Thursday, June 19, 2008
Mike Kazaleh on Duck Dodgers, Jr. and Maurice Noble
The following comes from Mike Kazaleh, one of the co-writers of the "Duck Dodgers, Jr." short from "Tiny Toon Adventures" we featured earlier. Special thanks to Thad K. for contacting Mr. Kazaleh and asking him about his work on the show and with Maurice Noble.
"Yes, I have lots of stories about that particular cartoon. It was not Maurice's first work sans Chuck, as in the early to mid seventies, he worked with Hawley Pratt at DFE (and in the mid fifties, he worked at John Sutherland.) It was the cartoon that put him back into cartoons, though, as he went into fine art prints about eight years earlier (beautiful hand made silkscreen prints.) We immediately became close friends, and we were friends until his death. Maurice came up with all the crazy landscapes and machines seen in the beginning of the cartoon. He originally designed the settings in nice, flat colors, but the background artists at Wang Films in Taipei (where this episode was produced) couldn't believe we wanted them flat, so they used airbrush instead. Owen Fitzgerald did some layouts in this picture. I met Kent Butterworth in the mid eighties, and we first worked together on Bakshi's Mighty Mouse. Kent and I are still friends, and we've worked on a lot of projects together. I wrote this cartoon using Wayne Katz's idea of a machine that sucked up planets. I also was told that I had to put in Marvin Martian's daughter. I also did the storyboard and the character models. This may be hard to believe, but at the time, the studio only had one model sheet of Marvin the Martian, and it was one that Chuck drew in 1980, which nobody wanted to use. Steve Spielberg was very stoked on this story. In fact, he asked me to add all that stuff at the end of all the crap getting sucked in (including sucking up the background ala "The Yellow Submarine".) I needed to come up with a new punch line, as the cartoon was originally going to end with an angry cube martian chasing an cubed Daffy Duck. Steve also added a few things, like Daffy's gearshift moment. The picture was about a minute over length as a result, so Kent shortened the other pictures in that half hour.