September 9, 2016 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #279


Busy Little Beavers. Batman – The Animated Series story editor Paul Dini told interviewer Bob Miller for the Comics Buyer’s Guide #990 (November 6, 1992):

“Sometimes we’ll put things in the script just for the sake of seeing if we can get them by. In “Harley and Ivy” (January 1993), I had the title characters returning home after a crime spree to find The Joker waiting for them and he makes the comment, ‘Haven’t you been the busy little beavers’. Well, that’s a pretty crude line and I knew the censors would cut it, but I let it stay in the first draft anyway, just to see if I could catch them napping. Amazingly, they passed it. We were sorely tempted to let it go through, but we knew there’d only be trouble from someone someplace down the line once the show aired. Besides, the actresses in that episode were kind of offended, and I don’t blame them. We changed it.”

!CBQwpkQBmk~$(KGrHqYOKp0E0VKo5JQ9BNG5,RopEw~~_35Defending The Return of Jafar. In a March 1994 issue of Variety, Ann Daly, president of Buena Vista Home Video defended the May 20th release of The Return of Jafar, the first in a series of announced animated sequels to Disney animated features. “We believe there is a great opportunity in producing and releasing Disney product exclusively for video,” stated Daly. “We intend to deliver a stream of unique,quality productions that will include original as well as Disney character-driven product. We hope this will dispel the idea that made-for-video are films that were never good enough for theaters so they went right to home video.

“The quality of these products should convince anyone that’s not the case here. The Jafar video was developed specifically as a full length film, yet specifically designed for the small screen. I’m sure everyone will be quite impressed with the animation quality. The film will motivate consumers to keep the popular film in mind (Disney announced it would stop shipments of Aladdin to retailers after April 30, 1994) and picks up where the movie story left off with the evil sorcerer Jafar trapped inside a magic lamp.”

DISADA. In August 1990, Peter Adamakos wrote, “My first Disneyland visit was in July 1957, when I was eleven. I turned the wheel in the Teacups so hard and fast that I got blisters on my hands and needed medical attention at City Hall. The nurse was impressed with my knowledge of all things Disney and took my name and address. One day I received in the mail an autographed picture of Walt Disney. I wrote back and said that one day I would form an animation company and call it Disada Productions, using the first three letters of his name and the first three of mine but giving him top billing! I received a really nice letter of encouragement from Walt Disney to pursue these plans. Today, as Disneyland celebrates its 35th anniversary, Disada Prdouctions is celebrating its 20th as an animation company in Montreal, Canada.”


Smithers Unrequited Love. From Entertainment Weekly April 15, 2016, The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said, “(Late Simpsons executive producer) Sam Simon came up with the idea that Smithers was gay and he said we should subtly imply in different episodes that Smithers loved Burns and let the viewers catch on. Which they did. Time passed and we realized everyone in Springfield probably knew Smithers was gay – except the man he loved.

smithers(Writer) Rob LaZebnik pitched a story about Smithers wondering if he was ever going to get a reciprocal attraction from Burns, a man for whom the definition of ‘gay’ is still ‘carefree’. I loved that we didn’t make a big deal of it, that the town knew he was gay and it wasn’t unusual. They just wanted to find him somebody that was more of a match than Burns. The point of the episode is not because of who he is but because of what he loves – ie. Burns – Smithers is doomed to some unhappiness. But in life that happens sometimes. What we want isn’t exactly what will make us happy.” Season 27: “The Burns Cage” (2016) Writer Rob LaZebnik has a gay son and actually pitched the idea three years ago as a way of telling his son he loved and accepted him.

ren-stimpy-bed_3Sharing a Bed. From the New York Daily News of March 17,1994: Ren And Stimpy producer Jim Ballantine said “A lot of people assume Ren and Stimpy are gay. Two guys who sleep in the same bed. We sometimes play up the joke. They are just like Laurel and Hardy. No one ever suspected them of being a gay couple and they slept in the same bed.”

Not a Simpsons Fan. “(The Simpsons) is one of the most destructive, anti-adult, anti-moral shows I’ve ever witnessed on the air. The parents are always wrong, always idiots,” said Paul “Ex-Mouseketeer” Petersen to the National Enquirer newspaper July 6, 1993

herc-action-figRon Clements on 1980s Animation. In the Los Angeles Times June 22,1997, co-director of the then recently released Disney animated feature Hercules (1997) Ron Clements said, “I was a big fan of Disney animation when I was a kid but it reached a point that there was a stigma about Disney movies that they were only for kids and an adult would be embarassed to go see one by himself. When I worked on The Rescuers (1977), I not only couldn’t find anyone in my peer group who had seen the movie. I couldn’t find anyone who had even heard of it.

The Great Mouse Detective (1986) was just thrown out there with nothing behind it. We worked on that movie for three and a half years, it came out for two or three weeks and then it was gone. There was a period in the mid-1980s when Disney came really close to shuting down the animation division. There was some discussion about whether to keep it going just as a tradition or to farm it out overseas and turn it out as cheaply as possible.

