Cartoon Callback: Tutenstein

 

By Megan Lanham

mrlanham@lc.edu

Cartoon Cover Illustration

Back in the day, there were a handful of cartoons I remember watching but could never put a finger to where they came from. That being the aforementioned Liberty’s Kids, from my last article; a cartoon featuring a kitten of the Chinese emperor, named Sagwua; and the last, but not least, being Tutenstein, a cartoon featuring the titular main character, Tutankhensetamun (based on the real-life mummy, Tutankhamun) . Tutenstein tells the story of Tutankhensetamun awakening after 3,000 years of slumber brought on by his mysterious death in the 21st century.

This awakening is accidentally witnessed by 12-year-old Cleo Carter, after a bolt of lightning hits the mummified body of Tut that is on display at the local museum. She and her anthropomorphic cat, Luxor, are set to help Tut find his way in the modern world. Throughout the entire series, the antagonist, Set, and his demons try to destroy Tut and gain possession of his Sceptre of Was to become the ruler of all. This leaves the cast with a full schedule, on top of problems with ancient scrolls, squeamish gods and silly teenagers. 

This cartoon is light-hearted with heavy Egyptian inspired themes that can be found throughout. Many of the gods portrayed in the series resemble their historical portrayals; though it is a genuine Egyptian symbol, The Scepter of Was being portrayed as an all-purpose magic wand is fictional. Unlike Tuankhamun, who died at 19, the fictional tut died when he was 10.

Tutenstein was produced by Porchlight Entertainment for Discovery Kids and based on the comics by Jay Stephens. The series premiered on Nov. 1, 2003, and ended on Oct. 11, 2008. The show lasted 3 seasons, running at 18 to 22 minutes per episode. 

If you’re looking for a fun little cartoon with Egyptian themes set in a modern time, then Tutenstein is for you. It is easily accessible, with Yippee TV, the current owners of the series, making it officially available for streaming on YouTube. It is also available through the streaming service Hoopla, with the exception of the third season and television special.

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