ANIMATION ANECDOTES
May 5, 2017 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #312

Stuttering Piglet. In December 1992, Ira Simmerman of The National Stuttering Project, a non-profit group in San Juan Capistrano, complained about a print ad for Johnson & Johnson’s Piglet’s Liquid Bath which features Winnie the Pooh and Piglet and the following text: “Squeaky Clean and Gentle Too, P-P-P-Piglet Makes Bathtime Fun For You.” Pam Bishop, brand manager at Disney Licensing asked the group to accept “our apologies for any unintended offense use of stuttering, which is an integral part of Piglet’s character. We did not mean to mock one of our most beloved characters.” The ad did not run the next month.


Faiman Fortune. In the Sunday Telegraph June 28, 1992, Australian Pete Faiman who produced Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992), which had its world premiere before the General Assembly of the United Nations in April 1992 said, “It is not a direct pitch for the environment but it is environmentally flavored. It is a fairy tale that happens to have a story that involves the environment. It is a movie with its heart in the right place. It has integrity. The central spirit of the movie was to say something to the kids about the world they live in and the world they are going to inherit. It speaks to their values.

“We wanted to create a modern myth, a story that is based on life today, rather than fairy tales of old. Ferngully will live or die, succeed or fail, on how it is judged as an entertainment, not whether it’s good medicine. I want people to come out of the cinema entertained but also charged with a purpose, and that purpose is to improve their lives by helping the environment by recycling or by making others aware of the problem by activisim. If people come out feeling a little more empowered or convince that there is something out there to save, then the film is doing some good.

“I don’t march and I haven’t chained myself to a tree, but I am very respectful of what, as adults, we need to do for our next generation.”

A “considerable” percentage of the movie’s box office receipts were donated to organizations like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund.


Caricatured Cameos. From the Los Angeles Times November 1992, some secret animated caricatures in Disney’s animated feature Aladdin (1992) were revealed. Most Disney fans know that co-producers/directors of Aladdin popped up as extras in the crowd scenes replacing the original intent to use film critics Siskel & Ebert who would have given a “thumbs up/thumbs down” rating to any new suitor for the princess. However, other Disney animators made caricatured cameo appearances as well.

All the in-house caricatures were designed by animator T. Daniel Hofstedt. In the “One Jump” musical number, a clean-up artist Marshall Toomey appears as a jewelry vendor and the fire walker is one of Hofstedt’s former CalArts teachers, T. Hee. At the end of the song, the fertilizer dealer, Crazy Hakim, is actually Tom Sito who animated the character.

Effects animator Dorse Lampher is one of the Forty Thieves summoned in the musical number “Friend Like Me” who Lampher described as “the tall pear-shaped one with bare feet and a small sword”. The crowd watching Prince Achmed also includes caricatures of Eric Goldberg (animator on the Genie), Glen Keane (animator on Aladdin) and even a caricature of Hofstedt himself with his three year old son, Daniel.

“They go by so quickly that you will have to wait to look at the video frame-by-frame to see them,” Hofsteadt told animation historian Charles Solomon.


Father Figure. According to an article by Michael Fleming in a 1994 issue of Variety, Interscope and Storyline Productions joined forces to produce a live-action/animation feature film entitled Father Figure by writers Jeff Hause and David Hines.

Father Figure was about a lawyer on the fast track whose world is turned upside down when his mother finally reveals the identity of his father: Wacky Wolf, a cartoon character who swept her off her feet after she briefly broke through the barrier separating animation from reality. The lawyer vows to find his father, regaining a sense of fun in his life in the process.

The film was to be distributed through Buena Vista and would be produced by Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and Kevin Morton.


We almost see her face in “Part Time Pal” (1947)

Face Off. “Mammy Two Shoes” was so named because the only thing Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse seemed to see was her lower half and especially her large pair of shoes.

However, in Part Time Pal (1947), animator Michael Lah accidentally brought her head down into the frame so you can see her chin for a couple of feet during the chase sequence.

For the record: The character had her whole face on screen – for two or three frames – in Saturday Evening Puss (1950), and in several MGM comics and Tom & Jerry Story books.

Her face in comics, story books and in “Saturday Evening Puss” (1950)


Blinky Bill Controversy. In the Daily Telegraph Mirror for September 25th, 1992, Sandra and Yoram Gross addressed the controversy over their physical interpretation of a storybook koala bear character named Blinky Bill when transferred to animation.

Critics charged that New Zealander Dorothy Wall’s character wore orange and white checkered trousers but that Gross and his artists put him into red pants. One critic claimed that the animation studio was “destroying a national treasure like re-marketing Brigitte Bardot as a rugby league front row forward”.

Sandra had to point out that Wall wanted Blinky Bill to be made into an animated film and in letters to the Disney Studio said she would consider making changes for the film.

“(Wall) recognized the fact that animation sometimes calls for changes,” stated Sandra. “But when we make slight changes people come to the conclusion that we have changed the holy design. But it is not holy. Every art has certain needs of its own and the trousers, for example, had to be shown in a different color for technical reasons.” Sandra also pulled out some of Wall’s storybooks showing that Bill was portrayed in a range of different fur colors and a whole wardrobe of different colored clothes.

