I really want Robin Williams and Tim Curry to work together at some point! The manic energy could power LA.
I would pay good money for Williams and Curry to be in the same film and so would you.
Nope. Tim Curry.

Curry and Williams would bounce off each other really well one thinks.
Williams and Curry were already in a movie together ITTL. Curry played Captain Hook in Hooked! (aka TTL's Hook).
 
What was the worst that they could do to him, launch a proxy war and remove him from the board? Why, he’d be forced to “retire” to Sunset Puppetry and the other charitable efforts that brought him joy!
I like this thicker-skinned, more experienced Henson. He's seen some shit, particularly through the Sunset Group, but corporate suits trying to run the Scheme instead of the Dream? Pffft.

Loving the rest of the snippets from his other works: the ongoing relationship with Ghibli; Muppet Christmas Carol and Dinosaurs still get made (I'm absolutely thrilled to see Jim get to see the arguably finest adaptation of Carol in theatres himself); fun with Robin as the Genies (still surprised they kept two of them, Aladdin is shaping up to be quite a different movie from OTL); and the continuing struggles with Californian race and drug issues. All great work delivered in a few paragraphs.

Well done, as usual!
 
I feel like I need to point out that the current exorbitant prices on Pappy van Winkle is a result of a massive whiskey boom in the late 00's and early 10's. Pappy van Winkle wasn't even sold for the first time until 1994 and even then it wouldn't have gone for over $100 a bottle. Hell, you could even find Pappy in stores around 2011 or so that retailed around that price.

Around that time frame in the early 90's the opinion on American whiskey in America was that it was largely crap and all the high end businessmen drank Scotch whisky while the general populace preferred vodka and lighter spirits. Japan drank American whiskey and bourbon, and a whole lot of cognac sure, but Americans themselves? No.
 
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I am not surprised that Toys has flopped spectacularly, since Desert Storm has made anti-war rhetoric unpopular in the United States, though I am glad other countries enjoyed it. As for it being called "Henson's Folly", I fear that he's just gonna be assaulted from left and right by critics, execs, and shareholders for all of his decisions with increasing frequency but his thicker skin seems to be helping him cope with all of this. After all, what does he have to lose when he leaves Disney?

Aladdin is looking out to be fantastic. At first, it was the use of Ashman's script. Then it was the introduction of the two genies with Robin Williams voicing the both of them (and yeah, his conversations with both characters would be incredibly funny and perfect VHS/VCD extra material). But now, Aladdin actually retains the name of Baghdad? It's a creative risk but I am here for it, since it opens up the possibility of them using the Round City of Baghdad (as explained in my previous post about Aladdin). Is the Arab fantasy really coming to life with Aladdin? I sure hope so ;)

I'm hoping that it is a success but the fears of it flopping at not unfounded, given the current zeitgeist. Maybe it will become a blockbuster smash in spite of that because of the compelling nature of Aladdin and his story, which would certainly be a victory for both Henson and Ashman. Crossing my fingers!

Roger Rabbit II sounds like a nice film, but yeah, it's not a film that particularly interests Jim compared to the other projects on the pipeline, like Muppet Christmas Carol. Nice to see that ITTL but I'm hoping that you'll take the idea of Muppets Gulliver's Travels as a nod to his OTL miniseries. Plus, with Treasure Island and Christmas Carol, it could serve as a VHS/VCD box set that the whole family could love, hahahaha.

TV Animation is seeing far more success with Dinosaurs (finally getting the love and care that it deserves), TRON, Boo-Block, and the existing shows with Duck Duck Goof and Mickey in the City, so that's something that Henson can use to stave off his critics. Hopefully the future productions listed will see similar success, and yes, maybe ITTL Dinosaurs doesn't need to have that downer ending.

