austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Just give 'em a race to run; that General Lee is a son of a gun

I think I appreciated as a kid that I lived in a golden age for dopey cartoon adaptations of stuff. I mean, I watched with only minor quibbles a show whose premise was that the Professor had whipped together a spaceship only to strand the Castaways on Gilligan's Planet. I watched another in which a time-travelling idiot couldn't bring Fonzie, Potsie, and their snarky talking dog back to 1957 Milwaukee. And yet, clearly, that golden age didn't end with people suddenly realizing they were making a Dukes of Hazzard cartoon, staring at one another in horror, silently putting down their pencils, and walking out of California, never to return.

Little leap here: bunny_hugger got, to her delight, the Little Shop Of Horrors Directors Cut DVD for Christmas. She never expected to see the original version, as maybe two reels of it got pitched overboard for a happy ending instead when the test audiences reacted to the original by grabbing director Frank Oz and shaking him senseless, screaming, ``How could you do that to Rick Moranis and Whats-her-name?!'' And watching the original delighted her --- she'd seen the stage version and knew how it should end --- but it inspired in her the vague nagging sense: wasn't there a cartoon of this? And if there was, how could she have only vague memories of it? Why wouldn't she have committed it to memory?

YouTube had the answer: the cartoon, from the early 90s, was horrible. You could tell just watching the animation, with the music off. Stanley Seymour and Audrey were kids. The music was done in that then-trendy style of Hip Hop Written By White Cartoon Writers For Even Whiter Network Executives (``Word: Little Shop''). It was short-lived, as these always are, and apparently paired with the Killer Tomatoes for that brief exercise in ignorability. Sarah Ashman notes that the cartoon has no content that actually touches on the musical, so I suppose the makers were thinking they could pass this off as a cartoon inspired by the original movie, available in the public domain bin of every video and grocery store ever. A fair observation, and one which makes me wonder: does this mean that just anyone could go creating another cartoon, as long as it didn't use any names or characters from the musical not already in the Corman original?

It really makes you appreciate that the 90s would eventually rise to giving us The Wacky World Of Tex Avery, written in the belief that if you said the word ``wacky'' enough times in the opening credits people wouldn't notice the animation had the light, deft touch and smoothly plausible surreality of Inspector Gadget.

Trivia: John Adams went to the Senate to begin his term as Vice-President on 21 April 1789, nine days before the inauguration of George Washington. Source: From Failing Hands: The Story of Presidential Succession, John D Feerick.

Currently Reading: The Triumph Of Numbers: How Counting Shaped Modern Life, I B Cohen.


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