Friday, April 13, 2007

Can I do a half assed update to the Space Toaster Palace?-YOU BET I CAN

I break form a little in this week's update to Vintage Space Toaster Palace by including content that isn't newspaper based for a toyline that never existed. I put in a section on Mighty Orbots consisting of two pages from Mattel's 1985 Toy Fair catalog. They show what I believe to be the prototype of the only official Mighty Orbots combiner toy. (A non combining bootleg figure of a different mold was released in South Korea but I don't know that it ever saw US release in any form.)

It's tough to say what definitively happened to Mighty Orbots and why (or if) the toy was never produced and why the show got cancelled. The internet is rife with speculation but I do know a lawsuit filed against Mattel by Tonka seeked to prevent distribution of the toy on the grounds that the Orbots line was too similar in name and appearance to Tonka's GoBots. I don't know much more beyond that. I'm rather positive that the show was cancelled after the first season not due to lawsuits but because it tanked opposite the Smurfs. The Smurfs ruled Saturday morning television and Mighty Orbots just had the misfortune to be in a time slot against them. I don't think much of anything could have beaten Smurfs. The Transformers would probably have suffered the same obscure fate the Orbots did if they were a Saturday morning network show up against Smurfs.

Misfortune aside, Orbots was a fantastic show that I loved. I wish it would get released on DVD like so many other TMS entertainment shows like Galaxy High and Galaxy Rangers have been lately. In the meantime I just keep going to these pages over and over again trying to relive the magic of the best robot show that couldn't use laser beams:

    Orbots creator interviews and information

  • Interview with animation writer Buzz Dixon-From Quick Kick's Theatre, this is a 1986 interview that was originally published in David Anthony Kraft's COMICS INTERVIEW magazine. Buzz wrote two episodes of Mighty Orbots and Orbots was one of his very first jobs (that actually got aired) in the animation industry. In the interview he talks about how Orbots had great ratings that were always within a few points of first place, and he reveals inside information on why it got canned.

  • Interview with animation director Osamu Dezaki-In this interview Mr. Dezaki talks about his experiences in animation and briefly reflects on what it was like working on Mighty Orbots.

  • Profiles of Osamu Dezaki and Akio Sugino-This page has comprehensive background information on the series director and character designer. There's a picture of Mr. Dezaki there for those wanting to see what he looks like.

  • Michael Reaves, Orbots story editor-This is the personal site of Michael Reaves, the show's consultant and story bible writer. He also wrote or co-wrote more episodes of Mighty Orbots than any other person.

  • John Cawley's GET ANIMATED!-GET ANIMATED! was a fanzine dedicated to animation published back in 1985. If you like Orbots you absolutely must have issue #3 of GET ANIMATED! It features a cover story chock full of Orbots information. At only $5 a copy (including shipping!) I guarentee you won't be dissapointed.

    Orbots Mailing list

  • Mighty Orbots Fan Page-This is the only active (as of January 2005) Yahoogroup I know about dedicated to Mighty Orbots.

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