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Linda Simensky, C'85
Cartoons Kids & Adults Love

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Linda Simensky, C'85, has always loved to watch cartoons, and as vice president of original animation for Cartoon Network, she's unlikely to outgrow the habit. Growing up in Union, N.J., Simensky tuned in daily to Bugs Bunny. Later, studying communication at Penn, she researched the history of Looney Tunes -- and learned the secret behind their success: "Not only were [these cartoons originally] made for adults ... but there was a lot of stuff in them that was almost not for kids, a lot of funny jokes that [had gone] over my head. I started realizing that cartoons could work on two levels." This knowledge has come in handy as she advanced from an intern to animation director at Nickelodeon, and then to her current job. Simensky, who joined Cartoon Network in Atlanta two years ago as director of programming, and was quickly promoted, looks for new talent and oversees the scripts and storyboards for new shows.
   With successful programs like Dexter's Laboratory, Cartoon Network has amassed 40 million viewers in five years, and a strong third of them are adults. Newcomer Johnny Bravo appeals to children and grownups, for instance, because the lead character -- "a bit of a blond Elvis type who fancies himself a real ladies man" -- misinterprets everything. In one episode he notices that his VCR is blinking 12 o'clock and concludes that time is standing still. "The kids enjoy the adventures, but the show also works for adults, because they think, 'I can't set my VCR either.'"
By Susan Lonkevich

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Copyright 1997 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 9/25/97