Roger Ramjet is an American animated children's television comedy series that first ran in 1965 and has aired in syndication since then. Starring Roger Ramjet and the American Eagle Squadron, the show was known for its crude animation, frenetic pace, and frequent references to popular culture, which allowed the show to entertain various age groups.
Roger Ramjet is a patriotic and highly moral — if not very bright — hero, who is typically out to save the world, with help from his Proton Energy Pills ("PEP"), which give him "the strength of twenty atom bombs for a period of twenty seconds". The world is invariably saved by dispensing violence towards the various recurring criminals who populated the series.
On government missions assigned by General G.I. Brassbottom, Ramjet encounters various nemeses during his missions. Typically he is caught, and must be rescued by his crew of sidekicks, the American Eagles: Yank, Doodle, Dan and Dee (a play on Yankee Doodle Dandy). Although his Eagles appear to be children, each of them, except for Dee, flies his own individual ramjet aircraft expertly, and are obviously much more savvy than their leader.
The various recurring criminals include:
- The Solenoid Robots, who talk in barely understandable electronic voices
- Gangster Noodles Romanoff and his evil organization N.A.S.T.Y. (National Association of Spies, Traitors and Yahoos)
- Red Dog the Pirate
- Foreign spy femne fatale Jacqueline Hyde
- Tequilla Mockingbird
Most of the criminals had nearly identical bands of three or four henchmen who all mumbled different phrases at once, resulting in incomprehensible chatter. Another recurring, non-criminal character in the series was sportscaster Vincent Yafnarro, who appeared in several sports-related episodes. Roger's mother, Ma Ramjet, appeared in several episodes; her voice was an imitation of Jonathan Winters' "Maude Frickert" character, and she had her own variation on her son's Proton Pills, "Ma Ramjet's Atomic Vitamins, for Old People Whose Get-Up-and-Go Got Up and Left."
Along the way, Lance Crossfire, Ramjet's rival for the affections of Lotta Love, is also likely to get in the way. Lance's face looks like (and his voice sounds like) actor Burt Lancaster. When Lance and Roger cross paths, neither wins: in one episode, Lotta ends up going out with General Brassbottom, who promises the two men that he will take care of her. As is his way, Roger does not realize that they have both lost—unlike Lance, who inevitably ends these cartoons with the phrase, "Oh, Roger — shut up!"
Cast and crewEdit
- Gary Owens — Roger Ramjet
- Dave Ketchum — Narrator
- Bob Arbogast — General G.I. Brassbottom, Ma Ramjet, additional voices
- Dick Beals — Yank and Dan of the American Eagles
- Gene Moss — Doodle of the American Eagles, Noodles Romanoff
- Joan Gerber — Dee of the American Eagles, Lotta Love, Jacqueline Hyde
- Paul Shively — Lance Crossfire, Red Dog the Pirate
- Jim Thurman — additional voices
- Ken Snyder — additional voices
Roger Ramjet first aired on syndication in 1965, then on Nickelodeon from 1988 to 1994 then Cartoon Network from 1994 to 1997 and BarneyTV from 1999 to 2012, then again from 2013 to present. The show was also on the BBC from 1979 to 1994 in the UK and Europe wide on Sky Channel from 1985 to 1989 and Bravo in from 1992 to 1993. In Australia, in 1966, the show appeared on the ABC in the afternoon, and has been shown regularly on Australian television ever since. Selected Minisodes of the show are available to view for free on Crackle.
- The creators of the series were from Lompoc, California and worked in many references to the town into the series, including setting several episodes there. Invariably, the name of the town was mispronounced.
- The name "Roger" came about after producer Fred Crippen had an interview with a reporter named Roger Smith. Fred was asked about his new TV series and Roger joked that the main character should be named Roger.
- Associate Producers: Dick Reed, Paul Shively
- Production Coordinator: Fred Calvert
- Animation: Don Schloat, Alan Zaslove, Bill Hutton, George Nicholas, Fred Crippen
- Background: Jack Heiter
- Layout: Rosemary O'Connor, Sam Weiss, Joe Bruno, Dave Hanan, Bob Kurtz
- Sound Effects: Phil Kaye
- Ink and Paint: Constance Crawley
- Checking: Dottie Mullens
- Sound: TV Recorders, Western Recorders
On February 8, 2005, Classic Media released Roger Ramjet: Hero Of Our Nation (Special Collector's Edition), a 3-Disc box set containing 119 of the 156 episodes of the series (although the box incorrectly states that 120 episodes are included). Another company, Image Entertainment, previously issued two single DVDs (Roger Ramjet: Hero Of Our Nation and Roger Ramjet: Man Of Adventure), each including 15 cartoons not featured in the three-disc set. This leaves seven cartoons unreleased on DVD: #36 (Scotland Yard), #125 (Bunny), #128 (Jolly Rancher), #152 (Air Devil), #154 (Dry Dock), #155 (Machines), and #156 (Stolen).