The Angel and the Soldier Boy. The Angel and the Soldier Boy is the 13th album by the Irish folk group Clannad. It is the soundtrack to the twenty-five minute 1989 animated movie of the same name produced by Grasshopper Productions with narration by Tom Conti. It was written and directed by Alison De Vere. The animation is based on the award-winning children’s picture book by Peter Collington.
For her birthday a little girl is given a pink piggy bank, a shiny new coin, a picture book about pirates and two tiny dolls – an Angel and a Soldier Boy. While she sleeps, the pirates jump out of the picture book and steal the coin in her piggy bank.
The noise wakes the Soldier Boy who chases after them, but he is overpowered and taken prisoner. The Angel sets off bravely to rescue her hero and we follow their adventures, out to sea and back again, as they retrieve the coin and bring it safely home to the little girl.
However, this animated special did have a moment of controversy that had to be censored. Originally, there was a scene where a drunken pirate swigs from a wine bottle, belches loudly and falls asleep. When the film was pre-screened for a group of children, they immediately began imitating the pirate’s loud burp to the horror of their parents who were also in attendance.
The production company replaced the burp with a yawn instead. Said executive producer Geoffrey Goy, “I must admit that the children’s reaction took us completely by surprise. We decided to change it because it goes out on children’s prime-time TV. We didn’t want hundreds of calls from parents saying the cartoon encouraged their children to do disgusting things.”
June Foray Remembers Jay Ward. From the 1990 San Diego Comic Convention book, June Foray wrote about the recently departed Jay Ward. Among other things, she said, “I remember Jay’s patience, his laughter when actors became hysterical reading the scripts, ragging each other because whatever made us laugh made Jay laugh and obviously vice versa. He was fiercely determined, but he taught us all the ability to laugh at ourselves. I remember when he couldn’t sell his later pilots – the hilarious Fang, the Wonder Dog, Hawkear, and The Stupor Bowl – he said, ‘CBS dislikes us; NBC hates us and ABC detests us!’
“I remember how Jay laughed when Paul Frees sacheted into the studio as the song-and-dance man Buddy Green. I remember Jay’s affable welcome to three or four of Paul’s wives, when they attended our sessions…at different times, of course.
“I remember when I asked Jay if I could change the voices of the princesses in Fractured Fairy Tales. I was always, ‘Do the Brookyln. Do the Brookyln’. It was always ‘Do Marjorie Main’ for the fairygodmothers. He was always right.
“I remember his little kids and Bill Scott’s kids and Paul’s kids coming to watch their fathers work. I remember going to the racetrack with Jay and his wife Billie to watch his horses run. Jay admonished my husband, ‘Don’t bet on my horses’. But Hobart felt obligated through his fondness for Jay to do just the opposite. He lost a bundle.
“We all grew up together. We were young. We were family. We saw the kids mature and became aware over the years of our infirmities and encroaching wrinkles. However, Jay’s impudence will endure and titllate audiences well into our forthcoming century. As Bill Scott always said, ‘We have corrupted a new generation even now’.”
Tusker. In December 1998, DreamWorks and PDI announced their third CG project (following Shrek) would be called Tusker. It would have been an original story chronicling a herd of elephants crossing southeast Asia. In their travels, they encounter a wide variety of dangers, including a band of marauding poachers.
It was described as “the saga of a young elephant’s journey of discovery, heroism and redemption, which intersects with and renews the life of a reclusive old elephant who has always been an outsider.”
The film was going to be directed by Tim Johnson and Brad Lewis who had both co-directed Antz. The project was cancelled in order to accommodate Shrek 2 and Madagascar. Before Imagi Animation Studios closed in 2010, it announced it was going to revive the film.
“Tim, Brad and the entire PDI team brought an enormous amount of creativity and energy to Antz,” said Dreamworks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. “We think Tusker has all the right ingredients to make a great movie and PDI is just the team to make it happen.”
Hank Hill. In the New York Times January 12th, 1997, Mike Judge talked about his then new animated series King of the Hill: “Hank Hill is based on a lot of neighbors I’ve had living in Texas and New Mexico. I lived in different houses where I’d go out in my backyard to fix a broken fence and before I knew it, there’d be five guys showing me how to do it and eventually doing it for me. A lot of hardware-happy people. I also got a copy of Field and Stream and watched a lot of the Nashville Network to come up with a drawing for him.”
It’s the Wolf! In July 1969, to gain more experience with live action, Hanna-Barbera layout designer Jerry Eisenberg used his lunch hours and an 8mm camera to film a tongue-in cheek live action version of HB’s It’s the Wolf. Joel Seibel was Mildew Wolf with Bonita Versh as Lambsy and Alex Ignatiev as Bristle Hound. Chuck Menville and Don Jurwich wrote the script with Menville also being the cameraman. Basically, the cast and crew had two minutes to eat lunch during the 12:30 to 1:30 lunch hour before filming begins after the camera on a tripod was set up.
Eisenberg said, “Choosing the subject matter was simple enough. Bonita looks like Lambsy and Alex like Bristle Hound. Both were perfect for my live action cartoon. The players are terrific. They are very uninhibited and they contribute to my storyboard.”
Chuck Jones and the Coyote. In the Sherman Democrat newspaper October 25th, 1987, producer and animator Chuck Jones said, “The Coyote, to me, has always been a hero. He keeps trying. He doesn’t win but it takes a lot of guts to keep trying.”