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Roger Ramjet was an groundbreaking 1960's documentary about the U.S. Airforce set against the backdrop of General cold war weirdness. What began as a cleverly disguised recruitment drive aimed at children, unwittingly uncovered the inside story of scandal, steroids, sleaze, silliness, sexual abuse, substance abuse and some other stuff starting with 's', that dogged the military top brass of the time. A fore-runner to many of todays reality shows, it began broadcasting in 1965 and continued for six and a half seasons of 24 five-minute long episodes, until, in 1972, it was pulled from the air under government pressure.
“You can't handle the truth”
edit Quotes From the Series
“What do you think of Ramjet's Rammer?”
“Mmm! Buzz! Click!!”
“Well, if it isn't Roger Ramjet!”
“If it isn't we're all on the wrong show”
“This is silly.”
“Well it's only a kid's cartoon show, Roger.”
“Not to mention the running jokes!”
“I told you not to mention that.”
General GI Brassbottom was the start of it all. A high ranking military officer, he had an illicit affair with Ma Ramjet that produced a pair of twins - Roger and Yankee Ramjet. Roger was so patriotic that eagles soared, flags waved and stars sparkled as he spoke, he was also a good all-round jock, but he was thicker than a dog-turd milkshake. Yankee on the other hand, was intelligent but timid. He constantly lived in his brother's shadow, even though he was far smarter. Their father arranged for them both to be apprenticed with the airforce, despite Roger failing the entrance exams several times.
By the time Roger and Yankee had become pilots, Ma Ramjet had had three more children, Doodle, Dan and Dee, GI Brassbottom had been promoted to head of recruitment, and the Americans were losing the war in Vietnam. At this point Brassbottom had a brainstorm. He proposed to the high
grue army council that he be allowed make a series of short five-minute documentaries encouraging enlistment, by showing how much fun it was blowing the crap of foreigners. He would set the show around his own five children and it would be called "Roger Ramjet and the Eagle Squadron." Desperate for anything that might turn the tide in 'nam, the council agreed, awarding the squadron five multi-billion dollar 'Ramjet' fighter planes, and granting the General full artistic freedom.
A typical episode began with the General dispensing a mission from his office in the Dept. for defense's dodecahedron building. Each mission saw a stereotypical villian (such as an icy cold Russkie, a Scottish tightwad or a double-crossing smelly sleazy Frog) threatening the entire free world (i.e. America), whom Roger and Co. would have to defeat to save the day.
The show started successfully from a military point of view, with enlistment figures trebling in it's first year of broadcast (although the average age of recruits plummeted to eleven and a half), but from the third series on, descended into debauchery and farce, making the US Airforce the laughing stock of the world.
When the series began, drug use was rife in America, and the use on the show was unremarkable. But by 1970, public opinion had changed, and all but a handful of individuals condemed their use.
- Proton Energy Pills -(commonly known as PEP Pills despite the second 'P' standing for Pills) were first seen in the very first episode. Invented by Dan and tested by Roger, they alledgedly imbued the user with "the strenght of twenty atom bombs for twenty seconds". Roger continued to take these in almost every episode. Roger quickly developed an addiction to PEP largely down to the fact that Ma Ramjet had raised him on her homebaked atomic vitamin pie.
- Prostitution -All was not as it seemed on the surface with Ma Ramjet. While coming across as a sweet homely old lady, several scenes shot when she didn't realise it show otherwise. In reality, she is was a cold-hearted controlling madame, who pimped Lotta out to her son Roger.
- Cocaine -The use of cocaine by the Eagle Squadron was frequently alluded to, but never proven. In Season 3, episode 53 Doodle is clearly heard to say across the radio "Two Kilo Charlie, repeat Two Kilo Charlie (undecipherable) Hotel India".
- Kitten Huffing -was admitted to by General Brassbottom during his trial. His lawyer's defense was "...but everyone else was doing it."
edit Some other stuff starting with 'S'
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Scary Spice
- Schrödinger's cat
- Sea Monkies
- Shakira Shakira
edit Theme Song
The most obvious example of brainwashing in the series was the theme tune. Sung to an already familiar song (Yankee Doodle), it contains several thinly veiled subliminal messages. It also frequently appears in late-night pub discussions when patrons ask "Watsh tha shong about Wodger *hic* an' his Rammerjet again
- Roger Ramjet an' his Beagles
- Fighting for our fweedom
- Flyin' through an' in outer space
- Not to join 'em, but to beat 'em
- When Ramjet takes a Proton Pill
- The crooks begin to worry
- They can't escape their awful fate
- From Proton's mighty fury
- So come and join us all you kids
- For lots of fun and laughter
- As Roger Ramjet and his men
- Get all the crooks they're after
- Roger Ramjet, he's our man
- Hero of our nation
- For his adventures just be sure
- And stay tuned to this station
edit Camera Style and Technique
edit Re-Mastered DVD Release
Shot almost exclusively on handheld camcorder, the technique was incredibly innovative at the time (especially considering camcorders weren't invented until at least 1987), this style was later copied in shows like Trailer Park Boys and films such as The Blair Witch Project. Sadly, the show hasn't aged well and the camera-work now looks dated. To rectify this, the producers of the new DVD have re-mastered the entire series in the medium of schlock 1960's cartoon style, with side-to-side movement and panning across single cells to give the impression of motion, recycling backrounds (see The Flintstones), and many other time-consuming techniques.
