Karate Kommandos (also known as Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos) is an American animated television series that originally aired in 1986 as a syndicated five episode mini-series. It was created by and starred Chuck Norris as himself, and produced by Ruby-Spears Enterprises. Re-runs of the cartoon have occasionally aired on Boomerang and Adult Swim.
|Created by||Chuck Norris|
|Developed by||Dan DiStefano|
|Directed by||Charles A. Nichols|
|Starring||Chuck Norris as himself|
|Voices of||Chuck Norris|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||5|
|Executive producer(s)||Joe Ruby|
|Running time||30 Minutes|
|Production company(s)||Ruby-Spears Enterprises|
|Original network||First-run syndication|
|Original release||September 15 –|
September 19, 1986
|Related shows||Lazer Tag Academy|
The New Adventures of Little Oscar
This fictionalized version of Chuck Norris is a United States government operative with a team of racially diverse warriors known as the Karate Kommandos. Together, they fight against the organization VULTURE (it was never revealed what VULTURE was short for) led by the Claw and his right-hand man Super Ninja.
The series follows the framing device of Mister T (also a Ruby-Spears production). At the beginning of each episode, a live action segment with Norris, usually at a gym or a martial arts studio, is shown to explain what is going on. At the end of each episode, Norris narrates a moral lesson for the audience to learn.
The team includes:
- Chuck Norris (voiced by himself) - The leader of the Karate Kommandos.
- Pepper (voiced by Kathy Garver) - A technology expert and mechanic.
- Reed (voiced by Sam Fontana) - Chuck's young apprentice and Pepper's brother.
- Kimo (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) - A samurai warrior.
- Tabe (voiced by Robert Ito) - A sumo champion.
- Too Much (voiced by Mona Marshall) - Chuck's young ward.
|No.||Title||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Deadly Dolphin"||Dan DiStefano|
|September 15, 1986|
|Chuck Norris and his comrades are helping a scientist named Dr. Sanford test experimental equipment that would enable people to breathe underwater by converting water into oxygen. The Claw sends Super-Ninja and a female operative named Angelfish to lead his men to kidnap Dr. Sanford and break into Sealab. It's up to Norris' team to defend them both.|
|2||"Target: Chuck Norris"||Jack Bornoff||September 16, 1986|
|The Claw places a bounty on Chuck Norris' head in order to eliminate him once and for all. At the same time, he sends the Imposter to steal a computer chip that would permit him to gain control of NATO's defenses. Chuck Norris and his comrades must get the chip back in order to protect the free world. When Super Ninja manages to capture Too-Much, Chuck Norris must rescue his young ward as well.|
|3||"Terror Train"||Matt Uitz||September 17, 1986|
|Chuck Norris and his comrades are assigned to guard a robot laser while it is being transported, but The Claw has his eyes on the prize as well so he sends some of his best men to steal it. However, when Super-Ninja plants some explosives onto the transport train, Norris must play his cards correctly or risk losing the lives of the passengers on board.|
|4||"Menace from Space"||Mike Chain||September 18, 1986|
|Chuck Norris and his comrades head off to a space shuttle launch site in order to warn a general about The Claw's plans, but they're too late and The Claw manages to get away with the shuttle. To make matters worse, the space shuttle was carrying a fusion cannon that has the power to do unspeakable damage to any city in the world. So Norris decides to use an old space shuttle to go into space and stop Super Ninja before any damage is dealt.|
|5||"Island of the Walking Dead"||Janis Diamond||September 19, 1986|
|The Claw is attempting to bring down a United States satellite in order to reprogram it so he can gain control of all the nation's military bases, so the president decides to send Chuck Norris to stop him. However, Super Ninja manages to distract Norris long enough for The Claw's men to succeed. Norris and his comrades head off to Voodoo Island in hope of recovering the satellite, but things take a turn for the worse, and they discover that the island is full of the walking dead.|
In 1987, a VHS tape of Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos was released by Worldvision Home Video.
There was also a comic book series published by Star Comics, an imprint of Marvel Comics which produced comic books aimed at young children. Steve Ditko provided the art. Issue #1 found Too-Much daydreaming in class about being as great a martial artist as Chuck Norris, even taking down the Super Ninja singlehandedly. Without warning, Too-Much's teacher calls on him to give his book report (which, being Too-Much, he hasn't even started) on James Clavell's The Children's Story. Then Too-Much, his classmates, and their teacher are taken hostage by the Klaw's ninjas...who demand the Super-cruiser in return for their release. The Super-cruiser, which looks like a U-Haul truck, is a new anti-terrorist weapon created by Norris for the government. Pepper drives the Super-cruiser to the school, where she and her trusty dog take on the ninjas...while Chuck himself barges into the classroom and knocks out more of the ninjas. One of the ninjas tries to shoot Norris, who stops the bullet with a copy of The Children's Story; he then sells Too-Much a bill of goods about what a great book this is, while the police haul the ninjas off to jail.
To coincide with the airing of the show, Kenner Products made a set of action figures based on the main characters of the show. Kenner also made many accessories, including weapons and vehicles, to go along with the figurines.
In The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows, David Perlmutter writes, "This short-run (five-episode) series was a blatant exploitation of Norris' popularity among child audiences, for whom, it seemed, the action-oriented narrative was directed. It was rather standard fare, save for the (undoubtedly unintentional) racism inherent in making the villains Asian people, as well as the public service announcements at the end, where Norris unconvincingly asserted that violent acts of the kind featured in the program were "my last option" when it came to problem solving."
- The show gets a mention in episode 23 of Space Dandy.
- The show is parodied in the 2012 CGI series version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles via a fictional cartoon show named Chris Bradford's 2 Ruff Krew, starring and produced by Chris Bradford, himself a parody of Chuck Norris. This fictional series is first featured in the 4th-season episode "The Weird World of Wyrm".
- "Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos DVD Review - IGN". Uk.ign.com. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. p. 202. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- "Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos - The Complete Series : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Chuck Norris Animation on DVD-on-Demand". Animation Insider. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- @ 04:56 PM (2007-01-07). "365 Reasons to Love Comics #7 | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources". Goodcomics.comicbookresources.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Buyers Have an Early Adventure in Toyland : Industry Show Previews Talking Teddy Bears, Cuddly Dolls, More Rambos - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1986-02-21. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 125. ISBN 978-1538103739.
- "RETRO: Providence/Boston/Hartford – Thursday, September 11, 1986 (1 of 2)". Radio Discussions. August 15, 2010.
- "Retro: Maine (Tuesday, September 9, 1986)". Radio Discussions. September 9, 2012.