Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Twenty Years Ago ...

President Emeritus Tom Sito reminds us that, twenty years ago today, a hand-drawn feature that's had some remarkable echoes in filmdom was released by Twentieth Century Fox ....

Fern Gully was produced in the middle of the San Fernando Valley. In a former brewery. It was among the first of the non-Disney hand-drawn features and had a remarkable crew of old Disney hands and various up-and-comers (Pixar icon Ralph Eggleston was FG's Art Director.)

The feature turned a profit, but not a large one. It was one of Fox's first animated releases, but far from the last. Fox Animation (Phoenix) and a Blue Sky Studios followed shortly after. Today, Rupert's minions are major players in the cartoon biz, with "Animation Domination" Sunday nights on the Fox network, with The Simpsons and the Seth M. shows making the company billions. (The Simpsons Movie was among the last hand-drawn animated features to earn big bucks.)

Fern Gully was a fine little film in its time. Besides Mr. Eggleston, it offered Robin Williams voicing his first cartoon feature. (Aladdin came out in the Fall of the same year.)

(The "Avatar/"Fern Gully" mashup comes via Bronwen Barry.)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It was among the first of the non-Disney hand-drawn features"

By the time Fern Gully came along Don Bluth and Ralph Bakshi had each made several feature films. Also both of the ill-fated Filmation features had been completed by then and the Baggy's Chipmunk Adventure.

Of them all I think the Kroyer's studio had the most potential for growing into something bigger and better, but for some reason it did not continue (not with features anyway) . Too bad, because it was a great group of people.

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

Kroyer Films certainly deserved more if they had been in the right place and time.

Anonymous said...

Robin Williams' first animation role!

And the Kroyers ran the single best studio I ever worked at.

Matthew Maners said...

To bad the Kroyers didnt go on to make "Arrow" that looked promising.

Floyd Norman said...

It's always been my contention that luck plays an important role in the success or failure of any studio. Sometimes you can be very good and still fail. It's just the way this crazy business often works.

The Kroyers had a great studio. It's truly a shame things didn't go their way.

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