FUNNY ANIMALS AND MORE
December 6, 2015 posted by

Pinocchio in Animation – Part 2

japanese-pinocchio-record

Kashi no Ki Mock (Mock, Made of Oak), directed by Seitaro Hata. 52 half-hour episodes. January 4 – December 26, 1972.

This was a year-long half-hour animated serialization on Japanese television featuring the Pinocchio character stereotypes. No attempt was made to adapt any of Collodi’s specific story ideas, except Pinocchio’s nose growing longer when he lies. Often Mock/Pinocchio began by showing one of the faults described by Collodi such as selfishness, laziness, or greed, which he would be brutally punished for before the Blue Fairy appeared to tell him why that was a bad idea.

Pinokkio_Kashi_no_Ki_Mokku-bookWikipedia says: “Throughout the entire series Pinocchio (Mokku), partly due to his own delinquency and repetitive disobedience, must undergo other costly ordeals of hardship and pain in which he is continuously tormented, persecuted, taunted, hectorized, chastised, assaulted, picked on, humiliated, tricked, ridiculed, ostracised, beaten, downtrodden and subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment. Its plain depiction of the austere reality of what it would be like to be literally subhuman growing up in a world of danger and hardship, makes this another good example of traditional Japanese stories, which teach moral observance through tough endurance.” Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd. gave this a “fairy tale” art design by a young Yoshitaka Amano, who would go on to much better art (like Vampire Hunter D). This is one of the combinations of Collodi’s and Tolstoy’s versions. Gepetto has a huge, brightly colored nose that made him look drunk all the time, taken from Tolstoy’s 1936 version in which “Giuseppe” specifically has a large, brightly-colored nose because he drinks too much.

Around 1978, the C/FO got a letter from Tatsunoko Pro that basically said the studio had become aware that we were showing video tapes of Tatsunoko programs without permission, which they could not allow. However, as long as we had video tapes of some of their programs, could we show them to some TV executives who might be interested in licensing them for American TV instead of just to fans? I answered these as the C/FO’s Secretary; the Tatsunoko staffer who wrote was Koki Narushima, who I understand later became a major executive in the company. He was more interested in the C/FO’s showing Tatsunoko’s animation to TV executives than in preventing us from watching illegal videos of the company’s animation. After awhile he realized that most of the C/FO’s videos were 6th- or 7th-generation video copies, which he worried would not display Tatsunoko’s animation to best advantage to American TV executives. He asked if he could send me some first-generation studio masters to show the pros? I said yes, and to be sure to send episodes that would be particularly attractive to American buyers. I got an episode of Kashi no Ki Mock that I think was literally titled “Mock, the Envoy of God”, but which all the fans I showed it to called “I Am Pinocchio, the Son of God”. In it, Pinocchio well-meaningly impersonates Jesus Christ to a sickly, probably dying little girl! Hey, Pinocchio is popular in America and Jesus Christ is popular in America, so this should be a guaranteed seller, right? I did not show it to any TV executives.

About 15 years later, after Japanese animation became better-established in America, Saban bought the series and called it The Adventures of Pinocchio or Pinocchio: The Series. Reference information about the series says that Saban produced all 52 episodes. I don’t know how they handled that one.


Un Burattino di Nome Pinocchio (A Puppet Named Pinocchio), directed by Giuliano Cenci. 93 minutes. December 21, 1972.

burattino-poster“Finally for Christmas, the national PINOCCHIO”. The production studio was Cartoons Cinematografica Italaliana. Wikipedia says that Cenci directed it with his brother Renzo; that Collodi’s grandsons Mario and Antonio Lorenzini (Collodi’s real name) served as advisors; and that religious portraits of the Virgin Mary were used as models for the Girl With Turquoise Hair (the Blue Fairy).

As this was the first feature-length cartoon of Pinocchio produced in Italy, advertised as “la vera storia scritta da C. Collodi”, there was tremendous cultural pressure for it to be made as closely to how Collodi wrote it as was feasible for a theatrical animated feature. The character design looked like Attilio Mussino’s book illustrations. The character names were La Fata Turcino (The Blue Fairy), Mangiafuoco (the Fire Eater), la Volpe and il Gatto (the Fox and the Cat, without giving them names), Lucignolo (Candlewick), and so on.

If you know the plot of Collodi’s story, you don’t need a separate plot synopsis. Un Buratino di Nome Pinocchio was released in America as The Adventures of Pinocchio in November 1978. Notable names among the American dubbers were Don Messick as the Cat and the Talking Cricket, Paul Frees as the Green Fisherman, and Hal Smith as the Farmer.


