The History Of Transformers – Iconic 1980’s Cartoon

80's Film And TV Jun 29, 2021 No Comments

Transformers was very iconic and popular back in the 1980’s. Fans of the show refer to the series as Generation 1 due to being the first installment in the Generation 1 era.

If you grew up in the 1980’s, you no doubt were aware of this epic cartoon, and here is a little bit of history about how it came to be.


Transformers In The 1980s

Transformers got its inspiration from a Japanese toyline, Microman. It was created by Takara. Microman features humanoid figures being able to sit in driver’s seats inside of scale model vehicles.

Takara Microman
80s Vintage Takara Microman Toy

They could transform into humanoid robots. In 1983, the MicroChange toyline was introduced. This toyline introduced items that can be changed into robots.

In 1984, restrictions with the placement of promotional content in children’s programming were eliminated. As a result of this, the marketing vice president of Hasbro went to Marvel with an idea to create a new robot cartoon series. They decided to name it “Transformers”.

Once the name for the show was decided, Marvel Editor-in-Chief created a story concept for the animated series.

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The storyline for the series would center around two factions of alien robots. One was the Autobots. The other was the Decepticons. The Editor-in-Chief needed assistance with fleshing out the idea for the animated cartoon, so Dennis O’ Neil was contacted.

Dennis was responsible for creating Transformers names. However, Dennis’s input wasn’t up to Hasbro’s expectation. Hasbro needed additional revisions, and Dennis didn’t want to make changes.

This kept occurring with the writers and editors turning down the project until Hasbro found an editor whom was willing to accepting the series. The editor was Bob Budiansky.

During a weekend, Bob came up with new names and profiles for the characters. Bob’s work was a success with Hasbro. As a result the company decided to move ahead with a television pilot, and the pilot would be divided into three parts.

During the development for the series, Shoehei Kohara came on board to help with designing some of the early Transformers models for the cast. Shoehei’s designs were able to make the characters relatable for the animated cartoon series. He was helped by Floro Dery.

Dery ended up becoming the design supervisor the Transformers animated series. The three-part pilot episode was named More Than Meets the Eye and the Popular 1980’s Cartoon – Transformers debuted in September 1984 in America.

The series ran for four seasons. However between season two and three of the show, the first film based on the series debuted. The name of the film was Transformers: The Movie.

The film was released in August 1986. The filmmaker was Nelson Shin. Shin also produced the Transformers animated series.

The plot of Transformers: The Movie revolved around the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t successful at the box office due to being in the middle of a crowded summer film season.

However, it achieved cult status in the following years after it debuted. The series also helped Hasbro sell millions of Transformers toys, and we will always remember the humble beginnings of Transformers in the 1980s.

Browse Transformers Cartoons On Amazon Here

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