Scarfe’s Wall. Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe was recruited to produce roughly fifteen minutes of animation for a 1982 film entitled Pink Floyd – The Wall based on the 1979 record album of the same name. Roughly fifty artists were involved with the animation that took over five months and a budget of a hundred thousand pounds.
“You can do anything with animation,” stated Scarfe before the official release of the film. “You can turn a telephoe box into the Empire State building if you want to. In live action, that sort of thing isn’t possible. At the same time, I had to change my style from The Sunday Times scratchy-pen approach to cartoons, to something that could be copied by other artists.
“The reason that Disney drew the way he did was because everyone could draw like Disney, at least everyone who could draw. So, to do this, I had to explore other areas of my work which was very exciting. All together we did about 14,000 separate drawings for the animation section.
“You could say that the collaborative process has been filled with angst. But possibly out of that will come something rather special. After all, we’re only an artist (Scarfe), a musician (Roger Waters) and a film maker (Alan Parker). I wonder if Picasso and Stravinsky would ever have had these problems.”
During that same interview, Parker (who directed live action films like Bugsy Malone and Midnight Express) shared, “there has been a clash of three egos. If you put three megalomaniacs in a room together, there are bound to be sparks.”
Computer Animated Jetsons. Bill Hanna commented on Jetsons: The Movie (1990) for L.A. Family Magazine in July/August 1990: “The computer animation is very effective and gives the film a spectacular look. I felt that if we could see the space factories, asteroids and shopping malls dimensionally, it would add a lot of depth. We animated the space vehicles with computer because there was no way we could get that beautiful motion by hand, and so we moved the airships that way and then added the characters.”
Gordon Hunt who was the voice director remembered that it was fun to get the original cast back together. “They loved getting together and being together. There was a real ensemble feel. George O’ Hanlon (the voice of George Jetson) didn’t see very well, so I would sit next to him and feed him the lines and he would say them back. And that’s how we did it, piece by piece.” O’Hanlon and Mel Blanc passed away shortly after finishing their parts. Voice artist Jeff Bergman was brought in to do any needed additional voice work for their characters.
Bullwinkle Sings. From the underground comix magazine STOP! #3 (1982) that was published in New York, here is an excerpt from an interview by Judy Wilmot of Bill Scott:
“In the Metal Munching Moon Mice episode, I got to sing in that one. Bullwinkle does the songs ‘Going Down to Annie Skinner’s Chicken Dinner’ and ‘There Must Be Little Cupids in the Briny’. (Disney Nine Old Man) Frank Thomas taught me those songs. In the Air Force, Frank was my sergeant and he taught me those songs, mostly English music hall songs. During the war, I was at the Culver Air Force Base. Later, I got to sing the theme song ‘George, George, George of the Jungle’. That’s me. I sing the Tom Slick song as well and Super Chicken.”
Vic Atkinson. Ottawa’s animation industry began in 1953 when Frank “Budge” Crawley met artist and filmmaker Vic Atkinson in England and talked him into coming to work in Ottawa for Crawley Films as his art director. They got the contract to produce over one hundred five-minute animated episodes of Tales of the Wizard of Oz in 1961. Crawley never followed up doing any more animation and Atkinson left in 1974 with editor Bill Stevens to form Atkinson Film-Arts.
The new company set its sights on producing quality animation such as the $425,000 half hour special narrated by Lorne Greene, The Little Brown Burro (1978) and two segments for the 1981 feature film Heavy Metal. Atkinson also provided the animation for the first Racoons special, The Christmas Racoons (1980).
By 1981, Atkinson had had enough of the high overhead of television animation and left the company he started to devote his time to painting because he felt the stress of the business was ruining his health.
His son, Lee, started a small animation house called KLA Visual Productions. His other son, Barry worked on An American Tail (1986) and The Land Before Time (1988).
“Probably 80% of the reason there’s an animation industry in Ottawa is because of my father,” said Lee Atkinson. “It was the quality of his work that began to attract interest from all over North America.”
In 1982, Bill Stevens bought out partner Vic to control Atkinson Film-Arts and went on to do the Teddy Ruxpin series, animated half hours like The Nightingale and The Rocking Horse and the Racoons series.
The Bible According to Barbera. The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible was a straight-to-video series produced by Hanna-Barbera about three young people who travel back in time to view key biblical events like Noah’s Ark, Moses and David and Goliath. Music was by Hoyt Curtin and the initial episodes written by Harvey Bullock.
Thirteen half hour episodes were made between 1986 and 1992. Believe it or not, the idea for this series came from producer Joe Barbera himself who originally came up with the concept seventeen years earlier but couldn’t find support for making the shows.
In 1986, the series was a Parents Magazine offering and Barbera wrote the following to those readers: “Dear Parents. We dreamed that one day, when we’d mastered our craft and we’d found success, we’d devote ourselves and our company to a labor of love.
“We would create and produce for children all the treasured adventure stories from the Bible…in a way that would them alive for every child…that would move and touch them as they watched, that would communicate the age-old lessons that each story holds, and that would stay in their minds and memories as they have in yours and ours. That dream is now a reality.
“We are proud that Parents Magazine has chosen to offer this series to you. And we hope you’ll watch and enjoy it with your family for years to come.”