Tag Archives: CotD

Cartoon of the Day: Watch Out! The Willawaw!

Watch Out! The Willawaw!

Watch Out! The Willawaw!

The fifth incar­na­tion of Scooby-Doo began on this date in 1978 with Watch Out! The Willawaw! from Scooby’s All-Stars. WHen the series started, no one thought it would go to five shows, much less the thir­teen shows it has spawned to date. Five curi­ous teens and their dog and going on almost 50 years.

Grey Fox per­pe­trates the leg­end of The Willawaw with a hot air bal­loon painted like The Willawaw to frighten peo­ple away from his smug­gling oper­a­tion. He kid­naps Velma’s Uncle Dave Dink­ley, a law­man, when he gets too close to the oper­a­tion. Red Heron, with the help of his friend Snap­ping Tur­tle, fol­lows Grey Fox’s trail and releases their friend Dave, while Shaggy Scooby-Doo, Velma, Daphne and Fred cap­ture Grey Fox and prove to the fright­ened Chippe­was that the Willawaw is lit­er­ally just a bag of hot air.
It all began in 1969 as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? The trav­el­ing com­pan­ion of four hep-cat teenagers, Scooby-Doo helped solved mys­ter­ies while simul­ta­ne­ously mur­der­ing the Eng­lish lan­guage (though the fact that he could even speak should count for some­thing). Scooby’s best friend was the skinny, goofy Shaggy, with whom he shared a love for Scooby snacks, among other del­i­ca­cies. Also along for the ride was the much hunkier Freddy, the babes­li­cios Daphne, and Velma, the brainy girl who did most of the mys­tery cracking.

The inex­plic­a­ble five­some tooled around in the Mys­tery Machine (a groovy painted van), end­ing up in some pretty creepy towns men­aced by ghosts, ghouls or mum­mies. Freddy would “take the girls,” leav­ing Scooby and Shaggy to fend for them­selves, usu­ally end­ing up in each other’s arms out of fear. After an exten­sive chase scene/musical sequence, the vil­lain would be caught, reveal his true iden­tity and curse those med­dling kids for foil­ing his plans.

This incar­na­tion lasted for two sea­sons before reruns took over. From 1972 to 1974, the show became The New Scooby-Doo Movies. This for­mat had the kids meet­ing up with such guest stars as Mamma Cass, the Glo­be­trot­ters, Sonny and Cher, and Don Knotts (all play­ing them­selves) to solve more mysteries.

For one sea­son in 1976, the gang became half of The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Show, shar­ing the bill with the “robonic” Dyno­mutt and his human super­hero part­ner, The Blue Fal­con. Scooby’s gang was joined by Scooby’s cousin Scooby-Dum, who (you guessed it) was dumb.

From ’76 to ’80, Scooby was granted ninety min­utes under the title Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics (later renamed Scooby’s All-Stars). This show fea­tured a plethora of Hanna-Barbera characters—dating as far back as the 50’s—engaged in a vari­ety of competitions.

In addi­tion to rerun­ning Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? in 1978, ABC paired Laff-A-Lympics with a new show, Scooby and Scrappy-Doo. This show intro­duced Scoob’s short and con­fi­dent nephew, who, though younger than Scooby, had much clearer speech. In 1980 the cow­ardly elder Doo was paired with a famous mini-millionaire in The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show.

Scooby and Scrappy were still together in 1982, but now they split their time with another canine in The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo/Puppy’s New Adven­tures Hour. Join­ing these new shows were air­ings of reruns now called The Best of Scooby-Doo. In 1984 The New Scooby-Doo Mys­ter­ies (which brought back the teens as well as hold­ing on to Scrappy) were aired, as were a bunch of reruns, this time called Scary Scooby Fun­nies.