Disney loaning its artists to Studio Ghibli and vice versa is a fantastic idea, and I hope that they continue with this partnership in the far future. I still haven't forgotten that damn Zelda film idea, but I just keep forgetting to make a PM thread :'(

John teaching River and Rain about Asian cuisines is a nice touch, and yeah, I agree that Asian cuisine has far tastier vegetarian/vegan dishes than Western ones, especially in the 90s. With John knowing how to cook such dishes, the possibility of a plant-based food push for the theme parks is slightly higher, but we'll see how hard both John and Jim are willing to commit to that against what is certainly a immovable mountain.

He also celebrated a special deal with Studio Ghibli, their transpacific partners. In addition to releasing Kiki’s Delivery Service, a feature that Henson could really relate to given the themes of creative burnout and “losing the magic” when doing professional art, there would be a double-partnership and exchange program. Disney animators would travel to Japan to assist in production on Porco Rosso and Only Yesterday, and Ghibli artists would be coming to Burbank to work on Disney’s new animated Princess movie The Bamboo Princess, based on the Japanese legend of Kaguyahime and produced in partnership with Ghibli’s Isao Takahata. Jim had built a very close bond with both Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki, the latter of whom was a big fan of Henson’s work. While the way they talked down to their employees seemed disturbing to Jim, he chalked it up to different cultural values. The three of them, along with Roy Disney and Ron Miller, would occasionally storm the high-end clubs and Karaoke bars of Tokyo or the trendy underground clubs of LA and the Sunset Strip.
WAIT.

I saw this correctly, right? A Disney adaptation of Princess Kaguya with Isao Takahata?

giphy.gif

My jaw literally dropped when I saw this, no joke.

Seeing Princess Kaguya fully realized in Disney animation....I want to see it so badly. Given the talent involved at both Ghibli and Disney, I have no doubt that this film is going to be a slam dunk. Regardless, I can't help but feel a bit bittersweet since I was enamored with the art style that Isao used for the OTL movie, which will surely be lost in favor of a more Disney-like art style. It's a shame, but I think this adaptation will be equivalent in quality to OTL, but it will have a vast amount of exposure among American and international audiences.

Plus, she would be a fully realized Disney Princess, which would be a very interesting addition to the ITTL catalogue.
 
Or the possible Kimba inspired Lion King.
So a Lion King where Simba tries to get everyone to become vegetarian, drags around the skin of his dad like a safety blanket, and is best friends with a couple of humans while setting fire to poachers and local warlords? That Kimba?
I'll take my 'Hamlet on the Serengeti', thank you.
 
So a Lion King where Simba tries to get everyone to become vegetarian, drags around the skin of his dad like a safety blanket, and is best friends with a couple of humans while setting fire to poachers and local warlords? That Kimba?
I'll take my 'Hamlet on the Serengeti', thank you.
Couldn't say, never seen the White Lion. I kinda envisioned The Lion King in plot and art but with Simba the same color as Kimba.
 
And now I'm sad because this is what we didn't get IOTL. Seriously, you should open up a PM with @Geekhis Khan and talk to him about the ideas we cooked up on this. Maybe he'll steal it.
PM me, all of you, if you want. I'm open.

Weird...

Whilst I'd have loved to see what another actor would have done with the Genie, the image of two bickering Genies both played by Robin Williams is just too funny. Although, I could ask what would Friend Like Me be called since, presumably, it's a duet between the two Genies?

If Aladdin gets a live-action remake ITTL, could the Genies be played by Eric Andre and Hannibal Buress?
The Genie of the Ring doesn't really appear until the third act as a properly-foreshadowed deux ex machina, so Friend Like Me will just be the GotL.

I really want Robin Williams and Tim Curry to work together at some point! The manic energy could power LA.

Glad FernGully: The Last Rainforest is going ahead and Jim helps out with it as it was a fun movie. Looking forward to more information here.
You just answered your own request. :winkytongue:
Williams and Curry were already in a movie together ITTL. Curry played Captain Hook in Hooked! (aka TTL's Hook).
And that, of course!

As to Williams and Carrey, they'll appear together pretty soon...sort of.

