Cartoon Network presentation reel (1991)

I was a consultant to the Cartoon Network shortly after it launched in 1992. Somehow back then I acquired a copy of this 1991 presentation video, which Ted Turner used to pitch the idea to cable operators and potential advertisers. It’s interesting to revisit this piece today — the channel’s current agenda is a far cry from its original stated goals. Also note, this was before CN created their checkerboard logo.

Cartoon Network held great potential — and still does. Perhaps posting this video will give someone the idea to revive it.

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  • http://cartooncafeteria.blogspot.com/ Patsy

    An All Cartoon Network! That sounds like a genius idea! I can’t wait…when will it start? lol

  • Kyle Maloney

    Man is it depressing watching this.

  • http://hedgehog-rover.deviantart.com Martin Juneau

    A great idea at the beginning, putting on the best cartoons from the library. But today, like Teletoon, CN is unwatchable thanks to executives who know nothing about animation.

  • uncle wayne

    That is a SUPER find!! Ahhhh—Nostalgia!! I am happy to declare that Boomerang (still) airs alllllllllll these films (except for the WBs!) And HOW many WB films are there!? 900+?

    Downrite shameful!! But thank u 4 the share!!

  • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com DarylT

    Those were the good days. Thanks so much for finding this. I hope it does give someone an idea.

  • http://venadoinstantaneo.blogspot.com diego c

    what a great pitch!
    I want that channel again on my television,
    now!

  • http://www.cartoonsteve.com Steve

    Nice nostalgia. If only they’d pay attention. “We never have to worry about scrounging for shows or bidding against the competition.” HA

    I wonder if Ted (or Jane) insisted on including the part where Yosemite blasts Reagan. (two years after he left office).

  • David

    Before Turner bought H-B in late 1991, Disney considered buying it. They opted out because they thought the price perhaps too high.

  • Greg Chenoweth

    This was a good promotional reel and it is amazing that Turner could sell the network without shoving Scooby-Doo down people’s throats. There is no mention of him anywhere in the lineup at all.

  • mac

    Is that Ronald Reagan in that live clip bookending the presentation? If so,is Yosemite Sam threating(and then delivering) to do harm to a past president? Don’t let”Lonesome Rhodes” Glenn Beck see this; he’ll do a two hour special on his blackboard on the subversive nature of Looney Tunes.

  • Ryan

    Wow, really makes you miss the classic CN. It’s really sad!

  • Iritscen

    Thanks for posting, this was probably the most entertaining presentation reel for a new network that will ever be made. I like how the presentation basically just says, “Come on, people love cartoons, this is a no-brainer.” Statistics like the one where about as many adults as kids are watching cartoons are a nice factoid, but when you get down to it, anyone with a soul can’t deny the appeal of cartoons when watching this reel. A shame the industry isn’t run by more executives with souls!

    P.S.: I wonder what Cartoon Network registers on the Cartoon-O-Meter now?

  • Marc Baker

    Wow, that was a great little piece. I like how it points out that more kids are at home during the late afternoon, and evening time periods. Which kinda shows you how flawed the local stations, and other cable networks are at finding an audience for animation. It was also neat seeing what the network’s logo would’ve looked like if they hadn’t gone with the original checkered logo we once knew. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

  • joecab

    Man, in retrospect this sure makes the current state of affairs at CN much more depressing. Let’s home they don’t decide to mess with Boomerang in the same way.

  • http://hand-drawn-animation.blogspot.com David Nethery

    An all-cartoon network, all cartoons , all the time.

    What a simple, entertaining concept.

    So easy even a child could get it.

    One wonders how they managed to lose sight of it and mess things up so badly in recent years…

  • Deaniac

    What a fantastic presentation. Those were the days. But that pitch also pointed out a painfully crucial point: cartoons AREN’T just for kids.

    Eveytime I watch the ending of this presentation, I imagine Stuart Snyder as the black-and-white “thick-skulled” buisinessman and Yosemitie Sam as CN’s fanbase telling them “EVERYONE LOVES CARTOONS!” When will they get it through their heads?

