ⓘ Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue


ⓘ Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue

Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue is a 1990 American animated drug-abuse prevention television special starring many of the popular cartoon characters from American weekday, Sunday morning, and Saturday morning television at the time of its release. Financed by McDonalds, Ronald McDonald Childrens Charities, it was originally simulcast on April 21, 1990 on all four major American television networks: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, and most independent stations, as well as various cable networks. McDonalds also released a VHS home video edition of the special distributed by Buena Vista Home Video, which opened with an introduction from President George H. W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush and their dog, Millie. It 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 Academy-Award-winning composer, Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman, who also wrote the songs for Disneys The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

The plot chronicles the exploits of Michael, a young teenage boy who is using marijuana. His younger sister, Corey, is constantly 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 Michaels room along with his stash of drugs, the cartoon characters proceed to work together and take him on a fantasy journey to teach him the risks and consequences a life of drug abuse can bring.


1. Plot

In Coreys room, 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.

The cartoon characters track down the thief and discover that it is Coreys older brother, Michael. Simon opens a box under Michaels bed and identifies its contents as marijuana. Meanwhile, Corey expresses her concerns about Michaels 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 alley by a policeman, who is then revealed to be Bugs Bunny wearing a policemans hat. He traps Smoke in a garbage can and uses a time machine he borrowed from Wile E. Coyote to see when and how Michaels addiction started. It turns out he became addicted to drugs through peer pressure by some older high school kids. After Michael has returned to the present, he meets up with his "friends" and they decide they want to do some crack. He is hesitant until one steals his wallet. He and Smoke chase after her, until they fall down a manhole and meet up with Michelangelo, who tells them that the drugs are messing up his brain. Soon after, Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, and Baby Gonzo take Michael on a tour of the human brain. There, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Tigger join the rest of the cartoon characters in trying teaching Michael the many "Wonderful Ways to Say No."

Michael wakes up in his room, believing the whole thing to be nothing but a nightmare. Corey walks in and tries to talk to him, but he loses his temper and angrily yells at her. He comes to his senses and tries to apologize, but she runs out frightened. Saddened, he looks at himself in a small mirror and is shocked to see Alf looking at him. Alf grabs him and pulls him into the mirror. Inside a Hall of Mirrors, Alf shows Michael his reflection of how he is today, then this reflection if he does not stop taking drugs: an aged, corpse-like version of himself. When he 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". He is horrified to see that Smoke is the "man in charge".

Later, Corey and Pooh go back into Michaels room and find his marijuana box. Smoke appears and throws Pooh inside a cabinet and starts tempting Corey into trying it. She reasons that if she does so, then maybe she and Michael could have fun together like they used to before he started doing drugs.

Meanwhile, the drug-induced carnival in Michaels mind leads him to Daffy Duck who reads Michaels future in his crystal ball - and its an even sicklier version of himself than before. After one last warning from the cartoon characters, Michael comes back into his room, 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 with their parents and to her. Smoke tries to persuade him otherwise, but he throws him out the window, as he feels that he has "listened to him long enough." After falling in a garbage truck, Smoke vows to return but he never did return. After Smoke leaves, all of the cartoon characters appear on a poster on Michaels wall as a reminder to always say no when confronted by drugs. Michael smiles at Corey as they go tell their parents about his drug problem.


2. Cartoon All-Stars

The various characters owners allowed the use of the characters for free because of the public service aspect of the special.

The special marked the first time Warner Bros. cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were voiced by someone other than legendary voice artist Mel Blanc. He had died shortly before the production, and Jeff Bergman was called upon to recreate the voices.

The characters, from 10 different franchises, are:

  • Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck
  • Muppet Babies: Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, Baby Gonzo
  • The Smurfs: Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf Although Smurfette appears on the poster and VHS cover, she does not appear in the special.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo Although he appears in the special, he is not shown on the poster or VHS cover.
  • Garfield and Friends: Garfield
  • DuckTales: Huey, Dewey and Louie
  • ALF: The Animated Series: Alf
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Slimer
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin, Simon, Theodore

3. Broadcast

The special was screened in Australia in November 1990. Like the American broadcast, the special aired simultaneously on Australias major commercial networks Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten. Prime Minister Bob Hawke introduced the Australian screening. It was screened in New Zealand in October 1991 on both TVNZ and TV3 simultaneously. Then-Prime Minister Jim Bolger introduced it instead of the U.S. President. It 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 it. A French-language version of it aired later in the year on SRC as well as on TVA and TQS. The Televisa family of broadcast networks and independent stations aired it in Mexico shortly after the U.S. broadcast. The Mexican telecast was introduced by then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. It was aired in Spain around the same time, being broadcast on TVE1, Antena 3, Telecinco with then Queen consort Sofia of Spain introducing it.