ANIMATED TV – REBORN IN THE 1990s

I grew up in the 1960s watching some excellent cartoons.  This was a bit of a cheat, since the best ones were originally very expensively made (in man-hours) for movie theaters.  The earliest Warners Bugs Bunnys and the Fleischer Popeyes and the Disney shorts from the 1930s through the MGM shorts of the ’50s (like Tom & Jerry) were produced to delight adult moviegoers.  Repeats from this golden age filled our Saturday mornings.  But making good animation is hard.  The staff at a major film studio could spend four months crafting the 22 minutes of material that TV would soon demand from an animated series every week.  Most of the made-for-TV series from the ’60s and ’70s and even the early ’80s are hard to watch now.  Miracle-man Jay Ward (Bullwinkle, etc.) managed by spending no time or money on the primitive animation while investing all his energy in the writing and voice acting (think Simpsons or South Park).  But when I started working in animation in 1985, things were only just starting to pick up.  Luckily for X-MEN:TAS, Margaret Loesch at Fox was far more ambitious than most people in the business.  She’d help produce some of the best series of the late ’80s, and when she came to Fox in 1990, she knew it would take a couple of years to get her schedule the way she wanted it.  See below what was available to her at first, then what she added: Beetlejuice, Batman:TAS, Eek The Cat, Dog City, and soon thereafter: X-MEN:TAS, The Tick, and Spider-Man.  For 25  years a lot of  new “children’s programming” had been uninspired.  Luckily for X-Men fans, the right person came along at the right time.

Fox Kids 90-93Red Dawn cover

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