Tooncrap #10 - Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue

Just Say No...To This Cartoon
Syndication: 1990

Written by: Raymond Gallant

Chances are that when you were a kid, at some point, you dreamed of what it would be like if your favorite cartoon characters met up. Be it to face off against one another, or maybe to face off against a common enemy. Perhaps even just to hang out and shoot the breeze. However, despite the vivid imaginations we wee tots had, I can guarantee you that no kid ever dreamed their favorite cartoons would spend a half hour in one of the most borderline broken interventions in television history.

But that's exactly what we got all the way back in 1990 with Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue, an animated special that aired on literally every channel in existence in 1990 (Or at least those that aired Saturday morning cartoons. )This was billed as a big event, where all your favorite characters would come together for the first time ever. Think about it. You had Garfield, Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Smurfs, Alf, Winnie the Pooh, The Looney Tunes, and Michelangelo of the frigging Ninja Turtles. It was like any cartoon fan's literal wet dream. However, what we got killed those lofty youthful dreams forever.

Think of it as the WCW Invasion of the cartoon world.

Now, I can assure the reader that I have never touched a drug in my life, so I'm ripping into this without any personal bias. I was more a kid who didn't want drugs due to just not seeing the appeal, and not because of scare tactics by the government. This is going to show just how this half hour narc-fest just doesn't work, and in the end is just a bad cartoon in general. So, get ready to see some of the greatest cartoon characters get ruined for eternity. Let's review this thing.
We open our massive crossover with the 2 people the kiddies obviously couldn't wait to see...

George and Barbara Bush. While Barb seems sincere, for some reason I doubt George is taking this very seriously. In the middle of this minute long 1st nag of many, George turns and stares at Barb, almost thinking to himself "I'm the god damn president, and she makes me waste my time talking about some stupid cartoon to keep the kids off the wacky tobaccy."

With that out of the way, we open our story in the town of generic suburbia USA, as a young girl named Cory's piggy bank is stolen. And the first person to notice this is, of course, Papa Smurf. He sounds the alarm which awakens all of the crappy mascot merchandise in the room of the lass. Everyone from the Chipmunks, Alf, and Garfield chase after the porcelain pork purloiner, as the Smurfs, Kermit, and Slimer wake up Cory.

They soon learn that our bandit is none other than her older brother Michael. Cory confronts him, as he hides a box from her. However our assortment of animated icons look inside to find plenty of drug related paraphernalia. Michael, realizing his eyes look terrible, puts on a pair of shades and leaves the house in a huff. So, naturally the cartoon all stars decide to follow him to try and get him off drugs. Because lord knows the best way to stop an addiction is with an animated intervention.

So, Michael goes off and buys some drugs, as we meet our antagonist, an evil talking puff of smoke (Voiced by George C Scott). But before he can try some of the harder stuff, Michael and the assorted kids scatter to the sound of a siren. Backed into a corner, the officer approaches our protagonist, only to reveal that it's...

Oh Bugs. poor, poor Bugs.

Yep, Bugs Bunny gets dragged into the story, as he tries to ask how Michael got involved with drugs. Michael, more angered that Bugs is in his business, and less that BUGS BUNNY IS STANDING IN FRONT OF HIM, tries to get away. But Bugs drags him into his time machine. Yep, a time machine that he borrowed from "some coyote".

Meanwhile, back at home, Michael's dad, the Brawny man, wonders why there's some beer missing. Cory knows something ain't quite right with Michael, but decides not to rat her brother out. This leads to Winnie the Pooh asking her why, as Cory tries to understand why in the blue hell Pooh bear is talking to her, she essentially tells Pooh that snitches get stitches, as Pooh tries to convince her to tell.

Back to Michael, Bugs, and Smokey as they head back to the simpler days of black and white, and when kids had the first letters of their names on their shirts. Bugs shows how Michael was led into the world of drugs through peer pressure, which of course is way different from how they're trying to get him off of drugs. Later at the park with token black kid and girl with the Kung Lao hat, they talk about scoring some crack. Michael declines, until Smokey hands hat girl Michael's wallet. Michael gives chase, until he falls into a manhole, ready to get a lecture from...

