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“Totally Tooned In”

Here’s some news I’ve literally waited ten years to report. Sony’s syndicated classic-cartoon show Totally Tooned In is now being shown on U.S. television. It’s airing on Antenna TV, a new channel that broadcasts free via over-the-air digital transmission – which means, if you are like me and pay for Dish TV, Direct TV, Comcast, Time-Warner or any cable or satellite service, you can’t see it.

If you can receive the channel (in LA it’s telecast on the KTLA digital channel 5.2; in NY its broadcast on WPIX-TV’s digital channel 11.3), Totally Tooned In runs on Saturday morning for three hours (six formatted half-hour episodes back-to-back) starting at 4am Pacific/7am Eastern. Each episode contains three Columbia cartoons from 1934-1959 – this includes many UPA cartoons, Charles Mintz Color Rhapsodies, Li’l Abner, Fox and Crow and even a few Scrappy cartoons.

I was a producer on this series and helped compile each half hour – that was back around the years 1999-2000. Columbia restored its cartoon library for this show, which was immediately sold overseas and to South America (in some countries it aired on either Cartoon Network or Fox Kids). Until now it was impossible to view it in the States.

The Columbia cartoons were, for decades, the hardest cartoons to see as they have been off screens (movie or TV) for almost 50 years. There are good ones, bad ones – and many absolutely strange ones (Professor Small and Mr. Tall, Mother Hubba-Hubba Hubbard, Lo The Poor Buffal – to name but a few) – but all are worth a look. Frank Tashlin, Dave Fleischer, John Hubley, Art Davis, Mel Blanc, even Bob Clampett contributed to these films. I highly recommend you watch (and record) this show while you can.

For more information about the show and what cartoons are included in each episode, check my Totally Tooned In Episode Guide.

  • Judging by this: it looks like the channel may be available through some cable providers.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It usually depends on whom in your market may carry the channel and whether or not arrangements were made with the local cable providers to carry the station concurrently through that station. I still don’t get this or a few other new digital networks devoted to classic TV/movies in my turf besides RTV. I’m sure it probably cost a lot of dough and bandwidth to make it happen. I’d be lucky if I had applied for an FCC license to operate a low-power station just to cram in a lot of these sub-channels into one place as it has happened in a few places so far…

    • David Breneman

      It’s available here in the Tacoma area on Comcast.

    • Fran

      Just checked and Time Warner Cable in NYC is airing the channel on Channel 166.

  • Charlie

    Are there plans to get it in other cities?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It really is depended on whether or not a local station in your area wants to affiliate with them. Much like the way we beg our cable operators to add in a channel for the past 20-30 years, now is the time to pester your ABC affiliate to do the same!

  • M.P.

    It’s interesting that this show was first broadcast in Croatia back in 2005. Thank you for the help on this show, Jerry!

  • Weren’t some of the soundtracks re-recorded for ‘Totally Tooned In’? Can’t recall at the moment. A DVD set (or volumes) of Columbia cartoons would be amazing.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      They were. Often it was a legal reason for it to be done. Some cartoons also saw the scissors like “The Little Match Girl” (as I know some people were rather upset over that one).

  • uncle wayne

    We get it here in N.O., but i never knew of this tv show. I have just “stumbled” across it a few days ago, in fact! The network is wonnnnnnnnnderful, tho. Imagine, showing things like “Hazel,” “Patty Duke,” “Bat Masterson,” and now THIS! I can’t wait!!!
    Fox & Crow ALONE I can’t wait for!!

  • mat

    Shame they won’t air this on a channel everyone gets.

    Can’t watch it here.

  • Antenna TV is great. It’s given me hope for television. Thanks for the good news, Jerry.

  • This is great news! I hope it expands to other markets and maybe Google TV!

