Sunday Stupid: BraveStarr (or at least the intro)
Let me say that I have no beef with BraveStarr, a late-1980s product of the dying Filmation studio, as I’ve never seen a single episode in my entire life. It may be a paragon cartoon virtue, a credit to its medium and humanity in general. Indeed, it was a show that squarely put a Native American character at the forefront, as the titular hero no less. Saturday mornings have always been lily-white, Richard Pryor shows notwithstanding, and a little ray of diversity sunshine can’t be cast aside out of hand, especially when it’s at the top of the marquee.
But its song-and-action intro sequence — something every cartoon that wants to sell some damn toys has to have — has one of the goofiest moments I’ve ever seen. EVER. When I saw it, I exploded with laughter, which is about as literal a description of my reaction as I can offer.
For those unfamiliar with BraveStarr and his mythos, here’s the Cliff Notes: He was a lawman on another world in the future, New Texas, one where a rare mineral was mined. Said rare mineral was a major source of contention, and loads of villains, mainly the nefarious Tex-Mex, his bete noire, vied for its control. BraveStarr was the first and last line of defense of this futuristic Wild Westy oil fieldish whatever, who could summon animal-based powers — hawk, puma, wolf, bear — when guns didn’t get the job done.
So the intro. It all goes just fine, with a narrated summation of the info in the above paragraph done in a Southwestern style that’s reminiscent and worthy of any “BEEF — IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER!” television ad. But then you get one minute in. That’s when Thirty-Thirty, BraveStarr’s cyborg horse that can transform into a muscular bipedal sidekick, stands back to back with his master — and they wink at each other. This has to be one of the goofiest moments in cartoon opening history. I’m not sure what it is, because a mutual wink isn’t by itself all that odd. It could be the totality of the circumstances, which culminates in a shared moment of combat levity with a damn horse that transforms into a muscular equine Terminator. Maybe it’s that said muscular equine Terminator carries a huge blunderbuss.
A space blunderbuss. I mean, really.
And please note, it’s not just me who finds this remarkable: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the one image in the body of the show’s Wikipedia page is of this moment.
Anyway, BraveStarr and Thirty-Thirty — thanks for some ’80s cartoon Sunday Stupid.