A Hippie in the House of Mouse (Jim Henson at Disney, 1980)

Movies 1980-1984
Hyperion Flames Out
From The Hollywood Reporter, November 21st, 1984


Even Babe Ruth strikes out eventually. Despite their incredible early successes with Never Cry Wolf and Splash, Hyperion Studios has broken new ground with their first flop. First World War drama, The Razor’s Edge may have been the price for bringing Bill Murray to Ghostbusters, but oh what a price to pay! With a plodding plot and a passive protagonist, the vanity project was doomed from the start, with critics and audiences alike proclaiming it a dud. And while some applaud Murray’s dramatic acting chops and see a dramatic future ahead for him, general audiences have found it difficult to take the Saturday Night Live star seriously. The film looks likely to lose over $5 million and will surely be the fledgling studio’s first write-off. Let’s hope that their next outing, The Ballad of Edward Ford, is a better fit. However, rumors of a troubled production and infighting at Hyperion over the movie’s adult themes and explicit scenes provides an ill omen.


* * *​

Game Over?
From The Hollywood Reporter, November 26th, 1984


Disney’s not having the merriest of Christmases this year. After a spectacular spring and summer with Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Splash, not only did Hyperion’s The Razor’s Edge fail to break even and The Black Cauldron fail to be the film that reinvigorated Disney Animation, but early sales for Tron: Return to the Network have been disappointing. The film has received mixed reviews and is generally considered a disappointing follow-up to the original Tron. While industry analysts predict that the film will be profitable, any hope of catching up to the returns of the original are certainly dashed. Still, the silver lining may be that the film has rejuvenated sales of the Tron line of merchandise and videogames and there is talk of developing a Tron television show[1].


* * *​

A Pressure-Forged Diamond
From New York Times Movie Reviews, December 16th, 1984


The boon and bane of Hollywood truly is the “Troubled Production”. They lead to either hits or flops, it seems. Sometimes it brings us Apocalypse Now, but sometimes it brings us Heaven’s Gate. Thankfully, in the case of The Pope of Greenwich Village, it brings us a diamond forged by constant heat and pressure. The Pope of Greenwich Village, starring the fabulous Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in their first film starring together (they were both in The Godfather, Part II, but shared no screen time), is a master class on how to put together a crime drama. It’s two masters finally sharing the big screen, and it nearly didn’t happen. At first, they couldn’t get their two leads. Though Pacino was available for shooting, De Niro was busy doing Once Upon a Time in America and the contractual date of release was looming.

They tried to continue on with new actors, but their choice to play Charlie (the De Niro role), Mickey Roarke, was already under contract with Paramount to do Beverly Hills Cop. Director Michael Cimino pleaded for and eventually got an extension and thus went into principle photography the second that Once Upon a Time in America was complete. Even so, it reportedly required seven figures each to get De Niro and Pacino in the film.

And when filming finally began, with it came the troubles. Delays in filming due to weather and location difficulties mixed with prop problems and set issues. Rumors abounded of massive arguments between the two co-stars that bled over into the rest of the cast and crew. It is no secret that De Niro and Pacino, though good friends, had a friendly rivalry in their younger days that manifested in what seemed to their costars to be massive fights and fits of one-upmanship. But both stars deny the rumors of a feud. “It’s just how you talk when you’re from New York,” said Pacino in an interview. “You call someone a sorry [expletive deleted] like it’s the greatest of compliments.” “Yea,” added De Niro, “And this sorry [expletive deleted] has been a pain in my [expletive deleted] for years!” “Same to you, [expletive deleted],” said Pacino, causing both to laugh.

And, frankly, this friendly belligerence translated well to the big screen. Like their actors, the two cousins have clearly had a long and complicated life together. And when their “can’t miss” robbery goes spectacularly wrong, they are soon on the wrong side of both the law and the mafia. The writing is great. The screen chemistry is fantastic, Cimino’s direction is superb, and the raw emotion is tangible. The Pope of Greenwich Village is a must-see for those un-enamored with seeing a Disney cartoon or Tron sequel this fall[2].

