Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue
|Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue|
|Genre||Social guidance film
Ronald McDonald Children's Charities
Buena Vista Home Video
|Directed by||Milton Gray
Karen Peterson (supervising)
|Produced by||Buzz Potamkin
Roy Allen Smith
Andy Luckey (uncredited)
|Written by||Duane Poole
|Music by||Richard Kosinski
|Editing by||Jay Bixsen|
|Production company||Southern Star Productions
Wang Film Productions (animation)
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
|Release date||April 21, 1990|
|Running time||27 min.|
Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue is an American animated drug prevention television special starring many of the popular cartoon characters from American weekday, Sunday morning and Saturday morning television at the time of this film's release. Financed by McDonald's and Ronald McDonald Children's Charities, the special was originally simulcast on April 21, 1990 on all four major American television networks (by supporting their Saturday morning characters): ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS, and most independent stations, as well as various cable networks. McDonald's also distributed a VHS home video edition of the special, produced by Buena Vista Home Video, which opened with an introduction from President George H. W. Bush, and First Lady Barbara Bush. The show was produced by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation and Southern Star Productions, and was animated overseas by Wang Film Productions Co., Ltd.. The musical number "Wonderful Ways to Say No" was written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who also wrote the songs for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
The plot chronicles the exploits of Michael, a teenager who is using marijuana and stealing his father's beer. His younger sister, Corey, is worried about him because he started acting differently. When her piggy bank goes missing, her cartoon tie-in toys come to life to help her find it. After discovering it in Michael's room along with his stash of drugs, the various cartoon characters proceed to work together and take him on a fantasy journey to teach him the risks and consequences a life of drug-use can bring and save the world.
In Corey's bedroom, an unseen person steals her piggy bank from her dresser. The theft is witnessed by Papa Smurf, who emerges from a Smurfs comic book with the other Smurfs and alerts the other cartoon characters in the room (Garfield as a lamp, Alf from a framed picture, Baby Kermit as an alarm clock, Winnie the Pooh as a doll, Alvin and the Chipmunks from a record sleeve, and Slimer who passes through a wall).
The cartoon characters track down the thief and discover that it is Corey's big brother, Michael. Simon opens a box under Michael's bed and identifies its contents as marijuana. Meanwhile, Corey expresses her concerns about Michael's change in behavior. He storms out of the house. The cartoon characters quickly realize that something must be done about his addiction and they set off, leaving Pooh behind to look after Corey.
At the arcade, Michael smokes pot with his old "friends" and "Smoke", an anthropomorphic cloud of smoke. They run out and are chased into an alleyway by a policeman. The "policeman" is then revealed to be Bugs Bunny wearing a policeman's hat. Bugs traps Smoke in a garbage can and uses a time machine to see when and how Michael's addiction was started.
Inside a Hall of Mirrors, Alf shows Michael his reflection of how he is today, then his reflection if he doesn't stop taking drugs: an aged, corpse-like version of himself. When Michael insists that he could quit if he wants to and that he is in charge of his own life, Alf takes him to see the "man in charge" — Smoke.
Corey and Pooh re-enter Michael's room and find his marijuana box. Smoke appears and tempts her to try the drug. Corey reasons that if she does what Michael does, then maybe they could have fun together, like they used to before he started doing drugs.
Michael comes back into his bedroom, just in time to stop Corey from using the drugs herself. He tells her that he never wants to see her end up like him, and admits he was wrong, though he is unsure if he can change. She advises him to talk about his problems to their parents and to her. Smoke tries to persuade him otherwise, but Michael throws him out of the window, as he feels that he "listened to him long enough". The special ends with Michael and Corey going to tell their parents about his drug problem, while Pooh jumps into a poster on the wall with the other cartoon characters.
Cartoon All-Stars 
The various characters' owners allowed the use of the characters for free because of the public service aspect of the special. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy were marked to make an appearance, but were replaced with Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
This cartoon marked the first time Warner Bros. cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were voiced by someone other than legendary voice artist Mel Blanc. Blanc had died shortly before the production, and Jeff Bergman was called upon to recreate the voices.
The characters, from 10 different franchises, are:
- ALF: The Animated Series: ALF
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin, Simon, Theodore
- DuckTales: Huey, Dewey, and Louie
- Garfield and Friends: Garfield (This character was incorporated into this special without the creator's consent.)
- Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck (Wile E. Coyote is mentioned but not seen, but his time machine was used by Bugs.)
- Jim Henson's Muppet Babies: Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, Baby Gonzo
- The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger
- The Real Ghostbusters: Slimer
- The Smurfs: Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf (Though Smurfette is seen on the poster and the cover of the VHS, she actually does not appear in the special. Baby Smurf and Harmony Smurf make brief cameos in one of the comic books in Michael's room.)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo (Although he appears in the special, he is not shown on the poster or VHS cover.)
