Roger Ramjet box set

Posted on January 9, 2011



“When Ramjet takes a proton pill the crooks begin to worry. They can’t escape their awful fate from proton’s mighty fury.”

Ahhh, the 1960s. It was a pleasant decade (I’m told) when sex was plentiful and drugs so de rigueur that cartoons – for children! – could be made espousing their magnificent properties.

Roger Ramjet: drug addict or role model?

When Roger Ramjet was screened in five-minute grabs on the ABC decades later, I caught enough episodes that the awful, teeth-grinding theme song sank into my long-term memory, but I never really developed an appreciation of the knowing, self-referential – and yes, hilarious – humour. I’m cured now, thanks to this collectors’ edition box set.

Beginning in 1965 (as Gary Owens, voice of Roger, mentions in the single episode voice-over he provides on disc four) Roger Ramjet and his American Eagles – kid sidekicks Yank, Doodle, Dan and Dee – made the world a nicer place in which to do things on for 156 episodes.

Some people maintain that drugs also make the world a nicer place in which to do things on. It’s an important point. Killjoys would have you believe that drugs are bad. Don’t listen to them, kids. Listen to Roger Ramjet, HERO of our nation (being the 51st state and all). If Ramjet didn’t pop all those pills he’d never have achieved his world-record feats of bad-guy bashing.

Sure Noodles Ramonov and N.A.S.T.Y (National Association of Spies, Traitors and Yahoos), Jacqueline Hyde and the buzz click robots disagreed. But they were defeated each time, if not by proton’s mighty fury then by The American Eagles. This is another important point. Kids are smarter, faster and generally better than adults, and they don’t need drugs. Ramjet, the predecessor of Inspector Gadget, is as dumb as unset jelly. It’s quite possible that his intellect, like his face – a Dadaist masterpiece – is the result of all that drug abuse. In which case, drugs are bad.

Thus is the second-guessing nature of Roger Ramjet. I want to use words like post modern and deconstructionist but I don’t really know what they mean. In one episode, the dwarf paramour Lotta Love challenges Ramjet and his arch-rival (for her affections) Lance Crossfire to a Romance Olympics. Ramjet declares “Well, this is silly.” Crossfire baritonely responds, “Well it’s only a kids’ cartoon show, Roger.” Touché.

And yet I extended my (fake) vocabulary each time this week’s insegrevious / connuvial / arbogastic episode began. Then there’s that social commentary on the American personality, still as relevant today as ever. And what adult can resist a clever aside like “he’s so rich he mixes alphabet soup with buckwheat flour so he can have monogrammed pancakes”?

How ‘bout them popsicles?

Yes, folks, thanks to Roger Ramjet the world is definitely a nicer place in which to watch things on.

First published in Beat a while ago.

Posted in: Comedy, DVD / TV