The Pope of Greenwich Village, Rated R for language, violence, sexuality, and crime; ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* * *​


Pictures Released by Walt Disney Studios, 1980-1984[3]

Release dateTitleStudio labelCo-production with
February 8, 1980Midnight MadnessWalt Disney Productions
March 7, 1980Lady and the Tramp (re-release)Walt Disney Productions
April 17, 1980The Watcher in the WoodsWalt Disney Productions
June 25, 1980Herbie Goes BananasWalt Disney Productions
The Last Flight of Noah's ArkWalt Disney Productions
December 12, 1980PopeyeWalt Disney ProductionsParamount Pictures, Robert Evans Productions and King Features Entertainment;
International distribution.
March 6, 1981The Devil and Max DevlinWalt Disney Productions
March 20, 1981AmyWalt Disney Productions
April 3, 1981Alice in Wonderland (re-release)Walt Disney Productions
June 26, 1981DragonslayerWalt Disney ProductionsParamount Pictures; international distribution
July 10, 1981The Fox and the HoundWalt Disney Productions
August 7, 1981CondormanWalt Disney Productions
November 6, 1981Time BanditsHandMade FilmsDistributed by Buena Vista under the Fantasia Films label
December 9, 1981The Dark CrystalFantasia FilmsHenson Associates
February 5, 1982Night CrossingWalt Disney Productions
March 16, 1982Robin Hood (re-release)Walt Disney Productions
April 2, 1982Fantasia (re-release)Walt Disney Productions
June 4, 1982Bambi (re-release)Walt Disney Productions
July 9, 1982A Muppet Mystery!Walt Disney ProductionsHenson Associates
July 30, 1982TexWalt Disney Productions
September 17, 1982Peter Pan (re-release)Walt Disney Productions
October 6, 1982Something Wicked This Way Comes [w/ Short Vincent]Fantasia Films
December 17, 1982Tron [w/ Short Fun with Mr. Future]Walt Disney ProductionsLisberger-Kushner Productions
March 11, 1983TrenchcoatWalt Disney Productions
March 25, 1983The Sword in the Stone (re-release) [w/ Short Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore]Walt Disney Productions
July 15, 1983Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (re-release) [w/ Short Dopey and the Timid Turtle]Walt Disney Productions
October 7, 1983Never Cry WolfHyperion PicturesAmarok Productions Ltd.
November 4, 1983Running BraveEnglander ProductionsDistributed by Buena Vista Distribution
December 16, 1983The Rescuers (re-release) [w/ Short Mickey’s Christmas Carol]Walt Disney Productions
January 27, 1984Pete’s Dragon (re-release)Walt Disney Productions
February 17, 1984LadyhawkeFantasia Films
March 9, 1984SplashHyperion Pictures
May 4, 1984Pinocchio (re-release) [w/ Short Oh Big Brother!]Walt Disney Productions
June 8, 1984GhostbustersFantasia FilmsUniversal Pictures (name rights only)
July 13, 1984Muppets on Broadway [w/ Short Fozzie’s Follies]Walt Disney ProductionsHenson Associates (Note: this was the last co-production from the independent HA before merging with Disney)
July 27, 1984The Neverending StoryConstantin Films AGDistributed by Buena Vista under the Fantasia Films label
August 15, 1984Back to the FutureFantasia Films
September 21, 1984The Jungle Book (re-release) [w/ Short Where the Wild Things Are]Walt Disney Productions
October 19, 1984The Razor’s EdgeHyperion PicturesSilver Screen Partners II
November 16, 1984The Black Cauldron [w/ Short The Nightmare Before Christmas]Walt Disney Productions
December 7, 1984Tron: Return to the NetworkFantasia Films




[1] Tron: Return to the Network will gross $45 million against a $25 million budget. Merch and game sales will quadruple that. The TV show, however, will be delayed due to cost and technology.

[2] In our timeline Roarke was available and they met their contractual deadline. The film is considered excellent, but was largely a flop. Here The Pope of Greenwich Village will be a modest success and earn some awards and be recalled as “that movie with both Di Niro and Pacino”, though few will call it either of their best.

[3] Director’s Cap tip to @MatthewFirth for requesting this. It’s actually been very helpful for me to organize my timeline, so thanks!
 
