Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 20-A: The Rise and Fall of Cartoon Network Pt. 1

Welcome to another Cartoon Historian. I'm your instructor,Stefan and this is my assistant,Mina. Because you voted for it,This episode is gonna be all about Cartoon Network.

Mina: In this special 2-part episode we 're gonna be talking about the Networks roots and how it became damaged beyoned repair. It's the Rise and Fall of Cartoon Network on The Cartoon Historian.

[Cartoon Historian Theme Plays]

As you are well aware,Cartoon Network was once the Best place for Cartoons. Unfortunatly,today,it's just a pathetic shell of it's former self.

Cartoon Network aka CN was created by Turner Broadcasting in October of 1992. It's goal was to air 24-hours of Animated shows with the Bugs Bunny short Rhapsody Rabbit being its first-ever aired program.

Mina: Since 2003, Cartoon Network began airing a small amount of live-action programming, mostly movies from Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, both of which are also owned by Time Warner.

Over the succeeding years, Cartoon Network has become more aggressive in its live-action development resulting in a lot of harsh criticism from fans as well as its downfall.

Word! However we'll talk about that later. Anyway,although Cartoon Network began in 1992,it's origins date back all the way to the 80's.

In 1986,Ted Turner's cable-TV conglomerate acquired most of the MGM film library (which included Gilligan's Island),The a.a.p. catalog(which includes the pre-1950 Warner Bros. film library),Merrie Melodies,and the Popeye cartoons.

In 1988,Turner Network Television,aka TNT,launched and had gained an audience with its film library. In 1990, it purchased animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions and acquired its large library as well as most of the Ruby-Spears library. leter that year these cartoons were given their own special program block that aired daily.

Mina: So,Cartoon Network was originaly part of TNT before it became its own seperate Network? Interesting.

By October 1, 1992, Cartoon Network was created as an outlet for Turner's library of animation. The Launch programs for the network were reruns of classic Warner Bros. cartoons,Popeye cartoons, MGM cartoons,and Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Many Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons like Magilla Gorilla were often used as time fillers.

Mina: Most of the short cartoons aired in half-hour or hour-long packages, usually separated by character or studio. For example,Down Wit' Droopy D aired old Droopy Dog shorts, The Tom and Jerry Show presented the classic cat-and-mouse team, and Bugs and Daffy Tonight provided classic Looney Tunes shorts.

Mina: Late Night Black and White showed early black and white cartoons (mostly from the Fleischer Studios), and ToonHeads aired themed cartoon shorts with original, unique bumpers and trivia about the cartoons they were showing.

Mina: Another early show was High Noon Toons, which was a programming block hosted by cowboy hand puppets Haas and Lil' Jo. I never heard of that block before,but from the sound of it,I bet it was Lame with a Capital L.

I'm certain it was. Anyway,the classic toons that was shown on Cartoon Network no longer airs on a regular basis, with the exception of Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo.

The network's first original show was The Moxy Show and was created in 1993. In 1994,Hanna-Barbera's new subsidiary,Cartoon Network Studios was founded and started production on The What-A-Cartoon! Show (also known as World-Premiere Toons).

The show premiered in 1995 and was made up of a series of independent short cartoons. It was also the network's third original series,with the second being Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

Mina: The main purpose of The 'What A Cartoon Show' was to help Cartoon Network expand its library of exclusive programming. It introduced a number of new cartoon ideas. Six of them were spun off into their own series runs.

Mina: These six series were: Dexter's Laboratory (1996), Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken (1997), The Powerpuff Girls (1998), Mike, Lu and Og, and Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999).

Mina: These shows were the first batch of Cartoons known as Cartoon Cartoons. I Am Weasel (1997) and Ed, Edd n Eddy (1999) were the first two Cartoon Cartoons not to be introduced in a What A Cartoon short.

In 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner. This consolidated ownership of all the WB cartoons, so now post-July 1948 cartoons (which Warner Brothers had reacquired in the 1960s)were being shown on the network. This lead up to a 2000 announcement that Cartoon Network would be the exclusive TV home of the classic Warner Bros. animated library.

Mina: Sadly this isn't the case anymore.

Newer WB animated productions also started appearing on the network as old Kids WB reruns. Though some modern WB cartoons,such as Teen Titans and Justice League,were Cartoon Network exclusives.

Mina: In 1997,2 popular program blocks made their debut,Toonami and Cartoon Cartoon Fridays. Toonami was a weekday afternoon block that aired Action Cartoons and Anime. The block was first hosted by Moltar of Space Ghost Coast to Coast and then by the Tom androids.

Mina: Toonami was,without question,Cartoon Networks most popular program block...well,until 2006 that is,where the block itself was decimated. The block ended in 2008.

Mina: Anyway,Cartoon Cartoon Fridays otherwise known as CCF was a Friday Night Block that was hosted by the Cartoon Cartoons themselves and later by 2 human hosts. This block ended in late 2006 and was replaced with the crappy Fried Dynamite.

Cartoon Network underwent its 2nd makeover (the first being in 1996)on June 12, 1998,launching the Powerhouse theme that was used until June of 2004.

The Powerhouse theme had bumpers involving characters from most of the cartoons it aired or objects and places with the Cartoon Network's Checkerboard logo. The word NEXT was used in several "Coming up Next" bumpers.

There were multiple color variations for the bumpers backgrounds: Yellow for morning timeslot, Green for afternoon timeslot, Blue for evening timeslot, Purple for action cartoons (used in all timeslots),Black for overnight timeslot (starting at midnight),Red for specials and Thanksgiving,Black with Orange outlines for Halloween,and White and Light Blue for Christmas.

Often, an announcer would say something witty over these bumpers...up until 2003 that is. Other times they had a music cue that was a cross between the show's theme and Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse".

There were also animated bit segments,with several variations for each one. In 2003,the "Powerhouse" theme music was replaced with the show's own theme song.

Mina: Don't you wish Cartoon Network still did this? Anyway,In 2004,Miguzi made it's debut and replaced Toonami on the weekdays. Toonami was moved to Saturdays and Adult Swim was introduced.

On June 14, 2004, Cartoon Network updated its logo, and its slogan: “This is Cartoon Network!” This is also the first CN era with a female voice announcer. Although she was eventually replaced with no such voices announcing for the network since.

Cartoon Network's 1st president,Shawn Grove,left Cartoon Network due to a major heart attack.Jim Samples took his place. The first program ever aired on the relaunched Cartoon Network was Rescue Heroes,a shitty Canadian show that used to air on the,now extinct,CBS Saturday Morning Block.

Mina: And thus the Canadian Invasion begins. An invasion that should've been prevented.

I hear ya,Mina. In fact,Canadian Cartoons are one of the many reasons why Cartoon Network is damaged beyond repair.

Anyway,The new bumpers featured 2D cartoon characters from their shows interacting in a CGI city made up of sets from their own shows.

By now, nearly all of Cartoon Network's classic cartoon programming had been relocated to its sister network Boomerang,which was created in 2003,to make way for new programming. However,they did manage to keep Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo. 2 shows that are currently being milked to death by those lowlife CN executives.

Mina: On April 10, 2006, the network removed more shows from the 1990s and scrapped the CGI City look. Later that year,shows like Time Squad (2001), Mike, Lu & Og (1999), I Am Weasel (1997), Looney Tunes,and Sheep in the Big City (2000) were also taken off the network. What Jerks!

Agreed. Well that's all she wrote for the Rise of Cartoon Network.

Mina: Next up,the Fall of Cartoon Network.

1 comment:

Stefan said...

Another great lesson! It's a shame what happened to Cartoon Network.