ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.02 - MAY 2000

The Hottest Family in Animated TV: Betty and Mickey Paraskevas
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Marvin will be tap dancing into homes in the fall. © Nelvana.

Further Projects
Yet another book soon to be published, called Marvin the Tap Dancing Horse, has spun off into a second TV cartoon series from the duo. Marvin the Tap Dancing Horse will be about a child Eddie who gets a job working at the carnival. He befriends Marvin and his three animal friends, Elizabeth the pig, Stripes the tiger and Diamonds the elephant. "It’s very sitcom orientated. It’s about the trials and tribulations of putting on a show for the carnival every night," says Mickey. Marvin will be part of PBS’ first ever Saturday morning children’s programming block called The Book Worm Bunch for the fall 2000 television season. Marvin will be in good company. One of the other cartoons in the block will be Maurice Sendak’s Seven Little Monsters. He is one of the most important children’s book author/illustrators of the 20th century creating among other books the award winning Where the Wild Things Are, one of the top-selling children's books of all time. He is also the creator of Little Bear, shown on Nickelodeon.

Maggie will set out to find the Ferocious Beast on PBS. © Nelvana.

The third cartoon created by the mother and son team for television is called Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, also based on their book of the same name. This cartoon has been running for one year as a two and a half-minute short for Nickelodeon. It is being shown between the shows, Little Bear and Blue’s Clues. It will be expanded into a full half-hour series in June for Nickelodeon. Nelvana, one of the largest animation houses in Canada, whose shows include Bob and Margaret and Rolie Polie Olie, is animating the show. They were already successful in selling the series to Israel, French Speaking Africa, French speaking countries in Europe, French Canada and in Canada. The Emmy-winning The Simpsons also got its start by being a two minute short cartoon between acts for The Tracey Ullman Show back in the ‘80s.

But Wait! There's More!
If having three shows on TV and two cartoons coming to video wasn’t enough, Mickey and Betty have a feature film coming out. Leo "Spats" Ratcatcher, based on an unpublished book, is their cartoon being made into a feature film for 20th Century Fox. It’s about Leo who is a private eye and his archenemy Slick-Slick Vinny Lavender.

Er! Who’s that with Mickey and the Ferocious Beast? It's Anthony Edwards! © Storyopolis.

Betty says that she writes stories that both entertain and tell a good story. "Tell the kids a good story that they’ll listen to — that’s how you teach them," she said.

Both Mickey and Betty credit each other for their success. She says that she doubts if anybody would have paid her any attention if she didn’t have an illustrator with her. "If it weren’t for Mickey's art, I would not be doing all of this."

"I have no one to thank but my mother," says Mickey. "When I go on stage to accept my Emmy, she’s the only person I’ll thank."

Betty recalls she had tears in her eyes when she saw her and her son's names appear as executive producers when they got their first act back from the cartoon The Tangerine Bear. "We’re sort of spectacular in Hollywood. We have three shows we’re doing and a feature and everybody is talking about us," she says amazed.

"You work so hard at all this stuff and then you turn the TV on and there’s your show -- it’s fun!" says Mickey.

Raymond Palma is a freelance writer. He has been published in a myriad of eclectic newspapers and magazines including, The Southampton Press, The Hollywood Scriptwriter and The Comic Bible. He was a street reporter for a TV news show and has appeared as an extra on Comedy Central and MTV's Beach House. He is currently working on an animation cartoon of his own with Fran Capo, the world's fastest talking female.

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Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.


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