  • Tribune owns Antenna TV, thus we’ve got the flagship here in Chicago. It’s patterned off the successful run of MeTV/MeToo, two over-the-air vintage stations run by independent station WCIU (Weigel Broadcasting) locally. Weigel just took MeTV national as well with the help of MGM, who they previously partnered with on This TV (an all movie over-the-air channel)

    • Chris Sobieniak

      With so many of these channels available to us, you would be having to sit down, write or e-mail all the local commercial stations in your hometown, requesting them to pick up Antenna TV, MeTV or This TV, and see what kind of responses you may get over it. This isn’t the same as an increase on your cable bill since these channels are broadcast over the airwaves anyway, but certainly someone at the station has to pay the bills.

  • Just visited your website to see the list of cartoons included. The people who made these cartoons are like a “Who’s Who” of the history of animation. Awesome group. And a must-see batch of cartoons.

  • This is great news, however, I live in Canada. I’m hoping that we can get it up here sometime in the future!

    Is anyone recording this? Can I get a copy?

  • DB

    Good grief – of COURSE you can watch over-the-air TV – those cable/satellite cables are not WELDED to your television set.

    Believe it or not, if you have a newer digital TV those broadcast signals will magically appear on your TV if you unhook your set from the cable box – if you have an older TV you will need to hook it up to a digital converter box (unfortunately I don’t think the govt. program to contribute 40 dollars towards one of these is in effect any longer).

    In any case as long as you keep paying them your cable/satellite provider will not cut you off if you occasionally unhook their equipment and watch broadcast TV.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It really goes back to the days of the rabbit ears or outdoor towers that fed our grandparents their first electron-scanned images on their idiot boxes. Of course this has always been there, unless in some future time they’ll take that away from us like it was nothing.

      This is also the reason why I didn’t favor local stations on satellite packages since I saw no need for that anyway if you already live well enough in the city limits to get ’em anyway.

  • Christopher Cook

    Just our luck. We have RTN which runs old Filmation stuff Saturday mornings.


    zomg I can’t believe I pay so much for cable and yet I can’t get this channel >.<

  • Joe Horne

    Radio Shack…digital rabbit ears….connect to any tv..
    4 am west coast….upa..magooo…sleep later…it’s saturday…overandout.

  • Brad

    Loving it on my OTA antenna thanks to KDAF. Trying to record all the episodes each week but I missed some of the first ones, so will catch them next time around. Antenna TV shows 3 hours, or 6 episodes, every Saturday morning, so they go through the entire series in just under 3 months. The Mr. Magoo cartoons alone are a lot of fun and make the show worth catching every weekend.

  • Cyber Fox

    No Antenna TV affiliate in SC = FAIL
    Why Sony would give a classic toon package for a channel that people will hardly have or not get is beyond me

  • I discovered this cartoon treasure trove last Saturday on WPIX’s 11-4.

  • Steve Menke

    Congratulations, Jerry. Been interested in this series a long time. Affiliates listed here:

    Looking at their schedule, it appears Sony’s the source for most of the programming.

    Tonight: Three hours of The Three Stooges, followed by three hours of Benny Hill! (This could be hazardous.)

    • They’re drawing from the Sony and D.L. Taffner libraries, which is how they also ended up with three hours of Benny Hill on Fridays and Saturdays. If Totally Tooned In starting at 4am PT doesn’t make a case for a separate Pacific zone feed, Benny Hill at 5pm PT on Saturdays definitely does.

  • top cat james

    YES! I have it and didn’t know it!
    Thanks, Jerry!
    Hey, they’re showing “Head” later tonight!

    • Between THE MONKEES, THE THREE STOOGES and the Columbia Screen Gems/UPA cartoons – not to mention CIRCUS BOY and showing HEAD tonight – this is the TV channel I always wanted to see. If they start showing Sam Katzman serials I’ll be in heaven!

      • David Breneman

        Just because of this conversation, I watched an episode of the Partridge Family today, something I almost never did as a kid. It did reenforce one feeling I had at the time: I’d still do Shirley Jones, dude; oh yeah… Oh yeah. Teach me, Madame Librarian. :-)

  • Stuart Cook

    Jerry, this channel is available on numerous cable systems. While it is a secondary digital broadcast channel, my local cable system here in Connecticut does carry ANTENNA TV as well as THIS TV, both of which can also be received over-the-air. It will take time, but it appears that more systems throughout the U.S. are negotiating to carry the channel.

