Saturday Morning Cartoons: Rainbow Brite is back, and free to watch online

The original ‘80s version of the series is now on YouTube.
40 Years of Rainbow Brite
40 Years of Rainbow Brite /

Way back in the storied days of 1984, Hallmark introduced a character named Rainbow Brite. Over multiple episodes, a movie, a 2014 reboot, and more toys than can fill a landfill, Rainbow Brite was a huge name in pop culture. And now, you and your kids can watch all the classic, original episodes of the series in full, online, free.

Like a lot of ‘80s cartoon properties (and frankly, modern cartoon properties as well), the main goal was to “create a media empire, figure out the story later.” I’ll gesture wildly at Transformers and ThunderCats for more examples of that, and Rainbow Brite was definitely part of that trend. While the 1984 toon only ran 13 episodes, it was followed by a feature film titled Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, and according to a rep for Hallmark has “generated over $600 million dollars in wholesale revenue.” Have you generated that much wholesale revenue? I think not.

As for the actual plot of the thing, it follows a girl named Wisp who heads to a gray, colorless land. After she goes on a Wizard of Oz-esque adventure and returns color to the land, she’s renamed Rainbow Brite and continues to go on more adventures. 12, in fact, plus a movie.

The 2014 version of the series ran even shorter, as a three-episode miniseries featuring the voices of Emily Osment (as Rainbow Brite), and Molly Ringwald (as Dark Princess). But we don’t care about that one, because that’s not online free.

The reason for the episode giveaway? It’s the 40th anniversary of Rainbow Brite, of course! The first episode premiered on June 27, 1984, so we’re still a little off from the actual anniversary. But in anticipation of it, Hallmark has posted all 13 episodes on the Rainbow Brite YouTube channel, reactivated the social accounts, lit the signal fires, and summoned the council to Minas Tirith. Or, you know, ramped up Rainbow Brite awareness with 15+ new licenses that will debut in stores this year, and social activations like a roller skating rink party that was recently thrown in L.A.

Regardless, if you’ve been missing watching old episodes of Rainbow Brite, you can get that 1984 Saturday morning feeling back right now, on the Rainbow Brite YouTube page. Hopefully, it'll bring a little color to your day, too.

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