Rubik the Amazing Cube

rubikamazingcube.jpg

One of the silliest cartoon shows ever contrived by network executives and foist upon kids, back in those deep dark days of network Saturday mornings, was based on the toy Rubik’s Cube.

At long last, a fan website devoted to Ruby Spears 1983 ABC series Rubik the Amazing Cube is here — with everything you ever wanted to know about the show, including episode guides, character profiles and, should it ever be forgotten, clips of the show itself.

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

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  • http://educatedmetalhead.blogspot.com/ DanO

    If i’m not mistaken, the immensely talented Jim Woodring spent some of the early days of his career working for this show. There is a hilarious interview online somewhere where he recalls the miserable time he had.

  • Baron Lego

    Finally! A website for fans of the Rubik cartoon series!

    Which would be, what- two people? Three, tops?

  • Tom Pope

    As creepy an idea for a show as it was, one has to give the creators credit for being ethnically diverse.

  • http://www.owlboy.com/ OwlBoy

    I hear there are copies of this floating around on some private file sharing sites.

  • http://jmac.org Jason Mcintosh

    DanO, I’ve always wondered what crappy show he’d worked on! I recall reading an autobio strip he did many years ago where he summarized this part of his career by depicting himself slaving away at a drawing board, carrying the mental image of pushing a giant sack of manure up the stairs.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    God. If today’s tots want to know how bad we had it, watch this!

    I was 6 when that B-grade show was on ABC every Saturday on channel 24, yet I live to tell it’s tale to unsuspecting viewers! Yes, we can give it props for it’s political correctness of having Latino kids, but that’s probably the saving grace of this dump (that and perhaps the fact they felt Menudo was capable of doing it’s short theme song to boot, since ABC had ‘em pimping the entire Saturday morning line-up that year). Oddly I remember my face being glued to ABC a lot for shows like this then (besides CBS for it’s Bugs Bunny/Road Runner fix and Smurfs on NBC but that’s besides the point). I’m just surprised someone out there was that crazy enough to put up a fansite for THIS. I’m better off with the 6 or 7 episodes I have of the show on tape, let alone the nerve to want to see them up on YouTube as we speak. Oh well, at least it keeps the memory of this stinker alive (potential Cartoon Dump material if I do say so myself).

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein David Gerstein

    Ethnically diverse, but sexually retrograde: wow, mom’s a housewife and little Webby—er, Maria “can be subject to seemingly random feminine concerns and fears.”

    It’s genuinely disgraceful how long “girl” remained a one-note personality type in TV animation, with Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears leading the cloying, giggly charge. There still seems to be a powerful desire among execs to feed kids characters drawn on this formula, and it’s not just animation: Abby Kadabby, anyone? As long as I’m in a grouchy mood, were it not for Carl Barks’ square eggs, “amazing cube” would be an oxymoron.

  • http://stephansolarchive.blogspot.com Stephan

    The same deal happened with the TransFormers right? Merchandising first, and then an animated series as a way of a commercial?

  • Brad Davis

    Wow, only the Internet could dredge this up. I actually remember (vaguely) being glued to the set watching this freak and other bizarre crud at age 5 in the primordial early 80s Saturday mornings. Other oddball stand-outs in my mind were the Gary Coleman show and the Punky Brewster cartoon.

  • Billy Batz

    Menudo!!!!

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    Even as a kid, I thought this series was just lame and pointless. I thought Rubik’s Cube was good on its own as a game, and would be absolutely *pointless* having a story. (Never mind the rote political correctness, which I forgot all about until now.)

    Yeah, it was such a dark period before the better-known 80s classics would pop up the next year.

  • Andy Rose

    The funny thing is, when I was a kid, I watched my share of garbage like this. But “Rubik” was one of the few shows I recognized as being utterly ridiculous, even at that age.

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    Gee!! “Ooooo-ver-ture…and DIM the lights!”

