February 17, 2017 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #301

TV-Guide-DisneyHow Do You Doodle? In TV Guide for October 23-29, 1954, Walt announced that one of the first year episodes of his weekly TV show would be “How Do You Doodle?” in which doodles of the Disney artists would be set to music. Walt said, “The Disneyland show will be about 60 percent new stuff and 40 percent old. At that, some of the ‘old’ footage will be stuff the public has never seen. We’ll show, for example, an entire sequence from Snow White that never got into the final picture.” (That was Ward Kimball’s infamously cut at the next to the last minute Soup Eating scene with the Seven Dwarfs.)

Richard Williams on Live Action and Animation. From Los Angeles Times Calendar section June 22, 1998, Animation Director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit Richard Williams said, “When I met Bob (Zemeckis) in London, I told him that I hated combinations of animation and live action. They embarrass me. The cartoon cancels out the live action and the live action cancels out the cartoon, and you can’t believe in either one and he agreed with me.”

1ae23d61171d4c5ac83c54dd7e34a9afThe Story of Klasky/Csupo. After working from 1970 to 1974 at the Pannonia Studio in Budapest, Hungary, Gabor Csupo and two other animators who were close friends decided it was time to escape to the West.

“We saw how far we could go in Hungary and it was not good enough. It was a choice we all made and I think it paid off,” said Csupo to Electronic Media magazine May 2, 1994.

In 1975, the three first went to Yugoslavia where they received a letter from a friend who had left Hungary for Sweden.

“We could not get visas for Western countries so we went to Yugoslavia and got the letter that told us a secret way to sneak through to Vienna, Austria,” said Csupo. “It suggested going to the border at a town called Split where there was a big tunnel to Austria. It took us three hours to cross in the dark with flashlights, but we were young and ready for anything.”

In Austria, it took the three animators about six months to finally reach Sweden, where their friend helped them get work. Then in 1978 Csupo met Arlene Klasky, a graphic designer while she was on vacation there. A year later, he moved to Los Angeles and married her.

klasky-csupo-crew-jacketIn 1982, in the spare bedroom of their Hollywood apartment, they started the Klasky/Csupo animation company. The company got its big break in 1988 when James Brooks and his Gracie Films hired the company to produce the title sequence and animation for the one minute Simpsons cartoons for The Tracey Ullman Show. The company handled the animation for the first three seasons of The Simpsons and then went on to other projects like Rugrats and Duckman.

“It helps to a degree that we see design and art from a little bit of a different perspective,” said Csupo. “A different background and culture mixed in with the realization of what is Western culture and art is a lucky combination. When you look at Eastern Europe, it’s depressive, monotone, dark and surrealistic. But mix the two together, you realize you can be arty and communicate the happier side of things.”

bakshi175Bakshi 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, “I’ve brought animation to everyone’s attention. I’ve made four very personal films. I’ve had screenings of my films at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I’ve done, I think, four of the highest grossing animated pictures in the history of the business. It’s not a question of defeat when Fritz and Heavy Traffic have not stopped playing since the day they were released – everywhere in the world. Defeat? By no means. I just have to go on and challenge myself.”

dog-charlie-brownCharles Schulz Speaks. From Woman’s Day magazine February 1968, cartoonist Charles Schulz talked about the latest Peanuts special, He’s Your Dog Charlie Brown (1968), “Good dialogue is important. Of course, there’s nothing worse than relying too much on funny lines. You have to have things that are pictorially funny as often as possible. But you have to choose exactly the right word, too. For instance, Snoopy’s Sopwith Camel. Using a word like Spad just wouldn’t be right. People still like things that are basically decent and clean and good – and funny.”

