Monday, August 4, 2008

Crusader Rabbit

as referred to previously in KV Chatter:
According to your theory (which I blindly support), that would make 'King's hero deli' on Market St, the center of our cultural universe; a 'nexus' which holds many of the clues to the questions that went unanswered while we watched 'Crusader Rabbit' on Saturday mornings during our unsupervised youth...

fron wikiedia:
Crusader Rabbit was the first American animated series produced especially for television. The first episode of Crusader vs. the State of Texas was aired (locally) over KNBH in Los Angeles on August 1, 1950.
Until the debut of the series, cartoons on TV had originally been produced as cinema shorts. Despite the name of the character and his appearance as a horse-riding knight-in-armor in the title sequence, the series had nothing to do with religious crusades, but were very short, usually satirical, episodic adventures in the form of the familiar movie serial, with a cliffhanger ending to each episode.
The original run had very limited animation, at times appearing almost as a series of narrated storyboards with frequent cuts and minor movement of the characters. This was due to the extremely small budget producers Jay Ward and Alex Anderson had to film the series.
The series was originally syndicated from 1950 to 1951, lasting 195 episodes (ten "crusades"), and was re-aired for many years. It featured a brave Crusader Rabbit, his pal Ragland T. Tiger (Rags), and their occasional nemesis, Dudley Nightshade (sometimes called Ill-regard Beauregard in various episodes). Rags's name was a play on the jazz tune, Tiger Rag, while Dudley's was a play on the poisonous plant, "deadly nightshade".
The series was revived and 13 new "crusades" (260 color episodes) were produced in 1957 by Shull Bonsall's Capitol Enterprises. Bonsall had bought out Television Arts Productions, and the rights to Crusader, after a long legal battle between Jay Ward & Alex Anderson, Jerry Fairbanks and NBC as to which of them owned the rights to the series (see below). Animation facilities were provided by Bonsall's Creston Studios, aka "TV Spots, Inc.", under the supervision of Bob Ganon and Gerald Ray. He was one of the animators on the original Anderson & Ward episodes. In most areas, the new series wasn't seen until early 1959.
The idea of an animated series made for television originated with animator Alex Anderson, who worked for Terrytoons Studios. Terrytoons preferred to remain with film animation, and Anderson approached Jay Ward for financing. Ward became business manager and producer and joined with Anderson to form "Television Arts Productions". They tried selling the series to the NBC television network, who assigned Jerry Fairbanks as "supervising producer". Fairbanks was the network's official provider of filmed TV programs in the late '40s. In the end, NBC did not telecast Crusader Rabbit on their network, but allowed Fairbanks to sell the series in national syndication, with many of the NBC affiliates (including New York and Los Angeles) buying it for local showings. For example, WNBC-TV in New York continued to show the original Crusader Rabbit episodes, on and off, from 1949 through 1967, and some affiliates used the shorts as time fillers well into the 1970s.
The voice of Crusader Rabbit was provided by Lucille Bliss in the original series, and Ge Ge Pearson in the revived series. Vern Louden played Rags in both. In the initial series, Dudley Nightshade was played by Russ Coughlan and narration was by Roy Whaley.
Jay Ward went on to produce The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show {also known as "Rocky and His Friends" and "The Bullwinkle Show"). In 1985, Rhino Entertainment released the first two volumes in a planned[citation needed] home-video release of all the original episodes. 20th Century Fox, however, demonstrated ownership of the series due to the company's acquisition of previous owner Metromedia Producers Corporation, and allowed no further Rhino releases.

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