Twenty years ago, the world was introduced to the municipality of Townsville, the rotten apples hell-bent on destroying it, and its three kindergarten-aged saviors in the What a Cartoon! short “Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins.” Craig McCracken’s creation became a phenomenon in 1998, when The Powerpuff Girls became a weekly series. With its 2002 movie, it’s still currently the only Cartoon Network show to get the full-length film treatment. Here are some things you might not have known about the series.
1. THEY WERE ORIGINALLY KNOWN AS ‘THE WHOOP-ASS GIRLS.’
McCracken was going for a tomboy name befitting her character, but “Blossom, Bubbles, and Bud” just didn’t work. Thankfully, a friend suggested Buttercup.
4. THEY HAD DIFFERENT NAMES IN DIFFERENT PLACES.
On Cartoon Network Latin America, they were Chocolate, Bubble, and Acorn (Bombón, Burbuja, Bellota.) On Italian TV, Lolly, Dolly, and Molly saved the day.
5. EXECUTIVES—AND YOUNG BOYS—WEREN’T ENTIRELY SOLD ON THE SHOW (AT FIRST).
After an 11-year-old boy in a focus group said that McCracken should be fired, the animator put a show “bible” together for network executives in order to give a better understanding of what they would be putting on the air. In it, he asked Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup 20 questions each, and had them answer in their own voices.
6. MOJO JOJO WAS INSPIRED BY A CHARACTER FROM A JAPANESE LIVE-ACTION SCI-FI SERIES.
Spectreman was produced in Japan in 1971, and first shown in the United States seven years later. Dr. Gori was a mad scientist from a simian planet who was up to no good.
7. MOJO JOJO IS VOICED BY THE SCREAM MOVIE KILLER.
Roger L. Jackson was the voice of Ghostface, murderer of many doomed teens, in Wes Craven's Scream. Mojo’s dialogue is based on Speed Racer’s dubbed speech patterns and a DC Comics dictionary called The Superdictionary that McCracken had as a child. The book would go over the definition of words over and over and over again using different simple sentences.
8. ‘HIM’ IS THE DEVIL.
The demon creature was referred to as the Devil at first, before Cartoon Network said no religious references were allowed on their shows.
9. FROM THE BEGINNING, THE SHOW WAS VERY, VERY POPULAR.
10. IT CONVINCED MCCRACKEN’S KID NEIGHBOR TO START FLOSSING.
When his mother informed him that his creation got the girl from across the street to start flossing, he insisted that he “didn’t mean to be responsible for that."
11. PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON’S FATHER WAS THE ORIGINAL NARRATOR.
Accomplished TV and radio voice actor Ernie Anderson passed away after the two What a Cartoon! shorts. He was replaced by Tom Kenny, who also provided the voices of the Mayor, Mitch, Snake Ingleberry, and Lil’ Arturo, and is probably best known as the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants.
13. THE EPISODE "MEET THE BEAT ALLS" CONTAINED 65 REFERENCES TO THE BEATLES.
It premiered on February 9, 2001, on the anniversary of the band’s legendary debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The line “Someday monkey will play piano song” was McCracken’s lifelong incorrect hearing of the French lyric in “Michelle."
14. THE PRODUCERS DECIDED TO NOT DO A SEVENTH SEASON.
Both McCracken and Chris Savino, the executive producer for seasons five and six, turned down an offer from Cartoon Network to keep going, as they were occupied with other projects, and most of the original crew had already moved on.
New Documentary Reveals the Surprising Place the Queen's Crown Jewels Were Hidden During WWII
BY Kirstin Fawcett
January 12, 2018
Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images
Today, the Queen of the United Kingdom's Crown Jewels are safeguarded in the Tower of London’s Jewel House, under the watch of armed guards. But during World War II, select gems from the priceless collection were stored in a biscuit tin and buried on Windsor Castle’s grounds, according to Business Insider.
The unorthodox hiding place was recently revealed in a new BBC documentary, The Coronation, which looks back on Queen Elizabeth II’s rise to the throne in 1953. British news commentator Alastair Bruce, who interviews the Queen in the hour-long special, says he stumbled across the story while perusing once-confidential letters between royal librarian Sir Owen Morshead and Queen Mary, the mother of King George VI and grandmother of Queen Elizabeth.
Fearing that the Nazis would seize the royal jewels, George VI ordered the treasure-filled tin to be buried underneath a secret emergency castle exit. The jewels—including the Black Prince's Ruby and St. Edward's Sapphire, both taken from the Imperial State Crown—were accessible only through a trapdoor.
