Howdy pard’ners, this here’s a roundup of Simpsons news items from all over yonder.
- Former Simpsons composer Alf Clausen has dropped his wrongful termination lawsuit against the show, from which he was fired via email in 2017. Clausen, who was passed over for The Simpsons Movie in favor of Hans Zimmer, was replaced by Zimmer’s “Bleeding Fingers” composing collective, and the orchestra he led for decades was replaced with a more budget-friendly synthesizer. Simpsons producers claimed they let him go because “they didn’t think the classical- and jazz-inclined Clausen was up to the challenges of more contemporary tunes.” You know, like a parody of “America” from the 1957 musical West Side Story or “Tonight (Quintet),” also from West Side Story. [Deadline]
- Way back in 2006, I wrote a quick post about fashion designer Ivy Supersonic accusing Simpsons producer Sam Simon of stealing her idea for a squirrel/rat character and putting it in the Ice Age movies, which he had nothing to do with. Recently, there were some viral tweets claiming Disney no longer owns the character Scrat as a result of her long legal crusade, which doesn’t appear to be, uh, true. Charles Kenny of The Animation Anomaly did some digging and cleared some things up. [The Animation Anomaly]
- Holy shit you guys…. there was a thing about trucks in Canada, and wouldn’t you know it… The Simpsons featured a truck once!!!! [Reuters]
- What happens when Universal Studios’s Simpsons contract expires in 2028? Will Disney try to do their own version of Springfield? Podcast: The Ride discussed that and more in an episode all about The Simpsons Ride. Here’s my proposal: a version of CityWalk called Hulu Highway featuring businesses from Disney’s more “adult” properties: Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons, Paddy’s Pub from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Drunken Clam from Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers from Allen Gregory, ISIS Headquarters from Archer, etc. [Podcast: The Ride]
Here’s an interesting interview with former-ish animator Jay Robinson, about the highs and lows of working in television animation.
- There’s no job security; people in TV animation get laid off when their work is done and may or may not get rehired for the next go-around. Robinson says he was laid off 3-4 times. He, along with 39 other people, get laid off for good last November.
Robinson’s work still hangs in poster form at Von D’s Hollywood shop; Metallica lead singer James Hetfield told him his work inspires the band; and [Bam] Margera sent him a letter, thanking him for the sketch of a nude skateboarding Bart Simpson clad in Margera’s tattoos.
“We spent the next two hours drawing characters on bar napkins for drinks. It’s a great girl-gettin’ job.”
[Duluth News Tribune via Sx2]
The LA Weekly has dropped Matt Groening’s weekly comic strip Life in Hell after 22 years. As far as I can tell, no other Los Angeles periodicals are carrying it, which means Life in Hell is no longer available in the city that inspired it. [CNN]
According to an artist at Film Roman, about 30 Simpsons artists were fired, with more lay-offs on the way, because the voice actors still haven’t signed their contracts for the next season (see earlier post). At least the economy’s not in a recession or anything. [TAG Blog]
“Voice acting god” and Simpsons recurring voice actor Frank Welker revealed in an e-mail to Simpsons fan Kenneth White why he hasn’t appeared in The Simpsons since Season 13:
A few years back Dan “C” did Santa’s Little Helper in a rehearsal and unfortunately for me … did it a little too good. The producers thought … “Hmmm, Dan barks pretty good, and we are already paying him and he seems to like doing the dog thing … why do we need to pay Welker who comes in here, spends less than an hour, eats all the doughnuts, refuses to come to rehearsals … let’s just give the damn dog to Dan!” Bingo … I’m out. I did do lots of shows that needed sound effects and weird sounds, but Santa is without this little helper.
I wanted a raise … most of what they asked me to do was wild and wacky, but it also almost always hurt my throat. So, I asked for a raise … that is why you haven’t seen me. They are really great people over there, but they have a rule about “top of the show” for guest performers and I fell under that consideration.
Welker has played Santa’s Little Helper, Snowball II, She’s The Fastest, Fred from Scooby Doo, Megatron, Milhouse’s monkey, Burns’ canine executive vice president, Africa’s wildlife, Lisa’s pony, and a dozen zoos’ worth of other animals. Life is ruff! [No Homers Club]