    I also love how they bash Nickelodeon for not having enough cartoons while Nick is currently killing them in ratings with their biggest hit, Spongebob, a CARTOON. I smell irony.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    “I’m a cop… who’s a carp.”

    Is that where everything started to go wrong?

  • Bob

    After careful analysis I am happy to report that Cartoon Network registers a healthy 95.6 on the Crap-O-Meter!

    Lets all give each other big fat bonuses -and yachts!
    All in a days work my friend. All in a days work.

  • http://yeldarb86.deviantart.com Mr. Semaj

    “Cartoons aren’t just for kids; they’re for us adults too.”

    AMEN!

  • http://shoegayzr.com johnee

    Great! I’d love to see the one for Adult Swim

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    I was 13 when CN first started broadcasting, and when I discovered it existed, it was like finding a goldmine! I never wanted to watch anything else! Too bad I’ve had to see that wonderful thing die, but it had a nice little run of quality for a while there. Seeing Billy and Mandy go was certainly a death knell.

  • http://vivimoji.webs.com/ ViViMoji

    I get old flashbacks watching this I always loved those cartoons and I remember watching Pirates of Dark Waters with my sister when I was a kid. Good times (sigh) so sad what the channel has become now. Though I find myself tooning in to Boomerang more.

  • Ketan

    It was a GREAT idea. However, the majority of the cartoons were “scooby doo” and “Flinstones”. I was kinda hoping they would air:
    He Man
    She Ra
    Thundercats (they did that but for a short time only)
    GI JOE
    Dennis the Menace
    Laser Tag
    And many more…

  • http://www.platypuscomix.net Peter Paltridge

    The execs need to watch this again. Everything they said is still true, except maybe the part about the success of Fish Police.

  • http://www.jedaniels-adventures.blogspot.com JPox

    That’s great TV right there.
    I have a question about some of that footage. What H-B production is that which features all the characters together performing a show? I’ve seen artwork and cels of that scene but have no idea what it is?

  • http://smomotion.com :: smo ::

    i think i just teared up a little. i’m sold! you’ve got my support to put this network on tv!

    oh wait…

    with so many people watching shows on the internet, netflix and hulu…i wonder if there’s a way to get revenue directly from netflix or hulu if you were to make a sort of direct to instant watch series [released as a virtual dvd perhaps?] or itunes video etc. or getting a bunch of shows together to work directly with advertisers and sponsors to do an animated block on the internet of high quality stuff.

    i know it’s all been proposed before, but there’s seriously potential for us to start banding together and harness the internet tool before it gets totally co-opted BY the networks. that’s what they’re afraid of. we should beat them to it.

  • Anna

    wooooooooooow!
    hey remember when Tom & Jerry weren’t chopped up and cartoons were on Saturday mornings too

    “Cartoons aren’t just for kids; they’re for us adults too.” …yeah… this is why Family Guy, American Dad and whatever that 3rd spinoff was is ruining tv for everyone

  • http://kirbydream.com/ Leirin

    Wow… now this is truly nostalgic. Back when they had all the great shows with equally great animation. I have no idea why they have scrapped them in favour of rubbish such as Johnny Test.

    Seriously, just look at a bit from any of these cartoons, and compare it to whatever airs on that channel today. I find it largely depressing, actually.

  • fearlesshyena

    I fear that Boomerang is slowly easing more contemporary cartoons into the rotation and moving the classics into 2:30 am time slots. Case in point: a few weeks ago, the Flintstones came on @ 9 pm. it has since been replaced by Courage the Cowardly Dog. That does not make me happy…

  • http://www.classicparamountcartoons.blogspot.com ParamountCartoons

    Makes me sad, too!

    Was that “The Wee Men” being shown before the Barney Bear clip of the treasure? Turner doesn’t own that one. Interesting that they used cartoon clips and trademarks they don’t own to pitch a Cartoon Network. That cartoon is in public domain, and the master materials are owned by Republic Pictures.

