March 17, 2017 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #305

Joe Oriolo's original sketch of Casper for the children's book by he and Sy Reit

Joe Oriolo’s original sketch of Casper for the children’s book by he and Sy Reit

Casper Creator. Animator Seymour Reit was upset when animator and producer Joe Oriolo passed away in late December 1985 and his obituaries described him as the creator of Casper, the Friendly Ghost. He wrote several letters including this one that appeared in Newsday on January 14, 1986: “Joe was an associate of mine years ago, when we were both employed at the Fleischer Animation Studios in Miami. He was a fine artist and animator, however, he was not the creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost.

“I wrote the original Casper story – complete with title, character development and story line – while at Fleischers. This story served word for word as a voice-over narration for the very first Casper theatrical release. That film won an Oscar nomination in the animation category, and it was because of this that the studio undertook to turn my little ‘Fabletoon’ into an ongoing series.

“Oriolo’s role, an important one, was to create the original graphics that accompanied my story. He did indeed create the first drawings of Casper. But as the Fleischer files (plus many old-timers) will readily attest, the original concept and story were my own.

“Be that as it may, Joe Oriolo was an excellent producer-animator, whose work will be missed.”

Arrow: Ahead Of Its Time. Where did Jeffrery Katzenberg get the idea to hire actor Mel Gibson to do the voice of John Smith in Pocahontas (1995)? Apparently, he had seen the trailer done on spec by Kroyer Films for a proposed animated feature for Warner Brothers where Gibson did the voice of a detective named Arrow.

Unlike its previous film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992), Kroyer Films, struggling with just some minor work doing title sequences, videogames and commercials, decided to take a chance with a detective action-adventure story that would include black magic voodoo, inter-racial romance (supposedly the reason Warners passed) and… zombies.

Animation for the color sixty second trailer was done in three weeks by folks like Bruce Smith, Tony Fucile, Dave Brewster Dan Jeup , Anne Marie, Krystal, Wendy and Steve Markows and Doug Frankel. Ralph Eggleston did a scene as well as art directing the promo with Sue Kroyer. It was done without the use of real model sheets that would feature rotations. Apparently, there were many artists eager to work on the film not just because Bill and Sue Kroyer were incredibly professional but were well known for their kindness.

do-right-horseJules Feiffer Loves Dudley Do-Right’s Horse. From Show Business Illustrated November 28, 1961, cartoonist Jules Feiffer wrote an article entitled “Bullwinkle, A Moose With Bezazz” and here is an excerpt: “What seems to have started the most recent stampede (of adult TV cartoons) is The Flintstones, an imitation of Ralph and Alice Kramden in Caveland. It is a dreadful show and an enormous success, and because of it the parade is on. We now have a Bullwinkle to offset a Flintstones.

“NBC’s Bullwinkle is not really new. It is just a new name for a show that has been around for a while called Rocky and His Friends. It is the old show business story…Rocky, a nice kid in an aviator’s cap, downgraded because he lacked bezazz. Not that Bullwinkle is without his charm. He is a moose who is part Oliver Dragon out of Albert Alligator with the voice of Clem Kadiddlehopper. I find him a bit talky and the least interesting character around.

“My heart really belongs to the horse owned by Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties. His girl loves his horse and let me tell you, it is a pretty good looking horse which in moments of peril doubles for our hero and helps him snag the villain.”

roger_rabbit500No Creativity, Please! From Los Angeles Times Calendar section June 22, 1998, animation director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit Richard Williams said, “We tried not to draw like 1988. I told everyone, ‘We’re trying to celebrate the animation of 1947. That means we have to be those guys – as much as we can – so we have to draw like them at least. No creativity, please’.”

