(Update: This video has since been removed from Youtube. Sorry.)
Scouring around YouTube, I found this little gem. Back in the '80s, Steven Spielberg started a popular weekly anthology series on NBC called "Amazing Stories." Some shows were good, some were not-so-good. In 1987, this Tim Burton-produced cartoon aired. It's a half-hour cartoon called Family Dog, and it was written and directed by one Brad Bird.
It's important to remind ourselves that something like Family Dog was pretty cutting edge for tv animation 20 years ago. The Simpsons were still just short clips on Tracy Ullman. There was no Ren and Stimpy. Was Beavis and Butthead on MTV yet? Don't think so. Oh, and you're still years away from Animaniacs.
So while a cartoon that takes a satirical swipe at the surburban family, and with a slightly grown-up appeal, has become a horribly tired cliche in 2007, in 1987 it was exciting, daring, and in the hands of Brad Bird, endlessly entertaining. All of his traits as a movie director are here in abundance, from his love of classic cartoon chases, to a nuanced and humane view of family life. In fact, there's probably bits in here that feel as though they were lifted right out of The Incredibles or Ratatouille.
So, anyway, here's the 1987 Family Dog. The short was later revived several years later, again with Tim Burton's input and Spielberg's drive, but no Brad Bird in sight. Predictibly, the new tv series tanked almost immediately.
Oh, and I caught Ratatouille at the Megamall Saturday night. It was a fantastic movie; transcendent and wonderful. It's an American animation classic, and Pixar's best film. I'll probably go see it again before the weekend's out. Full-length review to come later; hopefully, it won't prove too long-winded.