"We crammed more cartoons into a half hour than anyone else." -Chris Viscardi, co-creator of KaBlam! ("Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!")
"That was our promise, right?" -Will McRobb, co-creator of KaBlam! ("Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!")
KaBlam! (stylized as KaBLaM!) is an American animated anthology series that originally ran on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2000, created by Robert Mittenthal, Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi. Each episode of the show featured a collection of short films in several different styles of animation, bridged by two animated characters named Henry and June, who introduce the shorts and have adventures of their own in between.
"Each cartoon on KaBlam! had its own production team, its own vision, and its own set of rules and logic. We were constantly working with so many different people. It was very difficult to manage each one, agonizing at times, but amazing once it was all done and pieced together into the show." -Chris Viscardi ("Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!")
The theme song and all of the original background music on the show was provided by the Moon Ska Stompers, a band composed of King Django, Victor Rice, members of The Toasters and The New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble. The bulk of the soundtrack was 30-second instrumental clips of songs from The Toasters' album D.L.T.B.G.Y.D. (Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down), while the opening theme song itself is a differently recorded version of The Toasters' song "2-Tone Army". Tracks from the Associated Production Music library earlier heard in The Ren and Stimpy Show as well as later in Spongebob Squarepants were also utilized.
KaBlam! was pitched to Nickelodeon in 1994 (with the original title of "KaBlam Theater"). The pilot episode, "Your Real Best Friend", was created in 1995. In 1996, The Off-Beats, one of the many shorts on the show, had one (of its three) pilot episodes released on a Rugrats videotape titled "Tommy Troubles." The three pilot episodes of The Off-Beats helped promote the premiere of KaBlam!.
The show premiered on October 11, 1996, running for four seasons, with the last episode being broadcast on May 27, 2000. Reruns continued to show on Nickelodeon until 2001. In 2002, the channel Nicktoons was launched, and the channel began airing reruns of KaBlam!, though not all episodes were aired due to copyrights with certain shorts or new standards and practices at Nickelodeon that had gone into effect. During commercial breaks on Nicktoons, various shorts from the show would play, not including any shorts involving Henry and June or some of the music videos. In August 2005, Nicktoons changed its appearance and schedule, by removing many shows in the process including KaBlam!. The show made one last appearance on The 100 Greatest Nicktoons Episodes, a countdown voted on by viewers on Nick.com in late 2007, featuring the pilot episode "Your Real Best Friend". However, in a recent Splat promo, snippets of Action League Now! as well as Henry and June are seen, which gave the viewer the idea the show could possibly air again. The show aired on television for the first time in almost 10 years on The Splat during the week of Oct. 3, 2016 (Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 at 11pm Eastern).
A French-dubbed version has been broadcast in France on television channel GameOne (see Télévision Par Satellite), and other versions of the show are on other Nickelodeon channels around Europe. It also was shown in the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2000, and in Poland from 1999 to 2002. The show played on YTV in Canada.
Regular Shorts Edit
Henry (voiced by Noah Segan) and June (voiced by Julia McIlvaine) are the animated hosts of KaBlam! who turn the pages of a comic book (the theme of the comic book changes with each episode) to reveal the next short, as well as being involved in subplots of their own between the shorts. Occasionally, other characters in these subplots appear, such as Mr. Foot (the show's assistant/stagehand), Hector (a strange individual that briefly co-hosts the show with June), Henry's mom and June's dad (embarrassing single parents of Henry and June), Jimmy McGee (a parody of late night television comedians), Fred Stockdale (the network executive), Dawn (Fred Stockdale's granddaughter on break from her boarding school in Switzerland) and Ryan (an obsessed fan of Henry and June that goes to their middle school).
