Cartoons have been cherished and loved by children, and sometimes even adults, for most of the 20th Century. These fantastical depictions of life in the form of motion pictures are just enthralling and wonderful. Unfortunately, some of these gems were lost for good.
Welcome to Watch Tank, today we’ll have a look at 12 such cartoons that never saw the light of the day.
12. St. Francis: Dreams and Nightmares (1936 – 1939)
Created by filmmaker Berthold Bartosch, this cartoon film was abandoned in Paris when Bartosch had to flee the city due to an anticipated Nazi invasion. In order to preserve the movie, he placed the film in Cinematheque Francais, an official repository for French films, before fleeing. Unfortunately, the film was destroyed in a fire and had completed only the first 30 minutes. Had it not been for the war, we would have the film in our repository of old movie gems. What do you think about a traditional style remake of it?
11. The Tale of the Priest and His Workman Balda (1933 – 1936)
Directed by Russian filmmaker Mikhail Tsekhanovsky, this would have been Russia’s first traditional animation movie. There isn’t much detail in records about this movie except that perhaps it was inspired by Russian folklore. The story seemed to be simple and based on daily life in rural Russia. Had Mikhael Tsekhanovsky succeeded, we would have seen the great Russian talent for cartoon filming roll out.
10. Treasures Under a Mountain (1991)
The Argus International Animation Studio undertook the production of a mystical Russian story based on J.R.R.Tolkien’s popular classic, The Hobbit. Unfortunately, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, stalled the studio’s plans for an animated series while only 6 minutes of the movie were covered. Fortunately, the movie was later restored and is now available on YouTube. Although made in the late 90s, the film’s animation feels much antiquated.
9. Pinocchio (1936)
Based on the classic and world famous Italian fantasy, Pinocchio was supposed to be Italy’s first animated film. Unfortunately, the film was lost due to unknown circumstances. Now Pinocchio is not just an ordinary story but a classic and losing the first film based on. It is indeed a great loss to the animation film fraternity. However, the script and a few images survived, revealing the existence of this masterpiece.
8. Hong Gil Dong (1967)
This artistic treasure was South Korea’s first animation film and was thought to have been lost until some of its copies were found in Japan. The cartoon film is about the titular superhero whose goal is to get Korea rid of wicked spirits and disasters. Considering the fact that it was found in Japan, the beginning of the movie credits is in Japanese.
7. Song of the South
This allegedly, so-called racist piece of animation and live-action mix was contradicted since the beginning in 1946. The cartoon is based on a book going by the same name, set in Post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. And, it doesn’t end there! The creator of this cartoon was Disney, the same Disney that brought to us the classical Mickey Mouse and his buddies. Although the film was released in theatres, it wasn’t allowed to have its own release on home VHS.
6. Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs (Early 40s)
Yet another racist film from the 1940s, this Warner Bros. production was intended to be a tribute to the popular jazz music of the decade. This film was a parody based on the classic Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. However, it was never aired later because of its underlying stereotypes of the African American community. Depictions such as the stereotypical black American accent, the black Jezebel image, and showing the community to be less than human were not welcomed by the viewers. Thank God that this racist and unwanted cartoon film was scrapped from commercial production.
5. Private Snafu: Going Home (Early 40s)
This cartoon series film was a US Government training film meant for the US soldiers during World War 2. The film portrays a dimwitted token soldier nick-named Snafu, who is honey-trapped by a beautiful foreign agent pretending to be in love with him and extracts critical military information from him. Coming Home is, well, the story of Snafu coming back and blabbering out his experiences to random folks as a soldier. What could have been the reason for not releasing Private Snafu Coming Home? Perhaps, the US Army didn’t find it useful enough or relevant for their soldiers from a war education standpoint.
4. Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips
Despite being telecasted during the war era, the film got banned for its racist trope against the Japanese. Nevertheless, the film should be given credit where it’s due. Going by the horrid acts committed by the IJA, the film does justice to the war scenario of the day. The film portrays the Japanese in altering personalities, sometimes as wicked and aggressive and on the other hand, as clumsy buffoons. The cartoon is a window to the American perception of the Japanese during the Second World War as a horde of subhuman vermin rather than a formidable human enemy. The humor also helped the public to mitigate their frustration and anger to an enemy from a completely different culture.
3. Micronauts (Late 70s, Early 80s)
What began as a popular toy franchise by a Japanese enterprise called Takara, this amazing set of superheroes were beyond awesome and certainly deserved their own cartoon series. However, Micronauts, which came so close to having their own cartoon series, never made it past Marvel’s comic books. The Japanese always come up with surprising concepts, such as, The Transformers. The
Micronauts cartoon series would have given a tough competition to American superheroes, had it been released on TV. However, there is always enough time that producers and studios to take this superhero masterpiece to the screens.
2. Lobo (1990s)
This obnoxious anti-hero created by Keith Griffen and Roger Slifer was first seen in the 1983 comic book Omega Men #3. This alien bounty hunter soon became popular in the 90s for his tendency towards violence and cussing. His real-world like character and dialogues are attributed to his likable quirkiness. After his successful on-screen debut in ‘Superman: The Animated Series’, Lobo was slated to have his own show, which of course never materialized. So let’s hope for the good that Lobo’s own cartoon show sees the light of the day sooner or maybe a live-action film. Whichever be it, we would more than love to watch it.
1. Batman: No Man’s Land (1999)
Set in the post-apocalyptic Gotham after the city experiences a massive earthquake, Batman: No Man’s Land is based on a 1999 comic book going by the same name. After its print success, producer James Tucker and designer Coran Stone made an attempt to bring the comic book to the screen, an effort that didn’t last. Nonetheless, the comic was well received for its consistent, albeit grim storyline.
Well, for Batman fans, sorry folks, we’ve lost what could’ve been a fantastic gem in the Batman cartoon series. But we are sure that DC will take a note of this amazing comic and turn it into a full-fledged cartoon series.
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