ANIMATION ANECDOTES
November 11, 2016 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #288

joe-jitsu-model-sheet

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).”


One of the Bond's - Pierce Brosnan at Disneyland

One of the Bond’s – Pierce Brosnan – at Disneyland

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.”


tailspinTaleSpin 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.


oliver1Product 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.

raccoons“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.

30 Comments

  • Darkwing Duck also featured bits of animation not contained in any actual episode.

    • I know DuckTales did that as well. It’s like a combo of footage from several episodes mixed with new footage just to fool us!

  • What you’re writing about the TaleSpin feature here sounds a bit confused: “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.”

    Strange wording aside, it is actually the other way around — the FEATURE version of Plunder and Lightning contained several minutes’ worth of footage that was cut from the episode edits. The reason was that the originally broadcast feature film was not long enough to fill up five 22-minute episodes, so it was cut down to fit into four episodes instead.

    • It was a shame they went that way, but I suppose it was better than getting one of their outsourced subsidiaries or an Asian studio to crack out more footage to fill a whole week’s worth of episodes.

    • I also find the whole “produced in USA” very vague. Which animation studio did the animation for the opening titles?

    • That is a mystery. I would’ve thought Disney did it themselves but if they were able to find a place elsewhere in LA that finished it for them, I suppose anything’s possible.

    • I actually have evidence that Sean Newton Animation (I think that was in Canada) might have worked on a few scenes in TaleSpin through Martin Rose’s Linkedin Profile; but I have zero idea what those scenes are. I should also note that there were scenes animated through Lapiz Azul, Cinemadores and Jaime Diaz studios, though the various scatter notes I was taking at the time.

      Interesting note: DAF Radio did an interview with Kirk Tingblad and I heard from him that the overseas animation studios that were doing the animation were outsourcing the animation back to freelancers in the US: http://dafradio.net/2016/10/05/daf-radio-episode-24-kirk-tingblade/

      Somehow; that amused me.

    • Funny the things that goes on behind-the-scenes like that.

    • My friend Tim Val Hal actually responded to my question on which studio did the animation for the opening sequence (well; the parts of it that made the final cut anyway.):

      The animation for the opening titles was taken from the 60 second promo, which was animated by Sam Cornell’s studio. Sam worked at Disney TVA in the early years, but also ran his own studio in Santa Monica.

  • On Joe Jitsu and GoGo Gomez the two groups who protested on those two “politically incorrect ” characters the NHMC and the APAC their members weren’t born or grew up in the 1960’s when The Dick Tracy Show was originally broadcast like the rest of us who were in our late 20’s early 30’s. The only other animated version of Dick Tracy was the ones that was part of Archie’s Tv Funnies. And they were more true than the UPA Dick Tracy. The last rebroadcast of The Dick Tracy Show was on the Fourth of July which was aired on KCAL 9 which was own by Disney back then.

    • My issue with Joe and Go Go was not just because of their stereotypes, but also because they weren’t in the Dick Tracy comic strip (nor were Hemlock Holmes, Heap O’Calorie, or The Retouchables.) Only Tracy and the villains.
      As mentioned, the complaints didn’t really come till the UPA cartoons were reissued in the wake of the Warren Beatty movie. At the same time, a few TV stations even ran episodes of the live-action Dick Tracy series from the early ’50s (a Charlotte station even had a “special” with several of the episodes, hosted by DJs John Boy & Billy.)

      And yes, the Dick Tracy segments from “Archie’s TV Funnies” were truer to the strip.

  • Ann Margaret (as Ann Margrock) sung one of the most beautiful lullabies ever written “This Little Lamb ” I wish that they released This Little Lamb as a single 45 or downloaded as a single online.

    • I think I heard somewhere that Rhino was planning to put the songs from that episode on their Flintstones album in the mid-90’s, but rights issues prevent that.

  • Here’s a page I complied with all the edits done in TaleSpin: http://cloudkicker.50webs.com/Editorials/tsedits.htm

    As you can see; at least 184 different edits were done between the two versions alone, not counting the Toon Disney and iTunes cuts made years later. Everything from a full song being cut out, to audio fixes, to redone animation and backgrounds, different footage played, etc.

    The opening animation (not counting the spliced footage from various episodes) all came from a Disney Channel promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWjn58XAPrU .

    • Now I made myself a total idiot having to bring up the same facts as you! Still it’s good getting it out there!

