March 28, 2015

DISNEY'S RAW TOONAGE



DISNEY'S RAW TOONAGE
(CBS, September 12-December 5, 1992)

Walt Disney Television Animation




MAIN CAST:
Jim Cummings – Bonkers D. Bobcat, Norman, Maurice, Don Karnage
Jeff Bennett – Jitters A. Dog
Charlie Adler – Green Frog
Nancy Cartwright – Fawn Deer, Windy
Steve Mackall – Marsupilami


CBS Raw Toonage promo featuring Bonkers D. Bobcat.


            In 1991, Walt Disney Television Animation was in the process of developing a new 65-episode program for its The Disney Afternoon 2-hour programming block called He’s Bonkers D. Bobcat, later renamed simply Bonkers. The show was inspired by the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit as it was focused on Bonkers, an animated bobcat who was fired from Wackytoon Studios and was forced into a new profession as a police officer alongside a human partner. However, the series was beleaguered by numerous production troubles, resulting in its being delayed.


The Marsupilami comic strip.

            Faced with an opening in its programming schedule, someone at Disney suggested they should make the cartoon shorts that Bonkers had supposedly starred in as a lead-up to the series. At roughly the same time, then Disney President Michael Eisner had purchased the rights to the popular Belgian comic strip Marsupilami. With those rights just sitting around, it was decided to expand the idea and create a new show encompassing three segments with different stars. 


Bonkers and his dream of marrying Fawn Deer.

            He’s Bonkers featured the misadventures of Bonkers (Jim Cummings) as he tried to win the affections of Fawn Deer (Nancy Cartwright), usually to disastrous results. Like classic Disney shorts, Bonkers was often depicted in a variety of occupations and time periods with each segment having no connection to the other. Bonkers’ best friend and frequent partner was Jittes A. Dog (Jeff Bennet), a nervous dog who often falls victim to Bonkers’ hijinx. Totally Tasteless Video was an offbeat parody of popular culture, lampooning things such as commercials, movies and entire television networks. Each segment was done in a completely different style. Marsupilami centered on the titular character (Steve Mackall), which was a spotted monkey-like creature with an extremely long tail. Unlike the comic strips from where he originated, he could talk, was easy-going, and hung around with a gorilla named Maurice (Cummings). Together, they dealt with everyday life in the jungle and the constant nuisance of Norman (also Cummings), who appeared in a variety of roles and served as the segment’s main antagonist.


TTV's All-Potato Network promo.

            The series premiered on CBS Saturday mornings on September 12, 1992 with an intro that showcased the primary characters of the series, and for some odd reason, Webby from DuckTales. Typically, each episode featured a Bonkers, Video and Marsupilami segment in that order, although occasionally they would feature four segments and double up on one of them. All but three episodes featured a guest host in a cold open from other Disney properties, such as Scrooge McDuck (Alan Young) from DuckTales, Launchpad McQuack (Terry McGovern) and Goaslyn Mallard (Christine Cavanugh) from Darkwing Duck, Don Karnage (Cummings) from TaleSpin, and the original Disney host Ludwig Von Drake (Corey Burton) from The Wonderful World of Color. Goofy even made an appearance in a segment throwing back to his 1940s shorts. Bonkers, Jitters, Marsupilami and Maurice also had turns hosting segments. Much like other comedy variety shows, these segments were typically unrelated skits and sometimes featured additional characters. Larry Latham produced and directed the Bonkers, Video and host segments while Ed Wexler worked on Marsupilami. Tom Minton served as the story editor for the Video segments. Music for the series was composed by Stephen James Taylor, Mark Watters, Eric Schmidt, Jerry Grant, Walter Murphy and Craig Stuart Garfinkle.


Marsupilami and Maurice.

            The quick production schedule allowed the series to be finished way before Bonkers, allowing it to be aired first and retroactively adding validity to the characters’ fictional background. When Bonkers finally did make it to air as part of The Disney Afternoon, several segments of He’s Bonkers plus one featured only theaters preceding 3 Ninjas were repackaged together into three episodes to fill out the Bonkers episode package. Marsupilami was spun off into its own series the following year, also on CBS (more on that and the character in its entry). The show was rerun on The Disney Channel and Toon Disney, and even received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program and Outstanding Music Direction and Composition in 1993.
 




