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The Tiny Toon That Got Rejected and Became a Ren & Stimpy

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There are reams of documentation covering abandoned shorts from Disney, MGM, Fleischer, and other Golden Age studios, but coverage of TV cartoons that met the same or a similar fate is sparser. An example of one with an interesting history: a rejected Tiny Toon Adventures story became one for Ren & Stimpy. No April foolin’!

Jim Smith and Bob Camp mostly storyboarded Hi, Spirits, a planned segment for one of the Acme Acres Zone half-hours, when he was in the newly formed Warner Bros. Animation unit in 1989. [UPDATE: See Kent Butterworth's comment for the correct date and place, as well as some more info.] He and Bob Camp lasted a whopping six months on the show before becoming fed up with the industry altogether and joined partners John Kricfalusi and Lynne Naylor in forming Spumco, the haven for animation’s malcontents.

What follows is the entire storyboard Smith and Camp did. (They’re littered with great unrelated duck sketches of his too.) There are discrepancies in the page numbers, but the board is complete. It’s criminal the final shows never retained the sort of liveliness found in this board.

Fast-forward two years later when The Ren & Stimpy Show began its second season of production. The show had risen the bar for what TV animation was capable of far more than any of its contemporaries in the fabled ‘animation renaissance.’ Hi, Spirits was flip-flopped into a story premise with Ren and Stimpy in the roles of Hampton and Gogo. (The Paul Tsongas ghost and yak remained present. A fat naked black man was added.) It was one of the “C” cartoons that John K. handed over to layout supervisor/timing director Ron Hughart to see through production as director in mid-1992.

For your enjoyment, here is the uncut version of the episode, unavailable on the “UNCUT” box set. See what remained the same from the Tiny Toons board – and what got changed!

Contrary to ‘facts’ circulating the Internet, the scene with the bloody-head fairy (here Doug Funnie instead of Elmer Fudd) was not added by Games Animation. The finished animation from Taiwan’s Color Key Studio arrived a week before the transition from Spumco to Games commenced.

Written by Thad

April 1st, 2010 at 2:55 pm

12 Responses to 'The Tiny Toon That Got Rejected and Became a Ren & Stimpy'

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  1. This actually became one of the segments on “The Return of the Acme Acres Zone”, titled “Boo Ha Ha” but it had Hamton and Plucky instead of Hamton and Gogo.

    The Spectre

    1 Apr 10 at 4:12 pm

  2. Maybe it’s because I’m so familiar with this as a Ren and Stimpy cartoon but I can’t see this working as a Tiny Toons short in any way, shape or form. I guess it just shows how different the show became from it’s early stages to when it finally aired, because Hampton acts NOTHING like this in the actual series.

    Mike Russo

    1 Apr 10 at 8:48 pm

  3. The blood head fairy gag elevated that cartoon from mundane to genius, and the end as well. I really wish all these episodes were released truly un-cut.

    Anyway thanks for sharing the complete storyboard Thad, I always saw bits and pieces of it all around.

    Ricardo Cantoral

    2 Apr 10 at 5:03 pm

  4. Wait a God damn minute…this isn’t real, is it?

    Usually I don’t fall for April Fools jokes, but I get the feeling I fell for this one. I’m thinking someone took a “Haunted House” storyboard and just drew Hampton and GoGo over Ren and Stimpy. These boards are just too much like the R&S cartoon to be from TTA.

    Mike Russo

    3 Apr 10 at 3:16 pm

  5. Sorry, Mike, they’re authentic.


    3 Apr 10 at 7:26 pm

  6. I’m surprised the Bloody Head Fairy was originally intended for Tiny Toons. Can’t see that or the sandwich gag ever making it into a finished Tiny Toon cartoon.

    Also, I’ve heard that the Fairy was originally supposed to be George Liquor in the Ren and Stimpy cartoon, according to some fansite (not sure which one at the moment). Nickelodeon rejected the idea, so the Fairy was changed to a Doug knockoff instead.

    John M

    3 Apr 10 at 10:12 pm

  7. Ok.

    It’s crazy though how this looks exactly like the eventual Ren and Stimpy cartoon even down to many of the expressions on Hampton and GoGo. It’s just weird.

    Mike Russo

    3 Apr 10 at 10:32 pm

  8. This episode was written & boarded between “Big House Blues” and Nick’s pickup for R&S. I was directing at WB on Tiny Tunes. John wanted to keep his crew employed while waiting for Nick, so this episode was to be written, storyboarded & laid out by Spumco.
    It got as far as storyboard & voice recording (with Don Messick as the ghost) and then Spielberg had a “better idea” for the ghost picture which became “Boo Ha Ha”. The board is mostly by Jim & Bob. I think John drew the “Rubber Bloody Head” gag.

    Kent Butterworth

    6 Apr 10 at 10:26 pm

  9. Hey, Kent, thanks for the clarification on the timeline for this board! I didn’t know it was done between the pilot and series. I know Spumco did a board for Doug between the first and second season, completely in that show’s style.. that must have made them die inside.


    7 Apr 10 at 12:34 am

  10. “I know Spumco did a board for Doug between the first and second season, completely in that show’s style.”

    A fate worse then death

    Ricardo Cantoral

    7 Apr 10 at 1:27 am

  11. Interesting how the ‘board has the intro (Babs’ “What is life” bit) and the same title card as “Boo Ha Ha”. Also, that Hamton and Gogo are “pig scouts” (in “Boo Ha Ha” Hamton and Plucky were selling pig scout cookies), something which has no real equivalent in the R&S version.

    The Spectre

    7 Apr 10 at 4:34 am

  12. I think that ghost design was cribbbed from a cartoon made at DePatie-Freleng Studios–a Hoot Kloot short, if memory serves….

    The Iconoclast

    23 Feb 11 at 3:52 am

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