220px-Private_SNAFUSnafu Series. Chuck Jones, interviewed in Business Screen magazine (Aug/Sept 1982) said, “The Snafu series we did were not too aggressive. They were all to do with the protection of lives. Keep away from mosquitoes and so on. Up to then, they had been making pictures using actors as soldiers or using soldiers as actors. Neither method worked too well. But when you made a cartoon film, no one could object to it. Every soldier related to it. We had to know the mental attitude of the audience. These guys were usually very tired, and often in over heated barracks when they saw these films. So we used some pretty salty language to get their attention.”

animaniacsWakko Talks. From the North Jersey Herald & News from June 6,1994, voice actor Jess Harnell who spoke for Wakko in the animated series Animaniacs had the following to say, “Everybody says Animaniacs reminds them of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons and that’s the ultimate compliment because those cartoons from the 1950s are still recognized as the best. I’d like to make a contribution to American pop culture. I sing commercial jingles all the time but this is really special. I come from a background as a rock singer. When people meet me, they say, ‘I didn’t know Wakko looked like Bon Jovi.’

“They also want to hear me say ‘potty emergency’ because in one of the episodes, Wakko really had to go to the bathroom and used that phrase over and over. I just constantly remind myself that I’m lucky to be here and doing what I’m doing. The writers on Animaniacs leave us a lot of freedom to ad-lib and that’s a lot of fun. We just found out we’ve been renewed for a second season and we got to sit down with Spielberg personally. He wants us to do an Animaniacs feature film. He made the final casting and visual choices for the TV show and he’s really into it.

“Wakko is zany as hell with a very sweet voice. People take to him because he’s little and wears no pants. Think about it. I’d like to wear no pants. The voice is a mixture of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Wakko is really the baby Beatle! This job is most closely akin to what I got in trouble for in high school. Can you believe there are no more Wakko stuffed toys left in America? They’re completely sold out!”


  • On Casper the Friendly Ghost – I wonder why at first Casper was created as a obese whiny ghost who acted like a crybaby when he didn’t made friends. Also there was a Warner Bros. Merrie Melody cartoon directed by Chuck Jones called Ghost Wanted that came out in 1940, five years before The Friendly Ghost (1945), and if the rumors are true that Chuck Jones’s version of the Little Ghost in Ghost Wanted was the inspiration of Casper in the 1950s – changing him from a obese whiny Ghost to the Ghost that we all know and love today.

    Also in the clip episode Casper’s Birthday Party (1959) Casper finally got over acting like a crybaby and went home disappointed after failing to get any “living guests ” for his birthday party but had a surprise waiting for him as his ghost friends threw a surprise party for him.

    And on Wakko Warner in Potty Emergency!!! – The funniest part was when Wakko goes into the unkempt restroom at a gas station owned by a sadistic owner who warned him not to go in there and it was “unclean” and as Wakko entered the restroom and turned on the lights about a gazillion cockroaches scurry all over the restroom and the look on Wakko’s face was priceless and as they show the exterior of the restroom you could hear Wakko shrieking in terror and as he rushes out slamming the door and continues to shriek in terror and saying “I can’t potty in there, it’s disgusting !!!”

    • I don’t’ believe they showed the full interior of the restroom, which makes it even funnier. You can make it as gross as you want in your head.

    • I don’t’ believe they showed the full interior of the restroom, which makes it even funnier. You can make it as gross as you want in your head.

      In some way, it kinda reminds me of Bob Godfrey’s short “Instant Sex”. We’re given indication of something nasty happening but everything takes outside the door of an apartment the guy enters anyway, but you know something magical happens every time he opens a can of that stuff!

  • If Oriolo did the original character designs of Casper, that would make him a co-creator, wouldn’t it? It would be all to similar to the collaborative nature of other famous characters’ creations (Kane/Bill Finger/Jerry Robinson and Lee/Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko, just to name two)

    • In that regard, Asterix’s Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo can also be seen as co-creators as well.

  • I bet that bathroom was inspired by the bathrooms at Pemex stations south of the border.!

    • Or any restroom located at gas stations way off the main interstate highway (mainly rural highways in the middle of nowhere). And believe me I heard about them Eek!!! Also there was a Pemex reference in a Tom Slick cartoon The Sneaky Shiek where he was racing in the Middle East at a off road race rally and after the Thunderbolt Grease-Slapper was sabotaged by The Sneaky Shiek (who had a uncanny resemblance to comedian Phil Silvers) a gas station appeared with Pemex lettering on the oil drums to help fill Tom Slick’s race car for him to continue the race but of course the gas station was a mirage.

  • Never knew Sy Reit did any animation work. Only knew him for his writing for Archie- until now!

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