Tuesday, January 05, 2010

More Nostalgia From The Fun Era

The Happy Yesterdays
Here's Pete Emslie and his sister Lynne enjoying the idyllic days of the 60s, not realizing what horrors were on their way to destroy western civilization.

The Lumpy NowsBack to the fun era...

All this stuff when I was a kid really made me want to be part of the whole fun world of kids' entertainment and toys when I grew up.

BUT THEN!!!I grew up and was booted into a strange new world of backwards reasoning. This is what had happened to cartoons and I had to work on shows that I'd swear were meant to punish kids. This is what the hippies did to us. They should make hippie bop bags now so we can beat them up.

A few years later Ralph and I tried to turn things around and it worked for a while after.


Pete Emslie said...

I actually remember having that Bozo inflatable "Punch Me" toy when I was a kid. It instilled in me a lifelong urge to give a much needed punch in the nose to the clowns of the world, mostly the corporate ones.

Steve Hogan said...

Fonzie jumped the shark and took kid culture with him!

At least back in the day kids could punch Bam Bam the prehistoric super baby in the head for wrecking the Flintstones.

Peter Bernard said...

I wanted the Batman punch me thing but my parents got me the Bozo one. I never saw the one where the kids got to punch Wilma and Betty though!

Jeff Read said...

I had a Yogi Bear punch toy. And this was in the 80s. He was very, very on-model though, so perhaps not as fun as some of these.

mike f. said...

Hippies. Grrrrrrr! Don't get me started...

RAAA said...

Ed Roth characters are great. I'm surprised they never had a TV cartoon. The toys and models are still popular.

Niki said...

I think it would work again, you'd just have to get a really great show together somewhere and keep people's attention on it.

Jenny Lerew said...

I have Big Loo and Garloo...and Mr. Jinx, and the Cecil that talks and the disguise kit and...

Shawn Dickinson said...

Rat Fink and Weird Oh's and Nutty Mads!!! I can't get enough of that good stuff!

Hans Flagon said...

Regarding what I think may possibly be Weird-Ohs figurines, or a popular knock off...

I have owned the Boxer shooting a bird through his glove, the cop choking the small crook, Than John has pictured, and one involving football which I do not see here. If this family of figurines is not called Weird-Ohs, what are they?

As wonderful as it may be to have these, I have to admit now, I acquired them in what I now consider a lousy trade that I made in the 3rd or 4th grade. I traded my entire childhood album collection. Tons of Hanna Barbera albums voiced by Daw Butler, Paul Frees and the like, my Archies albums, etcetera. about 3 feet of vinyl for a handful of figurines. And the guy who got the albums merely turned around and gave them to our Kindergarten teacher.

Hans Flagon said...

Thanks Shawn, I think it was Nutty Mads.

Lily H. said...

What on earth makes you think hippies made bad cartoons? Seriously, what? I'm trying to figure out what makes you so openly nasty towards a group of people who are as irrelevant now as they were harmless back then.

JohnK said...


Poularized the notion that all people were equally creative.

Ushered in amateurishness in every field of human endeavor.

Decided cartoons were too violent and that they should be good for kids.You can thank hippies for cartoons about saving the environment or any kind of cartoon that preach to you rather than entertain you.

Introduced eastern mysticism to business practices and normal decision making. Killed common sense.

Took form out of everything.

Took the prizes out of cereal.

Stopped the moon program and made progress seem evil.

Made everyone stupid and wimpy which led to America's fall.

glamaFez said...

I never wanted to punch Flipper until now.

Pete Emslie said...

And you just know that, had the hippies been in charge of things in the early 60s, they would definitely have put the Greenpeace kibosh on the Punch Me "Flipper".

HemlockMan said...

Oh, man! Such neat toys!!!

At least they are reissuing the Weird-Ohs models. I've been buying them when I can.

Lamont Cranston said...

