|A quick sketch I did for a pitch that was never presented.|
It was in early August 1989 and I had recently finished up with Little Mermaid when I once again returned to Walt Disney TV. It was a different animal entirely by then. The once tiny staff had ballooned enormously and had taken over much of the once almost empty address on Cahuenga. I eventually found my all official looking name tag formally spelling out Michael Perazza instead of Michael Peraza, posted on a nice room with a balcony view. I figured with a room like this, the spelling was close enough. I was just moving in when I got a call to come to a meeting. I was immediately asked to help kick off a new series idea that Gary Krisel, President of Walt Disney Television Animation, was putting together for a pitch. Gary was an unusual executive in that he was approachable with suggestions and took time to listen to any valid opinions. He had taken a wildly diverse background in finance and marketing and progressed from producing hit records as president of Disney's Worldwide Music Publishing to overseeing some very successful animated creations for Disney TV. .Like most of us, Gary was also a fan of the old classic Jay Ward show "Rocky and His Friends" later to be know as its more famous moniker "The Bullwinkle Show". Tad was the point person on this and he was likewise excited over the possibilities. I remember all too distinctly though, my first question to both of them. "So does Disney actually OWN the rights to these guys?" I went on to explain that I had been to Universal Studios only the day before and watched the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" live show right next to the "Duddley-Do-Right" Emporium, so how could Disney have the rights? Gary answered quickly that we (Disney) did in fact own, "all the video rights." That answer didn't quite settle my questioning little mind but I assumed we wouldn't be going forward into development without the rights all sewed up. Boy was I ever wrong.
|A few of the sketches I made for the pitch|
Gary assigned Tad Stones to help flesh out the writing for the pitch. I had known Tad back when he was briefly at Disney Features Animation and his excitement over this project easily matched mine which was bordering manic. Tad was a speed demon on the typewriter, yeah, no laptops in those days. Gary asked if I could have a full presentation ready by the following Monday morning. As it would give me a week plus the weekend, I said most definitely yes, no problem. Tad and I went back to his room to kick around ideas. Tad came up with a butter and popcorn caper cooked up by Boris and Natasha that Bullwinkle and Rocky would foil of course by the end of the episode. I came up with "Fractured Scary Tales", a spin on Jay's famous series within a series. The basis of this would be to lampoon the then never ending slate of horror films the way the fairy tales had been targeted for an earlier generation. It wasn't easy gathering the reference for the Ward characters back then but luckily the studio was able to scrounge up a few video tapes of the old shows that I could study. As I viewed the old episodes I quickly realized that although some references- like the cold war, was dated it all still had such a sharp freshness about it that was a joy to watch and listen to. The limited animation Jay had used was well planned and designed to work exactly in that format and the overall art direction was wonderfully reminiscent of the UPA styling so prevalent of the 1950s.
|More drawings of mine that never saw the light of day|
|Happy Landings Bullwinkle.|