Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Depressing 80s cartoon studios 2 - Hanna Barbera - The Style Of FEAR

I worked on this crap.

How the Hell did this style happen????? This is Hanna Barbera?
Well, obviously I loved the early Hanna Barbera style - Even if you hate these cartoons, you have to admit that the style is at least instantly recognizable.
The best thing about the early HB cartoons is the characters themselves. They have a very distinct look and each one has a distinct voice to go with it.
They are iconic characters within an overall iconic cartoon style - created by Ed Benedict.
Here's Gene Hazelton drawing in Ed's style.

Here are fun colors from a super-cheap Quick Draw McGraw cartoon from 1958.
The characters are cartoony, likeable and visually appealing. Maybe you hated the animation because it is cheap, but even the animation is stylish and every cartoon had individual touches - according to the animators who did the work.
Personally I loved H and B when the cartoons were cartoony, but in the mid to the late 60s, right after Filmation started to see some success in Saturday Morning cartoons, Bill and Joe must have seen them and said "Hey, we're working too hard!" And so they started imitating Filmation.
At first, it wasn't so bad. "Frankenstein Junior" had a less cartoony look than the Flintstones, but it was still professionally designed at least. It's not as cartoony as Yogi Bear, but it looks like actual artists designed it.

But after the Archies and Scooby Doo, all standards went out the window:
Now, everything was not only designed to be ugly on purpose, but the drawing standards themselves - layout and animation, were lowered. You could get away with the worst, most awkward drawings - as long as they were bland.
Even Ren and Stimpy backgrounds can't save these awkward Superman cels.
Nice legs on Wonder Woman there.
Swell proportions.
Everyone seems to love Alex Toth and it's obvious that he himself has some drawing skill - but he's the last person who ever should have been designing cartoons. First of all even his own drawings are stiff and lifeless and the opposite of what "animation" is about. If you have to animate realistically proportioned characters (even though it's impossible to do so) you should at least get an artist who has some guts and can draw strong action poses, like Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko. It still wouldn't work, but at least you wouldn't be starting the whole process with deadness.

This deadness just got worse over the years - to the point where the "realistic" and "cartoony" shows began to blend into each other. And that's about the time I started working on this horribly depressing stuff.
The voices, by the way had degraded in exactly the same way that the designs did. Characters no longer had distinct cartoon voices. Now they had indistinguishable voices - even when they used live action stars to voice them. Most stars don't sound any different than your neighbors and add nothing to the characterizations of the animated characters. It's just more blandness heaped on to blandness across the board. You may laugh at this terrible 80s stuff, but the effects of it have never gone away. For the last 25 years, big budget animated features have followed 80s Saturday Morning cartoon techniques and traditions. Bland stiff semi-realistic designs, bland live action voices and fear of doing anything that is fun or creative.

I had to draw not only "The Fonz" but that damned ugly basketball headed dog. We used to draw this stuff and shake our heads in disbelief. "They're actually paying us for these drawings"?
This is a style that has evolved out of fear. Fear of standing out from the other artists. Fear of executives. Fear of style. Fear of making a statement. This fear wove its way into the very fabric of the whole business and each animator and cartoon artist. To this day, when I draw in my own style, I have a nagging guilt that I must be doing something wrong - that the very act of making a funny looking or unique drawing is somehow undermining every rule of modern animation. Like there is an invisible Ranger Smith looking over my shoulder every minute and grunting each time I do something fun. In the cartoon business, it is considered irresponsible to do anything fun or natural to cartoons.

This was truly the case during the 1980s. It was so wrong to make not only a stylish drawing, or an expressive one, but even a decent one! A pose that was well-constructed would have been considered completely radical and you could get fired for it. Everyone lived in such fear of standing out that they succumbed to the ridiculous practice of tracing model sheets. Model sheets that were ugly drawings to begin with. - and no one was doing anything to change this crazy situation!

80s "cartoony" cartoons.
There were a few cartoons that were designed in a supposed "cartoony' style, but the production system was not altered for them. We had to use the exact same stupid methods we used on the so-called "realistic" series. We had to draw everything straight up and down, no line of action because that would be too radical. So even though Joe would sell the networks a cartoony cartoon, we were so conditioned by fear of creativity that no one did what would have come naturally 2 decades earlier.

A big cartoon genre in the 80s was "small" cartoons. Little magical creatures that lived in fungi or peat moss and had magical properties - but they had to be "believable" so couldn't squash or stretch or do anything that looked funny.
This series was about a bunch of tiny poos that lived in a poo world and had magical stinky adventures standing around vertically and moving their mouths to inane writer-dialogue.Here's the bland adventures of Jesus and his badly drawn mythical friends.
There was a lot of this standing up and down next to each other in the 1980s.
Not much of striking a pose or making an expression. That would be way too radical, because real people don't ever make expressions or have interesting poses.
The bible has some of the craziest stories ever invented so it's a complete irony to give it such a bland "realistic" treatment. Did everyone have the same face and body 2500 years ago?
Another stupid thing about the 80s was the idea of "quality". When a producer thought he wanted to make his show stand out from the competition he didn't try to make his drawings better, or have more interesting characters or better stories. Instead he called for "more". More details. More characters also equals better quality. The irony of this theory is that in practical reality, the more characters you draw the less time you have to spend on each character because the budgets remained low no matter what.

So when you drew a crowd scene you spent 2 minutes on each character instead of 10 minutes for a scene with just 2 characters. That amounts to characters that are 1/5th as well drawn as in a show that had a more practical amount of characters.
This was the era where absolutely nothing made sense. People today blame budgets for the poor quality of Saturday morning cartoons, but that's not the total story. Impractical decisions are the real reason.

Even with a low budget you can have:
Good design
Distinct Voices
Strong poses
Expressions
Pleasing colors

None of those things cost any extra money.

The last things you should be animating on a low budget are crowds and realistic characters.

No one has ever been successful animating realistic human proportions. Ever. Not even with big budgets. The best I've ever seen were the 2 main characters in Sleeping Beauty. They cost a fortune, had at least professional design, needed rotoscoping to aid in the natural movement and took forever to animate. And with all that, they're still boring. If Disney couldn't do it with all the money and talent in the world-how can crappy low budget TV cartoons with bad design pull it off?

But no one ever learns and they keep making the same impractical decisions that hamper the progress and potential of animation.
Saturday morning cartoons and their philosophy of creativity by fear eventually poisoned even big budget animated feature films and we are living with the consequences to this day.

