The last Nicktoon that debuted in 1996 was certainly a very unique one. When you think of a Nickelodeon variety show, the one that comes to mind is Weinerville. But when you think of an animated variety show, you can’t really think of one on the top of your head for that network. Cartoon Network had Cartoon Planet which aired in 1995 hosted by Space Ghost’s arch villains Brak and Zorak. Nickelodeon had KaBlam debuted on October 7, 1996.

KaBlam was originally one minute shorts that would show during the commercials similar to The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Also, just like Pete & Pete, the shorts would eventually become a TV series. The show takes place in a comic book where our two hosts Henry and June would be hosting the show KaBlam. Throughout each episode, there would always be a crazy situation going on while they were hosting KaBlam. Henry was the calm host who tries to keep things flowing while June was the crazy host doing stupid, funny gags to either make things entertaining or get Henry angry.

While the show was going on, Henry and June would turn a page from the comic book and show various amounts of cartoons. Some of the most well known cartoons were of the following.

Sniz and Fondue were traditionally animated shorts created by Michael Pearlstein. It’s about two brother wombats who live their normal lives while getting themselves in crazy situations. Sniz was the small wombat who’s very hyperactive and mostly causes trouble while Fondue is the older wombat who’s calm and collective.

Prometheus and Bob were claymation/stop motion animated shorts. 900,000 years ago, an alien named Prometheus lands on Earth during the prehistoric era and tries to educate a caveman named Bob. He teaches Bob things like cooking, dating, fishing, music, and art. However, Bob is not absorbing this information very well and his pet monkey is always messing things up for Prometheus. Around 1999, there were talks about a Prometheus and Bob feature film, but it was cancelled due to lack of interest.

Life with Loopy were stop motion animated shorts with cardboard used for the heads. It’s the story of a boy named Larry who would tell a story about what kind of crazy situations that his younger sister Loopy would get into. Each situation would be very strange from not showering for a month or wanting to walk upside down all the time.

Action League Now! were stop motion animated shorts created by Tim Hill. It’s about a group of the worst superheroes of all time, the Action League, trying to stop crime and save the day. The superheroes are The Flesh, a hero with super strength who’s always naked, Thunder Girl, who’s able to fly but always crashes into everything, Stinky Diver, a former Navy commando who always does the diving missions, mainly from the toilet, and Meltman, who has the power to melt. The characters were basically altered toys and action figures that Tim Hill happened to have bought in a cheap second hand store. The Flesh was an altered Conan the Barbarian doll, Thunder Girl was an altered doll with a Sindy doll’s head, Stinky Diver was an altered Shipwreck figure from G.I. Joe. It’s sort of like Robot Chicken of the 90’s. It would eventually be made into a spinoff series in 2001 and last for only 1 year.

 


While these shorts were showing in almost every single episode of KaBlam, they would show a different animated short from time to time.

The Offbeats were traditionally animated shorts created by Mo Willems. It’s the story about a group of unpopular kids hanging out with one another and dealing with everyday situations. These problems were mostly caused by a group of popular kids known as The Populars. It only aired for two seasons since Mo Willems went to work on a Cartoon Network show called Sheep in the Big City.

 


JetCat were traditionally animated shorts created by Jay Stevens. It’s about a girl who has a superhero identity known as JetCat. It was originally a comic strip on Nickelodeon Magazine before it featured on KaBlam. 

 


Fuzzball was a traditionally animated short created by Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill. It’s about a girl nicknamed Fuzzball who accidentally breaks her father’s trophy and enters a bowling competition to win a new one to replace it.

Angela Anaconda were cutout animation shorts created by Sue Rose and Joanna Ferone. It’s about a girl named Angela Anaconda who goes through her everyday life with her friends. She’s always confronted by her rival Nanette Manoir and her teacher Mrs. Briggs. The animation was inspired by Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python cartoons. Angela Anaconda was eventually made into a TV series on Fox Kids on October 4, 1999.

KaBlam was created by Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi, and Robert Mittenthal. It was the only animated show created exclusively for SNICK.

The show lasted for 4 seasons until its run ended on January 22, 2000. Overall, it’s one of the most unique animated shows that has ever aired. Not just from Nickelodeon, but in general. The interactions with Henry and June were always fun to look at and the animated shorts were always fun to see. Some animated shorts were better than others, depending on your tastes. In my opinion, Angela Anaconda was the weakest. They were pretty average cartoons when you look past the unique animation. I can’t believe that out of all the shorts that KaBlam aired, this one had its own TV series. Not by Nickelodeon, but still. Other shows that had cheap animation like South Park or The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle used the cheap animation to its advantage creating well written stories with memorable characters that has stood the test of time. Angela Anaconda does not.

Just like KaBlam, Cartoon Planet also stopped airing around 2000 and for 12 years, there were no other animated variety shows. That is until March 31, 2012 when Cartoon Planet came back on Cartoon Network. The ratings were soaring through the sky and people who grew up with the original Cartoon Planet were glad to see Brak and Zorak again.

Come on, Nickelodeon, try to get KaBlam back as well! Make some new shorts and see if you can make a comeback as well! If you haven’t seen KaBlam, check it out sometime. It’s highly recommended for people who love seeing different works of animation that is not CGI, who loves animated variety shows, and for a creative concept executed very well.

That’s all for now. Tune in next time as we close 1996 by going back to Nick Jr. with the preschool show that revolutionized Nick Jr. and other kids’ shows Blue’s Clues.


Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.

-Patricia

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