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September 18, 2023 08:34 am

It's the 40th Anniversary of 1983's 'Dungeons & Dragons' Cartoon

71-year-old Mark Evanier is a legendary comic book/TV writer. Today he posted on his personal blog that "Forty years ago, I spent about six days (cumulative) of my life writing the pilot script and small-b bible for a Saturday morning cartoon series called Dungeons & Dragons... "I feel like I have now spent more than six days (cumulative) being interviewed about this series."It went on CBS on September 17, 1983 and lasted three seasons. Do not believe those who claim it was driven from the airwaves by pressure groups who saw satanic subtext in the series. It went off for the same reason most shows go off: Because the ratings were declining and — rightly or wrongly — the brass at the network didn't think it would have enough viewers to sustain another season. Yes, there were protests about its content but not many and CBS, at least in those days, was pretty good about ignoring such outcries if — and this is always a Big If — the viewers seem to want whatever is being outcried about. From Wikipedia:The level of violence was controversial for American children's television at the time, and the script of one episode, "The Dragon's Graveyard", was almost canceled because the characters contemplated killing their nemesis, Venger. In 1985, the National Coalition on Television Violence demanded that the FTC run a warning during each broadcast stating that Dungeons & Dragons had been linked to real-life violent deaths. The show ultimately ran for a total of 27 episodes. The blog post continues:It was a good show because of good writers, good producers, good artists, good voice talent, good everything...and I was mostly a spectator to all that goodness, having opted not to stick with it. Still, thanks to the gent who was my agent at the time, my name was seen for a micro-second in the credits each week so I get more kudos than I probably earned... Quite recently, I sat for this video podcast with a fine interviewer and a major fan of the series, Heath Holland. It's almost an hour and we talked about some other things but it's mostly about Dungeons & Dragons... The podcaster notes that the cartoon's six adventurers even made a cameo in 2022's live-action Dungeons & Dragons movie, Honor Among Thieves — and several other companies are still celebrating the cartoon. Hasbro recently released a line of action figures based on the cartoon, while IDW has released a comic book mini-series called Dungeons & Dragons: Saturday Morning Adventures. In the series six children are transported from an amusement park's Dungeon's & Dragons ride into the game's realm, where a kindly Dungeon Master helps them battle various villains and monsters as they search for a way home. More lore about the series from Wikipedia:A final unproduced episode would have served as both a conclusion to the story and as a re-imagining of the show, had it been picked up for a fourth season. However, it was canceled before the episode was made. The script has since been published online and was performed as an audio drama as a special feature for the BCI Eclipse DVD edition of the series... A fan-made animated version of the finale appeared online in 2020 [according to].

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