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filbarlow's avatar

Beetlejuice development art

In 1988 DiC made a play for the Beetlejuice animation which was ultimately done by the Nelvana, a Canadian animation studio. DiC's Development Department didn't have anything that Executive Producer Richard Raynis found suitable, so I was called in and given one weekend to create a potential Beetlejuice show. DiC kept the original art, and over the last 27 years I've held on to one set of photocopies. I decided to scan, color a few and collate the designs into a PDF and make them available to my Patrons.

Here is the link to my Patreon account:

$1+ Patrons see a piece of artwork from the collection.
$5+ Patrons get a PDF with all of the designs that I did for the project.
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© 2015 - 2021 filbarlow
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Vallylight's avatar
aww this brings back my childhood memories
Slyfox6589's avatar
I really don't have words about it and if someone told me that DiC, who had done shows like the Real Ghostbusters, MASK, Rainbow Brite, Dinosaucers and the obscure classic that is Ulysses 31 (the space version of Homer's epic Odyssey overseen by the company's co-founder in France, Jean Chalopin), that the company was a serious contender for a Beetlejuice cartoon, I wouldn't consider it to be real. The close relationship that DiC had with a Hollywood studio was Columbia Pictures, that led to them do the cartoon adaptations of Ghostbusters and Karate Kid, and continued in the 90's with Extreme Ghostbusters and MiB, the animated series.

However, I read somewhere that the Rainbow Brite had been distributed in 1985 by Warner Bros a while back, and funnily enough, I mentioned how awesome would have been if DiC Animation would have made a Beetlejuice cartoon instead of Nelvana, and make it look like Real Ghostbusters was to some extent.

Now that I see this, I bow to your talent, sir! It only makes me saddened that DiC and Richard Raynis, who also worked for the Simpsons and the original Futurama show (another one of my favourites), weren't picked by Warner, and even though the Nelvana cartoon was okay for what it was, since I didn't grow up with it to have any nostalgia for it, and just seeing that gives me a warming feeling on the inside knowing what could have been some 30 years ago. I liked what I saw from the Nelvana cartoon, but if there ever was a Beetlejuice cartoon created by DiC, creators of two of my favourite cartoons from childhood, Ulysses 31 and RGBs, of course; at least I took a look at what could have been, and Beetlejuice does look a lot like RGB's Season 3 & 4 villain Ghostmaster mixed with Gomez Adams and German Expressionism, whereas Lydia never looked better in cartoon form and I think I like her design better this way, than the Nelvana one.

I still like Nelvana, but your take is both edgy and something else I can't quite put my figure on. Either way, is really awesome, and being a huge Winona Ryder myself, I think she would have liked that other animated version of her that never saw the light of day... until now, that is!

Good luck with your Patreon campaign, and thank you for taking the time to shed some light to a question that bugged me for two years, and now, I am done.
filbarlow's avatar
Unfortunately I was busy with ALF and ALFTALES, and not included in any of the discussions made by the higher-ups. So I don't know how this Beetlejuice pitch to the network came about, my impression was that DiC was trying to underbid and steal the show from Nelvana because it was done so quickly, not treated as a serious pitch. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Nelvana pinched it from under DiC, maybe the Development guys just couldn't come up with anything that Richard wanted to get behind as a show, which is why he brought me on. However, he didn't give me any feedback. Maybe he didn't like what I did either. That's the trouble with speculation, it isn't the truth. I simply didn't know. I did the work, and moved on.

However in an alternative universe, you know that if we had got hold of Beetlejuice, with me heading the character designs, working with Richard Raynis, it would have been a totally different show.

Just so that you know, the PDF is eight pages showing all of the designs that I did over that weekend.
Slyfox6589's avatar
It's definitely a shame that you never got the rights to do that animated spinoff from Beetlejuice, but yeah, well, what can we do? That's the nature of the business, I suppose.

Oh well, it was fun watching a lot of your artwork shine a lot more in the '90s, with things like the Extreme Ghostbusters show, and yeah, it would have been if Richard Raynis was able to cut the deal and have the rights secured, but I learned to be content with what we got with Nelvana's version.

Anyway, good luck with your Patreon campaign, Fil, and take care, man!
clinteast's avatar
Wow this looks so different from what eventually came about. I really like how Lydia looks here, great transition from film to drawing.
filbarlow's avatar
I didn't have any reference of Winona Ryder as Lydia at the time, so I had to wing it.
clinteast's avatar
That's pretty good for no reference.
filbarlow's avatar
Thanks, the internet makes things so much easier.
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