An alternate history of animated films

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by NoName, Jun 12, 2019.


What Dr. Seuss story should Warner Brothers make a film of first?

Poll closed Jun 23, 2019.
  1. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

  2. Bartholomew and the Oobleck

  3. Gerald McBoing Boing

  4. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

  1. Threadmarks: 1940

    NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    The premise of this project is one I already talked about here, but I've spent months doing research and thinking it out, and now I think I have a TL. (It's incomplete, so I'm hoping people will make suggestions as I go.)

    In this TL, WW2 did not affect American animation studios like Disney as much as it did IOTL, so not only are Disney's early films more successful, but other animation studios like Fleischer, Warner Brothers, MGM, Universal, and Terrytoons are able to make their own animated features to compete with Disney. (And don't give me Frank and Ollie's bullshit claim that only Disney could create convincing animation. If that were true, the Looney Tunes cartoons wouldn't be as beloved as they are today.) If no one can think of a good reason why the war wouldn't affect these films as badly, then maybe we can move this to Alien Space Bats.

    So, let's get started.


    Disney's Pinocchio is an even greater success than Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Fantasia isn't as successful, however, and gets mixed reviews from critics. With that said, the film makes enough dough to encourage Walt to rotate out a new segment and add a new one with every rerelease. Disney also announces plans for the upcoming films Bambi, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.

    The success of Disney's films has caused other animation studios to announce their own plans for their own animated features. After making a good amount of money off of Gulliver's Travels despite that film's production troubles, Fleischer announces their next films: Mr. Bug Goes to Town, set for a 1941 release, and an animated Superman film, to be released in 1943.

    Meanwhile, at Universal, Walter Lantz announces an animated film adaptation of Aladdin starring famed comic duo Abbott and Costello. Paul Terry at Terrytoons announces an animated film adaptation of King Lear starring his classic character Farmer Al Falfa in the titular role.


    In case you guys are wondering, Dumbo has been butterflied away because the reason that film was made IOTL was to recoup the losses of Pinocchio and Fantasia. And no Dumbo means no Disney animators strike, so UPA has been butterflied away, and animators like John Hubley, Art Babbit, and Bill Tytla will stay at Disney.
  2. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Here's what I have figured out for TTL's versions of the aforementioned films.

    Bambi will basically be the same as it is IOTL, though maybe I can include the original idea of the titular character finding the hunter's burnt corpse.

    Alice in Wonderland will be a more straightforward retelling of the original book, with little to no elements from Through the Looking Glass. Maybe I can include some of the deleted characters like the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. For the voice cast, maybe Ginger Rogers could voice Alice. I can also see some of the actors from OTL's version voicing their respective characters in this version, like Sterling Holloway as the Cheshire Cat, Ed Wynn and Jerry Colonna as the Mad Hatter and March Hare, and Verna Felton as the Queen of Hearts. Maybe Cliff Edwards could voice the Gryphon, and Mel Blanc could voice the Mock Turtle.

    TTL's version of Peter Pan will be a more faithful adaptation than OTL's version. Peter himself will be played by a woman like he usually is in the stage versions. Mary Martin and Jean Arthur were both considered, so maybe either of them could voice the character. I heard Cary Grant was considered as the voice of Captain Hook, so in this version, he'll voice both Hook and Mr. Darling. I'm thinking either Sterling Holloway or Pinto Colvig will voice Mr. Smee. Clarence Nash will voice the Indian Chief (using the same raspy Popeye-like voice he used whenever he didn't voice Donald Duck).

    Mr. Bug Goes to Town won't be too different from OTL's version. The Superman movie will basically be a feature-length version of the shorts Fleischer made IOTL.

    Walter Lantz's Aladdin starring Abbott and Costello was a real project that he was considering IOTL. In the original folktale, there were two genies: a genie of the ring, and a genie of the lamp, so that's who I suspect Abbott and Costello were going to voice. I'm also thinking Boris Karloff could voice the evil sorcerer. The original story was set in China, but felt more like the Middle East, so I'm thinking this film will be set in a fictional mishmash of both locations. (It's the 1940s, and I don't expect a lot of research into other cultures.) I think in this version, Aladdin will have a mother like in the original story. I'm also thinking virtually every character will have a comic relief animal sidekick. (Aladdin himself will have a scruffy little donkey with a similar design to the ones in Pinocchio; the sorcerer will have either a cobra or some sort of bird of prey like a vulture or eagle; the princess will have either a baby elephant, a peacock, or both.) And since the setting is inspired by China, maybe Andy Panda could make a cameo.

