Cartoon Lost and Found (found live-action/animated Nick at Nite special; 1990)
Cartoon Lost and Found was a late-night television special, broadcast on Nickelodeon for the Nick-at-Nite block in 1990. If it was meant to be a pilot for a series which was never "picked up," or some kind of one-off TV movie, is unknown, but several facts are known for certain.
Starring Adam West, famed actor and former star of the television series Batman, as an older man who worked at a secluded office where the remains of old film reels were kept, each one part of what remained of some old cartoon from the 1950s and 1960s including such things as Cool McCool, Super Chicken, The Mighty Hercules and even Speed Racer, an anime dubbed for American audiences. Various other characters would come and go as the special continued. Still, the basic premise and structure revolved around Adam West assembling the remains of these old cartoons, feeding them into some kind of device which would then play haphazard reconstructions of the shows. Full episodes were never shown, instead bits and pieces, some showing no more than the opening theme.
Adam West is referred to by his literal name, called simply West, on more than one occasion. In at least one instance, West reacts to a BatSignal-like image in one of the clips by behaving as if it raised his adrenaline--as if it brought up some memory of being Batman. West more than once directly addresses the audience, sometimes in sardonic asides and sometimes in monologues, wherein he seems to assume the age of the viewer; he mentions on more than one occasion that the viewer, he presumes, watched these cartoons as children, or even "as a fetus with a good ear," and says that the cartoons helped him through trying times in his youth as he felt he was never as bad off as the antagonists in the cartoons. In that respect, Cartoon Lost and Found is presented as, literally, a lost and found for old, the 1950s, 60s, and 70s cartoons, which is aimed at "Boomers" by West's own admission, explaining why it was shown on Nick-at-Nite. Combined with some of the language ("It's a damn shame...") and some violent imagery, the special was clearly aimed at adults and teens and not just children.
As mentioned, other characters appeared in the special: one being a boy named simply Jimmy wearing a makeshift form of power armour made from kitchen utensils and electronics, who said his "favourite cartoon disappeared" and had come to see if it had been turned in to the Cartoon Lost and Found, but since no one had "turned it in" West showed him various other superhero cartoons including Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse, The Mighty Hercules, and Gigantor and Astro Boy. In another instance, he meets a skittish, conniving man named Jack, though it is implied this is an alias, who is assembling footage for a "novel" he is writing called To Serve Cats--which West discovers, shockingly, is a cookbook--and so West shows Jack clips of Snagglepuss and Felix the Cat among others before realizing what his "novel" is and angrily showing him the door.
Ironically, despite the series focusing on allegedly "lost" media, it has become lost media in its own right. For a while, only a partial segment of Cartoon Lost and Found has ever been located, seen in a single YouTube video posted by Channel Matthew Hasson on January 19th, 2015, Save for this video, and part of two promos used to advertise the show prior to it's airing, no other remnants of Cartoon Lost and Found existed for years.
This is especially bizarre, considering no evidence appears to exist on the IMDB filmography of the late Adam West, who was the host in the show. The other actors have not yet been identified, and if any evidence exists on anyone else’s IMDB profiles, it has not been found.
Availability and Documentation
As mentioned, besides the two promos and a single clip of perhaps half of the show, no other actual documentation or evidence of Cartoon Lost and Found existed. There is no mention whatsoever anywhere on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), including on the filmography of Adam West, who starred in the show, and there is no mention to be found anywhere among records of Nick-at-Nite's programming, former or otherwise. One mention, on the website Sitcoms Online, specifically on their forums apparently, was made on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 by a user identifying as "TeeVeeCloset,"  but this is literally all that seemed to have remained of Cartoon Lost and Found. Take note, the forum post states this was released in 1989, but the accuracy of this is unknown since the only other source, the commercial establishes a date of 1990 for release. Another possible reference is by a person identified as Andre M. on Amazon.com, who also states the special aired, by their memory, in 1989. It is possible it could just have aired more than once.
It is stated in the comments section of one of the promos (by YouTuber dwfake) at least one other video, possibly a third was also posted by Matthew Hasson, but this video, or videos, have since been taken down for unknown reasons--possibly copyright violations, though this is unlikely since the first video wasn’t taken down at all. Beyond this forum post, the promos and the video on YouTube, no other evidence remains that Cartoon Lost and Found ever aired until September 2020.
On September 18th, 2020, an anonymous user uploaded the special in its entirety onto the Internet Archive.
List of Clips Shown
- Astro Boy
- Beany and Cecil
- Clyde Crashcup and Leonardo
- Cool McCool
- Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse
- Deputy Dawg
- Felix the Cat
- The Fox and the Crow
- Gandy Goose (specifically the cartoon Fisherman's Luck)
- George of the Jungle
- Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse
- Speed Racer
- Super Chicken
- The Mighty Hercules
- Tom Slick
- Tom Terrific
- Top Cat
- Toonopedia page on Clyde Crashcup and Leonardo.
- Toonopedia page on Cool McCool.
- Toonopedia page on Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse.
- Toonopedia page on The Fox and the Crow.
- Toonopedia page for George of the Jungle (1967).
- IMDb page on Gigantor.
- IMDb page for Super Chicken.
- Cartoon Data Bank page on Tom Slick.
- Sitcoms Online forum page on Cartoon Lost and Found. Retrieved 28 Jun '20
- An Amazon review that mentions the Cartoon Lost and Found special. Retrieved 29 Jun '20
- An article on the history of Astro Boy. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- A blog post on Beany and Cecil. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- Article on Deputy Dawg. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- A blog post on Felix the Cat's 100th anniversary. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- YouTube video of "Fisherman's Luck." Retrieved 29 Sep '20
- An article on the history of Krazy Kat. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- An archived article on Snagglepuss. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- An article on Speed Racer. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- A blogpost on The Mighty Hercules. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- An article on Tom Terrific. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- An article on Top Cat. Retrieved 26 Jun '20