Question: When I was a kid, I used to watch a cartoon called Tobor, I think. Tobor is robot spelled backwards. Can you fill in the blanks for me? He was a sort of cartoon bionic man, and whenever he felt his energy getting low he would smoke a "special" cigarette he had hidden in his belt buckle. This was my favorite cartoon and I would rush home from school to catch it. How could I get my hands on a video of Tobor just to show my sons I'm not crazy? They laugh every time I tell them about it and even tease me, saying no way a cartoon character would light up. — MamaBrant

Televisionary: Oh, but light up he did, Mama B. And I continue to be a sucker for questions about shows from my childhood. Marine Boy, Ultraman, The Banana Splits and now this.

Tobor, the 8th Man, was indeed a cartoon robot hero who possessed the memories and personality of former cop Peter Brady (not the "pork chops and apple sauce" Peter Brady, mind you), who was ambushed by the evil Saucer Lips and left for dead. The brilliant Professor Genius used the fallen Brady to breathe life into the mechanical marvel 8th Man, granting him all sorts of cool powers (super speed and strength, etc.) plus a whole passel of fighting gizmos and high-tech, malleable skin that made him a master of disguise.

The strangest part by far was, as you say, the fact that when 8th Man ran low on energy he could recharge by smoking cigarette-like energy tabs, a lesson that would surely take today's kids' advocates from calm to apoplectic faster than you can say Chief Fumblethumbs (the top cop who 8th Man took into his confidence). Mind you, it was nearly as odd that 8th Man had a second, supplemental brain in his arm, but not quite as off as the "Hey, kids! Smoke up!" imagery.

8th Man, originally a Japanese comic strip and cartoon, was imported, dubbed and made over for American syndication audiences in 1965. Episodes from it are offered by various online retailers like Amazon, Yahoo Shopping and specialty anime house Right Stuf International.