USA Cartoon Express

USA Cartoon Express

The "USA Cartoon Express" was a popular television programming block of animation on the USA Network from 1982 to 1996. "The Express" was the first structured animation block on cable television, predating Nickelodeon's animation blocks by half a decade and Cartoon Network by more than a decade.



The initial lineup was comprised mostly of reruns from the Hanna-Barbera library. Well-known properties like "The Huckleberry Hound Show", "Yogi Bear", "Space Ghost", and "Jonny Quest" shared space with lesser-known properties like "Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch", "Inch High, Private Eye", "Dynomutt, Dog Wonder", and countless others, as well as numerous spinoffs of "The Flintstones" such as "The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show". By the end of the decade, a more diverse lineup of cartoons aired on the "Cartoon Express", including "The Smurfs", "", "Transformers", "The Real Ghostbusters", "Jem", "Robotech", "Alvin and the Chipmunks", and "Scooby-Doo".

In 1991, Turner Broadcasting purchased Hanna-Barbera and launched Cartoon Network a year later, thus taking a chunk of "Cartoon Express" programming with it. The only Hanna-Barbera programs remaining on the "Cartoon Express" were "Scooby-Doo", which did not leave the Express until 1994, and "The Smurfs", which stayed until 1995.

Changes for 1994

In the fall of 1994, USA moved "Cartoon Express" from weekday afternoons to weekday mornings, in addition to its Sunday morning lineup, and revamped the entire look of the block from an orange locomotive motif to a silvery bullet train motif. Taking a cue from Nickelodeon's "Nicktoons", USA launched numerous original series. The first two "Cartoon Express" original series, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Problem Child" (based on the film franchise), didn't catch on with viewers.

Terrytoons and the "USA Action Extreme Team"

USA later briefly acquired the broadcast rights to Terrytoons shorts like Deputy Dawg and Mighty Mouse, and DC Comics-related cartoons such as "Superfriends". Making "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" the new marquee series on the block, USA revamped the final two hours of "Cartoon Express" as "USA Action Extreme Team" with the launch of shows based on the "Street Fighter II" and "Mortal Kombat" video game franchises and "Savage Dragon" comic book franchise. After the original series and "TMNT" left the air, the Cartoon Express was revamped into a weekday morning-only all-action block, with programs like "Mighty Max", "Sailor Moon", "Ronin Warriors", and "Gargoyles" as the primary shows. Reruns of "Sonic the Hedgehog" also appeared on USA Cartoon Express after ABC cancelled the series.

The end of an era

By the summer of 1996, The Cartoon Express pulled into its last stop when USA Networks (now known as NBC Universal Cable) had ended animation blocks on all its outlets, including the "Cartoon Quest" and also Sci-Fi Channel's "The Animation Station", ending a franchise that had been a staple of USA for 14 years.

Programs aired on "USA Cartoon Express"


*"Biskitts, The"
*"Buford and the Galloping Ghost"
*"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids"
*"Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels"
*"Challenge of the GoBots"
*"Clue Club"
*"Dynomutt, Dog Wonder"
*"Flintstone Comedy Show, The"
*"Goober and the Ghost Chasers"
*"Great Grape Ape Show, The"
*"Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!"
*"Herculoids, The"
*"Hong Kong Phooey"
*"Huckleberry Hound Show, The"
*"Inch High, Private Eye"
*"Jana of the Jungle"
*"Jonny Quest"
*"Kwicky Koala, The"
*"Magilla Gorilla"/"Quick Draw McGraw"/"Wally Gator"/"Loopy De Loop"
*"New Fred and Barney Show, The"
*"Paw Paws"
*"Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, The"
*"Roman Holidays, The"
*"Sealab 2020"
*"Scooby-Doo" and its various spin-offs
*"Shirt Tales"
*"Skatebirds, The"
*"Smurfs, The"
*"Space Ghost and Dino Boy" (minus the Dino Boy segments)
*"Space Kidettes"
*"Space Stars" (minus the Astro and the Space Mutts segments)
*"Speed Buggy"
*"SuperFriends" (as part of "The Superman Batman Adventures"; see next section)
*"Valley of the Dinosaurs"
*"Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch"
*"Yogi's Gang"
*"Yogi's Space Race"
*"Young Samson & Goliath

Other series

(note: not all shows on this list were aired as part of the "Cartoon Express"; some aired independently with their original commercial bumpers, albeit in the same timeslots. Additionally, other series on this list aired on the Sci-Fi Channel rather than on USA)

*"Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog"
*"Battle of the Planets"
*"Denver the Last Dinosaur"
*"Dragon's Lair"
*"Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids"
*"He-Man and the Masters of the Universe"
*"Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors"
*"Mister T
*"The Real Ghostbusters"
*"Sailor Moon" (DiC-produced episodes)
*"Sport Billy"
*"Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM)"
*"The Superman Batman Adventures (featuring various Filmation-produced shorts, plus various SuperFriends shorts)
*"The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3"
*"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
*"Thundarr the Barbarian"
*"Turbo Teen"

"USA Cartoon Express" original series

*"The Itsy Bitsy Spider"
*"Problem Child"
*"Savage Dragon"
*"Street Fighter"
*"Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills" (live-action)
*"Wing Commander Academy"


*"In a Minute"
*"Monster Bash"
*"USA Network Kids Club"

ee also

* The Animation Station
* Cartoon Quest

External links

* [ Buttons Sound Work - USA Cartoon Express Movie Special]
* [ USA Cartoon Express @]
* [ Does anyone remember the USA Network's "Cartoon Express"?]
* [ USA Cartoon Express - DVDtoons Forums]
* [;action=display;num=1111640543 The 80s Server - Forums « USA Cartoon Express]
* [ USA Cartoon Express - Google Groups]
* [ GAC Forums > Golden Age Cartoons Forums > The Termite Terrace Trading Post - OT: Do You Remember the USA "Cartoon Express"?]
* [ GAC Forums > Golden Age Cartoons Forums > The Termite Terrace Trading Post - "The Yogi Bear Show" Was in Syndication Since the Late 80's]
* [ Intro for Sonic the Hedgehog, from]
* [ Cartoon Express Intros from the early 1980s through early 1990s]

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