EPISODE GUIDE:
“Spatula Party / Doggie Schnauzer / Marsupilami Meets Dr. Normanstein” (9/19/92) – Bonkers goes around town to find a spatula to lend to Fawn. / Doggie Schnauzer must save a man who swallowed a washing machine. / Dr. Normanstein is looking for a brain for his new monster.
Host: Ludwig von Drake

“Sheerluck Bonkers / All Potato Network / The Puck Stops Here” (9/26/92) – Bonkers tries to find Fawn’s stolen pendant. / The network caters to an all-potato audience with its programming. / Norman challenges Marsupilami to a game of hockey.
Host: Don Karnage featuring Captain Hook

“Bonkers in Space / Cro-Magnum PI / The Treasure of the Sierra Marsdre” (10/3/92) – Jitters is sent into space while Bonkers is distracted by Fawn. / The stone-age detective investigates a tycoon’s theft of new invention ideas. / Norman works his way into Marsupilami and Maurice’s treasure hunt.
Host: Scrooge McDuck

“Draining Cats and Dogs / Mars vs. Man” (10/10/92) – Bonkers and Jitters rescue Fawn when her pipes burst. / Marsupilami’s tree is removed by Norman to make way for new condos.
Host: Sebastian the crab featuring Chef Louie

“Get Me to the Church on Time / So You Think You Know Everything, Do You? / Someone’s In the Kitchen With Mars” (10/17/92) – Bonkers tries to get Jitters to his wedding on time. / Two geniuses compete against each other and a dog on a game show. / Marsupilami and Maurice go after their fruit basket stolen by Chef Norman.
 Host: Jitters A. Dog

“Ski Patrol / Poultrygeist / Romancing the Clone / Goofy’s Guide to the Olympics” (10/24/92) – Ambulance drivers Bonkers and Jitters rush to Grumbles’ aid. / A house built on the site of an old fast-food restaurant is haunted by the chickens served there. / Marsupilami falls in love with Norman who wears a female Marsupilami costume. / Goofy demonstrates various track and field events.
Host: Bonkers D. Bobcat

“Get Me a Pizza (Hold the Minefield) / Nightmare on Rocky Road / Wannabe Ruler? / The Porker’s Court” (10/31/92) – A black and white newsreel shows Bonkers delivering pizzas to the front line during WWI. / A boy’s wish turns the world into ice cream and unleashes the evil Freddy Scooper. / Marsupilami and Norman compete to lead the Wannabe tribe and get their treasure. / The three pigs take their big bad wolf landlord to TV court.
Host: None

“Dogzapoppin’ / Bathtime for Maurince / A Fear of Kites” (11/7/92) – Bonkers can’t get past Grumbles’ nasty dog to deliver a package to him. / Marsupilami tries to get Maurice to bathe. / Bellhop Norman won’t let Marsupilami and Maurice retrieve their kite from the hotel roof.
Host: Launchpad McQuack

“Trailmix Bonkers / The Young and the Nestless / Coming Attractions / Jungle Fever” (11/14/92) – Trailmix Bonkers battles the Grumbles Kid to get two money plates to California. / Marsupilami reminisces about when he and Maurice fought Norman over a comic collection. / Ads for the snack bar, Totzilla and Rambone. / Marsupilami looks for a cure for a sick Maurice.
Host: None

“Witch Doctor is Which? / Robin Hoof / The Hairy Ape” (11/21/92) – Witch Doctor Norman curses Marsupilami so that he could be the happiest person in the jungle. / Robin Hoof and Milk Maid Marion protect Sherwood Forest from evil royalty. / Norman captures Maurice to bring him to a zoo.
Host: Gosalyn Mallard featuring Ludwig Von Drake

“Quest for Firewood / Badly Animated Man / Safari So Good” (11/28/92) – Cavecat Bonkers searches for firewood for his tribe. / A superhero who is badly animated. / Norman’s aunt visit and takes a liking to Marsupilami.
Host: Marsupilami and Maurice

“Gobble Gobble Bonkers / Hot Spots / My New Shoes / Prime Mates Forever” (12/5/92) – Jitters doesn’t realize Bonkers is taking his turkey to Grumbles for dinner. / Norman takes over the watering hole during a heatwave. / A kid raps about what he can do with his new shoes. / Marsupilami tries to help Maurice woo a female gorilla.
Host: None

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