May 3, 2013 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #108

josie200A Real Pussycat. The 1970 Hanna-Barbera television series “Josie and the Pussycats” about an all-girl pop music band was the result of the success of Filmation’s “The Archie Show” and Action for Children’s Television wanting less violent cartoons on Saturday morning. The Josie characters came from an Archie comic book created and drawn by artist Dan DeCarlo. DeCarlo’s wife was named Josie and she claimed, “We went on a Caribbean cruise, and I had a [cat] costume for the cruise, and that’s the way it started.” DeCarlo put together samples for a newspaper strip called “Here’s Josie” with the character but it didn’t sell to a syndicate so he offered it to Richard Goldwater who took it to his father who was publishing Archie comics. On the television series, even though DeCarlo is given a “created by” credit (along with Richard Goldwater, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears), he never received any additional payments or royalties. When the comic book was optioned by Hanna-Barbera, the Archie company dropped Dan DeCarlo’s credit in the Josie comic books and used just “Dick and Dan” instead. Dick referred to Richard “Dick” Goldwater.

What Might Have Been. Today, comedian Charles Fleischer is known as the voice of Roger Rabbit but when the Disney Company first optioned the project, it was to be directed by talented Darrell Van Citters who had hired Paul Reubens, better known today as “Pee Wee Herman” to supply the voice of Roger. “Paul had both an excitability and naïve quality to his voice that we felt was essential to the character’s personality,” stated Citters. “Despite his firmly established role as Pee-Wee Herman, Paul is an excellent vocal actor and gave us exceptional readings.” Reubens did end up supplying a voice for a Disney character, Captain RX-24 (“Rex”) in the original version of the popular Star Tours attraction at the Disney theme parks.

Talking Cat and Mouse. Publicity for “Tom and Jerry: The Movie” (1992) claimed that it was the first time the two characters had ever spoken. Most animation fans know that Tom spoke several times in the MGM shorts including using four different voices in “Solid Serenade” (1946). Jerry also spoke, most notably in the film “Anchors Aweigh” (1945) with Gene Kelly. In the 1992 film, Richard Kind gave voice to Tom and Dana Hill did the same for Jerry.

Talking Cat and Mouse Part Two. Although comedian Chevy Chase has denied ever being involved in a proposed live action version of Hanna-Barbera’s “The Jetsons”, he did reveal in a 1992 interview that “MGM had this idea of doing Tom and Jerry with Dustin Hoffman as the voice of the mouse and myself as the cat. We both liked the idea but ultimately, nothing came of it.” At the time, one project that was under development was a movie with the working title “Bugs Bunny and Chevy Chase” to be directed by Richard Donner. It was to be simliar to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”.

The Zemeckis Touch. The talented Mike Giaimo was the original designer for the Disney character Roger Rabbit when director Darrell Van Citters was handling the project. Years later, when Robert Zemeckis took over the project, Zemeckis felt the design was a little broad and “clown-like” and called in Giaimo to redesign the character. Giaimo remembers the suggestion he kept getting from Zemeckis was to “make (Roger) a little more like Michael J. Fox” whom Zemeckis had just finished directing in the movie “Back To The Future” (1985).

taz200The Devil Made Him Do It. Writer Stephen King wrote a horror short story “The Crate” which was later adapted for the 1982 movie, “Creepshow”. Inside a long forgotten crate stored in a university is a horrible monster that seems to be all teeth. King based the creature on Warner Brothers’ Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. “One day, my kids were watching one of these cartoons, and I thought, that’s not funny; that’s horrible!” When King’s agent tried to sell the completed story to Playboy magazine, the story editor reluctantly turned it down with the comment, “I think it’s really scary but every time that creature pops up, I think of the Tasmanian Devil in the Warner Brothers’ cartoons!”

Pig Out. In 1992, the Chairman of the Malaysian Censorship Board screened Disney’s animated feature “Beauty and the Beast” and demanded that a five second scene of a little pig scurrying around in the background be eliminated before the film could be shown. The Chairman felt that Malaysia’s fundamentalist regime would “find the pig offensive”. Disney executive Kevin Hyson responded, “I guess we won’t ever be releasing the ‘Three Little Pigs’ there.”