Fear of drawing an expression or pose:

Fear of appealing non-generic characters
Fear of everything cartoons can do
Thanks to Saturday morning cartoon practices

86 comments:

Zartok-35 said...

The animation was noticably smoother then than it was in the 1970s. But the Toth/Takamoto revolution did its damage, and like you said:
"If Disney couldn't do it with all the money and talent in the world-how can crappy low budget TV cartoons with bad design pull it off?"
Best thing I've heard in awhile.

Niki said...

I don't really know why but the girl from the Fonzie gang(or whatever actually makes me want to watch the show. I know watching it would kill her for me so I haven't. I'm also here to remind you of the critique I was asking for. Link below.

Link

RooniMan said...

I feel dead inside. It almost makes me cry. It was all downhill for cartoons from the sixties onward. Sad but very VERY true.

Luis María Benítez said...

Who could ever say money is not important? Money rules. Producers land and stick their noses where they're not supposed to and the rest says "yes". The result we all see until today. But I wonder, how could this change nowadays? This crappy style was something to forget, but look at all the new stuff right now, with another new style. The "social network style" or whatever it should be called because it comes from the Internet. I mean, a few days ago I had the misfortune to find Pucca on TV. I thought it was joke, but no. There's absolutely nothing interesting, just pure crap with a circle, a mouth and the desire to plant kisses.

You could see the new and repetive trends on webdesign: the infamous "aqua effect", the simplified characters giving you the welcome in some shopping sites or stuff like that. It's all about being fast, getting it straight, easy to digest. We no longer have patience, we want to have a mobile phone with all sort of gadgets and two keys, designs are minimalistic and now that most of people "live" on the Internet they get influenced by it and put all this emptyness on their works.

Iron maiden said...

Once I meet an artist who worked on the mighty b he had a great style but I asked him why dosent the show look as good as your drawings and guess what he blamed It on the budget of the show .

drawingtherightway said...

I'm kind of surprised that the sheriff on that Trollkins model sheet has a slight line of action because he's leaning back. I thought that would've been too radical for them to approve! Whoever was in charge must have missed that!

jim said...

I remember watching this kind of thing back in the day and thinking I was supposed to like it and so I pretended I did, but in reality the only hour of Saturday-morning TV that I really liked was whatever incarnation the Bugs Bunny show had that year, and those were all cartoons I'd seen a billion times.

Oliver_A said...

I guess the thing which hurts most about Hanna Barbera is: they didn't seem to have any reason to cut their production values down to the bone, because they were one of the most succesful studios.

Did Bill and Joe got greedy? They must have been aware what they actually did to their own art form, because you said in a post long ago they seemed to hate Scooby Doo themselves.

Or was it just resignation, thinking that the golden ages of animation are over anyway, so we might aswell stop caring anymore?

She-Thing said...

Hi John,

I'd find it real interesting if you could analyze the Princess & the Frog (even if you haven't seen it) highlight the reasons of why that is not a Disney film.

JohnK said...

Oh, I saw it.

I didn't say it wasn't a Disney film. I said it looks like a Saturday Morning cartoon and has fear written all over it.

Oliver_A said...

I said it looks like a Saturday Morning cartoon and has fear written all over it.

No wonder, considering how much negative publicity this film got over the ethnicity of the princess. It seems people WANT Disney to be bland.

John Pannozzi said...

Have you ever read any of Peyo's original Smurf comic book stories, John K.? They're definitely not the greatest works of sequential art, but they're at least reasonably entertaining. They're a lot better than Hanna-Barbera's Smurf cartoons, which frnakly are so boring I can barely sit through them.

I don't know if EVERY voice actor in the 70s and 80s was indistinguishable, as they still had people like Don Messick, Daws Butler, John Stephenson, etc. doing some of the voices. BTW, what do you think of Frank Welker, John? He's pretty popular for doing a ton of characters over the years, and for doing great animal noises, even in live-action movies. I'd say he's got a distinctive voice, and has several personas like evil characters (Megatron in Transformers, Dr. Claw in Inspector Gadget), wacky characters (Gogo Dodo in Tiny Toons), etc. He also does a great Kermit the Frog.

I cannot see the Princess and the Frog drawings as being anywhere as bad as stuff like the Gary Colemon show. Nope, sorry, just can't.

The theme song, at least, to that Happy Days cartoon, I feel, is so bad it's hilarious.

I must admit, that there are a handful of H-B shows from the '80s that aren't very good, but I still have some affection for, mostly because they showcased the talents of people like yourself, David Feiss, Earl Kress, Tom Ruegger and Mitch Schauer. I'm talking about shows like the Jetsons revamp, the 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Yogi's Treasure Hunt, and ven a Pup Named Scooby-Doo. None of these shows come close to being masterpieces, but I feel they have an important part in the history of animation. That and the Pac-Man cartoon, though stupid, made laugh when Super-Pac showed about and was voiced by Lorenzo Music, another VA from that era whom I feel has a distinctive voice.

Are you going to cover any more 80s animation studios. John?

She-Thing said...

Ha, sorry, I didn't express myself well. By "why it's not a Disney film" I meant by "why it is not a classic like Fantasia or Snow White and why Disney is going downhill with its fears and unoriginality".

I appreciate the guts you had to watch it.

Lampshade said...

Don't you hate Happy Days? That'd be an ironic punishment if you animated the Fonz.

Zoran Taylor said...

"It seems people WANT Disney to be bland."

Are you kidding?

Of COURSE they do.

They lap it up. That's what it's all about.

@Iron Maiden - That was the first season, I would imagine? Have you seen any of this?

Jeff Read said...

Frankenstein Jr. is such a knockoff of Tetsujin 28-go it's not even funny.

Until very recently I wondered to myself if some of these were real or just a dream. Did Laverne and Shirley actually appear in a cartoon, in the army under the command of a pig sergeant? Did the Fonz travel through time? Did Mork have a dog with suction-cup feet?

Now I've discovered that it was all real, and all worse than I imagined...

SoleilSmile said...

I disagree with you on Sleeping Beauty. The two main heroes are boring but MALIFICENT was FAB.
Then again villains are always easier to write for than heroes.

JohnK said...

They wisely didn't give her a body or legs to animate.

Roberto González said...

