Cartoons – From Flesh To Ink

Cartoon face with red eyes. Vector illustration for anime, manga in japanese style

Cartoons are great forms of entertainment. An animated object could do just about anything. Actually, an animated object COULD do anything. There was no such thing as impossible when it came to cartoons. That is why so many cartoons, past and present, are rooted in science fiction. But what happens when a cartoon maker wants to turn real flesh and blood characters into animated characters? Do the same rules apply as for all cartoons? Can the new animated characters do things their flesh and blood counterparts couldn’t? Would you want them to? Would the public accept them if they did?

The history of cartoons that started out as real human shows indicates that the transition doesn’t always go well, if at all. We’re going to take a look at some of the cartoons that actually started out as real life people or shows.

When the Beatles hit the scene on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 they were an immediate success. Their records sold through the roof. It appeared any kind of promotion for them would sell. This was proven over and over again. But it wasn’t until 1965 that the idea of doing a Beatle’s cartoon was considered. And while by 60s’ standards the cartoon which ran from 65 to 69 was a relative success, running for 39 episodes, by today’s standards this would be considered a miserable flop. Beatles cartoons are seen in very few places around the world today, even after the group’s unprecedented success. 4anime

In the mid 60s there was a TV show by the name of Star Trek. It wasn’t a very big hit and only lasted 3 seasons. Eventually it would go on to have one of the biggest cult followings in the history of television, spawning a number of feature films. When the cartoon came out in 1973, Star Trek was just beginning to gain popularity again. Maybe if they had waited a little longer until a few movies had come out it would have done better. But the transition from flesh and blood to animated characters did not play well and Star Trek, the cartoon series, only lasted for 22 episodes.

One of the few cartoons that actually translated well from real life to animation wasn’t really an exact copy of the original show but more or less a parody on it. When Jackie Gleeson gave us the Honeymooners back in the mid 50s, he gave us an American institution that would stand the test of time. The four characters, Ralph, Ed, Alice and Trixie, became household names. They also became Fred, Barnie, Wilma and Betty of the classic cartoon, The Flintstones, which went on to become one of the biggest cartoons of all time, being the first one to ever air during prime time television. To this day, with the exception of maybe the Simpsons, it is one of the most well known cartoons and one of the few that went from cartoon to the silver screen using real people.

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *