Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Daytime Heroes: The Super Mario Brothers Super Show! (1989)

Part sitcom, part anthology, The Super Mario Brothers Super Show was a collaborative effort of Nintendo and DIC, distributed initially by Viacom, that aired in syndication from 1989-91. Only one season's worth of episodes was produced and cycled through 2 seasons.

Each episode was bookended with a live-action sitcom, complete with laugh track, with former WWE personality Capt. Lou Albano (ex-Hulk Hogan's Rock & Wrestling) as Mario and Danny Wells, who'd been with DIC off and on for a few years, as Luigi. Wells might be known to some primetime viewers for some guest roles on shows like The Jeffersons. For Albano, this was his last series gig, after appearing in films like "Wise Guys" with Joe Piscopo & Danny DeVito, and he'd return to the WWE in the early 90's for a brief comeback run. Albano & Wells also voiced the animated Mario & Luigi in cartoons that aired Monday-Thursday, with The Legend of Zelda airing on Fridays.

A second Mario Bros. series, Super Mario World, would air on NBC the next year, with Zelda also airing there as part of a block with Captain N: The Game Master, part of a last hurrah for animation on NBC at that time.

Anyway, here's the series opener, from 1989. The time spent doing skits on Hulk Hogan's Rock & Wrestling 4 years earlier served Albano well, and he adjusted nicely, having shed his trademark rubber bands to play Mario.

The series was last seen on the then-Family Channel in the mid-90's in a repackaged anthology that also included Super Mario World. Canada's Cookie Jar Entertainment, which acquired DIC a couple of years back, now holds the rights to the series, but due to rights issues involving Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, who guest-starred in one episode, a subsequent DVD release was incomplete.

Rating: B.


Mario500 said...

There were actually three TV series about the Super Mario Brothers: "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show", "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3", and "Super Mario World". NBC presented "Super Mario World" from 1991 to 1992 after presenting "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3" from 1990 to 1991.

"The Legend of Zelda" episodes were actually part of "The Super Mario Bros. Show" and they were broadcast on Fridays initially along with new live-action segments featuring Mario and Luigi. There were 13 episodes of "The Legend of Zelda" in total and each of them was paired with the live-action segments. Only five of the 13 live-action segments were included in the DVD release from Shout Factory; only two of the missing eight featured Cassandra Peterson as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

The anthology series "Super Mario All-Stars" with the animated Mario segments from "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show" and "Super Mario World" was actually last broadcast in the United States by the USA Network in 1997, according to the World Wide Web site Cartoon Resource. The Family Channel (it it now the ABC Family Channel) broadcast the series from 1994 to 1996 originally.

hobbyfan said...

I referenced Zelda being part of the Super Show. Thanks for clarifying the cable history, though. I think Elvira wanted some share of the rights for her appearances, DIC or Nintendo weren't willing to pony up, so that's why Elvira's guest shots were left out of the DVD.