Animation History
November 30, 2015 posted by

Beyond Famous: Paramount’s Animated Films 1968 Onward

paramount-news-67-68

This post is (and the next few are) a post-script the series I’d been placing in this space since June. A few of you may appreciate this one – an attempt to list what animated films Paramount Pictures released since closing their in-house studio in 1967.

You can see from the above news clipping from Boxoffice Magazine November 1967, from 1968 onward Paramount had virtually nothing more to do with short cartoons. There would be no re-releases of previous Famous Studio or Paramount Studio shorts – a policy common place with every other studio in town, including Disney, Columbia, MGM – even Universal, Fox and Warners were augmenting their new releases with a vigorous re-release schedule.

There were two immediate exceptions. After winning an Oscar for the Herb Alpert Double Feature, Paramount wisely picked up two more John Hubley independents – both garnering Oscar nominations in subsequent years. The first in May 1968 was Hubley’s A Windy Day. The second, released in 1969, originally made as an industrial film for IBM, Of Men and Demons.

A WINDY DAY (1968)

As a sidebar, it’s worth noting (as mentioned in the Boxoffice clipping above) that Paramount pretty-much replaced the cartoons with a live action series, Here’s Homer, produced and directed by one Homer Groening. Considering his young son, Matt, would one day play a significant role in the history of animation with the creation of The Simpsons – this footnote cannot be ignored. Here’s an example of the series (this particular one released May 1968):

HERE’S HOMER


The next time Paramount released an animated short would be in 1992, Itsy Bitsy Spider, produced by Hyperion (directed by Matt O’Callahan, written by Michael O’Donohue) – tagged with the release of Hyperion’s feature Bebe’s Kids (7/23/92):

ITSY BITSY SPIDER (1992)

After this, the next few shorts were attached to Nickelodeon Movies:

• Hey Arnold’s pilot, made in 1994, was released to theaters by Paramount on July 10th, 1996 with Harriet the Spy, Nickelodeon’s first movie.

• There was an Action Leauge Now stop motion short (“Rock-A-Big Baby”) shown with the live action Good Burger (7/25/97)

• a CatDog episode “Fetch” was released with The Rugrats Movie (11/20/98)

• SpongeBob Squarepants Shanghaied was attached to Rugrats In Paris (10/17/2000)


FEATURE FILMS

The rest of Paramount’s animated legacy would be in features. The following is simply a checklist of Paramount’s animated features from 1973 to date. This list does not include the Dreamworks releases (2007-2012), which included (among others) Bee Movie, Monster Vs. Aliens, Megamind, Puss In Boots and the first Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon films.

Charlottes_web_Heidis-song

CHARLOTTE’S WEB (3/1/73) 94 mins. Directors: Charles A. Nichols and Iwao Takamoto. Wilbur the pig gains confidence from the words in Charlotte’s spider web. With the help of Templeton the rat, Wilbur protect’s Charlotte’s offspring. A Hanna Barbera Production.

COONSKIN (8/1/75) Paramount/Bryanston. 83 mins. Director: Ralph Bakshi. Eight years after being dismissed from Paramount, Bakshi returns with an outrageous feature – so controversial that Paramount was forced to sell the film to an independent distributor. Two escaped convicts, hiding from authorities, listen to Pappy (Scatman Crothers) tell stories of cartoon characters Brother Rabbit, Brother Bear and Brother Fox (told with animation) that resemble a violent, inner-city update of “Song Of The South”. Rated R.

aladdin-and-his-magic-lamp-poster-1975ALADDIN AND HIS MAGIC LAMP (7/1/75) 70 mins. Director: Jean Image. Released in France in 1970, this film was picked up by Paramount and bundled into a package of family matinee movies in 1975.

ALICE IN A NEW WONDERLAND (1966/1975) 52 mins. Director: Gene Deitch. Once again Gene Deitch is connected to Paramount. This feature was originally produced in the mid-60s, as Alice of Wonderland In Paris, and first released in 1966. Paramount reissued the film with a modified title as part of its “Family Matinee” package in 1975.

