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Cartoon Network UK in 2003

Posted 1st January 2010

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I’d hoped to make this video rather longer, but today I have learnt one important thing: it’s hard to scrape images off a dodgy VHS without a Time Base Corrector. Nonetheless, it gives a good idea of the kind of presentation Cartoon Network had back in 2003. (It’s very easy to date a video when there are 10th anniversary trails on there…)

I spared you the ads, as they were deeply loud and unpleasant. A charge that could perhaps be aimed at the trails you DO get here, but I rather like them – the one at 1:35 is especially good.

But the great thing about this era of Cartoon Network is the grid-formation idents/bumpers. They’re quite simply some of the best presentation the channel has ever had, and far better than anything they – or, indeed, most other channels – have now. Beautifully edited together, the way the action from many different cartoons seamlessly moves from one block to the other is incredible. Working on so many different levels – hell, they even fit in with the concept of the channel’s logo – they’re an example to channels everywhere of how to do fantastic presentation that fits with your output.

There’s plenty more from this VHS – as soon as I manage to get a decent signal out my bloody machine, I’ll grab some more of it.

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Louis Barfe on 1 January 2010 @ 8pm

What’s the problem with the signal? Sometimes, you can improve matters by taking the lid off and tweaking the tape guides. I’ve got tapes from an old machine where with the guides at their default setting on my current machines, the tracking will give me decent picture but shit sound, or shit picture/decent hi-fi stereo sound. With guide-diddling, I can force a compromise. Some DVD recorders have built-in TBCs, don’t they?

John Hoare on 2 January 2010 @ 12am

Need to connect the VCR to the TV to see how bad the signal actually is, but I’m capturing using Final Cut Express and an ADVC-55, and it just keeps losing sync and freezing every couple of minutes. Annoyingly, the next model up in the ADVC series has a TBC in it, but I couldn’t justify the expense at the time.

Might be worth having a fiddle inside just in case though, so ta!

Cappsy on 7 January 2010 @ 4pm

Absolutely fantastic.

I utterly love all the separate cartoons linking together. So well done.

John Hoare on 9 January 2010 @ 7pm

And it’s an idea that – with some changes here and there to keep it fresh – could have worked well for them throughout the decade.

You don’t chuck away an idea like that. But… they did.

Dave on 16 January 2010 @ 4pm


And they wouldn’t get dull either, too many bumpers go on twice as long and wear thin twice as fast.

genericdave on 16 January 2010 @ 11pm

I don’t mind the recent ones where they have characters from different shows inter-mingling, although when compared to the ones you’ve shown here they are overlong and er a bit shit. But, hey, maybe I like overlong and a bit shit. That’s how my mum described Tom Waits’ Orphan boxset, only without “a bit” in it, but I can’t stop listening to it.

John Hoare on 17 January 2010 @ 11am

And they wouldn’t get dull either, too many bumpers go on twice as long and wear thin twice as fast.

That’s a very good point. And there are ENDLESS variations you can do on the theme, too.

I’ll try and capture some more next week – what’s in that video only scrapes the surface.