“I have to make an embarrassing confession. I fell in love with the heroine of a cartoon movie. My soul was moved and I stumbled back home in the snow that had just started. Comparing my pitiful situation to the characters’ earnestness, I was ashamed of myself and cried all night. The meeting with Hakujaden left a strong impression on me, who was still immature at that time.
“It made me realize what a fool I was, who was trying to be a manga writer by writing an absurd drama which was in fashion at that time. It made me realize that despite the words of distrust I spoke, I yearned for such an earnest and pure world though it may be a cheap melodrama. I could no longer deny the fact that I really wanted to affirm the world. I came to think seriously about what I should make. I came to think that I should work with my true heart, even if that’s embarrassing.
“I wanted to make clear where I stand. Today, I can’t talk about our business without some bitterness. Compared to several works in the 1950s which inspired me, we in the 1980s make animation as if it’s an in-flight meal served on a Jumbo Jet. The true emotion and feeling that should be carried through have been replaced by bluff, neurosis or teasing.”
Action, Entertainment and Noise. From the book “Inside the TV Business (1979) by Paul Klein and Steve Morgenstern, Hanna-Barbera legend Joe Barbera talked about how quality animation didn’t necessarily receive the ratings it needed to continue.
“It doesn’t mean a darn thing to the kids, whether I put 40,000 drawings in or 400 or 4,000 as long as the entertainment is up there. They’re not aware that when a man is running, his foot hits the ground, and his knee bends and his muscle quivers and his hair jumps. That doesn’t mean a thing to them, really.
“On Saturday morning, you must give them action and entertainment and noise. We did a show called These Are the Days for which we received kudos, handshakes, and pats on the head from all the organizations. It was a family show like The Waltons and the kids are switching to Batman. We got all the good notices but we didn’t get the rating points. And if you don’t get the rating points, all the work goes down the tubes…goodbye… cancel the show.”
Early Kricfalusi. From AV Club/The Onion March 4, 2001 Volume 37, Issue 12, animator and director John Kricfalusi remembered his first animation work: “At Filmation I was working on the really, really hideous stuff like Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. But, actually, the first cartoons I worked on at Filmation were re-dos of Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle. So that was my introduction to ruining old characters that I loved when I was a kid. The next year we ruined Tom & Jerry and Droopy and a few years later, I got to ruin The Jetsons. I actually tried to save it while I was working on it, but it was pretty hard because the whole thing was set up to ruin them.
“Hanna-Barbera invented these new characters in a completely different style that has nothing to do with the original characters. “Orbitty” was there because ‘E.T.’ had just hit it big a couple something years before and they wanted to make sure the kids like The Jetsons. They figure the Jetsons would be too old-fashioned by themselves, so they say, ‘Let’s get this ugly character in there. E.T.’s really ugly but the kids loved him, so we’ll put an ugly character in here!’ Ouch! Every chance I got, I’d have Astro accidentally step on his head, get him crushed under the couch. Everything I could do to get that thing out of the way.
“They sent me overseas to Taiwan to supervise fifteen episodes of The Jetsons there. I was kind of out of sight, so I did my best to make the drawings cool, at least. I came back waiting to be hailed as a hero. I thought they’d have a parade waiting for me. There would be a big party. A lot of people were mad at me for putting jokes in the show and making it lively. I didn’t get fired, exactly. They just didn’t give me another job. That’s when I hooked up with Ralph Bakshi.”
The Wall and the Wing. In 2005, Vinton Studios paid a high six-figure sum for the rights to Laura Ruby’s second novel, The Wall and the Wing that would be published by HarperCollins in 2006. Henry Selick was set to direct the feature film after completing Coraline that didn’t actually get finished until 2009.
The book was set in a Daliesque Manhattan where almost everyone can fly but one orphan finds that even though she can’t, she can turn herself invisible. The magical city had chatty birds and mind-bending monkeys, an eccentric genius with a head full of grass and a pocket full of kittens, and a giant rat man with a taste for cats.
At the time, Selick said the tale had a Dickensian feel, but he was drawn to the humor: “Not every story has an orphanage matron with a plastic surgery obsession or a bad guy who was a former child model for No Pee Pull-up Pants. Laura Ruby has an amazing sense of humor which informs each and every character.”
Bad Language. In a letter to Seth McFarlane and the team behind the Fox animated series American Dad in April 2005, Kevin Spicer (Executive Director Broadcast Standards and Practices) wanted two changes made in the episode “Deacon Stan, Jesus Man”: “Please change Father Donovan’s ‘wrap this mother up’ to read ‘wrap this bad boy up’ and to reduce the overall count of coarse language – Please lose Francine’s second use of ‘bitch’ on this page.” Two dozen people were copied on the memo.