The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!

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The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
Super Mario Bros Super Show Title.PNG
Genre
Created by
Starring
Voices of
Narrated by Lou Albano
Opening theme "Plumber Rap", performed by Lou Albano and Danny Wells
Ending theme "Do the Mario", performed by Lou Albano
Composer(s)
  • Haim Saban
  • Shuki Levy
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 65 (52 Mario, 13 Zelda) (list of episodes)
Production
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Viacom Enterprises
Release
Original network First-run syndication
Original release September 4 (1989-09-04) – December 1, 1989 (1989-12-01)
Chronology
Followed by The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)
Related shows The Legend of Zelda (1989)

The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is an American television series based upon Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2. It is the first of three TV shows based on the video game series, with the other being The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. It was originally broadcast via first-run syndication from September 4, 1989 to December 1, 1989, with reruns continuing until September 6, 1991. The Family Channel picked up the series on September 23, 1991,[1] and aired it until August 26, 1994.[2] The show was produced by DiC Animation and was distributed by Viacom Enterprises in association with Nintendo of America.

Production[edit]

Before the series was conceived, Andy Heyward, the then-CEO of DIC Entertainment, spent about a year trying to convince Nintendo to license the characters.[3] In an interview with USA Today, Heyward said "The Mario Bros. is such a unique property we had to do it in a different way...We wanted to do a cartoon but also do a show that extended beyond the cartoon."[4] In February 1989, it was announced that the show would premiere in September 1989.[5] To promote the series, Captain Lou Albano appeared on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee in May 1989 with his beard shaven.[6] When the series first aired, it was distributed by Viacom Enterprises and was marketed by MTV.[7] The opening theme song was composed by Shuki Levy.[8]

In David Sheff's book Game Over, Bill White, the then-director of advertising and public relations for Nintendo,[9] said that the purpose of the television series was to "boost awareness of the characters."[10]

Format[edit]

Mario Bros. Plumbing[edit]

The first and last parts of each episode were live segments which showed Mario (professional wrestler and manager Captain Lou Albano) and Luigi (Danny Wells), two Italian-American plumbers living in Brooklyn, where they would often be visited by celebrity guest stars. It appears that the live segments take place before Mario and Luigi went to the Mushroom Kingdom.[11]

Some of the celebrity guest stars were popular television stars, such as Nedra Volz, Norman Fell, Donna Douglas, Eve Plumb, Vanna White, Jim Lange, Danica McKellar, Nicole Eggert, Clare Carey and Brian Bonsall or professional athletes such as Lyle Alzado and Magic Johnson and WWE (then WWF) stars like Roddy Piper and Sgt. Slaughter.[11] In one episode, Ernie Hudson appeared as a Slimebuster, a parody of his Ghostbusters persona Winston Zeddemore and on another occasion Mario and Luigi receive a visit from Inspector Gadget, performed live by Maurice LaMarche who voiced Chief Quimby in the second season of the show and later went on to voice Gadget himself in Inspector Gadget's Last Case and Gadget & the Gadgetinis. There was also another episode with Cassandra Peterson as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, but the episode was not included in the DVDs. In an interview for the first DVD release of the show, Lou Albano talked about filming these live action skits, which mainly involved him and Wells getting a central plot and mostly improvising the dialogue as they went along.[12]

In one episode, Lou Albano portrays himself, forcing his regular character to leave the scene in order for him to return as himself. In the episode in question, pop star Cyndi Lauper states she's looking for Lou Albano because he's missing, due to the note she got from him (although there is an important part missing from the note). Mario exclaims how much he wants to meet Lou, and later Lou appears as himself supposedly while Mario's out shopping for pizza. As a result, Luigi gets to meet Lou, but Mario does not.[11]

Lou Albano and Danny Wells also once played female versions of themselves, Marianne and Luigeena (their cousins),[13] and also two hillbilly cousins, named Mario Joe and Luigi Bob.[14]

Super Mario Bros.[edit]

Each Super Mario Bros. cartoon served as the second segment of every show, following the introduction and first few minutes of the episode's live-action segment.[15] The cartoon featured characters and situations based upon the NES games Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2, as well as several sound effects and musical cues from the two games. Each episode featured Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Toadstool defending the Mushroom Kingdom from the reptilian villain King Koopa, often in a movie or pop-culture parody. Getting into the spirit of these parodies, Koopa often used alter egos fitting the current theme.

