Toon Heads was a classic anthology series that aired from October 1992 to November 2003 on Cartoon Network, though the episodes that most viewers would be familiar with are the Leslie Fram-narrated episodes that aired from 1996 to 2003.
In it's original format Toonheads aired Monday through Friday at 11pm and only ran for fifteen minutes, usually allotting one or two cartoons with narration by Don Kennedy. In 1995 the show was given it's promotion to the full half hour format with three segments and was aired at midnight. Several of these were repackages of the original week long segments. Toonheads went briefly off the air in 1996 until it returned with Leslie Fram now narrating and the format most recognize in place.
From then on it was always aired during primetime (and, in the last years of the show, going even later at night after Adult Swim finished), this program showed a large variety of common and rare classic cartoons from many studios, from the Warner Bros.. and MGM cartoon catalogs to more obscure studios like Fleischer Studios. In the beginning it featured a wider range of subjects compared to how it existed in the last seasons where it was rare to see something not from WB or MGM.
Each episode had a theme: some episodes focused on the creation and evolution of a certain character (like how Daffy went from a wacky duck to a greedy, egotistical jerk or how the early version of Elmer Fudd had him as a fat man), some showed highlights of a director's work, and some episodes touched on more esoteric themes, like cartoons that made fun of Hollywood movies and actors, musical cartoons, cartoons that took place in space, cartoons that had one-shot characters in them, and even cartoons that centered on the hilarity that ensued when a character tries to get some sleep. One episode even focused on the plagiarism allegations between Warner Bros. "Rhapsody Rabbit" and MGM's "The Cat Concerto".
The cartoons were mostly shown uncut and uncensored (though not as much as, say, what you'd find on The Bob Clampett Show or even The Popeye Show), which allowed this program to show many cartoons that were taboo for daytime television, like such wholesome fare as The Ducktators and Blitz Wolf, and was supplanted by classic cartoon trivia and rare interviews with Golden Age veterans. The program was a hit, running for 82 episodes, with two hour-long specials (The Lost Cartoons and World War II cartoons. There was also going to be another special episode called The Worst Cartoons Ever, but this was never aired and it's not known if this was even made) and one half-hour special which was never aired (the one that would have had all — or at least, three of — the Bugs Bunny cartoons that were banned from the 2001 June Bugs marathon due to having ethnic and racial stereotyping).
The program as we remember it no longer exists, ending in November 2003 (the last episode was called "The Boys from Kansas City", about the works from the Kansas City animators who went on to become household names for Warner Bros. and MGM), with a Christmas Special aired in 2005. Two additional specials called "Toonheads: The Lost Cartoons" and "Toonheads: The Wartime Cartoons" were made but so far, only the former is on DVD; included on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 1 and disc 3 of the Blu-Ray version of Looney Tunes Platinum Collection.
A partial list of episodes can be found here.
Tropes Related to This Show:
- Animated Anthology: It's a show full of cartoon shorts, with fun facts and trivia questions sprinkled in.
- Baseball Episode: One episode was made up entirely of baseball shorts: Gone Batty, Batty Baseball, and Baseball Bugs.
- Deep South: The theme of an episode that showed Southern Fried Rabbit, Backwoods Bunny, and The Dixie Fryer.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- The original format itself before it became the half hour three shorts so is this for people familiar to the later version.
- In its original seasons Toonheads had a bit wider scope in what it showed including works from Fleischer, Hanna Barbera and Jay Ward being included as well as more obscure stunts like Nudnik and the Night of Independent Animation. Once the Kellner-Cohen feud began and the network had itself segmented more Toonheads pretty much only showed WB and MGM shorts with an occasional Fleischer (which is the version most viewers remember).
- Long Runner: The series lasted from 1992-2003.
- Pun-Based Title: On the term "Eggheads", hence the recurring egg/chicken farm motif in the bridging segments and focus on obscure cartoon trivia.