20 Best Cartoons of All Time

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You don’t get to be a TV fanatic without starting early.  For most of us, cartoons were our introduction to TV.  There are classics that I still like to watch on Netflix, and there are some modern cartoons that have dominated television for a generation.  Young or old, a good cartoon is a good cartoon and we all love them.  Let’s take a look at the 20 best cartoons of all time:

#20 – The Transformers (1984-1987)

the transformersTransformers.  More than meets the eye.  Optimus Prime was a bad-ass.  This show was one of the first to really go after the merchandise market.  You couldn’t escape the commercials for Transformer toys and at Christmas, every other commercial was a Transformer commercial.





This is a classic.


#19 – G.I. Joe (1983-1986)

g.i. joeThere used to be a time when kids were taught to love their country.  G.I. Joe is an example of that.  He’s a real American hero.  The funny thing about this show was that despite every person on the show having a very specialized purpose that they were no doubt very highly trained for, no one was ever killed.  Everyone, on both sides, was really bad at their jobs and they wasted an incredible amount of time not accomplishing anything but hey, Murica!  And remember the psa’s?  Of course you do.  You know them.  And knowing is half the battle.


#18 – Underdog (1964-1973)

underdogThis is a classic saturday morning cartoon.  One of the shows creators, W. Watts Biggers, was an advertising executive responsible for the General Mills account.  He developed Underdog to help sell cereal for General Mills.  Today, Underdog would get in trouble for using performance enhancing drugs since he had to take a pill to get his special powers.  Hmm.  Most of the juicers of baseball in the steroid era were kids when this show was on the air.  Can we blame Underdog for ruining baseball?  I think we can.  The theme song for Underdog is still to this day one of the best theme songs of all-time.

Here’s the cover by The Blanks from Scrubs:

And the classic intro:


#17 – Magilla Gorilla (1964-1967)

magilla gorillaA classic Hannah-Barbera cartoon from the 60s.  It’s been said that this cartoon was a barometer of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and that the show supported continuing the segregation of the races.  This was said by crazy people.  It was just a cartoon.  We were introduced to Ricochet Rabbit in the Magilla Gorilla show (which was a knock-off of Warner Brothers Speedy Gonzalez) and Droopy Dog.  I don’t know what it was about this show, but it was one of my favorites when I was a kid.



#16 – Wacky Races (1968-1970)

the wacky racesAnother classic Hannah-Barbera cartoon.  It wasn’t on for very long when it ran originally, but it aired non-stop in re-runs and it is still running today on Boomerang.  Inspired by the 1965 movie, The Great Race (A Tony Curtis classic), Wacky Races was just that.  A wacky race comedy.  It featured over 23 different characters, (which today would all be voiced by 2 people) all racing in various races across America.  We were introduced to Dick Dasterdly and Muttley (which is my nickname for both of my dogs) and several other characters that showed up in various Hannah-Barbera enterprises over the years.  This is another one that probably won’t make most people’s list of greats, but it was great to me.


21 Comments on 20 Best Cartoons of All Time

  1. Brennan Martinez // July 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm //

    I pesonally agree with The Simpsons at #1. That show is also my favorite television program of all time (beating my other favorites such as The Sopranos, South Park, Breaking Bad, just to name a few), and how ironic that it’s a cartoon!!! Speaking of South Park, it’s good to know that someone else besides me believes South Park to be a great cartoon, let alone one of the all time great television programs of all time. I think it’s cool to see South Park and Simpsons always go neck and neck for top supreme animation, (like, for lack of a better example, how The Godfather and The Godfather Part II always go at it for better film. One sometimes beats the other, and vice versa). An honorable mention/s (IMO) would be Beavis And Butt-Head, The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show, and Batman: The Animated Series. Nice list though, nevertheless.

  2. laser9999999 // February 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm //

    I would definitely put Johnny Quest up there – but, no Space Ghost? My God, he even had his own talk show!

    Great list, though – brought back a lot of memories…started training me to look forward to Saturdays very early in life.

    • Midwest Mike // February 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm //

      I thought Space Ghost was funny as hell. I loved his talk show. I don’t know how big his reach was though. It’s like I love Squid Billies too but I think I’m one of the few.

  3. How about Jonny Quest?

    • Midwest Mike // February 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm //

      I debated Johnny Quest. It was on my list and when I did final cuts, I dropped it. It’s certainly an honorable mention and I wouldn’t have a problem with anyone else having it on their top 20 list.

  4. millerkiller81 // February 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm //

    No X-men???? What about Thundercats? Seems like this list was pretty good but definitely could use some tweeking. I agree that some of it is too “old man”. Atleast GI JOE made it though.

  5. Why is Adventure Time not on here?

    • Midwest Mike // February 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm //

      The post probably shows my age a bit too much. I don’t even have any idea what Adventure Time is. Most of the modern cartoons I have on the list are the big time ones like Family Guy or Futurama. If there is a children’s cartoon that wasn’t from when I was a kid, it would be one that I watched with my kids when they were little such as Animaniacs or Sponge Bob (which didn’t make the list). The others, like Adventure Time, were after my time.

      Call this an old guy’s list.

    • Midwest Mark // February 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm //

      Adventure Time seasons 1, 2, 3 and most of 4 are insta-classics (season 5 is unfortunately getting a little repetitive). No hate on the list because of the omission… I only found out about it in the first place because of my daughter.

  6. Very high quality post Mike. Great list. Although I’m not a fan of South Park or the Simpsons I understand the impact they have had and their placement on the list because of that is hard to argue. Great footage selection from Tom and Jerry. Solid Serenade has always been my favorite episode and Crambo is a close second. What was the deal with the music added on top of Mice Follies? That certainly took something away from the original air format.

    • Midwest Mike // February 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm //

      It was hard to find good clips of what I wanted. That was the best mice follies I could find. I do love that episode.

  7. Midwest Mo // February 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm //

    When Homer was stuck in a toxic vent:
    Lisa Simpson: I think it’s ironic that Dad saved the day while a slimmer man would have fallen to his death.
    Bart Simpson: Yeah, and I think it’s ironic that for once, Dad’s butt actually prevented the release of toxic gas…

    • Midwest Mike // February 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm //

      There is a surprisingly limited number of Simpon’s videos available on the internet in a form that we can use on our blog.

  8. Midwest Mike // February 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm //

    Some of the Reddit army has been stopping by. Thank you for visiting Redditors. We appreciate that you have taken the time to come by.

  9. Midwest Mark // February 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm //

    Now here’s a list that can be endlessly debated… you snubbed Scooby Doo! I would have personally put Batman: The Animated Series on there from the 90’s as well as The Real Ghostbusters and Duck Tales. And probably Adventure Time to be extremely recent. You were a little Barbera-heavy for my taste, but that’s ok… they were all good too!

    • Midwest Mike // February 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm //

      I am a big Hannah-Barbera fan. I make no apologies for that. My list is admittedly my own. It’s more about the 20 cartoons that impacted me personally. I love that everyone has their own list though because we all had our favorites.

      And there is no way I could snub Scooby Doo. That cartoon was terrible. I couldn’t stand Scooby or his idiot friend Shaggy. Even as an 8 year old, I hated hippies.

      And come on. If there is anyone in the world who had more direct evidence to show that ghosts are not real, it would be the morons on Scooby Doo. Every time they run in to a ghost it turns out to be something else. It is never a ghost. It is always someone pulling a scheme. Despite the countless plots they have foiled, every time they run in to a new ghost, they always immediately assume that it is real. It was terrible.

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