The theme song for the cartoon segments revealed that the Super Mario Brothers were accidentally warped into the Mushroom Kingdom while working on a bathtub drain in Brooklyn. After traveling via the warp drain, the Super Mario Brothers defeated King Koopa's Koopa Troopas, saved Princess Toadstool and halted Koopa's plan to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom. At the beginning of every cartoon segment, Mario recites an entry into his "Plumber's Log", a parody of the Captain's Log from Star Trek.[citation needed]

When Mario and Luigi are in danger, they often do their patty-cake routine: "Patty-cake, Patty-cake, Pasta-Man! Gimme Pasta power as fast as you can!"[16]

The Super Mario Bros. cartoons aired four days a week, from Monday through Thursday.[17]

The Legend of Zelda[edit]

On every Friday episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, a cartoon based on The Legend of Zelda video game series was featured instead of the Super Mario Bros. cartoons.[17] In the series, the Hylian hero Link and Princess Zelda battled against the forces of the evil wizard Ganon. Scenes from each episode of the show were shown during the sitcom segments on the preceding Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episodes during the week, and then broadcast as sneak peeks. The Zelda cartoons consisted of thirteen episodes, which ended when the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! ended its initial broadcast run. The characters of Link, Zelda and Ganon, along with their respective voice actors (Jonathan Potts, Cynthia Preston and Len Carlson), were later featured in an episode of Captain N: The Game Master, based on the Zelda II: The Adventure of Link NES game, another animated series based on NES video games, and also produced by DiC Animation around the same period, airing on NBC as part of its Saturday morning cartoon schedule.

Club Mario[edit]

In the 1990–91 season after the original animated series had ended, the Albano/Wells live-action sequences were replaced on September 10, 1990 with new continuity under the title Club Mario.[18][19] The Super Mario Bros. cartoons (as well as The Legend of Zelda on Fridays) remained intact but the live-action format now featured Mario-obsessed teenagers Tommy and Tammy Treehugger, along with Cool MC "commandeering" the "satellite signal" of the Super Show using a satellite dish atop their apartment building (despite the reality of the show going out on tapes to stations well in advance), goofing around, and in at least one episode, running around the studio and harassing DiC executive and executive producer Andy Heyward. Cool MC also had to deal with his evil twin Eric (played by the same actor), who attempted fruitlessly to take over the show. An additional added segment was a one-to-two-minute viewing of Space Scout Theater/Spaced Out Theater, hosted by Princess Centauri, a green alien woman, which was sourced and edited from the science fiction children television series Photon. The segments had an unpopular reception and further distribution of the series after the 1990–91 season has featured only the original cut of the show with the Albano/Wells live-action sequences.

Mario All Stars[edit]

In 1993, The Family Channel aired the show in a package named Mario All Stars, consisting of time compressed versions of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! cartoon segments and the Super Mario World cartoons. It ran for 39 episodes in double episode format, and was promoted as "the Super Mario Bros. in 40 brand new adventures". Although clips from the Super Mario Bros. 3 cartoons were used in promos for the show, none of the show's episodes were featured. All Stars was later seen on the USA Network from January 6 – June 6, 1997, when it was replaced by Sonic the Hedgehog reruns. Before being re-edited for All Stars in 1993, Family Channel played the episodes slower than their normal speed and included the live action segments. The package's title is most likely inspired by the title of the video game compilation Super Mario All-Stars that was released the previous year.

