Top Ten TV Cartoons That Would Make Great Live Action Movies
8. Cool McCool
Spies are always cool (you’ll find Phineas and Ferb’s ‘Agent P’ on quite a few t-shirts these days) and none came cooler than Cool McCool. This mid 1960’s cartoon was co-created by the Dark Knight’s father Bob Kane and Al Brodax (who at the time was also producing the Beatles’ Saturday morning cartoon series). Quality and humor-wise it was several notches above Kane’s previous TV toon, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse – and had one of the best TV cartoon theme songs ever. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ait8WKjryGI – if they ever put together a second Saturday Morning Fever compilation of cartoon theme covers, this one is at the top of my list.)
Mustachioed and sporting a trench, Cool was a screw-up who made Maxwell Smart look like 007. In spite of his disastrous mishaps Cool always managed to nab his supervillain, a rogues’ gallery of take-offs on Kane’s Batman baddies all voiced by Chuck McCann. (The Owl in place of the Penguin, Madcap instead of the Joker and so on.) Cool was brought to life by longtime voice artist Bob McFadden (also responsible for Thundercats’ terminally annoying Snarf) as a Jack Benny sound-alike. Like Agent 86, Cool had his own catchphrases: “that will never happen again” and “when you’re right Number One [Cool’s exasperated boss, also voiced by McCann], you’re right.”
A slapstick spy comedy? Only one man could possibly bring Cool to life (not to mention write the script and produce the movie); somebody call Seth Rogen, quick!
9. The Powerpuff Girls
Craig McCracken’s superpowered preschool crimefighters were the stars of one of Cartoon Network’s earliest success stories. Its original viewers are now in their 20’s and 30’s – an audience of ‘millennials’ just waiting for the girls to make it to the big screen. And admit it – isn’t Mojo Jojo one of the greatest cartoon villains ever? (If they make this movie I can add him to a future Ten Best Funny Villains list.) The only caveat: they’d better come up with a good CGI redesign for the girls. Their big-eyed 2D look is kind of creepy to begin with; one that sticks too closely to it would be major Uncanny Valley.
10. Every Hanna-Barbera wiseguy character vs. a stuffy authority figure
I admit it – I stole this idea from an issue of DC Comics’ Cartoon Network All-Stars.
Hanna-Barbera were notorious self-plagiarizers. Before there were infinite Scooby Doo clones, Yogi Bear was the template for any number of uppity animals who couldn’t help but give their owners, keepers or any nearby big shot a hard time. Yogi may have had his Ranger Smith, but Magilla Gorilla was the bane of Mr. Peebles’ pet shop, Zookeeper Twiddle couldn’t keep Wally Gator from exploring the outside world, Top Cat was forever causing Office Dibble grief, Squiddly Diddly drove Chief Winchley nuts every time he escaped Bubbleland and Breezly Bruin (aided by Boo-Boo Bear, I mean Sneezly Seal) was forever raiding Colonel Fuzzby’s army base…
The comic book story in question had these various trod-upon humans in a support group helping them cope with their mutual problem. When they try the group leader’s suggestion to let their nemeses get away with their hijinks, it completely throws their malefactors off their stride. (“Do watcha gotta do, T.C.,’ Officer Dibble tells a mystified Top Cat.)
I’ll let someone else decide which celebrity actor would pair up best with which character. This could be an episodic movie following the resolution of each duo’s basic conflict, or a super team-up with all the characters joining forces to defeat a common enemy – the cartoon equivalent of The Avengers! Just think of it: never before have so many Hanna-Barbera characters have been on the same screen at the same time! (Except of course for Yogi’s Space Race or Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics.)
Joe Strike is a regular contributor to AWN. He has written about animation, sci-fi and fantasy entertainment for the New York Daily News, Newsday and the New York Press. Joe has scripted the Nick Jr. series Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and taught Mass Communications at New York's St. John's University. He is currently hosting “Interview with an Animator” [animator.interviews.com], a series of audience-attended conversations with noted figures in the animation community at a variety of New York City venues, including the Paley Center for the Media, The Society of Illustrators and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Joe can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.