Fox Kids Network "Frankenfox" (partially lost animated bumpers; 1991-1992)
A series of Fox Kids Network bumpers, produced by Colossal Pictures and directed by Mike Smith between 1991-1992, featured an odd unnamed cartoon fox character who had a 2D cel animated head on a stop-motion puppet body. He was a short-lived mascot for the block.
Due to his Frankenstein-like mismatched media body parts, he was nicknamed "Frankenfox".
To this day, the bumpers and character have been so obscure that most people don't remember them. He was believed to be voiced by either Richard Steven Horvitz or James Arnold Taylor because of his silly high-pitched voice, but it is not yet known. He was also dubbed "Frankenwolf" by some people even though he's clearly a fox.
When one fan asked Mike Kazaleh (one of the animators) about the bumpers, he replied with this statement:
What I remember was that these were produced by the now defunct Colossal Pictures, a bay area studio that was very trendy at the time. The technical nightmare was combining a live-action body with an animated head. The man in the body costume (who had a green cylinder covering his head to facilitate the use of the "ultimate" compositing machine) was taped moving around more or less randomly. This required re-exposing individual frames from the tape as if they were drawings. That was the only way we could get any "body sync" for the dialogue and action. That was very time-consuming. After that was finished, we could go about the business of animating the head.
He also responded when asked about the character's name and who voiced him:
I don't think the character had a name. The Fox network (and Fox Kids) was still pretty new at the time. I forgot who actually decided to use a fox mascot, but it seems like an obvious idea. I've forgotten the actor's name. I think the voice was sped up at least 8% so that makes it even harder to remember. Also, this was almost a quarter of a century ago. Mike Smith was a very pleasant chap and was a good cartoonist, but I think his idea of combining a live body with a cartoon head turned out to require more effort that Colossal bargained for.
- https://twitter.com/OHMYRICHARD/status/651598737916211200 (sources from Tony Claar's third demo reel)
- https://twitter.com/OHMYRICHARD/status/651599588105789440 (source from Tony Claar's third demo reel)
- https://twitter.com/OHMYRICHARD/status/651600349472665601 (source from Colossal Pictures' 1992 reel)
- https://twitter.com/OHMYRICHARD/status/651601693705117696 (sources from a YouTube upload of the first Little Shop of Horrors cartoon episode)
- https://twitter.com/OHMYRICHARD/status/651602237521829888 (sources from a YouTube upload of the first Little Shop of Horrors cartoon episode)
Descriptions of found bumpers
- Frankenfox tries to make a (live action) dog fetch a bone by tossing it, but the dog wouldn't fetch, so Frankenfox attempts to switch brains with the dog. But his machine ends up switching their heads instead, making him sad at the end.
- Frankenfox plays the piano with jazz playing in the background; he's wearing sunglasses, a hat and a goatee looking like a beatnik.
- Frankenfox rides a rollercoaster stating that it's not a scary experience at all even though it would have been, then it takes him to a dark tunnel where several skeletons, spiders, bats, and monsters scare the daylights out of him.
- Frankenfox reveals a little man in his mouth talking gibberish about a recap, but when he closes his mouth, he accidentally swallows the man and chokes on him.
- A clip where Frankenfox has his body turned into a fairy tale storybook, which he opens to look at.
- Frankenfox roller skates to upbeat music.
- Frankenfox does a magic trick turning his hand into a puppet with a handkerchief, then the hand puppet starts talking gibberish, which makes Frankenfox wrap the handkerchief around the puppet's mouth shutting him up. All of a sudden, the puppet starts suffocating to the point where it affects Frankenfox's arm in turn and makes him suffocate as well.
- Frankenfox is driving a car all sleepy, with live action chasing footage from old movies playing in the background; we even see his eyeballs going to their beds inside their sockets. But after he yawns and falls asleep, his car accidentally rolls off the road and tumbles into an ocean, which wakes him up and makes him wonder what's going on. He then realizes that he drove his car into the water and drives it backwards to get out of the ocean. He starts riding down the road yawning again.
- A very short clip has Frankenfox's face splat on the screen saying something along the words of "I'll hold(?) this channel for the two of us." It's not confirmed yet about which bumper this is from.
- Frankenfox talks to the audience saying "Now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls", then sings, talks gibberish, and says "Plus you could be hearing what I'm saying!". It ends by cutting to kid ragdolls and a stuffed dog watching a TV, which this turns out to be coming from.
- Frankenfox is strapped to an execution device, then a little green creature (Igor? Frankenstein's monster?) climbs up with a permanent marker, pulling Frankenfox's eyeball out and putting it back into its socket, and switches the light off. We hear scribbling sounds, and when the creature turns the light back on, Frankenfox is now covered in black marks (courtesy of the marker).
- Frankenfox mixes a potion (claiming it's full of sugar and it reminds him of what his "momma" used to make), drinks it, and burps. He giggles saying "Excuse me", but then his head gets sucked into his body and he turns into a disgusting monster.