I just realized something.

Right at the current present of this timeline. there is an anime series airing in Japan that could solve many of Henson's problems:

Legendary Bra.ve Da-Garn!

It features a kid hero, and it basically out Captain Planets Captain Planet, but does so in an understated, light-handed way. The environmental message is delivered in subtle ways in Da-Garn's and the rest of Earth Spirit Force's reactions to human activity, good and bad (by there standards, anyway), and there are helpful tips on things like recycling in the after-episode shorts alongside the next episode bumpers. It's basically Henson's vision for what Transformers Generation 1 could be/could have been. Disney can either dub (or rescript) the original Sunrise production, or else completely reanimate the series for an American (or at least Western Hemisphere) initial setting.

The trick is how to get all the ducks in a row, so to speak.

Oh, and I think that, barring a rampage by Islamic fundamentalists through Disney corporate offices, theme parks and animation studios ordered by extremist clerics with the (in)appropriate connections, Aladdin will be enough of a major financial winner to quiet down investors and CNBC, at least in the short term.
Seems like a possibility.

I feel like I need to point out that the current exorbitant prices on Pappy van Winkle is a result of a massive whiskey boom in the late 00's and early 10's. Pappy van Winkle wasn't even sold for the first time until 1994 and even then it wouldn't have gone for over $100 a bottle. Hell, you could even find Pappy in stores around 2011 or so that retailed around that price.

Around that time frame in the early 90's the opinion on American whiskey in America was that it was largely crap and all the high end businessmen drank Scotch whisky while the general populace preferred vodka and lighter spirits. Japan drank American whiskey and bourbon, and a whole lot of cognac sure, but Americans themselves? No.
Copy, thanks. Any suggestions for less anachronistic stupidly exorbitant whiskey?

WAIT.

I saw this correctly, right? A Disney adaptation of Princess Kaguya with Isao Takahata?

Seeing Princess Kaguya fully realized in Disney animation....I want to see it so badly. Given the talent involved at both Ghibli and Disney, I have no doubt that this film is going to be a slam dunk. Regardless, I can't help but feel a bit bittersweet since I was enamored with the art style that Isao used for the OTL movie, which will surely be lost in favor of a more Disney-like art style. It's a shame, but I think this adaptation will be equivalent in quality to OTL, but it will have a vast amount of exposure among American and international audiences.
Yep, you saw that right. There will be some scenes and references to Ukio-E art and traditional ink and watercolor, but a lot of it will be Disney. A sort of "East Meets West" in animation. Paku-san will be there to ensure quality control, but there will be Disney influence, in particular songs. Yea, kind of bittersweet given how gorgeous the OTL Takahata Kaguyahime is.
 
I just finished my reread of this amazing story but now im wondering how this Disney is gonna handle the emergence of streaming and "youtube". With their involvment in hardware/software production for video editing etc. i could see them jumping on it super early compared to otl. I could see henson pushing disney to buy one of the emerging big video sites, it would really fit in with his viewpoint series ittl. Really wonder how a disney led youtube would be compared to the otl google one.
 
I am not surprised that Toys has flopped spectacularly, since Desert Storm has made anti-war rhetoric unpopular in the United States, though I am glad other countries enjoyed it. As for it being called "Henson's Folly", I fear that he's just gonna be assaulted from left and right by critics, execs, and shareholders for all of his decisions with increasing frequency but his thicker skin seems to be helping him cope with all of this. After all, what does he have to lose when he leaves Disney?
I wouldn't say that it flopped spectacularly, exactly. It made its budget back (with international sales), which does make it a loss but not a massive one. If it was spectacular it would have gone down like Heaven's Gate with a $3.5 million box office against a $44 million budget or some such. This is just an ordinary flop.

