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The year was 1992. The Renaissance Age of Animation was still relatively young, and despite Disney making headway into the television market with The Disney Afternoon and a few Saturday Morning Cartoons, they still had serious competition from the likes of Warner Bros, Turner Broadcasting (who had just launched a scrappy little cable channel called Cartoon Network), and Nickelodeon.
Enter Raw Toonage.
Born from Disney's aquisition of the rights to the Belgian comic Marsupilami, as well as the Development Hell that Bonkers was going through at the time, Raw Toonage was an Animated Anthology experiment that ran during the CBS Saturday Morning block in the fall of 1992. The show's format essentially predated Animaniacs by one year (in fact, future Pinky and The Brain writer Tom Minton worked on the "Totally Tasteless Videos" segments), though Raw Toonage usually added a different Framing Device to the mix each week.
- The host segment: The aforementioned framing device, appearing in most (but not all) episodes. Each time it would feature a different Disney character.
- He's Bonkers: Basically, these are the cartoons that Bonkers D. Bobcat starred in before joining the police force. (Most of these shorts would later be repackaged as compilation episodes of Bonkers.)
- Marsupilami: Disney's laid-back version of the titular creature, who hung out with a gorilla sidekick named Maurice.
- Totally Tasteless Videos: This segment was kind of a toss-up. One week, it could be about a caveman who is also a Private Detective; the next week, it could be about haunted poultry.
Raw Toonage provides examples of:
- Animated Anthology
- Affectionate Parody: "Robin Hoof" was essentially Raw Toonage's tribute to Jay Ward.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: "Nightmare on Rocky Road" features a kid wishing that the world was made of ice cream.
- The Cameo: Tons from various Disney characters. For instance, in the episode that Jitters hosted, there were cameos from about half of the Disney Afternoon.
- Description Cut: From "Cro-Magnum PI":
"Just what I needed, another beautiful woman in my life. I did everything I could to get rid of her."
[Cuts to the caveman getting her a chair, brushing his teeth and getting his hair done]
- Drop the Cow: Robin Hoof's shtick.
- Framing Device: Each week, a different Disney character would host the cartoon and have some sort of adventure. Usually the hosts were Ensemble Darkhorses from various other Disney properties (i.e. Gosalyn, Don Karnage, and Sebastian each hosted an episode).
- Furry Ear Dissonance: Bonkers' ears are shaped like golf clubs, despite him being (ostensibly) a bobcat.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Gary Owens as Badly Animated Man! Jim Cummings as...a lot of characters!
- The Jimmy Hart Version: The opening theme song sounds a lot like the song "Oh Yeah" by Yello.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: A few episodes and segments can be found on YouTube.
- Or Was It a Dream?: The end of "Nightmare on Rocky Road."
- Stylistic Suck / Limited Animation: Parodied with Badly Animated Man.
- Take That: Badly Animated Man had two at the end of his segment:
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Totally Radical: The title. This wasn't reflected so much in the show itself, but the promos at the time seemed to play it up.
- What Could Have Been: It's long been rumored that one unproduced episode of the show would have featured Gadget hosting the show from Rescue Ranger Headquarters.