>>Decided cartoons were too violent and that they should be good for kids.You can thank hippies for cartoons about saving the environment or any kind of cartoon that preach to you rather than entertain you.
So the American Family Association (the people who kicked up the fuss about Mighty Mouse and called Bakshi a pornographer) is not a Conservative politics & Fundamentalist Christian lobby group but in fact a Hippie pot party hiding in plain sight?
These sorts of Culture War groups (who were started as a reaction against the social changes of the '60s), cost cuttings to production since its a kids show and who cares, Reagans media deregulations allowing the production of 23 minute toy commercials, and an all around race to the bottom for the All Mighty Dollar are responsible for what has happened. A corporations one purpose is to make money.

>>Stopped the moon program and made progress seem evil.
Moon program ended because it had fulfilled its initial purpose and ultimately was a joke, manned space flight tells us nothing about space but provides an awful lot of (your) money to the Aerospace Industry and its share holders.
Publicly funded R&D would be a lot cheaper and quicker since its not being done under the cover of developing junk, but they don't do that sort of thing because the public tends to want to get involved in decision making and the results can't be handed over to private interests - but say its to defend against a boogey man and the money can be spent however you please.
Curtails democracy and enriches wealthy interests, whats not to love?

>>Made everyone stupid and wimpy which led to America's fall.
It was a real fun world when the USA was big & strong running around overthrowing and replacing with a dictatorship any and every democracy that made even the slightest move to favour its domestic population instead of foreign investors.

With these sorts of views you could probably get a job doing material for American Family Association! Why should Jack Chick have a monopoly on the crazy rightwing cartoon market?

JohnK said...

This is a dumb argument to get into, but I'll just add this:

I was there when it all happened. I watched the whole world go to Hell overnight. The hippies did it. I was a half-hippie myself for a couple years.

This all happened long before Reagan or the Christian Conservatives came around.

By the mid 70s, even Republicans had become hippies. 4 years after wanting to shoot to goddamn long-haired hippie freaks, every redneck in North America had long hair and listened to soft country-rock, which was the hippie version of country.

Even ignorant people were no fun anymore after the hippies.

Luis María Benítez said...

I never liked those movements of hippies, emos, whatever. Nowadays I only see a simplification of everything.

Young guys are bussier with Facebook than any other struggle.

Cartoons were marvellous with Tex Avery, Hanna & Barbera, (among others) in the past and more recently with John.

A few days ago I was watching the introductions of Walter Lanz' cartoons and many times he explained how animation worked. He was explaining how all animators came up with ideas from daily life and turn them into funnier stuff, then you could see how they worked. I never saw a "kid". It was the work of adults and I think that could be also the reason why in the past many things were better than now (I mean, in terms of the media, cartoons, music, etc.)

I don't know. I tend to think that it's always young people's fault, but maybe it has nothing to do with the age, but with the way of thinking. I believe today many people think like producers: "we have to make it look good", and the whole thing gets spoiled.

Now everything has to be trendy, cool, it's so dumb. From Coyote and the Road-runner to The Powerpuff Girls there was a huge difference, but to the things being made right now, the difference is HUGE.

Dorseytunes said...

Time to find of an old box of Freakies cereal and watch reruns of H.R. Pufnstuf.

mike f. said...

Hey John,

I think you should abandon your original idea of talking about fun nostalgic toys, and let stupids who are too cowardly to sign their real names politicize and monopolilze the whole conversation instead.

Who's with me besides "Lamont Cranston"?

SoleilSmile said...

John, do you consider yourself an American or a Canadian?

Anyhoo, I like hippies and was raised in the all inclusive hippy-artist community. Without hippies I would be your maid, not a fellow animation artist.

In regards to 70's animation; I love Josie and Pussycats no matter what you say.

RooniMan said...

Oh, what I'd give to have the punch me blow-ups, Rat Fink, Weird-Ohs, or Nutty Mads.

JohnK said...

What's the most skillful thing in Josie and the Pussycats?

What artist job would you have like in the show most?

Tracing the model sheets?

