Animation History
October 17, 2023 posted by Jerry Beck

What TV Cartoons Should Be Forgotten?

Back on May 22nd, 2022, Mark Arnold and I established a Facebook group, just for the fun of it, called TV Cartoons That Time Forgot. It would be a page where folks could post about animated cartoons they recalled from their youth that had gone AWOL over time, essentially being completely forgotten at this point.

“The Great Grape Ape”

It’s become phenomenally successful – with over 40 thousand members joined as of this week. One of our members (sorry, I forgot who) recently posted a thread asking “What TV Cartoons Should Be Forgotten?”. At first I laughed at that question… and then thought about it a little further. There are definitely a few cartoons, TV shows, and characters we could all do without. Ones that make us squirm or cringe if brought into the conversation.

For me, I wish that Walter Lantz had stopped making theatrical cartoons after 1960. I still recall seeing a movie with my family around 1970 (I would have been 15 and seriously “into” classic animation at that point) and a Paul Smith “Woody” came on screen. I recall shrinking into my seat, as my sisters teased me about this awful short – six minutes of pure pain. Six minutes I’ll never get back – nor will my sisters ever let me forget. The good news is I’ve forgotten what exact cartoon it was.

A series, a specific character or an individual short – what do you think is deserved of erasing from history? You can answer in the comments below… for me I have five or six that immediately come to mind. In no particular order:

Luno (Terrytoons 1963)

The whole series, all of them, should be blocked from memory. Boring. Awful. And incredibly, these were made for theaters? They aren’t funny (are they supposed to be?); They aren’t educational (were they supposed to be?); They aren’t very well written. My guess is these were meant to be a TV series, and maybe even CBS rejected them – so they were pawned off to Fox to fill their theatrical contract. Snore….

Sir Blur (Paramount, 1966-67 – Shamus Culhane)

No pun intended, but you can “see” right through this one. Culhane tried to re-use the Mr. Magoo formula of a near-sighted old man – but set in medieval times. The results: unfunny, unartful, dreck. Did they only make three of these? – That’s three too many! Avoid at all costs.

Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet The Groovie Goolies (Filmation, 1972)

I’ve spoke of this monstrosity before. 1972 – The low point in the history of animation. So low that Warner Bros. “loaned” their star characters (mercifully, not Bugs Bunny) to Filmation for a direct-to Saturday Morning movie. I’ve written about this one before… it’s an abominable mess, with limited animation, voices sped up incorrectly and an annoying laugh track (not to mention the bland stock background music). You’ve been warned…

The Beary Family (Lantz, 1961-1972)

Shoot them all. The whole family. Paul Smith’s 1960s-70s Woody and Chilly’s are bad enough, but these are the worst. Ugly art, corny verbal gags and even cornier visuals. So happy Paul Frees got an extra paycheck from this. The groans from audiences when these cartoons came on in front of Universal features like Airport or Play Misty For Me can still be heard.

The Big World of Little Adam (Fred Ladd, 1967)

I knew Fred Ladd and I admired his ingenuity. But I hate these. Fred got the bright idea of getting public domain animation stock footage, free from the Federal Government, and built a series of educational “cartoons” around them. In New York, these were shown along side Casper and Underdog cartoons. And he spared no expense creating new animation wrap arounds with “Little Adam” and his brother. Literally, he “spared no expense”; in other words: He spent not one dime! (Catchy theme song though)….

The Great Grape Ape (Hanna Barbera, 1975)

Unlike my friends who STOPPED watching Saturday morning cartoons when they were 12… I continued watching them religiously until THIS show came on in 1975. For the first time, I finally felt ridiculous watching a Saturday morning cartoon. Yes, I know it was aimed at children (and I was 20); but this one was just… stupid. My brain cels were deteriorating as I watched it. Magilla Gorilla in purple. That was it – Saturday morning had worn me down (this said, I found shows and characters to like in later years). No wonder Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures seemed like a godsend to many of us.

You know I don’t go hatin’ on cartoons as a rule – but this post is an exception. Now it’s your turn… but if you’ll pardon me, I have to go throw up now.


  • My 10/11 year old self (in the 1970s, not in the United States) got to watch cartoons old and new, American and European, good and bad. I thought then that Calimero was the very bottom of the barrel. The animation was minimal, the character was sappy and annoying. Zero fun.

  • I have a sentimental relationship with the Filmation Looney Tunes special, due to the full black-and-white copy being one of the first things I traded with my (now) wife. That said, it’s not a good special. It’s entertaining, if you love oddities and/or the Groovie Goolies. But it’s wholly a mess. Filmation probably could have reasonably enough played it straight, and just did a “Daffy Duck as King Arthur” special, which seems to be what they want to focus on instead of just about anything else. The Loonies and the Groovies hardly interact with each other at that.

    I do feel there is some merit, or at least intrigue with the special. That background of Daffy’s giant, framed portrait as a director is killer. There’s also a pan background full of some fun Daffy faces lifted straight from a 60s model sheet. The live action segment is easily the best part of the whole special, and it was absolutely criminal of German distributor Select Video to cut it from their VHS release. All else said: I won’t accept any flak towards Ray Ellis’s music on my watch!

    As for shows worth forgetting: Filmation’s Hero High. I say this as a strong Filmation apologist. I could hardly sit through it. Board artist Robert Lamb once described boarding an “evil twin” episode with the doppelganger being a poorly-made marionette, to which story head Arthur Nadel took offense to, feeling it gave off the message of the protagonists being idiots. Watch any episode of the show, and I’d argue that was true.
    And it’s still not the worst cartoon I’ve ever seen.

