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The Bruce Willis '90s Cartoon You Never Knew Existed

If you missed out on the '90s, you missed out on a lot. The president played the saxophone, and any time you needed to get in touch with someone while you weren't at home, you had to use a telephone receiver that hundreds of strangers had recently rubbed on their faces. They charged people 25 cents for the privilege. It was a hell of a time.

This was never more evident than on Saturday mornings when, Alpha-Bits cereal cascading from their gaping mouths, America's youth switched on their television screens to find out which film franchise had been adapted into an animated series. With inappropriateness ranging from the borderline (Ghostbusters) to the absolute (Rambo, RoboCop, The Toxic Avenger, etc) any line of films deemed sufficiently marketable was done up in bold colors and aired for exactly as many episodes as it took to hit syndication and move some action figures.

That said, a kid-friendly Die Hard cartoon wouldn't have been too far off base for the moment, culturally speaking. The same goes for an animated series following the adventures of Butch Coolidge and his talking chopper. Instead, the powers that be decided to make a Bruce Willis-based Saturday morning cartoon about the most famous Bruce Willis character of all: Bruce Willis. Sort of. It's — gosh ... It's complicated.

Bruno the Kid without a doubt existed

Quick slice of backstory in case you're not familiar: Bruce Willis has, in the past, enjoyed a comparatively quiet career as a blues musician, beginning with his debut album "The Return of Bruno" in 1987. He plays the harmonica and everything. It's a hoot.

Jump forward nearly a decade to 1996, and Willis is producing and providing voice work for an animated series called Bruno the Kid. It's difficult to describe, but the broad strokes go like this: Bruno, the series protagonist voiced by Willis, is an 11-year-old secret agent. He disguises himself using a computer avatar in the shape of Bruce Willis's head. Fellow agents who work with him in person, including an analogue to Q from the James Bond franchise voiced by Mark Hamill, never bother to question the fact that the government is sending a child into the field. The subject apparently just never gets brought up around the office. It's a roller coaster of a pitch — think Spy Kids meets Hannah Montana, or Agent Cody Banks if Franky Muniz had the voice of a 41-year-old man who grew up in New Jersey and disguised himself as a rough CGI rendering of John McClane. Also, he plays the harmonica.

Despite boasting a voice cast featuring names like Tim Curry, René Auberjonois, Ben Stein, and, unavoidably, Frank Welker, Bruno the Kid lasted just 36 episodes, airing from September of 1996 to May of 1997. If there is any shred of justice in the universe, it will be rebooted any day now, ideally with Justin Long on board as Bruno's new sidekick. Also, more harmonica.