If you were a kid growing up in the ’80s like I was, then the cartoon series Thundercats was right up there with the giants like He-Man, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and other syndicated, weekday afternoon animated powerhouse series that were explicitly made to sell you toys. Unlike those other shows though, Thundercats was a little bit more ambitious in concept. While you can pretty much describe those other shows in a couple of sentences (“Robots in Disguise/High-tech army guys/Aryan Conan the Barbarian fights Skeleton dude”), Thundercats can only be described as “anthropomorphic alien cats come to post apocalyptic Earth and fight ancient mummy wizard and evil animal people.” Proving the delightful insanity of that concept, Larry Franke—the original audio engineer for the series—has gone and uploaded video of the voice recording session for the final episode of the show, “Book of Omens.”
(Also, there were occasionally robot teddy bears who talked in disturbing voices. It was a really weird show when you think about it.)
The video captures the voice actors behind the heroic Panthro and the evil villain Mumm-Ra—Earle Hyman and Earl Hammond—tearing up the sound booth with their amazing, over-the-top vocal stylings. For someone like me who grew up with the show—someone who once ran around his neighborhood with a plastic Sword of Omens toy, for example—this video is both hilarious (you hear Earl Hammond cuss and say “motherf$&*er” in Mumm-Ra voice! Sorry, but my inner 11 year old loved that) and a little sad. Because these were, clearly, two veteran stage and screen actors who had to recite incredibly cheestastic dialog in silly voices to pay the bills in their twilight years. But on the flip side, they made millions of children happy every day, so there’s that.
After you’ve checked out the video above, don’t forget to listen these older audio clips from the show, especially if you want to hear Lion-O drop the f-bomb a lot.