|The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!|
|Narrated by||Lou Albano|
|Opening theme||"Plumber Rap", performed by Lou Albano and Danny Wells|
|Ending theme||"Do the Mario", performed by Lou Albano|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||52 (65 live action segments)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original network||First-run syndication|
|Original release||September 4- December 1, 1989|
|Followed by||The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)|
|Related shows||The Legend of Zelda (1989)|
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is an American television series based upon Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2. It is the first of three TV shows based on the video game series, with the others being The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. It was originally broadcast via first-run syndication from September 4, 1989 to December 1, 1989, with reruns continuing until September 6, 1991. The Family Channel picked up the series on September 23, 1991, and aired it until August 26, 1994. The show was produced by DiC Animation and was distributed by Viacom Enterprises in association with Nintendo of America.
Before the series was conceived, Andy Heyward, the then-CEO of DIC Entertainment, spent about a year trying to convince Nintendo to license the characters. In an interview with USA Today, Heyward said "The Mario Bros. is such a unique property we had to do it in a different way...We wanted to do a cartoon but also do a show that extended beyond the cartoon." In February 1989, it was announced that the show would premiere in September 1989. To promote the series, Captain Lou Albano appeared on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee in May 1989 with his beard shaven. When the series first aired, it was distributed by Viacom Enterprises and was marketed by MTV. The opening theme song was composed by Shuki Levy.
In David Sheff's book Game Over, Bill White, the then-director of advertising and public relations for Nintendo, said that the purpose of the television series was to "boost awareness of the characters."
The first and last parts of each episode were live segments which showed Mario (professional wrestler and manager Captain Lou Albano) and Luigi (Danny Wells), two Italian-American plumbers living in Brooklyn, where they would often be visited by celebrity guest stars. It appears that the live segments take place before Mario and Luigi went to the Mushroom Kingdom.
Some of the celebrity guest stars were popular television stars, such as Nedra Volz, Norman Fell, Donna Douglas, Eve Plumb, Vanna White, Jim Lange, Danica McKellar, Nicole Eggert, Clare Carey and Brian Bonsall or professional athletes such as Lyle Alzado and Magic Johnson and WWE (then WWF) stars like Roddy Piper and Sgt. Slaughter. In one episode, Ernie Hudson appeared as a Slimebuster, a parody of his Ghostbusters persona Winston Zeddemore and on another two occasions, Mario and Luigi received visits from Inspector Gadget, performed live by Maurice LaMarche who voiced Chief Quimby in the second season of the show and later went on to voice Gadget himself in Inspector Gadget's Last Case and Gadget & the Gadgetinis. There were also two episodes with Cassandra Peterson as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, but the episodes, as well as the second Gadget appearance and a few other episodes, were not included in the Shout Factory DVDs. In an interview for the first DVD release of the show, Lou Albano talked about filming these live action skits, which mainly involved him and Wells getting a central plot and mostly improvising the dialogue as they went along.
In one episode, Lou Albano portrays himself, forcing his regular character to leave the scene in order for him to return as himself. In the episode in question, pop star Cyndi Lauper states she's looking for Lou Albano because he's missing, due to the note she got from him (although there is an important part missing from the note). Mario exclaims how much he wants to meet Lou, and later Lou appears as himself supposedly while Mario's out shopping for pizza. As a result, Luigi gets to meet Lou, but Mario does not.
Lou Albano and Danny Wells also twice played female versions of themselves, cousin Marianne, mama Mario, cousin Luigeena and aunt Luigeena., and also two hillbilly cousins, named Mario Joe and Luigi Bob.
Each Super Mario Bros. cartoon served as the second segment of every show, following the introduction and first few minutes of the episode's live-action segment. The cartoon featured characters and situations based upon the NES games Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2, as well as several sound effects and musical cues from both games. Each episode featured Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Toadstool defending the Mushroom Kingdom from the reptilian villain King Koopa, often in a movie or pop-culture parody. Getting into the spirit of these parodies, Koopa often used alter egos fitting the current theme, but Koopa sometimes goes without an alter ego in some episodes.
