Friday, September 07, 2007

The Bakshi Mighty Mouse Show IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY...

Ralph Bakshi started the "creator-driven" rebirth of cartoons with his NEW ADVENTURES OF MIGHTY MOUSE that came out on CBS in 1987. Many new-style cartoons flourished in the early 90s following Ralph's lead. My work on Mighty Mouse led straight to my own Ren and Stimpy Show a couple years later.



HOW TO FORMAT CARTOONS AND WORK WITH SPONSORS
If I had total control over not only my cartoons, but also the business and packaging, here is how I would air them.















Ralph hired me as the supervising director on Mighty Mouse and then I hired most of crew. It all came together really fast, but Ralph was the one who made sure that we were basically left alone by the network people to do our thing. It was the first cartoon series in at least 20 years that was actually made by cartoonists. We wrote, designed and directed it. I even changed the whole production system. I brought back the old "Unit- system" to replace the horrible anti-creative assembly line process that the other studios had been using on TV.

Everyone worked really hard because it was the first chance any of us had to actually have fun making cartoons. It launched many careers and revolutionized cartoons for awhile.


This system and process should come back. If it doesn't, talented cartoonists in animation are doomed to be replaced by computer geeks who can't draw but can use programs.

NIGHT OF THE BAT BAT
STORY BY JOHN K. AND JIM REARDON
DIRECTED BY JOHN K.

I always thought Superheroes were funny, because the whole concept is so preposterous. Especially Batman and Robin who don't even have superpowers. They just have fancy underwear. This was my first spoof of the Dark Knight. I did another in the Ripping Friends, years later.

The story was forged in a funny way. I had the concept and the rough plot basically worked out. I had just hired Jim Reardon out of the infamous Cal Arts. He was a funny cartoonist so I said, "you'll be a writer." The kinds of gags he specialized in were "one-liners", gags that at the time seemed dated to me but funny none the less. Bob Hope style throwaway lines. Jim came up with so many that I actually got sort of mad at one point. I said "Can't you come up with more action or personality gags? This is a cartoon for Christ's sake - not a @#%*@#** sitcom! "

Then it dawned on me that I could make the one liners part of the plot and Jim and I reworked the story to make fun of Bob Hope type gags. Little did I expect that in a couple years one-liner cartoons would become all the rage in prime time, and here I was thinking they were dated!

I think this is also the first male cow who stands on 2 legs that ever appeared in cartoons. I wanted to have his teats sticking out,
but that was too risque for Saturday Morning cartoons at the time so I kept them stuffed in his shorts.
SOME STARS WHO WORKED ON THIS EPISODE:
RALPH
LYNNE NAYLOR
BRUCE TIMM
KEN BOYER
JIM SMITH
BOB JAQUES
EDDIE?
VICKY JENSEN
LIBBY SIMON
ISTVAN
JIM GOMEZ
MIKE KAZALEH
ANDREW STANTON
JEFF PIGEON
DAVE MARSHALL
BIN
MIKE PATAKI (AS the Cow)
PATRICK PINNEY (MIGHTY MOUSE)
CHARLIE ADLER (BAT BAT)

If I left anyone out, let me know and I'll add you! It was a long time ago and I don't remember every detail of who did what.




WHO WOULD PAY HARD CASH FOR A SHOW LIKE THIS TODAY?












GO SEE MY FAVORITE EPISODE!

http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2007/09/mighty-mouse-show-episode-2-mightys.html


44 comments:

Art F. said...

god! that was my all-time favorite episode! i taped every episode but this ONE i watched over and over. awesome!

Whit said...

The Hungarian artist's name was Istvan Majoros. He was unique. Built a castle near Mojave and may still live up there.

I are da cute one said...

lol! an advert for Colgate?? That's better than their "Dr Rabbit". Dr Rabbit is terrible. XD;;

peldma3 said...

Hi, I just wanted to thank you.. This blog really keeps me goin' i am sure I am not the only one.... I had just about given -up on new GOOD cartoons. And my drawing is improving too.
Thank you

peldma3 said...

Lambiek.net has a history of comics as well as Dutch comics history.. if you haven't seen it already... there is some neat stuff there.

Sean Worsham said...