>>Have you ever read any of Peyo's original Smurf comic book stories, John K.? They're definitely not the greatest works of sequential art, but they're at least reasonably entertaining. They're a lot better than Hanna-Barbera's Smurf cartoons, which frnakly are so boring I can barely sit through them.>>

Agreed, but I will go further. They are some of the greatest works of sequential art. They are fantastic, fun comics for both kids and adults. And they are going to make a crappy life action/CGI movie out of them.


I agree with your general statements about Princess and The Frog, even though I'm a lot more generous overall. I think it was well animated for the most part, but I agree most of the designs are bland. And the human princes is a bad design. Disney gets the princess a little better, but their male leads are terrible to look at. The male lead in Sleeping Beauty is bland but it's ok. New ones are different versions of Aladdin, and they get worse than the previous one in every new movie. Oliver_A is totally right, maybe if people demanded otherwise, Disney could be a little less bland.

Also, I too find the girl from the Fonzie gang to be a quite cute design. Even the dog looks kind of decent in the model sheet. I think I saw that dog in motion and it was much uglier.

JLG said...

What I don't understand is WHY. WHY were executives fearful of doing these "radical" things that every single one of them had seen done all the time when THEY were kids? What did they think was going to happen? What did they fear were the consequences of allowing artists to let loose? Can you provide any insight into that? Surely you must have spoken at least once to someone who had some insight. (And don't mention "hippies," please. That's such a shallow, silly generalization.) Even Joe Barbera, as you've mentioned before, seemed to have a cynical attitude about what his studio was churning out. But what was he so AFRAID of? Was it those network executives who told him that the "violence" of old Tom & Jerry would never be acceptable today? Fair enough----but what were THEY afraid of? Argh.


But I'm sorry---yer being WAY too broad by implying that "Princess and the Frog" is in a galaxy anywhere near the empty, hollow, joyless void that "Fonz" and its inbred cousins exist in. Sure, stuff gets watered down and genericized, but there degrees of generic, f'gosh sakes.

Roberto González said...

The alligator in The Princess and the frog did have some crazy expressions sometimes. He's animation is quite uneven, though,and he looks much better in certain frames than he did in others.

Also, I thought Mama Odie was a pretty fun character, not the best design, but her personality was quite enjoyable.

EegahInc said...

Hi Mr. K, you mentioned Jack Kirby, so I was wondering if you cared to share your thoughts on the designs for Thundarr The Barbarian.

SoleilSmile said...

They saved the body for one magnificent DRAGON!
I do regret that the protagonists where not as interesting. I think the central heroes of the film were Flora, Fauna and Merriweather really. Aurora and Phillip seemed to be in the story as characters to be saved as supposed to saving themselves.
I was also really angry with the uninspired animation on Phillip resisting his chains. He didn't seem to put up much of a fight to me.

Idyllopuspress said...

As a tween/young teen, I quit watching cartoons with the takeover of Filmation. It seemed to me everyone would recognize the impoverishment of style but, curiously enough, few people I knew seemed to notice much of a difference. As a matter of fact, there were even quite a few--both among my peers and older--who counted the vacant "realistic" drawings as better. Given the choice, they opted for these cartoons over the older ones.

You write of the "style of fear" and it seems to me there was something also going on in the public that served as fodder for this fear, that generated, responded to and whole-heartedly welcomed the lack of imagination.

Often enough, people have given our son dvds of cartoons we consider low quality animation, both new and old. When we've put them on and watched such a dvd with these individuals, they'll be confused by the comments we (my husband, son, myself) make on the style. Not only are they unable to make distinctions in quality, they prefer the blander. The more generic, the better. Ditto with storyline content. If they watch "cartoony" animations, they prefer the realistic cartoony in which there are no radical lines, where everything is pretty much vertical, the mouths move and that's about it, the dialogue or narration informs everything and little is left for animation to suggest on its own. It's not that they're drawn to the minimal, for a simple morphing line would be boring or off-putting. Quality is counted, as you say, in more details, more characters.

A livelier (or more absurd or surreal) animation requires of the viewer a certain amount of emotional investment and also security in one's own imagination. One really does need to have the personal freedom to permit laughter that makes one nearly helpless, or to feel sadness not just in response to a generic sentimental cue but because one has the willingness to experience a sense of the tragic that can't be repaired with a frothy, feel good resolution. And one needs to have also the security in themselves to puzzle, to not know exactly how they might feel about something, what it means, without being explicitly told.

Many people are afraid of these things and aren't even conscious of the fact. But they do know what makes them anxious, what makes them unsettled, and will shun it because it demands more than they're ready to give. Even with just a seemingly simple animation.

Pokey said...

Well, as for distinctive voices, Janet Waldo, who had a birthday yesterday [Feb.4] which Yowp blogged about, certainly had one [as far back as far as HB goes as Judy Jetson], in response to John Panozzi's reference. Even Casey Kasem [one of those we all seem to love to hate :-)], but too bad Shaggy was his first, as well as crappy Filmation shows..he is rather good on those America's top 40 but is known for that Shaggy. Janet Waldo, as far natural disctinctive cartoon voices goes, has had an association with HB [not counting her start with Bing Crosby and radio, as "Yowp" mentioned on his blog] that goes back to the Judy Jetson role, in the better days of 1962 [and of course that Space-Age family was what you stuggled to make funny in the 80s.] But by the 70s, the voices from the ealry days [and the sound effects, half of which now were borrowed in 1966 from outside HB and didn't turn up much in HB before 1966], were asbout the only reason to watch, and even THAT's subjective. I mean, who watches just to hear sound effects and voices [of Daws and the others, and that brings us to the live celebrities, but I'm not even talking about that. That's ANOTHER subject..]

Oh, and Tex Avery, with that Kwicky Koala [radio and cartoon voice actor Bill Thompson as "Droopy" of Avery fame chanelled by writer Bob Ogle, using his real name of Robert Allen Ogle]..Jeff Lenburg [yet another animation-related figure many of us love to hate] wrote in "The Great Cartoon Directors"-yes, there was a book about this-that "Kwicky" was going to be shown in syndicated, in order to "avoid network restrictions". It wound up on Sat.Morning.

Pokey

Cristian Avendaño said...

Well, if I had been in charge of the Princess and the Frog... it would have been a bland movie too. I guess I would have tried to play it safe. Probably the people involved in the film thought that too.

I'm not really sure how much money the movie made, but I hope it's enough to guarantee more 2D features. Perhaps in the future they'll try something new.






I'm such a hopeful guy!

seifd said...

