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Video: The Pogo special that was never completed

Cartoon Brew has a sliver of insight into a bit of animation history. Famed animator Chuck Jones was to do a special with Walt Kelly’s Pogo. But the project went south.

“How did you ever okay Chuck’s Pogo story?,” Ward Kimball asked Walt Kelly shortly after the special aired on TV. “I didn’t, for Godsake!,” Kelly cried out. “The son of a bitch changed it after our last meeting. That’s not the way I wrote it. He took all the sharpness out of it and put in that sweet, saccharine stuff that Chuck Jones always thinks is Disney, but isn’t.” Kimball, who was dining with Kelly at the Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood, pressed further. “Who okayed giving the little skunk girl a humanized face?” he asked. Kelly was so angry he couldn’t answer. His face turned red, and he bellowed to the waiter, “Bring me another bourbon!” In Kimball’s words, Kelly wanted “to kill-if not sue-Chuck.”

Walt created the special himself, but it was never completed. Here is the 13 minutes that he completed

Community Comments

#1 Bob Beckett
March/18/2013
@ 1:33 pm

Even though I’ve always loved and admired the artwork and characters created by Walt Kelly I couldn’t watch more than a few minutes of this animation. Excruciatingly boring and juvenile.

#2 Daniel Olson
March/18/2013
@ 1:42 pm

Those were the main frames. If the inbetweeners had been there the animation would have been much smoother.

#3 John Cole
March/18/2013
@ 1:44 pm

The Kelly roughs are great, IMO. And Kelly had a legitimate beef regarding the cringe-inducing special Jones produced.

It’s almost blasphemous to say, but outside his immortal stuff at Warner Bros. and in The Grinch, a lot of Jones’ work was kinda awful.

#4 Charles Brubaker
March/19/2013
@ 10:52 am

That Chuck Jones “Pogo” special was produced and aired. It’s called “The Pogo Special Birthday Special” and it’s on YouTube.

#5 Pete McDonnell
March/19/2013
@ 4:08 pm

I liked it. I think it’s a really nice addition to the Kelly canon; this is the purest possible piece of Pogo animation, filtered through with his own experience as a Disney artist and made with his complete control as writer & artist.
If there had been an actual budget for in-betweeners, editing, voice talent, sound, it could have been amazing.

#6 b.j. dewey
March/19/2013
@ 5:14 pm

Thanks Alan for posting this as it’s good to see the animations again and revisit the controversy. Briefly, my main thought is that both animations failed to capture the essence of the strip, in particular and ironically in the case of Kelly’s production, Pogo himself followed by his greatest buddies Albert and Porky Pine. Kelly himself said more than once that Pogo was the “glue” and he clearly loved and thoroughly understood his key creation. Everybody else, all hundreds of them, pretty much flowed from that center. Unfortunately, IMO, that center wasn’t strongly established from the start and with such a large cast of characters, there was nothing to hold it all together.

Does anybody know if a third animation has ever been considered?

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