Like most little kids, I loved getting up early on weekends to watch cartoons. Some of the most prominent memories I have from my younger years involve binge-watching my favourite animated characters in the wee A.M. hours.
Unlike all of my friends, I was lucky when it came to program selection. At my house, we had a big C-band satellite dish and access to all American programming. I love Canada, but all-Canadian content television is absolutely horrendous. The two basic Canadian stations we got DID have some good stuff, like “The Mighty Hercules” and one of my favourite shows of all time (though not animated), the Canadian classic “The Littlest Hobo“. But as far as quality and quantity? Yeah, the American stations were head and shoulders above the rest.
So my childhood happily consisted of the classics like Scooby Doo (of course!), The Flintstones, and other Hanna-Barbera gems. But there were plenty of fantastic “more current” cartoons at the time too: Jem, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Beetlejuice, The Real Ghostbusters, Super Mario Bros., and Inspector Gadget, just to name a few.
In 1993, I was 7 years old, and the best place to catch my favourite cartoons was the USA Network. They had a morning block that ran under the name “The USA Cartoon Express” — the namesake of my cartoons Pinterest board.
The best thing about the Cartoon Express wasn’t actually the shows themselves, though. It was the very cool animated commercial break bumpers. Most prominent was the polar bear conductor, his nephew, and a talking pocket watch that introduced the cartoons in the lineup. They were cute, funny and the jingle was catchy, and it got the kids excited even before the opening credits could roll. But there was something even better than that. Something that was right up Little Vincent Price, Dracula and horror-loving Wendy’s alley.
Monster Bash’s 30-60 second segments featured a family of ghosts and ghouls who ran a hotel. Each bumper featured Dracula, the Wolf Man, an overweight Mummy, a skeleton doorman and a gaggle of galloping ghoul children doing normal, every day things in a silly, bumbling way. As a little girl, I LOVED it. As a 30-year-old woman… well, I STILL love it.
Someone was kind enough to assemble a good number of the spooky shorts into a single video, so here you go. For your viewing pleasure, a little taste of what my childhood looked like. Enjoy! “Let’s get back to Cartoon Express, but first… Monster Bash!”
Until next time, unpleasant dreams . . .