What’s Up, Bugs? Talented animator Mark Kausler did the Bugs Bunny sequences in Joe Adamson’s independent short film A Political Cartoon (1973). He was only paid around $400.00 for the work. He received criticism on his animation of the character from both Chuck Jones and Bob McKimson even though he used an old McKimson model. Kausler was the winner of the first Bobe Cannon scholarship to Chouinard Art School in 1968.
The original version of the script had Bugs as an old rabbit (like the Joseph Cotten character in Citizen Kane). At one point Bugs would say, “Will you send me up a couple of carrots? They won’t let me have them any more. Wrap them up to look like cigars or something.” However, Warners didn’t want Bugs to be shown as old. Mel Blanc recorded the voice while he was in the hospital with a broken leg. He propped himself up in bed and made about $300.00 for two minutes work.
Scott Shaw! When Scott Shaw was the producer-director (and often writer) of NBC’s Camp Candy Saturday morning animated show, he was interviewed by Sharon Bernstein in the Los Angeles Times June 17, 1990: “That’s the amazing thing about cartoons. You’re pretty likely to be able to work with some of your heroes (referring to Popeye, the Flintstones, Bugs Bunny and others). You’re really the god of this little world on paper. If you can draw it, if you can imagine it, it can exist. People who are cartoonists seem to know very young that’s what they want to do. It’s like we have some kink in our DNA. Heck, I even look like a cartoon. I’ve kind of grown up to become Fred Flintstone. It’s some sort of strange genetic experiment. I stand out in the yard and yell for my wife like Fred, with the barbecue on fire. I’ve got a dog like Dino who knocks me down and licks me.”
At the time, Shaw was also working on a syndicated animated series Hanna-Barbera project called Monster Tails about the pets of famous Hollywood film monsters. In the same article, comedian John Candy stated, “Scott’s whole persona is perfect for what he does. He just knows so much about the world of cartoons and comic books. He’s just a Peter Pan of sorts. He grew up in a lot of ways, but he’s still got that great edge of a kid.”
Bob Godfrey’s Jumbo. In 1990 BAFTA held some Master Classes with animators like Peter Lord, Brian Cosgrove, Greg Boulton and others including Bob Godfrey. Here are some excerpts of what Godfrey shared with the small group of students: “Jumbo is still in my mind as a feature film. It’s never gotten as far as Richard Williams’ film but it’s not forgotten either. The story would have to be changed to fit into the modern day thinking on circuses in this country.
“People no longer think animals should be made to perform tricks or being kept in cages is being cruel to the animal. This is a minor point but one which would have to be resolved before the film goes into production. I would still like to do it but the moneymen say it will cost two to three million pounds. I think I could do it for a million and a half. I’ve always cut corners. I make my living cutting corners in animation. It’s my style. I won’t change. Why should I? I hope it can be made someday.”
Wisdom of Bluth. In the Los Angeles Times June 27, 1982, animator and producer Don Bluth said, “Walt (Disney) was a guiding light who could summon stories full of conflict, full or terror…then he rescued you from that terror. Ron Miller (then President and CEO of the Disney Company) has certain instincts and talents but I don’t believe that his passion is animation. The ramming force is not really there to direct the directors.”
Wisdom of Bluth Part Two. In New West magazine December 1978, Bluth moaned about working on something the public might not see until years later, “It’s like the captain of an oil tanker who has to put on the brakes six miles out or he’ll crash into the dock. It’s painfully slow. I think of ballet when I think of animation, of the tremendous pain the dancers go through for what looks effortless to us.”
Sweetening the Deal. Pac-Man: The Animated Series premiered in September 1982 and was developed and written by Jeffrey Scott. However, the first writer Hanna-Barbera Productions approached to do that job was Mark Evanier. To sweeten the deal, they even offered him a full-sized Pac-Man machine for his home as a bonus. Evanier turned them down for a variety of reasons including the production schedule that was already too late in the season to be done with any satisfaction.
Possessed by Mickey Mouse. From the Orlando Sentinel newspaper February 24, 1989 about an incident that took place in New York.
“A woman who killed her husband by repeatedly running over him with a car – and who claimed she thought he’d been possessed by Mickey Mouse – has been sentence to five to fifteen years in prison.
“Roseann Greco, 52, of West Islip, was charged with second-degree murder for killing her husband, Felix, in their driveway in 1985. She insisted at the time that the cartoon character had taken over her husband’s body.
“Mrs. Greco was found mentally competent to stand trial and was convicted in March of first-degree manslaughter. She could have faced a maximum of eight to twenty-five years in prison.
“But Sulfolk County Judge John Vaughn sentenced her Wednesday to the minimum, five to fifteen years. Assistant District Attorney Georgia Tscheimber urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence, arguing that Mrs. Greco posed a threat to her family if released from prison or a mental hospital.”
“Defense attorney Edward McGuinness said the crime was the result of his client’s refusal to take prescribed medication for mental problems. Relatives had asked for the minimum sentence and promised Greco would be ”watched carefully and made to keep taking her medication” when released.
Happy Tax Day, everyone.