On the art style, how much does the concept art reflect the final animations? Is it still quite scetchy?
As mentioned before in this thread, Burton's concept art is very rough and impressionistic, much like Henson's, so I expect the finished artwork is to the very clean standard you'd expect from Disney, even if the characters themselves look more like what we expect from Burton. Special mention was made of how heavily the production leaned into the, ah, Welshness of the tale, so maybe the finished work will take a lot of inspiration from Welsh folk art and medieval paintings/tapestries for its textures and colour pallet.
Either way, the narrow-faced, willowy characters I expect from this version of Cauldron would be quite the departure for Disney, which might turn people off. I can imagine a good number of people decrying the movie as being 'very ugly' despite the animation and scenery being gorgeous, just because they don't like the character art.
On the other hand, I fully expect this version of the film to become a genuine cult classic and heralded as one of Disney's best precisely for how much it deviates from the 'Disney Norm', much like how The Emperor's New Groove is held OTL.

Why oh why oh why would anybody cast Bill Murray in a war movie???
I assume a good deal of the 'failure to take Murray seriously' in the role was the same reason Jim Carrey's Cable Guy also got such negative press. When you're that famous as a comedy actor, plus known as a funny guy in your regular life, it can be really hard to break in to not-funny, dramatic roles (or maybe worse, a character with humorous traits in a drama). How many people see BILL MURRAY on the billboard and think 'I'm in for a comedy because he's in it' then feel very let down when they don't laugh the entire film (whatever else they might feel about it)?
 
I'm not too familiar with the original so how much of the story is changed here?
It does sound like a huge departure from Disney's traditional line up and I'm guessing that feeling is even more pronounced here due to the unique, one-off art style. I can imagine people being surprised that this was a disney film a few decades after release.

On the art style, how much does the concept art reflect the final animations? Is it still quite scetchy? Do they incorporate a more familiar animation style for the fairy world to put the alieness of the Fay in sharper relief, or is the style consistent throughout the film?
As mentioned before in this thread, Burton's concept art is very rough and impressionistic, much like Henson's, so I expect the finished artwork is to the very clean standard you'd expect from Disney, even if the characters themselves look more like what we expect from Burton. Special mention was made of how heavily the production leaned into the, ah, Welshness of the tale, so maybe the finished work will take a lot of inspiration from Welsh folk art and medieval paintings/tapestries for its textures and colour pallet.
Either way, the narrow-faced, willowy characters I expect from this version of Cauldron would be quite the departure for Disney, which might turn people off. I can imagine a good number of people decrying the movie as being 'very ugly' despite the animation and scenery being gorgeous, just because they don't like the character art.
On the other hand, I fully expect this version of the film to become a genuine cult classic and heralded as one of Disney's best precisely for how much it deviates from the 'Disney Norm', much like how The Emperor's New Groove is held OTL.
Well, @GrahamB described it about exactly as I would on the style (thanks! 👍). Essentially it is Disney, but influenced heavily by the styles of both Burton and Froud. Imagine it somewhere between OTL's TBC and The Secret of Kells, but with Burton and Froud based appearances.

As to to plot, my version is closer to the plot of the first two Prydain books than the OTL film, though still has a lot of the OTL film to it. Wikipedia has a plot summary of both the OTL film and the books for comparison.

(facepalm) Why oh why oh why would anybody cast Bill Murray in a war movie???
Because it was his vanity project, plus it was actually a post war film.
@nick_crenshaw82 said it. Vanity project by Bill Murray. Columbia had to make it OTL as the price of casting Murray in GB too. And to be pedantic, Ivan Reitman would cast Murray in a war movie, albeit a commedic one.


PS: love the name @Migrant_Coconut. I assume you hitch rides from African Swallows? Never heard that one before, I'm sure. :winkytongue:

I assume a good deal of the 'failure to take Murray seriously' in the role was the same reason Jim Carrey's Cable Guy also got such negative press. When you're that famous as a comedy actor, plus known as a funny guy in your regular life, it can be really hard to break in to not-funny, dramatic roles (or maybe worse, a character with humorous traits in a drama). How many people see BILL MURRAY on the billboard and think 'I'm in for a comedy because he's in it' then feel very let down when they don't laugh the entire film (whatever else they might feel about it)?
Pretty much. Murray didn't break out of the "Comedy Ghetto" IOTL until Lost in Translation. UK audiences are much more forgiving, but us US audiences are rat bastards when it comes to typcasting actors.
 
Ah, you had to go and give Cimino another hit?

The Deer Hunter did more damage to the image of vets with PTSD than the Vietnam War... and Heaven's Gate is just abysmal, apologists be damned.
 
