Joe Barbera and Godzilla and Popeye. In the book “Inside the TV Business” (1979) by Paul Klein and Steve Morgtenstern, Hanna-Barbera legend Joe Barbera talked about two 1978 shows he had just sold, Godzilla and the All New Popeye Hour.
“We’ve resurrected Popeye. And why do you resurrect Popeye? Saleswise, when you walk in somewhere and say, ‘I have a new series with a green elephant and I have Popeye’, they always seem to go for Popeye. They’re not going to buy anything new if they can help it. It’s show biz. For instance, you’re thinking what NBC might want, what CBS might want, and you try to come up with something, and you wake up one morning and think, ‘No one has touched Godzilla’.
“An article in the ‘Wall Street Journal’ about eight months ago mentioned that Godzilla has never lost money in the theater. Every single picture that’s been made. So when I say, ‘Let’s do Godzilla’, I find a receptive ear.
“You have to keep thinking of these kinds of projects or someone will beat you to it. Then, after you think of it, you know something like Godzilla is going to be a tough sell. So, how do you handle it?
First, he’s a superhero. Second, he’s going to help the environment. Third, he’s going to come to rescue us from incredible menaces that are going to ruin the earth. Fourth, we include a new character that’s a small version of him, which was once used in the movies, called Godzooky. He’s an eager beaver who wants to become like Godzilla and serves as comic relief.
“In this way, I’m getting around the programs and practices departments who will stop everything that’s violent. I can assure you that we’ve been on a nonviolent kick for over ten years no matter what anybody says.
“If I do a show like Popeye or Godzilla, we don’t own it outright. We participate with many partners. On Popeye, we have the toughest partners in the world, King Features. That’s why we prefer to do something original.
“I met a fellow at breakfast one time who was head of King Features and I said to him, ‘What are you doing with Popeye?’ and out of that came the deal to do Popeye. They weren’t doing anything but they were thinking of doing something.
“Godzilla was just waking up one morning with an idea and calling the guy who controls the project who involved with Toho in Japan. I said ‘What are you doing with it? Why don’t we take a run at it for Saturday morning?’
“We have a man from Toho who is guarding the property so we meet with him once in a while, as little as possible. He reads the scripts and tries to give us some advice. It’s a lot of juggling.”
Leica Story Reels. It has been suggested that the first full blown Leica story reels at Disney were probably first used during the production of Disney’s animated feature Pinocchio (1940). In notes from a meeting on January 18, 1939, Walt Disney tells storyman Joe Grant “While the (musicians) are working on a new handling of this, why don’t you start making a Leica reel so we can run it with the sound.”
Many of the Pinocchio meeting notes contain references to Leica reels (a subject absent from 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ notes). At this time the Leica reels seem to have been used only after the story was somewhat locked down to aid in timing. It wasn’t until much later that reels with storyboards intercut with various stages of completed animation evolved.
Hayao Miyazaki never produced reels for his films. He went right from the boards and exposure sheets and then handed out the scenes to his animators. One of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s favorite phrases when he worked at Disney was “If it doesn’t play on reels, it won’t work in animation”.
Mammal of the Year. For its December 29, 1941 cover, Time magazine planned to feature Dumbo as “Mammal of the Year” (parodying Time magazine’s annual “Man of the Year”) but the idea was cancelled due to the attack earlier that month on Pearl Harbor and Time used a photo of General Douglas MacArthur on the cover instead. However, the story about Dumbo still ran in that issue with the title “Mammal of the Year”.
Moonlighting with Van Partible. Van Partible did a Johnny Bravo episode that aired in August 2004 that was an homage to the popular live action ABC television series Moonlighting (1985-1989). Partible was quizzed about the episode at this link. although he doesn’t mention that he had the full support of Glenn Gordon Caron who was the creator of the show.
Partible was able to unite actors Allyce Beasley and Curtis Armstrong for the episode playing similar characters to what they did in the original series but Bruce Willis (although supportive) was too involved with producing a pilot. Cybill Shepherd just cost too much for the budget so actress Lori Loughlin (from the television series Full House) stepped in to fill the role of the faux Maddie character. Partible ran into some time crunches so was only able to do one draft of the script but the episode turned out okay but not as great as he wanted.
Double Your Pleasure. While doing the voice of Ludwig Von Drake for Disney, voice artist Paul Frees was just being paid scale (the minimum payment established by the union for services). One day at the studio, a beaming Walt invited Paul into his office just to catch up and see how he was doing. In a mournful voice, Paul hesitantly told Walt that doing the voice of Ludwig was roughing up his vocal chords and he didn’t know how much longer he would be able to do it. Walt paused and said, “what if we gave you more money?” Paul agreed that might help and that is how Frees was the first vocal artist working for Disney to get double scale.
Frozen Disclaimer. In Disney’s animated feature Frozen (2013), members of the audience may not have read the credits carefully and missed this disclaimer: “The views and opinions expressed by Kristoff in the film that all men eat their own boogers are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Walt Disney Company or the filmmakers.”