Western Animation / What A Cartoon! Show


The What A Cartoon! Show (originally known as World Premiere Toons, and later renamed The Cartoon Cartoon Show) was an anthology show on Cartoon Network running from 1995 to 1997, with a few scattered shorts airing towards the end of The '90s. Created by then-president of Hanna-Barbera Fred Seibert as a throwback to theatrical studio cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation, it also served as a testing ground for potential original programing; as he put it, "48 chances to succeed or fail." The premiere of the project was on a special hosted by Space Ghost.

True to Seibert's word, 48 cartoons were produced by a generous handful of creators (mostly Hanna-Barbera staff), each reflecting the artist's individual style and sensibilities. Five of the shorts [Dexter's Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls and The Chicken From Outer Space (which became Courage the Cowardly Dog)] would go on to be the network's first original shows, or Cartoon Cartoons. Two wound up being the prototype for a much more popular toon later on (Larry & Steve would serve as one of the inspirations for Family Guy and Kenny and the Chimp was retooled into Codename: Kids Next Door). Joe Barbera himself got back in the director's chair to create two shorts of The Flintstones. Others, such as Yoink of the Yukon, Pfish & Chip, Yuckie Duck, and Shake & Flick, were not as successful, but have gained a strong cult following from classic CN fans.

Fred Seibert would produce a spiritual successor, this time for Nickelodeon, called Oh Yeah! Cartoons, which would spin off its own programs The Fairly Oddparents, My Life as a Teenage Robot, and ChalkZone.

Another spiritual successor was planned for The New Tens in the form of Cartoonstitute and was to be headed by Craig McCracken and Rob Renzetti, both of whom got their start on WAC. For undisclosed reasons, it never came to be, although two of the shorts went on to be successful series' in their own right.


    Cartoon Cartoon shorts 
  • Kenny and the Chimp: Dis-easy Does It
  • Mike, Lu & Og: Crash Lancelot
  • King Krab: Space Crustacean
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Meet the Reaper
  • Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones?
  • Trevor!: Journey to Sector 5-G
  • Nikki
  • Foe Paws
  • Prickles the Cactus
  • Lucky Lydia: Club Lydia
  • Longhair and Doubledome: Good Wheel Hunting
  • Lost Cat
  • Uncle Gus: For the Love of Monkeys
  • Sheep in the Big City: In the Baa-ginning
  • Thrillseeker: Putt 'n' Perish
  • Captain Sturdy: Back in Action!
  • Yee Hah & Doo Dah: Bronco Breakin' Boots
  • IMP, Inc.
  • My Freaky Family: Welcome to My World
  • Major Flake: Soggy Sale
  • Utica Cartoon: Hotdog Champeen
  • Kids Next Door: No P in the OOL
  • Swaroop: Bovine Bliss
  • Ferret And Parrot
  • A Kitty Bobo Show: Cellphones
  • Uncle Gus: Not So Fast!
  • Commander Cork: Space Ranger
  • Jeffrey Cat: All Dogs Don't Go to Heaven
  • Longhair and Doubledome: Where There's Smoke... There's Bob!
  • Maktar
  • Fungus Among Us
  • LowBrow: The pilot to Megas XLR.
  • Bagboy!
  • Colin Versus the World: Mr. Lounge Lizard

Tropes featured:

  • All-CGI Cartoon: "Strange Things".
  • Animation Bump: "Help?", which was lavishly animated by Bruno Bozzetto and his team in Italy.
  • Artistic License History: Gramps. His grandkids keep pointing out the errors in his story and how he actually lived his life. For example, when he mentions in his story that the President was a statuesque woman, he begs them to let this part remain unchanged when they point out that America never had a female President.
  • Butt Monkey: Yuckie Duck.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Psychotic Colonel Sanders ghost from Podunk Possum.
  • Captain Obvious: At the start of "Larry and Steve":
    Steve: Hi. I'm a dog, in case you're... well... stupid.
  • Captivity Harmonica: In Pizza Boy in No Tip, after getting sent to prison for assaulting the Eskimo couple for not giving him a tip, Pizza Boy is seen playing the harmonica after relating his tale of woe to the prison parson.
  • Cassandra Truth: In Gramps. Despite what details Gramps changed, it seems he really did save the world from an alien invasion as the alien leader testifies.
  • The Cast Show Off: Most of the shorts were created by Hanna-Barbera staff, given free range to create whatever they wanted.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: In "Larry and Steve", while the car is driving out-of-control towards a stack of TNT, Steve interrupts his scream to point out: "Wait a minute, isn't that a little contrived?"
  • The Chew Toy: Poor, poor Shake from Shake & Flick is a quite literal example.
  • Christmas Episode: George and Junior's Christmas Spectacular.
  • Cutaway Gag: Larry and Steve had some. Justified in that Seth MacFarlane was behind the cartoon and this would later be the hallmark for his more popular work, Family Guy.
  • Deranged Animation: Anything directed by Pat Ventura: Yuckie Duck, Sledgehammer O'Possum, and George and Junior. Also Buy One, Get One Free, which has visual influences from The Ren & Stimpy Show (not hurt by a few staff members who worked on that show).
    • Also the two Ralph Bakshi shorts Babe! He Calls Me and Malcom and Melvin, and Tales of Worm Paranoia, directed by Eddie Fitzgerald.
  • Domestic Only Cartoon: "Help?", which was produced in Italy; "Babe, He Calls Me" and "Malcom and Melvin", which were produced by Bakshi ZooToons in New York; "Strange Things", which was made by Sensible Shoes Productions in the U.S.; "O Ratz: Ratz in a Hot Tin Can", which was made by Perennial Pictures Film Corporation in Indianapolis; "The Chicken From Outer Space", by Stretch Films in the U.S.; and "The Adventures of Captain Buzz Cheeply: A Clean Getaway", produced by Buzz Image Group in Canada.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted in Captain Buzz Cheaply: A Clean Getaway.
  • Groin Attack: Fat Cats in Drip Dry Drips features a scene where Louie accidentally hits the President in the grapes when he was doing his measurements.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Johnny's acid-scalded face in "Tales of Worm Paranoia". As if once wasn't bad enough, they cut to it three times!
  • Here We Go Again: The ending of Godfrey and Zeek.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Tales of Worm Paranoia. Unlike most other examples, it's a straight up Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Kid with the Leash: Mina and The Count.
  • Line Boil: The characters in The Kitchen Casanova squiggle slightly.
  • Mad Bomber: Pfish & Chip's stock in trade is to catch these guys.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Help?, which has no dialog aside from Jof's "Help!"
    • "Shake & Flick in: Raw Deal in Rome", which has no dialog aside from a few screams.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Jof in Help?, who runs to the hospital after he pricks his finger while sewing.
  • Nightmare Face: The titular Podunk Possum can apparently deploy a monstrous one of these at will, scaring an entire alien fleet away from Earth.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever happened to Grandma in Gramps. "SHE WAS DEAD WHEN I GOT THERE!!"
  • Post-Script Season: Sort of. 48 cartoons were contracted for 1995-97, but more were made after that including Mike, Lu & Og, Kenny And The Chimp, King Crab: Space Crustacean, and the Big Pick shorts from 2000-02.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: (After seeing a zombie) AAAAAHHH!!! *whack* OH! *whack* MAH! *whack* GAAAWD!: The opening theme. "WHAT! A! CARTOOOOOOOOON!"
  • Rampage from a Nail: The lion in the second Yuckie Duck short "I'm On My Way" gets a tack stuck in his rear end.
  • Say My Name: From "Dry Dry Drips": "EEELLLMOOOOOO!"
  • Screwy Squirrel: Sledgehammer O'Possum.
  • Skewed Priorities: Captain Buzzy Cheaply puts getting his laundry done over rescuing his robot sidekick and repairing his ship.
  • Slasher Smile: The aforementioned psychotic Colonel Sanders Ghost wears a perpetual one while smashing eggs and delivering completely nonsensical catchphrases. Chickens are terrified of him for a reason.
  • Spin-Off: Famously, Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, and Courage the Cowardly Dog (and, to a lesser extent, Family Guy and Codename: Kids Next Door).
  • Theme Tune: There were two of them. The first was a heavy metal piece. Reruns of the show used the Cartoon Cartoon Fridays theme.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Some of the cartoons utilized this design style, such as Pizza Boy in No Tip, Godfrey and Zeek, The Powerpuff Girls, and Dexter's Laboratory.
  • Threatening Shark: Completely averted by Pfish in the Pfish and Chip shorts. He's a shark, but he's a friendly, clueless, eccentric who has feet and is somehow able to live on land.
  • To Serve Man: Gramps lampshaded this when a character runs to Gramps, exclaiming what he found before he is hit by a golf club by Gramps, exclaiming, "It's been done!"
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Yoink, even though he doesn't die.

Alternative Title(s): What A Cartoon Show