  • There are many shows I could name, but most of them were made by talented people unfortunately handicapped by minuscule budgets, network interference, sponsor demands, and above all the heavy hand of Standards & Practices. But there is one abominable show I discovered just recently that deserves to be remembered, if at all, purely as a cautionary tale on the dangers of good intentions.

    “The Little Clowns of Happytown” was the misbegotten hellspawn of the Q5 Corporation, a consulting firm of child psychologists hired by ABC to harass and stifle the creative people behind the network’s Saturday morning lineup. When this failed to improve ratings, Q5 complained that it was because they didn’t have enough control. Instead of being given finished scripts and designs to butcher after the fact, they wanted full creative control over a show from its inception. ABC agreed, and the result was “The Little Clowns of Happytown”, which premiered in September 1987 and ran for eighteen episodes. The series was so abysmal that ABC severed its ties with Q5, and the firm subsequently died a quick and all too deserved death.

    The show, as anyone could guess, concerns a cadre of clown children who attend clown school and dedicate themselves to bringing happiness to their home town of Happytown. The villain of the piece is one Awful B. Bad, who is equally dedicated to spreading unhappiness. He has two henchmen whom he constantly abuses (why don’t they just quit?) and who assist him in his weekly plots to make the people of Happytown unhappy; in one episode, for example, he steals all their pets. The little clowns invariably foil his schemes, but Awful B. Bad himself neither receives any comeuppance nor has any change of heart. I find it incredible that anyone with a background in child psychology could think this show would have a positive impact on children.

    One of the story editors told the Los Angeles Times regarding Q5: “They aren’t merely researching trends; they’re trying to engage in social engineering. There’s absolutely no passion with these people. There is no sense of honor, of anger, of deep emotion, of love. They’re bland-izers; they try to hammer out all of the high and low points of being a human being. I can see we’re not doing Dostoevsky on Saturday morning, but there has to be some leeway to create characters who are free to express themselves.”

    Interestingly, the showrunner for the series was legendary television writer Chuck Lorre, later the driving force behind “Big Bang Theory” and other successful comedies. There is no mention of “The Little Clowns of Happytown” on his website.

    • Comes to think of it, I don’t think Peppa Pig was made with any passion, and yet it has a theme park?

    • Q5 was also responsible for the neutering of The Real Ghostbusters, which turned a cartoon as good as the movies it was based on into typical Saturday morning dreck, with requests like “Make Janine more passive and round out her glasses, as it scares children” (J. Michael Straczynski, the head writer and showrunner for the first ABC season and the syndicated season, made fun of this decision by writing “Janine, You’ve Changed, which made her redesign the result of a ghost) “Make Winston (the black character) the driver”, “add three kid-appeal characters (the Junior Ghostbusters, which Straczynski was only willing to write if he got to run them over with a truck), and “make the ghosts less threatening”. Needless to say, the quality (with the exception of a handful of episodes written by Straczynski that ignored these rules) of the show quickly went downhill until it was cancelled.

  • Here are a few forgotten cartoons that would probably not fly today:

    Go Go Gophers
    The whole premise of this show was based on political incorrectness, but as a kid I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved all of the characters.

    Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch
    A rehash of Hanna-Barbera premises that had been used before (such as in Wally Gator) to better effect. Not that I object to this show or even to re-watching, but it wasn’t the most original or exciting cartoon, and each episode was fairly predictable. Despite first-class voice work from Daws Butler, John Stephenson, and other Hanna-Barbera stalwarts.

    The Brady Kids
    My main objection to this show was its lack of consistency to its live-action counterpart. The kids always wore the exact same clothes in every episode. Their dog was named Tiger on the sitcom but for this show it was renamed as Mop Top. The personalities of the kids were also skewed from their personalities on the show–for example, Jan was usually shown in the cartoon as a kind of scientific wizard. And there were no parents and no Alice to be seen, nor was their house in evidence. Aside from the voices, there was basically no similarity between this cartoon and the show it was based upon.

    The Barkleys
    If I recall correctly this show had a sort of “All in the Family” premise with a highly bigoted dog as head of the family. I don’t recall any other kid ever mentioning that he or she watched it.

    The Chattanooga Cats–it won’t let me spell it the way I’m trying to.
    This now was another one that I loved as a kid, but it would probably never fly today, being rooted in its time as it was.

    The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
    Great theme song, and some good vocals with some very decent backup songs. But much as I loved it in the day, it’s too politically incorrect to survive. There were some clever plot resolutions, although honestly there wasn’t much variation aside from the settings. There were too many kids in the family for distinctive personalities to emerge, although the writers and child actors really did try to make each kid stand out one way or another.

    The Woody Woodpecker Show Saturday morning version
    After looking forward to reconnecting with this classic series when it was being rebroadcast, I was disappointed. No Walter Lantz introductions. None of the repartee between Woody and his “boss”. Woody crashed through the roof at the opening but instead of falling into Walter Lantz’s study, the show went into the cartoons with no intros whatsoever. All of the live-action stuff that had made the show so much fun was gone. I was heartsick that this was not the show I remembered.

    These Are the Days
    I don’t think anybody but myself ever watched it. I’m not sure it even lasted one full season before it was yanked. Not too exciting is mainly what I remember about it.