    Most of Paul Terry's films are going to be relatively cheap and low-quality, but will still be successful anyway, like the forties equivalent of Illumination.

    Any suggestions before I move on?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  3. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    I looked through an early demo version of the film, and some of the early casting choices I find interesting. Apparently, Ed Wynn was originally considered for the March Hare instead of the Mad Hatter, and the Hatter was described as sounding like Groucho Marx, so I could see him fitting the role well. Also, Richard Haydn was considered for the Mock Turtle instead of the Caterpillar, who in turn was to be voiced by W.C. Fields. It also mentions the idea of Jane Withers as Alice, which I could also see working. It also brings up the idea of Lucille LaVerne, who previously voiced the Queen in Snow White, also playing the Queen of Hearts, which would be a pretty good choice.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  4. Threadmarks: 1941-42

    NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Fleischer Studios releases Mr. Bug Goes to Town. Despite the turmoil occurring between Max and Dave, the film is even more successful and gets better reviews than Gulliver's Travels. This encourages the studio to make Superman into a feature instead of simply a short series as was originally planned.

    Paul Terry releases Farmer Al Falfa as King Lear, which is a pretty straightforward adaptation of the famous tragedy, save for a happy ending added on. The film gets mixed reviews due to its simple plot, cheap and sloppy animation, and overall having a rushed feel to it, as is usual for the works of Terrytoons. However, the film is still able to make its money back due to its low budget, which encourages Paul Terry to release a new feature starring one of his characters every year, starting in 1943.

    Disney releases Bambi, which gets mixed reviews, but is still successful at the box office, albeit not to the same extent as Snow White or Pinocchio.

    After the success of Mr. Bug and Bambi, Warner Brothers announces their upcoming feature: a film adaptation of John Carter of Mars, with both Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones working on it. Warner Brothers had been planning on adapting John Carter since the 30s, and the success of other studios' features has convinced them to move ahead with their project as a feature.


    Mr. Bug and Bambi are basically the same films as OTL's versions. Does anyone have any ideas for other films Terrytoons could do? (I imagine they would just be adaptations of classic public domain stories with Terrytoon characters in the lead roles.)
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  5. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    So, I admit I'm not hugely familiar with the John Carter franchise outside of some brief research on Wikipedia and TV Tropes. I know I want this film to be more zany and wacky than Disney's stuff, more akin to WB's shorts from the time.

    Does anyone want to suggest ideas for WB's John Carter film, including possible voice actors?

    EDIT: So far, I'm thinking Stan Freberg as John Carter, and June Foray as Dejah Thoris.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  6. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    For those who are wondering what current lineup for the rest of the forties is:

    Superman (Fleischer)
    Untitled Terrytoons film

    Alice in Wonderland (Disney)
    Untitled Mighty Mouse film (Terrytoons)

    Untitled Superman sequel (Fleischer)
    Aladdin and his Lamp (Universal)
    Untitled Terrytoons film

    Peter Pan (Disney)
    Untitled Terrytoons film

    The Wind in the Willows (Disney)
    Little Lulu (Fleischer)
    John Carter of Mars (Warner Brothers)
    Untitled Terrytoons film

    Don Quixote (Universal)
    Untitled Terrytoons film

    Uncle Remus
    Casper the Friendly Ghost (Fleischer)
    Untitled Terrytoons film

    As you may have figured out by now, Terrytoons is definitely a "quantity over quality" studio.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  7. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2019
    Pretty sure Terrytoons was like that OTL too. Paul Terry famously said "Disney is the Tiffany's in this business, and I am the Woolworth's."
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  8. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    One idea I had for the next Terrytoons film is a sort of Fantasia knockoff that's just a bunch of shorts strung together with music. (It's the kind of thing a lazy hack like Paul Terry would want to do.)