  • billy batson

    Jason, I heard an interview with Jim Woodring a few years ago where he talked about his Ruby Spears days. I don’t remember him mentioning this show (though he might well have), but he did speak at length about “Turbo Teen,” the story of a teenage boy who could turn himself into a car.

    The funny thing I remember about “Rubik the Amazing Cube” is that it came out a good two years after the Rubik’s Cube craze had entirely subsided–an eternity in kid-time.

  • http://jedaniels-adventures.blogspot.com/ JPox

    Well it’s about time!
    That show has haunted me since I was a child.
    Trying to explain this crazy concept to people younger always gets me wierd looks. Now I can direct them to the site. LOL

  • Killroy McFate

    Didn’t this unspeakably odious crap-a-thon star the voice of TV’s Horshack?

  • http://www.strugglingyoungman.com Shaw

    MENUUDDDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

    (Actually, I think the never aired Garbage Pail Kids was a sillier toy tie- in)

  • Bobby Bickert

    I remember that this cartoon borrowed heavily from ET as well. Note that at the end of the opening titles, the silhouttes of the 3 kids fly across the moon. (Okay, they aren’t riding bikes, but I’m pretty sure the kids flew on their bikes at least once in the body of the show.) Even some of the music sounded like it was lifted straight from ET.

  • Esteban

    Every few years some new animated series claims to star ‘the first Latino family’, “El Tigre” being the most recent. “Rubik, the Amazing Cube” made that claim back in 1983, a full quarter century ago, during animation’s dark ages. Was the “Rubik” claim correct? Does anyone remember an earlier cartoon show starring an entire Latino family? “Bucky and Pepito” doesn’t count because it featured one human and a jackass.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    Only Ruby and Spears would actually sign that cel. Augh.

  • http://timrauch.blogspot.com Tim Rauch

    that gyspy shaking his fist at the kids… hilarious! i love this, jerry, you’ve uncovered (for me, anyways) another gem! i can just imagine the kids at home buying a cube and expecting a strange alien creature to sprout from it if ever they were able to sort the damn thing out… terrific! i think this is a high (or low?) point in the history of tv-series-as-marketing-tool. i love it.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Jerry years ago Hanna-Barbera did a test cartoon of the rock band KISS. You have to find that cartoon!

  • Anonymous (you think I’d post my real name to this?!)

    I… I… I liked this show. I really did. I remember getting excited about this show as a little kid.

    I also liked “The Puppy’s New Adventures” if anyone wants to make a website for that.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Interesting to see I wasn’t the only one to have seen it at an impressionable age. Having noticed the comic book ad in one of the pages on the Rubik fansite, I practically remember most of what ABC had on them, though not Menudo for some reason. A few noted programs on the roster includes a double-dose of Scooby-Doo (like we hadn’t see that coming), Ruby-Spear’s other cartoon, “The Puppy’s Further Adventures (which in on itself was a spin-off to a Weekend Special based on a book, too bad I don’t remember much of this other than reading it was a pretty good show for it’s time since it had continuity), “Monchhichis” (based on a popular Japanese doll line licensed to Mattel at the time), and perhaps another year of the Pac-Man cartoon (although I found an image someplace that had this show paired with Rubik in an hour-long format of sorts, which ABC seemed to like doing a lot of back then with grouping unrelated programming together).

    Pretty much the main character of the Rubik cartoon was your E.T.-inspired li’l guy who talks in the sedated, broken third person, and who has the magical abilities to help the kids out of any situation with the greatest of ease, even if it meant levitating them out of a locked room through a window or causing the baddies downfall through whatever devices necessary. It was that kind of a show, though the only part of it that ever made me laugh was when Rubik got knocked out of his correct position and one of the kids or whoever had to put him back together again (much like the puzzle itself, so consider that the plug for the toy anyway). I never thought about the portrayal of women in the show, but I think it probably didn’t influenced that part of me to think that way at a young age thankfully, though it was something I was more accustomed to in my household during that time.