    • The Brady Kids show also gave them a pair of pet pandas named “Ping” and “Pong” (cringeworthy stereotypes, anyone?), most likely to cash in on the then-current “pandamania” following China sending two pandas to the National Zoo, the first pandas in an American zoo since the 1930’s.

      • There’s an interview with Sherwood Schwartz (the producer of The Brady Bunch) on YouTube where he talks about The Brady Kids. He told the producers to make the show a fantasy, and not “compete” with the live-action version. When they did an episode about Greg running for Student Council President, he objected that that was too realistic a plot-line. The reason there were no adults was that the show was focusing on the kids and their adventures.

        I assume they made Jan a “scientific wizard” because she wore glasses. Girls who wear glasses are always geniuses.

        The show I loved to hate when I was a kid was “Devlin,” a show about a motorcycle daredevil in a circus (no doubt inspired by Evel Kneivel, then all the rage). After every one of his stunts, it would cut to a shot of the crowd applauding—always the same clip. “It’s the same people! Do they follow him from town to town?”

      • …and what was even worse about The Brady Kids was that someone decided that the kids should have their own band and sing a song every show. And in true Filmation style,when the Brady kids played a song, their movements, etc. were exact duplicates of the Archies when *they* played a song.

    • I was also one of a very few who remembers “These Are The Days”. It was a series about a family whose last name was Day and it was set in the early 1900s. It aired on ABC in the mid 1970s. Although it was not in the same time period as “The Waltons”, which took place in the 1930s, I got the impression that the series tried to capitalize on what made “The Waltons” popular at the time, that being nostalgia for bygone days. It had a nice introduction and decent artwork, but the whimsical stories just did not click with most Saturday morning viewers. I would not say it was a forgettable series but rather one whose writers and producers did not seem to know who their intended audience was.

  • This is very interesting, Mr. Beck, because off and on, for several years, I’ve thought about what you wrote at the beginning of your famous 1989 book “Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies:”

    “About this filmography: Yes, we have watched every cartoon listed in this book – and it has been a labor of love.”

    It seems to me that, for the Warner Bros. cartoons of the mid- to late 1960s, it must have been just a labor.

    Is there _any_ cartoon in that bunch worth watching?

    I watched a few of those several years ago, just out of curiosity, and they made me gag. For example, the first Daffy Duck-Speedy Gonzales cartoon, “It’s Nice to Have a Mouse Around the House” (1965). I figured, it’s by Freleng. It can’t _possibly be as bad as the later ones.

    I was wrong.

    I watched “A Taste of Catnip,” another one of those Daffy-Speedy wastes of time, just to see how much of a role Sylvester has in it (a cameo) and whether Daffy and/or Speedy appear with him (both of them do). My curiosity satisfied, I don’t have to watch it again.

    The less said – or typed – about Cool Cat, Merlin the Magic Mouse, and “Bunny and Claude,” the better.

    I could go on and on about that junk, but ‘NUFF!

  • Oops – I didn’t notce that this entry is for _television_ cartoons, not theatrical. Sorry about that. Oh, well, I saw those awful Warners cartoons on TV, so…

  • I’m surprised Hoot Kloot didn’t make the cut. Even the late David DePatie told me, “Nobody really liked it.” Otherwise, these are some good (bad) choices.

  • A few years back, I won a pub trivia contest by being the only person in the bar (out of about 30) who recognized a description of The Great Grape Ape.

  • We might be here a very long time if the entirety of TV cartoon history is up for grabs. (And on the subject of “TV cartoons that should be forgotten”, it should be noted that most of the Filmation master materials were destroyed by Hallmark years ago. Usually I abhor that kind of crime, but they probably did future generations a favor.)

    It’s funny you mention later Lantz repeatedly, Jerry, because the MeTV block may awaken similar feelings for many others before long. The most recent Saturday Morning Woody show was almost all ’60s/’70s cartoons! (Fortunately, all the other shows have been better programmed.) For me, though, the absolute worst of the worst was revisiting that Sam n’ Simian TV pilot, “Jungle Medics”, that weird attempt to sort of reprise Meany, Miny, and Moe as a limited animation TV series. Jack Hannah had to have been braindead during its production, because he was usually able to do a Chip an’ Dale type of thing with inoffensive, likable ease. This thing… I wish I could forget it! And when Paul J. Smith is your competition, that’s saying something.

    • I hate to burst your bubble, but as mentioned before, masters (pun not intended) of a certain toy show of theirs has been found.

      • I weep.

  • Controversial opinion: None of them. Because every show, no matter how obscure or bad, deserves to be remembered purely for historical purposes.

    • Agreed. If a series lasts the whole season from Fall to Summer of the next year plus renewals for another season run …Someone “was” watching enough to keep the show on the air. If “My Little Pony” got revamped into a huge audience phenomeon years late, anything could be “gold” with the right creative touch.

      • Sure, when you consider what was a hit or not in those years when shows came and went on Saturday Morning. I just reminded myself of ‘Galaxy High” again, that only lasted one season in 1986, 13 episodes with little to no reruns in later years.

    • I’ll agree with this… but there are some cartoons that, if they never existed in the first place, we would be better off for the lack.

  • Still better than Velma. That one everyone should forget.

    As they should: Loonatics Unleashed, Chimp and Zee, The Totally Awesome Super Adventure Show or whatever that was on Cartoon Network (seriously, that one character looks like a pile of dung), Popeye’s Island Adventure, Santa Inc, and that one Christmas special made in bad CGI like Baldie’s Basics (Ironically, I forgot the name of it). Sadly, an elephant never forgets, and neither does the Internet

    • I’d tell you people to forget the Meg spinoff by Mindy Kaling but it doesn’t exist. Yet.

