Renegade to make Funny Face

funnyface1.jpg

Loud Mouth Lime, Jolly Olly Orange and Goofy Grape are poised for a comeback.

Our friends at Renegade Animation (Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, The Mr. Men Show) have obtained the rights to the Funny Face characters, originally featured on Pillsbury drink packets in the ‘60s, from Boston-based Carson Creations. Renegade plans to produce an animated television series based on the property. The studio is currently producing a pilot episode while seeking distribution and licensing agreements. According to the press release:

The Funny Face television series will be aimed at kids from 6 to 11 and will recall the animation style and the spirit of classic, theatrical cartoons such as Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes. “It’s a delightful opportunity to be funny in a way that is missing from the cartoon landscape right now,” said Renegade’s Ashley Postlewaite, who will executive produce the series. “These characters are perfect for that style of comedy.” Darrell Van Citters will direct the series. “I can’t wait to get back to the kind of flat-out physical comedy that insired me to get into animation in the first place!” says Van Citters. Michael Giaimo is heading up visual development on the series. Renegade Animation plans to produce the series using its proprietary “paperless” animation pipeline with all phases of the animation process being completed at its studio in Glendale. Renegade is the only animation studio that produces animated television series entirely with U.S. talent.

This sounds like a great idea to me. No word yet if Chinese Cherry or Injun Orange will make cameo appearances.

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  • http://ebay-movie.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    Ha! I used to drink that stuff all the time.

    In 1969 during a vacation gone very-wrong, we were stranded in Cape Cod with no money (on the weekend that Teddy Kennedy drove off the bridge). We entertained ourselves until the bank opened on Monday by flying a Goofy Grape kite on the beach at Provencetown.

    Welcome back, Goofy Grape!

  • http://www.davemackey.com Dave Mackey

    I’d like to say that with Van Citters and Giaimo (two of the top artists during the 90′s Looney Tunes revival), it can’t miss, but I’d really need to see it before I pass judgment.

    I guess this means that the drinks will come back, too. I’m gonna go stock up on sugar, if that’s the case…

  • http://classicparamountcartoons.blogspot.com classicparamountcartoons

    Sounds a lot like Ed Graham’s “Linus the Lionhearted”, only with a discountinued product and promised better quality humor…

    Just don’t let Pillsbury have tie-ins again!

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    That is, in fact, great news. I had always envisioned (no joke) some form of series with them.

  • http://qwertypictures.deviantart.com/ Christopher

    Definately have faith in Renegade for coming up with a pleasing new show, espicially with their sucess from “The Mr Men Show”, which, BTW, is far superior than their work on “Out Of Jimmy’s Head”. Rather curious as well of which VAs they have in mind to sound as close to Paul Frees’s vocals as possible.

  • Brad

    Hey, if Bob and Larry can be stars, why not Goofy Grape and co.?

    I’ve been a fan of FF since they first came out. I got their first storybook (“How The Funny Face Characters Got That Way”), their drink stand, mugs, and other stuff.

    A while back they were licensed by Brady Enterprises, which came out with a kids’ book called “Goofy Grape Saves The Day” (I think — it’s packed away right now). The story combined elements of other kids’ properties: the FF get their personalities from a mysterious chemical, like the Powerpuff Girls; they travel in a flying watermelon-locomotive, like the Magic Schoolbus; and their main enemies are thirst-making creatures, like Kool-Aid Man (in his Marvel comic). Plus there were two female Funny Faces: Bashful Banana and Passion Pinneapple. (And Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry turned out to be the brains of the outfit.) But the worst part was the art, very amatuerish — what someone once called, “nephew art” (as in, “My nephew can do it for you cheap, he’s an artist!”)

    I’ll be looking forward to Renegade’s series. (I guess this means I can forget about my script with Chinese Cherry as Fu Man Chu.)

  • Nic Kramer

    Well good luck, Van Critters. Just try to put the sick jokes and bathroom jokes to a minimal to none level.

  • joecab

    Of course if they were also able to bring back the original formula of the drinks as well, I’d be going gaga.

  • http://www.kevinbarber.blogspot.com KEVIN BARBER

    I am so happy i could cry goofy grape tears. Way to go Renegade.

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    While the project looks and sounds cool, it will be interesting to see if the same people who cry foul when a 26 page kids book gets stretched to feature length have anything to say about a show based on foil-lined envelopes.

