Best '80s Cartoon Intro Themes

Over in the '80s grid-line tech = high tech thread, somebody posted the opening theme to MASK. Unfortunately, I spent the next hour watching old '80s theme songs for cartoons.

The best one is a cheat. The Real Ghostbusters theme comes from the movie.

The best original theme goes to Silverhawks. Love the guitar and bird screeches.

Honorable mentions go to: Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Gummi Bears (warning low quality), Saber Rider (just discovered it on Youtube, I’ve never heard of it before), and Thundercats. Voltron is cool, but the voice-over only intro keeps it from seriously competing.

(Excluded because they’re from the early '90s but are still very good: King Arthur and the Knights of Justice, Tale Spin, Darkwing Duck, and of course Batman: The Animated Series)

Which are your favorites?

The long intro for The Mysterious Cities of Gold.

Jem has always been one of my favourites. And the Transformers season 2 opening. (Season 1 has a boring video portion, and season three has the annoying ‘bap! bap! bap!’ backing in the song.)

Transformers S2 opening is truly glorious. Does the opening to the G. I. Joe movie count? If so, that’s the clear winner.

This was the first one that popped into my mind.

Fun Fact: The Thundercats theme song was written by…James Lipton, the host of Inside The Actor’s Studio. Seriously.

This makes it the best.

Edit, wait, Ducktales started in 1987, so that’s my winner… Ducktales. A-woo-ooh.

How can you do a thread like this and not mention Turtle Power?

Did it? I was going to stick with MASK, but Ducktales wins hands-down.

Tales of derring-do
Bad and good luck tales!

Ducktales and Gummi Bears inspired the entire Disney Afternoon lineup, so they get extra credit for helping to make all those great themes.

Yup, 1987 according to Wiki. I thought of it as a 90’s thing myself which is why I didn’t mention it originally, but sure enough it counts.

Some the Yanks may not have seen

Ulysses 31

Danger Mouse

Count Duckula

Jamie and the Magic Torch

We had Dangermouse on Nickelodeon back in the 80’s. The rest of those are a mystery.

I rather liked Dangermouse.

Inspector Gadget Go Gadget go!

Another vote for Duck Tales. Not pony tales or cotton tales but Duck Tales!

I love the Disney lineup and Duck Tales was one of my favorite cartoons, but I would try to skip the theme song when I was a kid. It’s good, but it got old fast. The “Ooh-woo-ooo!” was especially grating. They even reuse the history/mystery rhyme from Gummi Bears.

I can’t believe I forgot about Inspector Gadget. That’s a great song as well.

Based on a quick experiment here in the office, if you go up to anyone between the ages of say 27 and 40 and just go “Ducktales!” they’ll almost involuntarily go “A woo ooh”.

Visionaries! I can’t link to it but I am sure it is on YouTube.

I loved the instrumental, orchestral opening theme to Robotech. I have this on CD and on my iPod.

Regarding yojimbo’s list, Ulysses 31 and Count Duckula were also available in the US. Ulysses 31 was pretty unsuccessful; the series was so short that it was sold as part of a syndicated package of unrelated shows, and these kinds of packages were really not too popular. Count Duckula, OTOH, was quite popular on Nickelodeon in the late 1980s, probably moreso than Dangermouse had been a few years before.

Okay, so it started two months into 1990, but close enough:

Samurai Pizza Cats

Pole Position. Gotta love those 80s video game cartoons. And because I love you guys, here’s another one: Kangaroo.

Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. Apparently the 80s was also when they figured out that cartoons should just be long commercials for selling your toy line.


Can the world oppose
Deadliest of foes?
Cobra! Cobra! Cobra! Cobra!
Joes will risk it all
To end the evil call of
Cobra! Cobra! Cobra! Cobra!
They never give up
They never say die
Walking tall with banners high
They sound the battle cry-
Yo Joe! Yo Joe!


Signé Cat’s Eyes