      Let’s hope it continues to remain non-existent.

  • I like Grape Ape as a character. Had it been better written, it might have been an okay show.

    • Yeah, I could also see that. I feel like the writing problem may have to do with the pressure from both the parent code and the network. To quote “Sesame Street” showrunner Jon Stone after reading an early reject rough draft script for a beloved Muppet you can count on (Ah! Ah! Ah!), “Good character, bad bit.”

  • This was a real tough question. Most answers I could “reasonably” give are kids’ shows that I haven’t watched in years. Animation discussion online has left no stone unturned in throwing potshots at shows, to a point where some of them have become *un*forgotten to an extent. Mighty Mister Titan? No, he begrudgingly gets a pass for being attractive. Do I answer with those weird Mario DiC cartoons? Where would the Internet be without those?

    Then it hit me. The Nuttiest Nutcracker. A CGI Christmas special that aired once on CBS, I believe. The script is thoroughly obnoxious and is filled with irrelevant musical numbers to fill feature length. What a total waste of talent, both in its voices and in the apparent fact that Dan Haskett designed the characters. The humans look fine and are animated the best, but non-human characters look grotesque! I cannot imagine what must have happened to Haskett’s drawings in the long journey to final rendering.

    Usually, I do a yearly tradition with friends where we watch the same three terrible Christmas specials: The Christmas Light, The Christmas Tree, and We Wish You a Turtles Christmas. *Those* are so bad that they’re hilarious. I tried spicing things up by inserting The Nuttiest Nutcracker in there, and everyone was miserable by the end – despite it ostensibly being the most polished of the four. That’s my closest answer to a TV cartoon that should be avoided.

    P.S. What a… compelling theme song to Big World, Little Adam there. I’m sure much time was allotted to come up with the lyrics.

  • Probably Dic’s “Wacky World of Tex Avery”. Even as a kid, I found it bad. If you ever do a show as homage of a big name in animation, don’t use the person’s name.

    I also don’t like the poorly CGI animated “Monsters by Mistake” by Mark Mayerson. Seriously, I couldn’t lasts five seconds from watching it. It really peeved me off that he did an article on his blog about “Joe Barbera’s List of Sins” as a “tribute” to him after he passed, yet Mark created a tripe show that was way worse than anything H-B ever did.

  • Admittedly, I don’t think the Looney Tunes from late 1964 to 1969 are THAT bad. I don’t spend my time complaining about the animation quality because it would have been very expensive for them to do animation that was on par with the 1940’s and because it’s technically the same quality as Hanna-Barbera (in other words, they give me Hanna-Barbera vibes). That being said, I will take those cartoons over the garbage on Cartoon Network ANY day.

  • While there surely are waste of time cartoons. I’m not sure any of them should be forgotten (aside from a truly mean spirited one). You can usually always fine a gem some where (background paintings, one gag, character design, a voice actor, etc). And if not, well there is the curiosity factor. You have to see it because, why would anyone make this!? A lot of Saturday Morning cartoon shows fit into that category! But all of them a feats of hard-work- even when terribly misguided 🙂

    Oh, and I’m not sure about the “Paul Smith hate”(?). While I’m not up on every Woody cartoon he made, his “Niagara Fools” is one of the funniest cartoons of all time! Fight me 🙂

    • No fight from me. Smith was a very capable director for Lantz in the 1950s. ARTS AND FLOWERS (1956) is one of my very favorites of his in the 1950s. NIAGARA FOOLS (also 1956) is very good. It’s the 1960s films – and they get progressively worse as the years go on.

      • Jerry:
        I think the stuff that Walter Lantz put out between 1965 and ’72 could easily be mistaken for Hanna-Barbera’s TV output. I mean the Chilly Willy cartoons were the Penguin talks could easily pass for H-B stuff. Not to mention, that Daws Butler uses his Elroy Jetson voice for Chilly and his Huckleberry Hound for Gabby Gator who had become Woody’s main nemesis by this time.

      • I think it’s safe to say that Smith’s better cartoons were simply carried by his story crew. NIAGARA FOOLS appears to have been started by its writers, Dick Kinney and Milt Schaffer, at Disney a couple of years earlier; Kinney’s INTERNATIONAL WOODPECKER, anticipated by several earlier Disney projects, is also head and shoulders above others from the period. ARTS AND FLOWERS seems intensely derivative of the Avery look and style, suggesting some uncredited influence (I’m not the first to mention this)—the list goes on and on.

    • The biggest problem with Paul Smith as a director, from all the shorts I’ve seen by him, is that he just took the stories presented to him and did nothing else to enhance them on the screen.

      A good script can save bad animation – Mike Maltese, Dick Kinney, and Milt Schaffer all worked with Paul Smith and wound up producing memorable shorts. But when he was working with mediocre talent, a problem exacerbated throughout the last years of the studio’s life as budgets fell and talent bled out of the industry, the quality slipped and the direction of even the best material would just fall flat.

      The other big problem is that Lantz didn’t really bother hiring any more directors by the late 60s (Jack Hannah and Sid Marcus had left by decade’s end), so Smith wound up shouldering the work for every short for the remainder of the studio’s lifetime and probably burned out by 1966.