In The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985–86), Scooby, Scrappy, Shaggy and Daphne were joined by 9-year-old Flim Flam. The group, helped by war­lock Vin­cent Van Ghoul (Vin­cent Price), fought off wicked sor­cery. That sea­son the Great Dane could also be seen in another rerun col­lec­tion, Scooby’s Mys­tery Fun­House. In 1986 Scooby could only be seen in reruns of Laff-a-Lympics.

The air­waves were deprived of Scooby for two years. Then, in 1988, a new show called A Pup Named Scooby-Doo was pro­duced. Like many car­toons of the time, this show took famil­iar char­ac­ters back to their early years. Thus, Shaggy, Freddy, Velma and Daphne were now pre­teens. Scooby, of course, was but a pup. This ver­sion had the kids con­stantly run­ning into the char­ac­ter Red Her­ring (wink, wink), whom the gang always sus­pected of com­mit­ting crimes. This show ran in reruns until 1993, when it finally left net­work television.

And then, the Scooby dry spell. Ten years of now new Scoobs. OK, sure, we had the occa­sional direct-to-video releaese with the Mys­tery Crew, but no more reeg­u­lar tele­vi­sion. Ninally, in 2002, we got What’s New, Scooby-Doo?. This is also the first show since Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo to con­tain the gang in it’s orig­i­nal for­mat: Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo.

Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! saw the first real redesign the crew has ever seen. The best way to describe the new look is to just avoid it altogether.

Scooby-Doo! Mys­tery Incor­po­rated is the most recent ver­sion of the show. Back to the orig­i­nal mod­els (thanks GOD!). Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and their talk­ing dog Scooby-Doo are back, solv­ing mys­ter­ies in the spooky town of Crys­tal Cove, a sleepy coastal vil­lage that boasts a long his­tory of ghostly sight­ings, were­wolves and glow­ing deep sea divers.

It’s inter­est­ing to note that while the show itself under­went many changes, the char­ac­ters did not. Aside from a mod­i­fied Daphne appear­ing in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, the gang retained their late-sixties garb well into the eight­ies and nineties. This included knee-highs, a mini-skirt and lumpy turtle­neck sweater for Velma, a rockin’ minidress and head scarf for Daphne, and groovy bell-bottoms for the guys. Scooby remained in his nat­ural canine glory.

Scooby-Doo may have left Sat­ur­day morn­ing, but his work is far from over. Scooby con­tin­ues to answer the call, appear­ing semi-regularly in direct-to-video car­toon fea­tures. As long as mys­ter­ies need solv­ing, Scooby-Doo will come through (and then he’ll have him­self a Scooby Snack… that’s a fact).

 

Cartoon of the Week: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

Dis­ney is quoted as say­ing, “It all started with a mouse.” Dis­ney was always invent­ing, always try­ing new things, push­ing the ani­ma­tion enve­lope. Today is the seventy-fifth anniver­sary of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, and while it was not the first ani­mated fea­ture film, or even the first in full color… it was cer­tainly the first com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful ani­mated fea­ture film, and it’s legacy is still being felt today.

In her effort to be “fairest in the land,” a jeal­ous and evil queen attempts to be rid of her beau­ti­ful step­daugh­ter, Snow White. Fright­ened and scared, Snow takes refuge in the for­est cot­tage of the seven dwarfs. The queen, dis­guised by magic as an old ped­dler woman, tempts Snow White with a poi­soned apple, which puts her into an enchanted sleep until the spell can be bro­ken by love’s first kiss.

The first ani­mated fea­ture film to be nom­i­nated for an Acad­emy Award.

In 1989, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs was the first car­toon to be added by the Library of Con­gress’ National Film Preser­va­tion Board to the National Film Reg­istry (it was the registry’s inau­gural year).

In Eng­land the film was deemed too scary for chil­dren and no one under 14 could go and see it by themselves.

This film was released to video in the United States in 1994 (begin­ning its “Mas­ter­piece Col­lec­tion” line) and in 2001 (a DVD of this film was also released that year).

