Wednesday, October 18, 2006

We're Gonna Have Some Fun

Has anybody ever compiled a complete list of the prime-time TV shows that were made into Saturday morning cartoons? In the '80s, there was an explosion of tie-in cartoons meant to promote the network's prime-time lineup; many if not most of them had the actors from the prime-time show voicing the animated versions of their characters. None of these shows were exactly remakes of the originals -- they couldn't be, because they couldn't start doing stories that the prime-time version wanted to do. So they all came up with new places to put the characters: Laverne and Shirley joined the army, Fonzie and the gang (except Potsie) were zapped into a time machine; Punky Brewster had a magical friend with an annoying Frank Welker voice. Scott Shaw! has recalled that Hanna-Barbera was at one point commissioned by CBS to do an animated version of WKRP with all the characters as dogs. (Then the prime-time version started to slip in the ratings and plans for the animated tie-in were called off.) There must have been others that actually made it to air.

One other one -- from Hanna-Barbera, like all of the above except "Punky Brewster" (which was Ruby-Spears) -- was the animated version of The Dukes of Hazzard, where Hanna-Barbera dusted off their old "Wacky Races" plots in the story of a round-the-world race between Them Duke Boys (with Daisy) and Boss Hogg (with Rosco). The first season was made when the prime-time version had replaced Bo and Luke with the Scab Duke Boys (tm), Coy and Vance, so Hanna-Barbera obligingly used the Fake Dukes:

Then Bo and Luke came back, and so the second season of the cartoon put them in the same format with no apparent explanation as to how they joined the race:

The '80s: where every cartoon was meant to sell something, be it a toy or a prime-time show.

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