ANIMATION ANECDOTES
October 24, 2014 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #185

mouscar-duckster

The Sherman Brothers Mousecar. Richard and Robert Sherman were presented with the unique “Mousecar” award on August 8, 1985 at the Hollywood Bowl as part of Disneyland’s 30th Anniversary concert benefiting the Children’s Museum. It was the first such award presented since the death of Walt Disney.

The “Mousecar”, a combination of the words Mouse and Oscar, the Academy Award statuette, is an in house award of a six inch tall brass statuette of Mickey Mouse on a Bakelite base that was first presented by Walt Disney to only a small handful of employees for service to the Disney Studio.

Disney later developed a “Duckster” award as well with Donald Duck for folks like Jack Hannah and Clarence Nash who were closely associated with the Duck. There doesn’t seem to be an accurate record of how many Mousecars and Ducksters were presented over the years.

He-Man344Who Are the Masters of the Universe? In the original syndicated series, “He Man and the Masters of the Universe” (1983), who were the masters? Occasionally, Skeletor would claim that he was the Master of the Universe but that seemed more like bragging than any sort of definitive proof. Even then, that only accounts for one master.

There were some folks in flying wheelchairs who seemed to be Watchers but they were called the Guardians of the Universe not the Masters. Of course, much of the logic and terminology for the series was questionable. King Randor supposedly rules all of Eternia but in actuality he really only seems to be the sovereign of a small kingdom and how he hooked up with Marlena, an ex-lieutenant of the Earth space forces who crashed her spaceship is never really explained.

Ride Him, Harman-Ising. Except for a small handful of cartoon enthusiasts, most animation fans have forgotten that at the end of the 1932 Bosko cartoon Ride Him, Bosko! is a live action appearance by Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising. The cartoon was meant to broadly spoof Westerns like the live action John Wayne film Ride Him Cowboy released that same year.

The cartoon takes place in the Old West and Bosko’s girlfriend Honey is in a runaway stagecoach chased by outlaws. Near the end of the cartoon, as Bosko rides to the rescue, the camera pulls back to show Harman and Ising (and another unidentified cartoonist) doing sound effects and questioning how they are going to have Bosko save Honey. Finally, they just decide to go home and the cartoon ends.


Looking Into An Alternate Future. In the print advertisements for the Paramount Pictures live action movie D.A.R.Y.L. (1985), the “Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform” who looks like a young boy peers into a bank of computers and is enthralled by a video picture of Jane and George Jetson and their dog, Astro.

What was that all about? It was supposed to be a clever plug for an upcoming live action “The Jetsons” film to be made by Paramount that was planned to start filming by the end of that year. The names of actors Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn were mentioned in several different places as starring. In later years, Chase adamantly claimed he was never involved with “The Jetsons”.

Did you know that comedians Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll did the voices of George and Jane Jetson for the first episode of the series but were replaced? Their contract guaranteed $500 an episode and a minimum of 24 episodes. They each sued Hanna-Barbera for $12,000 but lost.

Thanks to Kliph Nesteroff for this clipping from Variety, above

Thanks to Kliph Nesteroff for this clipping from Variety, above

The Elvira That Never Was. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and hostess for the syndicated horror movie series “Movie Macabre” was in actuality actress Cassandra Peterson. In 1984 she struck a deal with Hanna-Barbera where she was to develop a Saturday morning animated series and two live action pilots. Nothing came from that development deal but in 1986 she was in negotiations with DIC for an animated series. Her first live action film, “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark” was released in 1988.

superted-200Say the Secret Word. Siriol Animation was set up in 1982 to make a series of SuperTed animated cartoons for the then new Welsh television authority S4C. SuperTed eventually was adopted as the mascot for S4C TV. The character of SuperTed first appeared as series of books written by Welsh author Mike Young to help his small stepson who was afraid of the dark. Originally the storyline was a bear in the woods who was also afraid of the dark but Mother Nature gave him a magic word to turn him into a superhero.

That origin got changed to a toy teddy bear who was determined by the factory to be defective in some way and was tossed away into a dark storeroom until a Spotty Man brought him to life and took him to Mother Nature for the “secret word”. Since it was a secret word it was never said out loud, only whispered.

Warner Brothers made an offer of a quarter million pounds for the film rights but Young was adamant that SuperTed should be kept in Welsh hands.

Party Like It’s 1999 B.C. For the 25th anniversary of The Flintstones, in October 1985, Taft Entertainment (owners of Hanna-Barbera at the time) held a party at the La Brea tarpits with costumed walk-around Flintstones characters, video monitors showing key episodes and sequences and lots of food and drink. The attendees were primarily key Taft personnel and the media.

art-of-disneyCredit Where Credit Is Due. The 1942 book The Art of Walt Disney by Robert Field gives a wonderful glimpse into the workings of the Disney Studio but purposely omits all names except for Walt himself even on the artwork.

