Time Paradox. In the Warner Brothers’ cartoon “Bear Feat” (1949), the gag involves the Bear family trying to put together an act for Mingling Bros. Circus after reading an ad in the newspaper. According to the cartoon, it is August 1949 and Bear family doesn’t find out until the end of the cartoon that the newspaper is dated April 1928 and the ad is no longer valid. However, the time paradox is that earlier over breakfast, Junior Bear is reading the comic strips in the very same newspaper and the comic strip he is enjoying so much is the Bugs Bunny comic strip that began in 1942 as a Sunday only with a daily version added in 1948. So the strip he is reading is in a paper published 12 years before Bugs was “born” and 20 years before Bugs popped up in the daily funnies.
Sad Times. When William DeMille (brother of director Cecil) was shown a 1935 poll revealing that children preferred Popeye to Mickey Mouse, he commented, “It is saddening to see Popeye, like the Hun from the North, threatening the more cultured supremacy of Mickey, Minnie and the intelligent and devoted Pluto.”
The Other Crying Game Secret. Jaye Davidson, who played Dil in the movie “The Crying Game” (1992) and garnered a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, had absolutely no formal training as an actor. Before he got the part, he was best known for dressing up as Pluto and welcoming visitors to Disney’s London office.
Panther Talk. In 1993, there was quite a furor when actor Matt Frewer provided the voice for the Pink Panther in a new series of cartoons. When director Friz Freleng was interviewed about it at the time, he responded, “Actually, since he (the Panther) was originally created for a main title and didn’t speak, there wasn’t any reason for him to ever speak.”
Unsound Effects. How did animator Terry Gilliam create those rather unique sound effects for the animated sequences on Monty Python’s Flying Circus episodes? He did them all himself. “I used to sit and put a blanket over my head and get as many kitchen utensils as I could get and bang them around and make noises,” remembered Gilliam. “I’d just sit there day and night with a blanket over my head doing noises.”
MacGyver’s Favorite. In 1991, actor Richard Dean Anderson, then well known as the lead in the television series MacGyver, stated that “the most important thing to me growing up was Rocky and Bullwinkle…I still get off on it. It is the most brilliant piece of television ever.”
Animation Bonding. In 1991, Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons”, revealed a special affection for the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” show: “I remember watching it in what we used to call the TV room. My dad would come into the room to yell at me for watching too much TV and then he’d see me watching Rocky and Bullwinkle. He’d sit down and watch it with me. It was a show that suckered even my father. The show had different kinds of humor that appealed to different kinds of people at the same time. I can remember how wonderful it was to hear the sound of an adult laughing at cartoons. As animation, it was very primitive but what made it work was the great writing, the great voices and the great music.”
What’s In A Name? In the animated pilot (which never aired) and the early scripts, the mate of George of the Jungle, the popular Jay Ward character, was named “Jane”. ABC feared a lawsuit by the estate of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs and insisted the name of the character be changed. Actress Ursula Andress was a big star in 1967 so her name served as the inspiration for George’s mate, Ursula.
The Meaning of “We”. Disney storyman Bill Peet went on to an award winning career as the author and illustrator of a number of successful children’s books. However for about twenty-seven years, he worked at Disney as an animator and storyman. “Walt was very sensitive about credit. He would say, ‘Damnit, we are all in this together’. But what he meant was ‘the credit is all mine’. I knew that ‘we’ stood for ‘Walter Elias’ (Disney’s first and middle names.) Everything came out ‘Walt Disney presents’ and the rest of our names might as well haven been in the phone book,” stated Peet when I talked to him in 1991 when he visited the school district where I was teaching at the time to give a lecture about his books. He shared some other disgruntled remarks about Disney but did autograph a picture for me of the Dalmatians from the animated feature “101 Dalmatians” where he did exceptional storywork.
A Little Late. In the Warner Brothers short, “What’s Cookin’ Doc” (1944), where Bugs Bunny attends the Oscars, an invitation is shown to the 8th Annual Academy Awards. Actually, the 8th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was held on March 5, 1936, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Disney won that year with his animated short, “Three Orphan Kittens”.
Everybody Sounds Like Mel Blanc. In the Warner Brothers short “You Oughta Be In Pictures” (1940), a live action Leon Schlesinger talks with Porky Pig, who is thinking of leaving the studio. Schlesinger talked with a lisp that inspired the voices of Daffy Duck and Sylvester the Cat. Mel Blanc dubbed in the voice of the live action studio guard who was performed by storyman Mike Maltese. Blanc also dubs sound man (Gerry Chiniquy) and whoever screams “Lunch!”. Of course, Blanc did the voices of Daffy and Porky in the short as well. In case you were wondering, that is indeed a toupee that Leon is wearing in this film….one of the only things that Blanc did not dub.
You Ought to Be in Pictures (Commentary) by CarlStallingEnthusiast