Lamont Cranston said...

mike I probably shouldn't have gone quite so ballistic, but John derailed this from neat old toys to certain politics that tickled my nerves.

JohnK said...

I didn't mention politics at all. I mentioned hippies. People without form.

SoleilSmile said...

I would've loved to be the story or layout artist for Alexandra Cabot. I loved the way she would disparage Josie at every turn. I also loved the life drawing that was incorporated into the show. Not all scenes were gems. The show was compromised by time and budget restraints. However, I liked what the crew was able to execute given the time they had.

Furthermore, I get a kick how inoffensively mobile the girls are in those mini-skirts! That's quite a trick!

JohnK said...

They weren't very mobile. And they would not have let you do layouts in your own style or even draw a line of action or squash and stretch. They would have made you trace model sheets.

I worked on many shows like that. No one had any fun.

SoleilSmile said...

I'll take some screen captures from the series and post them on my blog to show you what I mean by mobile.

Jeffrey said...

A hilarious Cartman-like rant, John.

And, John K.'s correct, by the way. Just because someone is a "hippie", it does not mean that they're a liberal. I remember democrat Tipper Gore saying how much she was a "flower child" and "loved Simon and Garfunkel" while at the same time she and her religious right PMRC/Eagle Forum friends put the Dead Kennedys on trial for "distributing harmful matter to children" (a.k.a. a record album) and Frank Zappa in front of her husband's senate obscenity hearing.

Hippie/democrat does not equal liberal/progressive.

Anonymous said...

If I have a kid, I'll make sure he knows what a good toy is.

I think it's ridiculous how many people try to argue with a pro with first-hand experience. I have to say I've never seen a real point made against you John, it's usually just a lot of catty backlash.

Michael said...

It's overpopulation. That's what happened.

Kieran Pertnav said...

Seriously, network execs are many things, but they are not hippies. They don't put lessons in cartoons because they actually believe them, they put messages in them because they're scared shitless of parenting groups. As for the lousy animation, that's not because they hate fun, it's because they love money. Everything in TV is designed to put as much money as possible into execs pockets without taking any risks.

Execs are still jackasses, but that doesn't mean there aren't still creative people out there. Seriously, watch The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Just because a cartoon isn't made in the same system as it was when you were a kid doesn't necessarily mean it's garbage. It's just the way TV works, and as you've seen, it takes a LOT to overturn TV.

I'd also like to point out that your nostalgia is just that- nostalgia. It's what you grew up with, it's what you're used to. You're nostalgic about early Hannah Barbera the same way people who grew up in the 80s are nostalgic about the Smurfs and people who grew up in the 90s are nostalgic about Dexter's Lab. All of those eras had good shows and bad shows, all of those eras had good toys and scary toys, but people only seem to remember the best parts of their childhood.
Cartoons are never gonna be what they were in the 60s, because our culture has changed, but we'll never see cartoons like there were in the 80s either, the 90s cartoons aren't coming back.
Don't get me wrong, I love the classic cartoons, but they were created under conditions that simply don't exist any more, and not just studios, but cultures.

So thinking that fun ended after a certain date is just ridiculous. People will find fun in whatever time they're in, it's just that their sense of fun has changed and yours has stayed the same. I sometimes wish I had brought up in the days where it was politically correct to play cowboys and indians, but that doesn't mean that my childhood was miserable, I had a hell of a lot of fun. The only obstacle to fun is a lack of imagination, and while the cartoons today are different than they were in your day watching the good ones will confirm that while TV standards are lower, the people with imagination still make them enjoyable to watch.

Guy Cx said...

(I'm quoting Kieran here)

<< Seriously, watch The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Just because a cartoon isn't made in the same system as it was when you were a kid doesn't necessarily mean it's garbage.>>

I agree with you, it's not garbage. I've seen this Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and had some laughs with it.

Really, it's not garbage. It's good enough. That may not sound like a problem, but trust me, it is the biggest of the problems.

