So here’s a subliminal military recruiting tool that I was not familiar with.
Rambo and The Force of Freedom…
I love the fact that this show was from 1986, the same year that the Iran-Contra Scandal came to light.
You have got to love serendipity like that.
Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article for the show which hasn’t been sourced so I can’t confirm whether it’s accurate but it does accord with what I imagine happened so that will have to do for now:
The cartoon generated a mild controversy at the production studio, with writers wondering how they could present a child-friendly main character who was created as a troubled Vietnam War veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The show’s child psychology advisors believed that the target audience, young children and preteens, would not grasp that aspect of David Morrell’s character. They recommended that the cartoon not make any references to Vietnam, POWs, or Rambo’s experiences in 1982’s First Blood and 1985’s Rambo: First Blood Part II.
Here also is an excerpt from The New York Times about violence in cartoons that came out just before it’s release:
The “Rambo” program will start in April with five weekly episodes timed to the arrival of a Rambo line of “action-figure” dolls in toy stores, manufactured by Coleco Industries, makers of the Cabbage Patch Kids.
Next fall, the show will begin a cycle of 65 episodes currently in production.
Do the show’s producers think that the R-rated “Rambo: First Blood Part II” is an appropriate source for children’s entertainment?
“When you think that the President has mentioned him, the symbol of Rambo transcends the film,” said Amy Kastens, a spokesman for Anabasis Investments N.V., producers of the television series. “That symbol is a symbol of good. He’s very patriotic. He stands for strength, he only does good, and he undoes evil.”
She added that the lead character of the children’s shows will not be a Sylvester Stallone look-alike. “It’ll be a total departure from the film,” she said of the television show. “There won’t be any violence. He will have giant muscles and all of that. But he will be a guy who loves nature and won’t look for trouble.”
The show will become “a sales tool” for the toys, Mrs. Kastens said. Although not directly involved in the “Rambo” film production, “we are working in conjunction with the producers to make sure that the product line and cartoon series carry the same messages,” said Barbara C. Wruck, a spokesman for Coleco.
So let us embrace shameless propaganda to sell toys and also a fictional idea about the super warrior and the inherent goodness of American foreign policy.
My reality is that as a 10 year old at the time of the original release I am now having flashbacks to loving this show.