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The Return of Jim Korkis' "Animation Anecdotes"

The Return of Jim Korkis' "Animation Anecdotes"

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Artwork of Jim KorkisAs readers might have suspected, I love stories and storytelling and sometimes in a news article or interview there may be that one quote or remark or short story that relates to animation. I started gathering a collection of some of those stories and put them together under a variety of titles for a variety of magazines over the years ranging from MINDROT/ANIMANIA to COMIC READER to THE INBETWEENER (the ASIFA-Hollywood newsletter). However, most folks simply recall the ANIMATION ANECDOTES column I did for many years for ANIMATION magazine. A change in editorial direction in that magazine resulted in my column disappearing and my relocating to Florida resulted in people thinking I had disappeared off the face of the Earth.

Jim Hill has been kind enough to provide me another forum for some of those oddball stories so this is the first of hopefully several columns devoted to those Animation Anecdotes. (One of these days some clever publisher will ask me to collect all of these into a book.) Feel free to submit your own anecdotes to be included in future columns!

 

MICHAEL JACKSON
Back in 1971, one of the animated series on Saturday morning was THE JACKSON 5IVE (Yes, with a "5" replacing the "F"), which featured the actual voices of little Michael Jackson and his brothers. CREEM MAGAZINE ran an article on the series showing the model sheets done by MAD artist Jack Davis. The magazine described the show in the following way: "In the series, Michael is generally into mischief (just like in real life!), often accompanied by his friend, Rosey the Snake." It seems that over three decades later, Michael's snake is still getting him into mischief!

MICHAEL JACKSON TAKE TWO
According to Judge Hugo Alvarez who married Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley in a secret ceremony in the Dominican Republic: "It was one of the weirdest weddings I've ever performed. Michael showed more enthusiasm for my tie than for his wedding! I was wearing a tie featuring Fred Flintstone playing golf that I'd bought at Universal Studios, Florida. Michael told me: 'It's a great tie. I love Fred Flintstone!' But I never heard him say he loved Lisa Marie."

UNNATURAL MOUSE
The great actor Charles Laughton saw his horror flick, ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, banned from being shown in England for nearly twenty-five years because the government censor felt it challenged natural laws. Elsa Lanchester, who was not only Laughton's wife but the bride of Frankenstein, huffed: "Of course it's against nature! So's Mickey Mouse!"

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Jose Cuahtemoc Melendez began his animation career at Disney in 1938. "This *** at Disney said what kind of a name is that? We'll call you 'Bill'. It's given me great anonymity. People looking for me look for Bill Melendez. My legal name is still Jose Cuahtemoc -- nobody looks for that name. I have a suspicion that that really helped me during the UnAmerican Activities folderol here in Hollywood." His work on a series of commercials for the Ford Falcon car which featured the PEANUTS characters convinced Charles Schulz that Bill Melendez was the man to handle the animation of his characters when it came time to do specials. (One of the reasons Schulz agreed to his characters appearing in the Ford Falcon commercials was that he had only driven Ford cars in his life up to that point.)

SNOW WHITE WANNABE
Actress Loni Anderson revealed in a 1983 interview the following: "I wanted to be an animator before I became an actress. I really am Snow White in my fantasies. My dad used to call me 'Snow White' when I was little because I had hair as black as night, and lips as red as rose. Snow white was the only princess I could identify with. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty were all blondes." Loni Anderson didn't become a blonde until the late Seventies and achieved recognition on the television show WKRP as well as her short lived marriage to actor Burt Reynolds. At the time, she had an extensive Snow White collection.

ANIMATED CRIMES
In 1978, legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby was doing storyboards for THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR show produced by DePatie-Freleng. Comic book fans were excited because the shows were being written by Stan Lee and storyboarded by Jack, the two men responsible for the creation of the original FANTASTIC FOUR comic books. Several years later, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the FANTASTIC FOUR comic book, Marvel Comics took a fourteen page storyboard that Kirby had done for the animated series and had Lee re-dialogue the story, while ten different inkers each got to ink a page. At the time, Kirby was not on the best of terms with Marvel Comics because of their failure to return some of his original art, among other items of principle. "I had nothing to do with (the use of the storyboard)," Kirby grumbled in a 1982 interview, "(Marvel) took the roughs I did for DePatie-Freleng and put ten different inkers on it. I didn't know anything about it until the damn thing was published." Kirby received no additional remuneration for the reuse of the storyboard.

STRANGE FACTS
According to the book CHRONICLE OF THE MOVIES published in 1968, Disney was preparing a series of educational films on contraception ... to star Donald Duck! (One of the Disney educational films I have been looking for to add to my collection was Disney's "The Story of Menustration" which was shown for many years in schools. And I have read in two separate books where it was claimed, incorrectly, that Minnie Mouse hosted that film!!)

MORE STRANGE FACTS
According to PLAYBOY in 1993, bogus orders of Domino's pizza increase by 15% during broadcasts of THE SIMPSONS.

CAREER ADVICE
John McCrory in the March 26, 1927 issue of MOTION PICTURE WORLD gave this advice to the readers: "A movie cartoonist has to be more than a little bit crazy, he must in most cases be a raving maniac ... God only knows what a vast number of things a movie cartoonist has to study and observe before he can do his day's work. In fact, everything from how a snake makes love, to cooking a Spanish omelet in an Irish restaurant. It is not unusual in a cartoon to see several artists doing high dives off their desks, or playing leap frog, maybe doing a dry swim on the floor while several others stand by and watch to study the timing of the action."

ANIMATED FILMS THAT NEVER WERE
In 1994, it was announced that veteran tv writer and director Stan Daniels (TAXI) would write the script adaptation for Amblin Entertainment's animated feature version of the musical CARNIVAL which would be produced by Steven Spielberg and would include music from the original score.

WOMEN IN ANIMATION
An article in the 1954 issue of MECHANIX ILLUSTRATED about the making of the Universal horror film, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON included the following quote: "After working for a while for Walt Disney as the first girl animator in history, she (Millicent Patrick) was hired to create monsters for Bud Westmore at Universal-International. The Gill Man is her masterpiece..." Was Millicent Patrick the first "girl" animator in history? Retta Scott was animating at Disney on BAMBI and LaVerne Harding was working over at Lantz and was responsible for Woody Woodpecker's design becoming cuter.

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  • Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty were all blondes." Loni Anderson didn't become a blonde until the late Seventies and achieved recognition on the television show WKRP as well as her short lived marriage to actor Burt Reynolds. At the time, she had an extensive Snow White collection.

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