September 2, 2016 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #278

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.

critic“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.

Hercules_posterJohn 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.”


tinkerbell-smallTinker 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.”

casper-tennisCasper Fan. “My favorite cartoon was Casper the Friendly Ghost but it used to make me cry because everyone always treated him so badly,” said tennis star Chris Evert in TV Guide magazine July 3, 1993

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.

Speedy-running-colour artwork-final“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”)


  • As I know of they (the P.C.”Thugs” tried to kill off Speedy Gonzalez but thanks to a popular song by Pat Boone with Mel Blanc as the voice of Speedy Gonzalez and his popularity in Mexico and other Latin American countries ( a cable tv station ZAZ used a still shot of Speedy Gonzales playing a guitar with the words “Buenas Noches” (Good Night) as they went off the air for the night). Speedy Gonzalez was save and became a beloved cartoon icon.

    Originally it was going to be comedian George Lopez who was going to be the voice of Speedy Gonzalez.

    Now the movie is retitled as Speedy with Eugenio Derbez (¡Cachún Cachún RaRa!, Al Derecho y Al Derbez (At Right and At Derbez),La Famila P. Luche (The Plush Family-a play on the word “Peluche” or “Stuffed Toy”,Vecinos (Neighbors) and XHDRBZ ( a wordplay on the call signals that are used of Mexican Tv and Radio satellite code (XH) and the four letter in the name Derbez (DRBZ).

    • But the big problem was that series arrived in 1964 with the wrong decision to use the already villianised Daffy as the nemesis of Speedy Gonzales In those Depatie-Freleng shorts, the Format FIlms and (one of the earliest a remake of 1956’s already largely regrattable Daffy-Bugs team “A Star is Bored” remake, with S.G, in “Rodent to Stardom”) under new managemnent the last house (for years) Warners studio. I do NOT wanna see Anitadae Daffyus (a.k.a.Mr.Daffy Duck) cast as the villian if this SPeedt Movie, (and the Speedy-Daffy thing did not yet exist thank God when Pat Boone did that record, which is a funny one,when the Puddy Tat was still the foe) in this Speedy flick.

      If it is MADE.


  • The thing about Casper that didn’t hit me until years later was his inability to keep a friend. Each theatrical cartoon begins with him scaring the heck out of people and animals while pathetically trying to be sociable, and ends with his finally befriending (and usually rescuing) somebody who becomes his BFF. The the next cartoon starts with him friendless and alone again.

    Nobody stuck around. Not even the ghost of the fox cub, or the girl ghost who crashed the mortals’ Halloween party with him. The obnoxious “adult” ghosts who wanted him to scare people evidently took him back several times, but only to throw him out again.

    Was he a magnet for jerks, or was he a lousy friend himself?

    • Don’t know, as I remember the original Casper was at first a obese little ghost who acted like a crybaby after he couldn’t find a friend but in later Casper “trimmed down” but still acted like like a crybaby.
      Later on he befriended a boy named Billy (who was around four or five years old) for several episodes.
      Three notable episodes in the Casper series was the one episode where he was touring the Paramount Animation studios where even though he acted like a crybaby he became friends with the Harveytoons characters which included Little Audrey,Baby Huey and Herman. In Ghost of the Town, Casper became a hero after saving a toddler (which looks similar to Little Billy) from a raging fire and help kept everyone calm while a army of ghosts invade a TV Studio by telling them that they were here to entertain them and to laugh at thier antics. And in Casper’s Birthday Party (a clip episode featuring scenes from previous Casper cartoons) about Casper trying to invite people and animals to his birthday party but being a ghost of course he’d scared them off. Casper for the first time didn’t acted like a bawling crybaby after realizing the truth depressingly went home but was surprised that his fellow ghosts threw him a Suprise party!

      Later on in the 1950’s he was with friends with his cousin Spooky “The Tuff Lil Ghost”, became friends with the ghost of Franz Listz in Boo Bop and became “besties” with Wendy the Good Little Witch.

      The 1960’s Casper had new friends like Nightmare the ghost horse and befriended many other friend including a robot and others.

