I needed help with this one. I blame too much TV as a child of the 1970s. I also blame too many psychedelics in the 1990s.
Over the last couple of months, I have been bombarded by flashbacks of my youth. Particualrly while covering the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, I would randomly get flashes of this cartoon that I religiously watched as a kid. For the life of me, I could not recall the name of it. I was stumped. I would wander through a row of poker tables with random images wandering down the hallways of my brain.
The images wouldn't stop. But I had zero time to chase it down.
As soon as I returned to Hollyweird, I tried to do some research. I found a website that had a bunch of cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s. It was extremely trippy to take a walk down memory lane. I forgot about the Mr. T cartoon with those gymnasts and those annoying fuzzy things called The Monchhichis. I searched and searched for hours and even looked on You Tube. However, all my research left me was super frustrated. Unable to properly chase down a flashback. That makes people go insane.
That's when I knew I needed to bring in an outside consultant. If there was one person I could ask threat would know... it was Wil Wheaton... resident uber-geek and sci-wunderkind Wil Wheaton.
Here's the email that I sent Wil the other day...
this is killing me. im having these flashbacks of this cartoon i used to watch when i was a kid but cant recall the name. i know we're the same age so maybe u can help.
cartoon.... sci-fi-ish but more like animae for the late 1970s.
premise: 4 teens (3 guys plus 1 chick in pink) + 1 young kid work for some govt agency. i think they are all orphans. each are on this huge spaceship/plane. the fat guy flew the plane. and there are two tough guys - one rode a race car and the other a single-seater plane. the chick drove a motorcycle. their vehicles would come out of the plane/spaceship. whenever they got in trouble their plane would turn into this fireball like a phoenix. they constantly fought this terrorist group who wore blue masks.
can u help me out here? or am i just rambling on and on...?
Wil had been away at Comic-Con and finally had a chance to catch up with email. Here's what he wrote me...
I loved this show. In America, this was called Battle of the Planets, but it was originally called Z Force when it debuted in Japan.
My friend is working on an updated version of the film, that will be CGI and live action!
Score! I was so happy that Wil cleared up my insanity. Within seconds of reading his email, I found the first episode on You Tube. There were two versions in the US... Battle of the Planets and G-Force.
The powers to be softened the North American version and took out some of the quasi-sexually explicit scenes and tons of violence. That's what I watched as a kid.
I can't recall if I ever watched the cartoon on weekends. I sort of recall sitting around in my Catholic School uniform and watching the cartoon after school.
Here's the first episode...
Since I got Wil's email confirmation, I have been sitting here, clutching the bong, and reliving my lost youth.
And yes, the fat guy is named Hootie.