Pinocchio Yori Piccolino no Boken (Pinocchio From Piccolino the Puppet), directed by Hiroshi Saitô and Masaharu Endo. 52 half-hour episodes. April 27, 1976 to May 16, 1977.

I said that I would include only the major animated adaptations of Pinocchio. Having included Kashi no Ki Mock, I don’t see any need to list all the other Japanese TV serializations. For some reason, Pinocchio was especially popular in Japan. In addition to Tatsunoko’s 1972 Mock, there was this 1976-’77 52 weekly serialization by Nippon Animation, and a 1979 TV serialization by Japan’s DAX International.

18 Comments

  • The 1972 version of Pinocchio I remember seeing on the Family Film Festival hosted by Tom Hatten on KTLA TV 5 back in the late 1970’s early 1980’s. It was one of the more darker version of Pinocchio that I’ve seen ( and the more truer version based on the book) that included Pinocchio murdering the cricket with a hammer that he threw at him, the aftermath of Pinocchio being lynched by two highwaymen (The Fox and Cat in disguise) and four grim looking pallbearer hares being summoned by the Fairy with the Blue Hair after warning Pinocchio if he didn’t took his medication they’ll come for him
    There was another dubbed version (the one I’ve seen on the KTLA’s Family Film Festival) where the voice of the Farmer who owned the donkeyfied Lucignolo was done by Paul Frees.
    And on the “Mock, Made of Oak” I’ve seen the LATAM Spanish version on XHGC TV 5 (on a portable battery operated TV set while traveling across the Sonoran Desert in Arizona on Amtrak in 2000 which was a satellite feed from the main network (XHGC 5) to a local station in Sonora Mexico) and surprisingly the end credits were in German.

    • The 1972 version of Pinocchio I remember seeing on the Family Film Festival hosted by Tom Hatten on KTLA TV 5 back in the late 1970′s early 1980′s. It was one of the more darker version of Pinocchio that I’ve seen ( and the more truer version based on the book) that included Pinocchio murdering the cricket with a hammer that he threw at him, the aftermath of Pinocchio being lynched by two highwaymen (The Fox and Cat in disguise) and four grim looking pallbearer hares being summoned by the Fairy with the Blue Hair after warning Pinocchio if he didn’t took his medication they’ll come for him.

      I liked the contrast of rather very cartoony looking animals yet with serious motives and demeanors. It offsets the blatant rotoscoping of the humans elsewhere in this film.

      And on the “Mock, Made of Oak” I’ve seen the LATAM Spanish version on XHGC TV 5 (on a portable battery operated TV set while traveling across the Sonoran Desert in Arizona on Amtrak in 2000 which was a satellite feed from the main network (XHGC 5) to a local station in Sonora Mexico) and surprisingly the end credits were in German.

      Wouldn’t surprise me if that was some sort of sub-licensing effort the Mexican channel did to get it at all (similarly, Dragon Ball was first aired this way as they acquired the Harmony Gold version to create their initial dub).

  • From a German perspective, the 1976 “Pinokio yori Pikorîno no bôken” (which would be translated as “The Adventures of Pikorino, based on Pinocchio”) is a major animated version of “Pinocchio”, considered a classic nearly on the level of “Heidi” or “Die Biene Maja”, and still shown on public TV. It is also described as a co-production between Nippon Animation and a German and an Austrian public broadcaster, although Japanese sources usually don’t mention this. The 1979 Dax International version had a length of only 4 episodes (a total of about 50 min.) within a larger series of animated fairy tales.

    • From a German perspective, the 1976 “Pinokio yori Pikorîno no bôken” (which would be translated as “The Adventures of Pikorino, based on Pinocchio”) is a major animated version of “Pinocchio”, considered a classic nearly on the level of “Heidi” or “Die Biene Maja”, and still shown on public TV. It is also described as a co-production between Nippon Animation and a German and an Austrian public broadcaster, although Japanese sources usually don’t mention this.
      Probably the same German group that did Maya the Bee, Vicky the Viking and an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

      The 1979 Dax International version had a length of only 4 episodes (a total of about 50 min.) within a larger series of animated fairy tales.
      That was part of the series “Manga Sekai Mukashi Banashi”, some episodes of this were once dubbed in English and saw rather obscure airplay and video releases in the US.

  • You forgot to mention Mock of the Oak Tree was also dubbed in movie format by Jim Terry, of Force Five infamy, as The Adventures of Pinocchio. It was distributed by Harmony Gold, of Robotech fame.

