Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Oh Yeah! Cartoons

As we've been discussing throughout the tribute, Nickelodeon was the #1 network for kids, teens, and adults and it would continue to hold that rank for many years to come. For the preschoolers, it had great shows for them such as the innovative and groundbreaking show Blue's Clues. For the older kids, it had great cartoons such as Rugrats, KaBlam!, and The Angry Beavers. For the teens, it had shows like All That and Kenan & Kel to make them laugh. For the adults, it had Nick at Nite showing their favorite sitcoms and TV shows from their childhoods like I Love Lucy, Mr. Ed, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeanne. But we cannot forget that Nickelodeon almost didn't become the network it was today. In 1984, it was over $40 million dollars in debt and it was ranked the worst network on television. It would have been bankrupted if it wasn't for the combined efforts of a group of people led by television entrepeneurs Fred Seibert and Alan Goodman.

They had revolutionized everything and came up with innovative ideas that would turn Nickelodeon what it is today. From the iconic splat logo to the creation of Nick at Nite to the now nostalgic promos, Seibert and Goodman turned Nickelodeon from the worst network on television to the #1 network for kids. Thank you, Fred and Alan. Thank you.

Now you might be thinking to yourselves "Wait a minute. Why are you bringing this up, Patricia? We already know about this topic in your previous post 'From Worst to First'. Why are you saying it again for this review?" Good question, everyone. Because the television show we're going to review today focuses on this story and the continuation of it. Just be patient, we'll talk about the cartoon in a minute. Just be patient.

Around the 90's, Seibert and Goodman went their separate ways pursuing in different things. In 1992, Seibert became president of Hanna Barbera Cartoons Inc. in a time in which the company was struggling. They were releasing their cartoons on Cartoon Network, but since the network was fairly new, it didn't garner as much attention as Nickelodeon yet. They had not released a huge hit with their cartoons in a while and their newest film The Tom and Jerry Movie was a huge bomb in the box office. They were at the point of shutting down. But just like Nickelodeon, Seibert made some huge changes to the company by revamping the production and development process of the shows that would eventually be releasing such as 2 Stupid Dogs, Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron, and Pirates of Dark Water.

Seibert created a new show for Cartoon Network called What a Cartoon! in which it showcased new and upcoming animators to the media. It would show three cartoon shorts running at seven minutes in every episode. It was not only cool for the kids to be seeing a new cartoon short every week, but it would also be good for the animators to show off their work hoping that their short would eventually turn into a TV series.

In the case of What a Cartoon!, the shorts that would eventually turn into TV shows were Cow and Chicken, I am Weasel, Dexter's Laboratory, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo, and The Powerpuff Girls. Thanks to Fred Seibert's innovated TV show, he had started the careers of David Weiss, Genndy Tartatovsky, John R. Dilworth, Van Partible, and Craig McCracken. For the cartoons that didn't get to be TV shows, the animators who were behind it would also become now famous animators such as Rob Renzetti, Bill Burnett, Larry Huber, Donovan Patton, and Seth MacFarlane. Around the late 90's, Cartoon Network showed off its full potential and had released cartoons to millions of people that would eventually become classics.

But wait, I thought this was a Nickelodeon tribute. Why bring up Cartoon Network? Don't worry, I'm getting there.

In 1996, Hanna Barbera Cartoons Inc. was bought by Ted Turner and merged Time Warner with Turner Broadcasting. Many people left Hanna Barbera Cartoons Inc. including Seibert. In 1997, Seibert created his own production studios Frederator Studios and came back to Nickelodeon creating a cartoon show based on What a Cartoon! It was called Oh Yeah! Cartoons which debuted on January 1, 1998.

Similar to What a Cartoon!, Oh Yeah! Cartoons showcased three cartoon shorts lasting for seven minutes to upcoming animators. From brand new animators to animators who had previously created cartoons on What a Cartoon!, they showed both kids and the media their work to potentially have a TV series going. Some of the cartoon shorts consisted of the following:

Tutu the Superina was a cartoon created by Bill Burnett. It was a cartoon about a ballerina superhero who stopped crime. With her crazy elastic legs, Tutu can kick butt while still look elegant.

Zoomates was a cartoon created by Seth MacFarlane and animated by Butch Hartman. It was about an alligator, polar bear, and ostrich living in an apartment together after being taking out of their natural habitats.

Mina and the Count was a cartoon created by Rob Renzetti. Originally debuted as a short on What a Cartoon!, it was about a little girl named Mina who befriends a vampire named the Count. It was rumored that this cartoon would be the inspiration for Maxwell Atoms' cartoon The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

Jamal: The Funny Frog was a cartoon created by Pat Ventura. It's about a frog named Jamal who goes through crazy situations in his normal life.

Out of the 100 cartoon shorts that had debuted in Oh Yeah! Cartoons during its 3 year run, only 3 would eventually become TV shows: The Fairly Oddparents, Chalkzone, and My Life as a Teenage Robot. Overall, both of Seibert's creations of What a Cartoon! and Oh Yeah! Cartoons was innovative and groundbreaking for its time of showcasing new and upcoming artists with their work in a time in which you had to be talented and lucky to even created a cartoon and get a callback to create a series off of it. It was also a neat experience to see the different styles of animation and story telling with each cartoon. If you didn't like one of the shorts, then you get to see the next one. Today, many other shows such as Shorty McShorts' Shorts, Short Circuitz, The Cartoonstitute, Random! Cartoons, and Shut Up! Cartoons had popped out and dished out cartoon shorts of their own.

I highly recommend checking the show out to see the neat cartoon shorts and to see where today's famous animators got their start.

That's all for now. Tune in next time for a very, very special interview by one of the most influencial men on television. Who is it? You have to tune in to find out.

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


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