We live in this "good enough" world, with "good enough" music, "good enough" movies, even "good enough" food and, of course, "good enough" cartoons. Can't we go beyond this anymore? Are we doomed to live in this kind of world forever now? I feel bad for myself, for having to look for the "old stuff" in order to get the REALLY good stuff - not just the "good enough".

seifd said...

You have to keep in mind that just because something isn't new doesn't mean that no one is watching it. Between channels like Boomerang and older shows being available online, I'll bet more kids are watching older cartoons than ever before.

JohnK said...

Boomerang doesn't show many old cartoons. Unless you think of Scooby Doo as old.

CN just started running Looney Tunes again, so that's good but they make it very hard to watch.

Mitch K said...

Pete still has that youthful smile. Awww.

Kieran Pertnav said...

I honestly think that there are shows that go beyond good enough, and movies that go beyond good enough, and I don't think its fair to call that the entire era. I'm sure there was quick stuff in the old days too. Rocky and Bullwinkle was the one of the first outsourced cartoons, and the production values are ridiculously low, and it's not always funny either.

It is a problem that the TV production setup makes it so that people don't have time to get everything just right, but I think that there are people talented enough out there to make stuff that's pretty damn good. Samurai Jack and Avatar The Last Airbender both were really well done, and Jack in particular looked very well made.

Of course, for me, it's all about the humor. Most people are here because they are animation buffs who can instantly tell if a cartoon is well drawn or not, if it's original or not, etc. I just came here because I thought that Ren and Stimpy was some of the funniest stuff I had ever seen and I really admired that, but I found that one of my heroes was really incredibly negative. My point being just because you disagree with some of the trends of the day or how things are done doesn't mean you should bash entire decades and make broad sweeping statements about how nothing's fun anymore.

Also, yeah, I talk a lot about Flapjack, because it's my personal favorite cartoon that's still airing, but just as a matter of opinion I think that when it's really firing on all cylanders its better than "just good enough". Spongebob now is "just good enough" but its simply a matter of opinion as to where you draw that line so I don't want to debate that.

I think CN had an LT marathon around New Years, though it is a shame that they only air LT around noon at other times.

I think Boomerang does still air Tom and Jerry fairly frequently, it's sometimes on CN too. They also ran a bunch of old HB Xmas specials, though overall their lineup has been disappointing.

Ebbe said...

I can't hate black people and beat up women like I used to! Damn hippies ruined everything!

JohnK said...


I'm guessing you grew up in the 90s and early 2000s.

If so, you were lucky enough to experience a slight resurgence of fun cartoons.(Although without the accompanying great toys of the 1960s)

That was because my generation, who watched cartoons get bland and boring and preachy got sick of it. We had to turn the business upside down for you so and we started making "retro" cartoons like Mighty Mouse, Ren and Stimpy, Dexter, Powerful Girls etc.

All those cartoons were throwbacks to the 50s and 60s, sort of homages and light satires of the golden age of being kids that had been crushed in the 70s and 80s by humorless bland people in charge.

But little by little, that resurgence has been reverting back to executive controlled animation like it was in the 80s. And the ratings have gone down with them.

There may still be some superficially "retro" looking cartoons thanks to us, but they don't have the fun and freedom to be creative that we took for ourselves - or that cartoonists had from the 30s to the 50s.

Cartoonists today have arguments about fun and style all the time with the management in cartoons. I know it because I hear it all the time. There may be a couple lucky guys left who are able to do what they want if they keep the goals low enough, but the skill and execution has sure gone down hill lately.

If you are a cartoonist you will find out soon enough how hard it is to have fun in this business that's supposed to be fun.
But maybe you'll be on of the guys who changes it back again.

Adam Tavares said...

It seems silly to enter into the hippy debate now but I think people are arguing over small points and not seeing the big picture. I think John's problem with hippies, and it's mine too, is that they ushered in this culture of permissiveness. Everything is equal. Nobody is better than anybody else. Being mediocre is okay. Why try?

