Meatloaf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For all the trouble YouTube algorithms can cause for creators every now and then the recommended videos come up with something interesting for the viewer. For example, how many of you out there remembered Pandamonium, last week’s Showcase? Well, looking that show up and all the 80s cartoon intro videos I’m addicted to led YouTube to recommend another lost CBS Saturday morning cartoon. So tonight we have Meatballs And Spaghetti, and for once we aren’t talking about what I’m having for supper tonight. I don’t even eat meatballs. And it’s another I didn’t remember coming from Marvel Productions.

But the oddest choice is who is often pointed to as the inspiration for this 80s rock and roll cartoon: Meat Loaf! Yes, because when I think of “kids entertainment” I know I immediately think of a guy whose biggest hits by that point included a song about agreeing to marry a woman just so she’ll sleep with you in the backseat of your car. And some of you out there complain about a Rambo cartoon? Meatballs And Spaghetti is one of those “musicians trying to make it big” shows that all but died out by the end of the 1970s. And it’s a comedy, as these shows usually are. In this case it’s the husband and wife team of Meatballs and Spaghetti. Yes, he’s overweight and she’s a pencil on legs, but if you’ve followed Kevin James’ career you’re already used to that. Joined by clueless bassist Clyde and the drum-playing dog Woofer…no, this isn’t another Scooby-Clone but they do run into trouble a lot.

The episode I was pointed to has the group trying to save a beach pizza joint and protect a magic carpet from some Pakistani stereotypes. And if this isn’t enough for you, the poster left some classic commercials and CBS commercial bumpers. I even switched to a different poster that left the In The News segment. It was CBS’s educational segment done in a news format. Probably the most boring when compared to ABC’s numerous offerings or NBC’s One To Grow On, but they were interesting, like this segment on seeing eye dogs. Either way this might be of interest to you.

I remember those stick figure Cheerios ads. I think I still have my mug from the mug and bowl set they had as a mail-away offer. I also remember Halvies but I never tried them.

While I’ve heard that Meat Loaf inspired Meatballs I have not heard that his then wife, Leslie Edmonds, inspired Spaghetti. I don’t think she ever performed herself, but Wikipedia doesn’t say she did and I would think they’d at least mention her doing so. Spaghetti does remind me of Karla DeVito, who replaced Ellen Foley, for the video and concert performances for “Paradise By The Dashboard Light“, and I should go over that song for Sing Me A Story since it is a full short story. She’s not blond in the music video but she has the right body type. Fun fact: DeVito married Robbie Benson, the voice actor known for Beauty & The Beast and The Legend Of Prince Valiant, another Saturday Night Showcase entry.

Meatballs & Spaghetti only aired one season on CBS, from 1982-1983 like Pandamonium, both of which have fallen to obscurity. Interestingly the other shows have become famous, both for good and bad reasons depending on the show.  I wonder why they disappeared while the rest of the line-up (not counting the Looney Tunes shows since they were just repeats of the old theatrical shorts) have at least been acknowledged? Granted I didn’t watch the show when it came out, but I remember watching Pandamonium. Nostalgia is a strange thing sometimes.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. Sean says:

    Like you, I watched Pandamonium but I never saw Meatballs and Spaghetti. I must have been watching a cartoon on one of the other networks on Saturday mornings while Meatballs was playing. I do recall that my Saturday mornings in the 80s usually involved watching cartoons on all three network channels (ABC, NBC, CBS) and not just sticking with one channel. Keep in mind too that until Christmas 1984, I was watching these cartoons on a black and white television. Finally on Christmas Day 1984, my family got a color television, so a whole new world opened up for me! Meatballs and Spaghetti looks to have been ok. I like the video gamed themed commercial bumpers….that definitely shows the networks recognized the growing popularity of video games. And that’s back when arcades were popular hang out spots. I certainly noticed some 80s cultural traits in Meatballs and Spaghetti such as the Valley girl speak (like totally) and the 80s muscle head guy. In fact, I remember that there used to be guys who looked like that hanging out outside of Skidder’s Gym on Main Street. But the muscle head guy in this episode does say something kind of inappropriate…something that I would not have understood as a kid, but something I picked up on now as an adult. It’s when he says: “anything a chic says, I can turn on”. Yikes! Can’t believe that ABC allowed that line to be said on a kid’s cartoon! Meatballs, the character, doesn’t remind me of Meatloaf. He actually reminds me more of Hunk from Voltron both physically and voice wise. Another thing I picked up on was that one of the Pakistani police officers’ names was Punjab. Punjab is a region that is now split between the two nations of Pakistan and India. As for the commercials, let’s just say that they were trying to get us addicted to sugar cereals! Seeing that Star Wars: Return of the Jedi toys commercial brought back sweet memories. I also got reminded of Dukes of Hazzard’s popularity with that big wheel ad. Plus, the info news piece on the seeing dogs was informative, but very dry. Definitely not as lively as NBC’s One To Grow On. If I were to choose, I say I like Pandamonium better than Meatballs and Spaghetti. I probably say this because I actually watched Pandamonium when I was a kid but didn’t do the same with Meatballs and Spaghetti. Perhaps if I watch more episodes of this Meatballs show, I might grow to like it on the same level. Thanks for posting Saturday morning cartoons two Saturday nights in a row. I’m sensing a possible trend here. Could Tronix be bringing back Saturday morning cartoons on Saturday nights? That would be a “totally rad” thing to do.


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