  • Joel Strewth

    The ironic thing is, CN wouldn’t acquire Scooby for another two years, due to USA owning the broadcast rights at the time.

  • http://www.platypuscomix.net Peter Paltridge

    JPox: That’s from a 1989 TV special celebrating Hanna-Barbera’s anniversary.

  • paul

    The sad thing is, the current generation of parents is responsible for the lack of old-school cartoons on the air. These Post-Baby-Boom, pusillanimous worriers simply can’t abide the notion that their children might be exposed to a six-gun-toting midget or a cigarette-smoking anything, so the shows just get tossed out.

    Don’t blame a for-profit company for showing what advertisers will actually pay to support; blame the idiots who grew up with this stuff and figure their kids can’t handle it.

  • NeverGrowingUp

    On the other hand, look at how they treated the cartoons they themselves created. Many are still watchable, edgy, and outrageous. They were run briefly, and then cancelled. Despite strong followings, merchandise that still sells to this day, somebody decided that they were “just not cutting it.” Mostly because they weren’t pulling five times what was put into it. “Profitable? Sure, but this makes more.”

  • Damon

    Remember when you could find Looney Tunes on tv. Now you can’t even get them on Boomerang.

  • ItsJoseph

    “These Post-Baby-Boom, pusillanimous worriers simply can’t abide the notion that their children might be exposed to a six-gun-toting midget or a cigarette-smoking anything, so the shows just get tossed out.”

    So we end up with cynical, irony fatigued, ADHD scatological-ridden pseudo-art with little laughs and little benefit.

    Much better for the kids.

  • Rio

    It’s not the Post-Baby-Boom generation whose to blame, it’s the small non-profit organizations that form around wacky ideas that most people don’t even believe in. They raise hell loud and long enough until the powers that be makes changes to please these idiots.

    We should feel lucky that we can even have Looney Tunes on DVD!

  • Willie P.

    Thanks for the vid Jerry, I think were just going through a bad cycle.
    Sooner or later the morons ruining the network will have a brain storm. And realize that cartoons should go on the cartoon network again.
    Of course it might take a decade or so before it happens.
    And I really miss not having the Looney Toons on, especially in the afternoon’s.

  • luna

    So, this all comes down to an age divide.

    Obviously, that promo was for a “classic” cartoon network – still awesome, but something most people under 35 have never watched and can’t have nostalgia for, vs. the current “modern” CN of shows with a more recent concept.

    I don’t think anything is wrong with CN as it stands, perhaps you should petition the network to launch a sister “CN classic” network to assuage your own generational nostalgia.

    Sorry, but we love the cartoons we had as kids, or the random and semi (or totally) druggy adult-swim-type stuff, and that’s kinda it.

    I’m 29, so my “childhood” cartoons (okay, some were totally after school junior high) were “Batman the animated series” & “Animaniacs” and “Gummi Bears” & “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” & -when i was younger- “Thundercats”.

    There is nothing wrong with the classic “Tom and Jerry” or even “The Jetsons”, but this thread is just a bunch of people longing for their own childhoods, wherever they fell in cartoon history. No generations cartoons are “better” than anothers, you’re just nostalgic for them. (for the record, “Bugs” “Wile E. Coyote” & “Popeye” type “old-school” cartoons never appealed to me, even when I was 8. I fully respect that others love them. Cool, keep loving them, but respect that cartoon tastes do change generationally…..)

    so nothing is really wrong with CN today, it’s just keeping pace with the times. (but a “CN classic” is still a good idea, if you’d all tune in…)

  • http://Hey,IactuallylikeCartoonNetwork/AdultSwim... Kustom Kool

    Am I the only one?

    Sure, I’d love to plop down on the couch and watch Looney Tunes and vintage Hanna-Barbera 24/7/365 but between Boomerang and my DVD library, I’m pretty content.