The Coyote Philosophy. Chuck Jones, interviewed in Business Screen magazine (Aug/Sept 1982) said, “When the coyote falls off a cliff, he appears not to be worried about being hurt but he is worried about being humiliated. So when he crosses his arms as he’s failing through the air, and looks at the audience angrily, it’s because he doesn’t want them to see him.”

jeffery-katzenberg-70sThe Sheep Dog and the Wolf. In the Wall Street Journal for May 16,1994, Disney executive Tom Schumacher during production of The Lion King (1994) said, “Jeffrey (Katzenberg) is the sheep dog and the wolf. He’s the sheep dog guarding us and the wolf hunting us. Howard Ashman was able to cajole and educate Jeffrey into what makes great musical theater.”

Soviet and US Animation Partnership. Soviet animation director Fyodor Khitruk told the Los Angeles Times November 17, 1987, “I’ve been delighted by the way audiences in America have received Russian films and vice-versa. Although we haven’t found a partner yet, we have proposals for two films that could be done by the U.S. and Soviet animators.

“The first would be a satirical look at the stereotypes we have of each others’ cultures. The second is tentatively entitled The Chronicles of One Planet. It would explore how life developed on Earth and how quickly it can be destroyed. We’re also interested in projects that would allow us access to some of the state-of-the-art American equipment. We don’t yet have the hardware or software to produce much computer animation.”

ASTROCOMICS. Casper, Richie Rich, Little Audrey, Hot Stuff, Baby Huey and others appeared in the very first giveaway comic book for an airline. Twenty-one issues of Astrocomics (1968-1979) featuring those Harvey characters were released to passengers as “your favorite comic book characters on American Airlines”. These were not original stories but reprints from Harvey Comics.



  • On Klasky/Csupo: One of their more obscure jobs was the animation for The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald VHS series which were sold at McDonald restaurants. Ronald looked like he had a Chuckie Finster type haircut in the animated series.

    And on He’s Your Dog Charlie Brown: truly, in my opinion, one of the funniest Peanuts special ever. Including my favorite scene where Snoopy, locked up in the garage for disobedience to Peppermint Patty, begins thinking about going back to Charlie Brown and starts to cry, then starts to howl uncontrollably. Peppermint Patty (in her nightgown), wondering what’s going on, goes to the garage where Snoopy is – gets ambushed by Snoopy and escapes to Charlie Brown’s house, to be reunited with him. Great scene!

    • I remember “HE’S YOUR DOG, CHARLIE BROWN” fondly as well. If I’m not mistaken, I thought that, as Snoopy howled in the night from the garage, you saw the “OOOOOOOOOOOH…” traveling on up through Peppermint Patti’s window. That was truly Peppermint Patti’s best episode; I liked the voice given to her, so close to what I imagined when I first saw her as a regular character in the comic panels. Just about every CHARLIE BROWN special of the 1960’s was fantastic fun!

  • Congratulations, Jim, on your 301st installment!

    Was “How Do You Doodle?” ever broadcast?

    And… did the Soviet and US partnership come to fruition? If so, what were the names of the films?

    • No, although the deleted scene from Snow White was shown on “The Plausible Impossible”.

  • I didn’t know Gabor Csupo’s history. Very dramatic, complete with an escape through a hidden tunnel.
    Suddenly, I’m remembering cracking up at a Simpsons sequence featuring a parody of eastern bloc expressionist style animation. I think it was kind of like “Kids, here’s what Itchy & Scratchy look like in other parts of the world!” Not sure. But it was an early season – maybe season one. And it was hilarious.

    • Was it the “Worker & Parasite” cartoon that Krusty ran on his show, when Marge’s crusade led to Itchy & Scratchy being taken off the air? (ENDUT! HOCH HECH!)

    • I wonder how that tunnel came to be in the first place?

    • RNIGMA – That’s probably it! I haven’t seen it since the early nineties. I had been thinking maybe it was when Sideshow Bob took over the show, but I bet you’re right.

      MATTHEW KOH – Yeah, I was wondering whether it was, like, a deserted tunnel for cars or trains, or if it had been secretly dug specifically for escape.

      …Sorry for the delay over the long weekend. I never know whether to reply or just sheepishly keep mum.

  • I kind of have a question for you guys. Does anyone have an idea of who animated this segment

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