Enjoying your stay here at GeezeZone.com? The only home for discussions of all popular culture that date back in the ’90s and the 2000s. These include cartoons shows, retro video games, books, movies, internet culture, memes, YouTube videos, among many.
In keeping with our culture here at the GZone, this week, I embarked on the retro-cartoons that made our day back then. Last week I talked about the amazing trio Ed, Edd, and Eddy, and we also looked at why kids and adults are obsessed with Courage the Cowardly Dog.
Today, I want to dive back in time again and explore another animation which I watched back in 1999, called “What a Cartoon!” …. Yes…. You heard me right, Generation Z!! That is the name of the Cartoon Show, and it is not a question! It was like a Cartoon of Cartoons, only the millennials in this forum will understand!
It was later renamed to “The What a Cartoon! Show. The spirited Fred Seibert created it for Cartoon Network. He was then the president of Hanna-Barbera Productions. The show ran from 1995 to 1997 originally, and an extended version ran to 2002. I will not explain all the cartoons in this show because it will fill hundreds of pages of text because of The What a Cartoon! Show comprised of over 48 short cartons.
Fred Seibert’s idea was to create a platform that will let individual creators and other cartoonists pitch their cartoons. The popular cartons would be made into a series after being featured on The What a Cartoon! Show. Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network Studios produced the show that ran for three seasons and 82 episodes, TBS and TNT. This was Fred’s way of returning creative power to animators and artists by recreating the atmosphere that spawned the iconic characters of the mid-20th Century.
This was a noble idea by Fred that is surprisingly nonexistent now thanks to YouTube. Nowadays, you can share your works on YouTube, and people will see it many years later, unlike in the past.
Have you watched all the 48 shows that were pithed under The What a Cartoon! Show? I am not sure of myself! I was watching them randomly; I wouldn’t know which one I missed! I vividly remember three of these episodes that wowed me back then, and they still do until now! They are “The Bloos Gang”, “Larry & Steve” and “Utica cartoon” which were voiced by Mike Milo. The main characters, Larry and Steve, were both voiced by Seth MacFarlane. This is an amazing Talent!
Picking 48 out of 5000 pitches!
The surprising fact is that the 48 cartoons that were pitched under The What a Cartoon! The shows were selected from over 5000 pitches! You can imagine the amount of digging that was done to choose the less than 50 pitches! I can only imagine!
It is around this time that the cartoon network studios’ marketing department came up with the idea of the dive in theater in 1995 to showcase the 48 cartoon shorts. The show was screened at waterparks and large municipal swimming pools treating kids and parents to an exclusive poolside screening on a nine by twelve Movie screens.
This was a strange but noble idea by Fred and Cartoon Networks. This spawned the launching point for many Cartoon Network series including Power Puff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Mike Lu, and Og, Ship in the Big City, Whatever Happened to Robot Jones, Code name kids next door, Grim & evil, Magus XLR, and Fox’s Family Guy.
The platform helped to launch the career of many animators. There was a long list of well-known cartoonists who came out of this idea. It was a risky venture by Fred and Cartoon Network, but it paid in the long run. Some of the pitchers are now the top cartoonist with huge media houses.
In 2008, cartoon show was revived as a block for re-runs of older cartoons that had been phased out of the network. The show returned later between the years 2005 – 2007.
Growing up when this was going down, I remember the show very fondly. These shows were aired repeatedly but randomly. I must have watched some of them more than once. But it was kind of fun back in the days. It is until recently that I understood that the cartoons were pitches for the actual show.
I remember the Intro, theme songs, and commercials! Which stuck in my head forever.
Let me talk about the two episodes I have watched again recently and blew my mind today as It did back then:
The Bloo’s Gang – Bow Wow Buccaneers
This was from Season 1 Episode 29 of the 48 pitches. Here we see Bloo and his dog friends sneak out of their owners’ houses to set out on a pirate adventure in the city. Bloo is the leader who came up with this entire idea. Bloo, Skully, and Simon embarked on this adventure on their pirate ship made from a wagon. They even had an anchor for stopping the ship. Bloo was continually talking in this show, and he was the weakest in the show. They later went cat-fishing.
Here, both the small and the big cat were voiced by Frank Walker. The little cat was stinky, and they made it walk through wet cement. They later find a meat truck, and they forgot about walking the cat on the plank. They planned to rob the meat truck instead. They blew up the truck, the meat got strewn across the street, and the other cats came over. Stinky was leading the cats. Bloo took yarn and threw it, and all the cats followed. It was a cat-astrophe, as they put it. Later, Bloo lands on his doghouse that explodes. This was a hilarious episode that was made for the TV for children. It is quite entertaining.
Larry & Steve
Another show that cracked me up back was Larry & Steve. Which deserved to be among the top 48/5000 Pitches. It was well-curated. It was not the run on the mill.
This Season 1 Episode 41. This episode starts with Steve, the homeless dog, in a cage talking to the camera about how he found himself there. Larry comes in and coincidentally could understand what Steve was saying. Steve was perturbed and happy to find someone who could understand him. Steve considered thought Larry had a very low IQ, for understanding ‘dog language’. Larry added that he had a dog that spoke Dutch and that he could not understand! Steve begged him to get him out of the pound by telling him that he will be indirectly responsible for causing him to be given euthanasia.
They set off and went home, and Larry becomes his new owner. When they reached home, Steve suggested that hey go shopping, because the house was in a mess. Immediately Steve settled in; everything explodes from the TV, the lamp and even the bed’s spring pops. Right of the bat, Larry is portrayed as an idiot, while Steve is a brilliant dog.
Larry & Steve were the inspiration behind the Family Guy show. The character types, mannerism, and voices are similar to those of the family guy show, and at some point, Stewy was mentioned. This is quite strange because, by the time this was screened, Family Guy had not yet been created. It’s more of a family guy series in a different skin.
Now, this is my favorite part of this episode; it cracks me up every time I think about it:
Larry: I didn’t spend 12 years in Kindergarten because I am stupid.
Steve: Then, why?
Larry: My feet got stuck in the radiator.
The choice of words for this episode is just like Family Guy. The production of this episode was just out of its time. This was a show created with the future in mind.
The scene continues with some kid and his pilot, dad. The dad allows the kid to fly the plane. Steve was blown out of the store and was squished on the nose of the plane. When the kid takes control, it crushes to the store. I like the interaction of Ricky and the dad, who handled it as nothing happened. After all this, Larry said that his credit card was declined. So, all the hustle was for nothing, and Steve could not get a new bed. The Steve resumes recording himself, Larry comes to fix the camera but messes it up too.
I totally enjoyed this show. I wish they made a longer version of this particular cartoon; it deserves to have its own series. It was mad fun, my number one favorite out of the 5000 cartoons that were pitched.