Saturday, April 17, 2010

14 B. The Doonesbury Special (1978)

I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure of watching the lone Doonesbury animated special, which aired on NBC on Sunday, November 27 1977, as a lead-in to Rankin-Bass’s cartoon adaptation of The Hobbit. The film, which was seen by an audience of about 18 million, was directed by John and Faith Hubley. John passed away while the film was in pre-production. It was later released on VHS and laserdisc, but has never been seen on DVD, apart from bootlegs, and has been out of print for years.

The companion book, released the following January, features the script of the film along with stills from the finished piece along with production art and designs. Hardcover and paperback editions are available.

While the daily strip tied into the special by having Jimmy Thudpucker get ready for an appearance on TV’s Midnight Special in the six days leading up to the broadcast, the film’s story actually takes place about three years earlier in the continuity, with Joanie still living at Walden and working at the day care. Some of the exchanges between Jean, Ellie and Howie (“Simone de Beauvoir’s got your number, Slim.”) are verbatim from the original strips.

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