RACE FOR YOUR LIFE CHARLIE BROWN (8/24/77) 76 mins. D: Bill Melendez. Charlie Brown, Lucy and the Peanuts gang, away at summer camp, are challenged by bullies to a number of sporting activities, topped by a contest that takes them rafting on a wild river. Meanwhile, Snoopy and Woodstock get lost in the woods.

BON VOYAGE CHARLIE BROWN (AND DON’T COME BACK) (5/30/80) 75 mins. D: Bill Melendez. The Peanuts gang are sent to France as exchange students.

HEIDI’S SONG (11/19/82) 94 mins. D: Robert Taylor. Heidi bonds with her gruff grandfather and the animals of the mountain, then moves to the city to become a companion to Clara, who is confined to a wheelchair. A wicked housekeeper locks Heidi in the cellar, but with the help of some swingin’ cellar rats, and her mountain friends, returns to her Grandfather. A Hanna-Barbera production.

COOL WORLD (7/9/92) 102 mins. D: Ralph Bakshi. Bakshi returns! Burnt out cartoonist, Jack Dweebs, withdraws into his cartoon creations, the Cool World, where sexy “doodle” Holli Would uses him to become human.

BEBE’S KIDS (7/31/92) 73 mins. D: Bruce Smith. Robin takes Jamika, her small son and three bratty neighbor children, Bebe’s kids, to an amusement park.

BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD DO AMERICA (12/20/96) D: Mike Judge. Animation Director: Yvette Kaplan. The misadventures of two clueless teenagers, who leave home in search of their beloved TV set.

Charlie-Brown_Bebe-Beavis

THE RUGRATS MOVIE (11/25/98) 79 mins. D: Norton Virgien, Igor Kovalyov. The rugrats gang, including newly arrived brother Dil, get lost in the woods when they take a ride in the Reptar Wagon, created by papa Stu.

SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT (6/30/99) A Paramount-Warner Bros co-production. 80 mins. D: Trey Parker. Third graders Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny attend the R-rated movie version of TV favorites Terrace and Philip (in “Asses Of Fire”). The bad language gleamed from the movie causes parents of South Park community to rally and “Blame Canada”.

RUGRATS IN PARIS: THE MOVIE (11/17/00) 78 mins. D: Stig Bergqvist & Paul Demeyer. In Paris, the Rugrats use a giant Reptar robot to rescue Chuckie’s dad from marrying an evil Euro theme park executive.

JIMMY NEUTRON, BOY GENIUS (12/21/01) 83 mins. D: John A. Davis. (Computer Generated Imagery)When a kid inventor inadvertently causes alien invaders to kidnap all neighborhood parents, it’s up to him and his classmates to travel through space and mount a rescue.

HEY ARNOLD: THE MOVIE (6/28/02) 75 mns. D: Tuck Tucker. Arnold and his friends try to track down a document declaring his town a historical landmark in an effort to stop a greedy corporation from razing his neighborhood.

THE WILD THORNBERRYS MOVIE (12/20/02) 94 mins. D: Jeff McGrath, Cathy Malkasian. Sent to a London boarding school for her own good, Eliza Thornberry (who posessses the power to communicate with animals) returns to Africa to rescue a cheetah cub and a horde of elephants from two high-tech poachers.

RUGRATS GO WILD (6/13/03) 80 mins. D: Norton Virgien, John Eng and Kate Boutilier. Rugrats get shipwrecked and encounter wild Thornberrys.

THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE (11/19/04) 99 mins. D: Stephen Hillenburg. When Plankton finally hatches a successful plan to lure customers away from the “Krusty Krab”, SpongeBob and Patrick go on a quest to retrieve the stolen crown of King Neptune. Along the way they face untold perils presented by scary sea monsters, a determined hit man and a live action David Hasselhoff.

