the Internet's largest memorial to the late great
Kids WB (1995-2008).
Kids WB is the only
children's programming block to actually outlast
the network it was aired on, and its initial
six-cartoon lineup was, in my opinion, the
greatest Saturday Morning lineup in television
history. If you're into Kids WB, read on to
relive the first moments, or click up above to
watch over 100 promo spots. And if you had anything
else planned for the next few hours, kiss it all
I had no
Internet in 1995 and so the first announcement I
ever heard regarding Kids WB was this 60-second
promo that aired throughout the summer. I give
them a D- for effort as far as concealing the
"mystery" of the shadowed characters.
they hadn't used the Animaniacs theme as the
background music, Portland's WB 32 spoiled it
anyway. This started appearing in August and it
undeniably contained new Animaniacs footage,
which for a season-starved megafan was quite the
sight. In addition, they also ran the entire
"Brainstem" song from Pinky and the
Brain one month early, and Brain said
something different at the end:
"Now....let's get this show on the road.
To show off
its debut season, The WB created one of those
prime-time Saturday Morning preview shows that
used to be all the rage. Not many people know
this special exists, because WB affiliates were
not obligated to show it. They had the option of
broadcasting it, but the WB didn't cover Friday
nights yet, and they could only send them the
tape and suggest they do something with it. My
affiliate aired the special, but on Saturday
morning itself, immediately AFTER the cartoons
This is all
there is. I got annoyed with it two minutes in
and quit recording. I might have had it all if
the incentive to catch real previews was there,
but the only new portions of this now were of WB
"stars" obnoxiously mugging for the
camera. This was the most annoying part of the
block's first two seasons, and once you start
watching the bumpers you'll agree with me. In the
beginning The WB and Kids WB were often
synergized to force kids into watching the whole
network. The cross-pollination between the WB's
terrible prime-time lineup and their superior
cartoons was taken to such an extreme that I saw
twice as much of Tia and Tamera as I did of Pinky
and the Brain.
"Stick around for more
Kids WB! It's a stick of gum, get it?"
There's only so much Harland Williams I can take
before I explode.
Finally, on September 9, the
fated day arrived....at six in the morning, so I
had to set the VCR. I taped almost the entire
first day of Kids WB (the tape cuts off after
Freakazoid ends), and I saved the tape for just
such an occasion as this. Wanna re-watch with me?
new episode of Animaniacs Kids WB showed was the
third produced--episode 72, the one where they
met Sherlock Holmes, Walter Wolf faked his death
to get revenge on Slappy, and TWO verbal shots at
Disney's "Bonkers" were taken. But the
highlight of the ep was the phony
"Previously, on Animaniacs" re-cap at
the front. They did this bit well, and before
Family Guy or anyone else thought of it.
we were being pitched all sorts of products.
GRIZZLIES: How are these new Teddy
Grahams better than the originals? For one thing,
their backsides are covered in fudge and
sprinkles, so they're even worse for your health.
Another thing that makes them better is that they
are not only grizzlies, the fiercest of wild
bears, but grizzlies into extreme sports.
And to cap it all off, they're perpetually
nauseated and look like they could barf at any
time! That Nabisco Thing had his finger on the
pulse of preteen America.
BARBIE: For the time period, it not only
made sense but was inevitable. Barbie runs in
slow-motion on the beach, her wet plastic skin
glistening with sunlight, sporting the skimpiest
"Baywatch"-logo-branded pink swimsuit
Mattel would allow. She finds a dolphin in some
kind of trouble and gives it CPR. The dolphin
makes a full recovery and leaps over her Free
Willy style, guided by a little girl's hand.
"And now they're together, best friends
foreverrrrr!" sings the Barbie songstress
who never came on camera to be identified.
MAGIC MARY: Flower Magic Mary appeared
on every show. Her magical powers were limited to
making cloth flowers appear whenever you pushed
her watering can on something. Mary was powerless
without the can; some magician she was. Locally,
there were a lot of ads for tractors, and I don't
know how many tractor-buyers were watchers of
Freakzoid, nor how many would decide they
couldn't live without Flower Magic Mary.
Animaniacs came the first episode of Sylvester
and Tweety Mysteries. This show stayed on
the longest out of the initial lineup, yet I've
never heard anybody say "I really miss that
Sylvester and Tweety show." Every attempt to
bring back the reruns on cable has been met with
apathetic ratings, and even when it was in
production and kept getting renewed it was just
kind of "there." This first season is
different from all that came after--there's one
story per episode, not two, and there's an
attempt to make the mysteries more than
half-baked. Eventually the formula became
"they go somewhere, a crime is committed,
Sylvester chases Tweety for the next ten minutes,
then they stumble on the solution, next
part of Sylvester and Tweety was the
cameos from obscure Looney Tunes characters--just
about everyone got a turn. Rocky and Mugsy from
"The Unmentionables" appear in episode
1, "The Cat Who Knew Too Much." Cool
Cat, the most obscure Looney Tune ever,
eventually appeared in every episode.
and Tweety went all over the globe on this show.