      • Not only that, but Paul Smith was reportedly suffering from poor eyesight during those final years with Lantz. By the time he died in 1979, he was nearly blind.

  • I kinda like Grape Ape. Anyways, here’s a few of my picks:

    1. Neon Genesis Evangelion. Sorry.
    2. I could name any number of “adult” “comedies”, but if I had to pick one, maybe Drawn Together? Such a good concept squandered by cheap, “we can say this because we have a TV-MA rating” lowbrow humor, without the charm and nuance needed to pull it off; it’s just a fiftieth rate South Park without the things that made South Park good.
    3. Maybe forgotten is a bit of a harsh punishment, but Defenders of the Earth is incredibly boring.
    4. I used to like CatDog as a kid, and while there’s still some good elements to it, I would not consider it very good. Everything’s gray and brown and dirty looking, everyone’s always mean to CatDog (You could say all the other critters are putting CatDog down), it’s just a depressing show.

  • I would say any Filmation product should be forgotten.

  • I have to respectfully disagree with Fred Wiegand regarding “Hair Bear Bunch” It’s a fun show, and it’s interesting to see what kind of schemes Hair comes up with to outwit Peevly/Botch. I might be in the minority, but I wish it had endured longer than 16 episodes.

    • Nope, agree with you 100% (and with your remarks regarding The Beary Family as well). Here’s what I wrote on Ehbar’s DVD review of the series ten years ago:

      “The bears act like spoiled teens—Craving independence and freedom from their tyrannical “ ‘rents”, Peevely and Botch, but unwilling to give up the cushy, comfortable lifestyle they provide for them. Best of all, the bears don’t always come out on top at each episode’s conclusion, bringing some much needed relief from the predictability of typical Saturday AM product.”

      I believe this program was originally developed for prime-time consideration, which is why the scripting is better than usual . Add the fun character design and voice work to the mix, and you’ve got this criminally underrated cartoon (IMO).

  • Well now, I wouldn’t say THAT! I would rate FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS as probably the best Filmation series out there, but some of you might disagree! My two youngest brothers loved the show and I liked it well enough that I could excuse the thing about the production that could have been better. Giving Bill Cosby a lot of creative control on the project was certainly a GOOD thing. The show could have been a complete disaster, otherwise!

    You gotta give Filmation some slack for trying: Their STAR TREK animated series and FLASH GORDON often showed signs of creativity and intelligence, but … otherwise, a lot of the Filmation TV product could have been a heck of a lot better!

    • As much as Fat Albert was a decent cartoon, today with Bill Crosby’s poor reputation damaged by his sexual misdeeds, the show is quite cringey to watch today. The sad truth is while Fat Albert and his gang learned valuable lessons by each episodes end, Bill Cosby, sadly has not learned by his past mistakes, at least morality wise by any #MeToo affiliate.

  • The “TV cartoons” that really should be forgotten are the so-called “colorized” versions of the theatrical POPEYE, BETTY BOOP, etc, cartoons that were slapped together and show on TV 30 to 40 years ago! THOSE are abominations!

    • The redrawn colorized versions of the black and white Looney Tunes are also inexcusable disgraces.

    • You got a point there. The same team also did the color imposters of the black and white Looney Tunes which should be also forgotten (and so far are).

    • I first saw the colorized Looney Tunes as a child when they were shown with a 1968 copyright date and what was then the current Warner Bros.-Seven Arts cartoon opening (only with William Lava’s rackety rendition of “The Merry Go-round Broke Down” replaced with the original Bernard Brown music). They confused me: not having seen them before, I thought they were new cartoons made in the late ’60s by the original artists trying to recreate the old style (the “nostalgia” thing was popular then), and attributed the shaky animation and drab colors to the fact that they were old men by then. Which means I was either a dumb smart kid or a smart dumb one.

      I didn’t see the colorized Betty Boops (done not much later and probably by the same company) and Popeyes (done in the ’80s, but just as badly) until I was an adult and had long seen the originals in their black and white glory, so they only made me feel sad and annoyed. (There was no way of hand-coloring the Fleischer 3D sets, so mushy flat backgrounds had to be substituted.) I have to say the 1990s re-colorized Looney Tunes were vast improvements (digital coloring meant the animation itself didn’t have to be retraced), but still at the very least unnecessary.

  • “The Bluffers” (1986) was a terrible show. The protagonists were as unlikable as the bad guy you were supposed to hate.

    • Not to mention the art style for that show was ugly as sin.

  • Famous/Paramounts and Terrytoons all about pitying Casper, or Baby Huey, or a little boy animal spurned by a little girl animal (almost always with laugh-free scene of the hero crying). As kids they made us uncomfortable. Wouldn’t want to lose them, now that we can derive ironic laughs.

  • I respectfully disagree with Jerry Beck regarding “The Beary Family” shorts I tuned in, and enjoyed “Let Charlie Do It”. I didn’t see any “ugly art” I think their better than their given credit for.

