May 12, 2017 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #313

Hanna-Barbera History Hunting. In 1994, Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert told writer Alan Bash of USA Today, “This company for many years didn’t really think too much about its historical perspective. When I came (in 1992), I put out the word that I was interested in classic characters and that we could really benefit from actually setting up an archive.” Seibert brought on board Tom Barreca as vice president of classic characters and earmarked hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover lost materials.

With a team of six researchers, Barreca located every warehouse where Hanna-Barbera material was stored and began opening up dust-covered canisters. Their efforts unearthed the one minute, forty-five second pilot for The Flagstones, the forerunners of The Flintstones. Many early audio reels were also found including the audition tapes and original contracts for Alan Reed and Mel Blanc as well as the original script where “Yahoo!” was crossed out and “Yabba-dabba-doo!” was penciled in its place.

The search continued but very discreetly. “If I went out directly and laid a Hanna-Barbera business card on the table,” said Barreca, “I’d look like a deep-pocketed individual and that undermines my negotiating position. From now on, we’ll be careful what we put out onto the marketplace and what we keep as treasures and history. And no cartoon in the place gets thrown out without my guidance.”

Barry Manilow. In The Orange County Register for March 31, 1994, composer Barry Manilow talked about working on Don Bluth’s Thumbelina (1994): “I’m very grateful that Don Bluth tracked me down to do the music for this film, because my heart lies in being a composer. I was hungry for something like this. Thumbelina was the hardest character to create songs for because – born as she is from the heart of a rose as an instant sixteen year old – she must be naïve. She doesn’t have much experience of life but she’s also not an idiot. So you’ve got to find the right balance.”

Manilow had previously worked on the song “Perfect Isn’t Easy But It’s Me” for Bette Midler in Disney’s Oliver and Company (1988).

Chuck Jones on Disneyland. Chuck Jones, interviewed in Business Screen magazine (Aug/Sept 1982) said, “When I talked with Walt Disney, he told me that when he was a kid and used to go to amusement parks he was disappointed because everything was made of papier mache. The log cabin wasn’t made of real logs. The guns were not real guns. And Walt said he wanted something that would be believable, always believable. That’s what he was driving at. And personally I love Disneyland as does Ray Bradbury. If there was one thing Disney was not, it was practical.”

Presidential Tributes to Mel Blanc. In Daily Variety for August 10, 1989, the trade paper posted comments from two U.S. Presidents on the passing of Mel Blanc in July.

President George H.W. Bush’s message was “As a multitalented actor, Mel Blanc brought joy and laughter to millions of people, young and old, sharing with them a hilarious world where cartoons and reality came together in splendid lunacy. The distinctive voices he gave to so many animated screen characters made them lovable, outrageous, magical and, above all, memorable. The entire nation and people everywhere mourn the loss of this fine and irreplaceable man. He left the world a far happier place and we shall miss him greatly.”

Former President Ronald Reagan’s message was “Mel Blanc was one of the true greats in the entertainment business. For more than half a century, he delighted us with his special talent. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety and the others became part of our families. In millions of households across the land, the genius of Mel Blanc caused the most heartwarming sound of all – children’s laughter. What he brought to animation is literally immeasurable. He is the standard by which all who follow in his path will be judged.”

3/30/1984 – President Reagan with Mel Blanc and Estelle Blanc in the Oval Office.

Good-bye to Kricfalusi 1992. Commenting on his dismissal from The Ren & Stimpy Show on Nickelodeon, creator John Kricfalusi commented in the September 28, 1992 issue of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section, “Nickelodeon wants something for the show. I want something for the show. They’re both very strong visions and together they made for a really great show. But in pure reality, when you mix two really strong visions, it’s going to take a long, long time to do the work.

“We were doing what they did in the 1940s at Warner Bros. but we’re not in the 1940s anymore. There’s no training ground for this. We were reinventing the wheel. By next season, you won’t even recognize Ren and Stimpy. They’ll be Smurfs that fart and hug each other.”

“In the long run, this will be a good thing for everyone,” said Bob Camp who was taking over production of the episodes for the show. “John is like a not-ready-for-prime-time player. The idea of him doing children’s programming — it was good children’s programming, great stuff – but he was not in his element. It won’t be the same in a lot of ways. John always pushes the envelope constantly. One way it will be different, there will be a lot less conflict. The shows aren’t as likely to be as weird or insane. But I think those are things Nick doesn’t want.”

Funny Credits. The 65th episode of Animaniacs entitled “The Warners 65th Anniversary Special” that aired on May 23, 1994 had multiple gag credits interspersed with real credits. For instance, under Dialogue Editors is the following: Mark Keatts, Mick Brooling, Bob Lacivita, Andrew J. King, Aaron L. King, Alan King, Martin Luther King, Chicken A La King, Old King Cole, Larry King Live, Don King, Don Corelone, Don Juan, Don Quixote, Don Wilson, Dondi, Dondi Duran Duran, Whatever Will Be, Will Be.

After the “Sound Mix Is By” credit is one for “The Trail Mix Is By: Nabsico”. There is even a credit for “Animaniacs Nutritional Information Per Serving” with entries for Fat, Calories, Protein, and Carbohydrate. Of course there is a credit for “Bean Counter: Chuck Ansel” followed by “Beans Counted: 235. Definitely 235”.

