King Koopa's Kool Kartoons
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King Koopa's Kool Kartoons was a local, American live-action children's television show broadcast in Southern California during the holiday season of 1989-'90. Produced by DIC Entertainment and in association with Nintendo, the show starred King Koopa (based on Bowser), the central arch-villain from the Mario video game series. The 30-minute program was originally broadcast during late afternoon time slots on Los Angeles-based KTTV Fox 11. It was a spin-off to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
The format of the show in the tradition of classic children's television shows in the vein of Bozo the Clown: the show would begin with the same pre-recorded sequence and lead into a live studio audience of children chanting "Koopa! Koopa! Koopa!" at the beginning of the show. The audience of children were all given special hats shaped like Koopa heads and T-shirts with "Koopa's Troopas" printed on them (the children would actually get to keep the shirts, but the troopa helmets, as they called them, were claimed by the producers at the end of the taping and reused every show).
The live-action Koopa would then act as emcee, introducing old, public domain animated cartoon shorts for the length of the show (none of the actual Mario cartoons that were produced were ever shown). King Koopa would end the show by giving a child gift certificates or NES products, particularly the Power Glove, which was a popular toy for the Christmas holiday season.
The show featured an actor in a King Koopa costume similar to one previously used in the Super Mario Bros.-themed Ice Capades show, only with a more detailed mask to make the actor more believable on television. The actor playing Koopa (originally Chris Latta, later Pat Pinney) performed the role with a gruff, gravel-voiced faux-malevolence that ultimately revealed a hesitantly nice personality.
Unlike any previous appearance, Koopa was seen with a pet creature that best resembled a mix of dog and weasel with the large ears of a bat; it is believed by some that this pet creature was a spoof of Mouser. The creature's name was Ratso. Ratso had his own special "theater" where kids could also claim prizes. Koopa would be seen walking Ratso on a leash in the pre-recorded opening and closing credit sequences.