Cartoon of the Day: The Emperor’s New Groove

The Emperor's New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove

I am REALLY on the fence about The Emperor’s New Groove. Sure, it has it’s moments… it has Eartha Kitt… it also has Patrick War­bur­ton and Wendie Mal­ick. On the down side, it does have the barely one-dimensional David Spade in the lead role, and it was directed by Mark Din­dal who was still per­fect­ing the art of really screw­ing up an ani­mated film here (his Mas­ters the­sis was Chicken Lit­tle in 2005, eas­ily the worst film ever from Disney.)

The Emperor’s New Groove began life as the much more seri­ous in tone and epic in scope King­dom Of The Sun. Orig­i­nally, the music was done by Sting, and Roger Allers was the direc­tor. Sort of a Prince and the Pau­per story at first, Allers just could not bring the story to life.

To breath new life into the project, Dis­ney execs hired Mark Din­dal, who brought in the comic ele­ment. This resulted in a very uneven pro­duc­tion… half light and half dark. In the sum­mer 1998, under a time crunch for a 2000 release date, Allers was forced off the film. Din­dal retooled the film, dropped the Sting songs, and reti­tled the film.

In this com­edy, the vain and cocky Emperor Kuzco is a very busy man. Besides main­tain­ing his “groove,” and fir­ing his sus­pi­cious admin­is­tra­tor Yzma, he’s also plan­ning to build a new water park just for him­self for his birth­day. How­ever, this means destroy­ing one of the vil­lages in his king­dom. Mean­while, Yzma is hatch­ing a plan to get revenge and usurp the throne. But, in a botched assas­si­na­tion cour­tesy of Yzma’s right-hand man Kronk, Kuzco is mag­i­cally trans­formed into a llama. Now, Kuzco finds him­self the prop­erty of Pacha, a lowly llama herder whose home is ground zero for the water park. Upon dis­cov­er­ing the llama’s true self, Pacha offers to help resolve the Emperor’s prob­lem and regain his throne– only if he promises to move his water park.

So what do you think? Would you like to have seen Allers orig­i­nal film, or do you like the com­edy ver­sion by Dindal?

Cartoon of the Day: A Very Merry Cricket

A Very Merry Cricket

A Very Merry Cricket

One of Chuck Jones’ spe­cials from the 1970’s, A Very Merry Cricket fea­tured Les Tremayne as Chester C. Cricket and Harry the Cat and Mel Blanc as Tucker the Mouse. Chuck wrote and directed this sequel.

Harry tells of Chester, a famous cricket who plays the vio­lin to soothe every­one. With all the hus­tle and bus­tle about New York around Christ­mas, it’s become com­mer­cial­ized. Tucker and Harry have to find Chester in order to put the spirit of Christ­mas back into the citizens.

This TV spe­cial was a sequel to “The Cricket in Times Square.”

Cartoon of the Day: Frosty The Snowman

Frosty The Snowman

Frosty The Snowman

What would the hol­i­days be with­out great Rankin-Bass ani­mated spe­cials like Frosty The Snow­man? 43 years young today, Frosty The Snow­man is not that hor­ri­ble sequel Frosty Returns (which was cel ani­mated), but proper stop motion ani­ma­tion and nar­ra­tion by none other than Jimmy Durante.

A dis­carded silk tophat becomes the focus of a strug­gle between a washed-up stage magi­cian and a group of school­child­ren after it mag­i­cally brings a snow­man to life. Real­iz­ing that newly-living Frosty will melt in spring unless he takes refuge in a colder cli­mate, Frosty and a young girl who he befriends stow away on a freight train headed for the north pole. Lit­tle do they know that the magi­cian is fol­low­ing them, and he wants his hat back. This ani­mated short is based on the pop­u­lar Christ­mas song of the same name.

