Cartoon Network (ended 2000)


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JBVO ("your all-request cartoon show", as it was billed) now exists as little more than an interesting footnote in television history; as the previous series description stated, "No one really remembers this show." A short-lived, Sunday-airing series produced for Cartoon Network, JBVO sat cartoon star Johnny Bravo behind a desk in a TV studio (ala Space Ghost) from which he took, then fulfilled, children's requests for cartoons, drawing from a library of classic Hanna Barbarra and Warner Brothers shorts (such as those featuring Bugs Bunny and Huckleberry Hound), as well as the network's contemporary hits (The Powerpuff Girls, etc.)

JBVO was meant to be ground-breaking, in part due to its use of Kaydara, Inc's FiLMBOX software (a beta copy, in fact, as the package didn't ship 'til well after series' premiere). FiLMBOX allowed an operator to string together 2-D animated sequences (produced by Funny Garbage) in real-time, keying movements off Jeff Bennett's live conversations with callers. Further, real-time lip-sync was automated by FiLMBOX's Voice Reality, and use of live backgrounds reportedly allowed the series' producer to appear on set (though I don't recall him being anything more than an off-stage voice).

Unfortunately, I don't know that many viewers were aware of the broadcasts' technical achievements. I, for one, assumed the phone conversations had been pre-recorded over the week between shows, the result of follow-up calls to submissions sent via Cartoon Network's website and snail mail, and that animation sequences had been pieced together through more traditional methods afterward. Indeed, as I recall, at least some such conversations began with Johnny calling the child, which only reinforced (and may have given birth to) that perception.moreless