My Top 10 80’s Cartoon Theme Music – A Decade of Animated Brilliance

The 1980’s is overflowing with memorable cartoon show introductions and as far as I am concerned, it was ‘the era’ that gave us all a spectacular head bopping experience. It was the decade of seriously catchy tunes that would prepare us for the splendid action that was to follow. Saturday mornings were an important highlight for any youngster during this period as we stared into the square box of wonder and awaited the next instalment of our favourite cartoon programmes.

Below is my personal Top 10 80’s cartoon music themes with videos attached so we can all enjoy and indeed remember fondly our youth with a large grin on our faces. Remember this is ‘my’ list so no doubt you will disagree with some of my selections – but don’t be shy, share your list in the comments section for us all to debate our love for the 80’s together.

In reverse order…

10) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 1987

Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When I ever see turtles, I never ever see an assortment of legendary weaponry or a craving for a slice or two of pizza, yet it is amazing what a glowing ooze will do for your appetite for both ninja mastery and Italian food. Joined by mutant rat Splinter, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles battle with the evil forces represented by Shredder and his ninja clan. TV reporter April O’Neil stumbled upon the turtles hideout and soon becomes friends with the heroes, sharing many adventures together.

In the UK, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was actually referred to as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles complete with edited introduction due to the concern over the term ‘ninja’ being used in the show.

9) Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears – 1985

Not to be confused with the tasty sweets, Gummi Bears although loosely inspired by the candy sharing the same name is a fun cartoon featuring bears who use magical cleverness to elude those that would hunt them down including the primary villain Duke Sigmund Igthorn.

Gummiberry Juice is the potion that is used to great effect for bouncing here and there and everywhere, helped by an assortment of human friends who wish to protect the friendly Gummi Bears.

8) Danger Mouse – 1981

Featuring an English secret agent mouse by the name of Danger Mouse (voiced by David Jason) and his loyal hamster companion Ernest Penfold (voiced by Terry Scott).

Don’t let the eye patch fool you, Danger Mouse is as cunning and as heroic as any animal out there in the cartoon world. Up against a toad that so happens to be his arch-enemy by the name of Baron Silas Greenback, Danger Mouse must overcome the perils that confront him while also dishing out the English humour and charm.

7) Inspector Gadget – 1983

A cyborg policeman with more handy gadgets than your typical Apple Store, Inspector Gadget is one of the clumsiest law enforcement agents you will ever come across.

Luckily though, his niece Penny and loyal canine chum Brain are actively aiding him without his knowledge to ensure that justice prevails over the likes of Doctor Claw.

6) Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers – 1989

The sound of a squeaky voice is often an indication that chipmunks are appearing on your television screen and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers is no different.

Featuring Indiana Jones lookalike ‘Chip’, ‘Dale’ a Hawaiian shirt wearing chap, an Australian strong mouse by the name of ‘Monterey Jack’ and heart throb master of gizmo’s ‘Gadget’. The four of them form the Rescue Rangers, a group of friends who embark on solving the most mind bending of mysteries.

5) Duck Tales – 1987

Uncle Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck) is an immensely tight and wealthy duck, who has amassed a fortune which he stores in his money bin at his home of Duckburg.

Joined by his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie – aviation pilot Launchpad McQuack, Mrs Beakley and her granddaughter Webby Vanderquack and inventor Gyro Gearloose.

4) Pole Position – 1984

Pole Position followed a sibling crime fighting family starring Tess, Dan and younger sister Daisy Darrett, driving fast gadget packed stunt cars that also benefit from an artificial intelligence all of their own named Roadie and Wheels. Computers Roadie and Wheels are extremely portable and can be removed from the dashboard of the vehicle and carried around.

Disguised as a ‘Pole Position Stunt Show’ that is operated by their Uncle, Pole Position is actually part of a government operation that is required to save the day at a moments notice.

3) ThunderCats – 1985

“Thunder, THUNDER, THUNDERCATS HOOOOoooo…”

I am sure we have all heard the almighty cry of Lion-O – Lord of the ThunderCats, as he beckons his fellow cat-like friends to do battle with the incredibly evil mummified sorcerer Mumm-Ra – the ever-living. Lion-O certainly isn’t alone as his faithful troop of Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, WilyKit, WilyKat and not forgetting a smaller creature named Snarf – all protect the innocent inhabitants of Third Earth.

Lion-O guided by Jaga wields the Sword of Omens and utilises his defensive Claw Shield to protect himself from attack and to swing to previously unreachable locations. Living in their constructed base referred to as Cat’s Liar, Panthro created the iconic ThunderTank.

2) The Mysterious Cities of Gold – 1983

Set in 1532, the enchanting cartoon series follows a selection of young individuals searching for one of the lost cities of gold as Esteban hopes to find a lost father. Zia the daughter of an Inca priest, Tao the last living descendant of the sunken empire of Hiva (Mu) and Mendoza join him on his adventurous quest.

Mixing South American history with science fiction, The Mysterious Cities of Gold features an introduction theme that is just perfect for the series.

1) Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors – 1985

Here it is, my number one 80’s cartoon theme and maybe it is no real surprise it represents the very best of the decade’s style.

Audric is a botanist that accidentally creates a set of evil plant based villains known collectively as the Monster Minds, led by Saw Boss. Audric flees with half of a solution that will rid them of their new problem, leaving son Jayce to locate him and complete the process. Joined primarily by wizard mentor Gillian, Flora a young girl created from a flower, Oon a bizarre magical armoured and loyal servant and mercenary Herc Stormsailer – together creating the Wheeled Warriors.

So this is my list, now time to share your top 10 80’s cartoon themes…

James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.