|I am Bill S. Preston, Esquire!”
“And I am Ted Theodore Logan”
“And together we are… Wyld Stallyns!”
So some executive is sitting over at Hanna-Barbera playing air guitar to a Van Halen record, when suddenly, it hits him: “Dude! We could seriously make a most bodacious cartoon of those Bill and Ted dudes!” Then he and another executive look at each other and simultaneously say, “Excellent!” then burst into manic air guitar solos.
Okay, it may not have happened exactly like that, but a Bill & Ted cartoon certainly seemed like a sure thing. The main characters were already teenagers, and there was no need to put them in a more fantastic setting (a la Gilligan’s Planet or The Partridge Family: 2200 A.D.), since their time-traveling phone booth could carry to any place and time they chose.
In fact, little changed from the film version to the animated one. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reprised their roles as Bill and Ted, and George Carlin returned as Rufus, their mentor from the future. Bill and Ted were still struggling high school students in San Dimas, California, and Rufus still gave them clues as to where in history they could find the answers they needed.
The show continued the interaction with historical figures—Julius “The Salad Dressing Dude” Caesar, Wolfgang Amadeus “Wolfman” Mozart, and many others—taking the teens to several historical spots in each half-hour episode. A new plot twist was the boys’ helping keep history in its place (building the Sphinx, inspiring Henry Ford to build the first car, etc.) The show also carried on the film’s cheeky attitude toward history, with episode titles like, “This Babe Ruth ‘Babe’ is a Dude, Dude!”
For the second season, DIC took over production and the show moved to Fox. Reeves, Winter, and Carlin left the show and were replaced by the stars of Fox’s new live-action primetime Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The new episodes introduced a “Squint” phone booth that could take Bill and Ted into literature, television shows, and (after shrinking them) inside the human body. The new show had trouble catching on, and after one more season, Bill and Ted were history.