Monday, April 8, 2013

Toons After Dark: Celebrity Deathmatch (1998)

Some of us have probably wished that certain overexposed celebrities would fight each other. Well, MTV decided to do something about that.

In 1998, the network introduced the claymation series, Celebrity Deathmatch, and I can't think of a better show to launch our new feature, "Toons After Dark", even though Deathmatch did air for some time on Saturday mornings on MTV (because they played the show into the ground like they do everything else). Deathmatch was the creation of cartoonist Eric Fogel (ex-The Head portion of Oddities), and while the claymation figures weren't exact likenesses of the actual celebrities, more often than not, watching them get killed was part of the show's charm.

Veteran boxing referee Mills Lane, who'd later end up getting a courtroom show of his own, and wrestler-turned-actor "Stone Cold" Steve Austin contributed to the series. Austin even brought WWE boss Vince McMahon onto the show to continue their feud, which was McMahon's first cartoon credit. Lane's health issues, however, prevented him from returning for a short-lived revival in 2006, and actor Chris Edgerly took his place. Commentator Debbie Matenopoulos (ex-The View) was the only other real-life person who was on the show, and didn't really add anything to the festivities. Veteran voice actor Len Maxwell, better known for his work on series such as Batfink in the 60's, came out of retirement to voice commentator Nick Diamond. The original run of four years and 75 episodes, along with the 2006-7 revival, now are in the vaults somewhere.

Mills is at the desk with Stacey Cornbread to call a match between the Three Tenors and the Three Stooges, made possible by Stone Cold's time machine (WHAT?).

Unfortunately, complete half-hour episodes are not available on YouTube. We just have to make do.

Rating: B.

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