This short ran for all four seasons of KaBlam!. It was filmed in "Chuckimation", in which the characters/props are moved by unseen hands (wiggled around to simulate talking) or thrown from off-camera (interspersed with occasional stop motion animation). Action League Now! featured a group of superheroes, played by custom-made action figures, who fight crime in suburbia despite being total idiots. The four superheroes are The Flesh, Thundergirl, Stinky Diver, and Meltman. Considered to be the most successful KaBlam! short, it briefly became a spin-off series in 2001 but was canceled the following year.
This short ran for the first three seasons of KaBlam!. It is about a pair of ferret roommates who often get on each other's nerves. Twelve-year-old Sniz is the small ferret with green hair that is very hyperactive, and quite a troublemaker of the two, while thirteen-year-old Fondue is the taller ferret with a blue hat, who is the nervous, yet intelligent one. There is also appearances by Snuppa and Bianca, Sniz and Fondue's housemates. The short ended during the middle of Season 3 due to its production company planning a TV adaptation of Watership Down.
This short ran for all four seasons of KaBlam!. The life of twelve-year-old Larry and his strange experiences with his imaginative and adventurous younger sister, Loopy. The characters were animated with stop-motion puppet bodies, but their heads were created with cardboard.
This short ran for all four seasons of KaBlam!. A claymation/stop motion segment featuring the camera-recorded mission logs of Prometheus, an alien who comes to Earth attempting to teach a caveman, Bob, everyday things. From the use of fire to the act of ice skating, the result is usually a failure by the mischievous third cast member, who was a simple monkey. The introduction, done in a mock government file format, describes the events as having occurred "900,000 years ago".
This short ran for the first two seasons of KaBlam!. A group of unpopular friends who deal with constant problems, many which are caused by their main rivals, a popular clique known as "The Populars." The short was the first of the regular shorts to end (in Season 2) due to Mo Willems moving to Cartoon Network to work on Sheep in the Big City and write episodes for Codename: Kids Next Door.
Other Shorts Edit
These shorts usually had nothing to do with any previous shorts included on the show. This segment was introduced in Season 1 (and once in Season 2) by June pulling down Henry's pants, revealing his unflattering and garishly colored boxer shorts, hence the name "Surprising Shorts". In Seasons 2-4, they are revealed like any other cartoon on the show, sometimes they would be announced as a world premiere to tell the audience that they were a big deal. Lava, Anemia and Iodine, The Brothers Tiki, Randall Flan's Incredible Big-Top, Garbage Boy, Emmett Freedy and others that only aired once or twice fell into this category.
A cutout-photo cartoon that was later spun off into its own series on the Fox Family Channel. It is about a girl named Angela, who is a social outcast. She finds herself unpopular in school and always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nanette, a fake-French girl who everyone loves and wants to be, always mocks Angela. During each episode, a poem-like story is narrated by Angela. She often gets her revenge on the antagonist of that particular episode, and more often imagines her revenge on said antagonist in a highly exaggerated manner. Sadly, the copyright for this short was stripped in the US and all episodes with this short was no longer aired in the US.
This short ran on the last two seasons of KaBlam!. An animation segment created by Jay Stephens about a girl, named Melanie McCay who has an identity as a cat superhero and flies around and saves her city. She says she "flies like a jet and fights like a cat." The short is based off the comic book series of the same name. The music was composed by Rocko's Modern Life composer Pat Irwin.
This short ran on the last two seasons of KaBlam!. A live-action short created by Scott Fellows (who later worked on the Nickelodeon show Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide) about a rabbit with an English accent named Race who competes in races, but there is usually trouble along the way caused by the Boolies (Zit and Winston), who are his human enemies. Other times there are distress calls to deliver a new jar of food prior to a baby's feeding or rescuing the Royal Prince from kidnapping. However, Race always seems to win despite these obstacles he has to overcome.
Main article: List of KaBlam! episodes
Season 1 started off with mostly regular shorts on its episodes, including Sniz and Fondue, Action League Now!, Prometheus and Bob, and Life with Loopy. The Off-Beats was also another regular short that sometimes filled in for Life with Loopy. Other cartoon segments, such as Surprising Shorts, Angela Anaconda, and The Louie and Louie Show aired.