  • I’m excited to see Saturday Morning Cartoons for the first time since the last season of Super Friends!

    My eight year old son is excited to see Gerald McBoing Boing and we are BOTH looking forward to some Fox and Crows!!!

    The TiVO is set and the Captain Crunch is at the ready…

  • Justin

    Let me make a list about this big exciting news:
    1. We don’t know if this stuff will be releasesd on DVD soon so fans, have your VHS and DVD recorders ready
    2. Unfortinantlly, many people will not be able to get this channel (namly me). I get RTV and they play Magoo shorts, but these were the made for television shorts
    3. If this station gets more affiliates and more public viewing; there’s an excelent chance that people and kids will know who the Fox and Crow are.
    Now to digress about a DVD release of these cartoons We don’t want them this way. They probably will be just as good as the Three Stooges releases so long as people like Jerry Beck athorizes the series. If it is completly done by the family divison, God knows what will happen. Those Berensatin Bear 80s cartoons were released by Sony a year or so ago, and it was completly controlled by the family division. They would sometimes release the episodes with the Random House Home Video logo or they may use original versions. In relation to those Screen Gem/UPA cartoons, they may release them as they were originally released, as they were on Totally Tuned In, or both.
    Pray that these televison airings will help us get somewhere with DVD releases.

  • uncle wayne

    and….just like a 5-year old in 1959….i’ll be up at SEVEN to watch the “3-Hour Block!” I can’t WAIT!!!

  • The Scarlet Pumpernickel

    Somewhere in 2004-2005, the package was broadcast on the french channel Canal +. Memories of “Fox and the Grapes”, “Woodman Spare That Tree” and “Toll Bridge Troubles” being shown on the screen are still vivid as of now.


    WPIX’s ran The Outer Limits and the Secret of NIMH instead!

    Did my TiVO screw up? Did anyone lese see it?

    • top cat james

      Just finished watching my recording, so it aired here in Houston.

      Don’t know if it’s the same lineup in all markets, but today’s programming was episodes 13-18.

      Never thought I’d live to see 40’s Columbia cartoons on TV, or anywhere else, for that matter. Thank you, Rob Word and Jerry. I’m glad your project came to fruition.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Could be the channel itself. I see both This TV and Antenna TV are carried by WPIX on subchannels 11.3 and 11.4 respectively. It could always be a local thing or you had it on “This TV” instead, which does show “The Outer Limits” and films from MGM themselves.

    • Pat, WPIX 11.3 is the THIS channel, 11.4 is Antenna TV

  • Rob Word

    Wow!! That’s great news about “Totally Tooned In,” Jerry. I’ve been holding my breath for 10 years!! Thanks!!

    • Thank YOU, Rob! We all thank you.

      I should mention that Rob Word was the Excecutive Producer of TOTALLY TOONED IN and the man who made it happen.

  • Someone “in the loop” should have Antenna TV correct their website—missing the pun, they spell the show’s name “Totally Tuned In.”

  • Bart

    I luv ANTENNA TV! Here in the Chicago area, it is carried on COMCAST ch. 353. About time the US finally gets to see TOTALLY TOONED IN and I DVR it every Saturday morning!

  • Joseph Nebus

    Oooh! Very exciting. I discovered this show about a decade ago when I was living in Singapore and it made me rush home early from work to catch it.

  • I’m really glad to finally see Totally Tooned In on American air! The Antenna TV fans on Facebook seem really enthusiastic about the show, too. I linked them to your guide the week before the debut, but the silly thing kept sliding off the page…

    Just to underline one point: the cable TV “must carry” rules for broadcast stations ONLY apply to the primary feeds (x.1), so they can pick and choose from the digital subchannels (or not). If you’ve got an Antenna TV affiliate in your area and it looks like something you’d like your provider to send out, you might want to make a few calls. The satellite providers might be a bit trickier, but the network itself is aware of the situation.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Definitely something to take into account. Wonder if it’s also possible for cable providers to also offer the channel if there isn’t a local affiliate for them as well? Only thought about that as I noticed my cable operator bothered carrying the Ion channels despite Toledo having been spared of that channel on the UHF dial!