  • Much could be said here – as the sheer bulk of forgettable animation boggles the imagination. I would begin by singling out an entire category of animation, that existed only by reason of sheer economic greed rather than any incentive to do something funny or creative – which I will call product placement animation. Series dreamt up only to push a product or product line. Many may disagree, but I have failed to find any serious merit to any series of this ilk produced for television. This would include even longstanding franchises such as “He-Man”. “Strawberry Shortcake”. “The Care Bears”, “My Little Pony”. “Transformers”…and lets not forget the shorter-lived ones, such as my all-time champion of outrageousness in concept, “Rubik, the Amazing Cube”. Time was, in the 1930’s, when Jam Handy could turn out an advertising film for Chevrolet and others that would be a masterpiece of animation, with only a small portion reflecting the product sell, making the pill much less difficult to swallow. Even Walter Lantz’s “Boy Meets Dog” and Coca Cola commercials had artistic and story merit. I have yet to find these qualities in any “soft-sell” TV production, with the exception of last season’s “Reindeer In Here” Christmas special, which surprisingly, kept the sale restricted to the last two minutes, with a high-quality storyline and animation for the remaining portion of the hour. I could thus easily forget this category of productions as a group.

    Another category of potentially forgettable animation which I’ve not seen discussed is the “Knock-off” copycat industry that developed primarily for direct-to-video sales to confuse the purchasing public whenever a major animated hit made the sales racks. Nearly every Disney classic got the “treatment”, with rip-offs of Pocahontas, “The Jungle King”, The Little Mermaid, and others. I’ve honestly never been able to sit through one of them, and the animation of the few frames I’ve ever seen looked expectedly terrible. I’ve always had a grudge against the existence of these films, particularly feeling for the kids whose well-meaning (or thrifty) parents were deceived into purchasing them, imagining the disappointment they must have felt when these cheap facsimiles hit the screen.

    Another category that might qualify for being forgotten would be the film that
    masquerades as entertainment, only to attempt to force-feed some edicational or social message down a kid’s throat. Most kids I knew, thankfully, could smell such a pretender a mile away, and would generally avoid them. Education can be effectively and entertainingly handled when in the hands of the right persons (witness “Tennessee Tuxedo and his Tales”, or the animated segments of Sesame Street). But one of my favorite losers would be “The Funny Company”. A series not only product-placed by Mattel, but trying to be educational too – which was never “Funny”. I.m sure the readers can think of many another “educational” series that would suffer from the same flaws. Admittedly, if you want to teach, it is an art to include the right ratio of entertainment content to keep an active youth in their seat.

    More in the category of disappointments rather than to be forgotten entirely would be the “watered-down” versions of successful character series, designed either to make them appeal to a younger market than originally targeted, or to conform with new practices and standards regulation. An example of the latter of these two varieties would by Hanna-Barbera’s 1970’s “The Tom and Jerry Show” – so non-violent as to be virtually unwatchable. Why drive the studio heads’ greatest creation utterly into the ground? Call them any other cat and mouse, but don’t hang their names of these lifeless and ill-timed scripts. Oddly, they did much better when they did make the characters of junior age in “The Tom and Jerry Kids Show”, though the results still were far from spectacular. In the “juniorized” series, I would point to the disappointing failure of “Baby Looney Tunes”, and – yes – even to the more-successful “Muppet Babies” and “Flintstone Kids”, as falling so far below my expectations, I would not watch. In contrast, Disney has had great success in maintaining the charm of its characters on a junior level with “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and its many spin-offs, to which I acknowledge credit where it’s due.

    For the moment, this will be sufficient to vent my spleen.

    In a final defense of Paul J. Smith, whose peak period to me started to dissipate around 1957, Smith managed to squeak out one title in the 1960’s which I consider a classic – “The Bird Who Came To Dinner”, I ran my Castle Films print of this one over and over, to the delight of my family. The character of Reginald was the ultimate poster-boy for spoiled brat – and long before Toy Story, he was a menace to the safety of toys! (Within less than a minute of meeting him, Woody, masquerading as a toy, is on the verge of having his leg amputated!) The gags are funny and rapid-fire, and Reginald receives his come-uppence in a delightful manner. Two other 60’s titles, though not coming close to this one in quality, seem to show a small glimmer of 50’s spirit and timing – “Busman’s Holiday”, and “Tragic Magic”. The rest I am comfortable with writing off (especially the way Smith drained all life and personality out of Chilly Willy and Smedly).

    • I disagree with “Muppet Babies”. I thought that was a bright spot for Saturday Mornings at the time (even if it did span some imitations). It helps that Jim’s fingerprints seeped in it.

  • my two cents.

    the only cartoon I ever hated was Haim Saban’s adaptation of Ox Tales.

    to me the gags were unfunny, and is not helped by the repeated cycle of that **** mole’s laughing every ten seconds (or so it seems.]

    I have since seen the new version, and now have a bit of a soft spot for Olly the Ox

    • Yeah the original non-Saban version is easier to deal with. You can tell a lot if it was the re-editing of the show they did to the source material.

  • I remember in the Grape Ape toons someone would see him and shout, Casper-like, “A Gorillll llll la!” and run away. Even a signpost did it once.

    • So just like Casper or Misterjaw.

  • i think some cartoon that deserves to be forgotten shouldn’t be lost.

    Anyways the larriva eleven roadrunner cartoons which I think is the bottom of the barrel looney tunes.

    Also the later screen gems cartoons like the dover boys knock off, daffy duck knock off, and also a sylvester knock off too.

    Also I’m still happy that the Best Of The Worst from Toonheads have been found.

    I also don’t like the family guy memes too.