"The bible has some of the craziest stories ever invented so it's a complete irony to give it such a bland "realistic" treatment."

They used to show episodes of that cartoon in my Sunday School when one of the teachers couldn't be there. Trust me, anything slightly cartoony or funny would've been considered sacrilege and cause an uproar.

Niki said...

Actually, I just realized that these terrible cartoons serve an important purpose. If ever one of you rules a television network, I ask that you take one day out of the year to show these god awful cartoons.

Just one day to completely discipline the kids. Make sure they know that it's a special of the worst shows made, make it a 4 hour block (or one full day, it should only be enough to scare them) and make it like the film documentations on AMC. Then show great shows for the kids to enjoy for the rest of the year. Matter-of-fact, make it every Friday the 13, and trick them into watching it. No more bad cartoons ever.

Darrencardinal said...

Oh my god the animation of my childhood! It was so bland and so lame.

I remember these shows, and how bad they all were. Especially that Gary Coleman cartoon, I clearly remembering wondering how that turd got made. It was so bad it made me want to punch somebody. The animation was so bad, the colors so.... washed out looking. Not to mention the bad writing and lame jokes.

I remember all the new cartoons that would be coming out, they would advertise them in comic books. And they all looked like they would be bad, and then they came out and... they were bad. I don't remember any of them lasting longer than a season or two.

I swear to God if it hadn't been for the good classic loonie tunes it would have been a waste of time to get up Saturday Morning. I also like the Superfriends.
I have a theory about this John: do you think one reason for the bad quality is because they were for kids? Like the studios figured they could cut corners and it wouldn't matter. After all what do kids now about good entertainment? I think everyone is aware that, for example, the old Lonnie Tunes were mad to be shown at the movies, and were for adults.

And thanks for this blog John. It is a great way to learn about cartoons.

Happy happy! Joy joy!

Stephen Worth said...

If I had to express in words what it felt like to work in animation in the 80s, I'd describe it as the era of "mindlessly doing what they tell you". Stupid ideas were passed down the production lines because someone upstream OKed them. "Who cares if it won't work? They can't fire us for doing what they told us to do. Just follow the script and crap in the folder and hand it to the next guy to deal with." I fought that attitude all the time. No one wanted to make decisions for themselves. They just wanted to be told what to do.

The ones that would actually think on their feet and try to make things work were the overseas supervisors. Those guys were the ones that would patch as many holes as they could before the show shipped back to the States. I guess when you get to the other side of the planet, you're far enough away to not care about institutionalized stupidity any more. Surrounded by people who don't speak the same language, you can finally think for yourself. Of course, the overseas supervisors were the very last step in the chain, so it was too late for them to really make a difference. Catch 22

flashcartoons said...

hey john, you said before to post in the comments when we do more preston blair study

http://learninganimation.blogspot.com/

here is my progress, any advice, suggestions are highly welcomed

b. Touch said...

Honestly, why does everything have to be wacky or cartoony to be respected. I don' think there's anything wrong with going for a style that's more based in realism, if it can be properly pulled off. Heavily rotoscoped figures like the ones in "Sleeping Beauty" didn't work well, but less still human figures (like those in "One Hundred and One Dalmations", made immediately afterward) fare far better in Disney films.

Something like Biblical stories would require nothing less than a semi-realistic treatment, lest the client paying for the cartoons reject them or various religious groups stage protests and boycotts. You're playing with material that people base the purposes of their entire existences on; if people will start physical wars over religion, they'll certainly start figurative wars over religious cartoons with any sort of irreverent treatment of the source material.

As far as "FEAR" dictating the blandness of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, that may be indeed true, but at that time in broadcasting there was nothing that could have been done otherwise. Parent groups placed heavy pressure upon network programmers, who in turn placed heavy pressure upon cartoon producers, who had to either make safe, anti-septic cartoons or be out of a job. The "FEAR", as it were, comes from the top on down.

Now, I know ideally, we'd all like to be able to express ourselves artistically as freely as possibly, but let's look at reality. The animation industry is first and foremost a business. The primary goal is to make money. Art quality is of lesser importance, and in some cases irrelevant (see also the longest running prime time sitcom ever, "The Simpsons"). If there's one thing I've learned about corporate America since enterign it, its that these people consider money and business relationships to rule all and artists are considered unimportant assembly workers. I was told as much by an employer.

Things changed for the better, primarily due to John's work, in the late 1980s/early 1990s, but before then there really was little choice but to play by the strict standards and practices rules. You see what the networks did to even the older WB cartoons: chopped up into little bits by censors who removed even cartoon bonks on the head.

AnNd despite whatever problems there are with the animation in parts of "The Princess and the Frog", I disagree wholeheartedly with the assessment that "it looks like a Saturday morning cartoon", especially when you have scenes from actual Saturday morning cartoons on hand here and in other places to compare it to.

JohnK said...

What's the difference? The airbrushing?

The drawings are almost identical.

Guy said...

But I'm sorry---yer being WAY too broad by implying that "Princess and the Frog" is in a galaxy anywhere near the empty, hollow, joyless void that "Fonz" and its inbred cousins exist in.

I can't think of a better description of modern Disney than "empty, hollow, and joyless."

Well, I could add a couple dozen more adjectives.

And I must agree that they look pretty much the same to me. Even though people will say I'm parroting John K./I am John K. but whatever. I would've said it earlier but was somewhat ambivalent.

I actually find modern Disney more offensive than these things. Sometimes much more offensive. I've never seen a 70's-80's cartoon that looked half as awful as Pocahontas. It's kinda bizarre.

Well, we certainly should get a much higher standard of quality from them.

Isaac said...

The article is great, John, and thanks for all the great comments from the audience, especially Roberto González!

b. Touch said...

I was speaking more about the quality of the actual animation acting. I'm not terribly fond of some of the character designs (particularly the two frogs) but the characters are animated fairly well in much of the film.

I don't find the better of Disney's films hollow or joyless ("Pocahontas" is easily their worst film of the 1990s). I'm aware I may be alone in that sentiment on this board, but that's fine.

Yowp said...

John, you know that I really love the old Hanna-Barbera shorts because they're lots of fun when they're at their best. But after reading what you've written in your post, I banged off some thoughts about the devolution of H-B cartoons on the blog here, from my perspective watching them as a boy.

