Duck Dodger Jr. and An Unwelcome Third Dimension. On the Tiny Toons television series, the 1991 episode featuring Plucky Duck as Duck Dodgers Jr. was storyboarded by the talented Mike Kazaleh. Maurice Noble and Wayne Kaatz were also given credit for scripting the episode.
Kazaleh also did the character model sheets, especially when he discovered that Warners only had one model sheet of Marvin the Martian and it was one that animation legend Chuck Jones had drawn in 1980 for the film Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 ½ Century.
The layouts for the episode were done by the legendary Maurice Noble but the background artists at Wang Films in Taipei (who were doing multiple projects for different studios) couldn’t believe that Warners wanted the backgrounds flat (as they were in the classic 1953 WB cartoon designed by Noble and featuring the Daffy Duck character) so they used an airbrush to give them more dimension.
The real Duck Dodgers appeared in real three dimensions in the 1996 cartoon, Marvin Martian in the Third Dimension that was shown at the Warner Brothers studio store in Manhattan and Warner Brothers Movie Worlds theme parks in Australia and Germany.
Try, Try Again. Jason Alexander was the voice of Hugo the gargoyle in the Disney animated feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). He had always wanted to be the voice of a Disney character. Previously, he had auditioned for the roles of LeFou and Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast (1991) and both Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King (1994) but had been turned down.
Frank Thomas Talks Walt. In a 1993 New York Times article, Disney Legend Frank Thomas said, “Walt used to say, ‘I don’t want realism. I want believability’. Walt had great ideas, not of what we could do but of what he thought could be done. If you killed yourself and did a great scene, Walt would say, ‘Yes, but what if we have Pluto get on ice skates, too?’”
Animated Beatles. Premiering on ABC Saturday morning 1965, “The Beatles” animated cartoon series was an instant ratings hit. The voices of the Beatles’ cartoon doppelgangers were supplied by Paul Frees (John and George) and Lance Percival (Paul and Ringo).
Frees recorded his voices in America while Percival did his in England.
“It took about four weeks to animate each film and I enjoyed it immensely,” recalled Chris Cuddington, a series animator at the time. “The characters were easy to draw and the stories were simple and uncomplicated.”
A second series of seven more weeks of new episodes were done in 1967 in a slightly more surreal style to appeal to more than just kids as an audience.
The series was cancelled in 1969 and network executive Fred Silverman told TV Guide magazine, “Kids get tired of shows quickly. They would rather watch new shows than repeats of old ones.”
An Illusion of Life Story. Author Bob Thomas put together a book entitled Walt Disney The Art of Animation released in 1958 as part of the publicity for the newest Disney animated feature Sleeping Beauty (1959) as well as to promote a touring exhibit of Disney animation art also called The Art of Animation.
For years there had been discussions at the Disney Studio of using art instructor Donald Graham’s notes when he taught at the Disney Studios along with notes from various sessions conducted by top Disney animators to create such a book.
However, Walt was not satisfied with the final result by Thomas.
Walt had learned animation during his time in Kansas City, Missouri through the book Animated Cartoons by E.G. Lutz and he wanted a contemporary version for aspiring animators.
So, he assigned Disney Legend Les Clark to work on one that would be more in depth than the Thomas book. Apparently, Clark got no further than just some notes by his death September 1979.
Clark’s widow claimed that Disney animator Frank Thomas showed up in Clark’s hospital room when he was dying to ask him to turn over his notes on the project. She got mad and kicked Thomas out.
Thomas and fellow Disney animator Ollie Johnston had been working on a similar book that was released in 1981: Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life.
Interviewing Walt. In 1992 I asked Bob Thomas at a NFFC convention how he went about interviewing Walt. Oh, it was easy,” he laughed. “An interview with Walt consisted of you asking questions and Walt talking about anything he wanted whether it related to the question you asked or not.”
The Mighty B! The Mighty B! was an animated series that ran on Nickelodeon for two seasons starting in 2008. The show was inspired by a character comedian Amy Poehler (currently starring as “Joy” in Pixar’s Inside Out) created in her early years in improvisational comedy.
Bessie Higgenbottom, an ambitious nine year old Honeybee girl scout living with her single mom and brother in San Francisco, attempts to earn every Honeybee badge in order to transform herself into a superhero called the Mighty B.
Poehler provided the voice for the character and executive produced the series. She co-created the series with the husband and wife team of Erik Wiese (storyboard artist for four seasons on SpongeBob SquarePants) and Cynthia True (writer for The Fairly OddParents among other shows).
“(Bessie) is like part Animal from The Muppets, part Daffy Duck, part Jimmy Stewart and part Gilda Radner,” Poehler told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. “My dream would be that Bessie would spawn all these open-minded, supremely confident young girls.
“I’m honestly excited about tapping into an audience that isn’t a late-night audience frankly. Saturday Night Live can be so transient. The stuff we do comes and goes. And I’d like to think that Bessie is the kind of character who will hopefully resonate and stick around.
“We really wanted to do something that didn’t pander to a young audience. We liked the idea of treating kids’ situations as if they were very serious adult situations. We didn’t want it to be that ironic or sarcastic. That would be my dream come true if it just made all these kids (who watch it) spaz out even more.”
Poehler admitted that she was only a scout for “about a month. I probably leanred to fold a paper bird and then I was done.”