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“Let me say my magic word.”

November 14, 2004, 4:23 PM

Does anyone here remember the 1980s British cartoon series SuperTed? I so love those old cartoons. For those of you who don’t remember:

This is a story about an ordinary teddy bear.
When he was made, they found something wrong with him,
And threw him away, like a piece of rubbish, into an old, dark storeroom.
Then, from outer space, a spotty man brought him to life, with his cosmic dust.
He took him to a magic cloud, where Mother Nature gave him special powers.
That bear became… SuperTed!


It’s funny how a simple thing like waking up my register today at work can trigger a trip down memory lane. My comment was, “Let me say my magic word.” SuperTed, before he ripped his skin off to reveal his SuperTed suit, always would tell everyone that he was going to say his magic word. Of course, as another Web site mentioned, we never actually heard him say his magic word on air. He just rips off his skin, and there you go.

Also interesting is what we learn and don’t learn from the SuperTed story shown at the beginning of every episode. Everyone familiar with SuperTed knows this by heart, because at the beginning of every bloody episode, they rattle off the whole thing. We never ever found out why the bear that would become SuperTed was defective in the first place. We just knew that he was defective. Considering how easily SuperTed rips his skin off after saying his magic word, I wonder if it’s shoddy stitching, since it always rips in the same spot, and so it must be on a seam.

Also, did you ever notice how SuperTed got his special powers? Of course, Spotty took him to a magic cloud where Mother Nature gave him said powers. Still, the opening indicates that he was fed his powers, which is an odd way of getting them. Seriously, the cartoon shows her giving him a spoonful of something, which he promptly eats. I wonder if that was a subtle eat-your-vegetables kind of thing. SuperTed literally received his powers orally. This was not an “I hereby bestow these powers upon you” kind of giving of power. It was more like, “Here, eat this.” So thus if you eat your vegetables and other good foods, you can be just like SuperTed. Maybe so.

Still, those were some good cartoons. And they had my favorite kind of bad guys. Determined, but stupid. You could rest assured that whatever Tex (full name Texas Pete) came up with, Bulk and Skeleton would find a way to screw it up. I just remember when Tex was trying to hold a kid for ransom, Bulk said, “What’s ‘ansom’, Tex?” Skeleton, referring to himself, said, “I’m ‘ansom’,” meaning handsome.

All in all, though, I love it, and it was a great memory to revisit today. I asked a few coworkers, and no one could remember much about the actual cartoons, but they did remember that opening theme. Being longish, and at the beginning of every bloody episode, did make an impression, it seems.

Web site: Jedi's Paradise page about Superted

Song: End credits song:

A scarlet suit, a flowing cape,
A secret word, a magic change,
But when his cape is spread,
He's SuperTed!
SuperTed shoots through the air,
Like a streak of red,

Quote: "Pulsating prunes, Spotty, look at that." - SuperTed to his partner, Spotty

Categories: Television