`Toon'-ing in to Drug Dangers
LOS ANGELES — HOLLYWOOD'S social activism is moving into the world of Saturday-morning cartoons. Alf, Bugs Bunny, the Chipmunks, Daffy Duck, Garfield, the Muppets, the Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Winnie the Pooh are uniting to help kids learn to say ``no'' to drug abuse.
Tomorrow's special, ``Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue'' (ABC, NBC, CBS, Saturday, 9:30-10 a.m.), with animated characters from all the top studios here, marks a first for entertainment programming being aired simultaneously by all three commercial networks.
Canadian television and hundreds of independent stations and cable outlets in the US, Canada, and Mexico will either participate tomorrow or air the special separately between April 22 and 28.
The show's antidrug message is geared so that even the youngest can understand and remember. The show is modeled on Dicken's ``A Christmas Carol,'' in which the characters guide an animated 14-year-old drug user named Michael on a tour of his past, present, and future.
Two other animated characters round out the cast: Michael's sister, Corey; and Smoke, an evil drug-pushing apparition with the voice of George C. Scott.
Ken Barun, executive director of the Ronald McDonald Charities, one of the sponsors, noted in a Monday press conference, ``By fourth grade, one-third of all kids have experienced peer pressure to use drugs .... so it's essential that we teach them how to say `no' at an early age.''