Recently, during a discussion of random non-importance, my wife and I began singing the Sesame Street ‘Capital I’ song out of the blue, remembering the lyrics and animation four decades after the fact.  Indeed, many of those old Sesame Street segments are still influential on my brain today, with the internet’s inability to turn up a video of ‘Caterpillars Never Wear Brown Boots’ as a quiet disappointment in my life to this very day.  Stephen often talks about the influential pop culture of the tween and early-teen years, but I clearly recall bits of songs and cartoons such as Underdog, that I know I had to have been exposed to before the age of six, which leads us to today’s first grade query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has vivid memories of watching a cartoon about a cab-driving dog who turned into a superhero called The Champion, about which I can find very little information today, asking: What’s the most memorable bit of early childhood pop culture for you?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Scott masters on

    Leaving the obvious Star Wars out, one of my early memories are of Star Blazers every day after school. I had to race home because it was a serialized series and I couldn’t miss an episode!

  2. Teen-Age-Mu-tant-Nin-Ja-Tur-tles…
    To this day, this song runs through my head far too often. It brings me right back. I used to get up early so I could get ready for school before it came on so I could watch uninterrupted before running to catch a bus. Every time Matthew makes a TMNT reference I’m right back in elementary school doodling “mutants” and singing along.

    • Somewhere in one of my old folders, I still have my second grade sketch of “Emmycat”, my “me as a cat mutant” sketch I did. I even had a whole backstory written involving the mutation being a side-effect of an experimental chemotherapy, and there was something about space ninjas, alien ghosts and exploding elephants.

  3. Not including Star Wars or Doctor Who, there is a lot I remember and many that I still love to this day.

    Lots of Muppet/Jim Henson related stuff, including Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, The Muppet Show, various Muppet movies, Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas (I still sing the “Barbecue” song at Christmas despite the fact I haven’t seen the movie in maybe 20 years) and Muppet Babies just to list a few.

    Also TMNT, Transformers and various other superhero or sci-fi/fantasy themed series, including several Japanese superhero shows I got hooked on while I was going through treatment for Leukemia (the hospital had a satellite or something with a lot of non-English channels). It also helped that before closed captioned TV became widely available, relatives and friends found fan-subbed VHS of a lot of Japanese superhero series and anime for me to watch since I am hard of hearing (legally deaf).

  4. Frederick, aka Darth Macho on

    Star Wars may be obvious, but it is accurate. Since the day that my dad took me at age 6, to see this movie, nothing else had as great of an impact on my childhood as this franchise. I had a plethora of books, toys, cards, etc, and I even wrote fan fiction, before I knew it was a thing.

    As far as TV, it was Looney Tunes, and other cartoons, like Woody Woodpecker, the Flintstones, and Tom & Jerry. Oh, yes, and my favorite, Top Cat. I actually wrote Top Cat fan fiction when I was a kid.

    I don’t know if it counts as pop culture, Atari and it’s video games also had a major impact on my life.

  5. The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.
    They were the coolest thing ever, bar nothing.
    I think that’s what got my superhero fixation started, even though I never got to watch the show.. just.. an episode here, and episode there, at the most.

    • Want to hear something really sad? I can still do most of the choreographed pre-morph flourishes. Every so often I’ll take my old morpher toy (which was sanded and painted gold to resemble Tommy’s morpher) off my shelf and start doing a few.

  6. Malone_hasco on

    Star Wars, like everyone else, but also He-Man and the Masters of The Universe & anything Disney Ducks related.

  7. Derrick Donaldson on

    My parents would never let me watch TV as a kid due to some very strict religious beliefs. But I had a friend at school that would record every episode of DuckTales and TailSpin for me, and I would smuggle the tapes home and binge watch them every time I was home alone.

    • I did something similar for a friend of mine, except they didn’t even own a TV. He would tell his parents he was coming over to do homework, which was partially true, but we spent most of the time watching a bunch of the after school and Saturday morning cartoons I taped for him.

      It was hilarious at his graduation party when his mom was being snooty and said the reason he got such good grades was that he never watched any TV, and that was when he told his parents that he spent about three or four days a week at my house doing almost nothing but watching TV.

  8. Adam West’s Batman (in syndication), and Spider-Man from The Electric Company…yes, I’m that old.

  9. My after school line-up every day included He-Man, Mr. Rodgers, and Reading Rainbow.

    And while Star Wars may be obvious, I must mention the first time Star Wars was shown on network television. It was 1984. I was in kindergarten. My parents let me stay up until eleven on a Sunday night to watch the whole thing. ELEVEN!!! As a five year old, this was the biggest of deals, and easily the most memorable piece of media from my childhood.

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