Working with an Invisible Rabbit. From Los Angeles Times Calendar section June 22, 1998, director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit Robert Zemeckis said, “Bob (Hoskins) understood what he had to do and he accepted it as a challenge and set out to make the technique work. He’d stand by the side of the set and practice lifting a model of Roger by the ears, memorizing how high his hand would have to go for them to make eye contact.”


  • I remember when Boomerang was Boomerang (when they shown the classic HB,MGM and WB along with the Paramount Popeye and Superman and the Filmation’s DC Superheroes cartoons after being acquired by Time Warner before showing animated cartoons from the 1990’s to 2017 and replacing 90% of the vintage classic cartoons that they used to broadcast) that between the shows they had the Boomerang ID inverts along with the inverts for The Flintstones, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel etc and the “Coming On Next on Boomerang ” inverts they had the vintage toys of the Hanna Barbera characters from the 50s and 60s on those ID inverts from toy vehicles to wind up toys to puppets and Tinykin figurines. I’m glad that they started to archive many of the old toys based on the Hanna Barbera cartoon characters that we played with when we grew up watching them.

    • I remember those Boomerang clips-I always got a kick out of them, because I remembered having some of those toys. (I was always hoping to see some of the old Soaky Toys in those spots, but I never did. There was also a cartoon/bubble bath product line called Bubble Club-I remember I had a Peter Potamus bubble club figure. Those were the days!)

  • I have never met a talented person who has not had to fight every inch of the way. John Kricfalusi is an immensely talented individual. Imagine what Warner animation would have become if Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson and the rest had been content to give their employers what they wanted.

    D. W. Griffith, once the most respected now the most reviled director in motion picture history, told the people who went on from him to do their own work, “Don’t give them what THEY want. Give them what YOU want.”

    Every great artist stands up AGAINST their time. Lesser people say, “Get with the program. Go with the flow.” The only fish that go with the flow are the dead ones.

    Dali and Picasso said, “It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy.” I’m with them.

    John is a gifted artist. The tragedy of commercial animation is that it has no place for artists gifted or otherwise.

    There will always be a place for the untalented. They don’t fight for anything.

    “Anyone who wants to make creatively interesting movies in this country today gets stuck in one of three, or at the outside four, ways, all of them too familiar to warrant more than mention. If he works in Hollywood, it is unlikely that he will get more than a fraction of his best ability on to the screen; and that is not to mention the liability of resignation to compromise, and of self-deceit. If he works on his own, he is unlikely to get his films distributed or even sporadically shown; and that is not to mention either the difficulty of getting the money and equipment to make the movies or the liability of self-deceit in the direction of arrogance and artiness—the loss of, and contempt for, audience, which can be just as corrupting as its nominal opposite. If, on the other hand, the would-be artist goes abroad to work, he is likely to find, in future, that the advantages are not so clear by a good deal as they were in the past; and unless he is a very specialized—and perhaps also a very limited—artist indeed, he is certain to suffer as profoundly by a change of country as he would, if he were a writer, by a change of language. The fourth possibility is paralysis, or resignation to the practice of some more feasible art. Either of these is perhaps preferable to literal suicide, but not practically so as far as the movie artist and the movie art are concerned.”–James Agee, Agee on Film, Volume One, page 190.

    Time moves on. Nothing changes but time.

  • Of those two boilerplate Mel Blanc tributes, I’ll be George HW Bush had nothing to do with his. He probably never watched a cartoon in his life.

    • George H.W. Bush was a pilot in WW2 & I’m sure he saw plenty of WB cartoons while in the service, as did most servicemen.

  • Well, I wonder if the feelings about all things Hanna-Barbera are the same, because, judging even from some of the video releases since 1994, there is not that thoroughness, especially after we lost Earl Kress. And they’re also butting heads now with the company that owns the video rights to all things Hanna-Barbera. I’d love for all future releases of Hanna-Barbera material to be as thorough as, say, “THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW”, VOL. 1, including VOL. 2, if we ever see such a release. Hey, we fans also like those classic commercials that include the characters that we all know and love, even down to the ads for cigarettes and beer! I’m delighted that we still see glimmers of that thoroughness, holdovers from the Earl Kress archeological digs, like “THE PETER POTAMUS SHOW” set with bumper *AND* both syndicated closing credits! Also, I fondly recall the comic books and coloring books that featured the classic H/B characters. I wonder if all the comic panel stories (which, I think, were related to seasons five and six of the classic “FLINTSTONES” show) still exist–something to think about if “THE FLINTSTONES” was ever remastered and reissued in its ultimate original form, with Screen Gems logo at the close. All that classic art would be fun for fans who never knew these artifacts existed.

  • Ronald Reagan and Mel Blanc were both employed by Warner Bros. around the same time.

  • Love those credits from that one Animaniacs episode. Here’s some more from that episode:
    Slugger: Bill Knoll, Grassy Knoll
    Louisville Slugger: Baseball Bat
    Slug: Slimey Gooey Thing
    Sheet Timing: Jeff Hall, Monty Hall, Kids in the Hall, Norm McCabe, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Tom Ray, Man Ray, Sting Ray, Bob and Ray, Ray Stevens, Darrin Stevens, Larry Tate
    Favorite Lawrence Welk Quote: “When you have a minute, I want to see you now.”
    Guy Who Cuts Out All The Boring Stuff: Joe “Snippy, The Animator’s Best Friend” Gall

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