“It’s a free country,” echoed Yoram Gross. “Critics have a right to say what they feel. But I am going to sleep quiet because I know I am honest. Whatever I have done, I have done with all my honesty.”

Blinky Bill: The Mischievous Koala (1992) had animation superimposed over live action footage of the Australian bush and grossed $1,903,659 in its initial release. Gross later went on to produce a TV series entitled The Adventures of Blinky Bill (1993-1995) focusing on conservation and nature.

28 Comments

  • It’s amazing how we seen the rarely seen face of Mammy Two Shoes in the comic books and story books version (where she was known as Diana) of MGMs Tom and Jerry. And what’s amazing is that Lillian Randolph was the original voice of Mammy Two Shoes along with the voice of Old Aunt Delilah and Mammy for Disney after that June Foray did Mammy’s voice (in both a Irish Brough and in later versions is a southern accent) Thea Vidale (in the 1989-92 re dubbed versions) and in Tom and Jerry Tales Nicole Oliver became the new voice of Mammy Two Shoes and rename as Mrs Two Shoes as a Caucasian woman instead of the original African American version that was seen in the original Tom and Jerry cartoons. Of course Warner Brothers animation claims that they wanted to avoid controversy with the viewers.

    And on Piglet he wasn’t the only cartoon character that suffered from Stuttering Porky Pig was also a known stutterer and was involved in a lawsuit by a guy in New York that the kids in the public school that he attended viciously picked on him and called him Porky because of his stuttering. Of course a settlement was reached by Warner Brothers and posted a Tolerance website on thier webpage. A few years later in Looney Toons,Back in Action both Porky and Speedy Gonzalez were announcers and Porky had trouble saying his line because of his stuttering and said in the end of the scene Porky. Said “Darn Politically Correctiveness!”

    • Actually I said, “It’s a pain in the butt being eh-puh-peh-eh-politically correct!” 😉

    • (Hi Bob! I saw the interview you did with “Career Day.”)
      I’m aware that Porky was originally voiced by a genuine stutterer, but as is the case with stutterers, it wasn’t something he could turn on at will.

    • In all fairness, Piglet is a shy and timid character in those films, he stutter wasn’t quite as severe as Porky’s since he can speak pretty normally otherwise. I suppose his problem is one of being concerned or anxious to say anything, especially the wrong thing, but that’s my opinion.

  • Great post! I knew about the Saturday Evening Puss image but not the one from Part-Time Pal. Where did the name “Mammy Two-Shoes” originate? Was it from Hanna and Barbera, Fred Quimby, Dell Comics, or MGM executives? I ask, because I have a copy of the dialogue sheet for every Mammy Two-Shoes episode (thank you, USC!), and she is called “maid” and “colored maid” but never “Mammy Two-Shoes.”

    • As far as I know, “Mammy Two Shoes” – as far as the Tom & Jerry maid is concerned – was always a misnomer. It’s actually the name of the Disney maid (also voiced by Lillian Randolph) that shows up in the Silly Symphony “More Kittens”, at least according to a storybook adaptation. Somehow, probably via fans, the name found its way to the MGM maid.

    • Another animation story that’ll never die.
      I understand the Mammy name didn’t originate at MGM at all, and was never used there. It was apparently from a similar character in a Disney cartoon. Jerry should be able to clarify this.

    • Thad has it right, above. I believe Joe Barbera may have used the name “Mammy Two Shoes” in reference to the character in later years and that’s how it stuck (not unlike Jones’ coining the name “Michigan J. Frog” for the earlier forgotten “Enrico” – but I digress). The “maid” was also named “Rose” and “Dinah” I believe, in comics and other places. David Gerstein actually knows more about this.

    • Thad and Jerry are both correct.

      The maid character appears in the old Dell comics until the mid-1950s. She is most typically Dinah there, though early issues occasionally name her differently. After Harvey Eisenberg takes over the art duties in 1948, Tom usually calls her only “the boss” and similar descriptors.

      In _Golden Story Book_ #11 (1950), “Tom and Jerry and Their Friends,” she is “Rose, the cook”; and it is from that book—drawn and possibly written by Eisenberg—that Jim’s middle image comes. As Thad has noted elsewhere, Eisenberg used this same design for her in the first Tom and Jerry solo comic, _Four Color_ #193 (1948). It’s notable insofar as she does not have exaggerated ethnic features.

      The name Mammy Twoshoes, spelled as such, seems to have first been created for the maid character in Disney’s Three Orphan Kittens and More Kittens, and was given as such in some 1930s- and 1950s-era Disney children’s storybooks. Later, Mark Kausler called the Tom and Jerry character “Mammy Two-Shoes” (sic) in his famous 1975 _Film Comment_ article. Mark more recently realized that he remembered the name from an Orphan Kittens storybook, but within fandom, it has stuck.