The other night, I watched a Filmation "cartoon" you worked on and just cringed seeing a name like Virgil Ross on it (and other vets like Larry Silverman and Ed De Mattia and guys like Milt Gray and Kent Butterworth). For someone like Virgil or Onaitis or Timmins, it must have felt like some kind of inescapable nightmare.

PowerRangerYELLOW said...

Hey B.Touch

Maybe you should look into an animated movie from japan called Akira.


http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/7711/akirai.png

http://img403.imageshack.us/i/akira2.png/

http://img514.imageshack.us/i/akira3.png/

Just because a cartoon is intended to be drawn realistically don't mean that it should be excused from doing interesting drawings.

The facial expressions of the characters make while cartoony are based on expressions that people make in real life.

Zoran Taylor said...

My God, I'm such a total sucker for thirties women's fashion that I can't even bring myself to consider those PATF chicks as ugly and badly designed as they probably are....

Roberto González said...

>>thanks for all the great comments from the audience, especially Roberto González!>>

You're wlcome...but I'm confused, does this mean you worked in Princess and the Frog ?

K. Nacht said...

Reading the blog for sometime now, John, and am fully conditioned by your delightfully ravenous and ongoing analysis of 80's animation, (I lived it as a kid). But I want you, as your therapist might say, to look into the next decade... this so called cartoon revolution that generation yz keeps lauding a renaissance. What constitutes this renaissance, outside of Ren and Stimpy?

I was barely aware of contemporary television animation in the 90's, but do Power-Puff Girls and Chicken and Cow, or whatever, really constitute a renaissance? Why do the Mighty Morphin(-ist) Power Rangers stand out in my beleaguered mind as representing the nineties? You were canned from R&S before the end of Clinton's first term! Please explain the feats of the last 6 years of that decade?

Martin Juneau said...

I remember seeing some of this poorly written and made cartoons as a kid, and i disliked this at my time. That why i still waiting to see a Warner Bros. cartoon on video or television or something funny, fresh and with clever ideas but now i realised that even with the best intentions, we're the big loser of this bet.

I remember how i loved a very bizarre cartoon made by Disney in 1993-94 named Bonkers. I thinkin it was a funny, clever and wacky cartoon besides it's lookin made by Looney Tunes writers but now i realised how bland and repetitive the show was. The characters designs was lookin taken from poor Saturday Mornings formulations and i think daring to imitate the Roger Rabbit film is something i take with a grant of salt these days. In other words, it didn't worked at this time and it still don't today. Thanks god, the show is forgotten to the public and of the company.

Now i feel that it's hard to like animation without thinkin that a dozen near you are look made faster, cheaper and for quick bucks. Unbelievable! Did you see the Tetes a Claques or TAC for more short? It was very popular for a time thanks to the web but now it showed on TV, the shorts is terrible and badly written besides the characters looks is very exgarrated to the bone.

I having a 2009 calendar my mom buy me for Christmas. But that's something she needs to change. No more ugly cartoons calendars!

http://www.tacs.tv/index.php

Bernoully said...

Thanks for the insightful view into this era, John. I didn't like Filmation or the later HB stuff they showed over here during my childhood... and now I understand the sitaution better.


"Honestly, why does everything have to be wacky or cartoony to be respected. I don' think there's anything wrong with going for a style that's more based in realism."

You got it a point there. If we wanted non-wacky or non-cartoony animation, it's the higher quality Japanese animated features and films that fill in this niche. Studio 4C films, Hayao Miyazaki features, and some works by bigger studios like Madhouse and Gonzo. But comparatively, everything showed above is just abomination.


The situation seems to be repeating itself currently 2000's, with the newer batch of animation. So a revolution is probably upcoming?

Marty Fugate said...

It looks like the Romans sawed off the legs of the Disciples' chairs in the Last Supper.

Iron maiden said...

Hey john I dont really know why you hated the movie cats dont dance I thought It was really a great movie that Ive seen In a long time

Betsy said...

You can probably heap some of the blame on Andy Warhol. He's the one who said, "boring is beautiful," and now we've been stuck in this post-modern nightmare for the past 40 years in "higher arts."

Forgive me if I mischaracterize things, I'm no animator. Just interested in all art forms. I thought it might be a fun exercise to provide an alternative perspective.

Certainly there is influence like in the earlier days Disney was more directly influenced by Dali, especially with the production of Destino. Although from what I've seen Dali doesn't translate too well to animation. Also the influence of modern and expressionists arts. Modernism encouraged to use a medium to its fullest potential. (i.e. to express exaggerated emotions and actions that cannot be found in reality.)

As interest in the late 60's and early 70's shifted to conceptualization. Away from style, form, and expression. Artist we're making art to challenge the idea of what is art. Art become boring and inaccessible to say the least. This must have had it's effect on other contemporary art forms as well.

A friend of mine at art school reminds me of your work a bit. She's definitely on to something interesting. I would love to see her animate.
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=284940349526&ref=nf#!/photo.php?pid=30964564&id=1132887395

drawingtherightway said...

Speaking of realistic proportioned characters being difficult to animate, I was wondering what your thoughts are about the 80's music video for the group A-Ha's song "Take on Me". For anyone who's never seen the video before here's a link: Take on Me

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

I had to work on a bunch of shows like this. What was most depressing was the number of artists who thought the system was perfectly fine, and who made you feel like a troublemaker or misfit if you rebelled against it.

What killed me was that these artists all expressed admiration for Tex Avery, of all people. TEX AVERY! Can you imagine that!?

Kawks! said...

Thanks for ranting about this. Although I don't agree with everything you say in general, this is one big one I can agree with.

Isaac said...

>>You're wlcome...but I'm confused, does this mean you worked in Princess and the Frog ?<<

Haha, no, poor choice of words I guess. The audience I meant is the site's visitors, who have great comments to share, including yours.

JohnK said...

"I was speaking more about the quality of the actual animation acting. I'm not terribly fond of some of the character designs (particularly the two frogs) but the characters are animated fairly well in much of the film."

There were some good animators on the film (even some Ren and Stimpy animators) and they did the best they could with what they had.

My point is that characters who are designed with almost human proportions are pretty much impossible to move well, so even with a big budget you have to resort to lots of animation cheats and formulas to hide the natural awkwardness.

It just causes too many practical problems when you have bad design.

But the producers all wish they were doing live action and think they can imitate it in a medium that isn't suited for it.

Rare Hero said...

John - I wanna hear some stories about working on the Pac-Man cartoon!!!