Really? Of all the Ninja Turtles, you pick the one that seems most like a stereotypical stoner? Somehow I can easily imagine Michaelangelo whipping up an LSD and marijuana pizza

So yeah, now it's time for Michelangelo to chew out our young hero, all while the hat girl still has his friggin' wallet and is ready to score some crack. But screw her, we only have time to talk to Michael. Despite god forbid there's any personal information about Michael in that wallet, so he could be considered an alibi if the cops bust hat girl, but you know why would all that matter? Being guilt tripped by a ninja turtle is punishment enough.

Michelangelo pulls a giant plug that sends Michael and Smokey falling into a roller coaster that is riding through the messed up catacombs that is his brain. How we went from a sewer to the head of Michael is questionable. Unless this is some sorta "Being John Malkovich" thing. Oh, and Kermit and Piggy are along for the ride. After that little mind warp, it's time for an animated intervention through song, as The Muppet Babies, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and the gang sing about "a million wonderful ways to say no."

Oh goody, Miss Piggy, and Scrooge's nephews are singing. Somehow I yearn for Gilbert Gottfried to belt out a few lines.

Oh wait, no I don't.

After that, Michael finally wakes up back at home. After abusing Cory, he begins to finally realize that maybe he's gone too far with the drugs, but Smokey tries to convince him he's done no harm. But his reassurance is cut short, as now it's time for Alf to talk to Michael. Alf drags him into a hall of mirrors to show him how drugs will turn him into the friggin' Cryptkeeper. He then takes him to see the man in charge, who turns out to be our Smokey antagonist. While Michael wanders through animated insanity, Cory finds his drug box as Smokey tries to corrupt her, and throws Pooh into a cupboard. Hey, that's Winnie the god damn Pooh you're messing with. Nobody screws with the silly old bear.

And from here the insanity meter hits eleventy as Michael finds himself in a crazy carnival, as the cartoon all stars, now seemingly tired of nagging him to stop, decide to try and murder him instead. From trying to run him over with roller coasters, to him being sucked through a straw and almost eaten by Miss Piggy. If anything came out of this, it probably gave vore fans their first chubby. 3 minutes of attempted homicide later, Michael runs into a tent, and runs into a fortune teller, who happens to be...

Oh Daffy. Poor, poor Daffy.

Daffy shows him his future, which is his full on transformation into the Cryptkeeper. The Cartoon All Stars take one last effort to turn Michael. It finally works, as Michael finally exits insano land, and stops Cory before she becomes persuaded. He throws Smokey out the window. Our talking smoke pile vows revenge, but our young heroes and talking mascots will be prepared. And if Michael steps out of line again, they'll clearly just scare him straight again. The end.

And that's the infamous Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue. What a piece of propaganda pap. There's nothing wrong with saying no to drugs, or helping someone in need, but for some reason the way the Cartoon All Stars try to do so bugs me. They go from nagging, to intervention, to trying to murder Michael. It just seems poorly handled.

And in the end, why did it need to be an assortment of cartoon characters? It could have been a clan of original characters, and they still could have sent the same message across. Instead of just teasing young kids with dreams of Alf trying to eat Garfield, or The Looney Tunes and the Ninja Turtles being at the same place at the same time. Also, they really don't talk about why the drugs are bad. The whole video talks through scare tactics, and make mild references to highs and eventual death.

It's like a lot of PSAs in the late 80's/early 90's. They never right out told you what these drugs did, just tried to scare you to make sure you never did them. Like the "This Is Your Brain on Drugs ad" with the egg. It's memorable, but doesn't answer how they turn your brain into a delicious breakfast treat. And that ad is only barely 15 seconds. And yet this half hour special acts on the same logic, and is just a longer version of "don't do these because Ooga Booga!" And it just doesn't work.

And really, the last people I'd take drug advice from is a "party dude" like Michelangelo, a manic depressive like Daffy, a cat with the munchies, blue creatures that live in mushrooms, an always happy bear, and Alf, who's too cool not to be taking something.