Our culture now celebrates people who are the most screwed up, horrible, talentless, emotional trainwrecks. People are rich and famous for being rich and famous. Why would people aspire to become anything when they have to share the winners' podium with Paris Hilton. People now must choose financial reward or personal merit.

Now some may say that this has always been the case, but it seems to me that just in the past 10 years things have taken a nose dive. In the 00's American culture's disease went terminal.

And you know what big business loves this too. It means they don't have to do anything innovative and they'll still rake in the cash. Just convince people that garbage is gold with constant advertising and push out anything that would raise the bar. Our standards as a culture have dropped as a result. Lowest common denominators are in control. The inmates are running the asylum.

So the hippies that dropped out of the rat race and our now living peacefully in some commune in New Mexico are not the ones we're hating on here. It's the ones that dropped back into the system and are now no nothing executives and middle managers who are the problem.

mike f. said...

I can't hate black people and beat up women like I used to! Damn hippies ruined everything!

Oh? Like that chivalrous hippie scholar and gentleman, Charles Manson?

That lousy Greatest Generation, who merely defeated Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism and McCarthyism, established the NAACP, broke the color line in major league baseball in 1947 (when the first hippies were all of 2 years old), and began the modern Civil Rights movement in 1954 with Brown vs. the Board of Education (when the oldest hippies were 8 years old). Lastly, they made the world safe for cultural ignoramuses like Ebbe to distort history with ignorant, grandstanding platitudes.

The hippie generation pretended to be protectors of wildlife and the environment, but their ecological legacy since coming of age in 1970 has been a virtual tsunami of species extinction. Although much of their music was genuinely innovative, they otherwise systematically destroyed American popular culture in the process!

Some legacy.

talkingtj said...

this is what im talking about! your toy collection! when i purchased the ren and stimpy spike cartoon set on dvd and saw all your toys in the background of every interview, i salivated, what wonderous things lurked in every corner of your palacial estate? as a toy collector myself i was hooked, that view was worth the price of the dvd, now youve finally posted more-thank you, i really dont know if hippies were solely responsible for the decline in american fun, i think that movement was already underway, but they did hasten it, i too also mourn the loss of finding toy prizes in cereal boxes,and cutting out actual 45rpm singles from the back of the box, music made for kids, imagine, not nursery rhymes or educational nonsense, actual bounce up and down pop tunes, fun! all gone now!

The Butcher said...

Mike F.,

You're a great man. Never change.

Kieran Pertnav said...

I TOTALLY understand what you guys are saying about the lack of talent in the arts nowadays and I agree that it's appauling. However, I'm pretty much certain that for every decade there were untalented people working in entertainment, they're just forgotten now. For every untalented celebrity there is a talented one, I think it's unfair to say that just because there are many famous people with no talent the entire culture has gone down the toilet. In film, there are shitty directors like Michael Bay, but there's also Peter Jackson, James Cameron as well as new discoveries like Neill Blomcamp (SP?). It's simply a matter of preference. I'm not saying you're not right about many of the shows on the air. I'm not saying that there's not tons of shit happening in our culture right now, but I'm saying its a matter of preference. You certainly have every right to prefer the days you grew up in and be nostalgic about them, everyone is nostalgic, but you can't let nostalgia blind you.

Now, with the big picture stuff over-
Cartoon Network's leadership has taken a dive lately, resulting in this outbreak of shitty reality shows and interdependence on acquisitions, but they still have great shows. Chowder isn't great all the time, it's one of the most wildly inconsistent shows I've ever seen. One episode I think "no wonder this show is ending soon" but the next one I think it's a crying shame. Flapjack is consistently creative and while it, like most shows of its day, features very limited animation and posing, the crazy off-model facial expressions make it hilarious to look at, and you can distinguish between the different artists drawing the faces (although to be fair, the artists who make the faces ARE largely inexperienced storyboard artists, not layout artists or animators, but they're still very creative). Spongebob was good in its first two seasons but is getting stiffer and duller all the time, but I saw an episode recently that had a lot of classic cartoon humor and was really fun to watch. Like Chowder, it's gotten to the point where it depends on the board artist- some are good and make funny episodes, some are bad and make horrendous episodes.
I'm pretty sure you're familiar with El Tigre since Katie Rice and Eric Bauza were involved with it, and even though it got canceled quite quickly I really enjoyed watching it. It had too much flash default poses and expressions, but the humor was good and it had some funny drawings in it when they decided to go off-model.

