“I wrote the original Casper story – complete with title, character development and story line – while at Fleischers. This story served word for word as a voice-over narration for the very first Casper theatrical release. That film won an Oscar nomination in the animation category, and it was because of this that the studio undertook to turn my little ‘Fabletoon’ into an ongoing series.
“Oriolo’s role, an important one, was to create the original graphics that accompanied my story. He did indeed create the first drawings of Casper. But as the Fleischer files (plus many old-timers) will readily attest, the original concept and story were my own.
“Be that as it may, Joe Oriolo was an excellent producer-animator, whose work will be missed.”
Arrow: Ahead Of Its Time. Where did Jeffrery Katzenberg get the idea to hire actor Mel Gibson to do the voice of John Smith in Pocahontas (1995)? Apparently, he had seen the trailer done on spec by Kroyer Films for a proposed animated feature for Warner Brothers where Gibson did the voice of a detective named Arrow.
Unlike its previous film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992), Kroyer Films, struggling with just some minor work doing title sequences, videogames and commercials, decided to take a chance with a detective action-adventure story that would include black magic voodoo, inter-racial romance (supposedly the reason Warners passed) and… zombies.
Animation for the color sixty second trailer was done in three weeks by folks like Bruce Smith, Tony Fucile, Dave Brewster Dan Jeup , Anne Marie, Krystal, Wendy and Steve Markows and Doug Frankel. Ralph Eggleston did a scene as well as art directing the promo with Sue Kroyer. It was done without the use of real model sheets that would feature rotations. Apparently, there were many artists eager to work on the film not just because Bill and Sue Kroyer were incredibly professional but were well known for their kindness.
Jules Feiffer Loves Dudley Do-Right’s Horse. From Show Business Illustrated November 28, 1961, cartoonist Jules Feiffer wrote an article entitled “Bullwinkle, A Moose With Bezazz” and here is an excerpt: “What seems to have started the most recent stampede (of adult TV cartoons) is The Flintstones, an imitation of Ralph and Alice Kramden in Caveland. It is a dreadful show and an enormous success, and because of it the parade is on. We now have a Bullwinkle to offset a Flintstones.
“NBC’s Bullwinkle is not really new. It is just a new name for a show that has been around for a while called Rocky and His Friends. It is the old show business story…Rocky, a nice kid in an aviator’s cap, downgraded because he lacked bezazz. Not that Bullwinkle is without his charm. He is a moose who is part Oliver Dragon out of Albert Alligator with the voice of Clem Kadiddlehopper. I find him a bit talky and the least interesting character around.
“My heart really belongs to the horse owned by Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties. His girl loves his horse and let me tell you, it is a pretty good looking horse which in moments of peril doubles for our hero and helps him snag the villain.”
No Creativity, Please! From Los Angeles Times Calendar section June 22, 1998, animation director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit Richard Williams said, “We tried not to draw like 1988. I told everyone, ‘We’re trying to celebrate the animation of 1947. That means we have to be those guys – as much as we can – so we have to draw like them at least. No creativity, please’.”
Snafu Series. Chuck Jones, interviewed in Business Screen magazine (Aug/Sept 1982) said, “The Snafu series we did were not too aggressive. They were all to do with the protection of lives. Keep away from mosquitoes and so on. Up to then, they had been making pictures using actors as soldiers or using soldiers as actors. Neither method worked too well. But when you made a cartoon film, no one could object to it. Every soldier related to it. We had to know the mental attitude of the audience. These guys were usually very tired, and often in over heated barracks when they saw these films. So we used some pretty salty language to get their attention.”
Wakko Talks. From the North Jersey Herald & News from June 6,1994, voice actor Jess Harnell who spoke for Wakko in the animated series Animaniacs had the following to say, “Everybody says Animaniacs reminds them of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons and that’s the ultimate compliment because those cartoons from the 1950s are still recognized as the best. I’d like to make a contribution to American pop culture. I sing commercial jingles all the time but this is really special. I come from a background as a rock singer. When people meet me, they say, ‘I didn’t know Wakko looked like Bon Jovi.’
“They also want to hear me say ‘potty emergency’ because in one of the episodes, Wakko really had to go to the bathroom and used that phrase over and over. I just constantly remind myself that I’m lucky to be here and doing what I’m doing. The writers on Animaniacs leave us a lot of freedom to ad-lib and that’s a lot of fun. We just found out we’ve been renewed for a second season and we got to sit down with Spielberg personally. He wants us to do an Animaniacs feature film. He made the final casting and visual choices for the TV show and he’s really into it.
“Wakko is zany as hell with a very sweet voice. People take to him because he’s little and wears no pants. Think about it. I’d like to wear no pants. The voice is a mixture of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Wakko is really the baby Beatle! This job is most closely akin to what I got in trouble for in high school. Can you believe there are no more Wakko stuffed toys left in America? They’re completely sold out!”