At the start of the intro, a voiceover of a man shouts "Wake up the masses!" The opening to the show starts out with a hawk crashing into the camera while the camera pans through a forest and goes underwater (during this, announcer Bert Pence says "Assume the crash position. Hold on tight, take a deep breath, for a new kind of cartoon show.") Then the camera travels to Egypt where Egyptians dance and the Great Sphinx swipes at the camera. The camera then heads up to space where two kids in a ride, the planets, stars, asteroids, and UFOs are seen. After the United States Capitol gets destroyed by two UFOs, it then pans to Godzilla destroying a city. It then pans to an open street comic book store and lands on the KaBlam! comic book, featuring the Flesh, Stinky Diver, Sniz, Fondue, and Loopy on it (Bert Pence then says "It's KaBlam!, where cartoons and comics collide. Now to take you inside and turn the pages, here are your hosts, Henry and June."). The book is then opened by Henry and June, in hand-drawn animation. After they do a bunch of random dances, they flip into the comic book and the episode starts. The ending theme to the show in the majority of the episodes is a quirky, upbeat tune similar to The Toasters' song "Skaternity", otherwise on some episodes on Not Just For People Anymore and All Purpose KaBlam! it is an extended version of the intro.
After 7 more episodes of The Off-Beats, and one last episode of Surprising Shorts, they were officially taken out of KaBlam!. One-time shorts were brought in such as Randall Flan's Incredible Big Top, and The Girl with Her Head Coming Off by Emily Hubley. The Adventures of Patchhead, a live-action/green screen short, is introduced as well. Another short, The Brothers Tiki, appears twice. Henry and June are now drawn differently (cel-shaded/CGI) and their voices are deeper.
The opening to the show is not changed, however, when the camera pans on the KaBlam! comic book, the cover is different from Season 1 (Thundergirl, Stinky Diver, Prometheus, Bob, Loopy, Sniz, and Fondue are seen). Also, Henry and June dance the macarena and then arm-in-arm. The ending theme to the show is changed (it is similar to The Toasters' song "Everything You Said Has Been A Lie") and is used for every episode except Tastes Like Paper and Sasquatch-ercise.
After four more episodes of Sniz and Fondue, its production company began working on a TV adaption of Watership Down, ending its run on KaBlam!. JetCat and Race Rabbit are introduced and become minor shorts that appeared from time to time. The Adventures of Patchhead makes its second and final appearance. Music videos by James Kochalka called "Hockey Monkey" and "Pizza Rocket" also appear. Henry and June are drawn a little differently and their voices are slightly deeper.
The opening intro has a number of changes. After the camera comes up out of the water, it goes directly to the White House scene. After the Godzilla scene, the camera pans toward a school instead of the comic book stand. The camera scares a bird off that is perched on a window as it enters a classroom. It pans by a frightened teacher and through a number of students. It stops as it hits a student reading a KaBlam! comic book. On the cover of the comic book, it shows a child who is ecstatic. Henry and June then open the comic book, dance, and the episode starts. Announcer Bert Pence's line, as he introduces the show, is slightly changed. Instead of saying "Hold on tight, take a deep breath, for a new kind of cartoon show", he says "Hold on tight, take a deep breath, for a cartoon cramaganza!" The ending theme is not changed from Season 2.
All the shorts (except Action League Now! which spins off into its own series after KaBlam!'s cancelation) come to an end. Life with Loopy, Prometheus and Bob, JetCat and Race Rabbit air their last episodes. Music videos by They Might Be Giants appear twice in two different episodes; they were "Why Does the Sun Shine?" and "Doctor Worm". One-time shorts frequently appeared in Season 4 such as Fuzzball, Garbage Boy, Emmett Freedy, Stewy the Dogboy, The Little Freaks, and The Shizzagee.
The opening intro is not changed, along with the ending theme.