I've also noticed that you take a lot of time to address the CG movies that are in theaters now, as well as the FOX shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons. My philosophy regarding those is that I don't view them as cartoons. I view the FOX shows as sitcoms- nothing special about the animation, but cleverly written. The CGI features from PIXAR are not very cartoony, but instead work more like very well executed live action films which use the animation to tell stories live action can't. Both pay homage to their heritage in traditional animation, but I don't think they can really be considered part of that genre any more, which is why I still enjoy them despite the fact that the art is bland.

By the way, I was born in 1994 and brought up on Looney Tunes and Ren and Stimpy, with no actual TV, just VHS and DVD. When I discovered TV cartoons, I was watching them at around 2005, so I grew up in the 90s but I've really largely watched 2000s cartoons, though I've gone back and watched the entire Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack and some of Dexter's Lab.

David said...

John have you ever been to the Barker Museum in Ct?

The place is filled with wondrous toys. Original clay models used in filming Gumby (I'm talking a huge collection). A whole room filled floor to ceiling with lunchboxes. All kinds of tin toys. The place is pretty wild. My wife and I stumbled upon it when we were on a daytrip. I highly recommend this place and if you are friendly to the lady who brings you on the tour, she will show lots of stuff not on display.

Take care,

Guy Cx said...

As far as I can see, this whole discussion about what's poor quality and what's good relies mainly on standards.

When it comes to standards, I honestly don't know what's right or what's wrong, especially when it comes to arts. For example, I absolutely love rock n' roll, while my grampa doesn't even consider it as music. Who is right? I gotta tell you, my grampa knows a lot about music.

So maybe there is no "right standard", but somehow I still believe that it is indeed possible for us to raise our standards, through good sense maybe.

Aw hell, what do I know anyway... I was never really fond of this "it's all a matter of taste" thing, but it makes some sense - and people always try to convince me of this being truth.

Oliver_A said...


If you are a fan of funny, cartoony cartoons, then what other choice do you have to watch cartoons made before the 60's or the short period in the 90's?

Best example: being an 80's and 90's kid in Germany, I had the opportunity to watch both classic Tom & Jerry shorts from the 40's/50's and the Filmation series from 1981 on TV (which aired much later in Germany). As a 5 year old kid back then, I immediately noticed that the Filmation series was unfunny, weird and most of all, completely soulless, it irritated me to no end, I hated it. And the same was with most other 70's and 80's cartoons, with their stiff posing, lots of animation shortcuts (long pans over static backgrounds, only mouth movements in most scenes, all things I noticed as a kid back then!) and most of all, scripts which were boring and dreadful as hell. I dislike 90% of all cartoons being produced in the timeline of my childhood.

My point is: give a young, unspoiled , unbiased kid the choice between a modern and classic cartoon, and it WILL favour the classic cartoon! I have seen it work on me, I have seen it work on other kids born more than a decade after me.

Your whole nostalgia argument is irrelevant, because animation, as an art form, HAS considerably degraded over the last 50 years. Buy or rent some Looney Tunes, Popeye, Tex Avery and heck (though John will disagree here ;) even Disney shorts on DVD, and just look at them! LOOK AT THEM! Are you really trying to tell us that the stuff produced today holds up against this???

There was a time, when I was 6-9 years old, where I thought animators were a species of atomic supermen, because I could not figure out in my young brain how on earth someone could draw like that!

Oliver_A said...

