Wednesday, December 28, 2005

There's Baloney In Our Slacks

Via Toonzone Forums, some news on the extras planned for the Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain DVDs. The special features will be hosted by Maurice LaMarche, the voice of The Brain (joined by Yakko/Pinky voicer Rob Paulsen on the Pinky and the Brain DVDs), and will include interviews with senior producer Tom Ruegger, writer-producer and Slappy Squirrel voice actor Sherri Stoner, writer-producer Peter Hastings, voice actors Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell (Wakko) and Tress MacNeille (Dot), composers Steve and Julie Bernstein, and others.

Hopefully some of the animation artists will be involved in there too, though "Animaniacs" always seemed to have more of a split between the writers and animators than some of WB's other cartoon shows. "Tiny Toons" gave the storyboard artists quite a bit of leeway on adding things to the scripts; so did "Batman," whose most influential producer was an animator, Bruce Timm. By the time "Animaniacs" came around, the writers on that show may have become more protective of their scripts, and there were rumors of conflict between the writing and animating sides of the show. It didn't hurt "Animaniacs" because the scripts were so good, and because producer-director Rich Arons brought a lot of visual imagination to the episodes, but the disconnect between the writing and the visuals may have had a negative effect on some of WB's later comedy cartoons, like "Histeria!," which was basically an illustrated radio show and a not-very-attractively-illustrated radio show at that.

Incidentally, the staff of "Animaniacs" had a strange connection to the world of Walt Disney animated movies: Sherri Stoner had been the live-action reference model for Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Peter Hastings had done similar duty for the Beast. This explains the cameo appearances of Belle and the Beast in various episodes; in "King Yakko," which will be on the first DVD set, they dance across the screen for no reason at all.


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Mattieshoe said...

On tiny toons, the fact that the Storyboard artists Changed and added things at will, I think, hurt it.

alot of times, the visuals seemed tacked-on.

Like they were there for the sake of being there.

they didn't tend to move the story any further and this made the storytelling jumbled.

On animaniacs, the writers knew what they were doing. they knew what they had to write and what The Storyboard artists would add naturally.
In that sense, the visuals ENHANCED the Writing, (And vice versa) and they both worked towards telling the story well.