The Legend of Zelda (1989 TV series)

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The Legend of Zelda
Title screen, shown at the beginning of each show
Title screen, shown at the beginning of each show
Genre Action/Adventure
Created by Shigeru Miyamoto (original characters)
Written by Bob Forward
Phil Harnage
Eve Forward
Marsha Forward
Dennis O'Flaherty
Directed by John Grusd
Voices of Cyndy Preston
Jonathan Potts
Len Carlson
Colin Fox
Elizabeth Hanna
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Andy Heyward
Robby London (co-executive producer)
Producer(s) John Grusd
Editor(s) Lars Floden
William P. Magee
Running time 15–16 minutes
Production company(s) DIC Entertainment
Sei Young Animation Co., Ltd.
Nintendo of America, Inc.
Distributor Viacom Enterprises (1989–1991)
Cookie Jar Entertainment (2008–2012)
DHX Media (current)
Original channel First-run syndication
Original release September 8, 1989 – December 1, 1989

The Legend of Zelda is an American animated series based on the Japanese video game series The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The plot follows the adventures of Link and Princess Zelda as they defend the kingdom of Hyrule from an evil wizard named Ganon. It is heavily based on the first game of the Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda, but includes some references to the second, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.[citation needed] The show was produced by DIC Entertainment and distributed by Viacom Enterprises in association with Nintendo of America, Inc. It comprises thirteen episodes which first aired in North America from September 8, 1989, to December 1, 1989.

Show premise[edit]

The opening credits quickly glance over the show's premise: "This is the Triforce of Wisdom, Link. The evil wizard Ganon has the Triforce of Power. Whoever possesses both Triforces will rule this land forever! You must help me, Link!"

Every episode of The Legend of Zelda follows the adventures of the hero Link and Princess Zelda as they defend the kingdom of Hyrule from an evil wizard named Ganon. Most episodes consist of Ganon (or his minions) either attempting to capture the Triforce of Wisdom from Zelda, kidnap Zelda, or otherwise conquer Hyrule. In some episodes, Link and Zelda are assisted and accompanied by a fairy-princess, Spryte.

A common running joke of the series is Link's repeated failure to convince Zelda that he deserved a kiss for his heroic deeds. Whenever it seems they are going to kiss, they are interrupted.

While Link saves Zelda in a few episodes, she often fights beside him using a bow and arrow.

Link usually meets Zelda's rejection with his sarcastic catchphrase, "Well! Excuuuuuuse me, Princess!". In one episode, Zelda uses a more elegant version reflective of her royal upbringing, "Well! Pardon me!"

The series was to be continued but was canceled along with The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. The series is one of only six productions in which Link talks, the others being the CD-i games, manga series, comic series, the episodes of Captain N: The Game Master, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (only the phrase, "Come on!").

Game references[edit]

While direct referencing of the game is loose, the series does feature some recognizable monsters, items, and locations from the game. The seemingly impossible numbers of items that Link and Zelda are able to carry is not directly explained in the video game series. In the TV series, the items they carry are shown to magically shrink when they are placed in pouches or pockets.

The TV series is based heavily on The Legend of Zelda, but a few references are made to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Ganon is often seen riding a Lowdr, a beetle-like creature seen in Zelda II (but not in The Legend of Zelda). The series used sound effects and renditions of background tunes from the games, as well as enemy monsters including Moblins, Octoroks, Goriyas, Gohma, Aquamentus, Gleeok, Keese and Ropes. Rupees appear, but are called Rubies. Rather than arrows, the bows in the cartoon shoot beam-like projectiles, as does Link's sword (this happens in a few Zelda games when Link's hearts are full). Link's beams can destroy most monsters, but not people, as shown in the episode "Sing for the Unicorn".

