CULT FACTION

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Cult Cartoon Essentials: BEETLEJUICE

A year after the movie came the cartoon! It ran for four seasons (94 episodes) between 1989 and 1991 and definitely had a bit of the film weirdness in it!

The cartoon followed Beetlejuice and Lydia through their adventures together in both the Neitherworld and the “real world”, a fictional New England town called Peaceful Pines (Not Winter River as featured in the film). Lydia could summon Beetlejuice out of the Neitherworld (or go there herself) by calling his name three times, sometimes as part of a set chant:

“Though I know I should be wary, Still I venture someplace scary; Ghostly hauntings I turn loose … Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!”

Occasionally, there are other effects from that chant, such as Lydia’s room changing to a gothic castle. On a few occasions, other people and ghosts went to the Neitherworld or the living world, either when Lydia takes them with her by chanting Beetlejuice’s name, or presumably through a door that connects Lydia’s and Beetlejuice’s homes.

The series’ humor relied heavily on sight gags, wordplay, and allusiveness. Many episodes, especially towards the end of the run, were parodies of famous films (such as Brigadoon, Shane, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Moby Dick), books, and TV shows (such as Masterpiece Theatre, Pee-wee’s Playhouse and The Twilight Zone). The episode “Brides of Funkenstein” was based on an idea submitted by a then-teenage girl, who was a fan of the show.

Throughout the series, Beetlejuice would often try to scam residents of the Neitherworld — and, sometimes, the “real world” as well (Lydia’s parents were occasional unwitting victims of his pranks) — by various means, from “baby-sitting” (in which he literally sits on the grotesque Neitherworld babies) to trying to beat them in an auto race!

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