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USA Cartoon Express
CartoonExpressLogo.jpg
The logo
Premiered 1980
Discontinued 1999
Channel USA Network
Origin  United States
Format children's block
Runtime 2-6 hours

The USA Cartoon Express was a popular television programming block of animation on the USA Network from 1980 to 1999. The Express was the first structured animation block on cable television, predating Nickelodeon's animation blocks by half a decade and Cartoon Network by more than a decade.

Contents

History

Hanna-Barbera

The initial lineup was comprised mostly from the Hanna-Barbera library. Well-known properties like Scooby-Doo, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Space Ghost, The Smurfs, and Jonny Quest, sharing space with lesser-known properties like Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, Inch High, Private Eye, Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, and countless others, as well as numerous spinoffs of The Flintstones such as The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show. By the end of the decade, a more diverse lineup of cartoons aired on the Cartoon Express, including G.I. Joe, Transformers, The Real Ghostbusters, Jem, Robotech, and Alvin and the Chipmunks. The narrator was Keith Olbermann, who around that time was also doing sports on New York's old WBBR radio. In 1992, Turner Broadcasting purchased Hanna-Barbera and launched Cartoon Network that year, thus taking a chunk of Cartoon Express programming with it. The only Hanna-Barbera shows on the Cartoon Express were The Smurfs which didn't leave the Express until 1994, and Scooby-Doo, which didn't leave the Express until 1995.

Changes for 1994

In 1994, Cartoon Express switched tracks, started airing on the morning, and introduced numerous original series: Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Problem Child (based on the film franchise), didn't catch on with viewers. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became the new marquee series on the block.

Terrytoons and the USA Action Extreme Team

USA later briefly acquired the broadcast rights to Terrytoons shorts like Deputy Dawg and Mighty Mouse, and DC Comics related cartoons such as Superfriends. In 1996, USA Networks premiered USA Action Extreme Team with the launch of shows based on the Street Fighter II, and Mortal Kombat video game franchises and Savage Dragon comic book franchise. After the original series and TMNT left the air, the block was turned into a morning-only all-action block, with programs like Mighty Max, Sailor Moon, Street Sharks, and Gargoyles as the primary shows.

The end of an era

In the fall of 1999, the Cartoon Express pulled into its last stop, when USA Network had discontinued children's blocks on most of its outlets, including the Cartoon Quest and also Syfy's The Animation Station, ending franchises being a staple of the network.

Programs aired on USA Cartoon Express

Hanna-Barbera

Other series

Hudson the Polar Bear, the conductor and unofficial host of USA Cartoon Express.

USA Cartoon Express original series

Shorts

  • In a Minute
  • Monster Bash
  • USA Network Kids Club

See also

External links








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