-thousand-years planetary alignment, the Magical Millennium Moment”. The event shoots a cosmic beam through the shop, into the basement, where it hits the maker and knocks over a shelve of magic shit in the maker. Following so far? I imagine the creator of this show in a Charlie Kelly conspiracy scenario, with a peg board full of red yarn and thumbtacks.
The Magic shit and the maker creates the aforementioned Goop-Mandos: Volt Jolt, Hocus Pocus and T-3. The Professor chases them all out of his basement and keeps the magic maker for himself. So the Goop-Mandos are all comic relief, and all “bugs”. Which you don’t really get if it hadn’t been told to you. Hocus Pocus does multiple impressions, which more annoying than the last. Volt Jolt is mexi-american and T-3 is a terminator wannabe. The mandos are eating everything in the kitchen and ruining Todds, who is Chris’s brother, car (turning it into the creepy cruiser). Professor creates Crime-Grimes at some sort of magic award ceremony and he sends one out to destroy the city. The Professor has some sort of cosmic power now, which isn’t explained at all, did what he was doing on the roof work?
All in all the show isn’t horrible. It’s a clear cash grab for the action figure market and not being 10 years old and realizing that makes it somewhat bearable (I loved it growing up). The show actually lasted for two seasons, 23 episodes and a complete line of action figures including a car. The coolest part of the action figures wasn’t their features or articulation. Each figure came with a new tray to create weapons or armor in your own magic maker! “Creepy Crawlers” was par for the course in the 90’s. Successful toy product needs to expand into another category so they create a cartoon that can push some ill conceived action figure line.
Join us next week as I trip down memory lane again and cover another fucked up cartoon from the 90s! If you have any ideas for cartoons you’d like me to cover you can leave a comment below, hit us up on facebook or IG, or even email me!