Question about ThunderCats HO! the movie

Discussion in 'ThunderCats (1985)' started by Wilycub, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Fellow Third Earthers! I am in desperate need of your help. :)

    I am writing an article about the ThunderCats for a website and I am kinda stumped on one issue, which is the "ThunderCats HO!" TV movie. I never saw the TCats cartoons during their original run. I saw them much later on VHS so I don't know all the details about the TV movie. I can't find accurate info about the transition of the show from the first season to the second season. So my questions are:

    1. Was the "ThunderCats HO!" TV movie ever aired on TV? or was it only released as a VHS?
    2. If it was aired, what was the airdate?
    3. If it was aired, were the five episodes making up the TV movie (ThunderCats HO! parts 1 - 5) also aired on TV?
    4. If yes, then when what were their airdates?

    A am confused because I've heard different accounts by people saying:
    a) the TV movie was aired but the separate episodes were not.
    b) the separate episodes were aired but the TV movie was not.
    c) both of them were aired, first the TV movie then the separate episodes.

    I would greatly appreciate any info that you guys can share on this issue. Thank you so much in advance! :)
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  2. Tygra_Rules

    Tygra_Rules Thunderian Legend

    Sorry I can't help you thjis time, buddy.

    I never watched the movie, only the 5-eps arc as part of the tv series (in fact, i just learned those were originally a movie when I registered in this site LOL).

    But hey! Let us know when your article comes out! I'd be happy to read it. Good luck1
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  3. adssse

    adssse Thunderian Legend

    Sorry, I am not much help either unfortunately.

    I do not remember seeing the movie as a whole on TV, but obviously as a child I could have easily missed it. I have seen differing dates as to when the episodes aired. Oct 27 - 31 1986 is approximated in Hear the Roar and I believe Wikipedia had Sept 8 -12 of the same year.

    If I come across anything else I will note it here though. Can't wait to read your article!
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  4. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Thank you Tygra_Rules and adssse for your comments. I know I'm trying to look for a needle in a haystack. I am asking someone to remember what they saw on TV 30 years ago. I can't remember what I saw on TV last week! LOL! :biggrin

    But I do hope someone has some recollection of it. I'm confused by the co-existence of the TV movie and the 5 separate episodes. Which was broadcast originally? Which was broadcast first?
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  5. Booshman

    Booshman Thunderian Legend

    There are a few things I think we can assume from the info available. The DVD's were created from broadcast masters, so know the episodes were definitely broadcast individually. The VHS version was not released in the USA, presumably it was made just a way to have kids in the UK know who the new cats were, so they would buy the toys of the new characters. I would think that in the US they never aired the movie version, as it would make sense for them to release it on VHS also, which they never did.

    Can't help you on dates, but maybe there is somewhere online you can find old TV listings. I know for the UK the Radio Times has an archive of their old listings where you can look this kind of thing up.
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  6. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    As far as I know the separate episodes were only aired in the USA. The movie we got released here on VHS in the UK was just an edited version of the five episodes.

    I would love to read your article once it is finished. :D
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  7. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Thank you Booshman and Mark for your input. Yes, I believe you are both on the money. As I have continued researching this issue, I've also learned that the VHS of "ThunderCats Ho" the movie was only released in U.K. by "The Video Collection". Thus I'm leaning more towards the theory that the movie was never broadcast in the U.S.A. So then only the five episodes must have been shown on TV, because somehow I don't think that TV networks would show the movie AND the five episodes as well. Though it is a possibility, it does seem highly improbable.

    What makes this matter a bit more confusing is this (these are U.S. airdates):
    * Season 1 ended in December 1985
    * ThunderCats Ho! Five parts were broadcast in September 1986
    * Season 2 (Mumm-Ra Lives 5 parts) started in September 1987

    So basically the five ThunderCats Ho! episodes were the only TCats cartoon broadcast in the entire year of 1986? So kids waited almost a year after "Fond Memories" to get only the five parts of "ThunderCats Ho!", and then had to wait another year before they got "Mumm-Ra Lives!"? That seems like an odd way for networks to air the show.

    It also raises the question whether "ThunderCats Ho!" really marks the beginning of Season 2 or is it "Mumm-Ra Lives!" that should be considered the first episode of Season 2? If the former is true, then why is there a year long gap within one Season? If the latter is true then should the five "ThunderCats Ho!" episodes be classified as Season 1.5 ?
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  8. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I always classed 'Thundercats Ho' as part of Season 1.

    The air dates are odd. But I do recall reading somewhere that they spaced the cartoon out so it was on air for longer even after the toy line ceased production in 87. If that is correct it was really dumb move as it would definitely have sold more units of the series 3 figures.
    Perhaps this move was to make way for their new project Silverhawks?
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  9. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    I only remember "ThunderCats, Ho!" as a five-part miniseries. It was pretty entertaining despite being a vehicle for the LJN ThunderCats line.
  10. thezaxfactor

    thezaxfactor Staff Writer and Moderator Staff

    I have a recording of Ho! on VHS from an 80s American broadcast. While I didn't record it myself, and therefore can't be certain that it aired all at once (vs. over five days), I can tell you that it is missing the same scenes and parts of scenes that the "movie" version is missing. Those edits were made for time, so that the "movie" could be broadcast in a two-hour timeslot. Why else make those edits? Likewise, the opening sequence has that animated "ThunderCats Ho! The Movie" text on it—an animation that was clearly created to highlight the special nature of the broadcast.

