Tag Archive | "cartoons"

1986’s ‘Transformers: The Movie’ To Return To Theaters For One Night Only This September!

1986’s ‘Transformers: The Movie’ To Return To Theaters For One Night Only This September!

Brace yourself to relive the excitement and nostalgia of the thrilling action battles between the AUTOBOTS and the DECEPTICONS from the 1986 TRANSFORMERS movie on the silver screen! The world-renowned animated feature film THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE hits cinemas nationwide for a special one-night event on Thursday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m. local time. The film has been meticulously remastered, restored from the original film elements, and transferred in HD.

THE TRANSFORMERS (1986) MOVIE EVENT will catapult audiences into the super-charged, action-packed TRANSFORMERS universe, and enables lifelong fans to relive the excitement and awe of this 1986 animated feature, just months before BUMBLEBEE, the new live-action feature film set in the year 1987, hits theaters everywhere in December 2018.

This special event is a collaboration between Fathom Events, Hasbro Studios and Shout! Factory, and it will also provide moviegoers with a sneak peek behind the making of the BUMBLEBEE feature film, and a brand-new interview with singer-songwriter Stan Bush including recent performances of the theme songs “The Touch” and “Dare.” Moviegoers will be able to enjoy the film in approximately 500 select U.S. movie theaters. A complete list of theater locations will be available at Fathomevents.com.

THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE has captured a special place in the hearts of millions and has been a staple in the pop culture zeitgeist since 1986. Featuring memorable characters from the heroic AUTOBOTS and villainous DECEPTICONS, and thrilling action and a heartfelt storyline, THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE is a cultural touchstone that spans generations. Beloved by legions of fans, this full-length animated adventure boasts the voice talent of Orson Welles in his final voice acting role and an all-star voice cast that includes Peter Cullen, Eric Idle, Casey Kasem, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack and Frank Welker.

Tickets for THE TRANSFORMERS (1986) MOVIE EVENT will go on sale on Friday, August 3rd and can be purchased online or at participating movie theater box offices.

The AUTOBOTS, led by the heroic OPTIMUS PRIME, prepare to make a daring attempt to retake their planet from the evil forces of MEGATRON and the DECEPTICONS. Unknown to both sides, a menacing force is heading their way – UNICRON. The only hope of stopping UNICRON lies within the Matrix of Leadership and the AUTOBOT who can rise up and use its power to light their darkest hour. Will the AUTOBOTS be able to save their native planet from destruction or will the DECEPTICONS reign supreme?

The TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE is co-produced and directed by Nelson Shin; produced by Joe Bacal and Tom Griffin; supervising producer, Jay Bacal; executive producers, Margaret Loesch and Lee Gunther; music score by Vince Dicola and Ed Fruge.

About Fathom Events
Fathom Events is the leading event cinema distributor with theater locations in all top 100 DMAs® (Designated Market Areas) and ranks as one of the largest overall theater content distributors. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), Fathom Events offers a variety of unique entertainment events in movie theaters such as live performances of the Metropolitan Opera, top Broadway stage productions, major sporting events, epic concerts, the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, inspirational events and popular anime franchises. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes for unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events’ live Digital Broadcast Network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 941 locations and 1,496 screens in 181 DMAs. The company also provides corporations a compelling national footprint for hosting employee meetings, customer rewards events and new product launches. For more information, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

About Hasbro
Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) is a global play and entertainment company committed to Creating the World’s Best Play Experiences. From toys and games to television, movies, digital gaming and consumer products, Hasbro offers a variety of ways for audiences to experience its iconic brands, including NERF, MY LITTLE PONY, TRANSFORMERS, PLAY-DOH, MONOPOLY, BABY ALIVE and MAGIC: THE GATHERING, as well as premier partner brands. Through its entertainment labels, Allspark Pictures and Allspark Animation, the Company is building its brands globally through great storytelling and content on all screens. Hasbro is committed to making the world a better place for children and their families through corporate social responsibility and philanthropy. Hasbro ranked No. 5 on the 2018 100 Best Corporate Citizens list by CR Magazine, and has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere Institute for the past seven years. Learn more at www.hasbro.com, and follow us on Twitter (@Hasbro & @HasbroNews) and Instagram (@Hasbro).

About Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform media company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s entertainment offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music and comedy specials. In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast entertainment distribution network which delivers culturally relevant programming, movie and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America and across multiple platforms. Shout! Factory owns and operates Shout! Studios, Scream Factory, Shout! Factory Kids, Shout! Factory Films, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory TV. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. Shout! Factory is based in Los Angeles, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com

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Shout! Factory Announces ‘Transformers: The Movie’ 30th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook

Shout! Factory Announces ‘Transformers: The Movie’ 30th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook

As announced early June, Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios, will release The TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE 30th Anniversary Edition this fall 2016. This beloved animated feature is being remastered, and a full-range of bonus content and collectible packaging are currently in production. Now, Shout! Factory further celebrates the 30th Anniversary of this iconic movie with The TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE Limited Edition, 30th Anniversary Steelbook (2-disc Blu-ray™ set + Digital Copy), available at Amazon and in stores at select retail locations on September 13, 2016. Featuring the heroic AUTOBOTS, as they defend their native planet CYBERTRON from the evil DECEPTICONS and UNICRON, TheTRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE boasts the voice talent of Orson Welles in his final role and an all-star voice cast that includes Peter Cullen, Eric Idle, Casey Kasem, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack and Frank Welker. Take a first look at the Limited Edition, 30th Anniversary Steelbook packaging below:

For the ultimate fans and collectors, The TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE Limited Edition30th Anniversary Steelbook comes with highly collectible Steelbook packaging, 2-Blu-ray set of the newly remastered movie, immersive bonus content including brand-new featurettes, a digital copy of the movie and more. This is a must-own collection to every fan’s library!

*Shout! Factory will announce in-depth details on bonus content and even more exciting details at the Shout Factory’s SDCC panel.

Pre-order is now available at: 



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Shout Factory To Release ‘Transformers: The Movie’ On Blu-ray This September!

Shout Factory To Release ‘Transformers: The Movie’ On Blu-ray This September!


Shout! Factory, a multi-platform media company, and Hasbro Studios announced a strategic distribution collaboration to bring the iconic animated feature, TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE to the home entertainment marketplace in the U.S. and Canada. This full-length animated adventure boasts the voice talent of Orson Welles in his final role and an all-star voice cast that includes Peter Cullen, Eric Idle, Casey Kasem, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack and Frank Welker. The announcement was made today by Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos; and Hasbro’s Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer Stephen Davis.

The multi-year alliance provides Shout! Factory with exclusive home entertainment packaged media (Blu-ray and DVD) and select digital rights to Hasbro’s TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE for home entertainment releases in North America. In honor of the 30th anniversary of TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE, this beloved animated feature will be newly remastered and transferred in HD from the original 35mm elements. A full-range of bonus content and collectible packaging are currently in development. Shout! Factory plans an aggressive rollout of TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE 30th Anniversary Edition on September 13, 2016.

“The Transformers franchise has been part of American popular culture for more than 30 years, developing into one of the most recognizable brands around the globe,” said Stephen Davis, Chief Content Officer and Executive Vice President of Hasbro. “TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE played a huge role in the brand’s early success, laying the foundation for major motion pictures, several successful TV series, clothing and apparel, toys and much more. We are thrilled to work with Shout! Factory to deliver the original movie to fans in a completely remastered HD experience.”

“TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE is a highly sought-after animated feature, boasting a large fan following and consumer interest. On its 30th anniversary, we look forward to celebrating this film by bringing it to North America on Blu-ray for the first time. Having worked closely with Hasbro Studios on top brands like animated series TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE, G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO, TRANSFORMERS PRIME, MY LITTLE PONY, MY LITTLE PONY EQUESTRIA GIRLS movies and more, this is incredibly exciting and important news for us,” said Melissa Boag, Senior Vice President of Kids & Family Entertainment at Shout! Factory. “We look forward to bringing TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE, featuring all-new HD transfer with stunning packaging and great extras to fans and on family home entertainment shelves.”

Action-packed animated feature TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE chronicles the heroic efforts of the AUTOBOTS as they defend their native planet CYBERTRON from the evil DECEPTICONS and UNICRON.