Just A Hair. When writer Linda Woolverton wrote the screenplay for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, her physical description of Belle was minimal. “The only thing I wrote was ‘she has a little wisp of hair that keeps falling in her face’. Why? Because I wanted her not to be perfect. It was important that not every hair be in place,” remarked Woolverton.

Destroying the Minds of America. In 1992, John Kricfalusi, who was then the producer-director of the “Ren and Stimpy” show, told Time Magazine that he knew the show would be a success because “I figured there had to be millions of kids out there as sick of Ducktales, the Flintstones and My Little Pony as we were. I think we are destroying the minds of America. And that’s been one of my life-long ambitions.”

It Ain’t Cricket. Many films contain obscure animation connections. In the RKO mystery, “The Falcon Strikes Back” (1943), villain Edgar Kennedy is performing a marionette show when the assistant of the detective The Falcon falls on to the stage during the show. That assistant was portrayed by Cliff Edwards, the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Disney’s “Pinocchio” (1940). Kennedy continues the show despite the interruption by bringing out a marionette of Disney’s Goofy.

Animation Connections Part Two. In the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), Audrey Hepburn’s character decides, for a lark, to steal something from a five-and-ten cent store. At one point, she almost takes a children’s Huckleberry Hound Halloween mask but decides to take a generic cat mask instead.



  • In case he does not repeat it here, John Cawley, who was associated with the 1992 “Tom & Jerry: The Movie”, has an amusing story that, when they were just beginning production, the producer(?) said, “Can we get the original 1940s voices of Tom and Jerry, or were they old farts like Mel Blanc that are dead now?” When being informed that Tom & Jerry were voiceless, he said, “Oh, good! Then we can give them whatever voices we want, and nobody can complain that they’re unfaithful to the originals,” apparently missing the point that to give them any voices at all would be unfaithful.

    • Some people never learn! The whole movie was a mistake to begin with.

    • Hearing a voice come out of Tom or Jerry in any of the cartoons — even though the voices were used more in the early shorts (1942-46) than the later ones — always was a bit disconcerting. Even when Tom’s talking in Daws’ Huckleberry Hound voice and botching Spanish in “Mucho Mouse” it still feels wrong, even if it’s kind of funny.

  • omg! I HAD that very SAME Huck mask! Whotta memory!!

  • Dan DeCarlo, a freelancer, was kept unaware that JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS had been sold to CBS until he was invited to have lunch with Archie Comics’ owners on a Friday, the day before the show’s premiere. He eagerly complied, since his bosses implied that they had good news for him. Before lunch, Dan was plied with cocktails until he was quite inebriated, then was told of his creation’s animated incarnation. Dan was aghast that he wasn’t informed about the deal and even angrier that he wasn’t receiving a cent from it, but was too drunk to respond appropriately. Years later, when he tried to sue for a portion of the profits of a live-action JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS movie, the 80-year-old cartoonist (but still churning out JATP pages) was blacklisted by the wonderful folks at Archie Comics.

    By the way, Josie DeCarlo didn’t just “claim” she was the inspiration for JOSIE. Photos exist of her and her cartoonist husband at a shipboard costume party; Dan is dressed as a big game hunter while Josie is wearing a leopard costume, complete with those trademark “PUSSYCAT” ears.

    • After what they did to Dan, I can never read those comics again!

    • Here is one of those in-costume photos of Josie and Dan DeCarllo. Both of them were wonderful, happy people despite Archie’s mistreatment of them.

    • The story about Dan DeCarlo not knowing about the sale to HB always confused me, because I heard from other places that the rather typical Archie-style “Josie” cominc book was revamped into “Josie and the Pussycats” over the course of several issues during the second half of 1969 either to (a) make it more palatable for a sale to television/pop radio ala The Archies or (b) to satisfy the whims of Hanna-Barbera, whom Archie already had in line to buy Josie.

      Mr. Shaw, can you clarify this?

