Bob Clampbett’s John Carter of Mars cartoon
A lot of people are just discovering that animation great Bob Clampbett worked on an aborted John Carter of Mars project way back in 1935, thanks to the Youtube test footage for the cartoon, which originally appeared on the 2000 Beany & Cecil DVD (which, by the way, happens to be one of the all time great DVD’s).
However, many of us learned about this project way back in 1976, courtesy of Jim Steranko’s Mediascene. Issue #21 of the mag was a “special animation issue” which included articles on Chuck Jones, Winsor McCay, Max Flieischer, and other titans of Hollywood cartoons. But the real eye opener for most of us was a giant two page article by Carl Macek which fueled our imaginations with one of the great “what ifs” of animation and film history. As a pull out quote in the article put it: “Had the John Carter series been filmed, the entire focus of animation might have been altered significantly.” It made us realize that just because someone has a great idea, it does not mean that Hollywood will help it become a reality. The story of John Carter made us wonder what other great films remained just dreams in the Hollywood Dream Factory.
Here’s the article. Feel free to click on the images to make them legible.
And here’s the test footage, which, as I already said, originally appeared on the great Beany & Cecil DVD.