Let’s Get Along Again!


Every now and then we like to go through the site stats and see what exactly is bringing in the punters, be it toy reviews, our occasional random list articles, or our unique brand of “journalism” and bestiality jokes. Far and away the most hits come from people looking for the obscure 80’s cartoon The Get Along Gang. We don’t pretend to know why.

“We wrote this with the blood of our enemies!”

So, because we’re super nice and always give you readers what you want (and because Luke blew this month’s entire toy review budget on a life-size Cadbury Bunny, for reasons best kept to himself) we’re going to revisit the gang with a view to reminding you what they were all about. We’ll cover the toys (obviously), the animated series, and even the disastrous 21st-century relaunch that no doubt ruined someone’s childhood FOREVER. And maybe we’ll even delve into the shameful Get Along Gang pornography scene if time and/or the law allows.

This one made our eyes water.

No on both counts, as it turns out.


A group of furry preadolescents created in 1984 by American Greetings (they of the Care Bears fame), the main six members were:

  • Montgomery Moose – the well rounded, personable one,
  • Dotty Dog – the smart and peppy cheerleader,
  • Bingo Beaver – a compulsive liar and gambling addict,
  • Zipper Cat – the sporty, tough guy with an attitude,
  • Woolma Lamb – a spoiled and vain waste of space,
  • Portia Porcupine – basically a toddler toted around by the gang for some reason.

Their sworn enemies were Catchum Crocodile and his slimy subordinate Leyland Lizard. Most of Catchum’s villainous “schemes” involved cheating in a contest of some sort, or trying to get into the gang’s clubhouse. Phew, make sure the kids are in bed before he comes on.


The main line of GAG merchandise consisted of six 11-inch plush dolls. Each doll came with removable clothes and accessories (you can even take off their socks and shoes, which we find funny for some reason). All of them were packaged wearing roller skates, because that was apparently law in 1984 when they were released. The skates are actually the hardest thing to find on the secondary market, possibly because most kids took them off one time and promptly lost them. The dolls themselves can be found cheaply and easily second-hand and are remarkably well made; ours are still holding together after thirty years of rough play. Christ, turns out you really can trust Tomy.

Before we go any further, we’ve just got to mention that while the likenesses are generally very good, we feel that poor Woolma really got the short end of the stick here. We’d like to interview the designer and ask him what medication he was taking at the time this abomination was made. Behold:

They tried.

You tried, drug-addled designer man!

The main cast were also rendered as 5-inch hard plastic figures, advertised as Dress-Up Kids. Oddly, the male characters had their trousers painted on, just like Olivia Newton-John in Grease. Unlike Olivia Newton-John, all the characters had slightly creepy, shapeless bodies underneath their clothes, so we can’t imagine many people wanted to disrobe them.

Of the twelve characters actually designed by American Greetings, the toyline focused heavily on the main six featured in the cartoon. The others were available only as small figurines. These were scaled perfectly, though, for the Clubhouse Caboose playset. It was basically a red plastic wagon with a fold-down wall, and it featured a small platform for the toys to hang around on and a kind of turntable thing so they could spin around. It’s quite poor by today’s standards but don’t worry: it was quite poor by yesterday’s standards as well.


The live-action  Attack on Titan strayed from the source material slightly.


Thirteen episodes were produced by Dic (cough) between 1984 and 1985. The same company was also responsible for the Super Mario and Sonic cartoons, but is probably most famous for creating the Robocop/Don Adams hybrid Insepctor Gadget. The show followed the adventures of the gang in and around their home of Green Meadow, a strangely anachronistic American small town. Actually, the whole show has a slightly outdated feel now that we think about it. The title sequence shows the gang riding around on soapbox carts they made themselves (not exactly the vehicle of choice in 1984 – when the skateboard, Big Wheel or even Pogo Ball were all popular) and instead of staying home and playing Atari these kids preferred to hang around in the malt shop or play with simple toys like marbles and the like. Very odd.


The ’84 cartoon, in a rare moment of frantic action

Anyways, the stories themselves are standard-issue children’s TV fodder; we have treasure hunts, encounters with pirates and other bad guys, and typical power-of-friendship escapades. In fact, these very quaint “adventures” could have been written for any show at all, so generic are the settings and characters – but the stories chug along very nicely anyways. It probably won’t hold the attention of an adult audience but if you were expecting a furry version of Twin Peaks, then a) you’re asking too much of a kids cartoon, and b) someone get on that shit ’cause it sounds amazing.