Songs[edit]

Theme songs[edit]

  • "Plumber Rap" (Lou Albano and Danny Wells): The main theme, which is divided into two parts. The first part opens the show while the second part opens the Super Mario Bros. animated segments.
  • "Do the Mario" (Lou Albano): The ending theme to the show performed in front of a greenscreen of the animated show's backgrounds, which featured an accompanying dance performed by Albano described within the lyrics. The song is sung to the tune of the classic "Overworld" theme from Super Mario Bros.

Featured songs[edit]

At some point in the cartoon segments, a song would be played to go along with the scene. These were usually notable singles from famous singers, songwriters, and musical artists of the era.[3] When the program was re-released on DVD in North America, the songs were replaced by instrumentals of songs from The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and one song from Super Mario World. Episode/song combinations are shown on the list of Mario television episodes.

Cast[edit]

Super Mario Bros. cast[edit]

Additional voices[edit]

The Legend of Zelda cast[edit]

Additional voices[edit]

Club Mario cast[edit]

  • Chris Coombs as Tommy Treehugger
  • Michael Anthony Rawlins as Co-MC/Evil Eric
  • Kurt Weldon as Dr. Know-It-All
  • Victoria Delaney as Tammy Treehugger
  • Jeff Rose as The Big Kid
  • James Abbott as The Band
  • Shanti Kahn as Princess Centauri
  • Andy Heyward as himself

Reception[edit]

Upon the series premiere on September 1989, Mike Hughes of USA Today described the series as a "surprising disappointment", opening that the series has "little of the wit and spark" and relies too heavily on slapstick.[21] In a retrospective review for the series' DVD, Mark Bozon of IGN referred the series as "the biggest offender among Nintendo's many embarrassing moments" but thought that the animated shorts were "interesting to look back on". Bozon gave the overall series a 7 out of 10 (while giving the DVD itself a 5 out of 10).[22] However, Common Sense Media rated the show 1 out of 5 stars, stating that the "frenetic '80s cult fave with stereotypes hasn't aged well."[23]

Ratings[edit]

Upon the first week of its premiere, the series had a cumulative 4.1/12 rating/share, making the series the highest rated first-run syndicated series at the time.[24] However, within the next two weeks, the series (3.8/11) was beat out by Buena Vista Television's Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (4.5/11) and faced competition with Claster Television's Muppet Babies reruns.[25]

Home video releases[edit]

From 1989 to 1990, Kids Klassics (with the sponsorship of Nesquik) released episodes of the series on VHS.[26] Starting in 1991, Kids Klassics' parent company GoodTimes Entertainment continued releasing episodes on VHS up through 1993.

1989 Releases (Each volume begins and ends with a complete live-action segment, with the featured complete animated segment in the middle)

  • Mario's Magic Carpet
  • Mario Meets Koop-zilla
  • King Mario of Cramalot
  • The Great Gladiator Gig
  • Butch Mario & the Luigi Kid
  • The Great BMX Race
  • The Ringer (The Legend of Zelda)
  • Sing for the Unicorn (The Legend of Zelda)

There were also 3 VHS tapes only available through a mail-in offer with Nestle Quik. They follow the same format as the volumes listed above.

  • The Bird! The Bird!
  • Pirates of the Koopa
  • Kiss'N Tell (The Legend of Zelda)

1990 Releases (Each volume has 1 complete live action segment and 3 complete animated segments)

  • Koopa Claus (plus "Santa Claus Is Coming to Flatbush", "Stars in Their Eyes", and "Too Hot to Handle")
  • Count Koopula (plus "Vampire Until Ready", "Koopenstein", and "Robo Koopa")
  • The Missing Link [The Legend of Zelda] (plus "Captain Lou Is Missing", "Cold Spells", and "The Moblins Are Revolting")
  • Princess, I Shrunk The Mario Brothers (plus "Rowdy Roddy's Rotten Pipes", "Rollin' Down The River", and "Brooklyn Bound")

1991 Releases (The Kids Klassics logo is retained although these volumes were released by GoodTimes) (Each volume has 4 complete animated segments and no live-action segments)

