Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup don’t look a day over five, but today they turn 20 years old. While the series itself didn’t premiere on Cartoon Network until 1998, the trio of crime-fighting toddlers first appeared on Cartoon Network, TNT, and TBS in the pilot The Powerpuff Girls in: Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins exactly twenty years ago, on February 20, 1995.

It was, in fact, the first pilot ever aired on Cartoon Network, since the network was debuting its “World Premiere Toons” program on that February day in 1995. But while today marks twenty years that the characters have been on Cartoon Network, the history of the characters stretches even further back.

Creator Craig McCracken first developed the characters, which he originally called the Whoopass Girls, in a student film he made while attending CalArts. In 1992 Spike & Mike gave funding to the 21-year-old McCracken to refine his idea for their touring animation festival. The result was the short Whoopass Stew!, containing the germ out of which the show was born.

With yesterday’s announcement that Cartoon Network will revive the characters in a reboot next year, the legacy of McCracken’s creation will continue to delight viewers for many years beyond this 20th anniversary.

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