Friday, August 16, 2019

Animation Smears, Wild Takes and Strong Poses from "Woodstock Slappy"

Animation Lesson:


1.  Here are some in-between smears that intensify the acting and animation in "Woodstock Slappy."

Slappy leans in on Skippy with a smear face stretch.    


Slappy makes a fast, single-frame gestures toward the stage... 


Slappy uses her arms to beseech Skippy to answer the question that's driving her crazy:   "Who's on stage?"

Skippy stretches up then goes down into a squash and freaks out as Slappy sings along with her accordion.


2.  Some wild takes from "Woodstock Slappy." 

Slappy wakes up to the song stylings of a screaming Janis Joplin... 



3.  And here are some excellent strong poses and acting from director Audu Paden and his brilliant crew of artists, story-boarders and animators on "Woodstock Slappy,"  helped by some great vocal performances by Sherri Stoner, Nate Ruegger and the rest of the cast.





Here's a pan of the Woodstock crowd as Slappy Squirrel tries to shoo them away form her summer treehouse in "Woodstock Slappy" from "Animaniacs" (1994).  

And here's Slappy grabbing Jimi Hendrix guitar in an attempt to bring the concert to a close.  



Thursday, July 18, 2019


Here's the original background from the first cartoon I made in college along with classmate Sarah Hobel.   

The story:  a stray dog finds a magic lamp in a big pile of rubbish and gives it a lick.  Then all his wishes come true.   

The deli pictured in the background is named after my professor and mentor Maury Rapf (screenwriter for Disney, among other studios).  This animated film was made for Maury's "Filmmaking 101" class.  

Monday, June 10, 2019

What's the Deal with Boo Boo?

In Hanna-Barbera's YOGI BEAR cartoons from 1958 and onward, Boo Boo played Yogi's sidekick.  But here's one thing about Boo Boo that has been strange from the very beginning:  his design seems to change from one cartoon to the next.  He might have a round head in a cartoon, and then be blocky in another.  He might have no forehead at all in one segment, and then he'll have a long tall forehead in the next.  The point is this:  early on, the folks at Hanna-Barbara were not terribly concerned about having a consistent model sheet for Boo Boo.  (Nor one for Ranger Smith.) 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Some Backgrounds For A New Animated Series

Paul Dini and I have been developing a new animated series!  Here's a sneak peek of a few B.G.s...


Friday, September 14, 2018

Interviews about Animaniacs' 25th Anniversary

Some recent interviews you might check out if you care to...


Joey, Nate and Kelly's THE ANIMANICAST is the only weekly podcast dedicated to "Animaniacs!"  It's packed with reviews, interviews and info about the series.  In this week's episode, they interview "Animaniacs" producer/writer/story editor/voice actor and Slappy Squirrel herself, Sherri Stoner.  I chimed in too during the podcast.  And there's a rumor that Nate Ruegger (Skippy Squirrel) makes an appearance.  Here's where you can find it:


Mike Blanchard and co-host Steven Phillips have a great interview show over at Geekcast Radio Network.  Had a lot of fun talking to them about the cartoon shows I worked on over the past 30 years.   You can hear the interview and check out all the entertaining stuff at Geekcast Radio Network here:


And over at, Johnny Caps wrote up an extensive interview with me that touches upon many of the very funny and incredibly talented people I've worked with over the years, as we look at some of the shows I've worked on, from Scooby to The 7D, with Tiny Toons, Animaniacs and lots more in between.  You can check out this extensive article plus lots of other fun stuff at...


And, once again, to the brilliant crew and to the loyal fans, Happy 25th Animaniacs Anniversary!   

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The 25th Anniversary of "ANIMANIACS"

It's time to celebrate!

And to think, it all started with three lunatics escaping from a water tower.  

Saturday, September 8, 2018

30TH Anniversary of "A PUP NAMED SCOOBY DOO"

Monday, September 10, 2018, marks the 30th Anniversary of the premiere of "A PUP NAMED SCOOBY DOO" -- the first show I produced at Hanna-Barbera.  

Thanks to Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Jenny Trias and her team at ABC for giving me the job, and thanks to all the members of the Scooby crew, including Kellie Martin (Daphne), Scott Jeralds, Lane Raichert, Charlie Howell, Bill Matheny, Jim Stenstrum, Alfred Gimeno, Paul Strickland, overseas animation supervisor Glen Kennedy, series composer John Debney, Scott Menville (Red Herring), Jayne Barbera, Jean MacCurdy, Barbara Simon, Amy Simon and, of course, Casey Kasem  (Shaggy) and Don Messick (Scooby), among many others.    

Special kudos to Bill Hanna for directing the first episode, and to Joe Barbera for teaching me that we needed to use equally wild sound effects whenever we created "Tex Avery"-style wild takes.  ("That's the way Tex did it.")

Here are the first three pages of the original bible/pitch presentation for the series:  

As you can see, the original title of the show was "Scooby Doo -- the Puppy Years."  That soon changed to...

Here's a background used in the first episode, "A Bicycle Built for Boo."   In the series, set in Coolsville, Shaggy's family kept their Christmas light on their house all year round.  

In the first sequence of that very first episode, we demonstrated our plan to have Scooby and the gang react to frightening situations with over-the-top wild takes.  Here are few screen shots from that sequence...

And here's a model sheet we used for a few of our wild take ideas:  

Music played a big role in the show, with composer John Debney giving the show a unique background vocal track and some great songs for the "Scooby Romps."  I helped John write the lyrics for the Main Title of  "A Pup Named Scooby Doo," for which Hanna-Barbera's legal department had me sign the following release.

At the time, I didn't know not to sign it.  I was just thrilled that the show was proceeding and that it looked good and sounded good.   Of course, I shouldn't have signed.  There's a lesson here.  Before you sign something, have your lawyer look at it!    And then, probably don't sign it!  

A year or two before "A Pup Named Scooby Doo," Mitch Schauer and I worked on "The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo."   Mitch is a brilliant producer and artist.

When Mitch heard that we would be doing a show about Scooby's younger years, he responded with a drawing for a different Scooby show concept:  "Scooby Doo -- The Final Years."

I want to see this show!!!!    I would love to work with Mitch on it! 

"A Pup Named Scooby Doo" was the first version of the Scooby franchise to be nominated for an Emmy Award.  Here's an ad that ran in the trades during the Emmy voting season.  

Unfortunately we lost to "Winnie the Pooh."   

But "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" was a hit with the kids, and its 27 half-hour episodes are still rerunning to this very day.  Yes, they've been rerunning 27 half hours of "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" for 30 years!  

In fact, currently, Boomerang is running back-to-back episodes of "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" daily!