RANGO (3/4/11) D: Gore Verbinski. ILM – Nickelodeon Movies. A chameleon that aspires to be a swashbuckling hero finds himself in a Western town plagued by bandits and is forced to literally play the role in order to protect it. Winner, Academy Award – Best Animated Feature.

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (12/23/11) D: Steven Spielberg. (Motion Capture) Tintin and his friends discover directions to a sunken ship commanded by Capt. Haddock’s ancestor and go off on a treasure hunt.

THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE 2: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (2/13/15) D: Paul Tibbitt, Mike Mitchell. When a diabolical pirate above the sea steals the secret Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton must team up in order to get it back.

CAPTURE THE FLAG (12/04/15) D: Enrique Gato. A young surfer rallies his friends to stop a billionaire from rewriting history as a way to horde Helium 3, the clean energy of the future.

ANOMALISA (12/30/15) D: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman. A disillusioned author, during a speaking engagement in Cincinnati, meets a girl at his hotel whom he perceives is different from everyone else in his life. Stop Motion puppets. Rated R.


NEXT WEEK: Don’t Worry – We’ll go back and have more fun with Famous.

(Thanks, Luke aka “Paramount Cartoons”)

22 Comments

  • Race For Your Life Charlie Brown in my opinion was one of the worst Charlie Brown/Peanuts movies released comparing to the other two (and better) Charlie Brown/Peanuts animated features A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home (with a fantastic score by The Sherman Brothers) involving a poor script (that could use a little bit of a rewrite) involving Charlie Brown & Co facing off against a gang of Ruffians (Who I called “The River Rat Ruffians “) on how the girls go to a militant Feminist mode against Charlie Brown and the guys, as well as Peppermint Patty’s idiotic rant of not having pancakes for breakfast while Charlie Brown and the others were lucky to find cold cereal and milk in a cabin and Lucy Van Pelt’s so called “motivation ” speech (and that comes from a “loudmouth crabapple” who abuses Charlie Brown and beats up her younger brother Linus…Can anyone say “Hypocrite”?) and Bon Voyage Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back) faired a little better than “RFYLCB” with Peppermint Patty as the role of “The Ugly American” with her rude boorish attitude and surprisingly that the film spun off a special entitled “What We Have Learned Charlie Brown?” Where Charlie Brown, Linus Van Pelt, Peppermint Patty, Marcie,Snoopy and Woodstock return to France to visit the sites where the battles or both World Wars I & II took place including Flanders Field.

  • Also on the Rugrats:The Movie and Rugrats in Paris how both films literally intertwined with the Rugrats tv series where on how Tommy was wondering why his mommy’ tummy was big and when the following season started both Tommy and Dil were finally getting along and in Rugrats in Paris where it picked up from last season where Tommy and Dil’s grandpa married his nurse where he met at the senior care centers and wher Chuckie Finster lamented on not having a mommy when during the wedding reception where the DJ asked all the mothers to dance with thier children and how his Dad Chaz fell in love with the Japanese born assistant secretary (who had a daughter the same age like Chuckie) and was to get married to the evil female executive of Euro Reptar Land and wound up marrying the assistant secretary instead and setting up the season opener episode for Rugrats called Finster-rella where Chuckie was suffering from “The Evil Stepmother Syndrome ” which he feared that his new stepmother would like him.

  • A SpongeBob was released to theaters with Rugrats in Paris? I thought “Shanghaied” didn’t come out until 2001. Which alternated ending to was shown?

    • Yeah, I saw “Paris” when it came out and I don’t remember any short appearing with it.

  • Wow! From Fleischer to Famous to Harvey to Paramount, from the 1930’s almost up to the present day…it’s been a long and fascinating ride. I have learned so much that I didn’t know before about the evolution of these animation studios. I have long been curious to know what happened to the Fleischers and how Famous Studios carried on afterward. This has answered a lot of questions.

    Many thanks to Thad for starting this project and to Jerry for continuing it. This has been something to look forward to on Monday mornings for a couple of years now–a reason to get up and get started with the week!

