Dragon's Lair

ABC - Premiered 9-8-84

Dragon's Lair started out as an innovative video game - one of the first games that utilized laser disc technology. But it was also uncommon because its game play used not computer graphics but hand-drawn animation, created by former Disney animator Don Bluth. The actual playing of the game was limited - one had to stick to the 'script,' after all, and used the joystick and sword button at critical moments when such things as grabbing a rope and swinging over a pit of fire called for action. But nevertheless the game was immensely popular (and this despite its fifty-cents-a-play price, when practically every other game was a single quarter), and in turn inspired a small amount of spin-off products including the animated show we discuss here.

Dragon's Lair The show followed the adventures of one Dirk the Daring, a brave but somewhat clumsy knight who is loyal to both King Ethelred and the beauteous Princess Daphne, whom he often has to rescue from one scrape or another. The dragon in the title is named Singe (he got no given name in the video game), who like most dragons has a taste for gold and human female flesh (for some reason).

Since the cartoon was being aired while the video game was still popular, the show tried to 'feel' like a game as much as possible - which is of course impossible within the format. Before commercial breaks, the action was paused at a dramatic moment while the viewer was asked how he or she would act; after the commercials, various alternatives were shown (with disastrous results) until Dirk made the correct actions that would enable him to continue in the adventure.

Only thirteen half-hour episodes were produced, perhaps owing to a public that was becoming used to moving on to the latest game fad as soon as it became available, whatever it happened to be; in any case, the show only aired until the following April.

Episodes:
The Tale of the Enchanted Gift
Sir Timothy's Quest
The Tournament of the Phantom
The Smithee's Haunted Armor
The Pool of Youth
The Story of Old Alf
The Song of the Wood Chimes
The Girl From Crow's Wood
Mirror, Mirror
The Snow Witch
The Tale of Dirk's New Sword
The Legend of the Giant's Name
The Mist of Wishes

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