Thursday, February 03, 2011

What Would Mr. Verne Think?

Jules Verne's classic 19th Century novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was one of the first examples of what is now considered the science fiction genre, and introduced the world to the character Captain Nemo.  There have been various variations on and expansions of the Nemo saga, including Verne's own The Mysterious Island.  One of the (presumably) lesser known ones is  The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo, a 1975 Canadian made cartoon that also aired in the US and elsewhere.  Set at some vague point in the future the series chronicled the adventures of Captain Mark Nemo, commander of the submarine the Nautilus, and his young charges Robbie and Chris.  The episodes were only five minutes each and included infornation abut the oceans and environment in their quick paced plots, being intended as educational programs. 

I'm not sure what got me thinking about the series tonight but a quick trip to YouTube turned up the episode above and several others.  These got played a lot on local TV stations when I was a kid in the '70s, but I'm not sure when the last time I saw one was. It's especially nice that the quality of most of what has been posted has been very good.  Surprisingly some of the episodes have been released on DVD, which is something I wouldn't have expected.  Presumably this is where these episodes came from.

Billie Mae Richards did the voices of the kids, Robbie having the typical "little boy" voice that she used in several variations for numerous characters over the decades, ranging from the Canadian made Spider Man cartoon of the '60s to the Carebears franchise of the '80s.

Like a lot of kids shows as an adult it's not hard to wonder what the parents of these kids were thinking.  Nemo's adventures weren't always safe.  Apparently mom and dad never heard about some of the things Robbie and Chris went through.  You'd also think Nemo's bosses would want him concentrating on his work, and not babysitting children.  Of course this being a '70s kids TV show no one actually put much thought into such weighty issues.  And the kids who watched it certainly didn't.

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