July 7, 2017 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #321

Bakshi’s Hound Town. Ralph Bakshi was working in 1989 on selling an animated series to NBC called Hound Town. Conceived by Tri-Star President Jeff Sagansky, the series was about a group of dogs in an ordinary American town who pursue their own lives and observe the curious habits of humans. The pilot aired only once and was never released to video.

Hound Town can’t be fully animated not on the budgets they give you, even for prime time”, said Bakshi to the Los Angeles Times. “But if you’re forced to work in limited animation, you should use it to the best of your ability. Limited animation can be a pure form. If you try to con your audience about how full the animation is, youre in trouble. But if you used limited with skill and sincerity, the work will stand up.”

“Roger Rabbit has exploded the industry. Roger and the other recent features and Mighty Mouse have shown that animation is for adults as well as kids an idea that has been a long time coming. Ive been trying to get CBS to put Mighty Mouse on at night with no luck. I cant even get them to put a Mighty Mouse special on at that time.”

Joe Besser. In his book, Once a Stooge Always a Stooge (1988) comedian Joe Besser talked about some of his regular work as a cartoon voice beginning in 1972 with the role of Puttypuss in DePatie-Freleng’s NBC animated series The Houndcats. He had done a handful of previous one-shot work – like the voice of a dragon on The Alvin Show in 1961. Besser passed away in March 1988.

“I found cartoons were more fun and easier to do than either television or feature films. I reported to the studio once a week, collecting $750 a week to read my lines into a microphone with the rest of the gang. No fuss. No bother. No script changes. I never stuck to the script anyway so that didn’t matter. Friz (Freleng) always encouraged me to ad-lib. He figured I had ad-libbed all my life in show business so why should I change now?

“I was signed to do my second cartoon series entitled Jeannie for Hanna-Barbera in 1973. It was a spin-off of the popular TV series, I Dream of Jeannie starring Barbara Eden. The studio artists developed a bumbling apprentice for Jeannie: Babu, the character I voiced. The likeness between the character and me was unbelievable. It was as though they had me in mind from the start. I really felt like I had arrived in the cartoon business with this role.

“I believed my future in the cartoon business would only get brighter. I was content doing cartoons and enjoyed working with people such as William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, Friz Freleng and David DePatie. They all treated me like a king.”

Hahn on Tummy Trouble. In the Los Angeles Times July 27, 1989, Disney producer Don Hahn said, “It’s great to see the short (Tummy Trouble 1989) doing so well as the production was exhausting and exhilarating. The opening cartoon in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) is Dick Williams masterpiece so to match it, we had to rise to the occasion and that included everyone on the crew from the director to the ink-and-paint people.” Tummy Trouble was made in four months on a budget estimated at about $1.5 million.

More MacDonald Magic. In the L.A. Times obituary February 6, 1991 for one-man Disney sound effects genius James MacDonald, it mentioned, “If he was not inventing the machinery (His 1,000 instruments many of them handmade became everything from gurgling waterfalls to calliopes) he needed for his novel noises, he found it in strange places. He once blew through a condom to provide the buzzing of bees. Not all of his engineering worked as planned. MacDonald once tried to create a series of creaks for a film called The Old Mill. What he got was a perfect foghorn. ‘That’s the way things happen’, he said. ‘I discover them en route to something else’.”

Kricfalusi’s quote explains why Games Animation used this image of Stimpy in its logo.

Milkman Animator. In the Village Voice in 1992, creator John Kricfalusi – who was removed from the producing of The Ren and Stimpy Show – told writer Richard Gehr that while Nickelodeon had offered him a consultant position, he felt, “My approach to consulting is: leave it the way I did it. Let me finish it. You can’t give an unedited cartoon to the milkman and have him finish it. But, what they’ve got over there is a pile of milkmen trying to figure out what my cartoons are about. It’s not violent. It’s slapstick. Theres nothing you can’t see in Tex Avery’s Bugs Bunny cartoons. I had to keep explaining to them that it’s a cartoon. It’s not really happening!”

