Dirk the Daring was the star of this medieval-themed cartoon, and his nemesis was the fire-breathing dragon Cinge. In each episode, Cinge would find a new way to terrorize the kingdom of King Ethelred, usually involving the kidnapping of Princess Daphne, the resident damsel in distress. Atop his white horse Bertram, Dirk traveled to defeat the dragon, often forced to enter the “Dragon’s Lair” itself. In the end, Dirk would prevail, rescuing the princess and defeating Cinge, which seemed fairly unusual considering the dragon was so much smarter than the hero.
Dragon’s Lair was based on the popular video game of the same name. Unlike other games, the action of Dragon’s Lair was actually animated, just like a cartoon. The player had limited control over Dirk’s actions and was responsible for deciding which path to take and when to use Dirk’s sword. Due to the novelty of the game as well as the impressive animation by Don Bluth, it became a huge arcade hit, setting the stage for a foray into Saturday morning animation.
Unfortunately, the cartoon fared worse than the video game, and Dragon’s Lair was canceled after one season.