    It does look nice though.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    Isn’t anyone a little concerned that these characters have no bodies, arms or legs? I can’t imagine that much classic screwball comedy or plot developing around a bunch of shouting heads with hats on them.

    The characters are cute and appealing for what they were: color coding for drink envelopes. Good luck to the project anyway.

  • http://www.bobharper.net Bob Harper

    Yet another project I wish I could work on.

  • Anne

    “…espicially with their sucess from “The Mr Men Show”, which, BTW, is far superior than their work on “Out Of Jimmy’s Head”. ”

    Renegade only animated the pilot/feature for that show…Cartoon Network took over the animation for the series.

  • Paul N

    I think the difference between this and a short kid’s story being stretched into a feature is that these characters are essentially blank slates. Other than the headgear that identifies their professions :0), there is no “history” for purists to get up in arms about.

    As for arms and legs, the Veggietales did a pretty good job of working around not having any…

  • Killroy McFate

    As a kid, I used to get called “Freckle-Face Strawberry” all the time. I’m glad a whole new generation will finally be able to share my misery.

  • Chuck R.

    I agree, tom.

    This looks like yet another example of boomer-nostalgia run amok. I like the idea of bringing the product back in some 100% fruit juice form and using the appealing characters on packaging again, but I don’t see Tom and Jerry or Bugs Bunny in this. In fact, that press release sort of reads like a standard form sales pitch.

  • Keith

    I can’t comment too much on specifics, but I animated a good chunk of the pilot. Probably the most fun I’ve had in my career so far! Arms? Legs? You don’t miss ‘em. It’s very liberating and challenging all at the same time.

    I will say one word about it, but keep it to yourselves: anvils.

  • http://www.owlboy.com/ OwlBoy

    I am only 24, and have no connection to the original characters, but this sounds like a great concept. Classic cartoon style for the win.

  • http://drgrantz.deviantart.com/ revned

    Is this really going to appeal to today’s kids, or to their 30- and 40-something parents? As a childless 36 year old, there’s no nostalgia aspect for me because I grew up without ever seeing this product (although I’m familiar with it). I think this is too far-removed for me to fully appreciate, let alone enjoy. To me, this is no different than making a series based on the kids from the MAYPO ads of the 1950s… but if ABC can make a sitcom based on a GEICO ad featuring cavemen, I guess anything is possible.

  • http://www.smigliano.blogspot.com Chris Smigliano

    I find it kind of interesting that they went pretty much back to the beginnings in the way of characters. such as the original incarnation of Loud Mouth Lime BEFORE he became Loud Mouth Punch. But then again, there is no such Fruit as a punch, so I guess any later characters like Rutti Tutti Frutti may not exactly be Plausible.

  • Cigs

    “Renegade is the only animation studio that produces animated television series entirely with U.S. talent.”

    Really???

  • http://shelliekvilvang.blogspot.com/ Shellie Kvilvang

    I love this !
    I cannot wait to see what Renegade does with it.

  • amid

    Cigs: True, that’s an unfortunate statement in their press release. Tons of shows, especially on Adult Swim and Nick Jr., are produced entirely with US talent.

    Shellie: Per our commenting rules, “If you are recommending or discussing something, disclose any relationship you may have to the artist, film project or company. This includes friends, family, co-workers, employers, etc.” It’s only fair to other readers to know that the positive comment is coming from somebody who worked at the studio previously.

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    Oh, man, I, too, used to drink this stuff, actually spurred on by the look of the characters, as wacky-looking as anything Bob Clampett could have come up with in his BEANY & CECIL days; just look at those weird mouths on Loud-Mouth Lime or Goofy Grape (my favorite–a toothy grape with a Napoleon cap on). This is the kind of twisted idea animation has needed for a long time, but I wish that the idea didn’t come from a sugary substitute! Actually, I’m hoping that it does get surreal and hallucinagenic, but since its targeted age group does not go anywhere near college level, it will unfortunately be limited in how strange and dark it could get!

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com Tim Drage

    QUOTE: “No word yet if Chinese Cherry or Injun Orange will make cameo appearances.”

