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Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue is an animated drug prevention television special starring many of the popular cartoon characters from Americanmarker Saturday morning television. Financed by McDonald's, the special was originally simulcast on April 21, 1990 on all three major Americanmarker television networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS, most independent stations and cable networks Nickelodeon and USA Network. McDonald's also distributed a VHS home video edition of the special, produced by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, which opened with an introduction from then-President George H. W. Bush, and First Lady Barbara Bush. The show was produced by Southern Star Productions for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and was animated overseas by Wang Film Productions.

Plot

The plot chronicles the exploits of Michael, a teenager who goes from eating bagels to smoking marijuana and stealing his father's beer. His younger sister, Corey, is worried about him because he's 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 Michael's room along with his stash of drugs, the various cartoon characters proceed to band together and take Michael on a fantasy journey to teach him the risks and consequences a life of drug-use can bring.

Synopsis

In Corey's bedroom, an unseen person steals her piggy bank from her dresser. The theft is witnessed by Papa Smurf, who emerges from a Smurfs comic book (along with the other Smurfs) and alerts the other cartoon characters in the room (Garfield as a bedside lamp, Alf from a framed picture, Baby Kermit as an alarm clock, Winnie the Pooh as a doll, Alvin and the Chipmunks who emerge from a record sleeve, and finally Slimer, who simply passes through a wall).

The cartoon characters track down the thief and are appalled when they discover that it is Corey's big brother, Michael. Simon opens a box under Michael's bed and identifies its contents as marijuana. Meanwhile, Corey expresses her concerns about Michael's recent change in behavior. He storms out of the house. The cartoon characters quickly realise that something will have to be done about Michael's addiction and that they are the ones to do it and they set off, leaving Pooh behind.

At the arcade, Michael smokes pot with his old friends, and "Smoke", an anthropomorphic cloud of smoke. Upon being discovered, Michael and Smoke run out and are chased into an alleyway by a policeman. Smoke disappears through the wall, telling Michael that, "at times like this, he's on his own". The "policeman" was then revealed to be, in fact, Bugs Bunny wearing a policeman's hat. Bugs traps Smoke in a trash can and uses a time machine (borrowed from Wile E. Coyote) to see when and how Michael's addiction was started -- it was discovered that rather than wanting to get started on drugs, he was bullied into doing it by his "friends".

Back at the house, Michael's father notes that two of his beers are missing, but eventually decides that he drank them last night while watching football (Michael stole them, oblivious to his dad).

Meanwhile, Michael's mother expresses her concerns about Michael to Corey and asks her if there is anything wrong, to which Corey reluctantly replies no. Pooh comes to life soon after, and asks her why she didn't tell her mother about Michael. Corey explains that if she tells and Michael gets in trouble, she will be the first one he will suspect. Pooh admits that this may happen, but asks Corey to think about what will happen to Michael if she doesn't tell. Corey tries to explain things to her father, but this attempt is unsuccessful.

In the park, one of Michael's enemies says that she can buy crack cocaine for ten dollars. Michael is uncertain of this, but Smoke steals his wallet and tosses it to the enemy, who runs off with it down an alleyway. Michael gives chase but falls down a manhole with Smoke. There, they are greeted by Michelangelo, Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy and Baby Gonzo.

The Muppet Babies take Michael on a roller-coaster ride through a drug inflicted human brain. At the end of their ride, Michael realises that the brain they just toured through is his brain and that they are currently inside him while he is about to fall off a skateboard. The Muppet Babies escape from the brain, but Michael and Smoke are left behind.

Michael wakes up at the feet of Huey, Dewey, and Louie who, with the other characters and Tigger, teach Michael Wonderful Ways to Say No, through song.

Michael wakes up in his own bedroom and dismisses his whole experience as a nightmare. At that moment, Corey comes into the room and tells Michael that Pooh wants to know why he never talks to their parents anymore. Michael tells her to tell Pooh to mind his own business and throws her out of the room. Corey runs off in tears.

Michael instantly regrets his violent behavior. However, Smoke comes out from under the bed and insists that he did the right thing. Michael points out that Corey is his little sister and that he doesn't know what's right anymore. As he stares into a mirror inside his marijuana box, his reflection is replaced with Alf's, who pulls him through the box into a hall of mirrors. Smoke attempts to follow but is left behind.

Inside the Hall of Mirrors, Alf shows Michael his reflection of how he is today, then his reflection if he doesn't stop taking drugs: an aged, corpse-like version of himself.(note: at this part, Alf says that the corpse is not Freddy Krueger.) When Michael 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' -- Smoke.

Corey and Pooh re-enter Michael's room and finds Michael's marijuana box. Smoke appears and tempts her to try the drug. When Pooh tries to persuade Corey otherwise, he is thrown into a cabinet by Smoke. Corey reasons that if she does what Michael does, then maybe they could have fun together, like they used to before Michael started doing drugs.

Michael comes to a fortune telling tent and asks the stall tender (Daffy Duck) to see his future for him. Daffy at first doesn't realize that he's looking into a bowling ball until Michael points it out, and swaps it for a crystal ball. Daffy's crystal ball shows Michael lying on his death bed, his face even more ravaged than when Alf showed it to him. Michael is horrified by the prospect of this being his future, but Daffy tells him that it can be avoided if he stops taking drugs.

Michael runs out of a nearby door back into his bedroom, just in time to stop Corey from using the drugs herself. Michael tells Corey that he never wants to see her taking drugs ever again and admits that he was wrong, though he is unsure if he can change. Corey advises him to talk about his problems to their parents and to her. Smoke tries to persuade Michael otherwise, but Michael throws him out of the window, as he feels that he has "listened to him long enough". As he lands in a dump truck, Smoke vows to return. Michael sadly admits that Smoke is right, and that he will try to return, Corey agrees but says that "when he gets here we'll be ready for him".

The special ends with Michael and Corey going to tell their parents about Michael's drug problem, while Pooh jumps into a poster on the wall with the other cartoon characters.

Cartoon all-stars

The special was able to get so many characters from various franchises because the license holders gave producers royalty-free access due to the public service aspect of the special. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy were marked to make an appearance (despite that Mickey and Donald were both seen smoking in early cartoons) but were replaced with Huey, Dewey and Louie .

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

The characters, from 10 different franchises, are:

Cast

Family



Bad guys



Good guys



Similarities to other works

The story is similar to Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", with the cartoon characters showing Michael the drugs in his past, present and future life, and showing what they have done and what they will do unless he stops taking them. In "A Christmas Carol", Ebenezer Scrooge was shown the past, present and future, through the spirits of Christmas. Coincidentally, George C. Scott, who voiced Smoke in this special, played Scrooge in the 1984 film adaptation of the novel.

International screenings

  • The show was screened in New Zealandmarker in October 1991 on both TV2 and TV3 simultaneously. The Prime Minister of New Zealand introduced the program instead of the U.S. President.
  • The show was screened in Germanymarker on all major TV broadcasters in the late 1990s. Reruns were shown through 1992. A VHS Tape was available for sale and rent through 1996. The German version featured most of the original German voiceactors of the different characters. However the President Bush intro was ommited with Annemarie Renger the former German President of the Bundestag in his place.


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