Friday, June 11, 2010

Nostalgia Theater: Karate Kid Edition

The Karate Kid redux premieres today, and while a few folks out there are livid at the rank hubris it takes to redo such a beloved institution, I'm taking it mostly in stride.  After all, even if this one ends up being hugely successful, even if it generates its own set of diminished-returns sequels, I can almost guarantee you it'll never spawn this...

That's right, a cartoon show.  Eat that, Jaden Smith.  After all, what movie franchise in the 1980s was complete without one?  Produced by DIC, undisputed masters of animated mediocrity during that era, the Saturday Morning series aired for twelve episodes on NBC in fall of '89, just after The Karate Kid, Part III stunk up theaters, and four years before the The Next Karate Kid (starring Hilary Swank -- yes, that Hilary Swank) killed the franchise but good.

The plotline of the show -- with Daniel-San and Miyagi eschewing the tournament scene to travel the globe in search of the missing pieces of a mystical shrine -- bore some superficial similarities to the animated Jackie Chan Adventures from ten years ago, and, of course, the Miyagi role in the new film is played by...Jackie Chan.  You like how I brought this back full circle?  Anyway, you can watch abridged versions of the Karate Kid 'toon here (and trust me, you'll be grateful they're abridged).

Also, as a bonus piece of nostalgia for your viewing pleasure, here's an ad for Remco's Karate Kid toyline, which hit stores (and each other) in '86, right around the release of the first sequel.  The best part is that, in addition to encouraging kids to settle their grudges with violence, it also teaches them to speak to each other in stereotypical Japanese accents.  Score one for capitalism!

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