I recently had a conversation with my husband about the children’s shows and popular characters that were really famous in Brazil back when I was a child. It’s funny to see how some cartoons and TV shows from our childhood can be quite imprinted in our minds, but still seem so unknown once you start to learn more about their origins and characteristics.
That’s when I started to have this nostalgic feeling and desire to talk about different aspects of Brazilian TV programs, most of them from the 80’s.
International Cartoons, Regional Feelings
Most of the cartoons that went on air on our main TV broadcast back in the 80’s came from the US, as far as I remember. Names as Wildfire (1986), Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985),Get Along Gang (1984) and Dudgeons and Dragons (1983) may sound unfamiliar to you, but I assure you that most Brazilians over 20 would start to smile even today, when hearing about them
I was curious to look into the English information of such animation series, and began to understand some trivial aspects that didn’t make any sense to me as child. For example: The name of the Gummi Bears cartoon obviously refers to the German candy gummi bears, but since in Brazil this kind of candy didn’t exist at that time, the word gummi never meant anything to us. Dungeons and Dragons was also really popular in Brazil, but I had never associated the name, that was translated to Dragon’s Cave in Portuguese, with the famous role playing game from the 70’s.
Strange Children’s Characters
Looking back now, the hosts from the children’s morning shows back then were rather strange. Fofão and Palhaço Bozo (Bozo Clown) are two such examples.
The Bozo the Clown figure was born in America in the late 40’s and it was really famous there until the mid 70’s. The show was produced in over 40 countries and Brazil also got its own clown in the 80’s. It strikes me to realize that this clown was such a big international brand and also a spokesman for Mc Donald’s, until the creation of Ronald McDonald. Still, it was a big success in our country and was on air for 10 years.
Fofão was a Brazilian character for kids who emerged in the 80’s. He was an alien with huge cheeks, who came from Fofolândia (Cuteness Land) and started as a character in the also really popular show, o balão mágico, and quickly became a hit. Well, I guess we didn’t really have a nice perception of what the word cuteness meant (he looked like a mix between Chucky and Alf), but he sure made a lot of kids fall in love with his figure, and also beg for his toys
TV Cultura shows
Brazil’s Public Channel TV Cultura offered a more interesting and cultural TV experience to Brazilian kids. A variety of international cartoons were offered, such as Pigeon Street (1981) which was originally shown on the BBC, Pat & Mat (1976) that (to my surprise) was a Czech puppet animation series and the great Faerie Tale Theatre (1982), which featured (also extremely surprising to me) people such as Tim Burton, Robin Williams and Francis Ford Copolla.
TV Cultura also gave birth to great shows, that taught valuable lessons to many kids and teenagers, like Rá-Tim-Bum (1989) and the Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum (1994), which won prizes for best children’s shows not only in Brazil but also in America.
It is quite impossible to list all of the figures which had a great impact on our “TV” childhood, but it was really fulfilling to bring these memories back. Looking back at this list, which cartoons do you recognize? Were any of them famous in your country? It would be nice to know about your childhood “TV memories”!