It Stunk I Guess. The 1994 animated television series The Critic was originally developed as a live-action sitcom and offered to Jon Lovitz who turned it down because he couldn’t commit to a live action shooting schedule. Then, it was re-tooled as an animated series and Lovitz still turned it down.
“I didn’t want to become Mr. Magoo,” he said to USA Today January 25, 1994. “I thought I could have a movie career, so I wasn’t sure about doing television. If it’s a series and it’s a hit, I’ll be this Jay Sherman character for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to do that.”
Eventually, he was convinced because of a limited and flexible time commitment to play the role of Jay Sherman, a pathetic movie critic and asked that the character not look like him although it ended up doing so. Rich Moore has stated that “the design of Jay Sherman began as a sketch done by David Silverman” on a napkin/place-mat in a restaurant.
The producers agreed to work around Lovitz’s film schedule and to have a stunt voice to do grunts and groans when he wasn’t available.
The show aired on ABC, was cancelled and moved to Fox where it was also cancelled. Nine scripts for a third season had been written for the series to move to UPN but the deal fell apart because Fox kept delaying cancelling the show so it couldn’t go to another network. The show returned in Flash-animated webisode form in 2000-2001, for a third season with ten 3-5 minute installments.
John Musker on Jeffrey Katzenberg. In the Los Angeles Times June 22,1997, co-director of the recently released Disney animated feature Hercules (1997) John Musker said, “Each film that comes out has a litle less Jeffrey (Katzenberg). I don’t know at exactly what point we’ll be completely Jeffrey-free. Maybe 20 or 30 years from now.
“It wasn’t that he directed those movies but he certainly had a lot of input and Jeffrey is very demanding about quality. But if it’s a little less stressful and it turns out well, that’s a good thing. And in terms of our own growth, we were ready to work without a net. He was a micro-manager.
“(With Hercules), we were able to push the stylistic boundaries and do things that were a little more idosyncratic without being second guessed or challenged by Jeffrey.”
Simpsons Celebrity Voices. In a late1993 edition of the New York Times in an article by Anita Gates, it talked about celebrities wanting to do a voice on The Simpsons. Matt Groening said, “There are all these glamorous big shots who are intrigued to see what they look like drawn with oversized eyeballs and hideous overbites. (Singer) Michael Jackson was quite amused at being drawn as a 320 pound white guy (The character was a mental patient who only pretended to be Jackson but the voice, speaking and singing, was the real thing).”
At the time, Jackson was one of two guests who asked not to be identified in the show’s credits. The other was Dustin Hoffman, Lisa’s substitute teacher. (Hoffman’s character did speak the line: “Mrs. Krabappel, you’re trying to seduce me” in a humorous reference to Hoffman’s line from the live action film The Graduate.)
A decision was soon made that no one could appear under a pseudonym. “If you’re willing to do The Simpsons, you can’t be ashamed of it. It’s the easiest gig in the world for an actor,” stated Groening. “You can show up in curlers or in bandages from a nose job. No memorization, no costuming, very little rehearsal, and you’re in and out in two days. A major star energizes the writers. They were most excited when Leonard Nimoy and Adam West made appearances.”
Tinker Bell Fan. “I wanted to play Tinker Bell (in the 1991 movie Hook) really badly. Steven (Spielberg, the director) f*cked up. Just kidding. I didn’t really have the opportunity anyway but I loved Tink in (Disney’s) animated version – the really cute, blonde sexy spirite with her little dress,” said actress Sherilyn Fenn to Movieline magazine July 1993. “Julia Roberts looked more like Peter Pan. I was shocked.”
Speedy Gonzales. It was announced that Warner Brothers was considering making an animated feature film starring Speedy Gonzales with the voice of Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez. From the April 7, 2016 edition of the Huffington Post: “In Mexico we grew up watching Speedy Gonzales,” Derbez said. “He was like a superhero to us, or maybe more like a revolutionario like Simón Bolívar or Pancho Villa.
“He watched out for the little people but with a lot of bravado and a weakness for the ladies. I’m really excited to be bringing this character to the big screen. And besides being Mexican — my full name is Eugenio Derbez Gonzalez and I have big ears. The casting couldn’t be better.”
“It hasn’t been on the air for years because of its ethnic stereotypes,” Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg told Fox News in 2002. “We have such a huge library, I think we intend to go with popular shows that aren’t going to upset people. We’re not about pushing the boundary. We’re not HBO. We have a diverse audience and we have an impressionable audience.”
The Hanna-Barbera Influence on The Simpsons. Matt Groening in PREVIEWS (December 1992) said, “You know Jonny Quest? There aren’t many of you, no more than a couple. Surprisingly enough to me, doing primetime animation was an extremely daring move, but it seemed to me like it was a sure bet, because people love cartoons, and there’s no cartoon on TV at night.
“I was definitely influenced by the Hanna-Barbera drawing style, by The Flintstones. Those large ‘rocks’ that Marge has around her neck are definitely inspired by Wilma Flintstone’s necklace. Homer’s beard line was definitely influenced by Fred Flintsone, although very early on in The Simpsons, some people didn’t understand that it was a beard line. I got this letter from an outraged woman who said, ‘What is that horrible man with the gigantic lips?’ A personal, magical moment in The Simpsons for me was when they ran into the living room and there were the Flintstones! We called Hanna-Barbera first and they said it was a great idea!” (Episode 60 “Kamp Krusty”)