    A lot of research and effort has gone into this. Please accept my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your hard work.

    • From Frederick Wiegand
      Wow! From Fleischer to Famous to Harvey to Paramount, from the 1930′s almost up to the present day…it’s been a long and fascinating ride. I have learned so much that I didn’t know before about the evolution of these animation studios. I have long been curious to know what happened to the Fleischers and how Famous Studios carried on afterward. This has answered a lot of questions.

      At long last, these questions are due to be addressed later this year. Stay tuned for further announcements over the coming months!

  • Your welcome!

    -ParamountCartoons

    • My thanks,too.>!

  • Re: Here’s Homer – was that Krusty the Klown in the speedboat ?

  • Thanks for the survey of Paramount films, Jerry. The list brings back a lot of memories.

    By the way, hasn’t the US release date of the Spanish film “Capture the Flag” been moved to 2016?

  • Is there any chance of Stu going to re-run this Wednesday’s interview at 7 P.M. ET throughout this whole week? I’m going to have class on that day and I don’t want to buy the MP3 of this as I don’t trust on buying stuff on the Internet much.

  • Thanks to Jerry Beck, Thad Komorowski and everyone involved in this amazing Paramount cartoons history lesson. Makes me wish, of course, that all of it was out in one hefty box set. I did read of “BEBE’S KIDS” coming out through the Warner Archive, but does that also mean that the “ITSY-BITSY SPIDER” film will be tagged on as a special feature? Oh, and I loved that “WINDY DAY” film by the Hubleys; such a great idea to animate around recorded conversations between their kids, so much good inspiration there.

    • Didn’t know Warner’s has that film now. Would be a shame not to include “Itsy BItsy Spider”, but there isn’t any additional information I can find on the pre-order page for the film so perhaps it’s a bare bones release (perhaps the short is tied up with Paramount or someone else instead?). The short itself did see some interest as a TV series based on it was developed and aired on USA Network shortly later. I remember USA Network playing the original short as filler before the start of the series as a sort of promo to it.

    • I think “Itsy Bitsy Spider” was on the VHS of Bebe’s Kids. I vaguely remember reading that in the Whole Toon Catalog.

  • This is peripherally related to Paramount / Famous Studios, but on the off chance, someone might be interested:

    Back in Greg Ehrbar’s 10/14/14 Animation Spin column, “Harvey Comics on Records”(www.cartoonresearch.com/index.php/harvey-comics-on-records/), Greg writes:

    One of the odd things about “Skiddle Diddle Dee” was that is was sung on camera in the quirky 1975 dramedy, Sheila Levine Is Dead And Living In New York — the lead character works for a children’s music company (Golden?) and they all sing the song for a recording.

    Just noticed that the rarely shown, SLIDALINY is airing on Turner Classic movies on Monday, December 21. Share the genius of Winston Sharples with your friends and loved ones–or not.

  • “Hey Arnold” has a Groening connection: creator Craig Bartlett married Homer’s daughter Lisa.

    • I wonder if that’s the reason why the “Hey Arnold” comic strip was in Simpsons Illustrated magazine?

    • Bobby – Yes, I can confirm. That WAS the reason Hey Arnold appeared in The Simpsons magazine.

    • Some people either don’t know or forgot Craig Bartlett originally did Arnold in several stop-motion shorts as well.

  • I know these may not be animation related, but what about the Robin Williams Popeye movie (1980), one of the earliest examples of Paramount looking back on their cartoon library they heavily overlooked and Team America: World Police (2003-ish)?

  • I was an Assistant Animator on ITSY-BITSY SPIDER as well as BEBE’S KIDS. The CatDog short, FETCH was not a regular television episode. It was fashioned as a theatrical short with a higher budget with modeling and shadows that were never done for the television episodes I helped direct. Larry Leichleiter was the Director, and the pacing was a bit slower than for television. It was included in the television package after its theatrical release.

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