Celebrity Cartoons That Should Never Have Happened
Do you have really fond memories of sitting down on Saturday morning, cereal in a bowl, waiting for the next exciting installment of Little Rosie? No, we don’t either, because some cartoons are best left forgotten. Very often, these ones are the poorly made, shoddy celebrity cartoons. But which ones can you actually remember?
From MC Hammer to Chuck Norris, we have collected the best. Read on for our 10 celebrity cartoons that should never have existed.
Quite why Mr. T had his name changed to Mister T for his animated outing remains unknown. However, he was one of several big-screen actors given a cartoon series by the studio Ruby Spears. Fresh from his stints on the A-Team and matches at Wrestlemania, his popularity failed to transfer to animation.
Each episode would begin and end with Mr. T (correction, Mister T) in a live clip. Like most eighties animations, this was to dispense moral lessons and safety tips to avoid the glare of censors.
The rest of the show would focus on Mr. T and his group of friends solving various mysteries and adventures. These were as wide-ranging as a search for Mister T’s missing chains, to a stunt man committing insurance fraud. The show ran for three seasons between ’83 and ’85.
Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Bo Jackson
Imagine celebrity cartoons that featured not one major sports star, but three! Michael Jordan, basketball superstar. Wayne Gretzky, ice hockey ace. Bo Jackson, a multi-talented superstar from both baseball and American football.
These stars combined in Prostars, an odd early nineties animation from DIC entertainment. In this, the three would fight crime, solve mysteries and help the environment. This was a carton that aired for a paltry single season in 1991.
While non of the stars did the voiceovers for the show, they did appear in short filmed segments. This consisted of children asking questions, to which the stars would usually give a one-word response.
Oddly enough, the show had some great talent working on it. Producers DIC entertainment had worked on some of the biggest cartoons of the eighties. The short live segments were directed by Brad Kreisberg, who would later direct for MTV.
After success in Uncle Buck, My Girl, and Home Alone, how could Macauley Culkin have not been given a series? The answer to that dilemma was Wishkid. In it, Culkin played Nick McClary, a child who tapped his magic baseball glove to make wishes come true.
While Culkin did not play himself, both the character’s likeness and personality were modeled from on-screen personas. Culkin himself would introduce each episode in a filmed segment. His younger sister, Quinn, even voiced the character’s on-screen sister.
It would not be the last animation to attempt to capitalize on Culkin’s runaway success. Culkin would play the lead in the 1994 movie the Pagemaster. This would attempt to blend animation and live-action sequences. Despite a stellar cast (Patrick Stewart, Leonard Nimoy) it would fare no better.
Celebrity cartoons never tend to make a lot of sense. However, Hammerman goes the extra mile. Firstly, this cartoon was based on a musician who had not enjoyed that much success. At the time of release, he only had one album to his name.
Secondly, this celebrity cartoon pushed the boundaries of weirdness. The protagonist is Stanley, a worker at the local recreation facility. Once he puts on a pair of magical shoes, he transforms into a superhero known as Hammerman. If that was not odd enough, the leather would detach from the soles of his shoes and begin talking to him.
Sadly, the series seems lost. Many of the episodes that are available are Spanish and Polish dubs. Screenshots and clips have surfaced on message boards, but no known DVD or digital release is available.
The phenomenon of Gary Coleman is something that is hard to comprehend today. He could be described as the television equivalent of a meme. Despite being one of the highest-paid child actors of his generation, his crowning glory was playing himself, Gary Coleman.
The Gary Coleman show was a series, created off the back of his movie. This was named The Kid With The Broken Halo. In this, Coleman voiced an angel grounded on earth. His aim was to help children with their problems. It was produced by animation heavyweights Hanna Barbera.
Each episode would focus on Andy, Coleman’s character, as he faced antagonism from a small devil. This would often play on the moral dilemma trope mentioned in previous cartoons. Hornswoggle would always try to get Andy to make the easy, yet wrong, decisions.