  • In fairness, made-for-TV cartoons at least have the excuse, if that’s even the right word, of time and money limitations. (As I keep saying, you try producing theatrical quality animation with one third the budget in one fourth the time.) Which isn’t to say there aren’t wholly engaging, entertaining TV cartoons. But the good or better ones came along early when it was still a novel medium led by both pioneers (Jay Ward) and theatrical veterans. By the time Saturday morning cartoons had become a thing, the inspiration began to wane; Hanna-Barbera, the dominant studio for such product, had entered its Xerography-let’s-not-even-bother-coloring-in-eye-whites phase. New guidelines and restrictions on children’s programming from outside entities (demanding that cartoon storylines be altered so that the young audiences “learn” something, added with efforts by the advertising agencies to gear the characters toward selling toys and cereal (again, at least the early Cap’n Crunch commercials were fun), didn’t help matters, either.

    There is no excuse, however, for an animator as eminent and highly regarded (particularly by himself if his memoir is any indication) as Shamus Culhane to put out something like Sir Blur. Someone must have liked the Beary Family for the series to have lasted so long. Facts must be faced: in this country there is always a market for bland, mediocre, “safe” (that is, non-challenging and non-controversial) entertainment.

    DAFFY & SPEEDY (as a team)

  • The latest generation of “My Little Pony” comes immediately to mind. Even the die-hard Bronies I know despise it.

  • Can’t leave out Sam ‘n Simian from Walter Lantz…or Hickory, Dickory & Dock, which was marginally better.

  • There was a weird cartoon series called BUCKY AND PEPITO (?) that I found absolutely horrible to watch as a kid. Also, BATFINK AND KARATE! BATMAN’s Bob Kane worked on THESE???

    • Bob Kane created Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse, a different Batman spoof. Hal Seeger (Milton the Monster) created Batfink, a far better cartoon for my money. Kane wasn’t involved with that one. Sure, Batfink reused a lot of animated footage, but it had better characters, storylines and gags than Courageous Cat.

  • I enjoy the Groovy Goolies special out of a “so bad it’s good” masochism. I despise Beary Family more than anything on Earth,

  • When I think of “Should Be Forgotten”, the era of black and white cartoons redrawn in color is one that comes to my mind. God those were grueling times having to see these on TV for decades on end.

  • Thanks, David! I think you can see how I got confused between COURAGEOUS CAT … and BATFINK …! Neither of these series was pretty good! One scene in one of them was so poorly produced that you could see the edge of one animated cel moving over another one for a “pan” scene. Now I wish I could remember what series it was from. Really awful stuff!

    • LEONARD J. KOHLOCTOBER 18, 2023 4:08:11 PM
      Thanks, David! I think you can see how I got confused between COURAGEOUS CAT … and BATFINK …! Neither of these series was pretty good! One scene in one of them was so poorly produced that you could see the edge of one animated cel moving over another one for a “pan” scene. Now I wish I could remember what series it was from. Really awful stuff!

      It must be from Courageous Cat, which had far shoddier production values than Batfink. I have the whole Batfink series on DVD and still enjoy watching it. But I can’t watch Courageous Cat at all, even tho it’s on YouTube, last I knew.

  • Cartoon Network sometimes used to show obscure Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 70’s late at night. One of the worst of those I saw was “Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch”. It was a show about sentient vehicles, but it made Pixar’s “Cars” franchise look like “Citizen Kane”. Truly wretched!

    Another that should be forgotten is that season or two of “Scooby Doo” from the early 80’s that dropped all the characters except Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy, as well as the “mystery” aspect. They just had those three characters running from real monsters in VERY unfunny 10-minute shorts. To add insult to injury, they added a segment featuring Scrappy hanging out with his extremely bland wild west relative “Yabba Doo”. I actually don’t mind the Scrappy character at all, but these episodes are hot garbage.

    Oh, and one from the 90’s: DIC’s “Wish Kid”. When the movie “Home Alone” came out, everyone was talking about Macaulay Culkin, so of course they gave him his own Saturday morning cartoon. He starred as a kid who had an enchanted baseball glove that granted wishes, but the wishes backfired. The show was awful, and didn’t last long. If you were unfortunate enough to catch an episode back in the day, I’m sorry. I feel your pain!

    • Thankfully I never watched Wish Kid, I see that show came out when I was 14 so that’s probably why, I wasn’t paying attention to Saturday Morning as I used to.

  • Wouldn’t you know Jerry would submit this great topic on the day I was moving, and had to miss out on the fun.

    I would like to add for consideration any TV cartoon series featuring comedians ( Laurel & Hardy, The 3 Stooges, Abbott & Costello, Jerry Lewis, and Jim Carrey (all three of his’94 movies!)

    All of these shows miss the mark of what endeared audiences to these entertainers in the first place ( And it takes a special kind of talent to screw up a cartoon based on someone who’s a human cartoon to begin with , particularly the last two guys I mentioned)

    • To disagree, I found the Ace Ventura cartoon far more enjoyable than the movies. But to each their own 🙂

  • Those wretched Tom and Jerry cartoons from the 70’s can be thrown out !

  • Sometime in the early 70s my family was at a drive-in. The feature ended and a lot of cars were leaving, but the program continued and a rather dreadful Chilly Willy started playing. My dad hadn’t started the car, waiting for the cartoon to finish for my sake. I said it was okay, we could go!

    I submit Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch as a contender. Mind you, I loved this show. Maybe it was the little engine sounds made by the voice actors. Decades later when I saw it again, I couldn’t find any objective reason to praise it. One of many HB shows of the era that were cranked out to meet contracts without a lot of thought or love put into them.

    I nevertheless love the memory of it. I would drag my dad out of bed to watch it with me. I “knew” he wouldn’t want to miss it. He’d lie on the floor in front of the set with me, and inevitably fall back asleep. Poor guy worked all week, and woken up early on his day off, but he did it for his boy.

