Sunday, March 4, 2012

STSST Of The Day: March 4, 2012

Today's car of the day is Ertl's 1980 Shirt Tales SuperSonic Transport.

Shirt Tales are characters that were created in 1980 by greeting card designer Janet Elizabeth Manco and were featured on Hallmark Cards greeting cards. The characters were adapted into an animated series for TV by Hanna-Barbera, which first aired in 1982 on NBC.

Hallmark Cards released the Shirt Tale line of greeting cards with animal characters wearing T-shirts upon which was a message. The Shirt Tale cards were among Hallmark's best sellers at that time, which led the company to team with Hanna-Barbera Productions to adapt the Shirt Tales into a Saturday morning cartoon, which premiered on NBC on September 18, 1982. The card line remained, but faded shortly after the show left broadcast television in 1985.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Shirt Tales & Shirt Tales theme song

This is a cartoon I used to watch during my childhood in the 1980s.  If anyone is still reading this I will be impressed.  I will be even more impressed if anyone actually clicked the link and watched the theme song.  Bear in mind the kangaroo is voiced by none other than Bart Simpson (Nancy Cartwright).  Shirt Tales was part of an interesting phenomenon in the 1980s of characters created for greeting cards going on to cartoons, movies, and toylines.  Hallmark had Shirt Tales and Rainbow Brite, while American Greetings had Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Popples, and The Get Along Gang.  As far as I know, Shirt Tales was the only one of these properties to have 1/64 diecast released.

The animated Shirt Tales cartoon featured Tyg Tiger (in orange), Pammy Panda (in pink), Digger Mole (in light blue), Rick Raccoon (in red), and Bogey Orangutan (in green) (so called because he spoke using a Humphrey Bogart-style voice). They lived in Oak Tree Park and wore shirts which flashed various brightly lit messages reflecting the characters' thoughts. They spent their time teasing the park ranger, Mr. Dinkle, and battling crime in and out of their hometown of Mid City. They zipped around the world in a vehicle known as the STSST (Shirt Tales' SuperSonic Transport) which could operate as a car, jet, boat, submarine, and other forms of transportation. Though most law enforcement agencies knew of the Shirt Tales as crime fighters by reputation, few people seemed aware that they were talking animals—including, Mr. Dinkle, whom the group often had to trick to keep their secret safe.

Each episode was divided into two 11–minute segments. After the success of the 13 episodes in season one, ten episodes were created for season two. However, the show was semi-rebooted and Kip Kangaroo (in yellow) was added to the cast of characters without context for her joining the Shirt Tales. There is a difference in leadership among the Shirt Tales. In the first season Rick appeared to be the de facto leader. In the second season Tyg appeared to be the leader. Also several stories in season two either omit Rick altogether or give him a minor role in the story. The second season also added some superhero elements to the dynamic of the group as well; most notably the color of all their T-Shirts changing to a Bright Red Color when "Shirt Tale Time" is called for.

Buck Beaver (in whitish blue) helped the Shirt Tales use a tree as a bridge in "The Big Foot Incident" and helped them build an ark in "Dinkel's Ark". In the episode titles "Moving Time" 4 cousins out west were introduced for the episode only...Prairie Dog Pete (in red with black vest), Fillmore Fox (in green), Violett Skunk (in yellow), and Hoozitz Owl (in lavander). In "Back to Nature" Cubby Bear (in red) helped the Shirt Tales when a wild bear had Mr. Dinkle chased up a tree.

Following the initial run on NBC, Shirt Tales aired on CBS during the 1984-1985 Saturday morning season, replacing The Biskitts in their time slot. CBS aired selected episodes from its 2 season run on NBC until March 23, 1985, when The Biskitts were returned to the time slot for the rest of the 84-85 season.
On March 23, 1985, Shirt Tales was pulled from broadcast television for good ("Shirt Tales" was airing on CBS at the time), and the Hallmark franchise faded not long after as well. The show continued for a number of years as part of the USA Network's "Cartoon Express" and on Cartoon Network. Shirt Tales continues to be broadcast in selected countries around the world, including Boomerang.

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