Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? (partially lost unreleased original voice audio and unfinished/unknown episodes; 2002-2003)
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|Opening title card to Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones?|
Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? was a 'Cartoon Cartoon' that ran for two seasons from 2002 to 2003 on Cartoon Network. The series consisted of 12 shows with two episodes per show and filled a 30-minute time slot. The cartoon was notable for its style, mimicking cartoons produced in the early 80s in addition to many references and plots devices based on fads of the era. For example, an episode based on the Rubik's Cube series of puzzle boxes. Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? Was produced using tradition cel animation when most productions had moved on to computerised animation, furthering the style that was desired. The series was released to praise from critics for its unique animation style.
Robot Jones is a young robot tasked by his parents to attend a middle school for humans so that he may study them. Initially, Jones is hesitant to do so as he finds humans 'inefficient'. After 'dad-unit' has his say, Jones begins life as a typical middle school student with a light bulb for a head. He quickly finds fitting in to be very difficult as most of the school finds him strange, including the students, teachers, and especially a technophobic principal. Shortly after blowing a fuse in front the entire school, Jones loses all will to study humans, until he falls for a mess of a girl in an overly exaggerated set of braces with a metal leg and instantly changes his attitude on the matter. Humans are now interesting creatures that desire 'further study'. As the series progresses, Jones confronts typical middle school issues such as love, fads, bullies, and Physical Education.
For the first season of Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? The titular character had a computer-generated voice that stood out amongst the other characters' voices (with the exception of Jones' parents, also using computer-generated voices). Series creator Greg Miller has stated that he wanted a true synthetic robot voice and researched a lot of speech programs when starting the show, even discussing the topic with Bell Laboratories. Contrary to popular belief, Jones' voice was not produced with Macintosh Macintalk's Junior Speech but was actually produced using Microsoft Word 98's Junior Speech text-to-speech function. Miller confirms this in a Facebook interview. He chose Word because of its controls in speed and pitch. Miller created the Jones Audio himself, even spelling each word phonetically for it to be pronounced correctly and adjusting the pitch to get the "acting" right. The executives at the Cartoon Network found the voice unusual and requested a more 'Hollywood' voice for Jones. This led to Jones's being voiced by an actual voice actor (Bobby Block) at the start of Season 2. In addition, the Pilot and older episodes were re-dubbed using Block's voice for re-runs of the series. Episodes containing the original computer-generated voice are currently being sought after by fans of the series. The voice change was made early in the production of Season 2.
Other Lost Aspects
In addition to the original Jones voice, several other small aspects of Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? are now lost as well.
The Season One episode "Growth Spurts" was edited in later airing to remove a poster in the background containing the phrase 'Kick-Ass', changing the phrase to simply 'Kick'. The original airing of the episode remained lost until it was picked up by Cartoon Network's Latin-Spanish sister channel, Tooncast. The show aired reruns on there for a couple of years since 2015, but for some reason it may have been recently taken off Tooncast's schedule around September of 2017.
Three episodes are believed to have been put into production before the series was cancelled, and were storyboarded but never actually animated:
- The first would have been about the history of robotics, possibly explaining a little more about this robot-assimilated society the series revolves around.
- The second, called the 'Talk Show' episode, would have had Robot Jones appear on a parody of the Oprah Winfrey show (called the 'Soapy Winfall' show in-universe). Storyboards for this episode have been made available from series writer Chuck Klein's blog spot.
- The content of the third episode is unknown as of now. Miller claims "it was so long ago, I forget...".
Two episodes are also rumored to have existed as the fourteenth show of the series: "Risk" and "Robotic Graffiti." Most people claim that the two episodes could be fake or fan-created as a predicted educated guess while the official Season 2 premiere was actually pushed back to October of 2003 (after Season 1 ended in September of 2002), because the person on TvTome.com rumored the two episodes in the first place without knowing anything about the second season's episodes that have not yet been publicly aired. On the other hand, in 2012, an anonymous fan (later known as "Wer Wie Was" on the Illiop.com forum) has posted a theory on Wikipedia thinking that these two episodes were potentially banned by the executives at the Cartoon Network for violent mature content, then posted another theory on an Illiop.com forum believing that the two episodes were actually scrapped or unfinished, but so far, no physical evidence of this has been put forward, so it is unknown whether these two episodes actually existed in the first place or were discovered to be fake.
On a Toonzone forum, someone posted that there is an unaired Halloween special for the show, but so far, no physical evidence of this has been put forward, and since it could easily be confused with any other second season episode that later aired during the month of October, this is yet another episode that is unconfirmed to exist.
And finally, according to a FaceBook interview with show creator Greg Miller, it is clear that the planned series finale could involve Robot Jones rallying (or even building) a robot army to exterminate the human civilization and rule the planet, but unfortunately before this could be revealed, the show was cancelled, resulting in "Rules of Dating" to be the last episode of the show (even though that one wasn't actually intended to be the actual series finale in the first place).
The show has a total of 25 segments + 1 seven-minute pilot episode + a music video, totaling up to 27 segments total. 3 episodes are unconfirmed to exist and 4 others have remained unfinished due to the show's cancellation. Calculating the total amount of known segments on this list, the show would've had a total of 34 segments in all.
|Episode||Name||Original Voice||Bobby Block||Episode||Name||Original Voice||Bobby Block|
|S1E1A||Electric Boogaloo||Found||Found||S1E1B||The Groovesicle||Found||x|
|S1E3A||P.U. to P.E.||Found||Found||S1E3B||Vacuum Friend||Found||Found|
|S2E4A||The Yogmans Strike Back||x||Found||S2E4B||Hookie 101||x||Found|
|S2E5A||House Party||x||Found||S2E5B||School Newspaper||x||Found|
|S2E7A||Summer Camp||x||Found||S2E7B||Rules of Dating||x||Found|
|History of Robotics||x||Unconfirmed|
As of October 2017, a user by the name of WMbravesRJ02, who uploaded all the first season episodes with the original voice (recorded via camera) recently closed his Vimeo account. Luckily, all the Season 1 episodes with the original voice have been saved and are now audio-synced in higher quality from the Latin-Spanish and/or Portuguese dubs from Tooncast. A user has synced the English audio to the Spanish and/or Portuguese video sources in higher quality and uploaded them, along with the majority of the show's episodes, on a Google Doc. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3bfMI5ZZEpGaXJVd1RQczJHQU0