Conceit Arturo said...

no one has "ever" been able to animater realistic charcters? now, I understand the purpose of the blog is to bring back cartoony characters to american tradition of animation, but I just dont believe that's true, I think you should watch some anime that does that before you can make any of those claims, you HAVE said they are miles ahead of USA and frankly I dont see how you can say that when there's stuff like Cowboy Bebop or Akira around, using much realistic characters more complex angles and action scenes than WB or disney ever dreamed of

Conceit Arturo said...

I would also like you to try and expose that point with something like Ghost in the Shell 1 or 2

JohnK said...

send links

I saw Akira and was impressed with the hard work, but don't think the result was worth it

it couldn't have been done at Saturday morning cartoon budgets though

SandraRivas said...

I remember seeing one of the animators from Disney that worked on Princess and the Frog.

The worst part to me was that he looked like a great animator but was forced to stay conservative and uncreative while working for Disney. I remember him saying that he was not allowed to exaggerate in the characters because it would make them "ugly". I felt so sorry for him.

A lot of characters were a bland design. The girl, the prince, and the witch doctor villain are copies from the Proud Family characters, which are probably copies from another show. The old witch lady, who was a useless character anyway, was the ugliest design, along with the Disney's Rescuer's rip-off fly. The alligator was the only design that was slightly appealing to me.

It's not just the animation, it's the background paintings (if you call them paintings), the dialogue, and even the music. It didn't even feel like a Disney movie. Even as a kid, I would much prefer Sleeping Beauty than the Princess and the Frog.

Though I'm not sure about fear of creativity. I always felt the executives were too lazy rather than scared, like they know they're being bland but want to stay that way.

I was never a huge fan of the Disney human designs and what its influence led to (Red Hot Riding Hood had a sexier human character design in my opinion), but yes I agree with you about Sleeping Beauty.

Conceit Arturo said...

Sure will John! I'm not saying this would work on saturday cartoons, but when you say something like "never" and only bring up Disney it seems like you're off track...I'm for cartoony cartoons coming back but I think there's till room for realistic anime too!

(clips I could find on Youtube...)
Ghost in the shell
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT7Hv2fTBp8

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=search_playlists&search_query=ghost+in+the+shell+1+opening&uni=1

is a movie that mixes some 3D with 2D animation and is famous for that (you almost cant tell) but what looks 2D is drawn in 2D.

Gotta admit it's full of philosophy and would bore you mindless probably becaue of your taste

Cowboy bebop
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohx8i_fCwrA&feature=fvst
and Samurai Shamploo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rFm-OKG6FU

are series and a lot more fun, have more humor than philosophy more like an american film so you might even stomach watching it :p some characters sometime break their model and do cartoony things

I could post links to full episodes/movies but I dont know if I should =O

Conceit Arturo said...

forgive me if the editing doesnt make sense or mesh with the music but these are fan made compliations, I posted these to avoid posting full episodes (the openings are too designy for this arguement)

Zoran Taylor said...

K. Nacht - Have you ever seen What A Cartoon!, Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack, The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, an Early Rocko's Modern Life or Spongebob episode, anything from Spike & Mike or Disney's "Runaway Brain"? Those are all from 1993 onward.

JLG said...

Any good point, no matter how good it is, can be tarnished with hyperbole. Happens all the time.

It's one thing to express dislike for the 90s Disney features, even considering them joyless and empty. It's quite another to lump the character designs together with the likes of The Gary Coleman Show and Fonz. I'm sorry, but to put it bluntly, thath juth thilly. It's hyperbole that doesn't serve the overall point, because it's so visibly untrue. None of the qualities that make those Filmation designs so unappealing and awkward are present in any Disney designs. Opining that near-realistically proportioned human characters don't work well in animation is, I believe, a completely separate point. There's a big difference between something not working well, and something that was never meant to 'work' at all.

JLG said...

John, when you say didn't think the result of all the hard work on Akira was worth it, you're referring to the story, right?

At any rate, what did you think of the animation of the realistically-proportioned human characters?

What impressed me about that movie more than anything was how viscerally the animation made me FEEL what was going on. A writhing in physical agony, a cold sweat, a psychological breakdown. It's amazing to me that such strong physical sensation and texture could be triggered by flat paint on cels.

Guy said...

K. Nacht: "The animation Renaissance" is the dumbest idea in the community.

A mild increase in quality and some crude imitations of things made in the past is not a Renaissance. A Renaissance is a leap FORWARD, not a terrible imitation of the past.

dan said...

The early HB characters are only iconic because they are blatant copies of other, better actors and characters. Yogi is Ed Norton, the Flintstones are the Honeymooners, Huck is the wolf from Avery's and Michael Lah's later Droopy cartoons, Top Cat is Sgt. Bilko, etc. Yes, the design is much better than in the cartoons from the mid-60s on, but HB doesn't deserve credit for creating these characters as literally EVERY one of them was directly cribbed from another source.

Guy said...

JLG: No, it's not absurd at all. Pocahontas looks exactly like Filmation, only with animation. (And maybe even more garish colors?) This isn't some silly John K. line. It's really true.

Actually, I'd go farther than that. Modern Disney looks like the drawings on bargain bin public domain cartoon DVD's. I was watching a review of The Lion King a few months ago and the drawings struck me as a total mess.

I don't know how anyone can not think that modern Disney looks like a cruddy knock-off of real Disney. If they were made by some other studio wouldn't you just laugh at them? But they have the sacred emblem of Disney blazoned across them, so they're okay.

And, sure, I guess you can find SOME differences in quality between things like Filmation and modern Disney. Just like when someone says food tastes like poo, it doesn't ACTUALLY taste like poo. Eating poo would be a lot worse than eating what he ate. And, y'know, he hasn't actually eaten poo. But it still tastes like poo. The differences between what he ate and poo are not meaningful to anyone who knows a better standard of quality than what he ate.

Martin Juneau said...

"Have you ever read any of Peyo's original Smurf comic book stories, John K.? They're definitely not the greatest works of sequential art, but they're at least reasonably entertaining. They're a lot better than Hanna-Barbera's Smurf cartoons, which frnakly are so boring I can barely sit through them."

I collected some of the Peyo original smurfs books as a kid, but few years ago, i buy a real treasure with two of his firsts stories like they was originally drawed in a little book. The two firsts stories was made through 1959's year.

But now, every Smurfs stories after Peyo's death have this anachronic stuffs who makes the cartoon popular. Besides, the prequel made for their 50th anniversary was a trap because the artists didn't draw them like they was originally created in 1958.

