ANIMATION ANECDOTES
August 12, 2016 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #275

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The Krusty the Clown Live Action Show. Matt Groening in PREVIEWS (December 1992) shared, “I’m working with Brad Bird on a spin-off of The Simpsons called The Krusty the Clown Show. We’re looking at it as a live-action show. I think it will be the first live-action spin-off of a cartoon. We’re just trying to figure out how to pull it off now. We’ve gone to a bunch of special effects places to see how we can make a real life universe correspond to a Simpsons universe. We’ve decided against prsthetics.

“We will not have people with giant overbites and huge eyeballs. We may have animated episodes of Itchy and Scratchy but I don’t know how much cat and mouse mayhem people can tolerate. It’s a lot of fun in small doses but doing long cartoons of mice decapitating cats….well, a little goes a long way, let me put it that way.”


batv211The Death of the Graysons. Batman – The Animated Series story editor Paul Dini told interviewer Bob Miller for the Comics Buyer’s Guide #990 (November 6, 1992) about a two part episode entitled “Robin’s Reckoning” that aired in February 1993 and earned an Emmy nomination.

“Fox’s Standards and Practices have been the most liberal – all things considered – that I’ve ever seen. They’re certainly a lot more open than it might have been for standard network programming.

“A good example is in ‘Robin’s Reckoning’ where we deal with the subject of how Dick Grayson’s parents were murdered. Any fan of the comics knows they were trapeze artists who were killed for extortion. Fox Broadcast Standards would not let us show the parents’ actual death but they did let us stay true to the story. And what we came up with was creative enough and moving enough that you don’t need to see that accident.

“You see what happens partially through shadow and the reaction from the crowd. You don’t have to see Bambi’s mother get shot to know that she’s dead. Although you don’t exactly see the Graysons die, it affects you in almost the same way. It gives you that little feeling in the pit of your stomach.

“In an indirect way, that’s how Broadcast Standards has been positive. It’s caused the writers and artists to stretch themselves to come up with very creative cinematic ways to showing death or actions censors might otherwise find objectionable – and it still gets across a tremendous impact. As long as we can preserve the impact and be true to that emotion, then how you really show that is kind of secondary, because we can always find a way around that.”


Robin’s Genie. Robin Williams in a 1992 interview with Roger Ebert about his work as the Genie in Aladdin (1992) just before the release of the film on videotape said, “Soon they’lll be able to take any actor, feed him into a computer, study the moves and the voice and produce an animated version of the actor in a brand-new movie. You won’t be able to tell the difference. Eventually, they’ll be able to do the whole movie on computer but it will look like live action.

genie-mike“It’s a little frightening, isn’t it? The technology would make us all redundant. I’ve heard people say I might be nominated for an Oscar for the Genie. Well, that’s interesting, but it’s just a voice so then you would have to bring up the ten guys who animated it because it’s a combination of the two.

“The Genie is me. He can accept the award. ‘Oh behalf of Robin…’ Some people have actually said the Genie is my best work. Thanks very much, but….I don’t know if that’s a compliment.”

According to the New York Post November 14, 2015, Robin Williams’ will prevents Disney from using his name, taped performances or voice recordings for twenty-five years after his death. Disney has acknowledged that it has enough left over material from Williams’ 1991 recordings that never made it into the final movie to make an entire additional movie.


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Disney Sensitivity Training. From US Magazine October 1993: “Commenting on the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee’s plea to Disney to change some lyrics in the animated feature Aladdin (1992) and that the ADC won’t quit until ‘barbaric’ is removed from the Aladdin song lyric, ‘It will never be changed,’ snapped a Disney executive who evidently missed her sensitivity session (and who spoke on the condition of anonymity). She denied that pressure groups played a part in the studio’s decision to eventually change the lyric, and impatience colors her tone as she dismisses the Arab-Americans’ concerns. ‘Yeah, well,’ she says, ‘the movie made 200 million dollars. That’s what we do here. We make money’.”


Bozo Knows. “Cartoons alone don’t deliver the kind of educational and informational programming that the law’s authors intended,” stated Larry “Bozo the Clown” Harmon on the Children’s Television Act in L.A. Daily News December 14,1992.


mutt-jeff-frozen-northMutt and Jeff Review. From Motion Picture News April 15, 1916 and a review by Peter Milne:

“Jeff’s Toothache and The Submarine the first two animated cartoons drawn by Bud Fisher are excellent animated cartoon comedies containing funny drawings and funny plots and real plots.

“Mr. Fisher’s series of cartoons, portraying the adventures of Mutt and Jeff, have been running in newspapers for lo! these many years…Usually, the people were obligated to wait until the next day before witnessing the further antics of Mutt and Jeff after they had digested the morning or evening paper in which they were running.

“Now they can go to the theatre that afternoon or evening and see these creations in animation. The double diet won’t hurt them for a long, long time. Mr. Fisher has mastered whatever difficulties confronted him when he decided to draw for the camera, in exhaustive style. His cartoons are rapid in action, smooth in execution, void of eye straining jumpiness, and what is superfluous to add, they picture the same Mutt and Jeff that cavort in the papers.”

The Mutt and Jeff Film Company was to release a new cartoon of five hundred feet weekly. The first cartoon, Jeff’s Toothache, was shown April 1, 1916 at The Strand Theatre in New York and was “a distinct success. It was also shown to members of the staff of the New York World at their annual dinner March 25 and won the approval of the newspapermen” according to the Motion Picture News.

