Twenty years ago today, on April 21, 1990, cartoon characters ignored their network loyalties for a day, in a coordinated effort to keep kids off drugs. Called Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, the half-hour public service presentation featured many of the favorite characters from Saturday morning television, and was simulcast on all three major networks, as well as USA and Nickelodeon.
Funded by McDonald’s, the story revolved around a boy named Michael (played by child voice-actor, Jason Marsden) who was going down a dark path of drug and alcohol abuse. When his sister, Corey, has her piggy bank stolen, the various images of Saturday morning cartoon characters in her bedroom witness the theft. They all come to life, and venture out to help retrieve her money and save Michael, who stole the bank, from the dangers of drugs.
The cartoon rescuers included Alf, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Huey, Dewey and Louie from Duck Tales, Winnie-the-Pooh, the Muppet Babies, The Smurfs, Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Garfield, Slimer from The Real Ghostbusters, and Bugs and Daffy from Looney Tunes. Voice actors included such cartoon dignitaries as Frank Welker, Don Messick, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., Danny Goldman, and Jeff Bergman (replacing Mel Blanc, who had recently passed away). George C. Scott even got in on the action, voicing the sinister character, “Smoke.”
Here is what young viewers witnessed, twenty years ago today:
Did you tune in to watch this special when it originally aired? Did it save you or someone you knew from the perils of drug abuse? Did it have absolutely no effect whatsoever, but was still entertaining? Please share your memories and help us to remember Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue, here at Retroland, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this special day – when all the cartoon critters got together for a noble cause.