Feature Film

Hanna Barbera’s Lost “Rock Odyssey”

Michael Sporn led me to a new blog by Frank Forte solely devoted to Hanna-Barbera’s oddest and rarest production: Rock Odyssey (1987). Produced in the wake of Ralph Bakshi’s more adult animated features, when animation studios were attempting something a little darker, a little more edgier (think Watership Down, Rock & Rule even The Black Cauldron). The film was directed by Fritz the Cat animator Robert Taylor (though credited to Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera) and conceived to be a “rock fantasia” of sorts. It was apparently cobbled together from disparate elements, bridged with a cosmic jukebox voiced by Scatman Crothers. The final result is a mess, but it has some incredible animation, layouts and design work. Perhaps some of our readers can enlighten us further about this production.

Below is the first ten minutes of Rock Odyssey, from a version of the film prepared for broadcast as a special on ABC (It ultimately never aired in the U.S.):