    • Remember that (along with “Music by BULLETS”). I don’t suppose there was yet another English dub done elsewhere in the world for whatever market (Southeast Asia perhaps).

  • I got an episode of Kashi no Ki Mock that I think was literally titled “Mock, the Envoy of God”, but which all the fans I showed it to called “I Am Pinocchio, the Son of God”. In it, Pinocchio well-meaningly impersonates Jesus Christ to a sickly, probably dying little girl! Hey, Pinocchio is popular in America and Jesus Christ is popular in America, so this should be a guaranteed seller, right? I did not show it to any TV executives.

    Good thing you didn’t, of course Tatsunoko didn’t learn that lesson too easily since they repeated it in an episode of Gatchaman as well (replacing Lincoln with Jesus on Mount Rushmore).

  • burattino-poster“Finally for Christmas, the national PINOCCHIO”. The production studio was Cartoons Cinematografica Italaliana. Wikipedia says that Cenci directed it with his brother Renzo; that Collodi’s grandsons Mario and Antonio Lorenzini (Collodi’s real name) served as advisors; and that religious portraits of the Virgin Mary were used as models for the Girl With Turquoise Hair (the Blue Fairy).

    The movie certainly has a lot of Roman Catholic imagery to behold! The backgrounds in the film (which I think G. Cenci also had a part with) are terribly exquisite, as if fresco or murals depicting everyday life of 19th Century Italy.

    As this was the first feature-length cartoon of Pinocchio produced in Italy, advertised as “la vera storia scritta da C. Collodi”, there was tremendous cultural pressure for it to be made as closely to how Collodi wrote it as was feasible for a theatrical animated feature. The character design looked like Attilio Mussino’s book illustrations. The character names were La Fata Turcino (The Blue Fairy), Mangiafuoco (the Fire Eater), la Volpe and il Gatto (the Fox and the Cat, without giving them names), Lucignolo (Candlewick), and so on.

    You have to give Cenci credit there for the consistency. The only thing that bugged me in watching it was noticing how often the story had to be moved further on through the use of a book as a segue where pages are turned showing numerous events that happen to Pinocchio during the tale that couldn’t be animated for time (the movie was 90 minutes after all, I’m certain it would’ve been twice that had they went there). For what he could do, he did Collodi justice.

    I will say the strength in the film is in it’s music by Vito Tommaso. I especially love the piece heard a few times such as when Geppetto went out to get a spelling book for his newly-carved son, or when Pinocchio apologizes to The Blue Fairy. I just love how it goes so uber-dramatic for such a simple movie. Sadly a record or CD of the film’s soundtrack was never made available at all, which is a shame since the only recording made available was that of the opening theme song performed by the film’s narrator for the Italian version.
    http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/lyricwiki/images/d/d5/Renato_Rascel_-_Un_burattino_di_nome_Pinocchio.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130517074822

    I wish one was out or I’d buy it just for Vito’s score! In later years he would compose many theme songs to imported Japanese cartoons.
    https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vito_Tommaso

    If you know the plot of Collodi’s story, you don’t need a separate plot synopsis. Un Buratino di Nome Pinocchio was released in America as The Adventures of Pinocchio in November 1978.

    It was distributed by “G.G. Communications”, who previously had success with the Swedish Pippi Longstocking films and other animated offerings that made their way to kiddie matinees in the country. Interestingly the poster/promotions for “The Adventures of Pinocchio” tend to anglicize the Italian staff credited like Vito Tommaso becoming “Victor Thomas” or Guiliano’s brother Renzo getting called “Ralph Cenci”. It’s an odd quirk even though it wasn’t necessary given Pinocchio’s origins to begin with, but at least we got names at all when Toei’s “The Little Mermaid” made no mention of the studio at all.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ9d4EBlFh8

    Notable names among the American dubbers were Don Messick as the Cat and the Talking Cricket, Paul Frees as the Green Fisherman, and Hal Smith as the Farmer.

    Too bad none of them got screen credit at all, so I wasn’t sure who they were for years, great to see the effort they made to get them, I was expecting a typical East Coast effort here. Ironically the Fox in this version is called a “wolf” for some odd reason. Either a translation error or someone thought he looked like one. I will say I Like that we get to see the outcome of the both him and Cat who are shown in a much horrible state than when we last saw them in the film. The Disney never never gave John or Gideon their just desserts for being scoundrels.

    Oh yeah, and the cricket gets killed too!