      And when Hanna Barbera came out with Casper and the Space Angels he became friends with Minnie,Maxie and a shaggy ghost named Hairy Scary. Also in Casper’s First Christmas, Casper became friends with legendary Hanna Barbera icons like Yogi and Boo Boo Bear,Huckleberry Hound,Snagglepuss,Quick Draw McGraw and Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy.

      There was a disturbing Casper episode where Casper tried to commit suicide after he couldn’t find a friend but since he was already a ghost it was hard to kill himself.

      The adult ghosts (with the exception of his mother who appeared in a few Casper cartoons) that were cruel to Casper were his “Drill Sargent” and commanding officer in the Scare Force and of course his uncles The Ghostly Trio who in one classic episode wanted to rid Casper of his goody goody ways and tried to force feed him Mean Pill to make him nasty but resulted in disaster for the Ghostly Trio when Casper turn into a Psychopathic Lunatic terrorizing his uncles.

    • I think “Lu” from “To Boo or Not To Boo” turned up again in the early Casper comic books.

  • “THE CRITIC” was an interesting show; I liked the theme song and the brief moments when the title character was “on the air” and doing his film criticism, but the “situation” end of this situation comedy was kinda dull. Maybe it should have been a show completely lampooning the various two critics shows that appeared on major networks or on the public broadcasting stations instead of making a sitcom out of it…

    Cartoon Network and Boomarang failed with me when they stopped acknowledging classic cartoons. The golden days were those that gave us “LATE NIGHT BLACK AND WHITE”. When they started with adhering to rules of political correctness, I knew that it was the end of an era and an otherwise wonderful idea. Yes, I’ve noticed that the SPEEDY GONZALES cartoons do not appear on the retooled LOONEY TUNES classic show, now on early mornings. One wonders what will happen if and when the “SPEEDY GONZALES” movie idea ever comes to theaters.

    It’s sad that any major name didn’t want his or her name connected to their appearances on “THE SIMPSONS”. I liked the Dustin Hoffman episode; he should feel proud of his work there. Why is it that, when animated cartoons are part of one’s resume as an actor, you eventually feel you have to brush that accomplishment to the rear as something that you should feel shame about? I think of all the voice actors, people who could really make Shakespearian theater work for them, and how they truly pumped as much life blood into the voices of various characters as did the various animators, I can only give the highest praise for the combined talents that brought those cartoons to life.

    • Speedy Gonzalez did appear in a episode of Tiny Toon Adventure in the episode The Son of the Wacko World of Sports as a sports commentator for the Acme Acres Summer Games and in Bah! Humduck which makes you wonder why Cartoon Network and Boomerang ceased to broadcast Bah! Humduck during the Christmas Season due to Speedy’s appearance in the movie?

    • So I’m geussing this means Cartoon Network will never have another Kevin Wollenweber day then huh? Bummer! (I am assuming that you are THE Kevin from that particular day in question. Congrats on netting that gig by the way! Must have been awesome to be a part of Cartoon Network back when it was at its peak!) The funny thing is, I got Cartoon Network shorty after that, so the only reason I know about Kevin Wollenweber day is because of the many promos that still exist in the old Cartoon Network commercial compilations on YouTube. Not sure if you were aware of those or not, but If you’d like to revisit any of your old promos, let me know! I can send you links!

    • AGain, Bah Humduck’s use of Daffy,(see my general comments above) as a jerk shouldn’t have been done. Sylvester or Y.Sam should have been in that.

  • okaaaaaaaaaay, I giv up. Wtf is so gd “racist” about Speedy G!??

    • The original Speedy Gonzalez (in the cartoon Cattails for Two) wore a red polo shirt,had beady eyes,one gold tooth and a bowl type haircut. Later on they did a makeover for Speedy in Speedy Gonzalez by having wear a Mexican Peasants outfit worn in rural Mexico. Many people at first though Speedy was a insult to the Mexicans and try to eradicate him but in Mexico and Latin America Speedy was a superstar and now Speedy is one of the most beloved of the Looney Toons even fazing out another “Mexican” character who had a one shot cartoon but was part of the Looney Toons-Merrie Melodies comic book series of the 1940’s Pancho Vanilla. Which I’m kind of curious if the original Taco Bell mascot was based on the WB’s Pancho Vanilla?