    Adult Swim is a mixed bag for sure but it’s seldom boring. And “Robot Chicken” is amazing. Anyone? It seems like “Robot Chicken” doesn’t get much love around these parts.

    On the other hand, “Cartoon Real” is probably a real bad idea.

  • http://Www.roryanimates.blogspot.com Aurorah

    Does anyone know what that scene with all the people in the living room is from, it’s towards the end of the reel it looks really cool and I want to watch it! Thanks in advance!

  • Fieryone

    I teared up watching this, I loved Cartoon Network, so very much. ;~;

  • Brad Constantine

    What a great pitch piece…Boomerang should watch it.

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    My theory is that CN didn’t advance with the cartoons that were restored, and that is why viewership dropped off. Fans of LOONEY TUNES and whatever else ran on the network were buying the restored stuff on video while the network continued to run the edited and faded old prints. Wouldn’t it have been fantastic if, for example, “LATE NIGHT BLACK AND WHITE” came back with newly restored prints of all the cartoons from LOONEY TUNES and the Max Fleischer POPEYE series, as seen on the DVD sets? Now, that’s a no-brainer! So, in actuality, people were not getting sick of the cartoons being shown over and over again; they found better quality elsewhere and, so, tossed away all thoughts of those who decided not to follow suit!

  • Ed Thompson

    I think those waiting for CN (or any other cartoon network) to run both good old cartoons uncut and new cartoons that aren’t poorly written and animated are in for decades of disappointment.

    It would be impossible to get and keep both investors and management that will back you when the inevitable bad press about ‘racist’ cartoons or themes too adult or otherwise inappropriate for children start appearing on blogs, tv shows and news sites. Most in the entertainment business seem to have a ‘cartoons are meant for kids, and kid’s shows need to be sanitized against anything controversial’ attitude.

    I don’t know if Jerry and/or Amid know anyone with enough money, but a web site might make it. Internet speeds are getting high enough that a good to great quality broadcast is possible, and you could make it a registration site, or at least make the ‘objectionable parts’ a registration section. It will take a lot of money. Buying rights, or commissioning new cartoons will not be cheap. But it bypasses the current distribution system which has not been good for cartoons.

    Cartoon Network, unless purchased out of the blue and run by someone who loves animation, is gone, probably for good. Even though I think it could make money with its original premise, that’s not good enough. It wouldn’t make the last possible dollar a network can make, and money seems to be the only driving force and the end justification for all decisions now. Most other niche channels are going through the same type of ‘market broadening’ that CN is going through, like Sci-Fi and the History Channel and TLC.

    I am not an animator myself. I have no contacts in the entertainment industry, and do not pretend to know any inside secrets. I’m just a fan, the end consumer if you will, of both old and new animation. And being as old as I am, I’m not even in the desirable age demographic…….

  • Nightmare Is Near

    Too bad the executives are too stubborn.

  • Jip

    And you guys are sad… because.. what?
    You liked 1991, when TV told you what to watch, when to watch?!

    Go to youtube, megavideo.. a DVD store.. You can watch ALL the cartoons the clips in the promo’s came from. And MORE!
    I’m 25, and I don’t know that many people from my generation who even OWN a TV.. let alone watch it.
    Who cares what networks do and don’t?

    What’s next? You crying about them not releasing anything good on Laserdisc and betamax these days? :D

  • Bugs Jetstone

    I wanted them to show “Hubbub!”, “The Sister Brothers”, the original “Walkadoo”, “Sergeant Minor and the Kid Patrol”, “Huggaboo”, “Dale Earnhardt Babies” and “Chinatown Checkers”. Instead, they stuck with THESE also-ran characters. What a bunch of maroons.

  • RUbix

    FIsh POlice?!!

  • Iritscen

    Jip, you don’t exactly have your finger on the pulse of reality:

    1. Young children watch TV, they don’t surf video sites. Parents sit their toddlers down in front of the TV, and that is where they obtain most of their earliest experiences from the world of entertainment. Many of us are concerned about these children growing up with shoddy animation. It lowers the bar for that generation’s expectations, and in turn gives rise to even shoddier animation when they grow up and start producing cartoons themselves.

