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Nearly every intro of Futurama features a large television screen playing cartoons raging from 30s-era black-and-white to 70s-era futurism, all of which the Planet Express ship will immediately crash into.

I tried researching why the cartoons were displayed but most sources were just a list of what cartoons correspond with what episodes. Because of the short length of the cartoon depictions and the wide range of eras the cartoons call from it isn't immediately obvious what purpose they serve. I also thought getting permission to depict all these cartoons would get rather expensive if they're showing a new one every episode - they wouldn't include it without a good reason.

Is it an homage to the cartoons that inspired the artists, and homage to cartoons in general, or just a fun way to pad out the intro?

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    I don’t have a citation, but my recollection from when it debuted is that 1) they wanted to have a part of the credit sequence that changed every week, a la “The Simpsons” and 2) they wanted to pay homage to the earliest days of animation. And it probably wasn’t very expensive — the properties they used were very old, and had long since left regular syndication.
    – Kevin Troy
    Jul 26, 2021 at 18:29

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