|Karen and Kirby.
December 24, 2016
THE BIG CARTOONIE SHOW
THE BIG CARTOONIE SHOW
(WB, January 16, 1999-August 24, 2000)
Warner Bros. Animation, Amblin Entertainment
Cheryl Chase – Karen (season 2)
Richard Steven Horvitz – Kirby (season 2)
The Cat & Birdy Warneroonie Pinky Brainy Big Cartoonie Show, or The Big Cartoonie Show for short, was a compilation program comprised of reruns of the various shows made by Warner Bros. Animation since the inception of its television production division. The network had ceased ordering new episodes of those shows in favor of airing acquired programming, which would ultimately end up being cheaper. However, they recognized the ratings those shows pulled in and wanted to continue airing them as a means to perhaps attract their audience to their new shows.
Beginning on January 16, 1999 as part of the Kids’ WB programming block on The WB, the show was initially an hour and a half in length. The first four episodes featured classic Looney Tunes shorts with new title cards, as well as segments culled from episodes of Animaniacs, The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, Pinky and the Brain. The remaining episodes of Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain, which was cancelled the month prior after just six episodes aired, were broken up into individual segments and aired as part of The Big Cartoonie Show.
The series’ intro featured a giant CGI pinball machine representative of the Warner Bros. Studio lot. Clips of the various characters were edited out of their episodes and shown running around the machine. The theme song featured lines sung by Rob Paulsen as Yakko Warner and Pinky, Tress MacNeille as Dot Warner, Jess Harnell as Wakko Warner, Sherri Stoner as Slappy Squirrel, Nancy Cartwright as Mindy, Maurice LaMarche as Brain, and Jeff McCarthy as Michigan J. Frog, The WB’s mascot. When Kids’ WB! began airing Pokemon on February 13, the show was reduced to a half hour with the Looney Tunes and Sylvester parts removed.
Despite being mostly reruns, the show proved popular in the ratings and earned itself a second season, expanding to air on weekdays as well as Saturday morning. The entire line-up was changed, removing everything except Animaniacs and adding on segments from Tiny Toon Adventures. The name was changed to The Cat & Bunny Warneroonie SuperLooney Big Cartoonie Show as a result, and two new host characters were introduced: Karen (Cheryl Chase) and Kirby (Richard Steven Horvitz).
Karen and Kirby were rendered in a computer animation style that was markedly different from the shows they introduced. The intro was reworked to feature Karen and Kirby setting the pinball in motion and various characters from the removed shows were replaced with Tiny Toons characters. The song’s wording was updated with the new title, and MacNeille and LaMarche’s characters Babs Bunny and Dizzy Devil were given lines. The second season wasn’t as successful as the first and the show was cancelled in August of 2000.