Voice cast 
- Jason Marsden - Michael
- Lindsay Parker - Corey
- Townsend Coleman - Dad, Michaelangelo
- Laurie O'Brien - Mom, Baby Piggy
- Joey Dedio - The Dealer
- George C. Scott - Smoke
- Jeff Bergman - Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck
- Don Messick - Papa Smurf
- Frank Welker - Slimer, Hefty Smurf, Baby Kermit
- Lorenzo Music - Garfield
- Danny Goldman - Brainy Smurf
- Russi Taylor - Baby Gonzo, Huey, Dewey, and Louie
- Jim Cummings - Winnie the Pooh, Tigger
- Ross Bagdasarian - Alvin, Simon
- Janice Karman - Theodore
- Paul Fusco - ALF (uncredited)
Similarities to other works 
The story is similar to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, with the cartoon characters showing Michael the drugs in his past, present and future life, and showing what they have done and what they will do unless he stops taking them. In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge was shown the past, present and future, through the spirits of Christmas. Coincidentally, George C. Scott, who voiced Smoke in this special, played Scrooge in the 1984 film adaptation of the novel.
International screenings 
- The show was screened in Australia in November 1990 simultaneously on the Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten networks. Prime Minister Bob Hawke introduced the Australian screening.
- The show was screened in New Zealand in October 1991 on both TV2 and TV3 simultaneously. Prime Minister Jim Bolger introduced the program instead of the U.S. President.
- The show was screened in Germany on all major TV broadcasters in the late 1990s. Reruns were shown through 1992. A VHS tape was available for sale and rent through 1996. The German version featured most of the original German voice actors of the different characters; however, the President Bush intro was omitted with Annemarie Renger, the former German President of the Bundestag, in his place.
- The show was screened in Brazil in 1994 on now-defunct Rede Manchete, even though none of the characters had their respective shows aired by this network. At the time, Ducktales, Winnie the Pooh, Looney Tunes and Muppet Babies were broadcast by SBT, while The Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters, Garfield and Friends, ALF: The Animated Series, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were aired on Rede Globo. The Brazilian version featured most of the original Brazilian voice actors of the different characters (Angélica voiced Corey, Michael's younger sister). All the actors worked for the show on a volunteer basis.
- The show was screened in Mexico on Televisa and all independent stations in the fall of 1990. As Mexico had only one commercial television network at the time, the special was broadcast through the network's Canal de las Estrellas and Canal 5 sub-networks as well as many independent stations, including those owned by Televisa. The Mexican version featured most of the original Spanish-language voice actors of the different characters; Televisa reminded them that the special counted as part of their community service. Carlos Salinas de Gortari, then the President of Mexico, introduced the special, replacing President Bush's introduction.
- The show was screened in Canada on the CBC, CTV, and Global Television Networks and most independent stations shortly after its initial U.S. broadcast, although all of the characters had their respective shows aired on either CTV or Global but not CBC. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney introduced the special. A French-language version of the special aired later in the year on SRC as well as on TVA and TQS and featured the original French-language voice actors of the different characters.
- The show was screened in Poland in 14 June 1998 at 16.30 on every polish-language station in this country at the time with exception of sports and music channels (the most notable channels that aired this show were TVP1, TVP2, TVP Regionalna, TV Polonia, TVN, HBO, Canal+, RTL7, Nasza TV, Polsat (which unlike other channels it showed that at a quarter later), Polsat 2, Polonia 1, TV Niepokalanów, TMT and more).
- The show was screened in Italy on Italia 1 and a VHS tape was available to rent. This version featured most of the original Italian voice actors for the different characters.
International television 
United States 
- USA Network
- Black Entertainment Television
- Disney Channel
- "Cartoon special: Congressmen treated to preview of program to air on network, independent and cable outlets.". The Los Angeles Times. 1990-04-19. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- Bernstein, Sharon (1990-04-20). "Children's TV: On Saturday, networks will simulcast 'Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue,' an animated feature on drug abuse.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "Hollywood and Networks Fight Drugs With Cartoon". New York Times. 1990-04-21. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Bernstein, Sharon (1990-04-20). "That's Not All, Folks—Cartoons Join Drug War: Children's TV: On Saturday, networks will simulcast 'Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue,' an animated feature on drug abuse.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
- Gerstenzang, James; Decker, Cathleen (1990-03-03). "Bush Praises TV for Enlisting Cartoon Heroes in War on Drugs President's visit: He brings his anti-drug message to Southland entertainment executives and schoolchildren.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
- Toons join the drug war! TV Week, 3 November 1990
- Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue at the Internet Movie Database
- Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue at AllRovi