Toonami History Timeline | Compiled by Jeff Harris

Toonami has been around for over a decade. Over the years, unfortunately, much of the history of the block has gone unchronicled.

Until now.

The purpose of this timeline is to take a look at the history of Toonami, from the first day of programming of Cartoon Network in October 1992 to the present. Over 15 years of history that has been unchronicled is here, for the first time ever (not even seen on CNX until now). So take the time, remember the history, and enjoy.

(October 1992 - March 1997: The Pre-Toonami Years)


October 1: After a year in planning with folks like former Nickelodeon creative genius Betty Cohen (she helped created the general feel of the network as well as the now-famous orange ameoba logo), Turner Broadcasting launches the world's first 24-hour animation channel, called Cartoon Network. An action block known as Super Adventures aired day one at 4 PM EST.

Fall: USA Network's Sci-Fi Channel, relaunched days before CN went on the air as more of a commercial entity after its launch two years earlier by OMNI Magazine (and Penthouse) founder Bob Guccione, launches a daily two-hour block of action animation known as Sci-Fi's Animation Station. Over the years, the block hosted shows like Transformers, Gigantor, Galaxy High, Ewoks, Droids, Defenders of the Earth, and Ronin Warriors, among others. The block was controlled by a satellite and a robot. Don't know why I mentioned Animation Station's debut in this timeline of Toonami's evolution.


Spring: X-Men, produced by Graz Entertainemnt and Saban Entertainment, premieres on the Fox Kids lineup after three preview episodes in the fall of 1992.

September: Saban and Fox Kids become a powerhouse overnight with their first American-edited sentai series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

October: Cartoon Network celebrates its first anniversary.


April 15: Ghost Planet Industries (Williams Street Productions), an in-studio production facility at Cartoon Network, premieres its first production, Space Ghost Coast To Coast.

Fall: Scooby-Doo debuts on Cartoon Network (after spending several years at the USA Network). ReBoot premieres on ABC to a warm reception, becoming the network's number-one rated series.


Spring: The world without Cartoon Network gets its first look at SGC2C courtesy of a special that simutaneously aired on CN, TNT, and TBS. The special also gave the world the first look at a new cartoon creation, The Powerpuff Girls.

Summer: Cartoon Network premieres its first anime series, G-Force, and acquired James Bond Jr. from Claster Entertainment, airing them on the revamped Afternoon Adventures along with Fantastic Four, Swat Kats, and Classic Jonny Quest.

July: Cartoon Network airs an anime movie festival, which included Vampire Hunter D, Robot Carnival, Twilight of the Cockroaches, and Lensman in late-primetime slot.

July 10: Cartoon Network's parent company, Turner Broadcasting, is purchased by media giant Time-Warner. Instead of becoming Time-Warner-Turner, the company remains Time-Warner, and network co-founder Ted Turner becomes Vice Chairman of the company (a title he held until May 2003) and largest shareholder in the company, a distinction he holds to this day.

August 12: Disney buys Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., and deals the network had with other studios, including upstart Dreamworks SKG, began to fall apart. Mainframe, producers of ReBoot, realized that the end was near courtesy of Disney, who would bring their own programming to ABC.

September: Super Adventures takes over Saturday late-night on Cartoon Network. Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball both debut in syndication to poor ratings (largely, in part, to poor scheduling nationwide). Kids' WB launches with shows like Paul Dini and Bruce Timm's humorous Freakazoid in the lineup.

December: Cartoon Network let the people decide which What a Cartoon! short deserves to be made into an animated series first. The top three: Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and latecomer Cow and Chicken in No Smoking. Number four? Powerpuff Girls.


January: Powerpuff Girls debut second short, Crime 101, on Cartoon Network during Super Bowl halftime.

Spring: Cartoon Planet, Ghost Planet's second major production, is launched on TBS (noticably absent is Moltar). Cartoon Network debuts their first original animated series, Dexter's Laboratory, which also aired on TBS and TNT (paired with The Rudy and GoGo Cartoon Show, another Ghost Planet Industries production on the latter). The Rudy and GoGo Show features a folk-singing singer named Cowboy Sally, who often tried to wrangle GoGo. As expected, ReBoot, ABC's highest rated series, is cancelled by ABC's new parent Disney to make room for a Disney-only lineup.

April: Afternoon Adventures relaunched as Power Zone, with Superfriends, Swat Kats, G-Force, and Jonny Quest. GPI is busy with new projects

July: Speed Racer debuts on Cartoon Network in 5 PM slot.

August: The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, a new series featuring the classic Hanna-Barbera hero, premieres on TNT on mornings, TBS afternoons, and Cartoon Network in prime-time and late-nights.

September: Power Zone leaves the air abruptly, replaced by reruns of Scooby-Doo and Garfield in the 3 to 5 PM lineup, while Speed Racer rules the 5 PM slot. Dragonball Z, produced by FUNimation and distributed by Saban, is the cornerstone of the new Saban Kids Network syndicated block along with Samurai Pizza Cats. Superman premieres on Kids' WB.

Fall: Rumors begin to swirl after Cartoon Network makes two interesting acquisitions. Cartoon Network acquires broadcasting rights of Thundercats from parent company Warner Bros. and Voltron: Defender of the Universe from World Events Productions to air on a secretive action block yet to be named coming in the first quarter of 1997. The Rudy and GoGo Cartoon Show enters its last season with a memorable segment, "GoGo Para Presidente."

November: Jonny Quest leaves TNT and TBS to become an exclusive series on Cartoon Network, now airing on weekday afternoons and late-nights.


February: First promos for something called Toonami begin airing on Turner networks. The promos feature Thundercats, Voltron, Birdman, and Jonny Quest, and a computer-animated Moltar behind the controls.

March 14-16: Three days dedicated to promote the new Toonami block premiering the following Monday. Marathons of Superfriends, Super Adventures, and other classic Hanna-Barbera action shows premiere air throughout the weekend with glimpse into this thing called Toonami, including a look at the schedule, clips from the shows, and first looks at a CGI-rendered Moltar and the block's mascot, Clyde 49.

Go here to witness the beginning of a block that would become the network's longest-running action block. Enter the Moltar era of Toonami.