My Memories of the USA Cartoon Express

USA Cartoon Express

Remember how rare cartoons were on television back when we were kids? We got them on Saturday morning, maybe early Sunday if we were lucky, and a few holidays. Cartoons airing during the week, or at night, were unheard of. Then, someone at the USA network had a brilliant idea. An idea way ahead of its time.

Six straight hours of cartoons, Monday through Friday,

For those lucky enough to have cable, it was a rare opportunity to watch cartoons right after dinner, during a school night. Grape Ape, Hong Kong Phooey, Jabberjaw, and Captain Caveman to name a few. Oh, and that weird one with the rhino thing that fired fireballs and his buddy, the blob guy? What in the world was going on there? Was it the Herculoids? I guess I can just Google ‘blob with fire shooting dinosaur thing’.

Herculoids

Then there was the Laff-O-Lympics, which I kept close score of. The ‘Really Rottens’ managed to win twice. And once all three teams managed to tie, if I remember correctly. I need to find my old trapper keeper to double-check.

Laff-O-Lympics

But what I remember most about the show are the bumpers…

And this….

And then this little commercial for the show…

This show is the sole reason I asked my parents for Grape Ape footy pajamas. (Note: I’ve searched the entire internet for these things… I swear I owned them.)

USA Cartoon Express lasted from 1982 – 1996. That’s impressive. And even though it may have been a dumping ground for outdated and mostly mindless cartoons, it helped fill that six-day void we were all forced to endure. A void I was more than happy to fill with such classics as ‘The Robotic Stooges’.

The Robotic Stooges

Patrick (Nerd Out With Me)

It's fair to say I watched too much television as a child. Yes, I still have my Scratch & Sniff album. And yes, I still occasionally seek it out in the wee hours of the night. I also worked as a projectionist for many years... prior to the digital revolution.

When I was twelve I wrote a script called"Wembley's Revenge: The Trash Heaps Last Stand."

Maybe someday it will become a reality.

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3 thoughts on “My Memories of the USA Cartoon Express

  1. Dude, the Cartoon Express was my go-to for cartoons outside of the WB toons elsewhere. Outside of GI Joe and Transformers, the Express was the only way to get action cartoons…albeit old reruns. Nonetheless, those old HB toons made a huge impact on me. I think it’s unfortunate that there’s no easy access to these old shows, not even on Netflix. There’s the specialty Boomerang channel but that’s just not enough. I’m not say the new, original toons are bad but there’s more out there than another TMNT reboot and rehashed Marvel superheroes. I’d love to see new Herculoids or Thundarr…or Birdman…Blue Falcon, baby! So much fun. Too bad kids don’t get a chance to see these now.

  2. mwentworth says:

    Cartoon Express was awesome for variety and it was almost like USA had the same vision for Night Flight, which was obscure music videos, comedy bits, b-movies and old tv and was it just fun to see what would come on next.

  3. The cartoon express only had 1 hour of toons on weekdays, from 6pm to 7pm, IIRC. I got cable in 1983 or 1984 and spent most of my time watching nickelodeon (anyone remember when they would do those “top of the hour” things?) and cartoon express. While CE only had 1hr each weekday, it did have 6hrs every sunday morning.
    I was fortunate enough to have access to an independant broadcast station which broadcast weekday toonage (pre-fox) as a kid. Every afternoon they had toons from 2:30pm to 5pm, they also had some toons early weekday mornings, around 6~8am. Every day after school I would come home, watch toons on WUAB from about 2:45-5pm, then have an hour to kill, then cartoon express from 6-7pm, then nickelodeon until 8 or 9.
    CE was my first introduction to some of those old toons like clue club and dynomutt, but it was a welcome return to others like pink panther and laff-a-lympics. Personally, I like CE’s old humor stuff better than their action ones (which I had seen to death elsewhere long before CE got them).

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