For me, Nintendo-mania reached a fever pitch by 1989. September 4, 1989 is the premiere of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show starring Lou Albano and Danny Wells and the power plumbing brothers. Kids were astounded(?) with the cheesy variety-show-quality live action comedy mixed with the cheesy animation based on elements of Super Mario 1 & 2 Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, we all giggled at Link’s attempts to woo Zelda in the Legend of Zelda cartoon which replaced the Super Mario cartoon that day. Communism would fall and all was good.
As a six-year-old kid without a sense of good taste in entertainment, I was in awe of special guests to Mario & Luigi’s home(?) like Magic Johnson, Roddy Piper, Ernie Hudson, Inspector Gadget, and Captain Lou Albano. Six years old is probably the maximum age where someone could tolerate live action segments with the craft of a Brady Bunch variety show. That said, six-year-old me liked seeing Mario every weekday finishing each show with a dance (Do the Mario!) so I was entertained. Seven-year-old wasn’t pleased at the totally radical Club Mario nonsense that took away Capt. Albano and Mr. Wells a year later.
The cartoon segments were fine back then. The Super Mario animated stuff would sometimes rip off a movie or genre like Indiana Jones or James Bond. I recall it was odd that the fire flower was used a lot, but super mushrooms never came into play. The Mario cartoons would get slightly more ambitious with the later Super Mario Bros. 3 cartoon, but limped along with the meme-tastic Super Mario World.
The Super Mario Super Show is up on YouTube and Netflix USA as I type this. Now swing your arms from side to side in Albano and Wells’ honor.