      Can anyone actually confirm, from a reputable source, that Thea Vidale actually did the new voice in the 1990s redubs? While I’d love to be proven wrong, I suspect her credit is entirely the long-ago guesswork of obsessed online fans—the same kind who perpetuate “Happy Rabbit” and tons of other long-debunked cute stories.

  • As it was my introduction to the cartoons and knew no difference, when I first saw Tom & Jerry on TV they over dubbed the lady with an Irish accent!

    • June Foray was Mammy’s Irish accented voice when Tom and Jerry was broadcast on CBS in the 1960’s – and I still don’t understand why they did that in the first place.

    • So I’m not crazy. Thank you. 🙂

    • And her scenes were redrawn in “Saturday Evening Puss” in the mid 60s, changing her into a slender white woman.

    • But keeping her dialect…which worked…she just seemed like a Southerner.

    • June certainly gave her a very moody voice in that cartoon, of course she’s supposed to be a teen so it makes sense.

      Oddly sometime in the late 80’s/early 90’s, when Turner created new masters of the T&J’s to show, somehow they mixed up the audio and picture elements to Saturday Evening Puss, resulting in this hilarity!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggtZ0qL8hXs

      Unfortunately I can’t find a better copy of that online but it’s quite something to witness a teenage girl telling someone on the phone “Yes, this is the Lucky Seven Saturday Night Bridge Club” while dancing with her boyfriend!

  • The T & J shorts with Mammy are the best out of the entire series, IMO – luckily, I have ALL of them UNCUT for my viewing pleasure!!

  • It might be interesting to note that there is nothing in the cartoons to indicate that she is not the homeowner. With no defining statement either way, I guess it is the general assumptions of one’s era that define her.

  • Like I said earlier that on Tom & Jerry Tales they “reinvented” the Mammy Two Shoes character and renamed her as Mrs. Two Shoes. I was wondering if they still should have kept her African American but in a more positive way?

    (1) they should of renamed her as either Mamie or Mazy Tushuz (a play of words on the Two Shoes name

    (2) show her entire face and body as a elegant African American maybe a business professional

    (3) have her with a entire family with husband four children (one teen,one tween,one school aged and the youngest the baby of the family as well as a visit from her parents and her husband’s parents and grandmother.

    (4) and the voice acting cast should feature Loretta Divine,Cree Summers,Phil LaMarr,Kiara Muhammad,Kimberly Brooks,Andre Robinson,Dawnn Lewis Jenifer Lewis,Keith Michael Richardson & Gary Anthony Williams as the “Tushuz” clan and relatives.

    • That would work. I see no problem with what you’ve laid out here. Of course I suppose having it a full family might be laying it on a bit thick in my book.

  • I always thought she was the homeowner in the original cartoons! She never mentions the owners of the house.

    • In “The Mouse Comes to Dinner”, she hopes nothing happens to the dinner table “before the company gets here.” That’s the only direct reference to her being a maid, and Joe Barbera said that’s what she was. But I dunno. The naive kid in me sees the Standard Tom & Jerry House as too small and quaint to have live-in help, and it’s obvious she became the standard homeowner by the end. (“A party!? At MY house!? EXCUUUUSE ME!”)

  • A “considerable” percentage of the movie’s box office receipts were donated to organizations like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund.

    Of course going by this vid, it didn’t help much to save a struggling Australian insurance firm from going under in the process.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKho0r7To0U

    “It’s a free country,” echoed Yoram Gross. “Critics have a right to say what they feel. But I am going to sleep quiet because I know I am honest. Whatever I have done, I have done with all my honesty.”

    And with that, a red pants Blinky Bill continues to be seen to this very day through continued merchandising, and even a recent CGI film to boot!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc9SSM8PuBc

  • As I understand it the LOONEY TUNES crew got a lot of mail (A LOT OF MAIL) from kids who stuttered who loved Porky.

    • And what’s funny there was a Mexican Wrestling (Lucha Libre) star nicknamed Porky back in the 1970s and 80s. He was part of the original wrestling trio Los Tres Brazos, Brazo, De Oro
      y de Plata The Three Arms Gold, Silver and Bronze).

  • @BIGG3469
    Yeah, now they have a different wrestler going for the name of Super Porky, he is often on tv here in Jalisco. Are you Mexican like me, buddy? If so, I am glad to had meet a fellow ¨paisano¨, also I leave a message for you in the other post, buddy.

    • Yup I’m a “MexAm”! I grew up on Lucha Libre where it was more realistic than the WWE and remember going to the lucha libre matches at the El Paso Coliseum which was walking distance from my grandparents home in El Paso Texas.

  • @BIGG3469
    Great! I also like Lucha Libre too, it´s way better, but my nephews always disagree with me about that, because they are more familiar with that WWE thing. Kids, what do they know? In another matter, I found a place where you can take your old vhs tapes, buddy, and the employees can transfer them to DVD, I can´t write it here because it could be assumed to be spam, but if you are interested my email is: genormicoidelkjh@gmail.com

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