    2. The TV may be a thing of the past to progressive forward-lookers like yourself, but it’s still being watched 4 hours a day by the average American.

    3. TV networks produce new shows too, and we’re distraught any time one of the handful of networks that produces animation does something that makes us think they don’t care about animation very much. There’s not a lot of sources of funding for animation out there beyond TV.

    And luna, if you don’t believe that the quality of cartoons has degraded over time, then you do not know animation history. I suggest you start watching animation from each decade from the 40s to the 80s and see if you aren’t crying by the time you’re done. It’s not that anyone’s saying “all modern stuff is garbage”, just that the overall industry has definitely declined.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > And you guys are sad… because.. what?
    > You liked 1991, when TV told you what to watch, when to watch?!
    >
    > Go to youtube, megavideo.. a DVD store.. You can watch ALL the cartoons the clips in the promo’s came from. And MORE!
    > I’m 25, and I don’t know that many people from my generation who even OWN a TV.. let alone watch it.
    > Who cares what networks do and don’t?
    >
    > What’s next? You crying about them not releasing anything good on Laserdisc and betamax these days? :D

    Thanks for making us feel smaller than ever. I was thinking more of my junior high years than to think of the here-and-now.

  • Peter

    FISH POLICE!!!!!!!!!!! Bwaaa-hahahahahahahaaaaa!!!!

    I almost forgot about THAT one.

  • G Melissa Graziano

    Well, I’m sold.

    Luna, I grew up watching this stuff too. You’re only a few years older than I am, but I vividly remember watching Looney Tunes and Popeye on Nick in the 7-8pm block right before I went to bed (yes, my parents made me go to bed at 8 on school nights right up through high school…), so I know people my age grew up with them too, along with Rugrats and Animaniacs and The Flintstones and The Muppets (ok, that’s technically not animation, but it’s in the same vein as quality family entertainment!). And I know there’s a lot of really good stuff out there right now that’s suffering not from poor viewership or bad storytelling, but from corporate lack of faith.

    Iritscen, I sort of agree with you, but let’s not forget, not everything made in the 80s was crap, and not everything made in the ’30s and ’40s was gold, either. Let’s not let nostalgia get in the way of reality. Great stuff and awful stuff have been made in every decade, with pretty much every major and minor animation studio going through hits and misses. It’s the stuff that lasts organically in people’s memories that deserve to be fondly remembered.

  • PEZ

    I really like the Yellow Henry Halk

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    Jip,

    That’s a load of hogwash if I ever heard one.

    I’m several years younger than you and I still watch lots television. While I don’t plop down and watch for hours and hours in a row like I used to when I was a kid, it’s enough to justify having cable.

    And yeah, I surf video sites, too.

  • DawnD13

    Cartoon Network HAS created a network with these “old school” cartoons. It is called Boomerang and is currently on my cable system. Check it out.

  • http://www.cartoonbrew.com Dawn

    There IS a network that shows all the old school cartoons. I believe it is owned and operated by Cartoon Network and is called Boomerang. It is currently on my cable system. The other day I watched “Wacky Races” and “The Banana Splits,” followed by “Wacky Races” with Dastardly and Muttley.

  • Anna

    KLuna: wanting “classic” cartoons marks the over 35 crowd? Really??

    I’m in my 20s [who loves Tom & Jerry far too much) and I find most of new CN unwatchable! The new animation trends are awful! Have you watched “6teen”? The characters never switch from 3/4 view and move like badly hinged paper dolls

    90s did have some damn fine cartoons tho ^_^ Batman, TinyToons and Animaniacs need to make a comeback in reruns

  • http://www.cartoonsteve.com Steve

    Hey ::Smo:: (or anyone seeking an internet cartoon channel) bookmark this: http://kaboingtv.com/

    Its Joe Murray’s new project. Read more on his blog: http://joemurraystudio.com/blog/?p=1320

  • Chet Kennedy

    WOW Classic animation. Now who in their right mind would want to watch a cartoon that runs 24 frames a second when they can see a fantastic new cartoon of today that runs MAYBE 12 frames a second. As has been stated, most classic animation may have some bad influences on some children, (parents, where are you?), but most of that humor will just go over their heads ( can 4 or 5 year old’s get dynamite to blow up a doghouse?). I personally, would rather watch a cartoon from the 40′s that contains wit and style, but now all we get from CN is stuff that insults what intelligence I have left.