  • Two Plumbers and a Baby (plus "On Her Majesty's Sewer Service", "The Great Gold Coin Rush", and "Flatbush Koopa")
  • Robo Koopa (plus "Bad Rap", "Karate Koopa", and "The Koopas Are Coming! "The Koopas Are Coming!")
  • Hooded Robin and His Mario Men (Plus "Plummers Academy", "Quest for Pizza", and "Escape from Koopatraz")

1993 Release (Released in a clamshell packaging, contains 6 complete animated sgements and no live-action segments)

  • Super Mario Bros. Super Show ("Jungle Fever", "Mario and the Beanstalk", "20,000 Koopas Under the Sea", "Mario of the Apes", "Mario of the Deep", and "King Mario of Cramalot")

In 1996, the animated segment "Koopa Klaus" and the live-action segment "Santa Claus is Coming to Flatbush" were included on the VHS release Super Mario Bros. Super Christmas Adventures, alongside the Super Mario World episode "The Night Before Cave Christmas".

In 2006, Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment released the series on two 4-disc DVD sets.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Volume 1 24 March 28, 2006
  • New interviews with Captain Lou Albano (Mario)
  • Original art gallery
  • Storyboard-to-Screen: The Super Mario Bros. Super Show Opening Title Sequence
Volume 2 24 October 31, 2006
  • 4 Bonus Animated Episodes
  • "Meeting Mario: A Fan's Tale" Featurette
  • Super Mario Bros. Fan Costume Gallery
  • The Worlds of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Concept Art Galleries
  • Interactive Tour Of The Mario Bros. Plumbing

These two sets were discontinued in 2012 after Shout!'s deal with Cookie Jar Entertainment expired.

Notably, a bare bones "Best of" DVD was released by DiC and Lions Gate Entertainment. In 2012 NCircle Entertainment released the complete series to DVD across two sets with the same extras as the Shout! Factory sets, but with the live-action segments omitted and "On Her Majesty's Sewer Service" excluded.[27][28]

UK VHS history[edit]

From 1991 to 1993, Abbey Home Entertainment Distribution released six videos of the "Super Mario Bros. Super Show" with the only animated segmented episodes, the animated segmented intro and the live-action segment of "Do the Mario" in the closing credits.

VHS video title Year of release Episodes
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show (94792) 15 April 1991 The Great Gladiator Gig, Mario of the Apes, The Bird1 The Bird!
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Special Edition (95112) 15 July 1991 The Fire Of Herculfleas, King Mario of Cramalot, Rollin' Down the River, Mario and the Beanstalk