    Incidentally, here’s the English version.
    https://vimeo.com/101444198

    Not a great copy (stretched out aspect ratio aside), but there is a decent DVD release in Italy that came out a few years back taken from an new HD transfer of the film. It looks like a division of RAI broadcasting released this, though I don’t suppose they hold licensing rights to this (if anyone around here wants to re-issue it on DVD, wink-wink).
    http://www.amazon.it/Un-Burattino-Di-Nome-Pinocchio/dp/B00BT9PKGA

    As for Giuliano Cenci, I noticed IMDB lists one other movie he animated on, and it’s quite a surprise to see him sink to this low (I wonder if he did the rapping dog?).
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1000564/

    • Paul Frees also did the voice of the farmer in another dubbed version of Pinocchio by G.G.Communications and the music score was outstanding and how the human characters moved reminded me of Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards and The Lord of the Rings (which was considered to many as his epic masterpiece). Also I noticed on a LATAM Spanish version of The Adventures of Pinocchio that aired on a Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico TV Station known as “Super Seis” (Super Six) back in the 1990’s the ending had a dedication before the end credits stating in Italian “This Movie Is Dedicated to the Children of the World” and a song (can’t remember who the singer was) that somehow was cut by G.G.Communications in the English dubs release.

    • Paul Frees also did the voice of the farmer in another dubbed version of Pinocchio by G.G.Communications and the music score was outstanding and how the human characters moved reminded me of Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards and The Lord of the Rings (which was considered to many as his epic masterpiece).

      That’s the same version I mentioned above.

      Also I noticed on a LATAM Spanish version of The Adventures of Pinocchio that aired on a Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico TV Station known as “Super Seis” (Super Six) back in the 1990′s the ending had a dedication before the end credits stating in Italian “This Movie Is Dedicated to the Children of the World” and a song (can’t remember who the singer was) that somehow was cut by G.G.Communications in the English dubs release.

      The song, the theme of the film, was performed by Renato Rascel, who also served as the film’s narrator. It’s true G. G. Communications cuts out right when we see the final page of the book as the audio fades out and the scene cuts to black and eventually shows a “THE END” title card (at least it does on my VHS copy). The amount of names present in the opening credits of the Italian version are nearly non-existent in the US cut, opting for a scant number of key names for the credits and nothing else.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renato_Rascel

  • I remember seeing an ad on tv for an animated Pinnochio movie around 1979/1980. The scene I remember is Pinnochio being chased by a bulldog over a cliff in which the dog does the usual standing on air gag before running back. Was this from the 1972 Pinnochio feature you mention here?

    • Yes it was a bulldog who was working for the local police that was chasing Pinocchio after Pinocchio was trying to stop two group of boys in a rock throwing brawl that resulted in one of the boys getting seriously injured and while seeking help for the boy two police officers arrived thought and accused Pinocchio on injuring the boy and as the police bulldog chase Pinocchio to the cliff’s edge Pinocchio saves him.. Of course it was later that Pinocchio was captured by the Green Fisherman it was the Bulldog who returned the favor and save Pinocchio from being a “fish dinner”.

  • Speaking as a (fairly conservative) Christian, I have to say the plot synopsis for “Mock, the Envoy of God”/“I Am Pinocchio, the Son of God” seems like it could be the basis for a terrific episode, one that could cover the concepts of respecting beliefs different from one’s own, learning to not take offense where none was meant, or even exploring the relationships between faith, belief, and knowledge. Though I suspect the finished episode did none of those things…

    • You could tell that the Tatsunoko writers and animators were trying to stay within good taste, but that probably none of them had much knowledge of Christianity except it had something to do with a bearded man nailed to a big wooden cross.

    • You could tell that the Tatsunoko writers and animators were trying to stay within good taste, but that probably none of them had much knowledge of Christianity except it had something to do with a bearded man nailed to a big wooden cross.

      I’m sure that’s the long and short of it. They’re not going to dive too deeply into Catholicism to understand the nooks and crannies of this religion than what they could take as surface elements.

  • I know I’m pretty late on this article, but if you’re still around, Fred, here’s how Saban handled the episode you mentioned:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL1i8DJ9Xps

  • I grew up with nipponese Pinocchio, although unfortunately never saw the final season or the ending. Pretty much everything about the show is gr8, although Gipetto was too much like my grandmother……… devoting all your attention to a boy(girls are the same) will spoil him, and make him into an unfunctioning joke of a man. Let’s just say this version of Gipetto got lino sympathy from me. Foolish man did not know how to raise a son.

  • I actually came here to see if there’s any further information regarding “Pinocchio Yori Piccolino no Boken” from 1976, as I was curious why they made 2 shows about it in Japan in the same decade, and the difference between them… Shame it’s not included in the article.

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