The AUTOBOTS, led by the heroic OPTIMUS PRIME, prepare to make a daring attempt to retake their planet from the evil forces of MEGATRON and the DECEPTICONS. Unknown to both sides, a menacing force is heading their way – UNICRON. The only hope of stopping UNICRON lies within the Matrix of Leadership and the AUTOBOT who can rise up and use its power to light their darkest hour. Will the AUTOBOTS be able to save their native planet from destruction or will the DECEPTICONS reign supreme?

TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE is co-produced and directed by Nelson Shin; produced by Joel Bacal and Tom Griffin; supervising producer, Jay Bacal; executive producers, Margaret Loesch and Lee Gunther; music score by Vince DiCola.

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“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” To Air Halloween Night On ABC

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” To Air Halloween Night On ABC

A True Halloween Classic!

A True Halloween Classic!

Mark your calendars! The classic animated Halloween-themed PEANUTS special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, created by late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, as well as a bonus PEANUTS cartoon, “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown,” in which Linus runs for class president, will air THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

In the 1966 animated special “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” The PEANUTS gang celebrates Halloween, with Linus hoping that, finally, he will be visited by The Great Pumpkin, while Charlie Brown is invited to a Halloween party. Cast members include Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown) and Christopher Shea (Linus). The cast also includes Sally Dryer as Lucy, Chris Doran as Schroeder, Bill Melendez as Snoopy, Kathy Steinberg as Sally, Tracy Stratford as Violet and Ann Altieri as Frieda.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” was executive-produced by Lee Mendelson and created and written by Charles M. Schulz. Bill Melendez is the producer and director and Vince Guaraldi is the music composer.

“You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown” – in which Linus runs for class president with Lucy and Charlie Brown managing his campaign — features Chad Webber as Charlie Brown, Robin Kohn as Lucy, Stephen Shea as Linus, Hilary Momberger as Sally and Todd Barbee as Russell.

“You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown” was written by Charles M. Schulz, directed by Bill Melendez and produced by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez. The original music was composed and performed by Vince Guaraldi.

On October 2, 1950, the PEANUTS comic strip launched in seven American newspapers. Who would have guessed the impact the brand would have around the world for decades to come. Nearly 60 years later, the comic strip appears in over 2,200 newspapers, in 75 countries and 21 languages. PEANUTS animated specials have become a seasonal tradition and thousands of consumer products are available in virtually all retail channels. Charlie Brown kicking the football, Linus and his blanket and Lucy leaning over Schroeder’s piano are images to which everyone can relate. Such phrases as “Security Blanket” and “Good Grief” have become a part of the global vernacular. Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez’s association with Charles Schulz stretches back to 1965 with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which debuted on CBS in 1965 with Mendelson as executive producer and Bill Melendez as animator and director. The three men continued their long-term association until Schulz’s death, working together on 50 PEANUTS network specials and four feature films. The network specials won five Emmys, two Peabodys and 18 other Emmy nominations.

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‘Rocko’s Modern Life: Season Two’ Heads Home In January From Shout! Factory

‘Rocko’s Modern Life: Season Two’ Heads Home In January From Shout! Factory

Rocko's Modern Life: Season 2

Rocko, Spunky and Heffer are back for more wacky adventures and surreal moments in modern life as they know it in O-Town. Relive more hilarity-filled misadventures of Australian wallaby Rocko and his gang when Rocko’s Modern Life: Season Two 2-DVD set arrives in stores nationwide for the first time on February 7, 2012 from Shout! Factory. Packed with all 22 brain-popping adventures and special bonus content, this DVD set features an all-new cover art illustration by series creator Joe Murray.  The collectible Rocko’s Modern Life: Season Two DVD set is priced to own with a suggested retail price of $19.93.

Created by award-winning animator Joe Murray for Nickelodeon, Rocko’s Modern Life boasts an all-star voice cast — Carlos Alazraqui (CatDog), Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants), Charlie Adler (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters), and Doug Lawrence (SpongeBob SquarePants). Memorable antics from Season Two include a bad hair day for newspaper photograph, Rocko’s Modern Christmas special, Rocko and Filburt’s travel to TV Central, appendicitis and more!

Rocko’s Modern Life is one of the most celebrated Nick animated classics. A favorite with viewers and critics alike, this hit animated series debuted in 1993. Over the course of its four-season run on Nickelodeon, the series garnered a Daytime Emmy® Award and an Environmental Media Award.