DVD Releases

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Intelligencer – September 23, 1991
  2. ^ The Intelligencer – August 26, 1994
  3. ^ a b "Game Playing". USA Today. July 31, 1989. p. 3D. The Nintendo craze comes to TV this fall with NBC's "Captain N: The Game Master" and a syndicated show, "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show," both from the DIC animation factory. DIC president Andrew Hayward says he spent a year convincing the toy company to license rights to the addictive characters. Capt. Lou Albano plays super-plumber Mario in the syndicated show, which wraps live action around cartoon adventures. Steve Binder ("Pee-wee's Playhouse") directed the live bits, including camp cameos by Vanna White, Elvira and Magic Johnson. Rock 'n' roll songs have been licensed and will be woven into each episode. Hayward says a music video of the "Mario dance" will premiere within the next few weeks. 
  4. ^ "For kids: A 'Chip' off the Disney block". USA Today. September 11, 1989. p. 3D. 
  5. ^ Healy, Michelle (February 1, 1989). "Nintendo hungry? Try the cereal". USA Today. p. 1D. The Super Mario Brothers Super Show, a syndicated TV program for kids, airs in September. It will feature live action and animation. 
  6. ^ "'Super' Man". USA Today. May 17, 1989. p. 3D. Capt. Lou Albano, the bizarre wrestling manager, has been cast to play Mario, one of the two Brooklyn plumber brothers. Thursday, in anticipation of a big announcement bash, Albano will appear on "Live With Regis & Kathie Lee" to shed his beard. 
  7. ^ "Syndication Marketplace" (PDF). Broadcasting. 117 (9): 42. August 28, 1989. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  8. ^ McDonald, Marlon (July 10, 2015). "This Man Is Responsible for (Nearly) All of Your 80s/90s Kid's Show Memories, and You've Probably Never Even Heard of Him.." Movie Pilot. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  9. ^ Groves, Martha (April 30, 1990). "Taking On Nintendo : Games: Atari may be crazy to confront the Japanese giant. But it plans to slug it out anyway". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ Sheff, David (November 2, 2011). Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered The World. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c Angelle, Denny (September 1989). "What's New on TV". Boys' Life. 79 (9): 16. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  12. ^ Albano, Lou (2006). The Super Mario Bros. Super Show Vol. 1 (DVD). Shout! Factory. 
  13. ^ "Doppelganger / The Magic Love". The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. Season 1. Episode 35. October 20, 1989. Retrieved November 13, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Mario Hillbillies / Do You Princess Toadstool Take This Koopa...?". The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. Season 1. Episode 23. October 4, 1989. Retrieved November 13, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Super Mario Bros. - Cartoon Resource Website entry #76". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2016-12-27. 
  16. ^ "Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad with Asiago Cheese - Everything Zoomer - Boomers with Zip". Everything Zoomer. December 9, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Hughes, Mike (September 14, 1989). "This is the time for NBC to grab a slice of TV history: It should become the first force to abandon the Saturday-morning cartoon business". USA Today. The show runs five days a week, however, and there is a saving grace: Each Friday has a "Legend of Zelda" episode that's quite a bit better than the rest of the week. 
  18. ^ "DIC Enterprises gets animated over a new tour" (PDF). Broadcasting. 118 (20): 35; 38. May 14, 1990. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Join the club" (PDF). Broadcasting. 118 (22): 53. May 28, 1990. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  20. ^ Damian Inwood. "The Baroness and the Pig". Pi Theatre. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2011. That’s what Vancouver actresses Diane Brown and Tabitha St. Germain do with the delightful black comedy, The Baroness and the Pig. (...) St. Germain – better known to Vancouver audiences as Paulina Gillis – plays the Baroness as a naïve gentlewoman, full of prissy mannerisms and twittering, bird-like movements. 
  21. ^ Hughes, Mike (September 14, 1989). "This is the time for NBC to grab a slice of TV history: It should become the first force to abandon the Saturday-morning cartoon business". USA Today. 'The Super Mario Brothers Super Show' emerges as a surprising disappointment. This has the same producers as "Captain N" and the same basis - Nintendo video games. Yet it has little of the wit and spark; there are live-action bits surrounding the cartoons, but they merely remind us of why slapstick comedy is no longer an American artform. 
  22. ^ Bozon, Mark (January 25, 2006). "Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Volume 1". IGN. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Super Mario Bros. Super Show TV Review". Commonsensemedia.org. Retrieved 2016-12-27. 
  24. ^ "Doubling Up" (PDF). Broadcasting. 117 (13): 6. September 25, 1989. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Metering Syndication Progress" (PDF). Broadcasting. 117 (14): 41–42. October 2, 1989. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  26. ^ "GoodTimes/KK Tapes Roll With Nestle Ads" (PDF). Billboard. 101 (39): 51. September 30, 1989. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  27. ^ Super Mario Bros Super Show! (2 DVDs). Vol. 1 (Collectors' ed.). Los Angeles, CA: NCircle Entertainment. 2006. OCLC 795409356. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  28. ^ NCircle Entertainment; Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc.; Nintendo of America Inc. (2012). Super Mario Bros Super Show! (2 DVDs). Vol. 2 (Collectors' ed.). DIC Entertainment. OCLC 812542271. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]