I also want to remind everyone that Jim is still the #1 largest single shareholder in Disney, so even if a bunch of the other shareholders don't like him very much it'll be pretty hard for them to actually kick him off the board or, more to the point, heavily influencing the company. If they really annoy him he could single-handedly tank the company's share price--only temporarily, but still. So while Jim doesn't have free reign here, neither do his opponents.
 
Copy, thanks. Any suggestions for less anachronistic stupidly exorbitant whiskey?
No actual brands come to mind. I could just cheap out and say some expensive Scotch whisky but I have no hard info. The only real luxury high end liquor that's been consistently expensive but not so ludicrous that people don't drink it and instead buy it to show off that I can think of would be the Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac which consistently go for around 3 to 5 thousand dollars a bottle and has existed for a long time. Expensive for most people but affordable enough for the wealthy to give as gifts. I'm sure there are brands out there plebs like us haven't heard of but eh.

I wouldn't say that it flopped spectacularly, exactly. It made its budget back (with international sales), which does make it a loss but not a massive one. If it was spectacular it would have gone down like Heaven's Gate with a $3.5 million box office against a $44 million budget or some such. This is just an ordinary flop.

I also want to remind everyone that Jim is still the #1 largest single shareholder in Disney, so even if a bunch of the other shareholders don't like him very much it'll be pretty hard for them to actually kick him off the board or, more to the point, heavily influencing the company. If they really annoy him he could single-handedly tank the company's share price--only temporarily, but still. So while Jim doesn't have free reign here, neither do his opponents.
Yeah when you give it a name like Henson's Folly you think on the scale of Heavens Gate like you said, or say Lone Ranger (2013) financially or Adventures of Pluto Nash or Love Guru which were pretty much career enders for Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers. Or from a directorial perspective, Gigli which straight up murdered the Martin Brest. This is 'just' an underperforming movie.
 
taking time to help Steve Whitmer get the nuance and personality of Kermit just right. “I really appreciate the sweet sentimentality that you give him, Steve, but don’t forget to let Kermit be just a little bit of a sarcastic, passive aggressive jerk on occasion. He’s the boss and he knows it.”
Nice.

(Don't get me wrong, I really liked OTL Whitmire's Kermit, but there are times, when you hear him talking about how Kermit should always be the perfect moral centre, when you think "But, Steve, you were there during The Muppet Show!")

A Duck Duck Goof spinoff starring Barnstormer McQuacken was under consideration, as was an animated spinoff from Digit’s World focusing on the popular “Hackers” Zondra, Chip, and Ubu.
I love a world where people care about the Gorilla TV characters beyond "Oh, Bill Prady's got an idea for a Muppet sitcom, let's bring back his caricature puppet."

Come to think of it, I probably should have asked this earlier (I got swept up in Molly's enthusiasm!) but I assume Prady was involved in Inner Tube and Digit's World? Or does TTL Chip have a different design?
 
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now I'm wondering how this Disney is gonna handle the emergence of streaming and "youtube".
We've seen Disney has a streaming service, but nothing about when it started yet.

A Disney Youtube, Jim would like the encouragement of creativity like we've already seen but I'm sure everyone at Disney would like to keep it family friendly.
So no comments and careful content rules?
 
A Disney Youtube, Jim would like the encouragement of creativity like we've already seen but I'm sure everyone at Disney would like to keep it family friendly.
So no comments and careful content rules?
Something like that. It would be a safer but more boring site, probably a lot smaller as well. A lot of the factors that drove YouTube's growth (the industrial scale piracy of music, the communities that formed around certain accounts, etc) just won't happen under Disney's ownership. Given that obvious gap in the market some other site will rise to prominence, as YT proved there is a careful line you can walk of doing just enough to not be sued to death while also letting through pirate copies of everything and if you can walk that line you will reap great rewards.
 
Something like that. It would be a safer but more boring site, probably a lot smaller as well. A lot of the factors that drove YouTube's growth (the industrial scale piracy of music, the communities that formed around certain accounts, etc) just won't happen under Disney's ownership. Given that obvious gap in the market some other site will rise to prominence, as YT proved there is a careful line you can walk of doing just enough to not be sued to death while also letting through pirate copies of everything and if you can walk that line you will reap great rewards.
I'd see Disney making their own YouTube while YouTube proper gets big from those reasons.
 