What the hell are the moose and beaver playing?

Round about 2004, American Greetings started sending out press packs detailing the relaunch of the Get Along Gang. This would be an all-new show, with a fresh and funky 21st-century look. Plans were to show off the new gang at a licensing exhibition that year (the kind of thing where smaller companies acquire the rights to produce merchandise like lunchboxes, stationary and the like) but as far as we can tell the powers that be put the kibosh on the whole thing before any licensed tat could be made.


Left to right: Mogo, Hatch, Mayfield, Reagan, Domino, and Portia!

Some digging tells us that the characters were designed by artist/animator Saxton Moore, whose recent work includes The Twisted Whiskers Show and an original children’s book called Yin the Master of Yo. Instead of just freshening up the old gang, Moore created a whole new bunch of characters designed to be their successors.

Although the characters and (planned) merchandise had a  hand-drawn look, the accompanying cartoon was to be a computer-generated affair – presumably for cost reasons. Behind-the-scenes info and drawings have since leaked online, and the first, or perhaps only, episode has somehow made its way to Youtube. We’ve given it a look, and we quite like it. We can say it’s got a bit more of an “edge” than the original show (not hard, we know) with snappy humour and lots of fourth-wall breaking gags. They’ve also modernised the gang’s clubhouse a tad. It now has a hologram artificial intelligence built in – think Power Rangers’ Zordon, and you’re there. If “there” is a random designer’s crazy cheese-dream.

Curiously, in the course of the episode the new gang are actually shown stock art of their 80’s progenitors- we don’t quite know how to process this because it makes no sense – and are explicitly told that they are distant relatives of the originals. There’s no counterpart for Portia Porcupine (here given the actual surname of Bristlemore) because she’s revealed to be the old woman in the line up above. Erm, we hate to point this out, but only twenty years had passed between the original show and this one, so either it’s set far into the future or cuddly forest animals really don’t age well.

Watch the show below, and try not to snicker when it invites viewers to “get loose in the caboose”.

Theme song by Prince Paul. No, really.


At some point a company called Mill Creek Entertainment released a DVD containing 10 two-part episodes. We do wonder were they sourced the episodes from, though. The picture and sound quality is abominable – it’s the worst we’ve ever seen on a store-bought DVD. It looks for all the world like it was straight-up ripped from YouTube… after being recorded off the telly in 1985. And it’s Region 1, so UK readers will have to nab a multi-region DVD player to even watch the damn thing. It also says the gang “travel the countryside” bringing help to “wherever they’re needed” which pretty much confirms the manufacturer never actually watched the product they’re selling.

Maybe we’ll revisit the gang in the future. There are rumblings of yet another remake in the works, so with any luck a whole new generation of kids will get to enjoy their own version of the gang, but as it stands it’s a nice throwback to a simpler time. The Get Along Gang were a nice bunch, and their exploits and adventures were many and quaint. It seems that the show was an effort to instill some positive values in the young audience, to prepare them for the tumultuous decades ahead.

You’re never too old to learn – so maybe we should all sit down, watch some Gang, and all learn how to get along.


Transformer Tuesday #1

Through the magic of time travel (it is 2015, after all. We all have hoverboards and phone booths now) this first edition of Transformer Tuesday comes to you on a Thursday. It may also have something to do with the fact that I only invented the idea this morning and couldn’t be fussed to wait five days to implement it.

Well, yesterday (try and keep up, dear) I got a lovely package from Mr. Postman. I had to sing that old Marvelettes song before he’d give it to me, which I think is very unprofessional and tantamount to abuse. I complied only because my parcel contained a Transformer toy that I’ve literally waited some twenty-seven years to buy. It’s…… FANGRY!

Green... with evil!

Green… with evil!

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The Great and Powerful

“Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake and sleep, we grow strong or weak; and at last some crisis shows what we have become”

This quote came to mind while I was watching My Little Pony. To be particular, an early episode from 2010 featuring “The Great and Powerful Trixie”, a character who is unusually complex for a children’s cartoon, so much so that I think it warrants further exploration. We’ll look at some merchandise along the way, too, because this is Toy Meets World after all, not blimmin’…. Pony… Love… World.