      If only Disney put out a new HD transfer of the Plunder & Lightening feature as its meant to be seen, we could have all this footage, even the original intro restored to such perfect detail we would never ask for anything else!

    • I would have just been happy if they just released Plunder and Lightning with “Home Is Where The Heart Is” as an extra or have it spliced into the syndication version. That would be better since the entire pilot would be a complete mess otherwise. That being said; a Zeta Gundam New Translation kind of deal would be awesome.

  • In “Send No Flowers”, a post-Fleming novel by John Gardner, the finale takes James Bond to Euro Disneyland. Browsed the book in a bookstore; it looked like Gardner got some backstage info in exchange for a positive view of the park itself.

    A possibly unauthorized Disneyland appearance: In “The Three Stooges in Orbit”, the boys cling to a flying submarine with tank treads as it “flies” over all kinds of stock footage. At one point it’s menacing some helicopter views of Disneyland, which galvanizes them into foiling the space aliens’ plans.

    There are two versions of the Beany and Cecil short “Beanieland”, in which the heroes conjure a theme park on the moon. Among the differences: In one version a map is shown, with punning references to Disney attractions. In the other, those are replaced with Beany-and-Cecil-themed attractions. Aside from that, both have the same comic riffs on Disney. Why are there two versions, and which came first?

    • Re: Beanyland

      Maybe there were complaints from the network? From the book Cartoon Confidential by Jim Korkis and John Cawley: “You can’t have that caricature of Walt Disney building a theme park called Dismal Land!” (That’s from memory so it probably isn’t an exact quote.)

    • I think it was because the network wasn’t too happy with the Disney references in the first version. “Beanyland” was the pilot for the cartoon series and according to archival interviews of Clampett which were include in the first Benny and Cecil DVD, the network mistaken Dishonest John as an evil caricature of Walt Disney!

  • As RNIGMA stated, that both Joe Jitsu along with Heap O’Calorie,Hemlock Holmes,and The Retouchables were not part of the original Dick Tracy comic strip which is true.
    These were originally created for UPA’s The Dick Tracy Show.
    Here’s some of the background of these characters,
    Joe Jitsu (voice by Benny Rubin) a parody on two Asian crime fighters Charlie Chan who was Chinese and Mr Moto who was Japanese. And Joe Jitsu’s name was based on the Japanese martial art known as jujitsu.

    Hemlock Holmes a cockney accented English Bulldog that sounded like Cary Grant and named in honor of Sherlock Holmes voiced by Jerry Hausner.

    The Retouchables were the sidekicks of Hemlock Holmes based on The Untouchables but acted more like the Keystone Cops

    Heap O’Calorie a parody of actor Andy Devine and based on the local “Cop on the Beat” or a police officer walking the precinct of his local Big City police department who had a bad habit of filching apples from a fruit stand was voiced by “Uncle” Johnny Coons

    Nick the Beatnik was Heap’s informant who used his bongos to communicate and give information on the whereabouts of the criminals.

    Manuel Tijuana Guadalajara Tampico Gomez Jr aka GoGo Gomez voiced by Paul Frees was based on Warner Brothers character Speedy Gonzalez.

  • Somehow, I’d never seen the Hanna-Barbera adaptation of THE THREE MUSKETEERS. I remember THE BANANA SPLITS and didn’t stick with the show. I thought the animated segments of the series dealt with further “funny animal” characters. I guess this show is now available through the Warner Archive…THE PETER POTIMUS SHOW was recently made available, and I’ve yet to get it.

    There was one of the DICK TRACY SHOW cartoons on the set that came out from Classic Media that was slightly censored. The plot dealt with parrots that were being smuggled over the border, voiced by Mel Blanc. This particular episode was shown intact around that time when the DICK TRACY cartoons from UPA were shown to help push the Warren Beatty DICK TRACY movie but, like a handful of the MR. MAGOO television cartoons, they were altered both for future TV airings and even on the home video release, and this happened to the MR. MAGOO television cartoons both times.

    When Shout! Factory reissued the set as part of a larger MR. MAGOO TELEVISION COLLECTION, the altered versions of the cartoons were still there.

    • I recall when USA Network once aired the TV Magoo cartoons sometime around that point (anyone remember the “Cartoon Express”) and noticed how Cholly had this very proper sounding voice against everything else in the cartoon (made me felt more sympathetic towards him given the way these cartoons went). It was rather a surprised when one of these cartoons that aired didn’t have this at all and the differences were night and day!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwdgde4bpZo

  • 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?’”

