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:  

https://www.retrozap.com/animanicast-animaniacs-creator-tom-ruegger-and-sherri-stoner-on-animaniacs-25th-anniversary/



Also...


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:   

http://www.geekcastradio.com/interviews/interviews-tom-ruegger/#

 


And over at Popgeek.net, 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...

https://popgeeks.net/the-flashback-interview-tom-ruegger/


 

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!




40TH Anniversary of My First TV Series in Animation

September 9th, 2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of the first animated show I worked on in Hollywood and at Hanna-Barbera, "The Godzilla Power Hour" (designed by Doug Wildey). I worked as an assistant animator on the show -- along with colleagues Tom Sito, Mauro Maressa, Rik Maki, Bob Wilkie, Rich Bowman, James Tim Walker, Mark Kirkland, Dennis Venizelos, Joanna Romersa, Bronnie Barry, Will Meugniot, Moe Gollub and many others.  Animators on the series included Volus Jones, Dave Tendlar, Rudy Cataldi, Carlo Vinci, Kenny Muse, Lefty Callihan, Bob Hathcock, Mitch Rochon. Al Gaivoto and Roger Chiasson, and our bosses Bill Keil, Bob Goe and Jay Sarbry.



  




"The Godzilla Power Hour" also included a separate action adventure franchise entitled "Jana of the Jungle."  Jana -- a female Tarzan with a more refined vocabulary -- was fun to draw.   


 

Fun to draw, yes.  But not always easy to draw.  

And Godzilla's line work was so thick that the xerox machine couldn't properly print it onto the cel.  Alison Leopold and the crew in the ink and paint department had to paint in a lot of the lines. 

As one of the greenest of the new recruits at the Hanna-Barbera studio, I had a lot to learn.  I'd stay late and take work home over the weekends just to keep my footage up high enough to not get the boot.  As assistants, we worked for the animators, and some of the animators, all seasoned vets, drew very rough poses and it wasn't always easy to figure out how to clean up their poses.  The following sketch pretty much summarizes my first few weeks on the job. 




I had A LOT to learn...


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Images from the Platypus Duck Storyboard -- 1975

Back in 1975-76, I made my first animated cartoon, "The Premiere of Platypus Duck," with the help of a lot of people like Parker MacDonell, Barry Braverman, Maury Rapf, Blair Watson, Tom Ropelewski, Willy Small, Gigi Jones, Glo Ruegger, Sara Hoagland, Chuck Reach, Robert G. "Boris" Fisher and the Arthur and Lillie Mayer Foundation.   Below are a few random storyboard panels from the pre-production.  Recently I transferred my best copy of the final film to digital and I hope to get that online sometime soon.  








Wednesday, March 14, 2018

FREAK-A-CON! Thursday March 15, 2018 -- 8pm Eastern Time, 5pm Pacific Time


 
Don's miss "FREAK-A-CON," the live online virtual Comic-Convention dedicated to all things FREAKAZOID.   It's Thursday, March 15th 2018 at 5pm to 6pm Pacific time, 8pm to 9pm Eastern time.  Go to  --


              https://www.facebook.com/FreakACon/


...and Freak-Out!







Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Sunday, November 12, 2017

ANIMANIACS: "TWAS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS"

Here's the entire Animaniacs cartoon, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," adapted into a comic book published by DC Comics back in 1994.  The original cartoon was written by Randy Rogel and me and directed by Rusty Mills.  The comic book has great pencil work by Neal Sternecky.  (Neal  boarded and directed on the series as well.)   I've mixed in images from the original cartoon with the comic adaptation.