The freshly tilled earth was a chalky white. To avoid notice from the German Luftwaffe, tarps were used to conceal the dug-up grounds at night. The Nazis weren’t the only ones left in the dark: Princess Elizabeth, then 14 years old, had no idea where the gems were buried, although she did know they’d been hidden at Windsor.
This story—along with other musings on royalty from Queen Elizabeth—is shared in The Coronation, which airs on the Smithsonian Channel on January 14.
This week, nearly three years after bidding farewell to Late Night, David Letterman is making his triumphant return to the small screen via Netflix with My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (where he'll interview two people who need no introduction: Barack Obama and George Clooney). If the series is anything like Letterman's career thus far, you can expect plenty of innovation.
Here are 23 recurring bits, features, and moments that the former Indiana weatherman (and his writers) invented for our amusement.
1. THE SHORT, NON-TOPICAL MONOLOGUE
Carson Productions, as in Johnny Carson’s production company, co-produced Late Night with David Letterman, and as the upcoming lead-out programming for The Tonight Show, it was important to Carson’s people that Letterman not copy Carson. Letterman’s people were told that among other things, they couldn’t have a sidekick sitting next to the host like Ed McMahon, a band with horns like Doc Severinsen’s, or a monologue. So instead, Letterman opened his show by standing in front of the audience and viewers at home with “opening remarks,” a monologue consisting of just one or two jokes with weird imagery, like tattoos melting in warm weather.
2. POST-INTERVIEW INTERVIEWS
On February 3, 1982—his third-ever broadcast—Late Night conducted two interviews with baseball hall-of-famer Hank Aaron: One was a standard talk show back-and-forth between host and guest. The other occurred after that conversation ended, where NBC Sports reporter Al Albert (son of Marv Albert) asked Aaron how he felt his last few minutes with Letterman went, with the idea that it was the equivalent of a post-game interview.
3. STUPID PET TRICKS
“Stupid Pet Tricks” began on Letterman’s short-lived but Emmy-winning morning show, and was a consistently popular segment on both Late Night and The Late Show. The idea came from original head writer Merrill Markoe, who "remembered how in college my friends and I would be hanging around in the evenings, talking, and drinking. One form of constant entertainment was to put socks on this one dog. Everyone I knew did some version of a silly thing like that with their pets, so we ran an ad to see if we could pull a segment together like that."
4. WORLD’S LARGEST VASE CONTESTS
After questioning people who claimed to have the “world’s largest vase” over the phone in what New York Magazine described as a “longish” segment, the vase was brought into the studio and displayed on Late Night from May 30 through June 2, 1983. On its third night, a 35-inch radio transmitting tower was added to the case when it was discovered that it was shorter than one in Canada. On its final night of national exhibition, Letterman read alleged letters from children addressed to the Vase, and the vase “spoke” to wish for peace for mankind.
5. CATCHPHRASE CONTESTS
Two on-air catchphrase contests, which aired a little over a month apart in the summer of 1984, gave lucky studio audiences the power to make “They pelted us with rocks and garbage” the first rallying cry, before it was displaced by "I do and do and do for you kids, and this is the thanks I get!"
6. A CAMERA FROM THE HOST'S P.O.V.
The February 15, 1982 installment of Late Night began with one continuous five minute and 17 second take through Letterman’s P.O.V. called “Dave Cam.” Cameos included that night’s guest Andy Rooney, Merrill Markoe, and Calvert DeForest, who played Larry “Bud” Melman on Late Night, as “Bert the Human Caboose.”
7. A CAMERA FROM THE GUEST’S P.O.V.
Letterman favorite Tom Hanks was the first wearer of the “Late Night Guest-Cam.” Hanks was on the show the night of December 12, 1985 to promote The Money Pit, which was initially supposed to debut the next day, but would be delayed until the following March. “The Late Night Sky-Cam” makes a cameo.
8. A CAMERA FROM A MONKEY’S P.O.V.
After a false start with a 30-year-old chimp named Bo, who was too small to handle the camera, “Monkey Cam” got its start on March 19, 1986. Zippy, who was on the cover of The Ramones' Animal Boyalbum, would return on roller skates with the “Late Night Monkey Cam Mobile Unit.”
9. PURPOSELY FUNNY TOP 10 LISTS
The very first Top Ten—“The Top Ten Things That Almost Rhyme With Peas"—aired on September 18, 1985, as a satire of the random lists publications like Good Housekeeping were starting to produce at the time. Credit for who thought up the idea for Late Night is disputed; over the years, head writer Steve O’Donnell, former head writer and longtime SNL scribe Jim Downey, Late Night writer Randy Cohen, and producer Robert Morton have all gotten some or all of the credit. Top Ten made it to the end of Late Show’s run, even though the writers were already tiring of it by the February 6, 1986 show, which had the Top Ten list “Top Ten Reasons to Continue the Top Ten Lists Just a Little Longer.”