    Maybe after that, he does nothing but Mighty Mouse movies until he transitions to television in the fifties.
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  9. Major Major Tired Old Man

    Mar 5, 2005
    Where everyone watches for two minutes in May
    What is Termite Terrace (the Warner animation department) doing while all this is going on?

    Also, is a Batman movie in the cards?
  10. Major Major Tired Old Man

    Mar 5, 2005
    Where everyone watches for two minutes in May
    Oops, I saw that about the John Carter film, just after I hit “post”. What is the short features department doing?
  11. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Nothing too different from OTL. Just the usual stuff starring Bugs, Daffy, Porky, and the gang.

    Yes, Fleischer will do one in the fifties.
  12. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Still trying to figure out the plot for the Superman movie, as most of the shorts (and radio serial episodes) just seem to involve Superman taking on a new foe each time.

    Maybe the first half could be an origin story about him being raised by the Kents and meeting Lois Lane, and the second half could be about him fighting a villain. What do you guys think?
  13. Threadmarks: 1943

    NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Fleischer Studios releases an animated film adaptation of Superman, starring most of the cast from the Adventures of Superman radio serial reprising their roles, including Bud Collyer as Superman and Joan Alexander as Lois Lane. The film is one half origin story, and one half extended radio serial episode, with the first half being about Superman being raised by the Kents and meeting Lois, and the second half being about his goal to defeat an evil scientist voiced by Jack Mercer. The film is a phenomenal success at the box office, causing Fleischer to announce a sequel film set for a 1945 release.

    Paul Terry releases Gandy and Sourpuss meet Hansel and Gretel, a feature length adaptation of Hansel and Gretel with Gandy Goose and Sourpuss thrown in alongside the main characters. Gandy and Sourpuss contribute little to the plot outside of slapstick and filler, and the film is a straightforward adaptation that focuses more on Hansel and Gretel than Gandy and Sourpuss, but once again, it makes enough money at the box office due to its low budget. Paul Terry then announces a Mighty Mouse feature to capitalize on the Superman craze.

    Warner Brothers' John Carter movie was originally set for a 1946 release date, but has been pushed to 1947 due to the turmoil between Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett, which will later result in Clampett leaving the studio.

    Disney announces a film adaptation of The Wind in the Willows set for a 1947 release.


    I decided the second Terrytoons film would be one of those lazy crossovers like those recent Tom and Jerry crossover movies. It sounds like the kind of thing a cheapskate like Paul Terry would do.
  14. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    So, here is the voice cast I have so far for TTL's version of Alice in Wonderland:

    Alice: Jane Withers
    White Rabbit: Charles Winninger or Frank Morgan
    Dodo: Nigel Bruce or Alan Mowbray (their parts were originally written for the Owl, but I'm not sure if he'll have a large part in the final thing)
    Bill the Lizard: J. Pat O'Malley
    Caterpillar: W.C. Fields
    Cheshire Cat: Reginald Gardiner
    Mad Hatter: Groucho Marx
    March Hare: Ed Wynn
    Dormouse: Sterling Holloway
    Queen of Hearts: Lucille LaVerne
    King of Hearts: Donald Meek, Frank Morgan, or Roland Young
    Gryphon: Cliff Edwards
    Mock Turtle: Richard Haydn
    Duchess: Verna Felton
    Frog Footman: Pinto Colvig
    Fish Footman: Mel Blanc
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  15. Threadmarks: 1944

    NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Disney's Alice in Wonderland is released, starring Jane Withers as the titular character and a various number of well-known radio performers as the rest of the cast. Critics praise some of the voice acting, including W.C. Fields as the Caterpillar, and Groucho Marx and Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter and March Hare. Lucille LaVerne, who had previously voiced the evil queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is also fondly received as the Queen of Hearts. Despite this, the film receives mixed reception, with some criticizing the Americanization of Carroll's story and characters, and the entire film having an uneven feel to it. The film is also not greatly successful at the box office.

    To capitalize on the Superman craze, Paul Terry releases a feature film adaptation of his Mighty Mouse short series that, just like Fleischer's Superman film, also doubles as an origin story. The film is criticized for being essentially being an extended short, but just like the other Terrytoons films, makes a good amount of money at the box office due to its low budget.

