Garfield’s Judgement Day. Even at the height of Garfield the cat’s popularity in the late 1980s, creator Jim Davis couldn’t interest animation studios in his feature length animated script, “Garfield’s Judgement Day”.
The story revolved around the concept of how animals could really talk with humans, but it was just that animals had sworn never to do it. When a major disaster of a huge storm is approaching that only the animals can sense, the animals have a secret meeting to decide if they should break the vow of silence to warn their owners.
Voices were recorded, songs were written and recorded, and the film completely storyboarded but no studio was interested in funding the completion of the film since it was such an atypical Garfield story with a very dark, serious tone.
Disney had shown some initial interest in the project but eventually passed on it, even after Davis did two substantial re-writes of the material.
A documentary titled Happy Birthday Garfield aired on CBS in 1988 that featured a “sneak preview” of the special since reportedly, an estimated fifteen minutes of animation had been completed.
The story was eventually incorporated into a Garfield picture book (image above) of the same name in July 1990.
Animated Features That Never Were. “Little Lulu” was announced as an animated feature in 1979. In 1987, Henry Saperstein proudly announced he was producing an animated feature based on “Godzilla”. TMS had artwork prepared for a “Vampirella” animated feature that never got beyond that stage of development.
Ralph Bakshi Talks Fritz the Cat (1972). In a 2008 interview, animation producer and director Ralph Bakshi stated, “Heavy Traffic is a far greater film than Fritz the Cat. And Coonskin is a far greater film than Fritz the Cat. And American Pop is a far greater film than Fritz the Cat. And Wizards is a far greater film than Fritz the Cat. Fritz the Cat is the least great of my movies. I regret having made Crumb all of that money with that film.
“He made millions of dollars from Fritz. He did his book. He made millions of dollars from the cat, but he still calls me a schmuck! He took the money. He took $60,000. That’s a lot of money in the 60s. That’s upfront money. He took that for the rights. He thought I was going to spend a year of work on Fritz the Cat and make him known as the greatest cartoonist in the world! Well, he got very angry at me, when the director got some credit. Directors always get credit.
“Just because I’m a fan of his work, doesn’t mean I’m going to let him off the hook. If he’s going to point a finger at me, I’m going to point a finger at him.”
The Gremlins Pilot. In the 1990 special edition issue of Bugs Bunny Magazine, it was announced that coming soon would be an animated syndicated series based on Joe Dante’s popular live action film, Gremlins (1984). The cartoon series would have involved Gizmo, the good mogwai, battling against Stripe, the bad mogwai.
Dante has claimed in interviews that what killed the animated series after a pilot was made was the poor reception to the live action sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) that he also directed.
Fearless Ferris and the Misfits. Famed comic book artist Wally Wood had an idea for a science-fiction Saturday morning animated comedy series that would have a team of human, mechanical and alien characters having adventures in outer space and the different worlds they encountered.
He had experimented with this concept about a young spaceman hero named Bucky Ruckus and his diverse crew. He produced a special limited edition holiday comic strip for NEA to syndicate to newspapers entitled “Bucky’s Christmas Caper” that was printed in December 1967.
In one of Wood’s sketchbooks was the idea he called “Boy Gladiators: Star Fighters” with Captain Jeff (a young human boy), Tinker (a robot), Woogy (a creature) and Alf (an alien humanoid).
For the animated series proposal, he took many of these ideas he had experimented with and came up with “Fearless Ferris and the Misfits”. Ferris (“brave…will try anything, cute leader of the bunch” according to Wood’s notes) was a young brunette boy in a costume similar to the superhero Dynamo, the character that Wood had created for T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.
Ferris didn’t have any powers like the rest of his crew but depended on all kinds of scientific devices that would help him do things like flying.
Wood never seemed to finalize the crew and their names.
At various times he had Glom (“strangest creature in the universe…from Jupiter” who looked like a version of Marvel’s The Thing but with smooth skin), Venus (an attractive blonde female with a pony tail “can walk through walls, from Venus, of course”), Bang Head (“secret weapon…hard nose”), Handy (“friendly Martian, can do four things at once” that looked like a four-handed spider), Ragmop (a space looking child who “can go to the fourth dimension”), The Blur (who moves so fast that people only saw a blur even when he was standing still), Zero (“blank—controls temperature” who was just an outline), Scat (a cat like alien who “can see in the dark”), Miss Fitt (a different version of the Venus character but with brunette hair), I.Q. (a “baby brain…scientific genius”).
“Whenever something develops normal authorities can’t handle” said Wood’s notes, Fearless Ferris and his crew would go into action from their Sky Island floating high in the atmosphere. The various foes would be menacing “Shadows with Eyes”, little aliens inside of giant robots and the huge Devourosaurus.
At the time, this juxtaposition of bizarre funny characters would have been unique and Paramount animation studio was definitely interested.
“After I penciled the presentation from Wood’s character sketches, Wood inked and delivered. And Paramount chose that same month to close down its cartoon studio (Dec. 1, 1967): end of brilliance,” wrote Wood’s friend and assistant at the time, Bhob Stewart.
Fearful that this idea might be stolen as he felt his idea for a sword and sorcery idea was by animation producer Ralph Bakshi for the film Wizards (1977), Wood teamed with Bhob Stewart (as a writer) to produce a three page story featuring similar characters and printed it in Witzend #4 (1968) where the team was called “The Rejects”. More images were posted at Stewart’s Wood-blog, Potrzebie