Loesch on Batman. In the Winnipeg Sun Preview for July 25, 1993 Margaret Loesch then head of Fox Children Network said about Batman: The Animated Series: “It isn’t a typical cartoon. It’s something that really provides a lot of dramatic acting opportunity. We were very supportive of the Warner idea that they go to the theater and to dramatic actors in order to try to get away from the sound of all those great voice actors who are in cartoons quite frequently. They wanted to come up with something that sounded different. The new episodes are emphasizing Robin a little more because we find that younger kids seem to like him. And when Robin is in the scene, there is more personality and interplay between Batman and Robin.”
Bluth Research. In 2002, animator and producer Don Bluth said, “Research is a major part of every motion picture, animated or live action. In all of our films, we have done an incredible amount of research. For Anastasia (1997), Gary (Goldman) traveled to St. Petersburg to shoot photos of the landscapes and the city for accuracy. There weren’t a lot of photo reference books on Russia available in the US. Gary shot 4000 stills and ten 2 hour video tapes in the eight days he spent in Russia. For All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989), Gary and co-director Dan Kuenster traveled to New Orleans to do a similar photo shoot. It is very helpful to the layout artists.”
The Barbera Bible Stories. The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible (1985) was produced by Hanna-Barbera directly for the home video market. On the release of the first cassettes, producer Joe Barbera said, “The Bible stories have violence, deceit, treachery, plagues. But that wasn’t good enough for the networks. I guess they were afraid the shows could turn out ponderous and preachy, but we’ve tried to avoid that.
“I see a moralistic return in the 1980s. People are getting married and having babies again. There is a surge of religion. I was raised that way, and then it disappeared. But now the Sunday schools are back. We wanted to grab people with the opening group, so we chose the most exciting stories; later we’ll be able to move into things like the story of Ruth which is a wonderful story but slower.
“We’re in discussions now trying to figure out how to tell the story of Adam and Eve with taste. We want to be true to the Bible but, of course, we don’t want to have any frontal nudity. If I tell kids to read the stories, they won’t do it. But this is a way of getting them interested. I wish they had shown one of our films when I was in Sunday school.”
Barbera said if the series was a success, he wanted to do an animated series based on such classic literary works as Cyrano de Bergerac and A Tale of Two Cities. For the Bible series, he hired a trio of religious advisers – a priest, a minister and a rabbi – to insure that the stories remained faithful to their source.
Teegra. Actress Emma Samms is perhaps best known for her roles as Fallon Carrington Colby on the television series Dynasty and later as Holly Sutton Scorpio on the soap opera General Hospital. However, one of the roles that does not appear on her official resume was that she was among the rotoscoped actors for Ralph Bakshi’s animated feature Fire and Ice (1983) and performed topless. In August 1988, she famously blew up when a fan asked her to sign a topless photo of her that was taken from that shooting that she had been assured would not be released.
She had the right voluptuous physique to play Frank Frazetta’s heroine Teegra. On the Frazetta model sheet the character was called “Tygra” but pronounced “Tee-gra”. Officially Cynthia Leake performed as the live action reference model for Teegra during the live action shooting. After the animation was done, Teegra was voiced by Maggie Roswell. Leake died with her thirteen year old daughter in a plane crash in 1993 in North Carolina.
Chanticleer and Elvis. In the Los Angeles Times April 6, 1992 animator and producer Don Bluth talking about his latest animated feature Rock-A-Doodle (1991) said, “Having Chanticleer as Elvis seemed appropriate. He was a rooster. He strutted and that was Elvis. Elvis was my big hero growing up. And then again, Elvis was another guy who was connected to his mother and his family. He never got over his mother’s death. We didn’t parallel that exactly with Chanticleer but with him, too, being a rock’n’roll singer is a mask — everything on the outside is sunshine and roses, and underneath was a broken heart.”
Worth Keeping An Eye On. In MAD magazine April 1992 (issue #310, page 25) in the article “If It Weren’t For Entertainment Tonight…” the final panel had “…Leonard Maltin would be roaming free and probably worth keeping an eye on!” It featured Leonard’s caricature all google-eyed and wearing just a raincoat while a nearby mother and her young daughter screamed out in fear.
Voice of Cleveland Jr. Voice artist Kevin Michael Richardson was interviewed in Videoscope magazine (Spring 2017) and revealed, “When Junior (Cleveland Jr. on The Cleveland Show) came along, I thought I had a great idea for (his voice), especially when they showed me a picture. But as soon as I did the voice, Seth MacFarlane and Mike Henry, who were behind the glass, pushed the button and said, ‘No, Kevin, that’s not it.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, great. What am I going to do?’ Then Seth said, ‘Try to picture Junior as a young Cleveland Brown when he was a teenager’. And that’s what happened.
“Cleveland has a very unique delivery when Mike Henry plays him, and I said (speaking like Cleveland Jr.) ‘Okay, you mean something like this?’ And that’s when they started laughing and it just happened. The tone of the character was also somewhat inspired by a character I played in the very first season of the television series ER.
“I played a mentally challenged young man who wore a Chicago Bears football helmet and his name was Patrick. Patrick would come into the ER and say things like, ‘I’m lost. I can’t find my helmet’. And it was a very similar quality to Junior. For some reason, I tried to incorporate that sound with what Mike Henry’s character of Cleveland would sound like as a teenager and that’s how Cleveland Jr. came to be.”