Brimming with anthropomorphic social satire and offbeat humor, Rocko’s Modern Life is a production of Joe Murray Productions and Nickelodeon Animation Studios. It has been sub-licensed for home video distribution to Shout! Factory by Paramount Home Entertainment and Nickelodeon.

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Transformers Prime: The Complete First Season Limited Edition Blu-ray Set Arrives In March!

Transformers Prime: The Complete First Season Limited Edition Blu-ray Set Arrives In March!

Transformers Prime - Season 1

Prepare to experience the world of TRANSFORMERS PRIME like never before with perfect picture visuals and the purest digital sound available when the entire first season of the award-winning CGI animated series TRANSFORMERS PRIME arrives in stores everywhere in North America on March 6, 2012 in a deluxe 4-DVD set and a Limited Edition 4-Disc Blu-ray™ collection from Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios.

Both the DVD and Blu-ray collections of TRANSFORMERS PRIME: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON boast all 26 action-packed episodes (including the 5-part miniseries Darkness Rising) and special bonus content. For a limited time only, TRANSFORMERS PRIME: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON Limited Edition 4-Disc Blu-ray contains a 96-page IDW graphic novel based on this hit series.

Fans and collectors can pre-order the DVD release of TRANSFORMERS PRIME: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON today!  The Limited-Edition 4-Disc Blu-ray Collection (featuring the 96-page IDW graphic novel) is available for preorder exclusively on Amazon and ShoutFactoryStore.com.

Delivering a new level of heavy metal action and family entertainment for all ages, the limited edition Blu-ray collection is priced to own at $64.99 SRP. The deluxe 4-DVD set is sold separately and has a suggested retail price of $ 29.93 SRP.

The TRANSFORMERS saga starts a new chapter as old foes return, legendary heroes rise, and new ones are found in unlikely places. The new EMMY Award winning series TRANSFORMERS PRIME, A Hasbro Studios production, currently airs on The HUB television network in the U.S. and Teletoons in Canada, deepens the epic mythology of both the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS, while starting a new chapter for a new generation of fans.

In early 2011, loyal TRANSFORMERS fans, as well as families and kids, were introduced to this visually stunning five-part miniseries on The HUB. OPTIMUS PRIME, BUMBLEBEE, ARCEE, AUTOBOT RATCHET, BULKHEAD, and many others are back to “roll out” against MEGATRON’s latest attempt to conquer Earth. And MEGATRON proves to be more powerful than ever, having acquired a rare element that allows him mastery over life itself. OPTIMUS PRIME and the AUTBOTS may be few against the DECEPTICON hordes, but they find increased strength through bonds forged with three human teenagers.

Season One of TRANSFORMERS PRIME boasts an all-star voice cast, including Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Steve Blum, Jeffrey Combs, Adam Baldwin, Markie Post, Ernie Hudson, among other notables. TRANSFORMERS PRIME is produced by Hasbro Studios, with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Kline serving as executive producers. Kurtzman and Orci served as writers for the feature films TRANSFORMERS and TRANSFORMERS: Revenge of the Fallen.

TRANSFORMERS PRIME recently garnered two Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation and six Emmy nominations.

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Alvin of ‘Alvin and The Chipmunks’ Fame Goes Missing!

Alvin of ‘Alvin and The Chipmunks’ Fame Goes Missing!

Moments after famed Chipmunks actor/singer/mischief-maker Alvin and his brothers Simon and Theodore became part of Hollywood history at a hand and footprint – make that paw and paw-print – ceremony at Hollywood’s legendary Chinese Theatre, Alvin suddenly disappeared.

The shocking turn of events left hundreds of attendees at the gala event – including actor Jason Lee, several filmmakers, Twentieth Century Fox studio executives, and many Alvin and the Chipmunks fans – asking each other, “Where is Alvin?”  Jason Lee, who portrays Chipmunks “dad” Dave Seville in the blockbuster film franchise, asked attendees to join him in Dave’s signature yelp of exasperation – “ALVIIIIN!!” – to convince the Chipmunks frontman to return to the stage, but to no avail.

Lee and the filmmakers announced plans to locate their missing friend, including a website, www.whereisalvin.com, at which fans can post videos and photos of their “Alvin Sightings.”

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED hits theaters everywhere December 16, 2011. 

