Nintendo's Super Mario cast of characters were a cultural phenomenon in the late 1980s, and as such appeared on all kinds of products; everything from lunchboxes to pajamas and notebooks to ice cream sandwiches. The characters also appeared on television in a series of animated adventures, beginning with The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and eventually concluding with Super Mario World. One television series that seems to have been completely swallowed by time is a local market kiddie show featuring everyone's favorite turtle despot, King Koopa. For a brief time the king reigned on his own low budget thirty minute southern California series, King Koopa's Kool Kartoons. The show has been merely an Internet rumor for years, but now someone with an old VHS tape has rediscovered the program and has offered it up as proof that the show really did exist.
Essentially the program is a Bozo the Clown knock-off in which a man in a Koopa suit (complete with sportcoat and plaid pants) dances around, gives out Nintendo gear to the children in the audience (known as "Koopa's Troopas"), and introduces public domain cartoons from the era of The Great Depression. If that isn't enough for you, don't miss the video clip of the show's opening theme song (sample lyric: "I've got the show that you'd better watch / even when you're grounded!") in which Koopa surfaces from a city sewer, entrances nearby children, and marches them to the local TV studio where he takes over the regularly scheduled clown show ("It's my show now!"). The whole affair has a charming 1989 feel to it, by which I mean it's full of synthesizer tones and bizarre dance steps. Some have wondered why the producers never took the show national, but I find myself wondering why anybody put it on the air in the first place.