In 1966, Filmation ran the ad above in a trade publication announcing the imminent arrival of their Marx Brothers animated cartoon. Apparently there were no takers. The internet is awash with haters on the subject: “What a terrible idea!” Filmation’s catalog is a mixed bag, but I grew up on their oeuvre, and don’t for a minute regret ANY of its existence, ranging from Journey Back to the Oz (1971), to my mind the only watchable Oz sequel…to Star Trek the animated series…to their Jerry Lewis cartoon…to Gilligan’s Planet. King Features had done a successful Beatles cartoon; Hannah-Barbara had done one “starring” Abbott and Costello (with the voice of the real Abbott); numerous studios had collaborated on The New Three Stooges. Filmation itself had done The Archies and The Hardy Boys. And the Marx Brothers had received numerous animated cameos in cartoons by Warner Bros and Walt Disney productions. I for one have an open mind on the subject and wouldn’t mind seeing more of the results.
Here in a clip from a panel at 2012 Comic Con, some of one of the unsold Marx Bros cartoons is shown, entitled A Night at the Horse Opera. It begins at about 47:06:
For more on comedy film history please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etcTo find out about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.