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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Denver The Last Dinosaur

One of the best things about being a kid was running home after suffering through a day at school, grabbing a snack out of the refrigerator, sitting down on the living room sofa, and watching some of my favourite cartoons.

Back in the days in which I was a kid, there was never a shortage of cartoons to watch. I think I almost had an addiction to cartoons. There were many days in which I would end up having to finish homework assignments the morning before school because my addiction to cartoons took over.

(Yet I still managed to get fantastic grades...go figure.)

As you might have already guessed by the blog, I love talking about cartoons that I used to watch as a child. Some of them were well-known cartoons that millions of kids watched, such as Bugs Bunny and Tweety, Garfield and Friends, and Spider-Man.

But I also loved cartoons that were one-shot deals. Cartoons that only lasted a season or two. And whenever I try to talk to people about cartoons that were short-lived, many don't even know what I am talking about. They either don't remember the show, or they believe that the show didn't even exist.

Such was the case with this particular television series.

Denver the Last Dinosaur” came out at a time in which dinosaur themed television shows seemed to be in vogue (“Dink the Little Dinosaur”, “The Land Before Time”, etc.).

For whatever reason though, I always liked “Denver the Last Dinosaur” the best out of all of them (and that's despite the fact that the opening theme song doesn't hold up as well in 2012 as it did in the late 1980s).

The show debuted in syndication as a one-hour television special on April 1, 1988 and ran until early 1990, and was one of the few cartoons to air that was recommended by the National Educational Association (NEA) as the program focused on subjects such as ecology, conservation, and friendship. The voice cast for the cartoon included Pat Fraley, Rob Paulsen, Kath Soucie, Adam Carl, Brian Cummings, and Cam Clarke.

So, what was the show all about?

This is Denver. His species name is Corythosaurus and he is the only dinosaur to be born in the twentieth century. How did this happen?

It all began with the teenagers preparing for an Ancient History Test. The teenagers included Jeremy, Mario, Shades, Casey, and Wally. In preparation for the test, they decide to take a trip to the La Brea Tar Pits, which was a huge source for extinct plant and animal fossils.
They also make a visit to the museum where they happen to run into a gang of bullies. The leader of the pack of bullies, Nick, and his followers, Scott and Rod, have a confrontation with the teens, and chase them back to the Tar Pits. They manage to lose the bullies when they hide behind a fence nearby, but they notice something rather peculiar on the other side of the fence. When they go to investigate what it is, they accidentally fall on top of a large dark-coloured egg. Soon after that, the egg begins to hatch, and Denver is born, leaving the four boys and one girl with their mouths open-wide in astonishment. Until that moment, they had never seen a real-life dinosaur, let alone having one of them hatch right in front of them. Luckily for them, Denver doesn't decide to make them into his first meal. He just wanted to be friends with them.

TRIVIA: The name “Denver” came from an advertisement on the side of a tour bus, telling people to visit Denver, Colorado.

At first, the kids all have fun with their prehistoric friend, Denver. They teach him how to use a skateboard, they show him the wonderful fashion accessory known as sunglasses, and he apparently even understands English! But, there's a problem. Eventually, people were going to start noticing that a seven-foot tall dinosaur was wandering the streets, and the kids had enough common sense to know that they could never tell anyone else about Denver's existence.

After all, if the wrong person ever discovered Denver, such as the greedy, nefarious concert promoter, Morton Fizzback, there was a good chance that Denver's life would be endangered. Fortunately, Wally's house was big enough that he could keep Denver there. But when Wally's sister, Heather, found out about Denver, Wally had her promise that she would keep Denver a secret from the world. Of course, with Heather now knowing the truth, the kids worried about Heather's friends stumbling upon the secret, so the decision was made to move Denver to a school gymnasium.

Denver also has a secret power that he can use through a piece of the egg that he hatched out of. With the eggshell, he has the ability to transport the kids back in time sixty-five million years to his own time period (as you likely have already seen by watching the intro of the cartoon series).

All in all, it was a rather interesting show, and one that I really liked watching a lot. I think it's only fitting that we end this blog entry off by watching an episode of Denver the Last Dinosaur. Just click on the link below, and you can watch how it all began.

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