I recently reading the two firsts Johan stories made in the 1940's and Peyo having a much strong sense of writting with a decent art that he lost with the Smurfs.

HemlockMan said...

One thing that I noticed with Disney cartoons at some point was that a lot of the characters seem to have been based in a weird sort of way on figures that could have been drawn by Berni Wrightson. Yeah, that Berni Wrightson. The guy who drew Swamp Things and werewolves and slime monsters and such.

At one point when I was a kid I liked Richie Rich comics. They were fun to look at, and someone who knew how to write interesting stories were doing them. It's a good thing that I didn't even know they'd been a cartoon until now. I'd probably have been a little sadder.

SoleilSmile said...

Oh Goddess, YES, on 'Bebop. I revisited the series last night and applauded the credit crawl at series end.
John, for perspective and staging, I would recommend the episode "Wild Horses".

The whole series is fantastic, but there a few, mind you VERY few, scenes were it looked like the crew ran out of time to animate something well. A scene that comes to mind right now is a wonky one of Fay walking down the stairs after Spike in "My Funny Valentine".
The music is great, Shinichirō Watanabe's STORYBOARDS are just out of this world. John, sit down with the directors picks of Cowboy Bebop to analyze the staging and then borrow the series from a friend and start with episode one for the story.
There are only 26 episodes, so you can get through it in a week. Keep an open mind for the action adventure genre, turn off your inner comedy critic and just enjoy the series.

Will Finn said...

Whoo boy John. I don' know how I missed this post but I loved the last one on FILMATION, where I worked a couple of years in the early mid 80's.

I never worked at HB but your description is so apt. It is really important to make people understand how unbelievably radical THE NEW MIGHTY MOUSE was when it hit. There had been a hellacioius firewall of pure feces dominating cartoons for fully two decades and it showed no abating until then. It is interesting to note that when MIGHTY MOUSE quickly became the industry standard, chambers of schlock like FILMATION immediately went out of business.

You are also right describing the mental imprint working on this garbage had on those of us who did. The habit of being threatened with unemployment every time you did anything that didn't suck created a kind of internal reflex to feel sacreligious whenever you did something that conflicted with the "proven correct" norms of the hopelessly broken system. I was talking about this with a friend the other day and all I could think of was Orwell's "thought police"....

At HB you can see the shift away from good to bad the exact year Bill & Joe sold their company to Taft and gave corporate goons the power to weigh in. Hateful people with hateful horrible instinct. The main thing that leaves me in awe of their hatefulness is that the never, not even by accident, approved anything good.

100% perfect crapulence.

rudir said...

It's funny you should mention Alex Toth. He's basically you if you were a comic artist. He had an insane amount of passion for what he did and was incredibly talented, but was usually stuck working on Z-grade comic books/ cheap HB action shows, with exception of Jonny Quest.

Say what you want about the later HB action shows, but Jonny Quest oozed color and style, creaky animation in all.

Have you seen the Jonny Quest documentary on Youtube? They actually talk about how hard it was to animate Toth's designs and how disastrous it got in the animation department.

JLG said...

Guy:
Sorry, it's hyperbole. It's one thing to think modern Disney is bland. I agree in some cases. But it's a galaxy's journey from bland to...whatever adjective you want hang on most of Filmation's uncertain cartoon/flesh-and-blood Frankenstein hybrids. Look at that Fonz design. Just look at it. Are you gonna look me straight in the eye and tell me that there's no appreciable difference in workability and functionality between THAT and, say, Phoebus from Hunchback of Notre Dame?
Phoebus is no Scribner Bugs Bunny. He's a "straight," like most of the kinds of characters that come under fire here. But close your eyes and superimpose Fonzie in Hunchback scenes. (That is, if your imagination is even powerful enough to put that stiff Frankenstein thing into fluid motion. Mine ain't.)

What goes on 'round 'ere is too much conflation of "bland" and "generic" with "bad." They are not automatically the same thing, and to accuse Disney animators, of all people, of drawing "bargain basement DVD covers" is weighty stuff. (In fact, I'd say that's the WORST criminal charge possible in animation court.)

You feel there was no renaissance in the '80s-early '00s?
No show made in that period would have been possible to make in the '70s. Because the animation standards went up, better stories could be written. Whether, say, TaleSpin was your cup of tea is beside the point----what matters is that a series like that couldn't have been made 10 years earlier, because the limitations on animation would have been prohibited those kinds of adventure yarns from being worth bothering with.

And with better animation came better scoring. Little in the way of Carl Stalling-quality orchestration made to match the action, true, but music that actually provided some dimension to the action. Can you imagine a score like the one Ron Jones did for "DuckTales" playing in the background of "The Gary Coleman Show?"

The raised standards also opened the gates for a new generation of great vocal talent, actors that wouldn't have had any good material to chew on in the Filmation era. Within the limits of foreign-subcontracted TV animation, they were able to create characters with actual personality, and---most important---who were capable of some actual physical business. What physical business existed in the prior decade, apart from one cel-characters being dragged across the screen to crash into a wall, or an arm cel being rotated to wallop someone on the head? (with the only impact being white lines radiating from said head).

Lamenting the prosaic, workmanlike nature of 90s TV animation busines model is one thing. But to ignore how much of a VAST improvement it was over the Filmation era is to ignore a hell of a lot. Little of it came from JohnK's ideal director-oriented model, but that's one of the bitter pills to swallow among a good number of sweet ones.

Yes, I type a lot of words. Self-editing is an elusive skill....

K. Nacht said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K. Nacht said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

We see your pain. Your points are excellent, including the irrational fear of pushing boundaries and the reputable idea of quality in the 80s. Of the latter, if you think about it, alot of the culture then was geared towards more impossible detail and an oh-so serious tone. Not just cartoons, either. Who can we ultimately blame for this downhill slide? The FCC? ACT from Boston? The retirement of various figureheads?

Also, I'll agree to disagree with those shots at the new Disney picture. If you look at the movement of those 'realistic' humans, you might find there is a spark to it, personality and technical skill.

smackmonkey said...

I could never draw the horrible 80's era human-like characters. How can you tell if something's on model if it doesn't have anything unique or specific about it? Indistinct features that float all over a shapeless flesh-toned inkspot or limbs that could just as easily be a loaf of bread cannot supply an artist with any kind of worthwhile launching point for creative expression. When you realize just how poorly designed they were and that their origins were the boardroom and not the drawing board you'll understand why so many simply stopped trying and headed for the xerox machine. Is flash really all that different?