    Also, no offense to the UK, but the US was the primary market. I find it hard to believe that a special edit would be undertaken for foreign home video markets but never broadcast in the US.

    As for the airdates, ThunderCats (much like He-Man) was marketing for broadcast in syndication. After their first airing in 1985, episodes were regularly aired out of order from market to market. I think it's likely true that "ThunderCats Ho!" were the only new episodes produced in 1986, and that during 1986 (after some markets aired them as a standalone "movie" with the aforementioned edits) they were occasionally aired as separate parts, alongside reruns of the rest of Season One. But I have no evidence of that, other than the fact that (as Booshman noted) broadcast masters of the individual parts clearly exist.

    Notably, in all my childhood years of recording reruns, from 1988–1992, I never encountered "ThunderCats Ho!" Granted, that's anecdotal, but it makes me wonder whether some of the syndicating networks just didn't have access to the standalone versions of the episodes.

    So, in short, yes. I think it's a safe assumption that the "movie" version aired in the US. Whether the individual episodes aired separately... probably? But maybe not in all markets.
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  11. Booshman

    Booshman Thunderian Legend

    For a market that was not going to be intoduced to the new Thundercats from season 2, yet still wanted to make toy sales, I'd say it makes a lot of sense that they would want some sort of way to get the kids up to speed for the third wave of figures. Cool to learn that the movie version was aired in the US though, makes it all the more puzzling that it didn't receive a VHS release over there. It makes sense what you say about editing the movie down to fit a time slot. I always knew there were bits missing as a kid, the shots of Panthro that were very clunkily hacked out, but I never knew there were whole scenes just gone until I got some VHS tapes from the US years later and saw the single episode versions.
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  12. thezaxfactor

    thezaxfactor Staff Writer and Moderator Staff

    Totally. A home video release makes a lot of sense in that context. But editing it for time doesn't—the origin of that edit has to be the broadcast constraint. That's all I meant.

    I wonder why the later seasons never saw broadcast in the UK. Very strange. I'd expect a delay, but not an all out absence.
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  13. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Not 100% sure, but I think that sometimes cartoon movies were edited because the VHS tapes themselves had a fixed size. So perhaps the editing might have been because of the VHS constraint. Again, this is purely guesswork because I remember a few cartoons of mine on VHS had some scenes cut to reduce the length.
    I'm baffled by this as well. And especially since the TCats toys were available in U.K. for much longer than U.S. While the toys stopped appearing in shelves around 1987-88, in the U.K they were available as late as 1992. So if Season 2 of the show had been broadcast, even after a delay, it would have certainly kept interest in the toys alive for longer. :)
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  14. thezaxfactor

    thezaxfactor Staff Writer and Moderator Staff

    Interesting. This hadn't occurred to me. But most VHS tapes of the day could fit a two-hour movie. Maybe they were buying shorter tapes and editing for length to save money?

    Toys were still on the shelves in some parts of the US through 1991 at least. But if merchandise sales were just as strong in the UK into the early 90s, all the more reason not to stop broadcasting!
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  15. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    It might be possible. Interestingly, if you compare the lengths of many such cartoon series' standalone TV movies (Care Bears Movies, Transformers The Movie, My Little Pony The Moive, Gobots Battle of Rocklords etc.), they all are under 82 mins long. ThunderCats HO! was, I think, a little bit more than 90 min long. :)

    Really? I didn't know that. I've heard from at least three different sources that once TMNT toys hit the U.S. toy shelves around 1988, TCats toys pretty much disappeared. I guess my "sources" were not accurate! LOL! :biggrin
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  16. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    If "ThunderCats, Ho!" were rebooted as a fanfic, what things would you like to change and/or remain the same?
  17. Captain Shiner

    Captain Shiner Crabman

    I acquired ThunderCats Ho! The Movie, I believe Xmas 87, I still have it today. I don't think it was ever aired as a 5 part series in the UK, nor was season 2 at all. I always thought for years, that the second half of season 1, was season 2, and it was presented in the UK as a new series in about 1990
  18. ButterflyBoy

    ButterflyBoy Thunderian Legend

    Well...since the dude above me resurrected this old thread, I may as well add my two cents. I can confirm that "Thundercats, Ho!" was indeed aired as a TV movie in the US. I have a very vivid memory of learning about the airing the day it was set to broadcast. I even remember my brothers showing me the listing in TV Guide as I was in a bit of disbelief. Admittedly, part of my disbelief was because at my then tender age, I thought the word "movie" automatically meant "live action" and I absolutely could not imagine the Thundercats being in live action at the time. Anyhoot, that night the movie aired and I was allowed to stay up late to watch it. My guess is it aired from 8pm-10pm, but that is just my estimation and I have no idea as to the date, sadly.

    I can also confirm that the individual episodes aired some time later in the regular Thundercats time-slot. By this time I was taping the episodes and I recall being extremely excited when I saw that the movie was airing "again" so that I could tape it.

    While we are on the subject...we now must ask ourselves if the "movie edit" of "Mumm-Ra Lives!" aired as a TV movie. Unfortunately I have no knowledge of this as by the time season 2 came around, my family had moved and no longer had cable. I did not see anything past the "movie" until Cartoon Network aired the show in the late 90s.
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  19. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    The "movie edit" of "Mumm-Ra Lives!" is available currently on, along with the DuckTales pilot's own "movie edit."
  20. Booshman

    Booshman Thunderian Legend

    Mumm-Ra Lives did air as a movie, with a few cuts. It had the title card in the style of the Thundercats Ho card too, with the different font to the regular episodes.

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