John Kricfalusi, the quirky animator who created the warped Nickelodeon cartoon series “The Ren & Stimpy Show” but whose idiosyncratic ways wound up leading to his ouster, has again found work in TV with Warner Bros. and the Cartoon Network.
The Canadian-born Kricfalusi is developing a pair of “World Premiere Toons” cartoon shorts centering on the Ranger Smith character from the Hanna-Barbera classic “Yogi Bear” that are expected to be ready by late summer of 1998.
The toons are being prepped for premiere on the Cartoon Network’s “What a Cartoon!” series.
If that pair of shorts meet expectations, it’s possible that the Ranger Smith idea could lead to a full-blown series much as the “World Premiere Toons” projects “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Cow & Chicken” and “Johnny Bravo” led to series orders, confirmed Mike Lazzo, senior VP programming and production for Cartoon Network.
Clashed with executives
Kricfalusi is one of the most-copied animators in the business, with a style that is both wildly original and wholeheartedly demented, as anyone who ever saw “Ren & Stimpy” would attest. However, he clashed with Nickelodeon executives and was said to abuse deadline with some regularity, resulting in his being forced out of the show.
After leaving “R&S,” there was some talk that Kricfalusi planned to produce a series of theatrical shorts based on his character Jimmy the Hapless Boy. But that failed to come to fruition.
Lazzo jumps at chance
Meanwhile, there was some question whether Kricfalusi would ever again work in TV given his troublemaker label. But Lazzo jumped at the chance to tap the animator’s talents.
“John, to me, is one of the most talented animators in the business,” he said. “Strictly as a fan, I wanted John Kricfalusi making cartoons again on TV.”
Lazzo added that Kricfalusi has been “behaving himself just fine” thus far. “John has passion for this character, and he’s going to make us some great cartoons with him,” he said.