Beetlejuice (ABC, 1989-1991, Fox, 1991)
Here’s a look back at another cartoon that was on CITV rather regularly in the early-90s, there really were a lot of them, weren’t there. Having been interested in rather spooky shows over the years, it seems fairly obvious that I would take an interest in this one. In 1988, comedy horror film Beetlejuice starring Michael Keaton was released, and it was a big success.
Because of this, there was determination to do some more. A sequel never happened though, instead it was turned into a children’s cartoon, under the watch of the film’s director Tim Burton. The format was changed a little, but the basic idea was the same. I must admit I’m more familiar with the cartoon version than the film. Beetlejuice was a ghost, who wore a striped suit, had a purple face, and bright green teeth. He could also change shape, his head often span round, and he liked to eat bugs. He also liked to play pranks on people.
One day he befriends Lydia Deetz, a girl who is in her early-teens and likes the spookier things in life. Lydia would say Beetlejuice’s name three times, at which point he was summoned and they would go on their adventures. Together they like to explore the Neitherworld, which contains all kinds of strange things, including ghosts, monsters, and zombies. The show is set in the fictional town Peaceful Pines.
Lydia’s parents Charles and Delia can’t really believe what she has caught herself up in. And neither can their long-suffering cat Percy. We also meet some of Lydia’s friends that attend Miss Shannon’s School For Girls, who include Bertha and Prudence. She definitely wasn’t fond of Claire though, who thought she was rather marvellous. This was a cartoon that was packed with lots of quirky ideas.
There were 94 episodes of Beetlejuice containing 109 segments. The fourth and final series which moved from ABC to Fox ran for a whopping 65 episodes, they just couldn’t stop themselves, and some later episodes included parodies of other films. There were lots of episodes released on VHS and DVD throughout the years, and plenty of books and computer games were also released based on the show.
Beetlejuice was first shown in this country in 1991 as part of the Saturday Morning show Motormouth, and by 1992 it had moved to the main CITV afternoon strand. I also remember that around this time when the show was on CITV, there was a big poster on the wall behind Tommy Boyd in the studio, and as you should know by now, any show that got Tommy’s endorsement was definitely worth watching.