  • Mark McDermott

    Crikey! This has been on WGN 9.2 since New Year’s and I haven’t noticed?!

  • Colin

    Stumbled upon this last week while on va-cay in N’awlins! Didn’t realize it was a new show. Really hate that wacky ‘toon’ imaging, but was pleased by the content. Finally saw ‘Punchy De Leon’, which I remembered reading about in Amid’s ‘Cartoon Modern’ book!

  • Eric Graf

    If you’re in a market where this is carried and you use a cable box, odds are it’s not using the television’s ‘antenna in’ jack. You wouldn’t have to unhook anything – just plug an antenna into the jack and switch the TV to the tuner.

    And there’s a side benefit: Usually the HD OTA signals look better than those from cable or satellite due to less digital compression.

    Those wanting DVDs of this stuff should look into tuner cards or USB sticks for their computers. For not-that-much-money they turn your PC into a DVR, and the results – if they’re standard def – can be transferred onto standard DVDs with no quality loss.

    I know that’s what I’m about to start doing. Thanks for the heads-up, Jerry!

  • I have the channel here and can get it via my over the air antenna, as it isn’t on Uverse. It’s channel 39.2 – but it is less than vhs quality, insanely blurry. And 6am Saturday morning is just cruel. Children don’t even rise that early. This thing is on at 4am in California? What a cruel schedule.

  • Cyber Fox

    There are 2 problems with this
    1. Antenna TV is an OVER THE AIR digital channel, Over the air antenna is hardly used by consumers since Cable and Sattelite (e.g. Time Warner Cable, Dish Network, DirecTV) get most of the ratings/revenue… Logically, This qualifies as a FAIL for the channel

    2. Tribune (parent co. of Antenna TV) is a dick: Why? Let me explain

    first off read the first problem of which is the part of the explaining here, the 2nd is a biggest dick move that Tribune pulled.. last year Tribune pulled the plug on WGN America’s simulcast on the Yule Log and decided to make it air exculsively on Antenna TV

    • Chris Sobieniak

      1. More or less, America FAILS for not knowing.
      2. I knew Tribune was a dick the moment they stopped making WGN the “Superstation” it used to be.

  • Keith McCaffety

    When I was a child, we had a silent B&W super-8 film of Lucky Pigs. I’ve been waiting my ENTIRE LIFE to see the original cartoon. Looks like I still have to wait…

  • Kip W

    Shucks, it’s not in this area yet. Something to dream about.

    “Lo, the Poor Buffal” is a funny title that reminds me of the ‘backwards’ limericks James Thurber used to write when he couldn’t sleep:

    “A dehoy who was terribly hobble
    Threw only stones that were cobble
    And brack that was brick-a
    At dees that were chicka,
    But never hit links that were bobble.”

  • MarkMcD

    Okay, now having seen “Skeleton Frolics” on TTI, I gotta ask: Wha’ hoppen to the soundtrack on that short? Even in the end credits of that TTA episode, it gives voice credits to Mel Blanc and the Sportsmen, but it’s clear the original soundtrack has been replaced by an instrumental that only barely syncs to the cartoon action. Was there a music rights problem? Considering the high quality of the color films, I can’t imagine the soundtrack couldn’t be in similar shape.

    And I will say, after watching the awful Kids CW shows before convincing my boy to flip from 9.1 to 9.2, it was a pleasure to see Mr. Magoo’s chin move when he talked, and even to see him TURN HIS HEAD, this even in UPA’s limited animation. What a break after seeing the “Clutch Cargo” effect on “Sonic X,” where an animated mouth flaps up and down over a still shot of a badly-designed character’s face.