Btw, I don't want offend anyone who worked on the Filmation Tom & Jerry series here, because I just re-watched the credits on youtube and noticed that Eddie Fitzgerald and other well-known people worked on it. This series just came on the top on my head based on my childhood memories, sorry!

Did they really use Storyboards?

JohnK said...

I worked on it too. So did Tom Minton, Lynne Naylor and a lot of other talented people. But the cartoon was unwatchable except for the odd weird scene that snuck through the system.

Oliver_A said...

Argh, damn. Sorry again! It shows how much talent and potential was wasted at Filmation.

I'm glad you guys had the opportunity to prove that skill, the right production system and common sense in decision making has a huge impact on the quality of the final work. It's AMAZING that 7-10 years later, Mighty Mouse and Ren & Stimpy came on screen, temporarily smashing the first dark period of cartoons.

Kieran Pertnav said...

@Oliver- I have the first two LT golden collections, and they're definitely so much better animated, and it's really mindblowing to think that there were only 3-4 main animators doing it all. Obviously, there's no replacing Looney Tunes, but the circumstances under which they were created no longer exist, but as John proved with Ren and Stimpy, it's still possible to make good cartoons with limited animation.

As for the nostalgia argument, the point I'm making isn't that cartoons haven't been decaying in progress, but that the type of sentimentality towards the culture in general surrounding the cartoons in John's posts seems to imply that fun only exists in a bygone era, but just because things have changed doesn't mean it's not possible to enjoy yourself.

I do wish they could find a way to make bringing back theatrical shorts commercially viable. But the TV cartoons we have are the closest you can get, but you have to enjoy them for what they are, which is people doing the best they can on ridiculously limited budjets, tight schedules, and outsourced studios. When John took the time to do things right on Ren and Stimpy, I've heard he missed a lot of deadlines, and partly because of that and other conflicts with the network, the world was robbed of many more years of Ren and Stimpy glory. The circumstances that exist today force compromises with the networks in order to keep the shows going. Its not because these people are lazy or don't care, it's because they're honestly trying as hard as they can, and that still allows for some pretty great stuff to be created.

John Paul Cassidy said...

Hey, John, are those Dakin's Dream Pets amongst your collection? I'm a fan of those! I just recently obtained over half of the 2004 reissues, which are among the best collectible toys I've seen!

I will say, though, that the best toys from the 70s, besides Mego figures, are from Japan (including the Shogun Warriors)! Nuff' said. ;)

JohnK said...

Just to let you know Kieran,
I didn't miss any deadlines except for one cartoon that they approved and then disapproved later, therefore holding up production on it.

Stimpy's Invention.

When the network took over the production, they missed just about every deadline and this is historical fact.

Plus it cost them about twice as much per episode.

But they made a fortune off the episodes we made and built their reputation on it.

And it took them another 10 years before they had another hit of comparable size- which they tried to cancel before it made it big.

Zoran Taylor said...

Hey John, I have to ask......exactly HOW worn out is you old copy of We're Only In It For The Money?

And speaking of which, as a defender of form, how do you think Zappa gets away with minutes of end of pure random noise? (Besides being mind-blowingly skilled and talented, of course.)

We're both fans, y'realize. I've wanted to hear your thoughts on the guy for awhile now.

sharprm said...

"hippies. People without form."

I like this quote. Its opposite to using dodgy psychology to justify crap drawings.

Oliver_A said...


I have absolutely no doubt that today's TV animation is made with practically no budget. Your kind of reasoning however makes it sound that cutting everything down and letting everything deteriorate, is an economically justifiable fact and that we should better accept it. Cram it down your throat, be happy, and don't ask any questions.

Pardon my french, but I think this is BS. Why? Because it's a self-induced downward spiral where everyone will eventually lose. If nothing has any real value anymore, then what does this say about us?

Reduce every aspect of human culture to the lowest common denominator and we'll end up in a world which Mike Judge so greatly parodied in Idiocracy. I think Beavis and Butthead is a spot-on social commentary on the MTV generation. What we witness now is how this generation is taking over the world, facing the growing economical and ecological challenges in front of us.

