Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue

Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue

Promotional poster.
Genre Social guidance film
Children's film
Written by Duane Poole
Tom Swale
Directed by Milton Gray
Marsh Lamore
Bob Shellhorn
Mike Svayko
Karen Peterson (supervising)
Voices of See full below
Theme music composer Richard Kosinski
Sam Winans
Paul Buckmaster
Bill Reichenbach
Bob Mann
Guy Moon
Alan Menken
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Buzz Potamkin
Editor(s) Jay Bixsen
Running time 27 min.
Production company(s) Southern Star Productions
Wang Film Productions (animation)
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Distributor McDonald's (sponsorship)
Ronald McDonald Children's Charities (sponsorship)
Buena Vista Home Video
Original network ABC
USA Network
Original release April 21, 1990 (USA)
June 22, 1990 (UK)
January 1, 1991 (Japan)
April 1, 1991 (Australia)
Followed by See below

Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue is a 1990 American animated drug-abuse prevention television special starring many of the popular cartoon characters from American weekday, Sunday morning, and Saturday morning television at the time of this film's release.[1] Financed by McDonald's and Ronald McDonald Children's Charities, the special was originally simulcast on April 21, 1990 on all four major American television networks (by supporting their Saturday morning characters): ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS, and most independent stations, as well as various cable networks.[2][3] McDonald's also distributed a VHS home video edition of the special, produced by Buena Vista Home Video, which opened with an introduction from President George H. W. Bush, and First Lady Barbara Bush. The show was produced by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation and Southern Star Productions, and was animated overseas by Wang Film Productions Co., Ltd.. The musical number "Wonderful Ways to Say No" was written by Academy-Award winning composer, Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, who also wrote the songs for Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

The plot chronicles the exploits of Michael, a teenager who is using marijuana and stealing his father's beer. His younger sister, Corey, is worried about him because he started acting differently. When her piggy bank goes missing, her cartoon tie-in toys come to life to help her find it. After discovering it in Michael's room along with his stash of drugs, the various cartoon characters proceed to work together and take him on a fantasy journey to teach him the risks and consequences a life of drug use can bring.


In Corey's bedroom, an unseen person steals her piggy bank from her dresser. The theft is witnessed by Papa Smurf, who emerges from a Smurfs comic book with the other Smurfs and alerts the other cartoon characters in the room (Garfield as a lamp, ALF from a framed picture, Baby Kermit as an alarm clock, Winnie the Pooh as a doll, Alvin and the Chipmunks from a record sleeve, and Slimer who passes through a wall).

The cartoon characters track down the thief and discover that it is Corey's big brother, Michael. Simon opens a box under Michael's bed and identifies its contents as marijuana. Meanwhile, Corey expresses her concerns about Michael's change in behavior. He storms out of the house. The cartoon characters quickly realize that something must be done about his addiction and they set off, leaving Pooh behind to look after Corey.

At the arcade, Michael smokes pot with his old "friends" and "Smoke", an anthropomorphic cloud of smoke. They run out and are chased into an alleyway by a policeman. The "policeman" is then revealed to be Bugs Bunny wearing a policeman's hat. Bugs traps Smoke in a garbage can and uses a time machine to see when and how Michael's addiction was started.

Inside a Hall of Mirrors, ALF shows Michael his reflection of how he is today, then his reflection if he does not stop taking drugs: an aged, corpse-like version of himself. When Michael insists that he could quit if he wants to and that he is in charge of his own life, ALF takes him to see the "man in charge" — Smoke.

Corey and Pooh re-enter Michael's room and find his marijuana box. Smoke appears and throws Pooh inside a cabinet and tempts Corey to try the drug. Corey reasons that if she does what Michael does, then maybe they could have fun together, like they used to before he started doing drugs.

Michael comes back into his bedroom, just in time to stop Corey from using the drugs herself. He tells her that he never wants to see her end up like him, and admits he was wrong, though he is unsure if he can change. She advises him to talk about his problems to their parents and to her. Smoke tries to persuade him otherwise, but Michael throws him out of the window, as he feels that he "listened to him long enough." While in a garbage truck, Smoke vows to return saying "[Michael] can bet on it!" The special ends with Michael letting Pooh out of the cabinet and Michael and Corey go tell their parents about Michael's drug problem, while Pooh jumps into a poster on the wall with the other cartoon characters.

Cartoon All-Stars

The various characters' owners allowed the use of the characters for free because of the public service aspect of the special.[4][5]

This cartoon marked the first time Warner Bros. cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were voiced by someone other than legendary voice artist Mel Blanc. Blanc had died shortly before the production, and Jeff Bergman was called upon to re-create the voices.[6][7]

The characters, from 10 different franchises, are:

Voice cast



Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue was screened in Australia in November 1990. Like the American broadcast, the special aired simultaneously on Australia's major commercial networks (Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten). Prime Minister Bob Hawke introduced the Australian screening.[8] The show was screened in New Zealand in October 1991 on both TVNZ and TV3 simultaneously. Then-Prime Minister Jim Bolger introduced the program instead of the U.S. President. The program was screened in Canada on the CBC, CTV, and Global Television Networks and most independent stations shortly after its initial U.S. broadcast, although all of the characters had their respective shows aired on either CTV or Global but not CBC. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney introduced the special. A French-language version of the special aired later in the year on SRC as well as on TVA and TQS. The Televisa family of broadcast networks and independent stations aired this special in Mexico shortly after the U.S. broadcast, using the original Spanish-language voice actors of the different characters. The Mexican telecast was introduced by then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.


  1. "Cartoon special: Congressmen treated to preview of program to air on network, independent and cable outlets.". The Los Angeles Times. 1990-04-19. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  2. Bernstein, Sharon (1990-04-20). "Children's TV: On Saturday, networks will simulcast 'Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue,' an animated feature on drug abuse.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  3. "Hollywood and Networks Fight Drugs With Cartoon". New York Times. 1990-04-21. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
  4. Bernstein, Sharon (1990-04-20). "That's Not All, Folks—Cartoons Join Drug War: Children's TV: On Saturday, networks will simulcast 'Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue,' an animated feature on drug abuse.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  5. Gerstenzang, James; Decker, Cathleen (1990-03-03). "Bush Praises TV for Enlisting Cartoon Heroes in War on Drugs President's visit: He brings his anti-drug message to Southland entertainment executives and schoolchildren.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  6. Flint, Peter B. (July 11, 1989). "Mel Blanc, Who Provided Voices For 3,000 Cartoons, Is Dead at 81". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-26. Mel Blanc, the versatile, multi-voiced actor who breathed life into such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Pie, Sylvester and the Road Runner, died of heart disease and emphysema yesterday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 81 years old.
  7. "Jeff Bergman". behind the voice actors. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  8. Toons join the drug war! TV Week, November 3, 1990
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