Animator Preston Blair put together a partial list of who should be credited:

Fred Moore: pg. 1, 23, 32, 63, 126, 186: drawings of Mickey, pg. 145 Dopey model sheet, pg. 159 color drawing of mice.
Don Towsley: pg. 22, 42 drawings of Donald Duck pg. 100, Goofy pg. 101, Donald pg. 105, 140, Goofy pg. 140 Mickey pg. 260, Donald Duck model sheet pg. 227.
Preston Blair: Hippo models pg. 211, dancing hippo Pg. 239. (On pgs. 236-240, Feild is referring to Preston).
Lee Blair (Preston’s brother and husband of Mary): pg. 171, watercolor sketches for “Fantasia” pg. 213
Tyrus Wong: Pg. 197 atmosphere sketches in color for “Bambi”
Rick Le Brun: pg. 201, anatomical sketches of deer pg. 241
Bill Tytla: Pg. 225, pg. 257 Stromboli from “Pinocchio”
Gustav Tenggren: pg. 155 background paintings for “Pinocchio”
Milt Kahl: pg. 245 key drawings of Thumper making his speech

9 Comments

  • Masters of the Universe: In one episode they did show a brief flashback in which Randor and Marlena first met, after she crashed her ship, but they never got into how their relationship developed after that.

    • Funny how cartoons can be about matters like that. I probably wouldn’t have questioned it at all, though I thought the protagonist characters were the “Masters” of the show’s title (as a 6 year old, you’d buy anything presented at face value without question).

  • Tony Anselmo should be given a Duckster award.

  • “It was the first such award presented since the death of Walt Disney.”

    Actually, according to the book “Disney A to Z”(which, oddly, is getting a 4th print next year even though all that updated info is on the D23 site):

    “In 1973, at the time of the company’s 50th anniversary, special Mousecars were given to every employee at the Disney Studio who had worked at the Hyperion Studio – naming them members of the exclusive Hyperion Club.”

  • The cartoon takes place in the Old West and Bosko’s girlfriend Honey is in a runaway stagecoach chased by outlaws. Near the end of the cartoon, as Bosko rides to the rescue, the camera pulls back to show Harman and Ising (and another unidentified cartoonist) doing sound effects and questioning how they are going to have Bosko save Honey. Finally, they just decide to go home and the cartoon ends.

    I recall this cartoon showing up multiple times on Nickelodeon, mainly during the “Looney Tunes on Nick At Nite” airings (around 1989-91). Looking back, it always stuck out as such an odd idea to simply have the guys ending the cartoon there but often Warner Bros. was known for giving such irreverent ideas to begin with so that sort of ending works effectively for what they were going with. Whatever technique they had at the time to do the camera pull back with the image shrinking as it moves must’ve been a terrific feat for it’s time. Certainly a lot of optical work to get it to go in synch with the footage (of course nobody walks in front of the screen so they didn’t have to worry about rotoscoping around the matte lines). I suppose we’ll never know who the third guy is, though one thing that always seemed very odd and cheap to me in the shot is the boom mike being placed so low just above the picture. As a kid, I thought that was some sort of hanging lamp but now I see that was the mike. Seemed very odd to have it down that low. Had they concealed the mike behind the picture alone, it wouldn’t have stuck out like a sore thumb (if not for the curtains behind all this).

    Siriol Animation was set up in 1982 to make a series of SuperTed animated cartoons for the then new Welsh television authority S4C. SuperTed eventually was adopted as the mascot for S4C TV.

    I’m sure they’re still fiercely clinging onto the show to this very day, still I suppose it wouldn’t hurt anyone to ask them for a possible release again in the US. A DVD release is sorely lacking around here.

    That origin got changed to a toy teddy bear who was determined by the factory to be defective in some way and was tossed away into a dark storeroom until a Spotty Man brought him to life and took him to Mother Nature for the “secret word”. Since it was a secret word it was never said out loud, only whispered.

    I loved this show! Disney Channel use to air it around 1985, and home video releases were also available through Walt Disney Home Video. Not bad for a Welsh effort to get international coverage. It’s closing theme song kicked tail!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJz6VR6jACY

    Warner Brothers made an offer of a quarter million pounds for the film rights but Young was adamant that SuperTed should be kept in Welsh hands.

    That was probably for the best. Although it didn’t stop Hanna-Barbera from tinkering with the property themselves.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHf2TYPHHEI

    One more, a little PSA of SuperTed teaching Spotty how to cross the road.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ4UhAOlWww

    Party Like It’s 1999 B.C. For the 25th anniversary of The Flintstones, in October 1985, Taft Entertainment (owners of Hanna-Barbera at the time) held a party at the La Brea tarpits with costumed walk-around Flintstones characters, video monitors showing key episodes and sequences and lots of food and drink. The attendees were primarily key Taft personnel and the media.

    Typical corporate spending at it’s finest!

  • The Masters of the Universe were originally going to refer to just the bad guys. This video has more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcVmP_eI5mc

    • Well now we know, and knowing is half the battle! (you know the rest)

  • Ken Hultgren did the art for plate 26, The Way to Crack a Nut, done for Bambi per comments in Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic Book
    .

  • BTW, I created the Wikipedia entry for the Duckster and have augmented the one for the Mousecar. And while I have tried as best I can to document who the recipients have been I agree the information in these entries is incomplete on that score.

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