Our trip back in time (to MY past) continues today with another animated TV show I spent many an hour watching: Denver the Last Dinosaur.
The show’s tagline “He’s your friend and a whole lot more!” pretty much sums up the point of the series: kids find miraculously preserved LIVE dinosaur and have loads of adventures together. Oh, and apparently the “shell” containing Denver has magical properties that allow the person touching it to see into the age of the dinosaurs. You know, normal story concept stuff for an animated show.
Denver seems to be some sort of hadrosaur but he is clearly an invented species for the show and meant to imbue a “rock-n-roll” image which explains the mohawk-style crest on his head. They describe him as a “previously unknown species” that a scientist (Dr. Funt…and an evil scientist, at that) names “Funtasaurus”…yes, you read that right. The writing was THAT cheesy.
Watching this show again after having forgotten about it for years has been interesting. It’s so incredibly corny but the animation is decent and the voice acting is charming. Denver somehow doesn’t act like you would expect an animal to act…he’s sort of like a much larger version of Dino from “The Flintstones.” Very quickly into the pilot episode, Denver becomes a friendly pet but something that was fun to watch again (at about 12 minutes in) was a more “serious” animated sequence showing the prehistoric world that time forgot…complete with narrator.
The villain of the pilot is a humorous caricature of Rodney Dangerfield performed by voice acting great Brian Cummings.
If you don’t feel like watching the entire pilot, I recommend skipping ahead to 27 minutes in for a fun musical sequence that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It features the theme song of the show…this theme is VERY catchy. How does the band on stage know Denver’s theme song? Don’t question it: it’s ’80s ROCK!!
My favorite line from this episode has got to be “Everyone’s always SORRY-O when they mess with marvelous Mario!”…maybe my sense of humor came from writing like this!
I was surprised to see that I was into such a corny show, until I realized that it premiered in 1988 and I was 7 at the time. So yeah, there’s my excuse. Ultimately, this is a very sweet show for kids and is in stark contrast to many of the sarcastic, snarky shows available to kids today. I don’t know how much of an influence it had on me artistically or otherwise, but I can certainly see the appeal of having a dinosaur as a friend and pet!