  • You know which one should truly make the list? Hanna–Barbera’s Popeye And Son!

    Popeye and Olive Oyl as married parents? Naw …I could never get into that. Tom and Jerry as friends, I can accept, but not this. The 1978 All New Popeye Hour was way, way better.

  • I was WAITING for somebody to bring up POPEYE AND SON! I am a huge (body and soul) POPEYE fan – as some of you here know, but I wasn’t totally ticked-off by the concept of Popeye and Olive getting married and having kids. Heck, they’ve been going together since 1929 and I believe someone had done a comic book previously where two characters HAD gotten married. (Or did the Hanna-Barbera series come out first? I can’t remember, just now!) Anyway, I think Maurice LeMarch (?) did the voice work for “Popeye” and I thought he did a pretty good job. Plus, I liked the appearances of “The Jeep” in the stories from time to time. What I’m saying is that the CONCEPT of the show was not a bad idea. The execution of it left much to be desired, though. But, for me, it wasn’t a total failure!

    Regarding an earlier post about Bill Cosby, I wish he lived up to his earlier reputation, but that’s no reason to discard his earlier movie and TV work. He did some fine work in his early career!

  • To each generation their own. Filmation had a positive impact on my life.

    For me, though, ANY Popeye cartoon after Fleischer is worthy of scorn! As Nixon said, “Should’ve destroyed the tapes.”

  • After looking through all of these, there’s one show conspicuous by it’s absence. This means it HAS been forgotten, even though it was brought up on this very web page last year:

    And honestly, let it STAY forgotten.

  • WOW! I remember ACTUALLY liking the concept! Kind of like an animated ALL IN THE FAMILY series!

    Back on the subject of POPEYE: How can you not like WE’RE ON OUR WAY TO RIO or something like SHE-SICK SAILORS? I even have a soft spot in my heart for INSECT TO INJURY, one of the last of the good Famous POPEYE cartoons!

  • I like Grape Ape. Always have always will. Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse if anything was overrated. Snore. Groovy Goolies were an early fave I can’t hate on those.

    Those Beatles cartoons were Awful, ditto Sad Cat and Rankin Bass’ Oz stuff from ’61ish.

    I cordially loathe most 80s cutesy plush toys stuff ala Care Bears, Smurfs etc. choke and gag.

  • I’m NOT a big fan of THE SMURFS, but a lot of people are, so you’ll probably get a lot of FLACK on that choice.

    I’m old enough to remember how cool ANYTHING with THE BEATLES were for kids. I’m not fond of the KFS POPEYE cartoons, so I’d probably not like those BEATLES cartoons, were I to re-visit them. There was another series called COOL MC COOL or something that was influenced by GET SMART, I think. I liked it (a little) as a kid, but I suspect I wouldn’t find much to enjoy about it now. Hopefully, the series isn’t as bad as it just might be.

  • Mello-tunes and Mr. Piper, the bane of my existence when I was collecting PD tapes in the ’80s and early ’90s.

    Stunt Dawgs – stupid, ugly, noisy and utterly pointless ’90s garbage

  • Unsure what made for TV-toons should be forgotten – I find many, even the truly terrible ones, weirdly and inexplicably entertaining – but LOVE the sendups of 1970’s H-B and Filmation drek made by “TV Funhouse” 3 decades later.

  • When I was in college in the early 1980s I worked on our humor magazine and we held a small conference about humor, inviting others like us from the other college humor mags. We invited a number of people to speak from a broad spectrum and for some reason Bob McFadden was on that list … until we found out his agent wanted waaaaay too much money for it. I think his name was found on a list of talents living in NYC and I never did get why they wanted the guy who played Luno.

  • The Partridge Family In Outer Space…a.k.a. Patridge Family 2200 A.D.

    Where the “A. D.” really stands for “A Dud”

  • Sorry guys, but I never liked Gene Deitch’s Tom and Jerry. Some clever gags here and there, but the slapstick violence was transmogrified into pure sadism, and that bothered me a lot when I was a child. He clearly didn’t understand the characters.

  • It’s a hard one. I’d say Family Guy pre-2020 for how racist it was, especially towards Meg, but I don’t even know.

    Let’s just land the show that should TRULY be forgotten, such as Cubix.

    • My least favorite era of Family Guy has to be Season 8 – now. Regardless of how insensitive Family Guy was (and still is), when Seth was still a writer for the show, there was actual effort into the story and not just the jokes. Nowadays, he’s nothing more than a voice actor.

  • Calvin and the Colonel. An animated Amos and Andy with the Kingfish as a fox and Amos/Andy as a bear. With Gosden and Correll doing the voices. A 1961-62 prime time flop.

  • I fully agree that The Big World of Little Adam is on this list. I remember first seeing it on Cartoon Dump over a dozen years ago and since then I’ve always thought that it was possibly the cheapest looking cartoon on television of it’s era, even for Mid 60’s standards. The only thing more limited animation wise I can think of in comparison would be the NBC Tele-Comics from 1950, which is all still frames with the occasional camera panning (case in point, a televised comic). Funny thing is that after when the Apollo 11 Moon landing happened in 1969, the cartoons became instantly outdated thus falling out of syndication by the early 70’s. Not even the catchy campfire styled theme song could safe that from happening!

    But speaking of other Fred Ladd material, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of a lost cartoon that he localized from the Soviet Union called “The Space Explorers” from 1958

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