If you love animation (and who doesn't?) KBYU has a treat in store for you - "Cartoon Mania!"
The hourlong show (Sunday, 8 p.m., Ch. 11) is an ambitious look at the animation industry. Not only is it full of your favorite cartoon characters - everyone from Bugs Bunny to Woody Woodpecker - but it's full of legendary animators.Among those producer Jay Sumsion interviewed are Don Bluth ("All Dogs Go to Heaven," "An American Tale"), William Hanna and Joseph Barbera ("The Flintstones," Yogi Bear, Tom and Jerry), Hank Ketchum (Dennis the Menace), Fred Wolf (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and four of Disney's "nine old men" who were with the studio from the beginning.
"We've crammed a lot of guys into this show," Sumsion said.
The project is particularly close to Sumsion's heart. The director of broadcast production for KBYU, Sumsion is a self-described animation fanatic who's office is filled with animation artwork.
"I've always been interested in animation," Sumsion said. "The first film I ever shot was a little 8-meter claymation film. I entered it in the Kodak teenage movie awards and won second place in 1971."
Still, it took a birthday party to get "Cartoon Mania" off the ground.
"At first it was a little difficult convincing people I had a legitimate project," Sumsion said. But then he received an invitation to last August's 100th birthday party for Grim Natwick, the creator of Betty Boop and the animator of Snow White in Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
"There were 700 people from the animation industry there," Sumsion said. "I started talking to Fritz Freiling, who directed many Bugs Bunny cartoons and created Yosemite Sam and Porky Pig.
"After that, people started calling me."
Among his favorite "Cartoon Mania" segments are:
- A look at Betty Boop, "My all-time favorite cartoon. She was the original sexpot."
- An interview with Marc Davis, one of the Disney "nine old men" who created "all the villainesses in the movies - Cruella DeVille, Malificent."
- An interview with another "old man," Ward Kimball, the creator of Jiminy Cricket. "He pointed out that the only reason we accept that he's a cricket is because we're told he is. He doesn't look like a cricket."
- Interviews with Hanna and Barbera. "I've watched their stuff since I was born. They have so much fun, you can tell they just love what they do."
Of course, there are plenty of animation clips, everything from Mickey Mouse to Bart Simpson.
"I'm glad we did this because so many of the people who actually invented animation as you and I know it are still around. They're in their 80s, 90s and 100s, but they're still around," Sumsion said. "They can tell you the whole history of this industry from its beginning to what's going to happen in the future."