For such an odd, out-of-time show, it did manage to sustain a long shelf life. It ran for only 1 season of 13 episodes. However, it was still being played on the cartoon channel Boomerang as late as 2006.
Pamela Anderson’s celebrity cartoon outing was everything that was utterly insane about the early noughties. Based on Pamela Anderson, it featured a superheroine stripper who fought crime. One of the villains was WWE chairman Vince McMahon, and the whole thing was masterminded by Stan Lee.
To understand how it came about, you must look back at the channel it aired on. Now known as the Paramount Network, Spike TV has only recently closed its doors. Back then it was programming for randy, angst-ridden young men.
In its early days, it faced a court battle with director Spike Lee over its name. It featured male-centric programming such as Bellator MMA and Bar Rescue. Its launch was to feature a kick-off party at the Playboy mansion which was later canceled.
Imaginatively titled Stripperella, the show was one of Spike TV’s first original broadcasts. This risqué cartoon played alongside favorites such as Ren and Stimpy, but without any of the humor or wit. Episodes about exploding breast implants and animal rights organizations named ANUS failed to make even a pubescent early 00’s male audience laugh.
Chuck Norris Karate Commandos was a triumph exercise in how far eighties marketing machines push, yet can be so wide of the mark. On paper, everything about the Karate Kommando’s should have been excellent. It featured Chuck Norris for god’s sake.
Not only did it have an animated series, but it also had a comic produced by Marvel and a tie-in toyline. So why did the series only last one season then sink without trace?
The reason is that the concept was not that good or well thought out. Chuck Norris featured in live-action segments at the start and end of the show, which made it bearable. Between this was an ill-conceived premise whereby Chuck was joined by a ‘paint by numbers’ cast of team members and villains. The imagination was so lacking, that one main villain had the monitor of ‘The Super Ninja’.
The last time we heard from Roseanne Barr was when she was axed from her own show for racist tweets. For many people who were not watching US light entertainment in the eighties, it may have been hard to understand how popular she once was.
Her own show became commissioned due to her appearances on the Tonight Show. This series, Roseanne, was the first real glimpse into the world of the American working-class woman.
Quite why someone thought this would transfer to a children’s animation are unknown. Little Rosie was that experiment, and it took a young Roseanne Barr and her friends and placed them in a cartoon. All her friends were child versions of older characters in her main sitcom.
The show only lasted for one season. Rumors are that Roseanne was not happy with interference from network executives. In reaction, a pilot for a second show was scripted. The plot was that Roseanne and her friends would take over cartoon land to stop the interference of her bosses. It never aired.
Rock ‘N’ Wrestling not only featured the Hulkster himself, but a banquet of the best eighties wrestling could produce. Imagine a cartoon with Andre the Giant and Roddy Piper, and any child of the era would be salivating at the prospect.
The celebrity cartoon featured a team of good guys and bad guys, who came into conflict regularly. The problem was that on WWF programming, they would flick from heel to face very quickly. By the time the series aired, wrestlers were already on the wrong team or had left the company. Along with the cartoon came a number of comedy segments filmed by wrestlers of the WWE.
The cartoon was part of a larger movement to brand wrestling as sports entertainment. The era featured a lot of moves to instill WWF wrestlers in other mediums. From music to videogames, Rock ‘N’ Wrestling was one facet of a larger, grand plan for WWF.
Unlike many of the celebrities on the list, Jackie Chan has a history of producing quality products alongside his movies. If in doubt, check out his more than passable history of arcade and video games. Jackie Chan Adventures was his first animation and a criminally underrated celebrity cartoon.
Starting in 2000, the show ran for 5 series up to 2005. It had a great premise, whereby Jackie Chan was a museum curator. Finding an ancient, mystical talisman, he sets off to reclaim similar ones that give the wearer the powers of the Chinese zodiac.
This brings him into contact with a host of interesting characters. Some of them were unique, while some were characters from his movies.
The love and care in this program was evident in the end of the show’s live sequences. Jackie did not opt for simple household safety tips or self-promotion. Instead, he would talk about aspects of Chinese history, culture, and beliefs.