FIRST – Some (very brief) Thunderbean News:
Things continue to move forward on many things; these weeks are busy most all the time. Thunderbean is expanding whether I like it or not, and trying to keep up with it, though largely self-imposed, is always a challenge. I’ve got some excellent help that is expanding as well. The freelancers have recently left here for the night, and I’m so happy to see some beautifully cleaned up work today in the ‘can’. A particular Flip the Frog saw its last fixes today, as did Destination Earth, a John Sutherland film produced for the American Petroleum Institute, scanned from a beautiful Ib Technicolor Print. I’ll be giving more detailed updates next week along with some stills. Here’s a preview:
NOW – onto this week’s Post:
I was thinking this week about how I really enjoy seeing old characters brought back to life again, especially when they capture the original spirit of the characters, or are an entertaining new take. Here are a few of my favorites — and some others that are, well, not so much. What are your favorite or not-so-favorite reboots?
For me, I loved the title sequence from the John Halas Masters of Animation series (UK, 1986), featuring some favorite characters from over the years, starting with Gertie:
My favorite of the Twisted Tales of Felix series by Film Roman is “Forever Rafter” (1995), directed by Milton Knight.
And, there is this. Felix is very popular in Japan.
The King Features Popeye TV ‘reboot’ in 1960 has its fans, and I won’t deny that there are 16mm prints of some of them sitting just below my ‘Fleischer’ section, but they are not favorites. The first Pilot episode, Barbecue for Two (1960) *is* a favorite of mine. It’s especially fun to hear our usual suspects voices as well as seeing Popeye back in his Navy Blues.
The funniest thing about this odd short is that Bluto is named ‘Junior’ at one point by Popeye – much to his dismay! King Features didn’t know if they owned the name ‘Bluto’ or if Paramount did — so this was a safe way to go until they knew for sure. Funny enough, they could have used the name, officially, but decided to go with ‘Brutus’ instead for the series.
They eventually of course settled with these designs (below). I think the series would have been at least a little more fun with the original ones above.
This and several other Hanna-Barbara Popeye interstitials from the late 70s Popeye show are easily my least favorite appearances of the character, and that is out of many not-so-favorite appearances:
Of course, the famous Betty Boop Formula 409 commercial. I really wish they had hired Mae Questel to do the voice here!
and then there’s The Romance of Betty Boop directed by Bill Meledez. I really wish it was better….
Droopy really was alive again in Roger Rabbit, animated by Mark Kausler:
and maybe Droopy’s worst days at Filmation:
If you loved the above cartoon, you could buy this model cel from the series.
I was really excited at the idea of seeing more obscure 30s characters come back to life in Tattertown. It was going to be a follow up show to Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures by Bakshi Animation, but of course, only a Christmas special was made (for Nickelodeon). The final special is largely absent of the 30s characters below (click to enlarge), but they appeared in this Animato magazine article from 1988. A more finished color image of this same lineup appeared in Animation Magazine around this same time. Funny- this almost looks like a lineup of Thunderbean blu-ray projects — I wonder if this image somehow influenced my own choices. Hmmm.
I do wish the final ‘Tattertown Christmas’ had come together a little more; so many talented people worked on this show, including designer extraordinaire Louise Zingarelli, with animation and layout by folks like Mike Kazaleh, Tony Fucile, Ed Bell, Charlie Downs, Virgil Ross, Irv Spence and Tom Minton. I was lucky enough to work with Louise in the mid-90s at a game company called Media Station- and loved watching her draw.
And, while not a reboot of an ‘animated’ character, these spots (created for reruns of the original Star Trek show) is my favorite reimagining of Spock from that series, spoofing the popular MTV “Cribs’ show:
Ok.. now your turn!