Their first stop was New Orleans. Yes, Granny
walks in with beads and says "You wouldn't
believe what I had to do to get these."
something a lot of people never noticed: Sylvester
and Tweety Mysteries had a joke credit. In
an idea ripped from Animaniacs' Kathryn Page,
S&T staff member Paul Trandahl was listed as
something different every time. In the first
episode he's credited as "Colonel
Rimfire." They hadn't started putting Cool
Cat in every episode, but Colonel Rimfire was the
name of the guy who hunted him.
& T came another brand-new Animaniacs
episode, and boy was it delicious. It began with
a pitch-perfect Power Rangers parody ("Here,
have a fat-free yogurt") and continued into
a Slappy Squirrel cartoon directed by none other
than Baynartz/Charlton Woodchuck. I must have
watched it again about fifty times.
As if life
wasn't good enough this morning, Pinky and The
Brain were about to get an entire series to
themselves. I initially assumed this was going to
be like The Plucky Duck Show and would consist of
one episode followed by recycled Pinky and The
Brain footage from Animaniacs. But thankfully,
this wasn't Fox and I would eventually see a full
65-episode series (though in the first season we
did get enough recycled material to make one
wonder if Al Gore was doing the episode editing).
episode, "Das Mouse," involved the
titular mice hijacking the submarine that
captured footage of the sunken Titanic in 1986
and using it to return there. Then they raised
the Titanic with balloons and crashed it next to
Acme Labs. This was so they could....um, get the
ingredients for a hypnotic pancake batter. And
Jim Belushi was involved somewhere. A second new
P&B aired that night in prime time and
involved Brain committing insurance fraud. It
made a little more sense.
later, Kids WB recut footage from "Das
Mouse" for an ad shortly after Titanic
came out where Pinky sang a soundalike ripoff of
"My Heart Will Go On." Too bad I
couldn't give you a video of that one.
Freakazoid. The first time he'd ever been seen
anywhere. Very little had been revealed beyond
one teaser ad that showed a geeky teenager
turning into a large blue man in red tights. But
finally, here he was, WBA's next baby....and I
remember having a definite "WTH"
reaction to this whole episode.
you fibbed to Dex about washing your hair. If
this were an afterschool special OOO you'd pay a
BITTERSWEET PRICE for your little deceit! Like
GETTING BIG OILY ZITS or EATING OFF THE SAME
PLATE AS DAVID LEE ROTH!! OOOOOH! IT'S THE
PLAAATE! AND--AND OOOOOH! HE'S BEEN ON
IT! DON'T YOU SEE? DON'T YOU GET IT??
came back from commercial, he drew a face on his
hand and made it "kiss" the face on the
other hand and the kissing went on for about
three minutes until it ended in his hands getting
married, then having hot hand honeymoon sex under
fireworks. He was definitely freaky. I wasn't
sure what to think.
I came around; I thought Freak's third episode
involving multiple alien sightings in Washington
was total genius. I became a total Freakaphile,
which in 1995 was a lonely position (without the
Internet, anyway). I couldn't convince anyone
else in my class to turn the show on. Later
Freakazoid ran on Cartoon Network, everyone saw
it, and then everyone became a fan--but
it was too late. It was in cold reruns.
Earthworm Jim screens? I already told you the
tape quit at the end of Freakazoid. In fact, I
didn't see the first EWJ episode until December.
"It's based on a video game and it's not
from Warner Bros. so it probably won't be as
good," I thought to myself. I was very
wrong. This show was hilarious and could stand
with Animaniacs and Freakazoid easily--but
despite that, it wasn't treated as well. Most of
Jim's Season 2 episodes were only shown once in
America--it never reached cable.
EWJ episode tread familiar ground to anyone who
knew the plot of the game--Psy-Crow kidnapped
Princess What's-Her-Name (with much difficulty)
and Jim had to save her. The difference was, this
time he did it with a giant robot mech.
Meanwhile, Evil the Cat meets the sweetest little
child in the world and decides "He MUST be
destroyed." The scene where the mech chases
after Jim was used in the credits of every
So why do I
consider this lineup the greatest Saturday
Morning in kids' TV history? Because thirteen
years later, all these shows still hold up. In
every season there's usually at least one
terrible show you wouldn't touch with a 39 1/2
foot pole. Other cartoons seem good under the
naive minds of children, but turn rotten to them
once they grow up (and God help me, that Hi-C can DOES look like a nice paperweight). This is the rare exception.
All these shows are just as funny and
entertaining today as they were before. The
lighting in a bottle that was Infant Kids WB may
never be seen again.