Each Saturday morning, we’ll remind you of the time when it was still cool to wake up early on weekends. So whenever the hell you wake up these days, there will be a nostalgic treat waiting for you, reminding you of those old jammies you used to wear and that old television set. They make even less sense now, but that’s half the fun. We hope you enjoy.

The Cartoon: Shirt Tales
Animation Studio: Hanna-Barbera Productions
Original Run: September 18, 1982 – January 21, 1984

Episodes: 46
Seasons: 2

The Characters:

  • Kip the Kangaroo
  • Tyg the Tiger
  • Pammy Panda
  • Rick Raccoon
  • Digger Mole
  • Bogey Orangutan
  • T.J. Tiger
  • Mr. Dinkle
  • Commissioner
Shirt Tales Title Screen

The Setting:

The main six animals (T.J. the Tiger, Tyg’s nephew, only makes occasional annoying appearances) live in Oak Tree Park, a central park of sorts
in the middle of a giant city full of high rises called Mid City. The animals live
underneath a giant tree in the middle of the park among the roots in a series of caves where there is
magically room enough for giant book cases, a juke box, chez lounges, and a control center. 

The Gist:

The animals fight crime in their home town and zip around the world in their Super Sonic Bullshit car (or STSST: The Shirt Tales Super Sonic Transport vehicle which is good to know should you be required to answer this trivia question in order to get into a speakeasy)… to visit jungles, ghost towns, and tiny international landmarks like the Taj Mahal. The talking animal citizens help to keep the park clean and assist the world in things like catching
robbers and retrieving stolen cassette tapes. Whatever they are thinking flashes in bold letters on their shirts… like “UH-OH!” “DANGER” and “FUCK THIS.”

They love to tease Mr. Dinkle, the park ranger, but seem to have the park’s best interests in mind, even crafting a robot to help keep the park clean. The amount of technology at their paw-tips nearly rivals the Jetsons’. Between their car (it’s even got a GPS), the control center in the belly of the tree, the ability to turn vacuum cleaners into robots, and Digger’s front door being equipped with an electronic sliding glass door, you might begin to feel like these animals are faking knowing things.

The Short History:

They only made two seasons of this show, but it continued to air until 1985. The core group of characters spun out of a very popular series of Hallmark greeting cards that existed in 1980 and were best-sellers at the time. Each Saturday morning installment consisted of two 10 minute and thirty second episodes back to back. The second season added the annoying little sister type Kip the Kangaroo, not in the original crew.

The show seems to follow the common outline of helpful, polite, save-the-world lessons where everyone gets along after one of the characters stops being selfish, greedy, impulsive, scared, etc. We also learn that anything is possible if you just make up the technology to make it happen. From this show alone, every child viewer should have been inspired to be either a hopeless dreamer or an engineer after seeing the arsenal of world-saving equipment these fat pants-hating animals have.

The Merchandise:

A shit ton of stuffed animals with shirts you could velcro on or off. A neigbor handed one of these bitches to me when I was two. The shirt is long gone, and used to say “ENJOY!” in script. But after many, many cycles through the washing machine and after getting its face chewed off by one of my dogs, and its head ripped off and sewn back on by an ex-boyfriend, this is what one of these dust-mite filled things can look like 28 years later. From the recesses of a bedroom closet… TA DAH!!!

Rick Raccoon 30 years old
Time was not his friend.

You might have seen this commercial:

If your little ass was parked in front of the TV Saturday mornings in 1982, you might have seen the below jackass climbing a cliff and producing a Wheaties box from the shadows. He was preceded, of course, by a blonde girl in pig tails and karate getup smashing some bricks while singing. 

“Before I climb two thousand feeties, I get the eaties for my Wheaties!”

Tune in next Saturday morning for another installment.