“Watch the other stuff thats only Saturday night at prime time. It’s worse than what we do. Ren & Stimpy is nowhere near as bad as Liquid TV. That’s got sexism in it and real bloody violence. Our biggest mistake is that we do our risque material cleverly. They notice it more because our show is a hit. It’s hypocritical.”

Farewell to Holloway. Voice actor Sterling Holloway passed away at the age of 87 on November 22, 1992. In the Los Angeles Times for November 24, 1992, Rick Dempsey then the director of Disney animated voices stated, “Sterling just had a unique voice. It was a high-tenor, raspy voice unlike anything you heard. Walt Disney was really enamored of him.” Holloway appeared in countless Disney animated films beginning with his role of the stork in Dumbo (1941) as either characters or the narrator.

Gottfried on Iago. In 1992, voice actor Gilbert Gottfried talked with writer Gary Susman about doing the parrot Iago in Aladdin (1992), “A bald, paunchy parrot with bad teeth. He looks just like me. Now all the animation groupies will come to me, all the women who used to lie with Mel Blanc and cry ‘Do Barney Rubble!’ In fact, years from now, when I’m not working anymore, I’ll be renting this film and saying ‘See? See?’ I saved the Disney studios!’ The grandkids will be saying, ‘Shut up, Grandpa! All through my childhood, my parents said, ‘Gilbert, dont be an accountant; Be a Jewish-Arabian parrot’.”


  • “Hound Town” seems to be an obvious precursor to Illumination’s “The Secret Life of Pets”; just raunchier and limited to dogs.

    • I’m impressed someone FINALLY found a decent copy of this pilot. For years there had been a very degraded, staticy copy on YouTube, yet it’s hard to watch this without reminding myself it has a laugh track!

    • Funny, I didn’t really remember this having a laugh track. I do remember this felt like Rich Moore’s later work with “Simpsons”, “Futurama”, and of course, Disney (I’m ready to know more about “Ralph Wrecks the Internet” in about a week). Maybe, he should expand this idea for Disney.

    • Funny, I didn’t really remember this having a laugh track.

      It is odd how somehow. I remember it having the laugh track the very first time, but I also remember NBC even aired it again, though this time it was stuck on Saturday morning, possibly around noon, perhaps due to some obligation to play it twice, but I dunno. I’m sure if I could find that info one day I’ll know, but it had to be sometime during 1990-92 when I saw it again.

      I do remember this felt like Rich Moore’s later work with Simpsons, Futurama, and of course, Disney (I’m ready to know more about Ralph Wrecks the Internet in about a week). Maybe, he should expand this idea for Disney.

      Not sure I want another “Dog” film for a long time (as much as people are hoping for another Zootopia).

  • Games outdid themselves with “Reverend Jack” (written by Camp and Wray) showing what they thought about the whole fallout between Kricfalushi, Nick, and the artists..

    • More clever than people care to realize. By then, R & S was on its last legs, so this allegory behind the original series was left unnoticed until years and years after the fact.

    • It’s funny how history works like that. I never knew the connection of seeing Stimpy as a milkman in that Games Animation logo before until now!

  • I remember I was at Target a few years back during the Halloween season and they had this interactive candy bowl (for the trick or treaters to get thier Halloween candy from) with a black raven on it. As I reached inside the bowl I heard the raven squawked “Nevermore! Nevermore!!” So I place my hand in the bowl again and the raven squawked “Candy?!? YUK!! Do you have any corn?” Suddenly I realized that it was the voice of Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of the Raven on the candy bowl!

    • Must be desperate for any work these days.

  • [Hound Town] aired only once and was never released to video.

    Actually, I remember watching a heavily edited version on a Saturday morning broadcast.

    • That’s what I recall too, like NBC somehow needed to fill a half-hour one week and stuck that on for who know why, I wondered if it was some sort of contract obligation, but I do remember it occurring something between 1990-92, but obviously before they canned their cartoon lineup. I’m sure if I ever bothered with it, I could go look that info up someplace (like my town’s newspaper TV listings, but that would take quite quite a long time to weed through).

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