June Foray was recorded as the voice of Karen (along with the Teacher), but only her voice as the Teacher remained in the fin­ished car­toon, as she was replaced as Karen by another actress. “To this day, I am unsure of the rea­son,” Foray recalled.

The story of Frosty the Snow­man had ear­lier been ani­mated in a five-minute, black and white car­toon orig­i­nally shown on “Garfield Goose and Friends.”

One of the sequels to this car­toon, “Frosty Returns,” was not pro­duced by Rankin/Bass.

Cartoon of the Day: La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet)

La Planete SauvageEnglish Title: Fantastic Planet

La Plan­ete Sauvage Eng­lish Title: Fan­tas­tic Planet

A car­toon we get asked about a lot (and I do mean a LOT!) is La Planète Sauvage (Eng­lish Title: Fan­tas­tic Planet). Not one I saw when I was grow­ing up, but many of you obvi­ously did. This joint pro­duc­tion by French and Czecho­slo­va­kian film­mak­ers was seen as a metaphor for Soviet oppres­sion of Czecho­slo­va­kia, and pres­sure from the Com­mu­nist government.

On the fan­tas­tic planet of Ygam, located in a far solar sys­tem, a race of huge blue crea­tures called Draags keep Oms as domes­ti­cated pets. Oms are the descen­dants of the human sur­vivors of Earth, com­pa­ra­bly antlike in size and mis­treated by the Draags. With the aid of a Draag knowl­edge device, an escaped orphaned Om man­ages to unite a soci­ety of wild Oms to revolt against their oppres­sion. The wild Oms attack the Draags in their most vul­ner­a­ble spot, a mys­ti­cal moon orbit­ing around their home world: a moon which holds a pow­er­ful secret to the Draags’ existence.

Orig­i­nally brought to Amer­ica in the early 1970s through Roger Corman’s New World Pic­tures “Euro­pean Acqui­si­tions,” the film was wildly suc­cess­ful on the B-movie cir­cuit with the “post-hippie trip­pers,” seen as a metaphor for class struggle.

Pro­duc­tion design based on the art­work and draw­ings of Roland Topor.

First shown pub­licly at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val, May 1973. Com­mer­cial release: Decem­ber 6, 1973. Re-released in Feb­ru­ary 1977.

Also known as: “Divoká Plan­eta” (Czecho­slo­va­kia), “The Fan­tas­tic Planet”, “Planet of Incred­i­ble Crea­tures” and “The Sav­age Planet.”

So when did you first see this sci-fi social com­men­tary ani­mated film? Does it still hold up today?

Cartoon of the Day: Pioneer Days

Pioneer Days

Pio­neer Days

Let’s go way back in time for today’s CotD… on this date in 1930, Dis­ney released the Mickey Mouse car­toon Pio­neer Days. Directed by Burt Gillett, it was one of the ear­li­est “cos­tume dra­mas” fea­tur­ing Mickey and his gang.

Mickey and Min­nie are out West and are attacked by Indi­ans. Min­nie is cap­tured. Mickey comes look­ing for her, and is cap­tured instead. Mean­while, Min­nie escapes and res­cues Mickey. Later, they dis­guise them­selves as the Cav­alry and scare the entire tribe into the hills.

Whoo boy, does that sound like a load of Black and White fun and friv­o­lity! Want to watch it? You are in luck– this baby is on BCDB today!

Cartoon of the Day: Transylvania 6–5000

Transylvania 6-5000

Tran­syl­va­nia 6–5000

Released on this date in 1963, Tran­syl­va­nia 6–5000 was the last Bugs Bunny car­toon directed by Chuck Jones. And this car­toon is thor­oughly Chuck. From the back­grounds to the char­ac­ter design to the tim­ing, this short is a one-stop les­son in Jon­sian car­toon directing.

After tak­ing a wrong left turn, Bugs ends up in the cas­tle of a blood­thirsty Count. Luck­ily, Bugs knows the secret work, and con­founds the Count’s attempts to retrieve Bugs’ blood.

