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John Pannozzi writes...

Greg, could please tell me everything you know about the development (and perhaps production) of Raw Toonage and Bonkers. Please tell me everything you remember about the development of these shows. Look for any notes about these that you still have somewhere. It's fine if you tell the whole stroy in multiple parts rather than all at once . Is it true what the Wikipedia entry for Raw Toonage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_Toonage) says? :
"The idea for the show had an unusual genesis. Disney TV was developing a 65-half hour series for their Disney Afternoon block entitled He's Bonkers. The premise was similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit in that the lead character, Bonkers, was a cartoon living in the real world. He had at one time been the star of his own show on Saturday morning, but after it was canceled he became a policeman. The series dealt with his adventures post-stardom. The actual production of this series was troubled, in large part because the so-called real characters in the series were also animated, only not as broadly as Bonkers and friends.

At the same time, Michael Eisner had purchased the rights to the popular Belgian comic strip Marsupilami. At some point, someone had the post-modern idea to actually make the cartoons that Bonkers had starred in before becoming a policeman, and the show that would become Raw Toonage was born. The additional segment, Totally Tasteless Video, was intended as a satire of popular culture, not a proving ground for new stars. The host was added to give the show the familiar feel of the World of Disney show.

Though it looked like the longer show was spun off from the shorts, the reverse is actually true. Due to the shorter production schedule, Raw Toonage, with its Bonkers shorts, was on the air before the 65-half hour show, thus adding some credibility to the back story."

Also, please tell everything you know about the development of Darkwing Duck.

Greg responds...

The show was originally called "Toon Cop" not "He's Bonkers." Then the name was changed to "Bonkers" in part to avoid any conflict with Steven Spielberg over the word "Toon" and in part because somebody felt that naming the show after the lead character worked well with kids. The "He's Bonkers" name was only for the pre-Toon Cop Bonkers cartoons that appeared as part of Raw Toonage. Raw Toonage may have had a slightly shorter production schedule, but the main reason it wound up airing first was BECAUSE Bonkers was troubled and delayed. I don't think the host was added to Raw Toonage for a World of Disney feel. I think it was added for a Saturday Night Live feel, but that may just be my opinion. Otherwise the description above seems largely accurate. For more information you can check the Bonkers Archive here at ASK GREG.

But I'm afraid I don't have any current plans to try to reconstruct ALL that I remember about either Bonkers, Raw Toonage or Darkwing Duck. I don't think I still have access to my notes on any of those shows, and the act of reconstructing it all is a project that I just don't have time for. If you have any specific questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

I have on occasion gone to wikipedia and corrected misapprehensions about Bonkers and Raw Toonage. And yet despite the fact that I was there and in charge of the development of both shows, I constantly found my corrections "corrected". I finally gave up.

Response recorded on December 18, 2007