A funny thing happened to make me view this timeline: I was searching for alternate histories related to the Fox Kids Saturday Morning block from our timeline, when the concept of this timeline enticed me, like a siren calling out to a lovelorn sailor.

And now, as of writing this, it is within the center of my heart when I say that...

THIS TIMELINE IS FLOCKING EPIC!

I am not joking! Every single piece of this timeline is complete and utter gold! Heck, if I had known that I'd be THIS invested in your timeline, I'd have prepared a bucket of popcorn when I started reading it!

On the other hand, I do have two quick questions, both relating to Disney's new branch of television animation:

1.) What is Winnie the Pooh and Friends all about?
2.) What would come of The Disney Afternoon in general, what with practically everything from in and out of the House that Mickey Built rapidly changing faster than a mongoose on ecstasy?
 
somewhere between OTL's TBC and The Secret of Kells
The Secret of Kells, eh? I see you truly are a gentleman of good taste!

I can imagine how this version of Cauldron begins, almost like the start of Sleeping Beauty or the yet-to-be-made Beauty & The Beast with a great tome of illuminated manuscripts opening to the film's opening fanfare [1]. A narrator [2] eases the audience into the setting with the sort of oration fit for such an epic, with the great book's medieval illustrations animating as needed. As the narration continues the illustrations become ever more elaborate and detailed until we seamlessly arrive at the film's opening scene proper, a process echoed and reversed in the closing scene where the characters' final exit becomes an unmoving illustration again, which begins to scroll upwards as the credits roll, interspersed with more illuminations of characters, events, locations, and a few shout-outs to real medieval illuminations, like jousting snails [3].

[1] Bonus points if Disney creates a real book and films it opening live, like they did for the Pooh shorts.
[2] Preferably Welsh, or someone who can pull off the accent.
[3] Yes, really. Have a look online about some of the wacky things that end up in the margins around those old masterpieces of calligraphy (and occasional masterpieces of 'technically not shirking my job').
 
Non-Disney Animation I
Chapter 9: A Real American Cash-Grab
From In the Shadow of the Mouse, Non-Disney Animation 1960-2000, by Joshua Ben Jordan


The 1980s marked a notable shift in television animation in the US, particularly a shift towards merchandise-driven entertainment. Other than Disney, only a small handful of animators were producing feature films, such as Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH, Ralph Bakshi’s Fire and Ice, John Korty’s “lumage” based Twice Upon a Time, and a spate of Looney Tunes “composite movies” by Warner Brothers.



None of these performed spectacularly. Bluth's now beloved film ran smack into the juggernaut that was E.T. while Fire and Ice, with its mature themes, failed to attract viewers of any age. Twice Upon a Time, despite the beauty of its artistry, which had attracted lots of attention, underperformed upon wide release by Warner Brothers[1] and even killed the studio that produced it. Jim Henson at Disney, who knew director John Korty from their time together at Sesame Street, had attempted to get Buena Vista to distribute the film on the advice of George Lucas, but was voted down at the time by the Disney Executive Committee. Since both it and The Right Stuff failed to make a profit, Alan Ladd’s production company went bankrupt and Twice Upon a Time would ultimately see a limited post-theatrical distribution through HBO and remains a cult classic to this day. As a silver lining, animator John Korty would be hired by Henson in late 1983, where he put together lumage-based short animations and transitions for Disney’s World of Magic and shows and effects for the Disney parks. He also directed the live action production Caravan of Courage for Lucasfilm in 1984.



Such original feature films were the exception to be sure. For most of the late 1970’s and 1980s, Warner Animation had relied on composite features where classic Looney Tunes shorts were stitched together with newly drawn bridging sequences into something resembling a narrative structure. These movies, such as 1979’s The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, 1981’s The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, 1982’s Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales, and 1983’s Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island, were a bittersweet treat for fans as while they brought the beloved characters back to the big screen, they offered little new or original.

Instead, animation at this point was mostly confined to the small screen. The familiar names from the 1970s, Filmation, DIC, Nelvana, Toei, and Hanna-Barbera, were still the “big five” in Saturday Morning and After School Cartoons, with the majority of the actual animation, regardless of studio, having moved to Japan to reduce production costs in the early 1980s. And while some of the cartoons derived from traditionally developed sources – for example Hanna-Barbera’s The Smurfs were derived from the Belgian cartoon "les Schtroumpfs" and DIC’s The Littles evolved out of a John Peterson children’s novel series – increasingly the cartoons seen in movie theaters or on TV on Saturday Mornings or After School were derived not from original creations, but from toy lines, either existing or planned.



The 1980s saw a loosening of federal restrictions on marketing to children, opening the floodgates for merchandise-driven animation, both for boys and for girls. The king of toy-driven cartoons was Sunbow Entertainment, owned by Griffin-Bacal Advertising. In partnership with Marvel productions and Toei Animation, Sunbow created most of the animation tie-in series for the Hasbro toy company of Rhode Island, whose GI Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, and Jem cartoon/toy lines (among many others) saturated the airwaves and toy shelves alike[2]. Mattel was not far behind with He Man and its spin-off She-Ra, animated by Filmation. Tonka partnered with Hanna-Barbera to produce the Pound Puppies and Go-Bots, the latter a blatant Transformers rip-off. Struggling Rankin-Bass even jumped into the game in partnership with Pacific Animation with the He Man rip-off Thundercats, which despite its obviously derivative nature none the less found an appreciative audience thanks to unique characters and some relatively impressive animation given the time and cost constraints. Its success led R-B to rip itself off with Silverhawks in ‘87 and Tigersharks in ’88, neither of which could capture the magic of Thundercats.



Other franchises blurred the lines between traditional and toy-driven productions, with characters from greeting cards turned into a simultaneous cartoon and toy line. DIC and later Nelvana distributed the Care Bears, based upon an American Greetings card line, but obviously marketed towards the new Parker Brothers line of plush toys. Toei and later Nelvana did something similar with the Strawberry Shortcake card line turned toy line. DIC would partner with Mattel to bring the Japanese card character Rainbow Brite to the small screen and toy shelf. Hanna-Barbera even jumped into the game with Hallmark’s Shirt Tails.



The success of the merchandise-driven animation model, in particular Transformers, led the Harmony Gold production company to adapt three unrelated Japanese anime series, Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982), Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (1984), and Genesis Climber Mospeada (1983), into a three-season multi-generational saga called Robotech in 1985 with tie-in toys by Matchbox. The hybrid series received positive ratings and good viewership and quickly found a dedicated audience. Unfortunately for Harmony Gold and Matchbox Toys, the more mature themes and deliberate pace of the anime series compared to the Sunbow productions attracted an audience that skewed older, and thus less likely to buy the toys (this was before the collectable toy craze). It was by some accounts the genesis of the US anime fandom, which would eventually become a profitable niche market in its own right[3], but for the time being, though, Robotech managed to fail in its primary goal of selling lots of toys to the “Boys ages 8-12” demographic.

Interestingly, the one animation studio that didn’t heed the siren’s call of toy-driven cartoons was Disney. CCO Jim Henson was appalled by the shameless consumerism and jingoistic violence of the shows, with even the “girls’ shows” typically resorting to violence to save the day and defeat the irredeemable villains. Henson always had a complicated relationship with merchandise for his kid’s shows, ever afraid to provide something special for the fans to have at home for fear that he’d veer into the realm of manipulating children for profits, but this was another level of exploitation in his mind. Ron Miller and Roy Disney agreed, certain that Walt would never have approved. Despite some pressure from certain shareholders, Disney would not make a toy-driven series. Creativity and storytelling would be the foundations of series design, regardless of whether it was properly “toyetic” or not.

What Jim Henson and Roy Disney would do, however, was parody the hell out of the concept. A November 1985 episode of Disney’s World of Magic featured a fake satirical advertisement for a new toy line/TV series called “The Merchenaries”, a loud, macho, jingoistic, self-aware series intercut by short fake ads for the tie-in toys[4]. It was “He Man and GI Joe ride the Transformers to fight the Inhumanoids”. The animation was deliberately bad with poor and mismatched color, recycled backgrounds, and drawn on the fours to be extra jumpy. As the “show” came to the cliffhanger ending, the Merchenaries’ Super Metamorphosizing Assault Krusher (or “SMAK”) proved unable to dig its way out of the goo trap set by the dastardly “General Knowledge”. The “heroic” Sergeant Beef Manwich turned to the camera and said “We don’t have enough power! The children of America aren’t buying enough SMAK toys!” This cut, naturally, to a fake add for the SMAK toy (Beef Manwich and Lady Asa Object action figures sold separately).

The parody gained a lot of attention and Disney was soon flooded with fan letters from appreciative parents and educators, hate mail from angry fans of the satirized shows, and letters by those who either wanted to know when the show would air and the toys become available or who knew it was fake, but wanted it made anyway! Disney Consumer Products VP Bo Boyd joked about making it real when they started to get thousands of real requests for the toys. A limited run of Merchenaries toys was eventually produced as a self-aware joke with the proceeds going to help children who were victims of real-world violence.

And yet, most in the industry saw the satire as the “last gasp of a dying man”, for Disney TV animation was at a severe disadvantage. By 1985 Disney remained the only studio to make near exclusive use of in-house animation. Following the collapse of the animation unions in 1982, most studios had moved a majority of their animation overseas, in particular to Japan where costs were much lower thanks to the dollar-yen exchange rate, but where quality remained acceptable or even good. The other studios looked at Disney with confusion at the time. It cost up to 20-40% more per cel of animation for Disney than for, say, Toei. While the quality of the story and the Disney animation were typically superior, the profit margins for TV made it risky. Even super-hits from Disney like Muppet Babies were less inherently profitable than middling hits from other studios like My Little Pony. It appeared to the other studios to be either pride or folly on Disney’s part that drove the decisions rather than economic reality. Disney’s DATA technology mitigated this cost differential somewhat through automated compositing and the reuse of background sequences, each slightly altered digitally, but most in the industry assumed that the implosion of Disney TV animation was imminent.

In the end, the mid 1980s would be the Golden Age of the merchandise-driven TV series. Events would conspire to put an end to this Golden Age, but the link between the toys and the franchise became indelibly linked in the minds of producers and investors. And as much as Disney might like to pretend that they were above the fray, the fact remained that consumer products remained a cornerstone of the Disney business model as much as it was for the competing studios.




[1] In our timeline it received only a limited distribution since their production company, the Alan Ladd Company, was facing financial difficulties and had to choose between a wide distribution for it or for The Right Stuff. Here the success of Once Upon a Time in America has given them more financial footing, but not enough in the long run.

[2] For the record I was a total GI Joe fan, religiously watching the TV Show and scooping up any GI Joe toy my parents would relent to buying me. Hasbro loved me, the magnificent, manipulative bastards. And yet even I knew my parents would never go for that ultimate GI Joe toy: the damned Aircraft Carrier (the USS Freedom Eagle Cannon Boner, or something like that), so I never broached the subject.

[3] You can bet Jim Henson and Frank Wells noticed this!

[4] And a hat tip to Mrs. Khan for this idea!
 
@Geekhis Khan something that's been bothering me a bit, what is the difference between Hyperion Pictures and Fantasia Films? Like what is the purpose of both of these subsidiary studios? Do they cater to different markets or focus on different genres? How does the board decide which film is released/developed under each lable?
 
Ah, you had to go and give Cimino another hit?

The Deer Hunter did more damage to the image of vets with PTSD than the Vietnam War... and Heaven's Gate is just abysmal, apologists be damned.
That's where the butterflies took me.

A funny thing happened to make me view this timeline: I was searching for alternate histories related to the Fox Kids Saturday Morning block from our timeline, when the concept of this timeline enticed me, like a siren calling out to a lovelorn sailor.

And now, as of writing this, it is within the center of my heart when I say that...

THIS TIMELINE IS FLOCKING EPIC!

I am not joking! Every single piece of this timeline is complete and utter gold! Heck, if I had known that I'd be THIS invested in your timeline, I'd have prepared a bucket of popcorn when I started reading it!

On the other hand, I do have two quick questions, both relating to Disney's new branch of television animation:

1.) What is Winnie the Pooh and Friends all about?
2.) What would come of The Disney Afternoon in general, what with practically everything from in and out of the House that Mickey Built rapidly changing faster than a mongoose on ecstasy?
Thanks, @TheFaultsofAlts I'm humbled.

To answer your questions: 1) exactly what you think it would be: new animated adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood, 2) The Disney Afternoon is on track, but the animated shows will be slightly to significantly different. More about that on the way.

The Secret of Kells, eh? I see you truly are a gentleman of good taste!

