Now I have a child I want them to experience some of the amazing (or what I consider amazing) items from my childhood. So I’ve decided to reminisce about my life as a youngster and all this week is childhood week on Geek Ergo Sum. It also ties in nicely to my Disney tunes.
I was flicking through the various programmes on Amazon Prime yesterday when I hit a rich vein of nostalgia. Among the He-Man, Thundercats and other Eighties shows was the greatest of them all. Mysterious Cities of Gold.
As children we all grew up pretending to be the heroes or princesses we saw on television, but I grew up wanting to be an inanimate object. I wanted to the golden condor from Mysterious Cities of Gold.
Running for 39 episodes, this cartoon series is one of the greatest children’s television series produced. From the brilliant opening title sequence, which is one of the best theme tunes ever committed to the small screen, to the mini-documentary films at the end of the show this series still stands the test of time.
Whereas some shows like Dogtanian can look a bit dated now The Mysterious Cities of Gold still looks amazing, with lingering shots of the Nazca Plains or the Amazon forest backed by an amazing score.
Based around the conquests of the Americas it tells the story of Esteban, who is able to bring the Sun out, searching for his lost father. This is whilst being manipulated by those around him as they try to find the eponymous cities and their fabled resources of gold.
Along with his friends Zia and Tao they travel on solar-powered ships, meet lost tribes and hidden aliens. The best part of the series was the introduction of the Golden Condor, an ancient machine hidden in the centre of an extinct volcano.
Also powered by solar energy this was built by an ancient and advanced civilization and as far as I was concerned the most amazing thing I had ever seen. It was a giant golden bird that flew with no engines or obvious propulsion and just looked amazing. I was insanely jealous of Esteban that he got to fly it, it just didn’t seem fair.
Like most long-form children’s television shows The Mysterious Cities of Gold seemed to always be on and as a result I had forgotten most of what happened until I watched it again on DVD. The fight against the evil alien Olmecs had disappeared from my memory.
As I grew up at a time when there were only two children’s shows (either CBBC or CITV from 3.30 – 5 every weekday) most people my age will have seen the show and if they don’t remember it they recognize the theme tune. I can’t help but feel with all the channels and show aimed at youngsters, with their toy-centric characters (yes I know…Transformers), will not necessarily live long in the memory.
Like all great shows from my youth it has had a rebirth as a new series set just after the last one finished. The only problem is that it looks 20 years better. The animation and style is more polished, but most importantly they have not improved on one area.
The original soundtrack is still much, much, better.