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Conservative Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue!
December 3, 2007 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue was an animated drug prevention television special starring many popular cartoon characters from American Saturday morning television. Airing in 1990 and financed by McDonald's, it was simulcast on all three major American television networks. The VHS home video edition of the special also opened with an introduction from then-President George Bush Snr and Barbara Bush. And thanks to the wonders of the interwebs, you can watch the whole thing here. And you really should. After all, where else are you going to get to hear cartoon characters like Garfield and Winnie the Pooh talking about smoking crack and shooting juice?

If you don't want to (or simply can't bear to) sit through the whole thing, at the very least you should subject yourself to the horrors of what is arguably one of the worst songs in animated TV specials history ever, Wonderful Ways to Say No, where the collected group of characters explain all the ways you can say no to drugs. It' worth it just for the irony of seeing Kermit the Frog telling kids to say no to drugs despite the fact Henson practically conceived the character in a drug fuelled haze (previously).
posted by Effigy2000 (48 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The focus was on hard drugs because McDonalds sales would tank if people stop smoking pot.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I remember the first time Garfield and I got high; holy shit did we eat a lot of lasagna.
posted by quin at 3:20 PM on December 3, 2007 [7 favorites]


Having watched the first five minutes, McDonalds was trying to shoot itself in the foot. Pot is hilariously demonized.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:22 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now I want a cheeseburger. It worked.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:26 PM on December 3, 2007


Holy crap. This is so weird. The girl that I'm dating showed me this just yesterday.

I think the best part is when Michelangelo shows up and says, "You're on drugs?! Your head must be seriously messed up."

This coming from Michelangelo, the most obviously baked cartoon character of the 80s.

I mean, seriously. They needed one ninja turtle for an anti-drug special, and they picked Michelangelo?! Ferfuckssake, they may as well have GI Joe host a special on nonviolent resistance movements.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:26 PM on December 3, 2007 [5 favorites]


Funny to have Alf as an anti drug spokesperson, given the character's connection to Jerry Stahl.
posted by item at 3:37 PM on December 3, 2007


I remember watching this as a kid.
posted by philcliff at 3:39 PM on December 3, 2007


Did you actually watch GI Joe Ab? Fuckers couldn't hit the broad side of a barn at point blank range. They might as well have been nonviolent for how effective they would have been.

But yeah, Micheangelo? That little green dude was waaay baked.
posted by quin at 3:39 PM on December 3, 2007


I can't believe I missed this the first time considering how much junk I used to watch on Saturday mornings.
posted by grouse at 3:41 PM on December 3, 2007


Conservative Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue!

Ah, yes. Because liberals advocate using cartoon characters to get kids to start doing drugs.
posted by dhartung at 3:45 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


"You're on drugs?! Your head must be seriously messed up."

That was only achieved after like 80 takes of "You're... uh... on... huh. Head. Heh. Duuude."
posted by Wolfdog at 3:49 PM on December 3, 2007


He would only be George Bush "Snr" [sic] if he shared the same name with his son, which he doesn't. The dad is George Herbert Walker Bush, the son is George Walker Bush. So the whole junior-senior thing is at best poor usage, at worst just plain wrong.
posted by wfrgms at 3:55 PM on December 3, 2007


When winnie the pooh starts talking to you, YOU are the one on teh drugs man.
posted by nola at 3:56 PM on December 3, 2007


Remember Nancy Reagan on Different Stokes with a powerful Don't do drugs message? Kimberly wasn't in the room at the time.
posted by mattoxic at 3:57 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can't be the only one disappointed by the fact that Simon the Chipmunk and Brainy Smurf didn't make out. Those two bois were obviously meant for each other.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:58 PM on December 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


"I can't believe I missed this the first time considering how much junk I used to watch score on Saturday mornings."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:59 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


My god. A friend sent me this on DVD - she'd scored it on Ebay from one of those people who digitizes out of print stuff - and along with the DVD was a note saying "I've watched this once and never can again."

I watched it once.

I never want to watch it again.

I just can't decide who to give it to inflict it on next.
posted by cmyk at 3:59 PM on December 3, 2007


Bugs must have reformed.

And Garfield really wasn't worth a shit, was he? I think he was the one who took the dad's beer.
posted by inconsequentialist at 4:04 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


"...where else are you going to get to hear cartoon characters like Garfield and Winnie the Pooh talking about smoking crack and shooting juice?"

