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Western Animation / Denver the Last Dinosaur

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Denver the Last Dinosaur,
He's my friend and a whole lot more!
Denver the Last Dinosaur
Shows me a world I never saw before!

A French-American co-production, Denver the Last Dinosaur is an animated series from the 1980's (as if you needed to be told) about a group of Los Angeles teens that find the last dinosaur egg in existence and teach the hatchling, Denver, all about skateboarding, rocking out on guitar, and generally being totally radical. It lasted for 52 episodes and then was promptly forgotten, along with some of the other remnants of the late-80's / early 90's dinosaur mania. The little nostalgia for the series is mostly because of that kick-ass theme song. Fun fact: most of the cast consisted of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles voice actors (Cam Clarke, Rob Paulsen, Townsend Coleman, even Adam Carl who voiced Donatello in the second live action film) which just adds to the late 1980s period piece feel as these actors arguably did the totally radical angle better than anyone else.


Zagtoon is producing a reboot of the show as Denver & Cliff.

Tropes found in this show:

  • The '80s: Very steeped in it due to the decade, with rock music, skateboards and other Totally Radical clichés. Needless to say, it's an Unintentional Period Piece.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Casey has a crush on Mario, who is often uncomfortable with her flirting.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Both Shades and Mario have brown skin, but it's not clear whether they are intended to be black, Latino or some other ethnicity.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The story occasionally stops in its tracks so the narrator can impart dinosaur facts to the viewer.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Despite the line "Everywhere we go, we don't even care, if people stop and stare at our pal dino", the characters spend nearly the whole of the first few episodes fretting about whether they've been spotted with the eponymous reptile.
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  • Big Bad Duumvirate: There are two main villains in the series: the greedy and shady businessman Morton Fizzback who usually wants to capture Denver to capitalize on him, and Dr. Funt, the Glory Hound scientist who wants to improve his scientific reputation by showing Denver to the world.
  • Cartoon Creature: Denver does not resemble any specific species of dinosaur.
  • Cool Shades: One of the teenagers is literally called "Shades" after his sunglasses. Denver also gets a pair of pink shades, matching his guitar.
  • Corrupt Hick: Morton Fizzback, the greedy concert promoter.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: In the pilot episode, Morton Fizzback kidnaps Denver and presents him to the audience at a rock concert. The song the rock band plays? "Denver the Last Dinosaur", the show's theme song.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Even Totally Radical California teenagers are better with dinosaurs.
  • Fat Bastard: Morton Fizzback is an overweight man who is greedy and corrupt.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Denver himself, with his egg surviving since the Cretaceous period and hatching in the '80s.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Wally is an animal-loving guy and Denver's primary caretaker.
  • Gilligan Cut: After Mario protests that he won't beg his admirer for a favour.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The lyrics "he's my friend and a whole lot more" would nowadays imply that the subject is a romantic partner. This being the 80's and both the singer and the subject of the song being male (not to mention the latter being a dinosaur as well)...
  • Hilarity in Zoos: The episode "Lions, Tigers and Dinosaurs" is about Wally taking a job at a zoo and becoming friends with the rapping zookeeper Dr. D.
  • The Kiddie Ride: Not officially licensed, but Zamperla produced a Denver kiddie ride in their earlier years. Given that the show was popular in Italy (where Zaperla originates) and their poor copyright track records where kiddie rides are concerned, it's probably to be expected.
  • The Last Title: The name of the series.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Denver's name is taken from a passing bus which displays a tourism ad for Denver, Colorado.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Jeremy is a handsome teenager with long blonde hair.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Funt is a villainous paleontologist who wants to capture Denver.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Heather, Wally's older sister, is a shapely and pretty blonde girl, usually wearing form-fitting clothes. In one episode she gets a job at a theme park that requires her to wear a cavegirl outfit; in another one, Mario tells an "Arabian Nights" Days story where she appears as a genie, wearing a Bedlah Babe outfit similar to Jeannie's.
  • Nerd Glasses: Wally, the nerdiest of the teens, wears large glasses.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Denver looks a lot more cartoony than the more realistic dinosaurs in the opening.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Denver's guitar and accessories are pink.
  • Show Within a Show: Apparently in the universe of Denver, there was a crossover show between Lion Voltron and Vehicle Voltron. You get to see about a second of it in one episode when a TV is changing channels quickly. (Keep in mind that Denver's production company, World Events Productions, Events, is the same group that dubbed Voltron for Western audiences.)
  • Smarter Than You Look: Jeremy looks and dresses like a stereotypical jock, but he's the most erudite member of the cast, often speaking with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Denver perfectly understands English from his birth, but usually just makes animal-like vocalizations, with the occasional intelligible word.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: From the two major female characters, Casey is very much One of the Boys, wearing overalls and a baseball cap and riding a scooter, whereas Heather dresses and acts much more feminine.
  • Totally Radical: Even for its day, the show had an unusually high density of California Surfer Dude clichés.