DVD release[edit]

North American Airings/DVDs[edit]

The Legend of Zelda was featured on every Friday episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! in place of the Super Mario Bros. cartoons. Each episode ran for about fifteen minutes. The series was made in association with Nintendo of America, produced by DIC Entertainment, and distributed for syndicated television by Viacom Enterprises (now CBS Television Distribution). Due to its syndicated nature, only one season of sixty-five episodes was made of the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and Zelda was aborted after thirteen episodes. However, slightly modified versions of the characters of Link and Zelda, together with their original voice actors, were later transplanted into NBC's Saturday morning program Captain N: The Game Master, also produced by DIC Entertainment. In 1992, the episodes were time compressed (sped up) and played in double episode format on the Captain N & The Video Game Masters syndication block. Zelda episodes were rarely shown, but at least once, the episodes "Underworld Connections" & "Doppleganger" aired with the titles switched around. It was played in this block from 1992-1993 in syndication, and from 1993-1995 on USA Network.

Clips previewing the episodes were shown in the middle of the live-action segments when the Mario cartoon was shown. These clips were cut out of the video releases and Yahooligans! TV, but were restored for the Super Mario Bros. Super Show DVD set (except for "King Mario of Cramalot").

Zelda was first released in the early 1990s along with the Super Mario Bros cartoon. It was produced in the form of two-episode VHS tapes in four volumes; the gold color of the VHS slipcases matched that of the original NES games. The series was released on DVD in two volumes by the animation company Allumination FilmWorks The first DVD, Ganon's Evil Tower, was released on July 22, 2003, including three episodes of the Zelda cartoon and two of Sonic Underground. The second DVD was released on September 27, 2005, titled Havoc in Hyrule, containing a further five Zelda episodes.

The complete Zelda series was released on October 18, 2005 by Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, with extra bonus features such as interactive DVD games and line art from the series. However, it did not include all of the associated The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! live action segments; some were included as bonus features.[1] This release has been discontinued and is out of print.

NCircle Entertainment re-released the complete series on May 22, 2012.[2]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Zelda cartoons were originally shown in the early 1990s on the early morning TV show, TV-am. They were not commissioned for a second run. They were also shown on CITV in the 1990s within The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, and on Channel 4 on its Sunday morning kids line up, which included shows such as Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.

In 1992, Tempo Video released a set of two VHS tapes with three episodes per tape. The Legend of Zelda shared a tape with Captain N: The Game Master, which included the episode Underworld Connections.

There are currentily no plans for a Region 2 DVD release.

Voice cast[edit]