    Funny someone brought up Turbo Teen, I like to see that show on the big screen at a convention someday just for fun (early anime fans often drew parallels between this and Ranma 1/2). I’ll give an extra point for someone mentioning the unseen Garbage Pail Kids cartoon that IS out on DVD now. I recommend you do not watch that garbage either, though it might only deserve at least a half-hour’s time to view just to see what I mean (wasn’t the point why CBS didn’t air it to begin with, but I like to think so).

    > John Paul Cassidy says:
    > Yeah, it was such a dark period before the better-known 80s classics would pop up the next year.

    Obviously we all know that would be Muppet Babies, though I often like to think it all came full circle with 1987′s “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures”, if only because it was so different and changed everything afterwards. Most of us are still waiting for DVD’s of that (I also like to see ABC’s Weekend Specials get released too if that’s ever possible).

  • http://www.funwiththeschaeffers.blogspot.com lamartherevenger

    Thank God my family either stuck to NBC or CBS most Saturday morning. If we even saw a glimpse of this show, the channel was flipped so fast we ended up skipping the channel we wanted by two stations.

  • http://billfieldtrip.blogspot.com/ Bill Field

    I enjoyed the series, “T.E.T.R.I.S. :Technical Extra Terrestrial Radical Interlocking Squadron” much better, because of all the great Jack Kirby artwork and characters, but, produced during the latter years of the Cold War, all the episodes were confiscated before airing, once it was discovered that the Russians had embedded a “Cathode-Ray Ray” within the show itself, bombarding all adolescent viewers with a 25 year gestation, followed by the victim’s only being able to type sound effectssszzaaaaaapppp!Kablap! Wakonnnnnnnggggggg!!!! Whhhiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Bombowwwww!! Zamboniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!

  • http://vice.parodius.com/ Dave Silva

    Oh dear god

    Who made that website? He has unleashed a horror upon the world which should have been forgotten years ago!

  • oliver east

    he looks like he’s got a bad back. odd, very odd. i don’t think we got that in the UK.

  • Jody Morgan

    It’s very likely that “Rubik the Amazing Cube” is the first cartoon based on something that I liked that I couldn’t bring myself to watch. Even at 11 years old, I found the idea of a Rubik’s Cube sprouting legs and a face and performing deus ex machina magic to be too preposterous to enjoy.

    I also remember that Dick Clark special mentioned on the Rubik fansite, but for a different reason: When they introduced the new character for the second season of “The Puppy’s Further Adventures”, two thoughts immediately raced through my mind, “What the heck?” and “They just hurt what had been a good show.” (Yes, I’m another person with fond memories of “The Puppy’s Further Adventures”; given how many truly bad cartoons from that era are immortalized by fansites and bootleg DVDs, why are Petey and his pals ignored?)

  • Steve Gattuso

    It’s hard to pick a nadir of TV animation in the 80′s, but this came damned close…

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Quoth Stephen: “The same deal happened with the TransFormers right? Merchandising first, and then an animated series as a way of a commercial?”

    The same was true for the Care Bears, which went animated after they were established as a greeting care line. Surprisingly, Nelvana picked up on them and had a hit with it — the first movie grossed over $20 million in the ’80s, and now DiC has brought out what I call Care Bears 2.0.

  • Christopher Olson

    It’s obvious that the rubik’s cube should have been a robot from outer space, not a magical elf with a square shaped body…

    Now that would have been a cool show!

  • http://mwbworld.livejournal.com/ mwb

    Oh, the horror!

    I tried to warn people about this earlier.

    But still the madness persists.

    I’m continually impressed/horrified by people who will create websites about the most dreadful of shows. They are the internet’s true heroes.

  • Bartholomew J.

    Rubik’s origin is also explained in the main titles: he fell off a gypsy wagon. Honest to God. Joe Ruby was either a genius or he smoked his weight in carpets resembling cigars.