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The Man of 1000 Voices: Tom Kenny Discusses His Unique Career!

The Man of 1000 Voices: Tom Kenny Discusses His Unique Career!

While the name Tom Kenny may not ring a bell for many of you, chances are this “Man of 1,000 Voices” has impacted your life through the years. Whether it is lending his voice to a popular television commercial, conjuring up the sound of a new character in a host of classic animated series or bringing smiles to the faces of millions of kids and adults worldwide as the voice of Spongebob Squarepants, he built one of the most unique careers in the entertainment industry. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Tom Kenny to discuss his amazing career and his exciting projects, and to get an exclusive look behind the curtain at the life of a voice-over artist!

Let’s start with a little background on you. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Syracuse, New York. Central New York State, ya know, very far from any resemblance of a career in show business, which I think was good! [laughs]

They say the entertainment is not for the faint of heart. How did you get your start initially?

It’s funny because I always thought of myself as being slightly faint of heart! [laughs] But when it came to this one thing, I had some weird  eye of the tiger determination that I didn’t realize that I had until later. At the behest of a very good friend of mine, a very close childhood friend pushed me into doing stand-up comedy at this amateur comedy night that they were having in Syracuse. It was the late ‘70s or early ‘80s and I was still a high school kid. This was well before the big ‘80s comedy boom, so stand-up wasn’t really cool yet. I wound up really loving it! Then before I knew it, I found myself in Boston, San Francisco, making a living for seven or eight years as a stand-up comedian. That is kinda the short version but I have been day job free since 1984! [laughs]

There’s nothing wrong with that!


Who would you cite as some of your biggest influences?

Even when I was doing stand-up, my influences weren’t really stand-ups. I mean, I love George Carlin and people like that but my stand-up probably had more in common with Tex Avery, Chuck Jones and Stan Freberg, who also had an animated component to their careers. In terms of voice-over, Mel Blanc, who is obviously the Babe Ruth of voice-over guys, June Foray, Daws Butler, Don Messick, Paul Frees, people like that were my voice-over idols.

How did you make the transition from stand-up to voice over work? Was it a gradual change or a rapid switch?

Yeah, it was kind of a switch but a little bit gradual. When I was doing stand-up, done here in LA and in San Francisco where I was dividing my time, I auditioned for a show called “Rocko’s Modern Life,” which just came out on DVD from Shout! Factory! Plug, plug! [laughs] I had always wanted to do voice-over, that was my dream career, even more than stand-up comedy. My stand-up career I was glad to have and it sure beat the hell out of working in a cubicle with a tie on, but I didn’t totally, totally love it. Once I started doing voice-overs here and there, I realized that I totally loved it! It was like, “Wow! I am totally falling in love with this career! I want to do this and not the other thing!” I pushed and, although it was kinda gradual, I tried to phase out stand-up and on-camera stuff as much as I could, just because A) I liked the voice-over work better and B) I just thought that it was a better use of my skill set. On camera, I did a lot off sketch comedy shows and made sitcom appearances and stuff like that but you would walk into a room for an audition and there would be 100 guys that looked like you and were just about as funny as you, probably funnier! I just felt like when I was doing voice-over that I had more to bring to the party. There weren’t a million other guys that could do it as well as I could.

You mentioned auditioning for “Rocco’s Modern Life.” What is the typical audition process for one of these animated projects like? Has it changed for you now that you are more established in the industry?

Really it hasn’t changed at all, despite Spongebob Squarepants and all that stuff on IMDB! It really hasn’t changed. You still go in and audition. You sign in, they say, “Go sit over there. Here are the papers. Here is a picture of the character and a description of its personality with a few suggestions of things that they are looking at for the character. Think Mr. Haney from ‘Green Acres’ meets some other obscure character actor!” [laughs] From that you try and twist and turn it and be the one that they like! Which I always think consists of giving them exactly what they want and making them say, “Yes! That is exactly the voice that I have been hearing in my head!” or “Wow! That is really not at all what I had been picturing but it’s kinda cool. Let’s try more of that!” or “Let’s read him for this other character because what he is doing is perfect for this other character that isn’t the one we called him in on.” I find that really fun. I found that when I was auditioning for on-camera work that auditioning process just gave me indigestion, ya know? My stomach would just be flip-flopping. I hated it and just wanted to get out of there! [laughs] With voice-over work, each audition is a sudoku or Rubik’s Cube to be figured out. I really love that! It is basically like going to a batting cage and you just step up and take your swings, ya know? You hit it just often enough that it is fun and the whiffs you just try to forget as soon as possible! [laughs]

I am sure you see a lot of the same faces when you are out for auditions. Is the voice-over industry a fairly competitive business?

