The Animated Vaughn Bode. Bruce MacCurdy was an animator and instructor at Syracuse Univeristy who was also friends with cartoonist Vaughn Bode. In a 1982 interview with Richard Gruender, MacCurdy said, “I think (Bode) got interested in animation when he was friends with me. We used to talk about animation a lot. We even talked about me animating some of his work. He went to New York and started running around with some underground cartoonists. He ran into (Ralph) Bakshi in New York. At the time, we were working on a script for an animated feature called “The Amorous Adventures of Puck”. Puck was one of Vaughn’s lizard creatures but kind of a little satyr.
“He had met Bakshi through some of his underground cartoonist connections. Vaughn had seen some of the rushes of Fritz the Cat (1972) that Bakshi was working on at the time and was fairly impressed. But Bakshi had a pretty bad reputation at the time because he was working with a number of people from Marvel Comics and he was ripping off their ideas, putting their ideas in his films and not giving them any credit for it. He was a good producer and Vaughn was impressed with the stuff he was doing but Vaughn decided at a certain point that he did not want to have anything to do with him professionally.
“Vaughn’s script for “The Amorous Adventures of Puck” was something Bakshi was very interested in and wanted to buy it. Vaughn decided that he just didn’t want to get involved with him. We had a number of ideas in mind for animation. Vaughn wanted to animate “The Man” (about a caveman). We wanted to animate several short stories with his lizard people. Because Vaughn was working on his own career at the time doing a number of strips and series and had so many things going on that we never got a chance to get serious.
“He did have a real interest in animation. He thought in terms of animation when doing his strips and he thought that his scripts would be natural things for animation. He was very concerned though about keeping control over his work and although he had many chances to sell his work to Bakshi and other people, he really wanted to keep that kind of artistic control and not let his characters out of his grasp. Even so, in films like Wizards (1977) and a number of other Bakshi films there are a number of characters in it that are really right out of Vaughn’s work and very deriative of his work…to the point of some being real ripoffs.”
Bakshi Speaks. Animator and director Ralph Bakshi in the November 1982 issue of American Premiere magazine talking about the recent release of his animated feature Hey Good Lookin’ said, “It’s been a ten-year battle to educate the public and to educate the exhibitors that animation has other possibilities from what it always had. And for me, as for all people who battle, suddenly the battle had become the game, and that detracts from all I ever was – which is a writer/director who hopefully has a unique approach to how he envisions film.
“Now I’d like to take that package to live action and get the monkey off my back of educating the public to accept the same things in animation that they do in live action. That battle doesn’t make any more sense to me because I will feel just as fulfilled creatively if I can do a live-action picture that will get people excited. First and foremost, I am a filmmaker.”
Jack Warner. Chuck Jones, interviewed in Business Screen magazine (Aug/Sept 1982) said, “Friz Freleng and I were finally invited to have lunch at the (Warner Brothers) executive dining room. This was reserved for executives and favorite directors. Jack Warner was there. And Harry Warner was there. Jack didn’t say very much for us. He was talking to other people about other things. But Harry Warner said, ‘The only thing I know about our cartoon department is that we make Mickey Mouse’. That was a little startling and this was the early 1950s. And so when we left, I said, ‘Don’t worry, Mr. Warner, we’ll continue to make good Mickey Mouses!’ And he patted me on the back. As far as Jack Warner was concerned he didn’t even know the difference between Friz and me. When we went into television, we met him and he couldn’t remember our names. So he called us Mutt and Jeff. That was after we’d worked for Warners for twenty-five years. He didn’t even know where the department was!”
That Thing Hanna and Barbera Did. Fred and Barney Meet The Thing was an hour long Saturday morning TV show produced by Hanna-Barbera that ran from September 8, 1979 to December 1, 1979. The first half hour concentrated on the new adventures of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble while the other half hour was an unusual cartoon about a teenaged Benjy Grimm who joined his magic “Thing” rings together to become the Thing. Fred and Barney did not exactly “meet” Marvel’s Thing character except in the opening credits and short bumper segments.
Where did this wacky idea come from and why was it bought by NBC? Hanna-Barbera had developed a pitch for a show of Archie-style teenagers and one of them would turn into a monster and hilarity would ensue. At the same time, DePatie-Freleng were trying to salvage their failing Fantastic Four Saturday morning series by creating a spin-off that would parallel the successful prime-time live action Hulk TV show with Ben Grimm traveling from town to town and transforming into the Thing to help people. Coincidentally, both proposals of presentation art were in front of Fred Silverman at the same time. He liked the H-B proposal but thought it would be more successul with a “name” monster so a deal was made to incorporate the Thing into the H-B show.
The Dreams of Sullivan Bluth. In 1988, Morris Sullivan of Dublin’s Sullivan Bluth Studios Ireland Ltd. Told reporter Eric Harwood, “From our point of view, our creative people feel that they need trainees who are familiar with the English language in order to pick up facial features, gesticulations, mannerisms, etc. Furthermore, we are seeking to re-create the classical style of animation not done since the 1930s and 1940s, producing twenty-four frames per second as opposed to the current trend of six to eight.” SBSI trained a staff of 240 nationals since 1986 and out of that eight trainees became full-fledged animators. “This was a pleasant surprise,” continued Sullivan. “We did not expect an Irish animator until after five years of training.” Sullivan also stated that the studio was building a commercial division and planned to expand into live-action films as well.