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[[caption-width-right:240:[[DrugsAreBad Drugs don't stand a chance against these guys!]]]]

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->''"All our favorite cartoon characters that we grew up with are coming together to talk to us about... drugs."''
-->-- '''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'''

''Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue'' is a truly epic DrugsAreBad special that was originally simulcast commercial-free on Saturday morning, April 21, 1990, on [[Creator/{{ABC}} all three]] [[Creator/{{CBS}} major American]] [[Creator/{{NBC}} television networks]] (Creator/{{Fox}} had only been on the air for three years at that point), along with most independent local stations and several cable networks. Produced by the people who award the Emmys (and animated by Creator/WangFilmProductions and Southern Star Studios in Australia), cartoon characters ranging from WesternAnimation/BugsBunny and WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck of ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' fame to the 1987 incarnation of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}'' try to teach an at-risk teen named Michael about the dangers of marijuana.

The special was relentlessly promoted in the days leading up to the simulcast. Interestingly, the anti-drug angle was [[TrailersAlwaysLie underplayed in these commercials]]. Instead, the ads pushed the insane {{crossover}} among the various cartoon characters (considered a FanFiction writer's heaven in this day and age).

There's been a long-standing rumor that the reason this special has never re-aired is that ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' was used without Jim Davis' permission, and Davis threatened to sue if the special re-aired. However, Creator/MarkEvanier, head writer of ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'', [[https://www.facebook.com/groups/161346744015168/permalink/243420959141079/?comment_id=243472012469307&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R3%22%7D debunked the rumor on the Cartoon Research Facebook page]]. Evanier wrote, "Jim knew all about the special, he okayed Garfield's participation and approved whatever had to be approved. I believe the original plan, which got all the various copyright holders to agree to let their characters participate, called for limited airing." Creator/DisneyChannel managed to sneak in a couple of repeat airings of it, however.

Extensive reviews of the special can be found [[http://tooncrap.blogspot.com/2010/05/cartoon-all-stars-to-rescue.html here]], [[http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0712/ here]], and [[http://madnessmonster.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/cartoon-all-stars-review/ here]]. You can find the special in its entire 32-minute glory on [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzKx92QD8Hk YouTube]], and WebVideo/TheAnnotatedSeries version starting [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj3-0Yjtafo here]].

!!''Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue'' provides examples of:

* AdultsAreUseless: Michael and Corey's parents, especially their father, who's more concerned about his missing cases of beer. When he voices this concern, his wife laughs it off and suggests ''he forgot about drinking them while watching football.'' No wonder your son's fucked up. Lay off the lager, old man!
* TheAggressiveDrugDealer: In this special, not only are suburban teenagers lurking about giving away cheap-as-free drugs, Mikey also has to worry about Smoke; a [[GoodAngelBadAngel shoulder-demon]] who looks like a businessman (tie and all). he's voiced by Creator/GeorgeCScott, and ceaselessly persuades you to experiment with said [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner cheap-as-free]] drugs.
* AllThereInTheScript: Smoke's name is mentioned on the VHS description, but not in the special.
* AlternateContinuity: Several cartoon characters are LivingToys brought to life by magic. Literature/WinnieThePooh is a doll, WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies Kermit is an alarm clock, WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs are from a comic book, Series/{{Alf}} is a framed picture, [[WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends Garfield]] is a lamp, and WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunks are implied to be from one of their records. Other characters appear without an origin for their appearance.
* AloofBigBrother: Michael has apparently turned into this thanks to his drug use, much to Corey's distress. Her comment that "You always tell me everything!" suggests that they were very close before he started using drugs.
* AwardBaitSong: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hz1UaEVyoo#t=27m51s The ending credits feature a song]] about growing up and [[AnimationAgeGhetto outgrowing cartoons (?)]] that's somewhere among [[TearJerker sad]], [[TastesLikeDiabetes saccharine]], and (thanks to the ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'' cast, Chipmunks, and WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies) [[CuteButCacophonic cacophonous]].
* BodyHorror: Michael's breaking point comes somewhere between the journey through his own badly damaged brain and the point when it's revealed that he will eventually be so strung out on hard drugs, he will turn into a Fred Kruger-esque zombie.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: The cartoon characters who did it in their own shows are just as unkind to the one between Michael and Corey's reality and ours.
* CoversAlwaysLie: [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs Smurfette]] appears on the [[UsefulNotes/{{VCR}} VHS]] cover, but not in the special itself.
* DisneyAcidSequence: Most of the special, ironically enough.
* DrugsAreBad: The entire special. As we come to find out drugs cause lightning storms in your brain and will leave you looking like a meth head by the time you are twenty.
* FutureMeScaresMe: Something to do with becoming a zombie heroin addict in a twisted futuristic hospital. But then, [[SarcasmMode zombieism is a well-known side effect of marijuana]].
* GoodAngelBadAngel: The "Cartoon All-Stars", who try to show Michael the negative effects of drug abuse, and Smoke, who tries to keep Michael addicted. And when the All-Stars start to get through to Michael, Smoke [[WouldHurtAChild goes after Corey...]]
* HumanFocusedAdaptation: Cartoons from several franchises band together but Michael is the protagonist/target of their care, with his sister Corey as the deuteragonist.
* {{Irony}}: Series/{{ALF}} serving as one of the key characters. It's very possible that there never would've been an ALF cartoon if the live-action TV series hadn't run as long as it did, which was mostly due to outrageous scripts written by a guy on drugs (the movie ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_Midnight Permanent Midnight]]'' is more or less based on this).
* JohnBarleycornAndFriends: The character Smoke is the obvious embodiment of drugs.
* [[LittleBrotherIsWatching Little Sister Is Watching]]: What finally persuades Mikey to clean up is Corey reaching for his box of drugs.
* MassiveMultiplayerCrossover: A complete list of which cartoon characters appeared on this special can be found on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartoon_All-Stars_to_the_Rescue Wikipedia]].
* MonochromePast: Used when Michael goes back in time because, as WesternAnimation/BugsBunny tells him, "[[LampshadeHanging This is the past, and the past is in black and white.]] [[DontExplainTheJoke Get it?]]"
* NiceHat: One of Michael's female "friends" has a [[Franchise/MortalKombat Kung Lao]] hat that absolutely must be seen to be believed. More proof that the people behind this thing had ''no idea'' [[CriticalResearchFailure how teenagers actually acted or dressed at the time]].
* OffModel: Ridiculously so, even by the standards set by the All-Stars' cartoons:
** In the scene with Michelangelo, Smoke says an entire line of dialogue without ever even moving his lips.
** Garfield accidentally opens his mouth when everyone says "Right!" toward the end of the special.
*** For the most part, characters whose shows were animated by Wang (The Disney and WB characters, Slimer, Garfield and the Smurfs) have the least off-model moments. The others (especially the Muppet Babies and ALF) don't fare as well. That the special was animated in ''only six weeks'' doesn't help.
* OriginalGeneration: Michael and his family. And Smoke. And Michael's "friends" from the flashback.
* ParentalObliviousness: Michael's parents talk about how worried they are about his behavior -- ''while'' trying to find two cans of beer that have gone missing... ''and'' while ignoring their daughter who tells them that he's been acting strange. She, in turn, neglects to mention the theft of her piggy bank. [[SarcasmMode Wow, that's not strange at all]].
* PoliticianGuestStar: UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush, then President of the United States, provided a live-action introduction along with first lady Barbara. Other countries that aired this special had their own political leaders provide an intro.
* ScareEmStraight: The special is practically a textbook example of (''attempting'') this trope. Lightning storms in your brain, zombie future, [[ArsonMurderAndJayWalking Bugs Bunny threatening you]]...
** But Bugs Bunny threatening you [[SeriousBusiness can be pretty scary.]] Ever seen his cartoons. [[LetsGetDangerous Once he says "Of course, you know, this means war!"]], you're not going to fare too well . . . .
* SequelHook: The special ends with Michael throwing out Smoke, who says he'll be back. Michael and Corey respond by saying that if he does come back, then they'll be ready for him.
* ThemeTuneCameo: When WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunks and [[WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters Slimer]] first appear, their respective cartoons' theme songs play in the background.
** Additionally, when Pooh is initially talking to Corey, an instrumental version of the theme to ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh'' plays in the background.
* {{Understatement}}: "Those drugs are so boring!"
* VerySpecialEpisode: The U.S. government crafted this thing to be like a very special episode for every cartoon they could come up with.