You may think now "whoa, this guy is crazy, better cartoons won't save the world!". That's not how I mean it. I think todays cartoons are, among many other aspects, an indicator of how we are dumbing ourselves down to the ground. If you want other proofs, turn on the television, go to the cinema, listen to the Top 10 or visit a public school.

I love this blog, because here is a RARE instance of someone working in the entertainment industry with an openly no-BS attitude, devoid of any self-delusional Hollywood talk. Is John perfect? Of course not. But I think that real good artists have a genuine way of expressing our shortcomings as a human species, because that's where both humor but also self-awareness lies.

Enough ranting for today.

freddie said...

hey!!! in mexico we have a museum of old toy (museo del antiguo juguete mexico)i remember old times !!!! when all in my life its just a play!!! look at the link man!!!!


Pokey said...

LOL "Tipper Gore" and hippies who ain't...of course the Eagle Forum of the 50s, Columbia Records due to Mitch Miller, which is in my opinion a harshly maligned company, came under attack from Democrat-turned-Republican/hipster-turned hip-square[can you dig it?] Frank Sinatra, vs Mitch Miller, the Eagle Forum with a Peter and Paul [of ..and Mary] goatee type qwhoi was accused by Sinatra of all people, of doing music both parties hated, Rock and Roll, but who [Miller] WAS a progresssive talent seeker. John K., you cited Frankie Laine in interveiws as one great manly singer, and he was.. in addition to being a Mitch Miller/Columbia protogee. Miller and Sinatra ironically both introduced "far out' instrumentations [despite Sinatra's cartoon-spoofed Frankie-boy image AND Mitch Miller's barbershop/Disneyland image].

But being a "Christian" doesn't make one a ultra righter, teen star Debbie Gibson [yeah, I know, a 1980s icon] is admittedly an Eagle Forum-mer of the Tiger Beat crowd as is Kirk Cameron from then..Debbie was saying "Today's kids think that it's wrong to be a good person" yet she is talented.

And being a liberal, incidentlaly, of course, doesn't make one a big flag burner..example John F.Kenneddy who was a liberal but in 1961 made the famous "Ask what you can do for your country"..

Hippies, btw DID have a major place in cartoons themselves...in case of appearing in them...whaddya think Shaggy was LOL. And SoleilSmile, Alexandra [Josie's Pussycat nemesis] I do give some cedit for, for not being totally turned into a "goody goody" a la Archie comics counterpart Veronica [and on male side Alexandra's cat vis a vis the toned down Reggie]..but that's as far as I'll take this message.

Jody said...

I love the site. I am really into nostalgic toys. It is so much fun to look back and remember when we were kids and played with all this stuff.
http://mynostalgictoys.biz Hope you can check out my blog sometime. Thanks!!

Zoran Taylor said...

Hey, why isn't "hippies" a tag in the sidebar? Are you concealing this topic on purpose or what? We can all tell when it's coming.

Pokey said...

I'd still say the biggest hippies of all in 1968 were Ralph Bakshi and those other rated X cartoonists..as for Hanna and Barbera's "Disneylike" design for Daphne, Shaggy,etc. and the non humour, animators's Stockholm Syndrome much, guys? Cartoonists' Munchausen by Proxy (or, as those of us who love quoting old World War Two cartoons might intone.."QUISLING!" That even describes Joe Barbera & Bill Hanna by the later 60s through 80s). THank God JOE and JOHN K hit it off as John's always warmly recalled. BTW In the late Robin William's film
Jack"(Disney, 1996 costarring Diane Lane, Fran Drescher, Jennifer Lopez before she became famous as J-LO and NONE OTHER than "Mr.Fat Albert" himself BILL COSBY) Mr.Williams walks in with a STIMPY doll! Back in the 1990s----NO ONE could resist the Ren and Stimpy phenomenon..(much better than cartoons trying to FART all the time..:)

January 3,2015 Hope everyone had a happy new year.