Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Amazing Chan Goof

Opening credit. The show never really gave us a reason to believe Chan was all that amazing at anything other than reproduction.

I've been wanting to post this for some time, but I've been flummoxed by digital camera technology. I can't take decent screen shots to save my life. I work in television, you know.

Anyway, this was a show I watched back when I was about 9-10 years old. The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan wasn't exactly the runaway hit of the 1973 fall Saturday Morning lineup. I'm not sure anything was a hit show that year. This was around the time I discovered just how superior Bugs Bunny and the Warner Brothers cartoons really are. Old Popeye cartoons, the ones in black and white, were cool, too. And Tom and Jerry, although Mammy Two Legs left us confused.

"Why do we see the home owner only from the butt down?"

"She's not the owner. She's the maid."

"Maid? Well how come the owners are never home? And why does she talk like that?"
"I think she's supposed to be black."

"Oh. Well, they must be in the South."

"Those cartoons are old, man. They were made way back in the '50's."
"No way! They didn't have color back then."

Well, getting back to the point, I found this episode of The Amazing Chan on one of the Saturday Morning Cartoons DVD's, and I spotted a huge goof. Now, Saturday morning cartoons are full of technical goofs. The minuscule budgets with which these shows were produced left practically no room to fix mistakes especially after they got under the camera, and so we see colors shift within a character's face as it was animated, eyes get flesh tones, Shaggy's sole patch never gets hair colored, characters seem to slip and slide all over the place relative to the background (registration errors), exposure shifts, and on the audio we hear a few lines from voice actors who were very obviously sight reading and needed one more go at it. Oh, and based on the acoustics I can hear on the audio at some point in the early seventies Hanna-Barbera must've moved their voice sessions to the back seat of a Ford LTD. Those things happen all the time. This mistake falls under the category of being a true cartoon blooper.

Today's episode takes place in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, where we see a good number of white people, lots of Asian children, but not a single black person.

The story eventually takes us to a "cemetary." Hmm... I guess they spell it different down south.

"What was that?" Two of the kids react to a spooky sound in the night. Probably it's the sound a of network censor who cut out any hint of violence or danger, but couldn't spell cemetery.

"Calm down, you silly girls. It's only an owl."

Obligatory reaction shot of the ugliest dog in animation history.

Here's what made the noise. But wait! Can you see what made me hit PAUSE? Upper left corner.

Golly. I had no idea koalas were indigenous to Louisiana. They appear to be a bit confused themselves.

Turns out The Amazing Chan was the first Hanna-Barbera series to have the artwork produced in a foreign country... Australia. I guess there wasn't enough time for the Aussie artists to do the research.

Other Chan Clan Fun Facts:

The Chan Clan musical numbers might sound like The Archies. That's because it is. Don Kirshner, the man who gave us The Monkees and The Archies was brought on to do the musical production on Chan. Kirshner engaged the services of none other than Ron Dante to cut the charts, as they say. Dante was the voice of The Archies. His "real" band The Cuff Links had a hit song "Tracy" as well. Busy guy.

You are my candy girl.

Jamie Farr, better known as Klinger on M*A*S*H co-wrote the Chan series. He also performed voice work in other H-B shows around this period.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Stop it!

I just saw the trailer for Sex and the City 2, and again I have say it...

The phrase "We're not in Kansas anymore" is done. Really. I'm serious. Is there a contest of some sort among scriptwriters to see if they can find an excuse to use this cliche in every single film being made in Hollywood these days?

It's not funny, it's not ironic, and it's not original. A recent episode of Bones can be forgiven because there was an actual appropriate visual reference that gave it context, but even then every viewer watching could practically feel the line coming.

Stop it. Just stop it.

If you are writing a script right now, before putting the Kansas line in yet again ask yourself, will this line get a laugh? Will it move the story forward? If you're a trailer producer, ask yourself if this line will position this film above all the rest. Is it really necessary?

But then, if Hollywood only thought about what was necessary we wouldn't have a Sex & the City 2 would we?