  • It’s a small thing – But I remember hearing (maybe from him) that John K. wanted to stop doing interviews after the TIME magazine article – because the article, though relatively short, had several errors. (I think the one that got him was they changed the “Flintstone Kids” to “The Flintstones” (presumably because the writer @ Time knew of the Flintstones, but never heard of the god-awful “Flintstone Kids”).

    • No one should, really!

    • Good point, I ALWAYS remember reading that “sick of ‘My Little Pony’, ‘Flintstones’ and ‘DuckTales'” and knowing that it CAME FROM A FLINTSTONES FAN!! Then again so many wrecked verisons, including the last two seasons, of Flintstone characters (going to the Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show to, of course, the Flintstone Kids), had happened..Josie’s adventure format can even be traced to the first HB series, Ruff and Reddy and the later show Johnny Quest (VERY loosely for R&R), and even Archie comics is not even credited (G.W.Woolerly’s 1983 “Cartoon Monikers” and Marc Bego’sa 1988 “TV Rock” which list Hanna-Barbera as the ONLY creators of Josie–like says Mel Blanc was Granny and Ralph Phillips at Warner Bros.!

    • I didn’t think the last two seasons of the show were that bad. It had it’s moments.

      And I think it kinda of a stretch of saying that Josie’s adventure format can be traced back to Ruff and Ready. There hardly any similarities between the two.

    • Archie Comics is credited on the “Josie” cartoons with the alternate corporate name of “Radio Comics”. I was never able to put two and two together as a kid until I stumbled across a “Josie” story reprinted in one of those grocery store Archie digests.

      As for the “Josie” show’s format, I’m pretty sure the fact that they were called “meddling kids” every other episode points out where a large influence on that format came from.

  • As far as I can recall, Tom never had a “real” voice. He’d have an exaggerated French accent, or a throwaway line that sounded like Groucho, or a singing voice — and, of course, those howls of pain. But aside from the howls, you never thought any of those were his “real” voice. It was more like a Warner character doing a single gag in a celebrity voice (“Something NEW has been added!”).

    Speaking of pigs: I recall reading somewhere that Winnie the Pooh toys were big in some Muslim countries. Mothers kept writing to Disney, lobbying for playsets that didn’t include Piglet.

    • Of Tom and Jerry talking, to sorta quote Roger Rabbit, they did talk but “Not all the time ,Eddie. Only when it’s funny.”

      Out of curiousity, what did Bill and Joe think about the Tom and Jerry movie?

  • Once I was made aware of what happened to poor Dan DeCarlo I regretted ever working on that Hanna-Barbera show. It’s regrettable what sleaze bags executives can often be.

  • I remember Tom talking occasionally in the cartoons, usually in either a typical cartoon “dumb” voice or in more of a “wiseguy” voice, but off the top of my head I can’t remember Jerry ever talking in the cartoons, aside from his appearance in Anchors Aweigh

  • I always think of Audrey Hepburn with the Huckleberry Hound mask, when I hear the lyric “my huckleberry friend” in the song “Moon River”.

  • At least a couple of Hanna-Barbara toys appear in the background of 1963’s BYE-BYE BIRDIE, which I’d guess was the result of BIRDIE being made by Columbia and HB cartoons being released by Columbia’s Screen Gems subsidiary. But BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S was Paramount… (I’m so far beyond the extreme limit of what little I know for sure about the movie biz that I probably shouldn’t even be speculating about arcane industry-insider topics like product placement and whether it was deliberate or not, but I thought I’d throw this out there.)

  • Out of curiousity, what did Bill and Joe think about the Tom and Jerry movie?
    Joe Barbera was one of the producers of Tom and Jerry: The Movie, which was produced by Film Roman after the new owners of the Hanna-Barbera studio decided to shut down production on the film, according to Barbera’s biography. On a somewhat related note, I’ve always wondered what Bill and Joe thought of Gene Deitch, Chuck Jones and Filmation’s versions of Tom and Jerry.

  • Didn’t both Tom and Jerry talk briefly in “LONESOME MOUSE”, plotting to get Tom back in the house? And, if I’m not mistaken, both voices were supplied, oddly, by Frank Graham–“That’s a luuu-luuu!”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *