Flawed film premises weren’t invented in the last decade.

In 1977, a gentleman named Lorenzo Music was developing an animated feature called Simon and Miranda, which starred a snail named Simon and his love interest, Miranda the caterpillar. Music had successfully developed and produced snail-free TV shows like The Bob Newhart Show and Rhoda, and needed advice if his latest idea was worthwhile.

For guidance, Music reached out to Ward Kimball, who had spent nearly forty years as a director, writer and animator at Disney, and had excellent instincts about entertainment. Kimball, of course, was also responsible for creating the most successful insect in animation history—Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket—and though snails aren’t technically insects, for Music’s purposes, they were close enough.

Music sent the script he’d developed to Ward Kimball through a mutual friend, John Gibbons. Ward was unimpressed. Or to put it more bluntly, he thought it was a plain awful concept. Never one to mince words, Ward ripped apart Music’s idea in acerbic fashion with an extended riff on why Americans hate snails. He ended with a warning to Lorenzo to spend his money on “something besides snails.” Printed for the first time ever is Ward’s letter to Lorenzo Music. Click to enlarge:

Ward Kimball letter. Ward Kimball letter.

Lorenzo Music was a smart man. He listened to Ward’s advice and the world was momentarily spared from having to endure an entire animated feature starring a snail.

Music, whose response to Ward is recorded below, set aside his hard-shelled dreams and went on to perform numerous voices in animated cartoons including Ralph the All-Purpose Animal in Twice Upon a Time, Tummi Gummi in Gummi Bears, and most memorably, the lasagna-loving cat Garfield.

Lorenzo Music letter.

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