edit Notable Episodes
Ep 1 (Dr. Evilkisser) We are introduced to Roger and his team. Roger takes PEP pill as part of government test with positive result. Ep. 25 (Bathysphere) - Paedophilia first rears its ugly head when Roger walks in on the General spongebathing the three male Eagles. This footage is later used as evidence. Ep. 47 (Coffee) - The infamous Clinton and Lewinsky episode, 'nuff said. 68 Hoop-de-Doo Ep. 86 (Unknown) - For some reason this episode was never shown. A full five minutes of static was broadcast instead. In the re-mastered DVD boxset. This episode is replaced by a commercial for pogs. Ep 132 Crown Jewels - Ep. 145 Manhole - 153 Surf Nuts Ep. 154 Dry Dock - Much speculation has occured as to the contents of episode 157. Considering what had aired before, what could have been so bad as to have the entire series pulled from the air? Theories include;
edit The American Eagle Squadron
These consisted of four obviously underage recruits who reported directly to Roger. Each youth was entrusted with a 'Ramjet' fighter plane worth about $3 million of taxpayers money. Each of the four showed skill in a specific area.
- Yankee was the eldest of the squadron, Yankee was being groomed to become Roger's successor. Although he claimed to be Roger's twin, some rumours said he was a gene-for-gene clone of Roger (though this was never proven).
- Doodle was short and chubby, with a love for food that often got him into trouble. Famous for his truffle-shuffle, he originally gave rise to the popular phrase "I love you like a fat kid loves cake".
- Dan was the token nerd of the foursome. A mathematical and electronic genius, he invented several items beneficial to the squad including the Ramjet engine, PEP Pills, and the oxford comma.
- Dee A girl. Quite adept at cooking and cleaning. Not so great at ironing.
edit Secondary Good Guys
- Ma Ramjet Roger's mother and Lotta's Pimp/Madame. Her atomic vitamin pie is linked to Roger's addiction to PEP Pills in later life.
- Lotta Love Prostitute with a heart of gold. Roger's "love interest".
- Lance Crossfire Playboy and ace test pilot, Lance Crossfire, Roger's rival for Lotta's affection, often appeared to be out to 'get' Roger. In fact, he merely wanted to show him up for the blithering idiot that he was. Several episodes were given over to competitions between the two including, swimming, karaoke, rollerblading, space hopping and cupboarding.
edit Bad Guys
- Noodles Romanoff Leader of the criminal gang Noodles and the no-goods. Founding Member of the international evil organization, N.A.S.T.Y. (the National Association of Spies, Traitors and Yahoos). One of the first apostles of Pastafarism.
- Jacqueline Hyde A schizophrenic double-agent femme fatale working for both the
YankAmerican and CommieRussian governments.
- Osama Bin Laden Afghan terrorist. Never actually seen in the series, but blamed for any acts which could not be atributed elsewhere, never captureed or made to pay.
- Red Dog the Pirate Stereotypical pirate. Along with his sidekick Punjab the Discount Parrot and girlfriend [Hooker|Long Joan Silver]]. He sailed and searched the seven seas looking for Ramjet and his Eagles. Never appeared in any episodes since the Eagles were to be found in the air.
- The Solenoid Robots More irritating than evil, these undersized daleks were easily defeated. Later broken down into their composite parts and used to make hoovers and sex toys.
The show hosted numerous other charachers in bit-part roles, and in some cases launched their careers. These include Dr. Frank N. Furter, Pinky Finger, Henry Cabbage Patch Doll, Honest Arnold the car salesman, Bentley Crossfire (Lance's father), Sheldon the Henchman, Grimy Gus Irate (Roger's next-door neighbour), Count Bat Guy (went on to popular children's daytime chat show Sesame Street), the Chuckle Brothers and the Enchilada Brothers.
edit Where Are They Now?
- GI Brassbottom was convicted of
- Roger himself is a washed up junkie who can be found wandering
- Ma Ramjet still keeps house in Lompoc at the ripe old age of 134. She credits her longetivity to Atomic Vitamin pie. Unfortunately she has ceased all contact with her son
- ↑ Not actually a General.
- ↑ Paid for with tax-payers money.
- ↑ The exception being the time they replaced with Placebos by Jacqueline Hyde. Oh, how we laughed.
- ↑ As recited by my five-year-old niece.
- ↑ Not to be confused with the Cartoon Network version where they changed the words to suit themselves, blasphemers!
- ↑ Is this too many refs for such a short space?
edit See Also