A Tale of Sand
An Absurdist Tale of Sand
Post from Cinema Surrealismé Netlog, by Darque Tydd, April 15th, 2007


Surealismé comes in many hues. It can be dark, scary, psychedelic, psychological, cerebral, and even silly or absurd. My long-time readers will know that I typically engage the darker side of the style, be that Giger or Lynch or Tool, but it is important to explore the lighter side on occasion, if only to better know the darkness by looking into the light.

And it is my opinion that the master of the lighter, sillier side of surealismé is none other than Jim Henson.

Yes, I expect some pushback for saying that, but it is true my brothers and sisters. You pushed back when I maintained that Walt Disney was a great surrealist (watch the “Destino” short he created with Salvador Dali or the acid-trip nightmare sequence of “Heffalumps and Woozles” if you don’t believe me) and now, surely some will assert that the man behind the Muppets is not a true surealisté simply because his art was (gasp!) popular.

Look to The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth. Behold “Hugga Wugga” or its predecessor “Sclrapp Flyapp”. Watch Timepiece or Limbo or The Cube.

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Or better yet, simply behold 1991’s Sand.

This is a bit of that old, experimental Henson from the psychedelic ‘60s in the vein of Timepiece. It’s 92 minutes of surrealisté non-sequitur and dream imagery. It’s classic Henson fourth-wall breaking absurdity. It has no plot, no seeming purpose, and a circular narrative, like a Dadaist “Exquisite Corpse” poem made visual.

The story, or what appears to be a story, follows a largely silent protagonist known as “Mac” (Tim Robbins) who walks into an Old West town only to be greeted by a swinging ‘60s-style party with a Dixieland band. He’s greeted as a hero, given leis and flowers and kisses, and greeted by a kindly old Sheriff (Andy Griffith – more on his casting later). He’s then given a map, a backpack of truly random items like stop signs and records and a giant key, and given a “10-minute head start” and told to “run!”

Tale-of-Sand-Preview-PG12.jpg

Support your local Sheriff (All images from the brilliant Ramon Perez graphic novel of Tale of Sand commissioned by Lisa Henson; Image source “ifanboy.com”)

From this point forward, a sureallisté set of events and encounters plays out as Mac runs, constantly encountering the mysterious “Blonde” (Laura Dern), and hunted by the dapper but diabolical “Patch” (Antony Sher). He must get to “Eagle Rock” before Patch can kill him, with such bizarre obstacles along the way as a huge cabaret in a tiny shack, a swimming pool full of sharks, a pack of Bedouins, and an angry football team.

And yet the plot is hardly the point. It’s existential. It has themes of life, time, and mortality. It explores the absurdity and pointlessness of life. It’s hilarious!

Be warned, however. The film includes some stereotypical portrayals of people. The characters are caricatures, not rounded people. The Bedouins are old movie stereotypes, as are the African natives in the service of the white big game hunter. Laura Dern’s dismissively named “The Blonde” is sexualized to the point of fetishization (which makes the eventual “reveal” of what lies underneath all the more shocking and impactful). Yet according to Juhl, that is the point. The characters are, by nature, reflective of our biases and preconceptions, a subliminal connection to the meta-narrative of the west, with our biases intact. Still, it can be a shock to see such portrayals in a piece from the early 1990s.

But brothers and sisters, the true story here is the story of the film’s over a quarter-century production. Jim Henson came up with the story idea in the late 1950s and his old partner and Muppets head writer Jerry Juhl turned it into a screenplay in the ‘60s, which was revised constantly throughout the 1970s. They called it “Tale of Sand”, for sand is everywhere: in the sands of the desert or beachfront, the proverbial (and occasionally visual) sands of time in the hourglass motifs throughout, or the sands of “the sandman” and the dreams that he brings.

