Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bump In the Night on YouTube

During the mid-1990s when there were still quality Saturday Morning Cartoons on the major networks, ABC had an excellent stop-motion animated show called "Bump In the Night" involving a monster under the bed (Mr. Bumpy), his neurotic side-kick toilet-bowl cleaner monster Squishington, their pal Molly Coddle, and various other toys and creatures living within the household of a boy and his sister.

Great talent worked on this show, including its creators Ken Pontac & David Bleiman. Many animators and fabricators had come off of Nightmare Before Christmas and some moved on to Pixar (which released its groundbreaking Toy Story a year later). Most of original songs during the Karaoke Café segments (shown separately) were written by none other than Jeff Moss, legendary Sesame Street composer of "Rubber Duckie," "One of these things is not like the other," and "I Love Trash." The animation was all done in the States. Voices were provided by Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain), and Gail Matthius.

In 2003 I had the pleasure of having a drink with Ken Pontac in Sausalito. He had been trying to teach an extension class called "Creating an Animated Series" about developing and pitching. Naturally I jumped at the chance, but only I and one of my friends signed up -- twice! Both times it was canceled due to lack of enrollment. Damn! Had it been in L.A. would it have worked? I don't know. But I knew who he was from Bump In the Night and was very happy to hang out with him for an afternoon. Recently he's been working on "Happy Tree Friends" cartoon series.

I managed to tape every episode (each contained 2 segments and a "Karaoke Café" song) aired onto high quality VHS tape back in 1994, but unfortunately I overwrote one by mistake, "Adventures in Microbia" & "Not a Peep." Ugh. So during my archiving project I intend to make the best of these available online, as I've only seen small, badly-recorded clips on YouTube so far. Unfortunately, the YouTube compression really mangles the opening sequence (full of camera moves and pans), but the episode itself looks okay. Ken mentioned back then he would like to get everything out on DVD, but I'm sure it'll take a while... It took 13 years to get another great animated series of that time, The Tick, onto DVD.

UPDATE: I found a better way to compress the videos such that youtube will accept them and they look better. Basically, I'm using H.264 with a bitrate of 1000.

Also, you can now purchase a few episodes on DVD!

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posted by Brian at 12:31 AM


Blogger Lollercoaster said...

Hey, would it be possible for you to copy some of the vhs tapes you have and send them to me? I will send you what i have of these cartoons on dvd. Im trying to complete my collection. Please email me @

thank you.

December 07, 2007  

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