I'd pay cold hard cash John, but what would be more beneficial, my money for ASIFA or More money for your next cartoon? I'm really undecisive now. What would you guys do?

-Sean

Pete Emslie said...

Back when "The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse" was playing on TV in the late 80's, I'd never heard of this Kricfalusi rascal. It wasn't until "Ren and Stimpy" came along that I became aware of John and the fact that he was the creative spirit behind that Mighty Mouse revival. Fortunately, I enjoyed those Mighty Mouse shows so much that I started taping them. I only have about 5 or 6 episodes, but they sure are great.

I'm actually quite amazed at what John and his fellow lunatics were able to get past the censors, aside from that infamous flower snorting scene. My favourite episode was "The League of Super-Rodents", especially since it featured that hot cartoon babe, Madam Marsupial. That gal sure had an intriguing way of serving up a plate of spaghetti!

Hey John, I have a question for you. When you came up with your Chipmunks spoof, "Elwy and the Tree Weasels", did you use that name in reference to Canada's most endearingly enthusiastic, old film buff, Elwy Yost? I always wondered if there was a connection there, you being an Ottawa boy and all, likely having grown up on "Saturday Night at the Movies".

JohnK said...

HI PETE,

YEAH THAT'S WHERE THE NAME ELWY CAME FROM. I USED TO WATCH ALL THE OLD MOVIES ON HIS SHOW.

IT'S HOW I FOUND OUT OLD MOVIES WERE ALL BETTER THAN MODERN ONES, JUST LIKE CARTOONS AND MUSIC.

Mr. Semaj said...

I think this is also the first male cow who stands on 2 legs that ever appeared in cartoons. I wanted to have his teats sticking out, but that was too risque for Saturday Morning cartoons at the time so I kept them stuffed in his shorts.

This sounds a little picky, but male cows aren't supposed to have utters. No more than male humans should have breasts.

Chris Wyatt said...

Anyone got footage of the infamous flower-snorting scene. You've gotta laugh really, the only people who made the connection with cocaine are already aware of it in the first place. Kids would be completely oblivious and would just see it as a flower.

cartoon lad said...

Eddie Fitzgerald makes an appearance in The New Mighty Mouse doing a wacky dance.

Nor said...

Jim Reardon's Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown is still one of the most insane thing's I've ever seen.

Colter said...

By computer geeks who can't draw, what do you mean?

What cartoons were created by people that have no drawing ability, but can use programs?

I just don't know of any other way to draw and animate on the pc without using a wacom tablet (which I find is harder than drawing conventionally) and knowing how to draw.

Unless you're referring to people who just use the circle and rectangle tool to piece characters together, and then tween their way through animating cartoons.

Just don't know of any cartoons that use that. It would look awful.

Petey Esdie said...

*I* would pay hard cash. I WANT THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIGHTY MOUSE ON DVD!!!!

Siobhan said...

I loved the New Mighty Mouse. I saw it growing up overseas in Saudi Arabia, and was around 11 or so - I knew what I was seeing was completely different than any other cartoon I had ever seen in my life before, and all of a sudden, as a kid, it made the connection that cartoons could be funny and the art could be great at the same time.

Man. I miss that show. There is nothing, nothing at all, that measures up anymore on Saturdays. It's all Choco-Bots Adventure Hour.

Thank God for Youtube, because it meant I didn't have to say to my friends anymore "Okay, so the guy who did Fritz the Cat and Wizards and the guy who did Ren and Stimpy did a remake of Mighty Mouse, and it was AWESOME" while they looked at me blankly.

As a kid, the detail I obsessed about and was in love with was the tongues of the characters, and how they'd protrude when a "th" sound or a "l" sound was being made. After all that stupid just general mouth-moving, it seemed revolutionary.

jhbmw007 said...

So John is this paypal donations to make us cartoons thing for real? If so, how much would it take to have a short made? I'm sure many of us would love to help out with making it too- that would keep the costs down. Maybe you should post one of those thermometer things so we can keep track of where we are until we meet our goal. It'd be like a Jerry Lewis special- except for cartoons and without the homophobic slurs lol.

Tyler said...

Is there some compelling reason that the New Adventures of Mighty Mouse hasn't seen a DVD release yet? I've seen bootleg copies at comic conventions go for $45.00.

