July 29, 2016 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #273


Aladdin Cameo. In the October 1, 1993 issue of Entertainment Weekly, John Musker commented on the cameo in Disney’s Aladdin (1992) of him and co-director Ron Clements in the marketplace scene where Aladdin steals some bread: “If we were real actors, we would have had us fired.”

iago-smallerA Laughing Matter. From the National Enquirer September 21, 1993: “Gilbert Gottfried, critically acclaimed for his role as Iago the parrot in Disney’s Aladdin (1992) co-stars with Carol Kane in the upcoming Aladdin animated series but they can’t do scenes together. Carol thinks Gottfried is one of the funniest people alive, and the feeling is mutual so they end up laughing so hard they can’t deliver their lines! So the director kicks Gottfried out of the studio while Carol does her lines, then she leaves while he does his.”

edith-annEdith Ann and That’s The Truth. From the January 16, 1994 edition of New York’s Daily Messenger about the animated special Edith Ann: A Few Pieces of the Puzzle (1993) done by Klasky Csupo.

“The character was introduced twenty-five years ago on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and originally the writers on the show didn’t like her,” said actress Lily Tomlin who created the character. “They thought she was too bratty.

“I love this character, the whole prospect of animation and creating another life for Edith. There’s no other way Edith could live the way she could live in animation. I want to see her whole life opened up. We want it to be funny. We want it to be moving. Naturally, we want kids and adults to be entertained by it and get into Edith’s life.

“Oh, we definitely want to do a series. I mean what’s the point of just doing specials?
“You know, when I look at myself in that chair, even though sometimes it was quite good and fun to watch, it was limited. It was first of all limited by my own physicality. With animation, you don’t have this big woman trying to be five or six years old, and you don’t have to create an environment that makes it look as though I am.

“When we went to animation, we had the chance to really make her live. . . . I mean, I did what I could in the chair, but I couldn’t interact with other people, except other people who would pretend to be children. I don’t think audiences embrace animation whole cloth. They’re very discriminating.


“They like ‘The Simpsons,’ but they don’t like ‘Fish Police‘ . . . ‘Capital Critters‘ . . . or ‘Family Dog.’ The writing in ‘The Simpsons‘ is wonderful. And because they respected their audience and made such an entertaining and sophisticated show . . . it opened things up. It became a hit show, so, as in all things, people say, ‘Well, gee, there’s an area that we could, you know, violate’.”

Tomlin met her long time associate Jane Wagner when they were working on an Edith Ann record album. They continued to work on possible projects for the character for over a decade including a comic strip and a stop-motion film using puppet models. At one point it was going to be done by David Fine and Alison Snowden and animated in the United Kingdom at Aardman Animations.

The special was followed by two other specials: Edith Ann: Homeless Go Home (1994) and Edith Ann’s Christmas (Just Say Noël) (1996)

pink-goes-to-hollywoodPink Panther Video Game. In 1993, TecMagik released the game Pink Goes To Hollywood for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo formats. The premise was that the Pink Panther goes to Hollywood to audition for a new film but destroys an important scene with Inspector Clouseau who goes after the feline. Pink Panther co-creator Friz Freleng reviewed the storyboard and every aspect of the Pink Panther from the way he walked and ran to his facial expressions. He also approved the game’s concept and design.

Bob Camp on Ren and Stimpy. From the Democrat and Chronicle December 5-11, 1993, Creative Director Bob Camp talked about Ren and Stimpy, “(Actress) June Lockhart called us and said she was a big fan of the show. She’s so cool. We’re phone buddies now.

ren-stimpyOur humor is irreverent by nature. We try to poke fun at everything. They’re two real living characters with real pschological problems, temperaments, different degrees of intelligence. A lot of cartoon characters are pretty two-dimensional and are just happy all the time. But Ren and Stimpy are multifaceted.

“Ren can’t stand Stimpy and Stimpy completely forgives Ren for all his shortcomings and loves him in spite of it. It’s like a real human relationship. We try to push the line of acceptability. We always try to sit on that line, dangling our feet on the other side, in the cool waters of creative freedom. We make ‘em like a car assembly line. We start one week, then start another one immediately. It’s timeless and people will enjoy it for a jillion years.”

Roddy-McDowall-150The Voice of McDowall. In the “Basic Insect” episode of the television series Itsy Bitsy Spider, actor Roddy McDowall voiced the character of a flea named Richard. The director of that episode Mike Mitchell wanted Richard to sound like Peter Lorre but McDowall was late to the recording session because he had an accident on the freeway and he didn’t get that direction clearly so the voice sounded very different from Lorre.

McDowall got his start in movies in 1938 and appeared in many significant ones including Lassie Come Home (1943) and Planet of the Apes (1968). In the 1990s, he turned to doing voice work for cartoons starting with The Pirates of Dark Water and including among others Swat Kats (Madkat), Batman The Animated Series (The Mad Hatter), The Tick (Breadmaster), Gargoyles (Proteus) and Pinky and the Brain (Snowball). He passed away in 1998 of lung cancer.

Disgusting Duet. From the National Enquirer December 28,1993: “Sonny Bono hit the ceiling when he learned ex-wife Cher is recording their famous song ‘I Got You Babe’ with TV’s slimest stars Beavis and Butt-head. Sonny detests the disgusting duo, feeling they inspire kids to do nasty things. MTV claims Cher’s teaming with B & B because she’s a big fan, but Sonny says his 47 year old ex just wants to try and look ‘cool’ to kids.”


  • Roddy MacDowall was animated as early as 1980 as Samwise Gamgee in Rankin Bass’ The Return of the King. (Speaking of, the Hobbit specials had some EXCELLENT backgrounds. Anyone cover those? Cirith Ungol in ROTK and Gollum’s lair in The Hobbit are particularly beautiful. I’d love to see some panoramic mock-ups of those.)
    As for MacDowall’s voice work, it’s too bad they couldn’t spring for him on Return to the Planet of the Apes. It would have taken a load off of what sounds like two people doing all the voices, minus Fred Flintstone. Any future info on The Return of the King or Return to the Planet of the Apes (which had beautiful backgrounds also) would be appreciated.

  • McDowall was the voice of Niddler (?) in the five-part “Dark Water” miniseries, but when it became a full series (The Pirates of Dark Water), someone else did the voice.

  • I’m surprised that you’d left out two animated TV specials that Roddy McDowall narrated (and provided some voice work to); namely, two “Jungle Book” specials (“The White Seal” and “Mowgli’s Brothers”) for CBS, directed by Chuck Jones.

  • You would never know Friz Freling supervised the Pink Goes To Hollywood game outside of the art. That game flat out sucked. Too bad they couldn’t have someone else supervise the gameplay.

  • Wow. I’d forgotten about that Edith Ann special until now. I remember watching it on TV when it first aired but haven’t seen it since.

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