Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It Wasn't Just My Imagination

One of great thing about the advent of the internet as a part of popular culture has been the ability to confirm that entire parts of my childhood weren't figments of my imagination. Case in point: the Gigantor cartoon show.


As a kid, I remembered that when I was four or five years old, in 1965-1966, a Chicago telelvision station, maybe WGN, featured the show Gigantor. The premise was that a young boy had control of an enormous radio-controlled robot who fought for the forces of good.

I have a very good memory for things that happened in my childhood; I have clear memories of a home my family lived in in Lagrange, Illinois when I was one year old. I've described details of the apartment to my parents and my parents agreed that my memories were correct. Therefore, it confused me when, as I grew up, in the course of talks with classmates about favorite childhood television programs, nobody remembered the Gigantor program.

I remember that the program was my favorite, until the Batman television show debuted in 1966. I have vivid memories of when my family lived in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, my brothers and I spending an afternoon constructing a "Gigantor" robot out of paper, crayons, thread and scotch tape.

Thanks to Wikipedia and Youtube, my childhood memories are proven not to have been hallucinations. The show had its origins as a Japanese manga called Tetsujin-28-go, which was purchased Fred Ladd and Al Singer, who hired Peter Fernandez to write the English scripts and participate in the English overdubbing. Fernandez later was involved in the same type of project with the seventies after-school staple Speed Racer.

At some point, after getting internet access around the time my son was born, I was able to find information on the show. I was struck by the whole premise of the show-- giving control of a powerful 100 foot tall rocket-powered robot to a 12-Year-Old boy. Could you imagine how a kid that age would use a robot like that?

"No, Mrs. Henderson, I don't think we'll be having any homework tonight-- not if you don't want your car to be crushed like a tin can..."

I was able to find an episode of Gigantor on Youtube, including the opening theme song, which I remembered, to my disbelief, word for word. I've included it below.

11 comments:

dmarks said...

I've heard the name Gigantor, that is it. I do have some very early Chicagoland TV memories, however.

Erik Donald France said...

Coincidentally, my family lived in the Chicago area at the same time. I never saw this one, but did watch Batman and Dark Shadows after school. Seems like yesterday, eh?

Monica said...

i have won many a bet about tv shows and whether or not they ever existed. some people don't trust my word (even though i am never wrong about that sort of thing) and need a youtube clip :) i have a video from like 95 called "saturday morning cartoon greatest hits" with helmet singing the theme from gigantor.

Bubs said...

OH YEAH! I remember that theme song so clearly! Bigger than big, taller than tall...

Now I have to find some Captain Scarlet clips.

SkylersDad said...

My sister and I would watch Gigantor all the time!

What a memory JY, thanks!

Mathman6293 said...

I guess I am a little too young because I don't remember Gigantor. But Batman was my first word; at least that's what my mother said.

Natalie said...

I totally remember Gigantor and I have no reason to except that my parents are nerds. Not that watching a kids TV show when you are a kid makes you a nerd. Nevermind.

Pezda's Ghost said...

That's an interesting tidbit about your memory. I have systematically destroyed all of my childhood memories with the exception of those that relate to cartoons.

Evil Spock said...

I had a beloved Gigantor shirt in college, and lost it almost immediately when we threw a party.

Damn college kids stealing my stuff . . .

SamuraiFrog said...

I remember even when I was a kid seeing Gigantor sandwiched somewhere between Speed Racer and Ultraman. Giant robots kick unbelievable amounts of ass.

Funny enough, I was in my car today and I put in a compilation I'd made four or five years ago of science fiction themed music, and the Dickes cover of the Gigantor theme was on it.

Distributorcap said...

gigantor the space age robot
he's at your command...

or something like that.....