    Urgh! The comment threads about them on John K’s blog was pretty much the stupidest and most depressing yet, which is saying something.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~jrpv18/FunnyFaceOverview.html Jim Rash

    The overwhelming support for the bland (Kool Aid Man) over the edgy cool (Pillsbury Funny Face characters) is a serious indictment of American culture. Can someone explain to me the appeal of the Kool Aid Man? He reminds me of the fat guy at work who wears loud Hawaiian shirts, has a stupid grin on him face, but he never does or say anything mildly interesting. This happens over-and-over where the dull (Disney characters, Marilyn Monroe, Star Trek) outlasts the cool (Looney Tunes characters, Bettie Page, Outer Limits).

  • Pierce

    There’s no mystery. Dull characters have better lawyers.

  • Pedro Nakama

    A lot of these old character designs are perfect for Flash. I think it’ll work!

  • why?

    The artists are very talented. So why are they making a series about badly drawn characters from an old commercial?
    Why not design their own?

  • http://shelliekvilvang.blogspot.com/ Shellie Kvilvang

    Oops Sorry Amid. I worked with Mike Giamo at Renegade Animation
    and I am looking forward to seeing what he does with FunnyFace.

  • duane dimock

    i drank the original calcium cyclamate soft drinks and even drank old packs a few years ago. i love the characters personalities and colors for the context they were made and shown in commercials. they worked in that era for the people and kids we were. obviously, this cartoon will fail, especially with this generation. with no hands or feet, they kinda get a limited lifestyle or adventures. if hands or feet are added, then they are not funny face. must be some kinda situation like “The Producers” or someone got a grant or something. i would watch a episode, just to see the colors come alive.

  • Brad

    why?: The artists are very talented. So why are they making a series about badly drawn characters from an old commercial?
    Why not design their own?

    Like Coconut Fred?

    duane: with no hands or feet, they kinda get a limited lifestyle or adventures.

    Like VeggieTales?

  • why?

    Well, Coconut Fred does not appear to be derived from a commercial. So what’s your point, Brad?

  • Brad

    why?: The artists are very talented. So why are they making a series about badly drawn characters from an old commercial?
    Why not design their own?

    Brad: Like Coconut Fred?

    why?: Well, Coconut Fred does not appear to be derived from a commercial. So what’s your point, Brad?

    Just that originality is no guarantee of quality. (Of course, the big complaint with CF is that he isn’t original but highly derivative of Spongebob.)

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Gah! I worked at a summer camp for three years where that stuff served as the basis for the drink we served the kids. I think it was the Choo-Choo Cherry; I only remember it was red. Must’ve set someone back a dollar for enough packets to make 500 gallons of that sludge.

  • http://www.traci-s.com Traci

    WOW!! Does anyone know when this will be on? channels? I am assuming it is still in production so maybe no one knows but I do not want to miss this!!

  • Oscar

    Renegade is a terrific animation house. Michael Giaimo is a very talented artist and designer. I’m sure the Funny Face gang will, at least, ‘look’ fantastic. And heck, less interesting characters have certainly gone further. Let’s wish them grand success!

  • Mike

    Hi All.

    Disclosure –> I’m involved with this project. Trailer is on youtube and we’d love if you checked it out. Thanks for all the great comments. We’re pretty pumped.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4obvHe-7D0&feature

  • Tom Theisen

    Any word on this cartoon? Is it still in the offing? I hope so!

  • Jack Brady

    Hi, yes we are still moving ahead with our delightful Funny Face Characters…. The interest is there but with the slow down with
    the economy people are being cautious… we are on YouTube… Funny Face Trailer

  • Scott Sencabaugh

    Awesome guys!! I can’t wait for the cartoon. Great YouTube trailer. Let the Juice Loose. America and the world misses them!!!

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Rootin Tootin Raspberry.

    Pew pew.

  • Tom Theisen

    Thanks, Jack, for the post saying that you are still moving ahead. I hope that’s still the case. Any new word?

  • JohnC

    I think the animation looks great, big and colorful! It captures the namesake personalities of each fruit character nicely. Is this still in development or have the fruit gone bad:)

  • duane dimock

    just went to see the trailer. looks and is beautiful. jokes ok to funny, but still wont work with mass kids today. but maybe that wont be the goal to mass them out, just get a slice of society followers. and keep working with the jack brady bunch. the original funny face drinkers are now grandparents. the drink mixes would be fun presents for the grandkids.

  • cindy

    where do you get to see the trailer?