This half-hour Saturday-morning cartoon was inspired by the 1988 Tim Burton film, starring Michael Keaton as the title character. In the film, Beetlejuice was a conniving ghoul desperate to escape his world and wreak havoc in the world of the living. He was especially enamored with the young heroine of the film, Lydia, played by Winona Ryder. The action of the film reached its peak when Beetlejuice tried to force Lydia into marriage, thereby making him a legal resident of the living world.
The cartoon was a bit milderóbut just a bit. In the animated version Lydia had more of a niece-uncle relationship with the dead man, and most of their adventures took place in the "Netherworld." Beetlejuice would drag the young girl along to visit with his spooky friends, Jacques LaLean (a fitness-obsessed skeleton), Doomie the Dogbrained Car and The Sappy Face Ghouls (a sort of evil scout troop).
This cartoon was a huge success, due largely to the involvement of Burton himself as executive producer. Keeping the same outlandish humor and gross-out jokes that made the movie such a hit, the cartoon was welcomed by kids young and old.
One truly groundbreaking segment of the show was the mixed-media "commercials" that Beetlejuice watched on his TV. Using computer-generated animation, the ads, which featured pitchman Barry Menot, were an assault of colors and images.
The successful cartoon ran for two seasons on ABC's Saturday morning before moving onto the daily Fox schedule with all-new episodes, where it became even more popular.