Someone mentioned 101 Dalmatians and, though I haven't seen it for close to thirty years I can attest to the use of rotoscoping for some of the human characters. It's pretty obvious.

Also, the Aha videos from the 80's were rotoscoped in an attempt to capture the very popular Patrick Nagel look. RIP

The Sprayah said...

Longtime reader, first time commenter. I agree with your general premise that both HB and Filmamation sucked out the magic of their era’s animation. However to lay the blame at Alex Toth's door is a tad harsh. Look at his client presentation boards, colourful, dynamic and clearly superior to the eventual shows they pitched for. Toth could have drawn more dynamic character sheets easily, but increasingly it’s not what his overlords were paying him for. I’m blaming the whole mess on the suits for knowing a dynamic drawing if it bit them dynamically on the ass.

ChrisK said...

I saw this post a while ago, was wondering if John's seen it yet. People don't like you making fun of the princesses!!

http://www.fanpop.com/spots/disney-princess/picks/results/372601/which-john-k-quote-about-princess-movie-meanest

maritzac said...

Interesting that "what a cartoon!" was mentioned. I believe there were some fine animation examples there. I particularly remember an extremely short about a worm, it was just the funniest thing ever. Yucky Duck was good too... it had guts.

warren said...

"The bible has some of the craziest stories ever invented so it's a complete irony to give it such a bland "realistic" treatment. Did everyone have the same face and body 2500 years ago?"

Yes. Yes they did. Everyone in the Bible was Caucasian, and the only people who mattered were men. I thought everyone knew that.

Joseph said...

Personally I think Dr. Facilier is one of my favorite animated characters to date! I felt Bruce had no fear supervising the character. He was fluid, good to look at, imaginative, and a real throwback to villains like "The Mad Doctor." I felt if Cab Calloway were a cartoon, it would be Facilier!

That was the highlight of the movie for me, though the other characters needed a Joe Grant treatment for me...

Mars Cabrera said...

Great post!!!
However, I LOVED to watch those toons!! you know, Birdman, the Herculoids, Mightor, the list goes on, man!!!
Alex Toth is classic!! I don't watch it for the art but, mostly for fun!!!

If I wanted good art back in the 60's-70's -- it'd be comics..
Thank you!

Conceit Arturo said...

Ok, I would've guessed blogger auto-linkifyied urls but it doesnt....therefore I repost...still hoping for a response John!

(clips I could find on Youtube...)
Ghost in the shell
Ghost in the shell clip 1

Ghost in the shell clip 2

this movie has incredibly good construction and complex angles, mixes with 3d but they dont try to make 3d look 2d (prolly too much philosophic dialogue for your taste tho)

Cowboy bebop clip 1
This series turns people who didnt like anime around, feels more like an american action series, bunch of fun and some characters break out of model to do cartoony things.

Samurai Champloo This one's all crazy fights and wacky characters...not as crazy as FLCL but you might even like it

I could post links to full episodes/movies but I dont know if I should =O

Blabbosaurus said...

JohnK thank you for being the best Animation professor around!
Bob Clampett is my hero and, it's so great that you continually recognize his brilliance.
Many animators are being taught to follow rules by a bunch of lemmings looking for their next paycheck. Have an opinion, people!

Pokey said...

I didn't go see the Princess and the Frog because of the Looney Tunes style tude. I'll watch the irreverence, which is what tude is only excelled in.

Steely Dan said...

"Everyone seems to love Alex Toth and it's obvious that he himself has some drawing skill"

SOME drawing skill?!?

Alex Toth was a brilliant artist. For my money he was the greatest comic book artist who ever lived. He was a master of design, layout, draftsmanship, and storytelling.

It's been my experience that people tend to fall into Toth camps or Kirby camps, but very few people are passionate fans of both. I've never understood the appeal of Kirby. Yes his work was big and bold and brash and dramatic, but it was big and bold and brash and dramatic in the exact same way all the time. His work was predictable. It's like reading a book in which every sentence ends with an exclamation point: After awhile the exclamation point loses it's effectiveness. It's like watching a Three Stooges film: It may be amusing the first time, but with each successive film you can see the gags coming from a mile away because there always the same gags, just dressed up differently.

Reading Toth's comic book work is like listening to a symphony. It's rich and varied and complex and sophisticated. Even when he was illustrating grade-z stories (as another post said) he was doing so brilliantly. His visuals transcended the banality of the stories.

Felicity Walker said...

I miss the 1980s. It was the last time we viewers were allowed to see realistic cartoons. After the late 1980s, cartoons started getting worse and worse, and every time I think they can’t get any worse, they do. Once the industry started down the path of more flat and more cartoony, there was no going back.

Even the limited-but-realistic Hanna Barbera style is gone. I liked the Toth/Takamoto Superfriends/Scooby style. It was stiff but well-constructed and pleasant to look at. If I had to choose one or other other, I’d rather a drawing be beautiful than move around a tremendous amount.

I don’t count anime as realistic, but it’s worth noting that there have in fact been many successful uses of realistic proportions in animation, and they all came from the mid-1980s American/Japanese co-productions like G.I. Joe. No rotoscoping required. Those animators just knew how to draw realistically.

popotter said...

You are a genius.And you are right. Unrealistic cartoons are the best for animation. But you are wrong too.Because you are looking at all this through the goggles of having worked in the industry back in the 70's and 80's. Yeah it sucked. But I look back at that suck-ness and enjoy that cheesy quality. I get why you hate "Jabberjaw" but I love it for the same reason you (and I )hate it.It's awesomely bad. Cartoons of the 70's and 80's are like the B sci-fi movies of the 50's and 60's. Terrible-but I like them anyway. I can't defend them.I can't say, "Oh Filmation's Ghostbusters was awesome!" -but I can say that I liked it. The character designs for all those "Toy shows" were great. Because they were trying to sell a character to toy buyers. The animation? Sucked. But, hell, I liked Clutch Cargo for the camp elements. Great animation is great. Sadly, it's also dead. Pixar and their like have seen to that. Makes me appreciate 80's HB shows when I see these CGI crapfests. Maybe they had no soul back then-but take no soul and subtract from it-I dunno, 80 more gallons of soul, and you get pixar. At least the fucking character designs were good in the Toth era of TV animation.