Doug Wildey. From the comics fanzine, Uncle Barney’s Comix (Vol. 1, No. 5) from the Summer of 1973, artist and animator Doug Wildey said,
“Animation, of course, has a brilliant future depending on how it’s handled. Obviously, television is the answer because motion picture animation has pretty much gone by the boards. Television, of course, holds a great future for animation. If it’s done right, it’s a great way to tell a story in prime time – large budget prime time story telling for adults as well as children. I don’t think it’s strictly a children’s medium but nobody every really tried it on any other level.
“Jonny Quest was well reviewed throughout the country. Newspapers, Time magazine – everybody gave it good reviews. I personally didn’t. It didn’t work for me the way I had pictured it but then I was new to the cartoon business. It was kind of a shock to see something not work the way I had thought it should. But as I look back now, I will still see an occasional Jonny Quest sequence on television that beats the hell out of anything that I have worked on or seen in the last eight years.
“Something similar to (Jonny Quest) is always possible. It’s a matter of educating network people that this stuff doesn’t come cheap and there aren’t too many animators around to do the realistic movements. As far as I know, the adventure stuff on television in animation has simply gone down hill. I haven’t seen anything on television that has come up to Jonny Quest’s standards.
“As I look back, it was obviously a better done show than anything that’s around now so I guess you could square that one for us. I did see a great thing done on a Christmas Carol in England (by Richard Williams) and I thought it was sensational. I loved it; thought it was great. Those kinds of things though are simply too few and far between.”
Forgotten Bakshi. Imagining America was a June 1989 anthology of four short films by different directors run as part of American Playhouse on PBS. Ralph Bakshi’s twenty minute live action This Ain’t Bebop was about a man’s odyssey through surreal downtown Los Angeles as he tries to find the life he once had. It starred actor Harvey Keitel. In the January 3, 1989 edition of the L.A. Daily News, Bakshi said, “It’s about how America changed from the 1950s to the 1980s…how honesty and ethics have been replaced by shopping centers and greed.”
Mathematics and Chuck Jones. From the square dancing magazine Sets in Order (September 1959), animator and director Chuck Jones wrote:
“The thing that captivates and interests the cartoonist’s mind most in square dancing is the fantastic opportunity it offers for varied experience and varied human contact. The dancing is a delight to be sure but nowhere does social activity offer the superbly favorable conditions for meeting other people, who do other things. I have learned more from other people about animated cartooning than I have ever leanred by stealing from my competitors.
“It is a strange but true fact that every known great cartoonist or storyteller that I have ever known from Walt Disney to Dr. Seuss was essentailly unaware of his audience as such. He is basically interested in having fun with what he is doing and so he enjoys creating each contraption or idea or drawing as much as the audience ultimately enjoys it too.
“If I have learned more about animated cartooning through my years in square dancing than I have from more obvious sources, then it is because I now understand people better, their ideas, their hopes, their idiosyncracies and their loves and by enjoying with them what they find delightful, I have, I believe, subconsciously absorbed this delight and it has become a part of me and therefore a part of all I do.”
Dark Disney. In the Minneapolis Star Tribune of July 16, 1982, animator Gary Goldman who was promoting the release of The Secret of NIMH (1982) talked about Disney animated feature films:
“The early Disney classics had lots of violence and lots of intensity. If they had to go through the rating process today, they’d emerge easily with a PG rather than a G.
“In Pinocchio, bad little boys go to Pleasure Isalnd because they’ve had their fun and now they have to pay the price. I can’t think of anything more frightful than to be caught in a position like that and not be able to get out. Not even an adult can sit throught that without getting a tinge of fright.
“In Snow White, the witch commits first-degree murder. Radio City Music Hall reportedly had to reupholster their seats after the fourth week…Kids were wetting their pants.
“And many children were traumatized by the loss of Bambi’s mother. I personally wasn’t, but I knew when I left the theater that my mother was there and that I could hold on to her.
“We (Don Bluth and his supporters) left Disney because they had grown away from that intensity and were making films that took care not to offend anybody. I think it’s important to paint both sides of the picture. The world isn’t all kind and wonderful. NIMH is not an alternative to Disney but a return to Disney tradition.”
Bob’s Burgers. In Entertainment Weekly May 27, 2016, Loren Bouchard, creator of animated television series Bob’s Burgers said:
“The Blechers were supposed to be cannibals. The network (Fox) encouraged us to take another look. That was probably life changing. We thought we’d have (to write twice) as many (Burger of the Day puns). We thought Louise, like she does in the pilot, would change the blackboard every episode to this secondary, mischievous pun-on-a-pun. We dodged a bullet there.
“The plot we got through the network that was a total shock was the animal-anuses story in Art Crawl. It helped us understand our own show and we needed those anuses for the comedy of it. We were going to do an episode where Bob halluinates that he’s inside his own colon. We could have had a good time with that one (but Fox rejected it).”
H. Jon Benjamin who does the voice of Bob on Fox’s Bob’s Burgers told Entertainment Weekly May 27, 2016, “Bob loves cooking. (I’m) not sure people realize his legitimate, albeit limited, culinary skill.”
On the “Dark” Disney films such as Snow White the scenes where a terror stricken Snow White runs through the forest after the Huntsman told her to flee after deciding not to carry out the Evil Queen’s deed to assassinate her.
Cinderella, where her evil stepsisters viciously assault her by tearing the gown that the mice and birds made for her to wear to the ball off of her body.
And later Disney animated films such as Tarzan where a record six deaths were in the film.
The Disney version of Pinocchio was mild compared to the Italian version that came out in the 1970’s which was more true to the book including such dark scenes where Pinocchio murdering the cricket with a hammer, the two highwaymen (the fox and cat in disguise) lynching Pinocchio because he didn’t want to surrender his gold coins to them and the scene where four grim looking rabbits carrying a coffin that they were going to put Pinocchio in if he didn’t take his medicine to get well.
I like the Bakshi film a lot. I wonder who provided the music for that film; was it just lifted from jazz recordings, or was it specially produced for the film? Any film like that addresses the passing of time and how alienated we all feel as what we love most is misinterpreted or reinterpreted to “fit” the modern day. I guess it keeps the past alive somehow, but it destroys something along the way.
Regarding the Disney “darkness”, well, I think the darker edges are what we sometimes appreciate. As kids, my generation was exposed to so much just in animation alone–no need to sanitize it for our our protection, and as for JONNY QUEST realism, well, I liked the adventure aspect of teh show, and I see what they mean by the difficulty of animating humans realistically. But that is why animation is interesting–the animator can come up with his or her own interpretation of how things look. The more “realistic” it intends to be, the stiffer the results.
According to the IMDb, the music for This Ain’t Bebop was composed by Gary Anderson:
The cannibal plotline from Bob’s Burgers feels like a leftover piece from Bouchard’s [adult swim] days (where the network wouldn’t mind something like that; though there are some exceptions, such as Superjail).
I have to agree with Mr. Wildey completely.
We thought we’d have (to write twice) as many (Burger of the Day puns)… We dodged a bullet there.
Instead they got locked into writing puns for the vacant store and exterminator van in each episode’s opening credits.
Another example of what a pretentious individual Charles M. Jones was. Good cartoonist but incredibly insecure of his standing as a “soopah genius”. What was his problem, anyway?