The world of science fiction is filled with strange tales of alternate futures where one minor event reshaped the entire history of the world. In our world, one minor event in 1935 could have changed the world of animation and science fiction ushering in an era of adult animation. But, alas, that did not happen and is the topic of our sad story today.
Though Bob Clampett
is often remembered for his Warner Brothers cartoons
, including some surreal shorts
, he could have been known for bringing John Carter of Mars to life in animation
While working for Warner Bros, Clampett had the wild idea that he could animate John Carter
's adventures on Barsoom
, so Clampett arranged to meet with Edgar Rice Burroughs, who was sold on the idea. Burroughs' son, John Coleman Burroughs, also got involved, sculpting models and making sketches for Clampett
. As Bob was employed full-time by Warner Bros, his martian animations were relegated to evenings and weekends. A test reel was produced
, and MGM was interested. Clampett left Warner to work on the project full-time, but some MGM sales representatives from the Mid-West and the South felt that the story would be a tough sell, so MGM killed the deal. The studio turned its attention to Tarzan, looking to create animations with silly jungle animals that Tarzan could save. Clampett wasn't interested in that project, and parted ways with MGM.
Some of Clampett's used some of his ideas for John Carter in the Time for Beany puppet show
and Beany and Cecil cartoons
The John Carter test animation was linked previously
, as a one of many nifty things below the fold, but the whole story wasn't presented.
If you're craving more Burroughs ephemera and stories, the ERBZine
will likely scratch your itch, with new "zines" posted each week. If you want more, there's Danton Burroughs Family Album
, a site dedicated to the Burroughs history, largely focused on Dan's grandfather, Edgar Rice Burroughs.