Sam L. said...

Hey John, do you know what Jim Reardon is up to now a days?

Bobo said...

WHO WOULD PAY HARD CASH FOR A SHOW LIKE THIS TODAY?

Why don't you find out by pitching some ideas to networks instead of conning money from your readers to add to your empty bank account, like yesterday's thinly veiled, "GIVE ME YOUR FUCKING CASH YOU UNTALENTED BASTARDS!" post?

You spend a lot of time criticizing the current state of animation, but you are doing nothing to improve it.

You should learn from Vincent Waller, he is making millions at Spongebob collecting his fat coperate paychecks. Join the enemy for a little while, make your cash and pay for your own show if REALLY you think execs won't like your stuff.

CollisionWorks said...

JK,

I agree with pretty much all you say here, and have been complaining to anyone who'll listen for years about the problem of the "ease" of digital technology making people who have mastered the technology believe that they have mastered the craft (specifically, for me, film editing and typography). I don't mind the tech, but mind the dumbing down of the craft that seems to have resulted.

That said, annoying fanboy questions about Mighty Mouse:

So, when they broadcast "Bat with a Golden Tongue," the episode's punchline was dubbed over with a scream - it's hard to lip read The Bat-Bat, but, judging from the rhythm and context, is he saying "Kids, just say no to one-liners"?

Also, in re: cuts to MM episodes, is there any story behind the elimination of the final word of "Don't Touch That Dial" between the first and all subsequent airings? I've got it on tape (Betamax, would you believe?) from the first time it aired, and again twice from two later ones, and the later ones are missing the final word from MM's evil-sounding final line, "And now, here's what television's really all about . . . business!" (last word spoken over an academy leader countdown). I can kinda understand why it was removed, but just wondering about specifics.

Thanks.

Mitch K said...

Hey John, I've got an unrelated question: Who animated that scene in Altruists where the duck is rubbing himself on the neck and getting all hot? It's really a great scene.

Chuck said...

I was a graduate student in Mass Media when the show was on, and like others, knew Bakshi, but not John K. I did know that there was an influence other than Bakshi's at work though. I fondly remembered "The Mighty Heroes," but " Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures" was a revelation. I loved this show so much I was willing to actually get up before noon on Saturdays to watch it! Then I got a VCR, thank God... Mr. Emslie's mention of "Elwy and the Tree Weasels" brought back a host of bizarre and happy memories. Please tell me MM:TNA will be available on DVD sometime in the not-too-distant future. I'd hate to think that the cocaine vs. crushed flower controversy Donald Wildmon cooked up is still a factor after almost 20 years.

Paul B said...

HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAAAAYYYY!!!

BEST SCREAM EVER!!!

flashcartoons said...

how much would it cost to start a production?

Freckled Derelict said...

Bring back good cartoons!!!!!

Taco Wiz said...

I agree with Bobo.

You should learn from Vincent Waller, he is making millions at Spongebob collecting his fat coperate paychecks. Join the enemy for a little while, make your cash and pay for your own show if REALLY you think execs won't like your stuff.

That may be the smartest thing I've heared all day. Work for the enemy, make money, use money to start production on a webtoon. Wait, you draw good, but suck at animating, right? Well John, how about you make a webcomic? You can post it on this blog. OR you could tell us the amount of money you need to start production on a webtoon, and me and my big team of nerdy nerds will donate!

Gabriel said...

EDDIE?

Phitsjarold!!!

PCUnfunny said...

*Sigh* I hate it when kids that have no idea what they are talking about come on this blog and lecture John. Anyway,I will be happy to donate when I get a new bank account.

James Dylan said...

how does the unit system work?

BadIdeaSociety said...

I wouldn't mind seeing the Bakshi "Mighty Mouse" cartoons, but would REALLY like to see the DIC-Produced "The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil" you did in the late 80s. I remember laughing hard during them. I don't remember actually being blown away by the Mighty Mouse remake... it was good... but more of a good signs of things to come.

DonB said...

>> IT'S HOW I FOUND OUT OLD MOVIES
>> WERE ALL BETTER THAN MODERN
>> ONES, JUST LIKE CARTOONS AND
>> MUSIC.