In my fevered ritalin-induced dreams?

Ah, yes. Because liberals advocate using cartoon characters to get kids to start doing drugs.


We don't but we should. In all seriousness though, there are plenty of pro-drug cartoon characters out there. As others have pointed out, just look at Michaelangelo -- I never "got it" since I was totally square when I was a kid -- but looking back, christ you just know the Turtle Lair or whatever reeks of weed and incense.

Which would have made the Turtles 10,000% cooler to me had I been able to connect the dots.
posted by Avenger at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing this at video stores with a sign that said "Free Rental." I always wanted to get it because, you know, it was free, but my dad always said he didn't want to bring home that propaganda. I wonder if he thought it was a religious thing.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:08 PM on December 3, 2007


YES! I've looked for this for years, after the internet confirmed that I hadn't just invented it in a stoned haze! Thank God for Youtube and lulz!
posted by klangklangston at 4:09 PM on December 3, 2007


You can't really tarnish Garfield, but I would have expected the Tigger and Pooh brand too be much more carefully guarded. Ironically, drugs must have played some part in this production.
posted by itchylick at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2007


The first part where the smurf looks out of the comic book at the piggy bank seems like the kind of thing someone on shrooms would think up.
posted by delmoi at 4:19 PM on December 3, 2007


I vaguely remember seeing this.

The fact that I only have vague memories of it, despite its mindblowing crossovers, indicates that it wasn't nearly as traumatic as that episode of Bravestarr called "The Price," though--if you saw it, you remember which one I'm talking about. There was no warning to the audience--it wasn't advertised as the "anti-drug" episode, but televised just like any other episode, in its regular time slot late Saturday morning--and it didn't pull any punches, either.

The plot concerned a kid who got hooked on some sort of science-fictionish narcotic--at the end of the episode, he died of an overdose. No, he didn't temporarily die and come back to life; no, it wasn't some sort of figurative death. The kid straight-up died, the screen went to black, and viewers were granted no closure.

If you were of the age to watch Bravestarr, then you were used to the conventional story arc of half-hour cartoons, in which potentially world-ending tragedies were reversed right before the closing credits, and not even one-off characters died permanent deaths. (Not even the legendary Gnap episode of The Smurfs dared to go that far.) And when watching Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, the pre-adolescent version of yourself would be certain that that many awesome characters working together could easily avert even the most unimaginably horrific evils, and so there's never any real suspense. But that Bravestarr episode is the only time I can remember that comforting cartoon storyline being subverted, and it was absolutely terrifying.
posted by Prospero at 4:19 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm listening this without watching, and, given that Slimer's involved, I tend to hear Lorezo Music as Peter Venkman, not Garfield. But then why the hell he's obsessed with lasagne is far from clear.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:27 PM on December 3, 2007


WOW.

Wow. I almost remember this. I feel like I must have seen it once and never thought of it again, because while I spent the first few minutes like "Alf too???" and "that green Ecto Cooler thing from Ghostbusters???" and "AND THE CHIPMUNKS OMG!!!" I do for some reason remember the character Smoke, but he doesn't seem to be from anything other than this. The Wiki page doesn't say, but I wonder if they had McDonald's toys of this? Because that would have helped solidify this in my subconscious. I was all about McDonald's toys at this time. It's just amazing, because this happened so at the very epitome of my cartoon-watching days that every single one of these characters means something to me.

Two other things:
1. Smoke reminds me a bit of Hades from Disney's animated version of Hercules.
2. Theodore didn't recognize what drug paraphernalia was, but Alvin knew it on sight, and Simon knew it on scent. Interesting.
posted by lampoil at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I remember when they herded us into the cafegymatorium back in elementary school to make us watch this special on VHS. The school had just bought a "big screen TV" (circa 1989) and they wheeled it up onto the stage, turned it on, and then realized that 100+ second graders sitting way the hell away from the stage would not be able to see or hear the show. We had to stay anyways so they could tell the district that they had run the tape for us. Apparently, absorbing the message was optional.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:08 PM on December 3, 2007


I hate to break it to you, Simon, but there ain't nothin artificial about that "high."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:11 PM on December 3, 2007


Ronald and Nancy Reagan on Drugs.
posted by Sailormom at 6:17 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, this is pretty sweet. Every time a new character shows up, it's like a rad dissociative. I don't know how I ever managed to pull off Dare Student Of The Year without this endearing yet persuasive animated adventure.