# Title Original air date Prod.
1 "The Ringer" September 8, 1989 101 Link has grown bored with his lifestyle in Hyrule and seeks a true 'hero's' life, finding Zelda the only comfort worth having. Meanwhile, Zelda holds a wizarding competition and Ganon uses it as a plan to sneak into the castle and steal the Triforce. After he is discovered; Link and Zelda set aside their differences in order to stop him from escaping.
2 "Cold Spells" September 15, 1989 102 It's Spring Cleaning in Hyrule and even Link has to pitch in, but he quickly fakes a cold in order to get sympathy, which works on Sprite. While at the market, Ganon secretly augments her powers to cause chaos at the castle in a very Fantasia-like manner, allowing him to steal the Triforce.
3 "The White Knight" September 22, 1989 103 Link and Zelda face off against an ambush of an Octorock when Prince Fascade; a prince from a neighboring kingdom, arrives and sweeps Zelda off her feet. Dejected by this "Prince Charming", Link quits his duties and prepares to leave, but Ganon knows Fascade's one weakness and plans to exploit it in order to kidnap Zelda.
4 "Kiss'N Tell" September 29, 1989 104 Zelda happens upon a damsel in distress, who insists on a handsome hero to rescue her from a Gleock. When Link arrives and saves her, she rewards him with a passionate kiss, but she turns out to be a Gibdo mummy in disguise who curses Link into a humanoid frog. Unable to be a hero in this form, Link takes the Triforce of Wisdom's advice and seeks help from the "Witch of Walls" for an answer after Zelda is kidnapped by Ganon.
5 "Sing for the Unicorn" October 6, 1989 105 Link's plans to romantically deliver flowers to Zelda are dashed when Ganon appears, attacking on the back of a Unicorn. He kidnaps the king and they go to rescue him, meeting Sing, a woman from whom the unicorn had been stolen. Together they must face Ganon's traps, and rescue both the unicorn and the king from Ganon's capture.
6 "That Sinking Feeling" October 13, 1989 106 After a romantic picnic is ruined by Ganon, Zelda resolves to lay an assault on his lair, but as soon as they leave, the castle, along with the king and Sprite are pulled underground by a giant magnet and they need instead to rescue their friends before Ganon finds them.
7 "Doppelganger" October 20, 1989 107 Zelda receives a magic mirror, which suddenly creates an evil double of her. With the real Zelda kidnapped, the fake is tasked to trick Link into taking the Triforce of Wisdom into the underworld, where it would be easy for Ganon to capture.
8 "Underworld Connections" October 27, 1989 108 Link's sleepwalking is put a stop to before he can sneak into Zelda's bedroom chamber, but with the tower the Triforce is in is unguarded. A trio of Vires use a bomb to shatter the Triforce into three pieces to carry. They obtain one piece, and Zelda uses it in order to seek clues where the other two have been dropped, they venture into the Underworld to reunite the Triforce again.
9 "Stinging a Stinger" November 3, 1989 109 Sleezenose; a traveling merchant, is rescued by Link who stops bandits from robbing him, and in gratitude, he gives Link a beautiful bejeweled sword in exchange for his current one. Using it in battle, Link realizes the sword is a fake and he and Zelda are kidnapped. They find they need to work together with Sleezenose to outwit Ganon once again.
10 "Hitch in the Works" November 10, 1989 110 Not believing a story Link told her of Moblins attacking the castle when she found him unconscious and "sleeping" when he is supposed to be doing chores, Link has the house maintenance man make fake Moblins to attack her. She overhears the plan and does not react when the real Moblins come to kidnap her. Ganon puts a collar on her to force her to do his bidding; including marry him.
11 "Fairies in the Spring" November 17, 1989 111 The king is having a water park constructed to help his subjects cool off in the summer heat, when water monsters attack the construction crew. Zelda and Link investigate, but are startled to find the water monster doesn't belong to Ganon. When the King arrives to check their progress and while inspecting the pools of the water park, another monster pulls him in and vanishes. The pair collect the Triforce of Wisdom and return to the waterpark to find the King and the source of the disturbances.

Note: This is the only episode that does not feature Ganon.

12 "The Missing Link" November 24, 1989 112 Ganon tries to use a magic wand in order to kidnap Zelda, but she deflects the attack and it hits Link instead, putting him into a coma. Her guilt is short lived after Link's spirit reveals himself to her and no one else can see him. They realize that they need to travel into the underworld to reunite Link's spirit with his body trapped in the Evil Jar.
13 "The Moblins Are Revolting" December 1, 1989 113 Ganon demonstrates a new wand that makes a bubble around its victim that can only be popped by the Triforce of Power. Fed up with Ganon's orders, a Moblin uses the wand to trap Ganon in a bubble and throws him down a bottomless pit. The Moblin opens the Evil Jar and the monsters collectively decide to storm the castle of Hyrule, but are too incompetent to accomplish anything without Ganon's leadership.

Broadcast history[edit]

Edited versions of the episodes were a part of "Captain N and the Video Game Masters" from 1992-93.

International broadcast[edit]


IGN rated the DVD release of The Legend of Zelda a 3.0, or "Bad", citing poor writing, repeated plots, and over the top acting.[4] Link's catchphrase, "Excuuuuuuse me, Princess!" is a commonly used in-joke used by video game players, and is spoken by Link on 29 occasions throughout the 13 episodes.[4]


  1. ^ Legend of Zelda: Complete Animated Series. "Legend of Zelda: Complete Animated Series: Cynthia Preston, Jonathan Potts, Tabitha St. Germain, Len Carlson, Colin Fox, Elizabeth Hanna, Allen Stewart-Coates, Don Francks, Marvin Goldhar, Christopher Ward, J Bizel, John Grusd, Bob Forward, Dennis O'Flaherty, Eve Forward, Marsha Forward, Phil Harnage: Movies & TV". Retrieved 2013-02-13. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Damian Inwood. "Pi Theatre, Independent Vancouver Theatre >> The Baroness and the Pig". 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. 
  4. ^ a b Michael S. Drucker (2005-09-30). "The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series". IGN. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 

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