Offenisve Dick Tracy Cartoons. In the July 16,1990 edition of the Los Angeles Times, president of UPA Henry G. Saperstein weighed in on the controversy over the local rerunning of the Dick Tracy cartoon series featuring racial stereotypes: “The ‘Tracy’ cartoons portray (Joe Jitsu and Go Go Gomez) as good, clean cops who don’t take bribes or get indicted and consistently bring criminals to justice. How about focusing on these attributes as ‘role models’ instead of exaggerating a nothing controversy from a self-appointed tiny do-gooder protest group? C’mon, guys, these are only old cartoons. Sit back and enjoy them.” The National Hispanic Media Coalition and the Asian Pacific American Coalition had protested the showing of the cartoons that had been re-released into syndication to coincide with the release of the 1990 Warren Beatty Dick Tracy movie.
Ann Margrock. In 1993, actress Ann-Margaret explained why she wouldn’t appear in The Flintsones (1994) live-action movie: “The Flintstones producers begged me to reprise the role of Ann-Margrock, but I couldn’t because of my schedule. I was disappointed. I loved everything about her. Every Halloween I open the door and the kids look astonished and say, ‘Lady, are you Ann-Margrock?’”
Musketeers. From Premiere magazine November 1993: “Actress Gabrielle Anwar who plays Queen Anne in Disney’s The Three Musketeers (1993) used to watch animated musketeers on the Hanna-Barbera television series The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968).”
Bond in Disneyland. When writer Lee Pfeiffer of Cinema Retro asked director Guy Hamilton (director of Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, Man With the Golden Gun) over a dinner in London many years ago if he felt that the increase in jokes and gags in the James Bond films was an artistic mistake, Hamilton insisted it was not. In fact, Hamilton said that his initial plans for the script of Diamonds Are Forever (1971) would have seen Bond in Disneyland battling SPECTRE agents dressed as famous Disney characters.
Alan Young and Scrooge McDuck. In November 2009, actor Alan Young did an interview with Nick Thomas talking about his work doing the voice of Scrooge McDuck:
“Scrooge was a nasty fellow in the comics. But for the cartoon, they had to make him more likable or audiences wouldn’t have taken to him. He was still miserly and grumpy, but he loved his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
“I spoke with Carl Barks on the phone and he told me he liked what I did. ‘That’s Scrooge!’ he said. I actually had a huge book he had done on Scrooge and wanted to get him to autograph it, but he passed away before I could meet him in person.”
TaleSpin Tales. The opening titles for Disney’s 1990 TaleSpin animated television series featured some animation done in the U.S.A. that never made it into the actual series. Multiple overseas Asian studios (in addition to Disney animation studios in the U.K., Japan and France) did the animation for the show. U.S. produced animation included Baloo dressed as a girl dancing, Shere Kahn flashing his claws, Wildcat getting a crew cut from the propellors and Don Karnage getting smashed in the face with some sliced mangos.
However, the crew liked the idea of Baloo slicing fruit with a propellor and the slices hitting a pirate in the face was deemed so funny that it ended up as a bit in the TaleSpin feature. That feature, Plunder and Lightning, was broadcast as a five part mini-series but contained almost fifteen minutes of animation not seen in the actual feature.
Product Placement in Oliver and Company. According to the December 22, 1988 edition of the Star Tribune: “More than thirty instances of company logos and brand names are shown in Disney’s Oliver & Company (1988).
Our kitty hero takes refuge atop a Ryder truck tire. His little pal, Jennifer, plays a Yamaha piano. His gang of doggy friends congregrates in a shipboard hideaway where at least one Diet Coke can can be seen. Billboards hyping Kodak, Dr. Scholl’s, Sony, Tab, McDonald’s, U.S.A. Today and its parent Gannett litter the background.”
The Friz. In 1993, The Santa Clarita Valley International Film Festival presented animator and producer Friz Freleng with its first lifetime achievement award. It was announced that the prize would be named in his honor and henceforth be called “The Friz”.
What’s In A Name? Caroline Leaf’s Oscar nominated 1976 short The Street using paint on glass animation was produced by the National Film Board of Canada and garnered several awards. The film is based on a short story collection of the same name by Mordecai Richler. However, while the entire collection is called The Street, the actual source for the story of the film was the story “The Summer My Grandmother Was Supposed To Die”. In the collection, the story called “The Street” was about various stores and people on Montreal’s St. Urbain Street.
Canadian Racoons history. Kevin Gillis and lawyer Sheldon Wiseman responsible for the Canadian animated franchise, The Racoons, parted company with Atkinson Film-Arts in 1985, who had done the first fifteen half hours of The Racoons. Gillis and Stevens moved into their own facility, Hinton Animation Studios, at a cost of $1.3 million for equipment and a five year lease on the renovated warehouse.
“We come as close to full traditional animation as TV budgets allow,” stated assistant director Gerald Tripp. “And we avoid the contrived commercial approach. We’re not a front for a toy company. Ours is primetime animation.”
It took six years for the first Racoons backers to see a return, despite the show’s having been sold to 28 countries from Finland to Iran and being the first outsider-produced animation that Disney ever purchased for the Disney Channel.
In the Ottawa Citizen newspaper for April 11, 1984, Wiseman said that the new animation they would be producing “will be at a qualitative level that will be similar to the specials we have produced over the last few years. It’s the kind of thing that would probably run on Sunday evenings, or at a time when families can view it together. I predict that investors will recover their money over the next three or four years.” The series premiered on the Disney Channel in 1985 and ran until 1992.