“I’m on that website too. I was young and needed the money”

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Thunder, Thunder, Thunder!

The original Thundercats cartoon was great. Twenty five years ago, it was fantastic. But that’s a bit like saying that the Austin Metro is a great hatchback. It was true in the 80s, but if you bought one now for your wife’s birthday she’d divorce you and probably take the kids, because you’d be demonstrably incompetent with your idiotic choice of automobile.

But, like anything at the time, it was all we had, and we knew no better. Until 2011 that is, when Warner Brothers shocked the world by spending a bazillion dollars on making a NEW Thundercats cartoon. It was bloody amazing and I loved every second of it. But some insist that it was crap in comparison to the original. I think it’s about time we got to the truth of the matter and compared the two:


Let’s start with the originals, or Thundercats: Classic as no-one calls them. Well, the first thing you may notice is that all the characters wear leotards. It’s weird. Like they all just got home from a gymnastics competition. And while we’re at it, who the hell dressed Wily Kit? Her dress is all torn up; she looks like she just escaped from Michael Jackson’s house. Nothing dates quicker than clothes and hairstyles, sure, but I think the Thundercats looked odd even back then. He-Man never had this sort of problem, probably because he didn’t wear any clothes at all. Now I see why.


The new guys all look a bit more savvy. Some of them are even wearing armour; a sensible decision if you’re fighting guys with swords. They look a whole lot more dynamic, too. The Sword of Omens has had a bit of a makeover, not that it needed one. Overall, they look suitably modern and stylish. Some have complained about their Japanese styling, but seeing as the original show was also animated in Japan, I think that these people should be mindful of their glass house before I come over and smash it in with the Thundertank.


Lion-O has that weird five o’clock shadow thing going on. Like he had a beard the whole summer and then shaved it off. Don’t forget his tummy-window, either. It’s so we can all see his rippling abs. His whole costume is a silly shade of robin-egg blue, and it’s a bit skimpy really. It’s more like underwear than a proper outfit. He obviously spends a lot of time shaping his eyebrows and applying emo-style mascara because NOBODY UNDERSTANDS HIM.

The new Lion-O is a little younger and not so creepy. He can dress himself properly, and even has a shoulder pauldron. Like all of the new Thundercats, he is noticeably more cat-like in appearance. He actually appears to have fur, whereas the original Lion-O just looked naked. Gone is Larry Kenney’s booming voice, but the replacement fits the character well. New Lion-O puts me in mind of the impetuous Hot Rod from Transformers the Movie. Top marks.


Cheetara looks a bit like your friend’s mum that you fancied when you were ten. She has a wicked eighties haircut, but she needs to find someone other than KISS to do her makeup. She’s missing a sleeve on her costume for some reason – I can only imagine it was torn off by the same person who sexually assaulted Wily Kit. Her skin is a pallid and shocking white, making her look very sickly.

Just gonna put this here... for reasons.

Just gonna put this here… for reasons.

New Cheetara is younger and more nubile. She’s well fit, and has ditched the leotard for a sports bra and short trousers. She can run at super-duper speeds like her counterpart, but in this continuity she’s also a cleric, part of the elite King’s Guard. Frankly, this is one pussy I wouldn’t mind sitting on my face. Uh, lap. IN MY LAP.


Panthro is arguably the best Thundercats character, even if they didn’t manage to make him look much like a cat. He looks more like a shaved elf. His harness/pants combo makes him look like he got stuck in one of those baby-bouncer things you hang in a doorway. New Panthro is the same character, but wears big-boy trousers and grew some muttonchops. Halfway through the series, he loses both his arms like it ain’t no thing. Because he’s WELL ARD M8.


Wily Kit and Wily Kat have aged the worst, which is strange as they’re the youngest characters. Well, technically Lion-O was the youngest character in the original series, but that’s a whole kettle of weird that I’m just going to ignore. They look sort of haggard. Small, rather than young. Gives me the creeps, really. Like if you put granny in pigtails.


The new Thunderkits are wicked. Look how cute they are!! They even have little bushy tails and everything. Those mischievous scamps! Wily Kit is just adorable. I’d totally giver her a cuddle if it didn’t mean I’d get banged up in a Thunderian prison along with Mumm-Ra. Moving on!


