Whenever I talk about how great Shirt Tales (1982 - 1984) was, I usually find myself talking to a blank face. Nothing. Nada. No connection there at all. But if you go online to suss out the Shirt Tales vibe, there's actually quite a few people out there who get all excited when they've made contact with a fellow 'Shirty' (this nickname for a dedicated Shirt Tales Fan is currently unrecognised in the wider Shirt Tales community, but I'm hoping it might catch on). It doesn't happen often, but it can happen - and it is a truly beautiful thing when it does.
I just want all you Shirties out there to know... you are not alone. You are amongst friends here. You are in a safe & caring space where you can wear your heart on your T-shirt... just like a Shirt Tales character would...
... how's that for a segue? ...
... Shirt Tales was all about a group of talking animal crime-fighters who wore T-Shirts that proudly displayed their current thoughts or emotions. They lived in Oak Tree Park, and had to make sure the Park Ranger, Mr Dinkel, didn't catch on to their ultra-secret double lives as superheroes. Poor Mr Dinkel was always getting his knickers in a twist over those lovable rogues, but he was powerless against their wit & heightened intelligence - they were talking animals after all. Dude didn't stand a chance.
The Shirt Tales Gang were: Kip Kangaroo, Bogey Orangutan, Pammy Panda, Digger Mole, Tyg Tiger and Rick Racoon...
They got around in a souped up machine that transformed from a car to a boat, to a jet, to a submarine etc. It really was the ultimate bad-ass crime fighting vehicle, which is exactly what you would expect from something called the Shirt Tales Super Sonic Transport (STSST).
Shirt Tales Fun Fact #1: Kip Kangaroo was voiced by Nancy Cartwright, who went on to further cartoon-voicing heights... The Simpsons wouldn't be The Simpsons without Nancy Cartwright. Am I right or am I right?
Shirt Tales Fun Fact #2: Shirt Tales is one of the eleventy seventy cartoons from Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Shirt Tales Fun Fact #3: Shirt Tales was originally a line of greeting cards that Hallmark took to Hanna-Barbera to develop into a cartoon series.
Shirt Tales Fun fact #4: Remember Saturday morning, or Sunday afternoon, cartoon marathons? You'd watch the first half of a cartoon, then they would play a segment from a different cartoon, and then come back to play the 2nd half of the first cartoon. And so on, and so on. Shirt Tales followed this formula, having been divided into two distinct segments. Pretty sure He-Man & She-Ra were broadcast in this format too. Good times. Great Memories. Weekend cartoon slothing.
It is a law unwritten, but understood to be as sacred as any other, that all good kids TV providers must send forth upon the lands a good selection of merchandise to be exchanged for gold & silver. Or paper. Or plastic card. Although Shirt Tales only ran for 2 seasons, the merch doth rained down upon the good people across all of the lands.
Shirt Tales was my absolute favouritest cartoon as a kid (well, for 2 years it was). I know it was comparitively short-lived, but I'm always amazed when people from the same 'era' as me have never heard of it. I take pity on their sad, lost faces, then turn to walk away... happy in the knowledge that I had Shirt Tales in my life for a brief moment in time. My shirt today would say grateful... if I were a Shirt Tale gang member. #ganggoals