Classic TV / TV Blog / Television Blog / Christmas Blog / 2010 TV Shows / Classic Television / I Love Lucy / Television Shows / TV on DVD / TV Shows on DVD / Prime Time TV / Television Blog/ TV Show Reviews / TV Shows on DVD Reviews / TV DVD Reviews / TV shows on DVD - order from the United Kingdom Here! / DC Comics on DVD / Batman TV Show on DVD / North Carolina Actors
PAVING THE ROAD WITH GOOD INTENTIONS
Alf then makes like a wise old uncle when he pulls Michael through the mirror of his stash box for another reality check. “Drugs are your enemy. Storming the battlements. Trying to take control.” He then escorts him to the office of the man in charge - Smoke.
This leads into the most incredible and disturbing segment of the show. Even more wild than Michael’s tour though his brain is his bad trip to a horror themed amusement park with rotating buzz saw blades and sinister rides with large ghastly Huey, Dewey and Louie heads. The kid then falls into the body of a monster and encounters Tigger and Baby Piggy floating happily in it’s stomach. They throw Michael a life raft that speeds him back to the park where he crashes into exhibits and causes a flood that engulfs the area. But it’s not really a flood - it’s a milk shake that Baby Piggy is drinking. She sucks Michael up her straw, then spits him out.
Exactly what point Swale and Poole were making here is with this is not clear but it is a remarkable piece of animation supported by some kick-ass electric guitar riffs.
The show heads for it’s finale as Michael then consults fortune-teller Daffy Duck about his ultimate fate. The image presented in Daffy’s crystal ball is astonishing for a kid show. In a cosmic void Michael, his mind and body completely destroyed, lies on an alter bathed in lights creating a cross. He shivers and shakes at the brink of death clutching a hypodermic needle in his hand. He is being crucified by drugs. If the shows writers, producers and director were going for a “sacred-straight” approach, they certainly succeeded.
Critical reaction to the show was not encouraging:
“Beyond doubt, some kids got the message and will steer clear of drugs. But there’s also a chance that subjecting kids to such pro-social antics as Huey, Dewey and Louie singing about ways to say no will plant a seed in kids that won’t always sprout in just the way it’s intended.
“Scare tactics instead of getting to the roots of the drug problem. The most vivid character is not one of the All-Stars, it’s Smoke. The one-note plot is easy to follow, but the drama is largely trivialized by the producer’s effort to keep the message simple. Even the song ‘Ways to Say No’ is uninspired and insipid.”
At the preview showing before the joint Congressional committee there was also doubt.
“I hope this doesn’t evolve into a mere self- promotion activity in which we finally hear from Hollywood and this is the last shot. Showing this once or twice isn’t really going to change anyone’s mind who’s going to use drugs.”
There would never be another showing of the show on television due to a threatened lawsuit by Jim Davis, creator of Garfield who claimed he was never consulted about the use of his character.
Since the show was mainly produced for home video anyway, all involved figured that a legal fight was not worth the effort.
With thousands of VHS tapes provided by Kodak and duplication done by Disney Home Video, a copy of the show was sent to nearly every school, library, civic organization and video store’s free-rental shelf in the country.
Oddly though, this free public service program could not be home reproduced as Disney still made sure each tape was copy-guarded and had the “home use only” warning at the beginning.
Maybe the road to Hell is, indeed paved with good intentions, but I believe that everyone involved wanted to make a small dent in the drug problem among kids of the late 1980’s.
Unfortunately, grandiose predictions like Senator Biden’s assertion that the show was “the single most ambitious and important drug education program ever attempted” now seems a bit silly, and maybe the money would have been better spent on that naval carrier group, that new prison or even on those cocaine-eating caterpillars.
Certainly the show had flaws, not the least of which the scene in which Michael takes the horror trip through the amusement park - a scene which in retrospect makes absolutely no sense.
Also, having 20 different cartoon characters together must have looked good on paper (and cels) but ultimately it seemed like they were there just to keep the attention of the smaller-aged viewer.
Some character’s appearances (The Smurfs, Slimer and Garfield) were totally pointless. This definitely was no Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Still, the show’s sincerity and ultimate good will should keep it from being remembered as just “the Reefer Madness of the 90’s.” Hopefully thousands of smaller kids did get the message and eventually rejected drugs because of their memory of the cartoon.
This positive concept comes across in the part of the show that hardly anyone sees - the song over the closing credits. Since most people rewound the VHS tape at the first sign of these credits, they missed the poignant and moving lyrics by Alan Menkin (who died at the age of 40 just 2 years later).
This should have been the song in the middle of the show:
Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / Punk Book / / 1970's TV / TV Games / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|