24-hour cartoon networks and streaming video pretty much killed the Saturday morning cartoon. But for all of the classics like The Smurfs and Scooby-Doo to watch while you ate your sugar cereal, there are dozens more that came and went pretty quick…with good reason.
Chip and Pepper’s Cartoon Madness (1991)
In the early ’90s, twin brothers Chip and Pepper ran a designer jeans label in Winnipeg, Canada. Their clothing became very popular in Canada, and the brothers’ photogenic appearance (they both had long, blond hair) didn’t hurt. They appeared frequently on Canadian television, and NBC president Brandon Tartikoff was sent the footage. He liked the Fosters so much he gave them…a Saturday morning cartoon. In 1991, Chip and Pepper’s Cartoon Madness premiered, with the Fosters (both live action and animated) hosting old cartoons interspersed with comedy sketches and celebrity interviews. It lasted one season, and Chip & Pepper returned to fashion design.
Rubik, The Amazing Cube (1983)
There’s arguably nothing more definitively ’80s than the Rubik’s Cube—the handheld puzzle game that delighted and infuriated millions. There wasn’t a whole lot that could be done to expand the fad, but NBC found a way with a Saturday morning cartoon. In that world, Rubik is a living, breathing magical creature that is taken care of by three children when an evil wizard loses him. Among the voice talent was a young Ricky Martin. Fun fact: Rubik was the first TV show in American history to feature a predominantly Latino cast of characters.
Rick Moranis at Gravedale High (1990)
It’s a clever enough premise for a cartoon: all of the classic movie monsters—Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, etc.—are teenagers and they all go to high school together. But for some reason, their main teacher is Ghostbusters and Strange Brew star Rick Moranis.
The Robonic Stooges (1978)
The Three Stooges are back for a whole new generation…in cartoon form…and they’re robots for some reason.