Gaston (lost animation test footage based on Belgian comic; 1962)
Gaston is a popular Belgian comic book series created by André Franquin (who helped shape the classic long-running Spirou comic series and also created the Marsupilami character) in 1957, about Gaston Lagaffe, a lazy but creative magazine office employee's wacky hijinks (localized in English as Gomer Goof).
While the franchise was popular in French-speaking Europe among both children and adults for decades, it only had an official animated adaptation in 2009, created from directly scanning the comic panels and vectorizing the characters along other assets.
What is lesser known is that there was an animated show adaptation project back in the early 1960s, and a test footage was made.
Belgian animation studio TVA Dupuis planned to turn some classic popular Belgian comics into cartoons. Raoul Cauvin, a soon-to-be popular comic book writer, was supervising those projects.
In early 1962, a one-minute Gaston animated test footage was created, that also happened to be the first one of the studio in color, made with cels. It showed Gaston getting up from his desk and then dropping back to sleep.
Original author André Franquin was not impressed and didn't give his blessing to the project that was thus cancelled.
Cauvin said: "This scene required from us a lot of work, and if we proceeded with it, it would have cost us a lot of money. In fact, we couldn't afford something to match our ambitions. It's something you just have to admit. What also needs to be said is that Franquin's art wasn't easy at all to replicate. Peyo's more rounded art was easier to work with."
To this day, this early Gaston animated test footage has never resurfaced. It is unknown if it still exists in any form.
TVA Dupuis also did test footage of Bara's Max L'explorateur and Morris' Lucky Luke, which have very little information available about them (apart from Lucky Luke who was considered "too thin").
TVA Dupuis would later focus working on animated adaptations of the Smurfs comic, with two of them also becoming lost media.
Gaston's first screen adaptation would be a 1981 live-action film, Fais gaffe à la gaffe! and its first TV series adaptation would be Merci Gaston!, a now-lost 1989 live-action/puppetry talk-show parody.
- Cauvin: la monographie, Patrick Gaumer (2013)
- Les Aventures des Schtroumpfs (partially found Belgian animated film; 1965)
- La Schtroumpfette (lost Belgian animated TV special based on "The Smurfs" comic; 1969)
- Tifou (partially found Belgian puppet series and French animated adaptation; 1988; 1990)
- Merci Gaston! (lost French TV show based on comic book series; 1989)