"Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue" was an animated special that was aired on ABC, CBS, and NBC in April 21, 1990, featuring a crossover of various cartoon characters such as those from Alf, Alvin And The Chipmunks, Disney's DuckTales, Winnie The Pooh, Muppet Babies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Garfield And Friends, The Real Ghostbusters, The Smurfs, and Looney Tunes. Because the Smurfs, like all the characters from the other cartoon shows listed, are presented in this special as nothing more than cartoon characters coming to life, and because this adventure doesn't tie in with any of the stories featured in either the Smurfs comic book series or the 1980s Smurfs cartoon show, it is considered a "non-canonical" Smurf story.
This story is similar to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as the cartoon characters show Michael the drugs in his past, present and future life, what they have done to him and what they will do unless he stops taking them.
The story begins when a young girl named Corey has her piggy bank stolen from her bedroom while she was asleep. Papa Smurf, having awakened from his sleep inside a comic book story, is the first to notice the piggy bank being missing and alerts his little Smurfs to the emergency situation. This also wakes up other cartoon characters that are present in Corey's bedroom -- Alf, Garfield, Winnie the Pooh, and the Chipmunks -- as they work together with the Smurfs to make the Baby Kermit alarm clock go off to awaken Corey. She arises to see the piggy bank missing and goes to look for her brother Michael, whom she finds with the piggy bank being broken and him looking for money inside it. Corey asks her brother what's wrong, but Michael tells her to mind her own business as he takes the money inside the piggy bank and goes to the local video arcade. This leaves Corey so frightened and concerned that she doesn't know whether to tell her parents that something is wrong with her brother, fearing that her brother might blame her for telling on him.
Meanwhile, at the video arcade, Michael is introduced to a sample of crack by the teenager offering it to him when he hears the police coming. Michael and the evil influence known as Smoke attempt to make a run for it, but while Smoke manages to escape, Michael finds out that he has only been chased after by Bugs Bunny posing as a cop. He takes Michael inside a time machine to show when he started doing drugs, refuting Michael's claim that he chose to do them by making him see that he was pressured into doing so by local teens. Michael soon runs into Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when he falls down into the sewer while chasing some teenagers who stole his wallet. The Ninja Turtle talks to Michael about his not being able to think lately before he turns him over to the Muppet Babies, Kermit and Miss Piggy, who take him on a fantastic yet scary roller-coaster ride inside his own mind to see what effect drugs have on him. This ends with Michael seeing himself collapsing on the sidewalk after failing to keep his balance on a skateboard through a park, where he sees Donald Duck's nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, as well as a few other cartoon characters, sing to him about saying no to drugs.
After a frightening trip through a dangerous carnival in which he visits Daffy Duck posing as a fortune teller to show him what his future will be like if he kept taking drugs, he eventually sees that Corey has found his hidden stash of drugs and is now being tempted by Smoke into using them so that she could talk to her brother again. Michael instantly gets the drugs out of her hands and tells her that he never wants to see her taking drugs, and hurls Smoke out of his bedroom into a garbage truck. Smoke tells Michael that it won't be the last time he will ever see him, but Corey tells her brother that they will be ready as the cartoon characters join together inside a poster at the end of the story.
- Financed by McDonald's, the special was originally simulcast on April 21, 1990 on all three major American television networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS, along with syndication to most independent stations.
- McDonald's also distributed a VHS home video edition of the special, produced by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, which opened with an introduction from then-President George H. W. Bush, and First Lady Barbara Bush. In foreign market showings of the cartoon special, other political leaders have made their own introductions for the nations they were in charge of.
- The show was produced by Southern Star Productions for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and was animated overseas by Wang Film Productions.
- The special was able to get so many characters from various franchises because the license holders gave producers royalty-free access due to the public service aspect of the special. However, Garfield was reportedly used without consent from his creator Jim Davis. Garfield and Friends writer Mark Evanier later pointed out that Jim Davis did give the creator of the special permission to use the character, but only for limited viewings.
- It should be noted that, despite Smurfette appearing in the promotional poster for this cartoon special, she actually doesn't appear anywhere in the special.
- The Smurfs characters don't have much of a big role as the other characters (such as ones from Looney Tunes and DuckTales) in this special.
- In 2017, Danny Pudi would voice Brainy Smurf in Smurfs: The Lost Village and Huey Duck in the reboot of DuckTales.
- The special was mostly released as a rental-only videocassette in the early 1990s. Nowadays, it is currently out of print and can easily be found online.
Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue at Wikipedia.com