  • Brad Constantine

    my kids, 9 and 6, turn on Nick (full house/oddparents)or CN(yu-gi-oh, bakugan) first in the morning to see whats on, and then switch over to Boomerang almost every day to watch old Tom and Jerry or wacky races or old popeyes. The problem is Boomerang is a premium channel only on digital cable in our area..so a lot of folks don’t get it.
    Beyond selling trading cards and toys, the anime battle shows are all the same, day after day after day…”I call boring-zard to fight repeat-adon in a battle for no reason at all” but wait…I have a special ability card!! Nooooooooo!
    kids are smarter than that, and want humor in their cartoons..anyone remember humor?

  • L-Spin

    As someone who’s been watching cartoons as an adult for many years, the problem with CN isn’t not putting “classics” back on the air, but not airing quality shows.

    The two funny, clever, watchable CARTOONS that are on now? One was canceled after an only two year run.

    CN used to have great shows with great storylines and interesting characters, like Courage, Foster’s, Kids Next Door, Billy & Mandy, etc. etc. etc. (There were clunkers from time to time, but their track record has been very good overall.) That kind of show, and as I said, there’s only two of them left, has been neglected in favor of reality shows that tanked and shows that aren’t CN-produced originals.

    They need to get off this reality show kick and go back to focusing on recruiting talented animators to create high quality originals that appeal to a wide age range. They’re never going to get Nick’s or Disney’s ratings; they need to get over that fact and get back to what made people tune into them in the first place.

    (BTW, I’m 38, and I think the HB cartoons of the 1970s were crap. I’d turn on “classic” CN and turn that shit right off…)

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Now who in their right mind would want to watch a cartoon that runs 24 frames a second when they can see a fantastic new cartoon of today that runs MAYBE 12 frames a second

    How about 8 frames a second? (most Japanese cartoons go for this figure nowadays) ^_^

    Also, reality has no special ability card, Brad! Just keep telling yourself that and you’ll be fine!

  • http://www.zazzle.com/bunnycakes Tia

    I enjoyed Courage the Cowardly dog. I still enjoyed the old CN.I think we’re being a little too nostalgic to appreciate what little good cartoons were still on air back then. Foster’s Home of Imaginary friends was amazing, so was Courage The Cowardly dog. But..as far as those two shows goes..that’s it.

    I used to always want to be a cartoonist and I went gaga as a kid when Cartoon Network came about. I would be glued to the tv on Saturdays after a long tedious 5 days of crummy school. All I had to make me smile were Looney Tunes and the like. I loved watching The Flinstones and I’d cackle at the Pink Panther. I fell in love with Johnny Bravo and his obvious bravado instantly.

    I would not have minded any new things on today’s CN if they were actually good..but most of them,aren’t. Transformers Animated? Since when has Transformers NOT been animated? And it completely ripped the design of the robots to shreds by adding little to no detail to the characters. Just triangles and rectangles. That’s one of the many things I appreciated about Transformers.

    But at least it is a cartoon..what do we have now..CNReal. These shows cater to who now? Most of those shows look like 1995 throwbacks of Nickelodeon’s (Also, the only thing keeping them living seems to be Spongebob…all those other shows are wack).

    I don’t even care if they don’t show any goodies (old cartoons), just show good cartoons and stop brainwashing our children with overhyped , empty shows where the characters have no souls in their eyes and children running around playing in the dark pretending to find ghosts. Stop insulting their intelligence.