Homer That Never Was. In the April 6-13, 2018 issue of Entertainment Weekly, writer David Cohen and showrunner Bill Oakley remembered some of the other ideas considered for the 1995 episode of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VI where Homer goes into a different dimension and is done in CGI (done by Pacific Data Images that produced the segment for free).
Oakley said his original idea was “initially to have the Simpsons’ patriarch to travel through other animation formats but we quickly realized ‘What can we really do besides paper cutouts?’ We could do Claymation but that was a third dimension too. Also it dilutes the conceptual purity of going from second to third dimension. In The Twilight Zone (Little Girl Lost episode that inspired the idea), a little girl goes into the fourth dimension.
“So we said, ‘Let’s dispose of all that other crud…’ We were going to have Homer throttle Bart’s neck. In the second dimension, it wasn’t really hurting him but in this dimension he was going to start screaming, ‘Ow, Dad! Stop it! In here that really hurts for some reason!’”
Writer Cohen shared that originally showing Homer walking down an actual L.A. street was going to be actor Dan Castellaneta, who does Homer’s voice, in a Homer costume but PDI said they could animate Homer in a live action scene. Another pitch would have had actress Julie Kavner, the voice of Marge, as a passerby. Cohen recalled, “Julie was to shudder in revulsion when Homer thought he recognized her.”
Different Kids. Producer Joe Barbera said in an interview in 1990 for World Features Syndicate: “The Flintstones arrived at a time when there was nothing like it and many of our kids back then are now parents who were raised on it and are buying cassettes. The thing about The Jetsons is that the theme song became a cult song, plus there was something fascinating about the future when we made them.
“Kids are different today. Television has given them a kind of ear of brightness and smart-alecky quick answers that rubs off. Look at all the shows today: a father, mother, smart-alecky kids. They’re all very glib.”
Charlie the Dog. Animator Bob Miller wore the Charlie the dog costume from All Dogs Go to Heaven at the San Diego Comic Con in summer 1990 to help promote at the film at the Don Bluth booth where artists Linda Miller, Lorna Pomeroy-Cook and Cathy Jones were selling sketches as “The She Devils of Animation”.
As Bob marched through the hall, often followed by kids, he passed by the Streamline Pictures booth where both Carl Macek and Jerry Beck in good-natured fun flashed wads of money at him to encourage him to take off the character head. Bob was steadfast and refused to do so. Bob could only see out of the mouth of the character and needed an escort to help guide him.
ACME Forever. Somethin’s Cookin’ is the official name of the animation short film that opens the movie 1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Very few cartoon fans notice all the ACME products: ACME Deadly Mouse Poison, ACME Toastamatic, ACME Powder, an ACME mop, ACME Supacold Refigerator, ACME Suck-O-Lux, ACME Chili Sauce Extra Hot and an ACME Hotternell Range.
No wonder disaster happens. Interestingly the cookies and pickles are generic. The gag at the end is Roger gets yelled at for manifesting birdies instead of stars circling his head. However, the soundtrack is playing Mendelssohn’s Spring Song which would be appropriate for birdies. If they wanted stars, the music should have been Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
By the way, the storyboards for that cartoon were drawn by legendary Mark Kausler who also storyboarded the Daffy and Donald sequence. He also animated Droppy, Tweety and some of Benny the Cab in Toontown. Several of his gags got cut including a funeral sequence. A mechanical device for carrying a coffin was actually built for the sequence before it was cut. However, Mark is responsible for the “booby trap” joke that was kept.
Timon and Pumbaa. In the April 6-13, 2018 issue of Entertainment Weekly, actor Ernie Sabella remembered, “Nathan (Lane) and I were doing Guys and Dolls on Broadway so we went to (The Lion King) audition together. We ad-libbed and had fun with it, came up with our own silly stuff. Two months later, we got the call that you’re Timon and Pumbaa. I was like, ‘Who’s Pumbaa?’ We’d read for the hyenas’.”
Producer Don Hahn recalled, “We considered Eddie Murphy for Timon, but Nathan and Ernie brought this great stupid-funny thing to it that worked really well. It’s a heavy story about a lion cub who gets framed for murder so you need this lightness on the side and they were able to provide it.” Before the song Hakuna Matata was introduced, Sabella and Lane recorded one called Warthog Rhapsody.
Katzenberg on Animation. From L.A. Weekly April 26-May 2, 1991, Disney executive Jeff Katzenberg defended 1990’s The Rescuers Down Under as being, “in terms of animation, one of the best produced at Disney up there with Pinocchio. It lacked some ingredients that were critically important to other animated successes at Disney – music, some kind of emotional punch.
“These movies should work on three levels. Our first loyalty is to the kids, the basic core Disney franchise. Next, to ourselves – clearly, it’s not six year olds who are making these movies which have a great sense of wit and humor. Third, and most difficult, they must have an engaging emotional theme. The first Disney movies did not exist in an animation ghetto. They were movies. We want to bring these films back into the center of the universe.”
Frank and Ollie. From the New York Times May 19th, 1996, Jules Engel who was teaching at CalArts said, “Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, they fell in love with the medium so desperately that they could hardly wait to get up in the morning and go and do it. They worked at it like dogs because they wanted to. Those guys wouldn’t think of working any other place that could make them more money. For them, it was the art of it, and the falling in love with it.”