Note that when Bugs rings the cas­tle door­bell, the chimes play the open­ing notes of the TV series “Alfred Hitch­cock Presents.”

A fit­ting cli­max to Jones’ career at Warner Bros, or a card­board epi­taph– what do you think?

Cartoon Of The Day: Hittin’ The Trail For Hallelujah Land

Hittin' The Trail For Hallelujah Land

Hit­tin’ The Trail For Hal­lelu­jah Land

Released this day in 1931, Hit­tin’ The Trail For Hal­lelu­jah Land is a found­ing mem­ber of the infa­mous Cen­sored Eleven is also one of the least seen… I guess that is the point of being censored.

A kindly old Uncle Tom brings Fluffy down to her sweet­heart Cap­tain Piggy’s river­boat. As he dri­ves back in his horse and buggy, Uncle Tom ends up in a grave­yard where var­i­ous skele­tons come to life singing the title song. Uncle Tom flees the grave­yard but falls in the river where Piggy saves him. As Piggy comes to Uncle Tom’s res­cue, a vil­lain tries to make off with Fluffy.

In 1968, United Artists (then own­ers of the A.A.P. library of pre-1948 Looney Tunes and Mer­rie Melodies car­toons) com­piled the car­toons they con­sid­ered too poten­tially offen­sive to be shown on tele­vi­sion, and with­held those car­toons from dis­tri­b­u­tion. AT that time, UA felt that these eleven car­toons should be with­held from broad­cast because the depic­tions of black peo­ple in the car­toons were deemed too offen­sive for con­tem­po­rary audiences.

This car­toon is one of those with­held from dis­tri­b­u­tion, one of the so-called “Cen­sored 11.” (The “Eleven” are: Hit­tin’ the Trail for Hal­lelu­jah Land (MM,1931), Sun­day Go to Meetin’ Time (MM, 1936), Clean Pas­tures (MM, 1937), Uncle Tom’s Bun­ga­low (MM, 1937), Jun­gle Jit­ters (1938), The Isle of Pingo Pongo (MM, 1938), All This and Rab­bit Stew (MM, 1941), Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (MM, 1943), Tin Pan Alley Cats (MM, 1943), Angel Puss (LT, 1944), and Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (MM, 1944)). More recently, when Ted Turner became owner of the library, he con­tin­ued the ban, and refused to allow any of these car­toons to be shown or released on video. To date, these shorts have not been offi­cially broad­cast on tele­vi­sion since 1968.

Sound­track:

  • Hit­tin’ the Trail for Hal­lalu­jah Land,” Music by Rube Bloom, Lyrics by Joe Young, Sung by Var­i­ous Characters
  • De Camp­town Races,” Music by Stephen Fos­ter; “Mys­te­ri­ous Mose,” Music by Wal­ter Doyle

So watch this one today, and let us know what you think– rightly sup­pressed or much ado about nothing???

Cartoon of the Day: Treasure Planet

Treasure Planet

Trea­sure Planet

On this date in 2002, Dis­ney released Trea­sure Planet. Sort of a Dis­ney ver­sion of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Trea­sure Island,” set in outer space.

This movie opened in both 35mm and a specifically-formatted 70mm IMAX ver­sion. This marked the first time that a film had con­cur­rent releases in both formats.

After the Sep­tem­ber 11 tragedy, Dis­ney decided that peo­ple being held at sword-point just wasn’t funny, so the ani­ma­tors were instructed to remove as many swords from the film as possible.

The film was a major finan­cial dis­as­ter. Bud­geted at $140 mil­lion, it grossed only $38.2 mil­lion by the time it left North Amer­i­can the­aters. The loss report­edly resulted in Dis­ney down­grad­ing its earn­ings esti­mate for the last quar­ter of 2002.

So what did you think of this later Dis­ney film… good retelling of a clas­sic story, or overblown CG-Fest?