Flintstone Stamps. In February 1991, Mongolia issued a series of commemorative stamps featuring The Flintstones to generate income through sales to people who would buy them but never use them. Mongolian artists, using Hanna-Barbera model sheets, designed the images. One stamp showed a race between Pebbles riding a dinosaur next to a Mongolian child aboard a camel. Another featured Fred and Wilma and Barney and Betty cruising under a desert moon.
Pam Coats on Mulan. In The Boston Sunday Globe June 14, 1998, Mulan (1998) producer Pam Coats said, “I refer to both the visual design and the story with term ‘Poetic Simplicity’. Not that we sat there at the beginning and said, ‘OK, we’re going to make a poetically simple movie’. We just tried to figure out how we could have the strongest story. Originally we had a lot more the villain, a lot more of Mushu, a lot more romance. Slowly, but surely, all of those things didn’t stack up to what what happening in the movie. They became untrue to themselves and we took them out. It might have been a great idea but if it didn’t work for the movie, it went away so we ended up with this polished piece.
“The character of Mulan is probably the most successful aspect of the film. She’s not only endearing, she’s resourceful and heroic and she doesn’t need a man. I think she celebrates the importance of the individual. She shows what a difference one person can make.
“We hired Taiwanese artist Chen-Yi Chang to design the film’s characters and to be a culturally correct sounding board. He was our in-house Chinese expert in terms of accurate depictions. We checked with him a lot to make sure we were doing the right thing. Plus we have a lot of Asian-American animators and artists who worked on the movie.
“We made a decision very early on to cast the majority of principal roles with Asian-Americans for a couple of different reasons. The first one being that any inherent understanding of the culture that would come through casting Asian-Americans would always be helpful. And then, some of the actors have an interesting rhythm to their delivery, which I think aids the flavor of their character. So we did it for almost selfish reaons: we wanted their background to help us create as believable an environment as we could.
“We won’t make everyone happy. I don’t believe it’s possible in life to make everyone happy. But it was important for us to bring honor to a legend that so many people love so much.
Richard Rich. In the Dallas Morning News in 1998 for the release of the third Swan Princess animated feature (The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Kingdom), director Richard Rich said, “I was just the lucky one. I was lifted from the Disney mailroom where I gave piano lessons in my spare time to be named director on The Fox and the Hound (1981) and assistant director on other films.
“However, my work on those Disney classics was just preparation for the work I do with Nest Entertainment on the Bible oriented videos. I believe these videos will affect more lives than anything I ever did at Disney or anything Disney will ever do. To create change, to make people better and their relationships with other people better is what’s important, because as we go through life, that’s what we should be doing – helping others.
“I’ve been real lucky with Disney and Nest . I’ve never had anything I couldn’t bring home to my six children.”
Lois Lane Talks. In the Chicago Tribune October 10, 1996, actress Dana Delaney who was voicing the character of Lois Lane in the WB Superman animated series said, “The (Superman) scripts I get every week are better than most of the feature films scripts I get. It’s so hard to find a good role as a woman. When I read the script I knew I wanted to play Lois Lane. She’s like (actress) Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (1940) and that’s how I play her – smart and sassy.”
Woody and Antz. In the Dallas Morning News in October 3,1998, Tim Johnson, co-director of Dreamworks Antz (1998) said, “In computer animation, we have to be careful about the kinds of decisions we make because what may seem like a simple decision – we need a pile of rubble behind the characters in this shot – can send people off working on it for several weeks. Sometimes you have to ignore the technology in order to get the best out of technology. If there’s any message from our film, it’s be happy you’re a mammal. Life is very hard on insects.
“Jeffrey (Katzenberg) loved the idea of using a Woody Allen character. It seemed so true to the core and he knew Woody well. So Jeffrey approached Woody and two years ago we took a bunch of artwork to him and showed him a piece of animation where we had taken an insect character speaking lines from (his film) Bananas (1971) and he asked, ‘How did you get me in there?’ He was just really intrigued and said, ‘I’ll do it. I like your story’. Jeffrey had ambitions to change animation, to challenge audiences.”
Kimball Memories. In 1996, I spent some time with Ward Kimball at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida where I was a salaried animation instructor. He told me that many people at the Disney Studio felt he was descrecrating the Disney heritage when he did the Mouse Factory television series in 1972. He was most regretful that Wilfred Jackson felt that way since Kimball said he respected Jackson.
Ward said he had a lot of fun doing he series and had to get his Director’s Guild card to do so but never voted in any Academy Awards. In fact, he told me he never voted in any elections since Upton Sinclair ran (1934) because he felt it was useless to vote after seeing all the corruption from whomever was eventually elected.
Where They Got Their Inspiration. What cartoons were shown and studied by the animators who worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)? Smile, Darn Ya, Smile (1931), Bedtime (1923), The Fresh Lobster (1928), You Oughta Be In Pictures (1940), Anchor’s Aweigh (1945) the sequence with Gene Kelly and Jerry Mouse, Down the Drain (1946), Hot Stogie (1946), Song of the South (1946) the Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah and How Do You Do sequences, Midnight Snack (1941), Swing Swift Cinderella (1945), Dumb Hounded (1943), Bell Boy Donald (1942), Booby Traps (1944) and Drooler’s Delight (1949).