14 Comments

  • Welp, the exec was right, sorta; they kept the “barbaric” part but changed the line preceding it from “Where the cut off your ear if they don’t like your face” to “Where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense.”

    • I still have the original OST of Aladdin with those “infamous lyrics” on the song Arabian Nights. Wonder if those original release CDs to the soundtrack are now considered as collector items before they rewrote Arabian Nights?

    • They not only changed it, they did a terrible job of doing so; the voice they used was so obviously not the original, it’s utterly embarrassing. And a cursory glimpse of a newspaper suggests that changing it didn’t do a thing to change the world for the better.

      No wonder they had trouble matching the original cast voices for BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS. Disney Character Voices has always been a bit inconsistent in their recasts, IMO.

  • I would’ve seen a pilot of that Krusty spin-off if it was made. Also, Jim, don’t you mean “Larry ‘Bozo the Clown’ Harmon”???

    • Yes, I do mean the controversial Harmon. I am sure Jerry will make the adjustment.

    • Already done! 😉

  • “a little goes a long way”? Geez, I guess that Matt Groening didn’t care much for TOM AND JERRY or HERMAN AND KATNIP, and I assumed that ITCHY AND SCRATCHY was an over-the-top parody of those classic cartoons. “PEEWEE’S PLAYHOUSE” was the ultimate takeoff or homage to classic kids’ shows with a live action host with the occasional cartoon; I don’t know how Groening could have topped that, but it might have been interesting to see this happen anyway.

    • Actually, they still have Itchy and Scratchy on the show. I seem to recall from Jerry ten years ago that the crew did a complication of all the Itchy and Scratchy segments at the time for some event (please correct me with the details, Jerry). However, after five and ten minutes, most of the audiences had enough of the repetitive violence and told the crew to stop the show.

    • The thing is, with Tom and Jerry or Herman and Katnip — hell, even Little Roquefort and Percy — there’s a story and a build to the cartoon. The Itchy and Scratchy cartoons don’t have that. There all just quick little blackout gags. Establish a situation. Have Itchy do something unspeakably violent (and usually deadly) to Scratchy. The end. That’s why the Itchy and Scratchy’s don’t wear well if you try to watch them one after the other. The effect is more numbing than funny.

  • “I don’t know how much cat and mouse mayhem people can tolerate” – Shades of Fred Quimby.

  • IMO Batman TAS got off on the wrong foot. Timm and Radomski’s designs almost work, but look at Batman’s head! He always looked too much like Space Ghost or Blue Falcon for me to stomach the show. If BTAS was supposed to be a new, innovative Batman (which really means a Batman that’s even more similar to Walter Gibson’s Shadow) then what was the point of making the lead look like a mediocre Hanna-Barbera non-violent superhero? They’re stuck on that design now in all the superhero cartoons because of the popularity of that one show, in the same way that Chuck Jones’ effeminate smug intellectual Bugs Bunny became the norm. Future show developments don’t require original ideas, since just like Batman they can simply put Space Ghost in a Marvel or DC character’s costume and viola. If they hired a guy like Des Taylor, who says he was influenced by BTAS(?) in charge of a show’s design, you might see some innovation. Unfortunately, viewers couldn’t handle hot 1930’s/40’s women or pencil-moustached casanovas. They want giant heads on child bodies or Space Ghost. They want watered down Hanna-Barbera and it shows.

    • There you go again. Honestly, I thought Bruce’s designs were and still are fine. Heck, they had shades of Fleischer’s Superman on them. If you can do a better job of designing the characters, please show us your work. Otherwise, enough.

    • Better yet, if this guy can do better than ALEX TOTH I’d like to see it!! I LOVE the Space Ghost design! ( Even though Toth himself didn’t love it.) I love all Toth’s design work for Hanna Barbera. I could just stare at his model sheets for hours!! I also loved Timm’s work ( I too totally always saw the Fleicher Superman inspiration! Even as a KID I could see the connection!) and I loved seeing him get to craft the entire DCU in his own style on the Justice League Unlimited show. And btw-the women on those shows might night look 1930’s/40’s, style or whatever he is bitching about but they are still smoking HOT!! His Black Canary , Poison Ivy, Huntress etc. could make the Tex Avery Wolf howl!!
      Furthermore , if this guys was gonna criticize Space Ghost, he should have tried WATCHING it first! It’s almost as violent as Jonny Quest!! The bad guys die all the time in that show! It was one of the cartoons that pissed parents off and led to them having to make all the later cartoons in the 70’s non-violent Scooby Doo clones and superhero shows where the superheroes never hit anyone, just to appease standards and practices.

    • Wow, got no idea what you are talking about. Have you seen any of the Batman cartoons before B:TAS? B:TAS was massively new and innovative! And comparing Batman’s design to Space Ghost’s design- ah one has a classical hero body and has a cartoony body. The eyes and pointy nose are about the only things you can claim as similar. But your over all comparison could be totally flipped, say Space Ghost ‘stole’ Batman’s look (based on Batman’s look in the comics).

      As for everything following the Bruce Timm mode since B:TAS (I’ll assume you’re not counting the shows he designed)- I’d love for you to name one. If anything,B:TAS broke the mode of what a superhero cartoon should look like. Every superhero show (based off a comicbook) before B:TAS is done with classic hero bodies- Superman, Aquaman, Superfriends, Batman, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Incredible Hulk, etc. After B:TAS artistic flare really moved into everyone’s designs: X-Men: Evolution, Spectacle Spider-Man, Legion of Super-Heroes, Batman: Brave and the Bold, Avengers, etc.

      So yeah, not sure what you mean.

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