Hanna-Barbera History Hunting. In 1994, Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert told writer Alan Bash of USA Today, “This company for many years didn’t really think too much about its historical perspective. When I came (in 1992), I put out the word that I was interested in classic characters and that we could really benefit from actually setting up an archive.” Seibert brought on board Tom Barreca as vice president of classic characters and earmarked hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover lost materials.
With a team of six researchers, Barreca located every warehouse where Hanna-Barbera material was stored and began opening up dust-covered canisters. Their efforts unearthed the one minute, forty-five second pilot for The Flagstones, the forerunners of The Flintstones. Many early audio reels were also found including the audition tapes and original contracts for Alan Reed and Mel Blanc as well as the original script where “Yahoo!” was crossed out and “Yabba-dabba-doo!” was penciled in its place.
The search continued but very discreetly. “If I went out directly and laid a Hanna-Barbera business card on the table,” said Barreca, “I’d look like a deep-pocketed individual and that undermines my negotiating position. From now on, we’ll be careful what we put out onto the marketplace and what we keep as treasures and history. And no cartoon in the place gets thrown out without my guidance.”
Barry Manilow. In The Orange County Register for March 31, 1994, composer Barry Manilow talked about working on Don Bluth’s Thumbelina (1994): “I’m very grateful that Don Bluth tracked me down to do the music for this film, because my heart lies in being a composer. I was hungry for something like this. Thumbelina was the hardest character to create songs for because – born as she is from the heart of a rose as an instant sixteen year old – she must be naïve. She doesn’t have much experience of life but she’s also not an idiot. So you’ve got to find the right balance.”
Manilow had previously worked on the song “Perfect Isn’t Easy But It’s Me” for Bette Midler in Disney’s Oliver and Company (1988).
Chuck Jones on Disneyland. Chuck Jones, interviewed in Business Screen magazine (Aug/Sept 1982) said, “When I talked with Walt Disney, he told me that when he was a kid and used to go to amusement parks he was disappointed because everything was made of papier mache. The log cabin wasn’t made of real logs. The guns were not real guns. And Walt said he wanted something that would be believable, always believable. That’s what he was driving at. And personally I love Disneyland as does Ray Bradbury. If there was one thing Disney was not, it was practical.”
Presidential Tributes to Mel Blanc. In Daily Variety for August 10, 1989, the trade paper posted comments from two U.S. Presidents on the passing of Mel Blanc in July.
President George H.W. Bush’s message was “As a multitalented actor, Mel Blanc brought joy and laughter to millions of people, young and old, sharing with them a hilarious world where cartoons and reality came together in splendid lunacy. The distinctive voices he gave to so many animated screen characters made them lovable, outrageous, magical and, above all, memorable. The entire nation and people everywhere mourn the loss of this fine and irreplaceable man. He left the world a far happier place and we shall miss him greatly.”
Former President Ronald Reagan’s message was “Mel Blanc was one of the true greats in the entertainment business. For more than half a century, he delighted us with his special talent. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety and the others became part of our families. In millions of households across the land, the genius of Mel Blanc caused the most heartwarming sound of all – children’s laughter. What he brought to animation is literally immeasurable. He is the standard by which all who follow in his path will be judged.”
Good-bye to Kricfalusi 1992. Commenting on his dismissal from The Ren & Stimpy Show on Nickelodeon, creator John Kricfalusi commented in the September 28, 1992 issue of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section, “Nickelodeon wants something for the show. I want something for the show. They’re both very strong visions and together they made for a really great show. But in pure reality, when you mix two really strong visions, it’s going to take a long, long time to do the work.
“We were doing what they did in the 1940s at Warner Bros. but we’re not in the 1940s anymore. There’s no training ground for this. We were reinventing the wheel. By next season, you won’t even recognize Ren and Stimpy. They’ll be Smurfs that fart and hug each other.”
“In the long run, this will be a good thing for everyone,” said Bob Camp who was taking over production of the episodes for the show. “John is like a not-ready-for-prime-time player. The idea of him doing children’s programming — it was good children’s programming, great stuff – but he was not in his element. It won’t be the same in a lot of ways. John always pushes the envelope constantly. One way it will be different, there will be a lot less conflict. The shows aren’t as likely to be as weird or insane. But I think those are things Nick doesn’t want.”
Funny Credits. The 65th episode of Animaniacs entitled “The Warners 65th Anniversary Special” that aired on May 23, 1994 had multiple gag credits interspersed with real credits. For instance, under Dialogue Editors is the following: Mark Keatts, Mick Brooling, Bob Lacivita, Andrew J. King, Aaron L. King, Alan King, Martin Luther King, Chicken A La King, Old King Cole, Larry King Live, Don King, Don Corelone, Don Juan, Don Quixote, Don Wilson, Dondi, Dondi Duran Duran, Whatever Will Be, Will Be.
After the “Sound Mix Is By” credit is one for “The Trail Mix Is By: Nabsico”. There is even a credit for “Animaniacs Nutritional Information Per Serving” with entries for Fat, Calories, Protein, and Carbohydrate. Of course there is a credit for “Bean Counter: Chuck Ansel” followed by “Beans Counted: 235. Definitely 235”.
Working with an Invisible Rabbit. From Los Angeles Times Calendar section June 22, 1998, director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit Robert Zemeckis said, “Bob (Hoskins) understood what he had to do and he accepted it as a challenge and set out to make the technique work. He’d stand by the side of the set and practice lifting a model of Roger by the ears, memorizing how high his hand would have to go for them to make eye contact.”