    • It’s the depiction of showing the “Mexican” mice as relatively lazy, always laying around sleeping. The was pretty much the joke of Speedy. He was the fastest mouse while the others were lazy as hell….

    • You’re forgetting Slowpoke Rodriguez–who has ways of compensating for living up (or down?) to his name. In one cartoon, he has hypnotic abilities, wile in another–he packs heat!

      If anything, Speedy became an anti-stereotype. While his amigos lay around, got muy steenko borracho on too much tequila, he had to use is speed to save their mousey bacon from Sylvero el Gato, or from some other pussy-gato.

    • I always thought Slowpoke Rodriguez was the funniest WB Mexican mouse. Mel did a great voice for him, sort of like a Latino Stepin Fetchit. The contrast between Slowpoke and Speedy enlivened a few Looney Tunes.

    • Just re-watched “The Critic” a few weeks ago. Still funny as ever, despite the dated movie parodies. A shame it was so short-lived.

      Mark: Tom Holland voiced Slowpoke Rodriguez, not Mel Blanc.

  • I loved The Critic. It always made me laugh.

  • After hearing about CN’s omission of the Speedy cartoons (and thinking myself it was quite spurious) based on “ethnic stereotypes …not wanting to upset people”, I found it quite surprising that when I traveled the next year to the Dominican Republic, and then to Cuba the following year, people there considered him a ‘people’s hero’. I saw more decals, t-shirts, posters, paintings, stuffed dolls, figurines, airings on TV there of Speedy Gonzalez than any other cartoon character.

    Clearly someone has misinterpreted the voice of a people…

    • Or maybe people in those countries just don’t care what Americans think abut Mexicans. And that all they see is a heroic little mouse constantly beating a cat (or duck, as when Daffy chases Speedy) and nothing more.

    • That’s all it is. It’s a rather fanciful/cultural take on the cat & mouse formula.

  • I remember those Flash Critic episodes on Newgrounds back then. Too bad nobody wants to give NG or Flash any credit…

    • History has a way of either praising or soiling the reputation of these things very quickly.

  • “The character was a mental patient who only pretended to be Jackson but the voice, speaking and singing, was the real thing”

    Sorry, but no. The talking voice was Jackson but the singing was done by Kipp Lennon at least according to the DVD commentary for the “Stark Raving dad” episode, Mr Lennon’s archived website (#3.4) and his IMDB page too

    • Thanks John!

      Also of note, the voice “Michael” has the end that was obviously not Jackson’s when he comes out of his persona, stating he was a bricklayer from Patterson, NJ.

    • Always happy for any and all corrections! Many thanks! I think in the future, people will use CartoonResearch as a reliable reference for research on articles and books about animation so it is important to have the true story documented.

    • Didn’t that same DVD commentary hint that Jackson himself was also recorded, and only the editor knows who’s really singing in the show? Or something along those lines?

    Daffy’s role as a Scrooge like owner of The Lucky Duck superstore in Bah! Humduck was befitting of his greedy egoistical character that he sometimes portrayed and acted like a jerk to his fellow employees including Elmer Fudd,Speedy Gonzalez and Porky Pig. The others you mentioned (Sylvester and Yosemite Sam) had thier own roles in Bah! Humduck, Sylvester in a Jacob Marley type character as the now deceased owner of the Cat’s Meow superstore who acted like a bigger jerk to his employees before one of them mowed him down with a forklift and Yosemite Sam portrayed the Ghost of Christmas Present who along with Granny and Tweety (as the Ghosts of Christmas Past) and Taz (as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come) who tried to have Daffy changed his selfish ways.

  • It turned out that Michael Jackson DIDN’T do his own singing in that Simpsons episode. He brought in Kipp Lennon to do it because he wanted to play a trick on his brothers and make them think it was him. Or so the story goes.

  • While doing boards on MOTHER GOOSE AND GRIMMY at Phil Roman, I was asked to draw the layouts for that SIMPONS “Flintstones” couch gag due to my longtime experience with the characters. Although I’ve written and drawn dozens of SIMPSONS stories for Bongo Comics, it was the only time I’ve worked on the TV series, SO FAR.

    • That’s an honor Scott, and hope you had a great birthday!

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