I can imagine how this version of Cauldron begins, almost like the start of Sleeping Beauty or the yet-to-be-made Beauty & The Beast with a great tome of illuminated manuscripts opening to the film's opening fanfare [1]. A narrator [2] eases the audience into the setting with the sort of oration fit for such an epic, with the great book's medieval illustrations animating as needed. As the narration continues the illustrations become ever more elaborate and detailed until we seamlessly arrive at the film's opening scene proper, a process echoed and reversed in the closing scene where the characters' final exit becomes an unmoving illustration again, which begins to scroll upwards as the credits roll, interspersed with more illuminations of characters, events, locations, and a few shout-outs to real medieval illuminations, like jousting snails [3].

[1] Bonus points if Disney creates a real book and films it opening live, like they did for the Pooh shorts.
[2] Preferably Welsh, or someone who can pull off the accent.
[3] Yes, really. Have a look online about some of the wacky things that end up in the margins around those old masterpieces of calligraphy (and occasional masterpieces of 'technically not shirking my job').
All that sounds about right.

@Geekhis Khan something that's been bothering me a bit, what is the difference between Hyperion Pictures and Fantasia Films? Like what is the purpose of both of these subsidiary studios? Do they cater to different markets or focus on different genres? How does the board decide which film is released/developed under each lable?
Different markets, different genres. Fantasia Films specialises in more family-friendly PG fantasy/sci-fi stuff while Hyperion specializes in adult contemporary stuff like relationship comedies and dramas (it's TTL's Touchstone). Arguably Splash could have gone either way. Fantasia pictures occasionally venture into "T", but as a general rule if the target audience is over 16 (T to R rating) it goes to Hyperion.
 
To answer your questions: 1) exactly what you think it would be: new animated adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood, 2) The Disney Afternoon is on track, but the animated shows will be slightly to significantly different. More about that on the way.
Well, I actually thought that Winnie the Pooh and Friends would be a package show, much like OTL's My Little Pony and Friends, with not only new Winnie the Pooh episodes, but also shorts featuring other Disney characters.

Glad to see that TDA still gets made ITTL. Simply put, I can't imagine television without it.

And as for The Merchenaries, from top to bottom, I absolutely love how far Disney was willing to go to mock the trend, to the point that when they inevitably did make toys out of the spoof, they ended up making sure all the money went to a good cause.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the fact that you were humbled by my exquisite praise.
 
So Don Bluth still left Disney? With Jim at least attempting to address some of the problems with Fox and the Hound that led to Bluth and others leaving, I thought he might stick around.
 
So Don Bluth still left Disney? With Jim at least attempting to address some of the problems with Fox and the Hound that led to Bluth and others leaving, I thought he might stick around.
Well, even with the benefits of having Jim Henson at Disney, there should still be setbacks. Like Geekhis said, this is not a Disney-wank or a Henson-wank. And if Don Bluth still doing business by himself has to happen, then I say let it happen.
 
Jim never seemed to object to getting involved beyond TMNT and that was the king of the 80s violent cash cows. Maybe it's because it had a few more layers than the others, to say the least. I know for a fact that the characters were more complex then than folks give them credit for. What many people don't remember is that the first time April O'Neil was held captive in the show, I.E. the first episode, it was by the Turtles themselves and we even saw the negative consequences she had to endure for it.
 
Jim never seemed to object to getting involved beyond TMNT and that was the king of the 80s violent cash cows. Maybe it's because it had a few more layers than the others, to say the least. I know for a fact that the characters were more complex then than folks give them credit for. What many people don't remember is that the first time April O'Neil was held captive in the show, I.E. the first episode, it was by the Turtles themselves and we even saw the negative consequences she had to endure for it.
That does bring up an interesting question, with Henson at Disney does his Creature Shop still work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and if so does Fantasia or Hyperion release it?
 
That does bring up an interesting question, with Henson at Disney does his Creature Shop still work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and if so does Fantasia or Hyperion release it?
Well, there's nothing that says that the Creature Shop has to be limited to Disney productions.

However, if I had to pick between the two labels, I'd go with Fantasia Films. You wouldn't really expect to see the TMNT in the same film library as Splash, now would you?

Then again, it's a distinct possibility that the initial TMNT film franchise has already started at this rate.
 
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