    That’s a missed opportunity right there.

    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.

    That seemed typical for the time when the main-title animation often got done in-house than the rest of the series, though TaleSpin also used footage form several episodes to pad out the rest of its opening (other shows like DuckTales did that as well).

    Incidentally, here’s something of a rarity, some suggested this might’ve been the original intro to the show before they went with something else. The footage was used for a promo promoting the series during a free preview of The Disney Channel, though there are some quick cuts that made it to the final intro.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWjn58XAPrU

    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.

    Those lucky to have seen the original feature presentation when it aired on The Disney Channel saw a lot of footage that went excised in the syndicated version of those episodes.
    http://cloudkicker.50webs.com/Editorials/plight.htm
    http://cloudkicker.50webs.com/Editorials/tsedits.htm

    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).

    Sticking in those product placement logos in what was meant to be present day New York did a fine job of setting the stage and time of our story I felt. This was no different from what was done a few years earlier in the popular Japanese animated “Megazone 23 pt. 1” needing to mention certain places like McDonalds or Hard Rock Cafe in its 1980’s Tokyo setting.

    His gang of doggy friends congregrates in a shipboard hideaway where at least one Diet Coke can can be seen.

    Reminded of the Coke billboard right in the opening title sceen in the screenshot! That logo was current to what was in Time Square at the time I think.

    Aside from logo placement, I reminded of The Brave Little Toaster managing to get a “TDK” logo on one of its skyscrapers for one shot of the city the guys go to.

    I suppose for Caroline Leaf’s “The Street”, naming it “The Street” was a much easier title to use than to go with the actual story from the collection.

    “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.”

    I do recall The Raccoons getting an early evening slot on CBC when it aired, though I’m sure, compared with The Simpsons, it probably seemed like a small victory for Canadian animation to get a nice slot like that.

    Don’t recall them on Sudays though, this promo suggest they moved to Wedesdays at one point.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIqfVIdAiFY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMHrFxIyP3I

    I don’t remember what times The Disney Channel had ’em on for, but I often recall the weekends though I wouldn’t doubt them being played at any other time of the day back then.

    • Another example of “product placement” in an animated feature is the realistically-drawn box of Honey Nut Cheerios in The Chipmunk Adventure.

  • According to an Amazing Heroes magazine interview, Ann-Margrock’s face was designed by Doug Wildey, working from a set of Ann-Margret photos that comprised a complete “turn around” of her head. Her body was drawn by the usual Flintstones designers. Laying out the scene of A-M singing the “little lamb” lullaby to Pebbles, Wildey said he couldn’t place the baby in her arms properly using Flintstone-style proportions; so he drew an oval on the layout, labeled it “baby,” and handed it off to, I believe, Dick Bickenbach, who Wildey said “handled it, no problem.”

  • Thanks to BIGG for correctly listing Paul Frees as the voice of Go Go Gomez. I’m tired of all the books and online articles that incorrectly credit Mel Blanc as Go Go. Though I guess it’s a natural enough mistake, with the comparison to Speedy Gonzalez and also Mel’s famous “si” routine with Jack Benny.
    I believe Everett Sloane was Dick Tracy’s voice at UPA. Who were the voices of all the “bad guys”? (Pruneface, Flattop, Sketch Paree, etc.?)

    • Both Mel Blanc and Paul Frees shared the VO duties on Flattop Jones using a Peter Lorre style of voice. Mel’s version of Flattop was a little more nasally than Paul Frees who did a Peter Lorre impression on Spike Jones’ version of My Old Flame.

  • Besides the UPA DICK TRACY cartoons being as unlike the strip as a cartoon could possibly be short of not even using Tracy, the also used villains who had died in the strip years earlier, giving this viewer the mistaken impression that Chester Gould didn’t care much about continuity.

    • I was under the impression that Gould disliked the cartoons. By the way, doesn’t Henry Saperstein come off rather like Willy Loman in defense of his product? By 1990, UPA hadn’t been a working studio in decades (I recall “What’s New, Mr. Magoo?” was done at DePatie-Freleng) and existed in name only.

      As for Alan Young’s portrayal of Uncle Scrooge, I’m glad Barks gave it his approval. I think one or both of Young’s parents were Scottish (his actual first name was Angus), and he played a Scot in the movie “The Time Machine.”

    • I heard an interview Alan Young did five years ago (with Greg Bell), and he said his father was Scottish, his mother English.

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