Snow White and the Seven Music Professors. Some readers may be familiar with the Samuel Goldwyn film with Danny Kaye entitled A Song Is Born (1948), which was a remake of the Gary Cooper/Barbara Stanwyck screwball comedy Ball of Fire (1941). Both films were directed by Howard Hawks and produced by Goldwyn.
Goldwyn originally wanted the film to be a sort of live action version of Disney’s Snow White. Bascially, the storyline is seven quirky bachelor music professors (plus the Cooper/Kaye character who is supposed to be the prince who rescues the damsel in distress) working on an encyclopedia of music who have their comfortable lives invaded by a hard-edged female who is hiding out from the authorities and introduces them to popular music since their expertise is classical music.
For Ball of Fire, the publicity department staged a portrait of the seven actors playing the professors seated in front of a poster for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with each in the same position as the dwarf he represented: S.Z. Sakall – Dopey; Leonid Kinskey – Sneezy; Richard Haydn – Bashful; Henry Travers – Sleepy; Aubrey Mather – Happy; Tully Marshall – Grumpy; and Oskar Homolka – Doc.
“It actually was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – with the striptease dancer as Snow White,” said Hawks in the book Who the Devil Made It: Conversations With Legendary Film Directors by Peter Bogdanovich.
For A Song Is Born, Goldwyn went so far as to correspond with Disney to get permission to use the “Heigh Ho” song from the Disney film. Disney denied permission and other direct references to the Seven Dwarfs were eliminated as a host of uncredited writers tried to rework the original screenplay.
SpongeBetty. The March 12, 2016 episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, actress Betty White portrayed Beatrice, the owner of the store “Grandma’s Apron”.
“Like SpongeBob, Betty White is a comedy icon,” said supervising producers Vincent Waller and Marc Ceccarelli. “Also like SpongeBob, she looks fantastic in shorts and tube shorts. Just under the surface of this polite, dignified lady, she revealed to us a whip-smart, bawdy gal who could make a room full of Navy men — or in this case, a room full of cartoonists and actors — blush to a deep shade of crimson.”
Stan Lee Loved Grantray-Lawrence. The following is from an interview that Marvel legend Stan Lee did for Ted White in Castle of Frankenstein magazine Volume 3, Number 4 (whole number 12) in 1968 where he commented on the then recent The Marvel Superheroes syndicated cartoon series:
“They give me the storyboards and I take them home with me and check them. I’m actually, I guess you might say, the story editor of the TV series. They shoot the actual picture and all that they animate is opening the mouths and shutting and opening the eyes and moving the arms and legs….but it’s the basic drawing that we’ve got there. I don’t see how anything could be more faithful to the original artwork. Now naturally, they had to make some little changes. I’ve had experience with other people who’ve taken properties. They usually don’t even bother with the people whose property they’ve taken. They just go out on their own.
“This particular outfit, Grantray-Lawrence, they’ve been an absolute joy to work with. They check with us on everything and they’re tremendously anxious to keep to the spirit of our own strips and stories. I couldn’t be more satisfied with what they’ve been doing. They’re trying their best to keep it in the style for better or worse, the style we have in our books.
“That type of animation doesn’t bother me. I think it has a certain charm. In many ways I think I prefer that to full animation which can ruin a human-type character. It’s so hard to animate a human being. Technically, I think this is very interesting. The way they’re doing our show. I’m delighted with that. I wouldn’t have been happy if it were animated like, you know, like Mickey Mouse….just regular animation.”
Itchy and Scratchy and Tex Avery. Matt Groening in an interview in Advance Comics #50 (1992) stated, “Itchy and Scratchy came from something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little kid. I was always watching cat and mouse cartoons like Tom and Jerry and Pixie and Dixie and all the rest of those cartoons and I thought it would be fun to do a cartoon that really was totally violent. When we got a chance to do it, we went back and looked at Bob Clampett and Tex Avery and all the rest of those guys too, although I’m not comparing our work to those greats. People who go into animtion generally like the wildest stuff ever done, and you would definitely have to go back to those guys. I’ve been hanging out with John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren and Stimpy and that’s like seeing one of the old guys in action again. It’s just incredible.”
After Bill Scott. Mark Evanier needs to write an anecdotal autobiography. In the last days of his life, Jay Ward was telling people that if Rocky and Bullwinkle ever got revived as a series that Mark Evanier was the only writer around that he felt could do the job. This was not based on his ever seeing anything that Mark had written.
It was based on a recommendation from Bill Scott who co-produced Ward shows, wrote many of them and did voices for characters like Bullwinkle. Mark had worked with Scott (and voice artist Frank Welker) on a live-action script for Dudley Do-Right and with Scott on another unmade cartoon project. Scott liked Mark’s work so much that he told Ward that if anything happened to him, he wanted Evanier to do scripts and Welker to take over the voice of Bullwinkle.
Welker did do the voice of Bullwinkle in several Taco Bell spots, with Joe Alaskey as Boris, Corey Burton the narrator and June Foray as Rocky and Natasha:
Lost Disney Parody. Disney has always been a popular target for parody, especially in MAD magazine. The success of MAD led to a variety of similar magazines including COCKEYED from Whitestone Publications of Louisville, Kentucky. In Volume 1, Number 5 of the magazine released in June 1956, is a five page text and illustration parody of Walt Disney’s True Life Adventures series entitled “Disney Gets the Bird” with artwork by Bob Powell and writing by Bob Bean and Don Mullen.