Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ren & Stimpy and Spumco


Few months ago, when I interviewed Eddie Fitzgerald (who was an artist on Ren & Stimpy), I asked him about Nickelodeon taking the show away from the creator and his studio, Spumco. He said:

Out of the blue the production people told us to put our pencils down and pack everything carefully so it could be shipped to a new studio. I was stunned! John was out of town, so there was no talking to him about it. All the artists gathered in the middle of the main room. A couple were crying. Mike Fontanelli looked like he'd seen a ghost.


A similar question was asked to another R&S artist, Vincent Waller (who have lately been working on SpongeBob SquarePants, also for Nick). Vince, who was in Korea working on the show's layouts at Rough Draft Studios (one of the subcontracted companies that did the show), said:

I was working on the scene where R&S hang their skins on a tree branch, when Greg Vanzo walked in and asked if I had heard anything about Spumco being removed from the show. I said no, I hadn't. Greg said (hoping for the best)Oh well it must be nothing then. I just looked at him and said Greg, if you heard something all the way in Korea, It's based on something. I finished my scenes went back to my hotel and made a call, at which time they told me that we had indeed been separated from the show.


I have mixed feelings about John K. and the show in general, but I find the history over Spumco's forced-removal from its show interesting. Especially the artists' reactions to it. There's enough sides of the story to fill up a fairly long book. Hmmm...

5 comments:

Chris Sobieniak said...

Again, there's a book that needs to be made! :-)

Rick Roberts said...

A common misconception that all of Spumco was removed. Only the major players left with John such as Jim Smith, Mike F., Vicent Waller, and Richard Pursel. Also what is pure fact is John being fired for failing to deliver episodes on time. Everything else is up for debate though, alot of hurt feelings created alot of bull shit to flood around the net for years.

Rick Roberts said...

Sorry, Vincent

Kevin W. Martinez said...

The first issue of Wild Cartoon Kingdom (here: http://wck-01.blogspot.com/) contains what is almost certainly a heavily distorted and biased account of the Spumco Firing.

I agree that the Spumco firing deserves a book, since it's one of the most pivotal and devastating events in the last 20 years of TV animation. Ideally you'd get Bob Camp, Billy West and especially Vanessa Coffee and Geraldine Laybourne to offer their recollections (to balance out the BS propaganda of the other viewpoint) and have a neutral party like Jerry Beck as the author/editor.

Chris Sobieniak said...

I remember that issue of WCK (probably still have it tucked away someplace).