John Carter of Mars The Animation!
I am a huge John Carter of Mars fan and have read all the books several time. I have always thought that Carters adventures on Barsoom would make a great animated series. Well, back in the 1936 it looks like Bob Clampett had the same idea. And worked with Edgar Rice Burroughs son, John Coleman Burroughs, actually produced some footage of animation. This is amazing! I wish it would have taken off like the Fleischer Superman cartoons did. We might have had a greater appreciation of this timeless character.
“Bob Clampett involvement
In 1931, Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett approached Edgar Rice Burroughs with the idea of adapting A Princess of Mars into a feature-length animated film. Burroughs responded enthusiastically, recognizing that a regular live-action feature would face various limitations to adapt accurately, so he advised Clampett to write an original animated adventure for John Carter. Working with Burroughs’ son John Coleman Burroughs in 1935, Clampett used rotoscope and other hand-drawn techniques to capture the action, tracing the motions of an athlete who performed John Carter’s powerful movements in the reduced Martian gravity, and designed the green-skinned, 4-armed Tharks to give them a believable appearance. He then produced footage of them riding their eight-legged Thoats at a gallop, which had all of their eight legs moving in coordinated motion; he also produced footage of a fleet of rocketships emerging from a Martian volcano. MGM was to release the cartoons, and the studio heads were enthusiastic about the series.
The test footage, produced by 1936, received negative reactions from film exhibitors across the U.S., especially in small towns; many gave their opinion that the concept of an Earthman on Mars was just too outlandish an idea for midwestern American audiences to accept. The series was not given the go-ahead, and Clampett was instead encouraged to produce an animated Tarzan series, an offer which he later declined. Clampett recognized the irony in MGM’s decision, as the Flash Gordon movie serial, released in the same year by Universal Studios, was highly successful. He speculated that MGM believed that serials were only played to children during Saturday matinees, whereas the John Carter tales were intended to be seen by adults during the evening. The footage that Clampett produced was believed lost for many years, until Burroughs’ grandson, Danton Burroughs, in the early 1970s found some of the film tests in the Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. archives. Had A Princess of Mars been released, it might have preceded Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to become the first American feature-length animated film.”
Presented here the amazing Bob Clampett and John Carter the Warlord of Mars!!