The theme song for the cartoon segments revealed that the Super Mario Brothers were accidentally warped into the Mushroom Kingdom while working on a bathtub drain in Brooklyn. After traveling via the warp drain, the Super Mario Brothers defeated King Koopa's Koopa Troopas, saved Princess Toadstool and halted Koopa's plan to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom. At the beginning of every cartoon segment, Mario recites an entry into his "Plumber's Log", a parody of the Captain's Log from Star Trek.
There were a few blunders with the animation and production of the show. The Star power up in the Mario Bros. games grants invincibility, but in the show it gives them the same effect as the Fire Flower. This blunder even appears in the shows opening. In the Episode "Quest for Pizza" after Luigi turns the square wheels into round wheels of the Caveman car, on the next scene if you look closely, the wheels are square again, though it is very brief and the scene only lasts about a second.
The Super Mario Bros. cartoons aired four days a week, from Monday through Thursday.
On every Friday episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, a cartoon based on The Legend of Zelda video game series was featured instead of the Super Mario Bros. cartoons. In the series, the Hylian hero Link and Princess Zelda battled against the forces of the evil wizard Ganon. Scenes from each episode of the show were shown during the sitcom segments on the preceding Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episodes during the week, and then broadcast as sneak peeks. The Zelda cartoons consisted of thirteen episodes, which ended when the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! ended its initial broadcast run. The characters of Link, Zelda and Ganon, along with their respective voice actors (Jonathan Potts, Cynthia Preston and Len Carlson), were later featured in episodes of Captain N: The Game Master, based on the Zelda II: The Adventure of Link NES game, another animated series based on NES video games, and also produced by DiC Animation around the same period, airing on NBC as part of its Saturday morning cartoon schedule.
In the 1990-91 season after the original animated series had ended, the Albano/Wells live-action sequences were replaced on September 10, 1990 with new continuity under the title Club Mario. Reruns of the Super Mario Bros. cartoons (as well as The Legend of Zelda on Fridays) remained intact, but the live-action format now featured Mario-obsessed teenagers Tommy and Tammy Treehugger, along with Cool MC "commandeering" the "satellite signal" of the Super Show using a satellite dish atop their apartment building (despite the reality of the show going out on tapes to stations well in advance), goofing around, and in at least one episode, running around the studio and harassing DiC executive and executive producer Andy Heyward.
Cool MC also had to deal with his evil twin Eric (played by the same actor), who attempted fruitlessly to take over the show. An additional added segment was a one-to-two-minute viewing of Space Scout Theater/Spaced Out Theater, hosted by Princess Centauri, a green alien woman, which was sourced and edited from the science fiction children television series Photon.
The segments had an unpopular reception and further distribution of the series after the 1990-91 season featured the original cut of the show with the Albano/Wells live-action sequences.
In 1993, The Family Channel aired the show in a package named Mario All Stars, consisting of time compressed versions of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! cartoon segments and the Super Mario World cartoons. It ran for 39 episodes in double episode format, and was promoted as "the Super Mario Bros. in 40 brand new adventures". Although clips from the Super Mario Bros. 3 cartoons were used in promos for the show, none of the show's episodes were featured. All Stars was later seen on the USA Network from January 6 to June 6, 1997, when it was replaced by Sonic the Hedgehog reruns. Before being re-edited for All Stars in 1993, Family Channel played the episodes slower than their normal speed and included the live action segments. The package's title is most likely inspired by the title of the video game compilation Super Mario All-Stars that was released the previous year.
At some point in the cartoon segments, a song would be played to go along with the scene. These were usually notable singles from famous singers, songwriters, and musical artists of the era. When the program was re-released on DVD in North America, the songs were replaced by instrumentals of songs from The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and one song from Super Mario World. Episode/song combinations are shown on the list of Mario television episodes.
Upon the series premiere on September 1989, Mike Hughes of USA Today described the series as a "surprising disappointment", opening that the series has "little of the wit and spark" and relies too heavily on slapstick. In a retrospective review for the series' DVD, Mark Bozon of IGN referred the series as "the biggest offender among Nintendo's many embarrassing moments" but thought that the animated shorts were "interesting to look back on". Bozon gave the overall series a 7 out of 10 (while giving the DVD itself a 5 out of 10). However, Common Sense Media rated the show 1 out of 5 stars, stating that the "frenetic '80s cult fave with stereotypes hasn't aged well."
Upon the first week of its premiere, the series had a cumulative 4.1/12 rating/share, making the series the highest rated first-run syndicated series at the time. However, within the next two weeks, the series (3.8/11) was beat out by Buena Vista Television's Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (4.5/11) and faced competition with Claster Television's Muppet Babies reruns.
From 1989 to 1990, Kids Klassics (with the sponsorship of Nesquik) released episodes of the series on VHS. Starting in 1991, Kids Klassics' parent company GoodTimes Entertainment continued releasing episodes on VHS up through 1993.
1989 Releases (Each volume begins and ends with a complete live-action segment, with the featured complete animated segment in the middle)
There were also 3 VHS tapes only available through a mail-in offer with Nestle Quik. They follow the same format as the volumes listed above.
1990 Releases (Each volume has 1 complete live action segment and 3 complete animated segments)
1991 Releases (The Kids Klassics logo is retained although these volumes were released by GoodTimes) (Each volume has 4 complete animated segments and no live-action segments)
1993 Release (Released in a clamshell packaging, contains 6 complete animated sgements and no live-action segments)
In 1996, the animated segment "Koopa Klaus" and the live-action segment "Santa Claus is Coming to Flatbush" were included on the VHS release Super Mario Bros. Super Christmas Adventures, alongside the Super Mario World episode "The Night Before Cave Christmas".
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Volume 1||24||March 28, 2006||
|Volume 2||24||October 31, 2006||
These two sets were discontinued in 2012 after Shout!'s deal with Cookie Jar Entertainment expired.
Notably, a bare bones "Best of" DVD was released by DiC and Lions Gate Entertainment. In 2012 NCircle Entertainment released the complete series to DVD across two sets with the same extras as the Shout! Factory sets, but with the live-action segments omitted and "On Her Majesty's Sewer Service" excluded.
In 2012, the show was added to Netflix as a part of their instant streaming library.
From 1991 to 1993, Abbey Home Entertainment Distribution released six videos of the "Super Mario Bros. Super Show" with the only animated segmented episodes, the animated segmented intro and the live-action segment of "Do the Mario" in the closing credits.
|VHS video title||Year of release||Episodes|
|The Super Mario Bros. Super Show (94792)||15 April 1991||The Great Gladiator Gig, Mario of the Apes, The Bird! The Bird!|
|The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Special Edition (95112)||15 July 1991||The Fire Of Herculfleas, King Mario of Cramalot, Rollin' Down the River, Mario and the Beanstalk|
The Nintendo craze comes to TV this fall with NBC's "Captain N: The Game Master" and a syndicated show, "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show," both from the DIC animation factory. DIC president Andrew Hayward says he spent a year convincing the toy company to license rights to the addictive characters. Capt. Lou Albano plays super-plumber Mario in the syndicated show, which wraps live action around cartoon adventures. Steve Binder ("Pee-wee's Playhouse") directed the live bits, including camp cameos by Vanna White, Elvira and Magic Johnson. Rock 'n' roll songs have been licensed and will be woven into each episode. Hayward says a music video of the "Mario dance" will premiere within the next few weeks.
The Super Mario Brothers Super Show, a syndicated TV program for kids, airs in September. It will feature live action and animation.
Capt. Lou Albano, the bizarre wrestling manager, has been cast to play Mario, one of the two Brooklyn plumber brothers. Thursday, in anticipation of a big announcement bash, Albano will appear on "Live With Regis & Kathie Lee" to shed his beard.
The show runs five days a week, however, and there is a saving grace: Each Friday has a "Legend of Zelda" episode that's quite a bit better than the rest of the week.
That's what Vancouver actresses Diane Brown and Tabitha St. Germain do with the delightful black comedy, The Baroness and the Pig. (...) St. Germain - better known to Vancouver audiences as Paulina Gillis - plays the Baroness as a naïve gentlewoman, full of prissy mannerisms and twittering, bird-like movements.
'The Super Mario Brothers Super Show' emerges as a surprising disappointment. This has the same producers as "Captain N" and the same basis - Nintendo video games. Yet it has little of the wit and spark; there are live-action bits surrounding the cartoons, but they merely remind us of why slapstick comedy is no longer an American artform.