Here is an interesting article from Rick Moranis from a few years ago expressing the same idea:

http://morbioid.livejournal.com/648991.html

:: smo :: said...

anyone else catch this?

zip pan!

i have a relatively analytical take on this, but i think i'd need to see it with proper synch before i started rattling off questions.

BC said...

about the cow.. thank god you left the "teats" in his pants cause for the love of god.. cartoon or not:) if its a "male" cow then it sure as heck does not have "udders" despite what a certain Cg barnyard movie wants people to think#W@#$@.

lame comment I know but damn that crap makes me mad.

I know some one else posted a comment like this as well.

Great blog glad its still going strong.

Chris E. said...

That takes me back to my childhood. That was a fun series. I was particularly fond of the episode where Mighty Mouse kept winding up in cartoon spoofs, like The Jetstones.

It was cool to see an old character like Mighty Mouse return in a cartoon that was fun, and not try to catch up with the times. It was purely a show based on plot instead of some slop trying to appeal to kids by involving what was hip and in and the time. That had to be the last great Saturday morning cartoon, John.

The Bat-Bat and Bug Wonder idea was great. And The Cow was a total character. I mean a cow that is a male--That's messed up and funny all at the same time.

I would like to make a cartoon, and do stuff as fun as this. Though, no matter what I do, my ideas don't seem appreciated because I'm not trying to appeal to nerds who like anime or any of that stupid nonsense like Spongebob. So what do I do?

appleanimator said...

Yup, NAOMM was a real breakthrough and it's sad that so few of these kind of cartoons show up any more.

Yeah, There are computer geeks making lots of bad cartoons. Watch ADULT SWIM and aside from the recycled Anime, you'll see tons of cheaply made Photoshop 101 stuff, with more attitude than anything else.

But John K., some computer tools require artists who can DRAW! Thanks to programmers who listen to artists, these help cut drudgery and let the artist focus more on creativity (it makes my head hurt trying to learn them sometimes, but they helped me!). Why not give some of those tools a spin with your kind of creativity behind them?

Johnny Darrell said...

"computer geeks who can't draw..." I guess those mouse-clicking, button-pushing dorks at Pixar don't know anything about animation, eh? Come on.

Otter said...

So if The Cow is male, and we see the farmer milking him and shaking the "milk" off his hands... that ain't milk, izzit??

I missed Mighty Mouse so much, thanks for posting this!

Chris said...

Where did the obsession with powered food come from? Also could see so much Ren and Stimpy in here..the 5-bucks, George Liquor's personality and of course powdered toast man!

Matt said...

I have "Night of the Bat-Bat" on VHS tape along with atleastt 2 or 3 other shorts from the show (Oil Can Harry, the famous episode where mighty mouse was accused of snorting cocaine by some idiot baptist preacher, and the "halloween" episode with Scrappy, the talking pants and derby, and the witch)

I WANT THIS SHOW ON DVD SO BAD IT HURTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!

cute phase said...

john, ive always wonde3red this, "Elway and the tree weasels" being a favorite cartoon of mine, what's with the cherrios in his mouth? Brilliant, but i'd love to hear how those came around.

Mary said...

I have a question about the BatBat episode with The Cow. I have a feeling that the version posted on YouTube is edited a bit. Am I right? I kinda remember that when BatBat and The Cow meet, The Cow says, "I see you brought the BugWonder with you," BUT THEN BatBat replies with, "And I see you ..." and that's where my memory fails. I know in my soul that originally there was an additional gag there, but for the life of me I can't remember what it is. Help!

By the by, this show came out when I was 11 and I thought it was a work of genius. Picture a little preacher's daughter in pigtails & a flowery pink nightgown, cackling gleefully with her older brothers every Saturday. Even my mom got hooked on the fabulous, twisted humor of this show & watched along with us. Seriously funny shit. It needs to be on DVD. Or AdultSwim or G4 or SOMETHING. There's gotta be somebody out there willing to show this again!

michael said...

hay man i could draw almost all cartoons its fun

michael said...

i can draw mighty mouse

mike c said...

mary,
the person's name you're looking for is merv griffin. it then shows a shot of merv sitting at a desk waving.

and, yeah.
WHY ISN'T THIS SHOW ON DVD??!?!
i've got a few on vhs tapes from back in the day, but this show really deserves a proper release!