Raw Toonage

Raw Toonage

Raw Toonage was a half hour Disney animated cartoon series aired on the CBS network in the fall of 1992. There were 12 episodes (a 13th one was in production but was never completed).

History and production

The idea for the show had an unusual genesis. Disney TV was developing a 65-half hour series for their Disney Afternoon block entitled He's Bonkers. The premise was similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit in that the lead character, Bonkers, was a cartoon living in the real world. He had at one time been the star of his own show on Saturday morning, but after it was canceled he became a policeman. The series dealt with his adventures post-stardom. The actual production of this series was troubled, in large part because the so-called real characters in the series were also animated, only not as broadly as Bonkers and friends.

At the same time, Michael Eisner had purchased the rights to the popular Belgian comic strip Marsupilami. At some point, someone had the post-modern idea to actually make the cartoons that Bonkers had starred in before becoming a policeman, and the show that would become Raw Toonage was born. The additional segment, Totally Tasteless Video, was intended as a satire of popular culture, not a proving ground for new stars. The host was added to give the show the familiar feel of the World of Disney show.

Though it looked like the longer show was spun off from the shorts, the reverse is actually true. Due to the shorter production schedule, Raw Toonage, with its Bonkers shorts, was on the air before the 65-half hour show, thus adding some credibility to the back story.

Raw Toonage typically opened with an introduction by a famous character from Disney (such as Goofy), who attempted to share some of their expertise with the audience; then the show had a few of the above mentioned shorts chained in a row, rounding out the half hour.

The premise of the Bonkers shorts was that Bonkers was a delivery person, though the concept was treated pretty loosely. Bonkers was usually assisted by Jitters A. Dog. Conflict was provided by Bonkers' near-obsessional and unrequited love for Fawn Deer.

The Marsupilami cartoons took the look of the character and his amazing tail from the comic books but little else. He was given the voice and personality of a wise-cracking, fun-loving free spirit. He was most often opposed by Foreman Norman, a building contractor determined to let no green thing remain in the jungle, and Ted Fez.

Totally Tasteless video ran the gamut, with each show done in a different style. They were story edited by Tom Minton, who later would write many Pinky and the Brain episodes at Warner Bros.. The first Totally Tasteless video segment was a parody of movie coming attraction trailers, followed by a spoof on the TV series Doogie Howser. One show dealt with a purposely badly animated super-hero; another was a Robin Hood twist in the Jay Ward style.

Larry Latham produced and directed the Bonkers, Totally Tasteless Video and host segments; Ed Wexler produced and directed Marsupilami. At least one of the Marsupilami cartoons was produced with the idea of a theatrical run in mind.

Reruns of the show were aired on both Disney Channel and Toon Disney. "Disney's Raw Toonage" was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the category of outstanding writing in an animated program in 1993.

Totally Tasteless Videos

  • Badly Animated Man (episode 11, aired November 28, 1992); written by John Behnke, Rob Humphrey & Jim Peterson: Introduced as, "Meet Badly Animated Man, the superhero who can leap over a tall building with a single drawing, and who wields a Two-Frame-a-Minute Punch." Satirizing older and cheap superhero cartoons, the premise was that Badly Animated Man would intentionally use poor drawings to stop well-animated villains. The voice was provided by Gary Owens, who also was the original voice of the Hanna Barbera characters Space Ghost and Blue Falcon.



  • Cotter, Bill (1997). The Wonderful World of Disney Television : A Complete History'. Disney Editions.

External links

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