    As well as the Superman sequel, Fleischer also announces a feature film adaptation of Marge's comic strip Little Lulu. Meanwhile, Disney announces a film adaptation of Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus stories to be released after The Wind in the Willows.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  16. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Walter Lantz's Aladdin is coming up next. Here's what I've figured out so far.

    It's set in a fictional hybrid of the Middle East and China, with a little bit of Indian and Egyptian influence as well (because, let's face it, people in the 1940s aren't expected to do a lot of research on other cultures and will just lump them all together as one...but if it's not a real-world culture, at least it's less likely to offend people, right?). Aladdin lives with his mother (voiced by Grace Shafford), and has a little pet donkey who is just as scruffy as he is. I could see Mickey Rooney voicing Aladdin himself, while Mel Blanc would voice the donkey's brays.

    In the original folktale, the sorcerer and the grand vizier were separate characters, and I've been thinking about doing that here as well. The sorcerer will be voiced by Boris Karloff, and will have a goofy cobra sidekick. I've been thinking about having the grand vizier be a good (or at least neutral) guy, who acts as a sane man to the incompetent sultan (voiced by Pinto Colvig).

    The princess (I've been stuck over whether her name should be Badroulbadour like in the original tale, and shortened to Badrou, or if she should have a new name) has a whole collection of animal sidekicks, consisting of elephants, camels, tigers, peacocks, parrots, monkeys, Andy Panda (in a small cameo) and other exotic beasts (including animals that don't actually live in the region, like toucans). These animals will act as this film's versions of Snow White's animals. I've been thinking about the princess being voiced by Deanna Durbin, since she originally auditioned for Disney's Snow White, but was turned down for sounding too old. (Even though she was 14-15 as the time.)

    According to Wikipedia, the vizier has a son in the original story who was going to marry the princess before Aladdin stepped in. Maybe Lantz could interpret him as a dimwitted fat slob (voiced by Mel Blanc) who acts as a sort of comic relief before getting his own happy ending when he gets his own wife who's just as fat and dimwitted as he is.

    Bud Abbott will voice the Genie of the Ring, and Lou Costello will voice the Genie of the Lamp. I'm thinking the two genies will play off of each other in a similar way their voice actors did in their comic routines. Maybe they could turn the scruffy little donkey into a big fancy horse (to steal from OTL's Disney version) as they make Aladdin a prince.

    Still trying to figure out who should voice the grand vizier. John McLeish (the guy who narrated the Goofy "How To" shorts) is one idea I had.

    And yes, this film will be a musical. I can see Aladdin himself getting an "I want" song about how poor he is, the princess getting her own romantic "I want" song with her animals, a song for the genies to sing, and a reprise of both Aladdin and the princess's song as they get married.

    Any other suggestions before I move ahead?
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  17. OldNavy1988 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2014
    Grand Vizier voice ideas...

    Charles Judels
    Edward G Robinson
    Cliff Edwards
    Ralph Bellamy
    Mel Blanc
    Jack Mercer
    Jackson Beck
    Candy Candido
    Hans Conried
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  18. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Thanks for the reply. I think I'll use Charles Judels. I'm surprised he didn't get as much voice work after Pinocchio.
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  19. OldNavy1988 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2014
    To be fair, after Pinocchio, he only worked about nine more years.
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  20. NoName Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    Fleischer Studios releases a sequel to Superman. While not as successful as the previous Superman film, it still gets good reviews and makes a good amount of money at the box office. Fleischer announces their next film after Little Lulu: Casper the Friendly Ghost, set for release in 1949.

    Universal releases Walter Lantz's Aladdin and His Lamp, starring Abbott and Costello as the voice of the two genies. The film is a big success and gets good reviews for the famed comic duo's performance, along with Boris Karloff's performance as the evil sorcerer. Lantz announces his next film: an adaptation of Don Quixote set for a 1948 release.

    Terrytoons releases a second Mighty Mouse film. This film gets even worse reviews than the previous film for just being a rehash of various shorts, and makes even less money at the box office than the previous film. Paul Terry decides to cancel his third Mighty Mouse film, originally set for release the next year, and instead decides to make a film starring his newest stars: Heckle and Jeckle, set for a 1947 release.
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