The less said about Snarf, the better. He talks and it’s annoying and weird. I’m reminded of those deluded bastards who teach their dogs to speak, and the animal painfully manages to mewl “I ruuuffff yuuuuuuu” in exchange for a biscuit. It’s sad. He’s also ugly as shit.

New Snarf is much better. He doesn’t talk and behaves more like an animal this time. He’s kept as a pet rather than a slave, which makes more sense. He’s cute and nice to look at, even if he is vaguely reminiscent of Pikachu.


I think it’s obvious that the new Thundercats inherits the mantle of best anthropomorphic cat cartoon. It outshines the original in every way, but the world just wasn’t ready for it. Today’s children have been spoiled with their newfangled Playing Stations and needle drugs.

“Why does no-one love us, Kit?”

2011 Thundercats is painstakingly well animated, fresh and relevant. The story and mythology has been tweaked slightly, as have the characters, so it doesn’t feel like a re-tread of the original. Oh, and Lion-O can turn into a wicked flying space robot. What more do you people want!?

“Forget his tummy”

It’s Hip To Be Square

By TMW newcomer Sam Taylor.

Oh hello there! I’m new here!

For my first review I thought I would start a bit easy as my writing and reviewing is a little rusty, so please bear with me as I spray it up with some WD40. In fact it has been about six years since I wrote a review for anything. So, I thought I would follow in the great Adam’s footsteps and write about a childhood TV show that sits closely to my metallic heart.

Now I am not very old, but I was raised watching old videos of Muffin the Mule, Camberwick Green and whatever else was on Watch With Mother. I remember there being a lot of Dr Who involved in my bedtime watches as well, however that is a different story for a different day.

To the people of Devon, this man is indistinguishable from the Third Doctor

To the people of Devon, this man is indistinguishable from the Third Doctor

This series is a lot younger than that. I am going to tell you about Cubix, a multicoloured robot that shows you just what you can do with a Rubix cube if you combine it with a Gundam kit. (If you listen closely and point your ears in the direction of the westcountry, you’ll hear Adam slapping his forehead as he only now realises the similarity between Cubix and Rubix. Only took fourteen years!)

I think the one on the far right is supposed to be a toilet. His eyes beg for death.

I think the one on the far right is supposed to be a toilet. His eyes beg for death.

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Make Beast Love, Not War

I underwent my first emotional crisis sometime in the early nineties. I was distraught – Transformers had disappeared. I went into the toy shop one day, and the pegs were empty. For the next year or so, I went in every week and asked the lady at the till if any new ones were coming in. The answer was always ‘no’, and so I gave up hope.

Transformers were dead, and a little bit of me died with them.

Yeah. Bit like this.

Yeah. Bit like this.

Then one weekend in 1996, I was in McDonalds with my mum and dad. I’d finished my Happy Meal and rather than sit down for another half hour listening to my dad grumble over a cup of coffee, I escaped out the back exit and into the adjacent Woolworths.

Browsing the toy shelves, I came across some really cool boxes. They had a wicked dinosaur-skin pattern on them, and said in neon green letters “BEAST WARS”. My curiosity was immediately piqued. They looked to be toy animals. I saw a bat and an alligator at first.

If this were made today, the box would be the size of ten elephants and it'd cost £50

If this were made today, the box would be the size of ten elephants and it’d cost £50

Looking closer, I saw the names “Optimus Primal” and “Megatron”. My heart skipped a beat. Could it be!?

At first, I figured that these toys were knock offs – imitation Transformers designed to cash in on the brand’s former popularity. They certainly didn’t look like any Transformer I had ever seen before. Optimus “Primal” may well have been a cheeky attempt at skirting the copyright, and the factions were “Heroic Maximals” and “Evil Predacons” instead of Autobots or Decepticons.

What can I say? I was naive.

I warmed to them quite quickly once I realised they were the bona fide article. Although I was certainly put off by many of the toys’ orgainic styling at first. It was almost the antithesis of Robots in Disguise – wheels and wings and cockpits were replaced by paws and tails and animal guts. Many of the early toys were quite messy, too; they had all these extraneous animal parts sticking out.reduced-bwterror

The first toys I actually bought were Terrorsaur – because of his superficial resemblance to Starscream – and Snapper, a turtle of the non-teenage but possibly still mutant variety. They cost £5 in my local Toymaster. Not £5 each, no – a fiver for the two. How times have changed.

