The Other Pink Panthers. In New York in 1990, a group named The Pink Panther Patrol (inspired by the Black Panthers to protect Black citizens and the Gray Panthers to protect the elderly) was formed to protect homosexuals from attacks and other anti-gay interactions. Their symbol was a pink triangle with a black paw imprint inside the center.
MGM/UA responded by saying that The Pink Panther was a licensed character “in the spirit of lighthearted non-controversial family fun and entertainment, a purpose and history not in keeping with the issues the Pink Panther Patrol faces” (New York Times May 27,1991) and wanted the group to stop using the name. The studio sued and won in October 1991
“M-G-M uses its mark to promote an image of lighthearted, nonpolitical, asexual, amicable, comic entertainment,” Judge Pierre N. Leval was quoted as saying in The New York Times October 5, 1991. “The patrol’s use of the name is associated with political activism, violence, defiance, homosexuality and angry confrontation.”
The judge said the public could be confused into thinking that the patrol and the Pink Panther cartoon character were somehow related. UA/MGM claimed trademark infringement. The group claimed the studio was homophobic and that no one would confuse the group with the character.
Jay Ward Shenanigans. “Our stuff is different. I want to do really outrageous humor. We want to do really original humor on television, so they have to know us and be ready. When we come in to sell a show, they have to be laughing already. The interesteing thing is the less I have to do with the business end, the better it goes. This past year I’ve been so busy in television, I haven’t been near the office and business has boomed,” stated Jay Ward to the St. Louis Dispatch TV Guide Supplement from March 25-31, 1962.
The article shared, “Subtlety is not part of Ward’s approach. When he came in from Hollywood to visit Manhattan, naturally he had a representative drop in at several newspapers to pay his respects to their editor. He hired a five-piece band to accompany him. It is difficult to go unnoticed if you are accompanied by a five-piece band.
“One editor was so entertained he joined in the singing. Another editor threatened to call the police if they didn’t clear out. A third was simply not amused. Ward remained unperturbed. All the shenanigans are part of his five-year plan for recognition and acceptance and his crusade is to lighten the level of the country’s sense of humor.”
The Truth About Tweety. In TV Guide magazine October 10,1992, Friz Freleng was identified as “Tweey’s creator” and stated, “A lot of people are always asking me what sex Tweety is. I usually tell them I don’t know – it’s irrelevant, really – but, in fact, Tweety’s a guy.”
Woody Woodpecker Oscar Presenter. The 63rd Academy Awards were presented March 21, 1991 at the Shrine Auditorium. There were three nominees for Best Animated Short: Creature Comforts (Nick Park), A Grand Day Out (Nick Park) and Grasshoppers (Cavaliette—Bruno Bozzetto). The presenter was an animated Woody Woodpecker. Animator David Spafford created three versions of Woody announcing the winner since there were only three nominees. Creature Comforts won.
The show’s director, Jeff Margulies wasn’t given the information about the winner until five minutes before Woody opened the animated envelope so that the proper version could be queued up. According to Daily Variety, it was Price Waterhouse’s Frank Johnson who broke the silent pact to reveal the winner to Margulies. “It doesn’t bother me,” said Johnson. “It’s comparable to (having a star open the envelope on stage). It’s a secret until it’s opened. But in this case it’s opened by me.” An animated Woody appeared at the Oscars in 1979 (in animation done by Virgil Ross) to congratulate Walter Lantz on his honorary Oscar.
Where Are the Women Rats? What happened to all the female rats in The Secret of NIMH (1982)? Several sequences were cut from the film in order to make the story stronger, give more focus to the main characters and generally make things more manageable. According to early story notes, synopses and scripts, there was a key female scene that was to take place in the rat’s library as Mrs. Brisby waited to see Nicodemus.
There she met a female rat named Isabella who was described as “flighty”. At first, Isabella is suspcious of Brisby since she is an outsider but soon becomes friendly with her. It is Isabella who explains where the rats got their powers (in the final film it is Nicodemus who does so). Isabella is also seen helping several male rats with wounds they have gotten from battles with the Farmer, weather, and other elements. Some story notes indicate that she had been planned as a true romantic interest for Justin.
Interesting Comparison. When John Kricfalusi was let go from producing The Ren & Stimpy Show from Nickelodeon, in the September 23, 1992 issue of Variety, David Silverman who was an animation director at Film Roman commented, “It’s like someone saying we like this Little Tramp character, but let’s get rid of that Chaplin guy.” The Simpsons creator, Matt Groening, stated in the September 25, 1992 issue that he was “saddened and disturbed by the news” and hoped Nick and Kricfalusi could patch things up because “how can they continue the show without those mad men” and that Kricfalusi is “an essential ingredient to the show’s power”.
Crying Wilma. When I Yabba Dabba Do! Was run on February 7, 1992 where Pebbles Flintstone gets married to Bamm-Bamm Rubble, voice actress Jean Vander Pyl who voiced the character of Wilma Flintstone (and Mrs. Slate) in the special as she had for three decades told TV Guide magazine that she remembered crying when reading the script for the birth of Pebbles with actor Alan Reed (who originally voiced Fred; Henry Corden did it for the special). “I was pregnant myself at the time and my son was born on the same day that show aired. I didn’t cry this time. As a grandmother, I relate more to the next movie, in which Pebbles has a baby. Maybe they’ll put a little gray in our hair when we’re great-grandparents.”