Smoke reminds me a bit of Hades from Disney's animated version of Hercules.

That's interesting, because I immediately thought of the evil conscience in Donald's Crime, the cartoon where Donald steals the piggy bank contents of Huey, Dewey and Louie to go party.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:26 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: We're together for life, whether you like it or not!

or:

Metafilter: There's nothing cool about a fool on drugs!
posted by InnocentBystander at 6:30 PM on December 3, 2007


If I remember anything from being 4 or so, it's that there was a time I would watch this over and over. Not so much for the fact I was into drugs, but more that it was all my favorite cartoons (especially the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) in one film.

I vaguely remember my mom being slightly disturbed by the fact I would want to watch it again and again.
posted by champthom at 6:35 PM on December 3, 2007


This would have been equally as effective if they had done a "Where Are They Now" overview of the previous generation of Saturday morning kids programming. Yogi and Boo Boo. Shaggy and Scooby. Shazam and Isis. HR Pufnstuf. The Banana Splits. That is a rich tapestry of burnouts.
posted by effwerd at 7:40 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Forget crack; the entire thing watches like a dissociative hallucinogen overdose. Never take unmeasured hits of 5-meo-DMT while watching saturday cartoons in the 80s.
posted by tehloki at 9:08 PM on December 3, 2007


thank you
posted by k8t at 9:48 PM on December 3, 2007


Duck Tail woo ooh.
posted by k8t at 10:00 PM on December 3, 2007


Why was Miss Piggy such a bitch about going into Michael's brain? Kermie was so brave.
posted by k8t at 10:03 PM on December 3, 2007


...then-President George Bush Snr and Barbara Bush.

That would be George HRH Bush, and Barbara LTEC* Bush, of course.







*Let Them Eat Cake
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:01 AM on December 4, 2007


While we're at it, let's throw in the "special miniseries" where GI Joe and COBRA team up against drug abuse.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:47 AM on December 4, 2007


Wow do I remember this. I always loved crossovers, and this was the grandest one of all, even with the "Drugs as Apple in the Garden of Eden" biblical threat that the 80's was so fond of.

I haven't watched Saturday morning cartoons since early college, but even then I was hard pressed to remember; were 80/early 90's cartoons way preachier than they are today, or is it just confirmation bias?

on preview: Holy shit I remember Bravestarr.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:37 AM on December 4, 2007


I vaguely remember this. Thankgod for Nickelodeon. Shows like Ren and Stimpy and Rocko's Modern Life were subversive and oft-times downright nihilistic, and a plethora of trippy animated shorts acted as bumpers throughout.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:48 AM on December 4, 2007


excellent find.

I hadn't heard about this. I'd thought major-studio cartoon crossovers had begun and ended with Roger Rabbit. Does anyone know of any other examples out there?
posted by the sobsister at 6:51 AM on December 4, 2007


Michelangelo's on steroids, that orange hypocrite.

the entire thing watches like a dissociative hallucinogen overdose.

Makes you wonder what the pro-drugs spots would look like.
posted by ersatz at 6:52 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Makes you wonder what the pro-drugs spots would look like.

'The Simpsons' has that covered. How many trips have Bart and Lisa been on? Not to mention the famed 'space coyote' Homer tripout. It's gotta be hallucinogenics!
posted by h00py at 7:36 AM on December 4, 2007


Anyone remember the GI Joe anti-drug episode were cobra and GI joe teamed up to wipe out NY City drugs? Cobra Commander was like, we want to rule the world but we don't use drugs! Then they started attacking urban ghettos with laser rifles and tanks.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


One more thing--when watching bits and pieces of that special I thought, "Who's voicing Smoke, and why does he seem to be method acting? He's not phoning this in like everyone else." According to the Wikipedia entry on this, Smoke was voiced by George C. Scott.
posted by Prospero at 10:31 AM on December 4, 2007


When I watched this as a kid who was into comics, I considered this Saturday morning's greatest freaking crossover ever. Suck it, Yugi-Oh.
posted by owillis at 4:36 PM on December 4, 2007


Oh man... I missed this post before. I just happened upon this Cartoon All Stars thing when I was looking for Christmas specials, so I did a search to see if it had been posted already. And Lordy, if you hadn't posted it, it was going to HAVE to be my next fpp.. because OH. MY. GOD.

This thing is enough to make me want to DO drugs.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:24 PM on December 24, 2007


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