For my generation, this is easily the great-grandparent of all insane crossover fiction.
“Cartoon All-Stars” was planned to be a life-altering event and was heavily hyped as such. I’m not sure if we really learned anything from this special. Honestly, it’s nothing more or less than any other disturbing anti-drug PSA. But aside from the usual shoving of “Just Say NO” down our throats, this special offered up something absolutely irresistible:
The most random collection of popular (at the time) cartoon characters ever assembled were all going to be in this special. And, furthermore, they would all be interacting with each other. Trust me, this was a huge deal back then.
Of course, it also helped that every network -even some cable stations- were airing this special in an unprecedented simulcast. Even if you didn’t care if Daffy Duck was hanging out with Winnie the Pooh, you really had no choice but to watch.
So ask a twenty-something about this special and I can almost guarantee that they saw it. Nowadays, it’s basically seen as a more modern, even more surreal equivalent to “Reefer Madness”. I have to admit, it’s still amusing to see Alvin and the Chipmunks hanging around with the Smurfs.
The Best Parts:
10 seconds in – Must… not… say… anything… about… their… son…
1 minutes in – OK, so at least we now know that Smurfs have a concept of babies.
2 minutes in – You know, of all the ways they could have made all these disparate characters exist in the same “world”, this is easily the most contrived.
Also, Alf is a cartoon all-star?
7 minutes in – All the other characters can go home. The genuine all-star has arrived.
13 minutes in – Shouldn’t Michelangelo help him get his wallet? Also, I’m pretty sure sitting crotch-deep in sewer water is going to do a lot more damage than a few puffs of weed.
14 minutes in – “There’s no earthly way of knowing / what direction we are going…”
16 minutes in – If you cry out for help, and this is the crowd who responds, damn dude.
18 minutes in – NOBODY SILENCES THE BUNNY!!! Least of all some goofy puppet.
20 minutes in – Pooh cruelty!!!
22 minutes in – It’s like “Trainspotting” with Muppets!
24 minutes in – Every character gets to say a line!
25 minutes in – Yay sequel setup! (I actually kind of wish they’d do a sequel.)
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“Just cause I got long ears doesn’t mean there’s nothin’ in-between ’em.” – Bugs Bunny
“You know, for ten dollars, I could score us some crack!” – Random druggie teenager
“Those drugs are so boring!” – Random Smurf (Wait, what?)
“You’ll even outgrow us someday / forget that you know us, you may!” – the All-Stars (F*** that! I still love cartoons… though I have outgrown “Garfield”… and “Muppet Babies”… oops.)
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – The voices of the Muppet Babies are REALLY annoying. I already knew this but it’s worth pointing out.
* – Twenty dollars in loose change can take you from marijuana to cocaine.
* – The past is in black and white.
* – Hexus doesn’t care about your lungs or your brain cells. :(
* – Don’t ever smoke pot. If you do, you will have horrifying nightmares about Huey, Dewey, and Louie in an evil carnival..
* – Crossovers are okay. INSANE crossovers are fun!
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Cartoon All-Stars!!!
Good Soundtrack? No.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? M’eh.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? It’s kind of odd how they had to combine so many different styles.
Drinking Game Potential? and/or Head Movie Potential? Only if irony is made of strawberry/banana yogurt, cause you’ll be drinking a lot of delicious smoothies.
I’ll try to disassociate this special from it’s cultural impact. I give it a Jordan. Once again, insane crossovers are fun!
Produced by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1990.
Everybody and their mom worked on this special. Seriously. You and I worked on it too, we just didn’t realize it at the time.
Related Links (It’s weird that there’s so little information on the Internet about a special we all remember.)
TV Tropes page
Nostalgia Critic review