“In (Hercules) we have Hercules holding up an action figure of himself. We hope that isn’t misconstrued as product placement. We were just trying to make fun of it.”

izzyIzzy and Phil. The December 1993 issue of Hispanic Business stated that “Phil Roman, in North Hollywood, California has won the exclusive animation rights to the official mascot of the 1996 Olympic Games. The blue, sneaker wearing Izzy joins Garfield and Bart Simpson in the gang of animated characters produced by Mr. Roman’s company. His studio, which last year reported sales of $25 million, also designed Pizza Hut’s Bigfoot character and recently inked a partnership deal with one of Russia’s largest animation studios.”


  • First Harley and Ivy was one the best (in my opinion) episodes of Batman the Animated Series showing how two villianesses take on the “Old Boys Club ” much of the chagrin of The Joker. The funniest part was when The Joker was wondering where Harley Quinn was and why she wasn’t around to help. His henchmen reluctant to tell The Joker on what happened to Harley discovered the headline of the newspaper and as The Joker read about Harley and Poison Ivy as “The New Queens of Crime ” He let loose with a scream of agony that shook the condemned Comedy Theater which served as his hideout.

    And on Izzy the mascot of the 1996 Summer Olympics several news reports said that Izzy was the first Olympic mascot to have a animated series.
    Guess they didn’t know that Mishka was the first Olympic mascot to have his own animated series (Soyuzfilm had a one shot featuring him batting Baba Yaga as well as a cameo in the series Nu, pogodi! As well as a crudely drawn version by Nippon Animation) followed by Sam the Eagle (known as Eagle Sam in Japan animated by TMS Studios) and the Cobi Troupe (animated by BRB Productions of Spain).

  • Re: Ren and Stimpy: The duo are dirt poor. Of course they would sleep in the same bed. They can only afford one!

    Re: Return of Jafar: I’m one of the defenders of that film, and its follow-up The King of Thieves. It’s just too bad Disney couldn’t keep up the quality because most of the DTVs after that were either terrible or unnecessary, or both.

    Re: Disney outsourcing: Technically, they DID start outsourcing in the ’90s (most of the Disney movies starting with A Goofy Movie were partially animated in France), but I know what he means. He means the pacific rim. I’m glad that didn’t happen.

    Re: Harley & Ivy: One of the best episodes of the series! Not much more to add.

    Re: Izzy: The special is so rare that it made it onto the Lost Media wikia:'s_Quest_for_Olympic_Gold_(1995_TV_Movie) . Anyone actually seen it?

    • Re: Disney outsourcing:They did start outsourcing back in 1983 with A Day for Eeyore by Rick Reinert Productions but they had issues with them so they were rejected.

      Disney by 1984 (aired by 1985) was using Asian studios with Telecom (TMS) in Japan who was anything but cheap, they were excellent and they were used for 5 years before setting up their own Japanese studio (Walt Disney Animation Japan) who years later went independent and became The Answer Studio, they were not as good as Telecom ; Disney did not start using cheap Asian studios until 1987 with Wang in Taiwan.

  • Of course, later on, Ren would deliver the immortal line, “I’M the pitcher! YOU’RE the catcher!” 😉

    I rather like the pairing of Harley and Ivy as a couple from the get-go. Somewhat daring for period animation, methinks.

  • Yes, I TOTALLY understand how the Harley and Ivy actresses could be offended by that line! I mean, an upstanding guy like the JOKER would NEVER direct a vulgar, derogatory comment like that towards a woman! But, in all seriousness, correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t the Joker supposed to be the BAD guy!? I remember episodes where he would outright physically abuse Harley and knock her on her ass! Now, if they had BATMAN saying that line, I could see how that could be sending a bad message but in the Joker’s case it would have been totally character aproppriate! There is such a thing as being TOO PC, I think. Like when you get offended by a script depicting a sociopathic supervillain making a borderline offensive comment. All I can say is, if I had gotten away with leaving that line in, I’d be patting myself on the back for the rest of my LIFE!! My favorite part of that whole story is that it never mentions Mark Hamill having a problem with the line! Man , it would be great to at least hear an outake of him saying it!

  • According to John K., Ren and Stimpy are gay “only when it’s funny”.

  • I appreciate the actresses’ offense. But honestly, “busy beavers” is an old idiom that has a perfectly G-rated meaning. That line would only be smutty to people who want it to be smutty.

    Speaking of that, I’m sure there was speculation about L&H as well as other teamups being gay couples. How did Ballantine feel about “Adult Cartoon Party” making them explicitly a gay couple?

  • MR FAMICOM: Obviously I was referring to theatrical Disney animation. I’m well aware that Disney TV had been outsourcing from the very beginning (a necessity for the kind of animation they wanted for the grueling pace that is TV).

    • Also another thing to add is that A Goofy Movie was made by the TV unit, not the feature unit as A Goofy Movie is not part of the Disney canon.

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