10. WEARING SUITS OF VELCRO, ALKA-SELTZER, MAGNETS, SPONGES, SUET, AND FOODS
On February 28, 1984, Letterman slipped into a “Suit of Velcro” and ushered in an era of strange outfits including a magnet get-up, which Letterman wore to attach himself to a huge GE fridge. Lowering himself into a 1000-gallon tank of water, Letterman’s suit of Alka-Seltzer fizzed and vaporized. There were also suits of suet, marshmallows, chips, and Rice Krispies, the latter of which made David “snap, crackle, and pop” in a large tub of milk. An influence was Steve Allen, the original host of The Tonight Show, who threw himself into Jell-O vats on television. Allen’s “Man on the Street” interviews were also something Letterman took to new levels of absurdity.
11. HOSTING A SHOW ABOARD AN AIRPLANE
Late Night’s fourth anniversary was celebrated onboard a flight from New York City to Miami.
12. AN EPISODE THAT ROTATES 360 DEGREES
Writers Randy Cohen and Kevin Curran came up with the unique way to celebrate the 800th episode of Late Night. NBC received “several hundred” phone calls about the December 9, 1986 show from viewers complaining that it was giving them headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Carson Productions executives were apparently not informed of the stunt beforehand and were reportedly “furious.”
13. FEUDING WITH BRYANT GUMBEL
After Letterman interrupted an August 19, 1985 broadcast of Today co-hosted by Bryant Gumbel, Gumbel called out the Late Night host for being “unprofessional” and didn’t publicly forgive him for four years. (Letterman claimed it was a Today producer who invited him to pull the stunt.)
14. FEUDING WITH OPRAH WINFREY
In the 16 years between Oprah's 1989 appearance on Late Night and her December 1, 2005 Late Show interview, rumors swirled about a feud between Winfrey and Letterman. The reasons why—and even if—there was a “feud” at all remain unclear.
15. CO-HOSTING AN EPISODE WITH A CORNY MORNING SHOW THEME
On February 27, 1985, Letterman shared hosting duties with “Tawny Harper Reynolds,” with guests Michael Palin, a Pet Psychic, and an exercise segment with Carol Channing.
16. AN HOUR-LONG PARODY OF 1970s PRIMETIME VARIETY SHOWS
“Dave Letterman's Summertime Sunshine Happy Hour” graced the NBC airwaves on the night of August 29, 1985. Early in his TV career, Letterman wrote and was a part of the cast of The Starland Vocal Band Show.
17. AN HOUR-LONG PARODY OF CHRISTMAS SPECIALS
December 19, 1984’s "Christmas With the Lettermans," featuring Pat Boone, won Late Night a 1985 Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Program.
18. "CUSTOM-MADE" SHOWS
On November 15, 1983, Late Night relinquished control of the show to the audience, giving them a choice on everything from the furniture to the theme song. On March 27, 1984’s version, the show opened with the theme to Bonanza, the announcer was the New York Lieutenant Governor, and Jane Pauley was interviewed in a dentist's chair.
19. DUBBING A RERUN FROM ENGLISH TO ENGLISH
When the February 17, 1986 episode re-aired on September 25th of that year, 250 confused viewers called the network. After 60 hours and four professional dubbers, everyone on the episode (Raquel Welch was the main guest) magically had different voices. Even Letterman's voice was dubbed (by Speed Racer's Peter Fernandez).
20. 4 A.M. SHOWS
May 14, 2004’s Late Show was taped at four in the morning, on purpose. Amy Sedaris, rat expert Robert Sullivan, and Modest Mouse were the guests. Letterman rode a horse, Sedaris gave an unsafe late night tour of her neighborhood, and Modest Mouse played in their pajamas.
21. DEDICATING MOST OF AN EPISODE TO A DECEASED COMEDIAN AND HIS FAMILY
Letterman invited Bill Hicks’s mother, Mary, to appear on the January 30, 2009 episode to apologize face-to-face for not airing Hicks’s controversial October 1, 1993, stand-up performance. In February of 1994, Hicks passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 32. After talking to Mary, Letterman finally presented Bill’s set.
22. DEDICATING AN ENTIRE EPISODE TO A COMEDY HERO
On the first new Late Show after Johnny Carson's passing, Letterman's monologue was filled with jokes that the retired Carson had anonymously submitted to David over the years. Long-time The Tonight Show executive producer Peter Lassally and bandleader Doc Severinsen were that night's only guests.
23. THE ‘WILL IT FLOAT?’ GAME
The first installment of “Will It Float?” was on February 6, 2002. A brick of Velveeta cheese sank. Dave got it right, whereas Paul got it wrong.