It should hardly surprise anyone that no studio was willing to pick up what was essentially an arthouse piece with almost zero mass market potential, even with Jim Henson’s name attached to it.

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It makes just as much sense in context (Image source “theglobeandmail.com”)

And while some may decry how Jim Henson “sold out” by joining Disney, the decision did come with a major advantage in this regard, for now he was the one who could greenlight a picture. And after working with dark sureallisté David Lynch on Less than Zero and Ronnie Rocket, which I discussed earlier (see links), and after his numerous collaborations with the great surrealisté writer/director Terry Gilliam, he established a production partnership with them to finally put his and Juhl’s creation to film.

At first, Terry Gilliam was on deck to direct. But then Henson scored the beautiful Magritte-inspired Toys and had Gilliam direct that wonderful feature. Lynch was offered the director’s chair, but did not feel that his dark style meshed properly with the light absurdist story. Gilliam and Henson, however, soon approached Gilliam’s fellow Monty Python “Terry”, Terry Jones. Jones, who was struggling for opportunities following the failure of Erik the Viking (which I will address in a later post), read the script, loved it, and immediately accepted. Agreeing to aim for an arthouse/film festival release “for the art”, they truncated the title to, simply, Sand.

Thus, a story devised by Jim Henson, written by Jerry Juhl, produced by David Lynch and Terry Gilliam, and directed by Terry Jones, with effects by the Creatureworks, went into production, and a comedic Surealisté triumph occurred.

Tale-of-Sand-pg-53-54.jpeg

Rather than Jump the Shark, Jim Henson chooses to punch it (Image source “multiversitycomics.com”)

Terry Jones brought two of his former collaborators from Erik the Viking to the picture: the great Tim Robbins as the protagonist Mac and the sublime Antony Sher as the sexy and villainous Patch, who hunts our protagonist, representing both Mac’s fears and mortality and “whom he wishes that he could be.” At Lynch’s suggestion, Laura Dern was cast as “The Blonde”, a mysterious and alluring woman who is equally (if not more) dangerous as Patch, and represents temptation, sin, and vice. Finally, Andy Griffith was cast as The Sheriff, which Jerry Juhl called “serendipity personified.”

For you see, when Henson and Juhl first devised the tale, they envisioned the Sheriff as “an old Andy Griffith”. This was back when Andy was still starring in his titular TV show as a small-town sheriff. And as it worked out, thanks to the intervening decades, Andy Griffith was exactly the right age to play the character himself!

The film was quite inexpensive to make (a few million dollars) as it could be filmed almost entirely on location in Arizona (including Tombstone) plus a handful of existing sets, mostly using existing random props. Even so, the film only screened in “arthouse” cinema and to this day has probably yet to make a profit.

But Cannes and Sundance loved it, winning the Prix du scénario in the former and a special mention in the latter. It was lauded by critics, received Oscar nominations for Editing and Original Screenplay, and won the Hugo.

It is, simply put, magnificent, comedic surrealismé at its finest.

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The clock is ticking (Image source “goodokbad.com”)

So, for my readers, set aside your preconceived notions of art and who has the right to be called an artiste, and see Sand before the sand runs out on you.
 
Huh so Sand was an independently funded project? It definitely makes sense as it sounded pretty unlikely that the Disney board would have signed off on it.
 
The documentary on how Sand was edited alone would be worth the price of the VCD 'limited edition' release.

Also, there's a comic version illustrated by Ramon Perez OTL (possibly TTL as well)! This is valuable information.
 
The documentary on how Sand was edited alone would be worth the price of the VCD 'limited edition' release.

Also, there's a comic version illustrated by Ramon Perez OTL (possibly TTL as well)! This is valuable information.
Well, that's another movie that ITTL me would discover because of mom. Also, Bamboo Princess? Sounds like a mid-to-late 90s entry
 
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