A couple of weeks ago we brought you a bit of the Mario Bros on TV with the pilot episode for the Super Mario Bros Super Show. Their first actual TV appearance however was much, much earlier. Very few will remember the Saturday Supercade, a 1983 TV series that collected several cartoons based on popular arcade games. The variety of shows were based on properties like Q*bert, Space Ace and the original Donkey Kong. Yes, the PRE-COUNTRY, puzzle-based Donkey Kong. And it featured an extremely odd Mario.
Oh goodness, the show wasn’t very good at all.
Donkey Kong obviously focused on the big ape as a dumb protagonist, often fooled by evil-doers into carrying out their heinous acts. It wouldn’t be until Mario and Pauline (his bae before Princess Peach) would catch up to and convert him to thwart the plots. The main narrative thread focused on Mario chasing DK each episode as the alternate stories kicked in, with Pauline often getting captured and barrels thrown down buildings.
The shorts (roughly about 12 minutes long) were often very, very bad. In fact, they’re unwatchable by today’s standards. The only redeeming qualities centered on the surprising cast: Donkey Kong was voiced by Soupy Sales and Mario by Peter Cullen. Yup, Optimario Prime!
Watch the episode below in which DK visits his ape family, and you’ll see how un-Nintendo it actually was.
Let us know what you think of the show, and any other classic game-based cartoons you’d like to see us showcase!