14 Facts About Our Favorite Cartoons
We’ve been taking a close look at Calvin and Hobbes this past week, including why the strip still works so well, some bits of philosophical genius, and just what happened to creator Bill Watterson. That also got us thinking about all kinds of comics and cartoons, from the earliest Disney cartoons to the stuff on Adult Swim.
Some cartoon stuff goes the opposite of how you’d think—we dove into the weird unseen sides of Porky and Garfield. Other stuff works perfectly: We interviewed Futurama writers to learn the secrets of the Hypnotoad.
Here's a look back at the facts we learned this week. These short summaries are not meant to be appreciated by themselves—each one links to a full article we put out this past week with much more info, so click every one that interests you, or you’ll get dipped in Toon Acid.
1. Comics used to be an actual selling point for newspapers.
Rival newspapers would fight to outbid each other for the rights to the most popular daily comics.
2. The Hypnotoad’s design on Futurama was a nod to The Simpsons.
The eyes took inspiration from how Bart and Milhouse’s eyes looked in that episode where they get sugar highs from Squishees.
3. Time was going to give their person-of-the-year title to Dumbo for 1941.
They were going to dub him their “Mammal Of The Year,” but then came the attack on Pearl Harbor, and so they subbed in FDR at the last moment.
4. Garfield has an officially licensed Eurodance album.
Despite the album featuring Garfield on the cover, the songs had absolutely nothing to do with Garfield, but it did have songs about getting high and having sex.
5. The Bee Gees went on Space Ghost, and it ended poorly.
6. In the ’70s, the government made cartoons to teach kids the metric system.
These “Metric Marvels” PSAs were ultimately for naught. The ’80s rolled around, the government dropped the push to go metric, and Americans went back to using cubits and handbreadths.
7. A clip of Porky Pig swearing was kept hidden for 60 years.
Warner Bros. made it as a gag to add to a reel of live-action outtakes in 1940, and people passed tapes around furtively for years, but then the company finally officially released it on DVD.
8. A Mickey Mouse cartoon was interrupted by World War II.
BBC television went off the air for seven years, so the military could commandeer its transmission antenna,. Then when the station came back, it immediately played the same Mickey cartoon from right before the break.
9. Warner Bros. made Looney Tunes to promote their music.
10. Rocky Balboa was almost a member of G.I. Joe.
Hasbro were going to make him part of the squad, and it went as far as promo art, put the plan died when Stallone lent his likeness to a different company for a Rambo doll.
11. Catdog had an episode where the cat end brushes the dog end's teeth.
Seems harmless enough. But the cat is unable to reach the dog using normal means, so it turns itself inside out and pops out of the dog's mouth, skinless. It looks even more horrifying than it sounds.
12. In 1939, the first Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry cartoons were both up for an Oscar.
They both lost to a cartoon about kittens dreaming about drinking milk in space.
13. Howard the Duck briefly convinced studios that no comics could be adapted into movies.
For instance, for a while, it scared everyone from making a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie ... maybe reasonably.
14. Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes got into a comic war with the maker of Bloom County.
This explains the unauthorized comics you might have seen of Hobbes having sex with Blondie.