I loved them dearly, and they were soon followed by Waspinator and Tarantulas. I had a thing for the Predacons at first, probably because they looked a lot more mechanical than the Maximals, being based primarily on insects or reptiles. One toy I steadfastly refused to buy was Rattrap. “Yuck,” I said at the time, “Who wants a robot that turns into a rat?”.

Megatron has difficulty transforming his toy and loses his temper

“Grr! One-step transformation, my ass!”

I’d eat those words, though, because in the summer of 1997 there was a Beast Wars cartoon on GMTV! It was absolutely brilliant. It was CGI, in the vein of the earlier Reboot, but it looked amazing. It says something that, twenty years on, it still stands up to viewing today. In fact, although the computer models might look a tad dated, the actual animation has yet to be bettered.

"Nighty mares!"

“Nighty mares!”

It starred a small cast of characters, about five or six Transformers on each side. This allowed much greater character development than the earlier cartoons. Optimus Primal was wise and compassionate, Megatron was calculating and snobbish. The young and impulsive Cheetor was the Hasbro-mandated kid-appeal character, but many fell in love with the insolent and obnoxious Rattrap instead.

I could write a whole other article about the Beast Wars cartoon, and maybe I will, but for now I’ll just say that it is by far the best Transformers cartoon ever made. It’s action-packed, funny and thoughtful – it can be enjoyed by adults and children alike, and makes most modern cartoons look like programming for idiots.

Pictured: Hasbro's pitch for the 2015 Transformers cartoon

Pictured: Hasbro’s pitch for the 2015 Transformers cartoon

Proving that we’re all of us malleable tools of the media, my interest in the toys exploded after watching the cartoon, and my collection grew to include pretty much all the characters in the show and a few extras that took my fancy. New toys started appearing on the shelves shortly before season two aired. They were called “Fuzors” and “Transmetals”.

The former were two beasts melded into one. An interesting idea, but most of the toys looked pretty naff. Silverbolt the wolf/eagle was the best, but ended up looking less like two animals monstrously blended together and more like a regular (if there is such a thing) griffon. My mum bought me a toy called Torca (wait…), which I didn’t really care for at the time. It was only years later that I appreciated the kooky hideousness of the elephant/orca hybrid.

# And the elephant goes toot.... #

# And the elephant goes toot…. #

The Transmetals were an attempt to win over the stubborn fans who refused to embrace the new organic designs. It threw the Beast Wars concept on its head; the toys were very shiny and very robotic-looking in beast mode, yet maintained gooey insides for their robot modes. Soft on the inside, hard on the outside – ARMADILLOS! (Readers from foreign lands: resign yourselves to not getting the joke)

Pictured: A Westcountry person. Uh, like me.

Pictured: A Westcountry person. Uh, like me.

Like many of my hobbies, Beast Wars was enjoyed in clandestine secrecy, lest I be mercilessly mocked by my peers. We were too old for toys, my friends said. My next door neighbour caved and bought one, but only “because he looks cool on the shelf. I don’t play with him or anything”.

Looking back, I should have done what all teenagers do and just told them all to go and fuck themselves. If your friends are willing to disown you because you like a cartoon, they aren’t your friends to lose in the first place.

Times have changed – Transformers are a pop culture mainstay, and people are generally more accepting of ‘geek’ culture. You can go into Primark and buy t-shirts with Bart Simpson or Adventure Time or Big Bird on them, and wear them with pride. Years ago, you had to get these things from specialists or just make them yourself.

Free ticket for an ass kicking.

Free ticket for an ass kicking.

Beast Wars brought me many happy times. I loved the cartoon, I played with the toys, and it ultimately contributed a great deal to my childhood and adolescence. It was quality stuff, and it fuelled my imagination just as the classic Transformers had done.

Were it not for Beast Wars, then I’m certain Transformers would never have returned in such a big way, and we wouldn’t have all this great merchandise to rekindle fond memories – and make new ones. It’s worth noting that there was a short comic series made by IDW in 2006 (it still seems brand new to me, despite being nearly ten years old now!). The art is astounding, and it ties in nicely with the cartoon with a script by British National Treasure Simon Furman. Pick it up from your local dealer today. Uh, your comic dealer you understand. Not the shady guy who hangs around outside the nightclub.

“Love with the insolent”