Tom Kenny Means Business!

In contrast to the on-camera world, I would say that it is friendly competitive. There is a pretty finite amount of guys and ladies that do the majority of voice-over work. When I was first starting out, it was my goal to become one of those guys. It was like, “OK, those guys are the Navy Seals. How long do I have to hold my breath underwater before I can get a chance to join these guys?!” It kinda is like that! It is kinda the four eyed wussy version of the Navy Seals! [laughs] You know, you’ve got Billy West, Rob Paulsen, Dee Bradley Baker, Carlos Alazraqui, Maurice LaMarche, Jim Cummings, Kevin Michael Richardson, Wally Wingert, all of these guys that I know and love and I think that they like me! It is a pleasure going up against them. When you are told that, “It came down to you and Billy West and they wound up going with Billy,” it is impossible to get mad at that because it’s Billy West! He is like the Orson Welles of voice-over! He’s the greatest! So I really enjoy that and probably to the detriment of my show biz career, I was never a highly competitive person. I never had that jock mentality but I guess in this one area, I kinda enjoy grabbin’ a glove and gettin’ in the game! Is that enough baseball metaphors for one interview?! [laughs]

Oh, it’s great! And now we know that we aren’t going to see you in a street fight with Billy West anytime in the near future!

Well, ya know, if it came down to it … I would cut him to get the gig! I would! It would be like “Rebel Without A Cause” at the Griffith Observatory, just me and Buzz swingin’ knives at each other! [laughs] So probably no street fights in our future. Billy works out so he could probably kick my ass anyway!

How did you get involved with the “Spongebob Squarepants” project initially and did you have any inkling that it was going to have the impact that it has on audiences over the years?

“Spongebob Squarepants” was a direct result of “Rocco’s Modern Life.” So many of the guys that began working and crafting Spongebob from the beginning were there because “Rocco’s Modern Life” was their first show and first employment in the animation world, including mine and Carlos Alazraqui, who did the voice of Rocco and would go on to be on “Reno 911” and a whole bunch of other stuff. Steve Hillenburg was there as well as the creative director of “Rocco’s Modern Life.” When “Rocco” ended a few years later, he pitched his new project to Nickelodeon about a sponge that lived in a pineapple under the sea. He remembered me and said, “This is the guy that I want to do Spongebob. I don’t want to have an audition, this is exactly the guy!” So from that first cartoon it kinda lead to the next project. To answer the second part of your question, no way did anyone see this job, we were just happy to be working, turn into a global phenomenon! I was traveling around Italy and Spain, even after all of these years, I still get excited when I see some Italian waitress at a restaurant wearing a Spongebob T-shirt! [laughs] It’s kinda cool!

How much do you get to improvise when working on a project? Does it vary and what can you bring to the table on these types of projects?

Yeah, it does vary from project to project. Every show is different and when you do it for a little while you kinda discover which shows are cool to do heavy ad-libbing on and which shows are cool to do some light judicious ad-libbing on and which shows you need to stick to the script because it is the 25th draft and they don’t want to change anything! [laughs] It really depends on how many colors of pages are in the script. It’s like, “Wow! Goldenrod! I better not ad-lib on this!” [laughs] It does differ but I feel that one of the things that has really helped me out in the career that I have now is having done all that stand-up and sketch comedy beforehand. It helped me become comfortable riffing and ad-libbing. A lot of these cartoons have a lot of singing and music stuff in them and I always played in bands and stuff like that, so that comes in very handy. I guess that gets back to what I was saying about this weird, disparate skill set that I have which tends to be best utilized in this animation/voice-over arena. That coupled with the fact that I just enjoy the hell out of it is a nice, harmonic convergence.

Shout! Factory has been really great about bringing all of the classic Nickelodeon shows back for all of us to enjoy again. We mentioned “Rocco’s Modern Life” and “CatDog” just came out …

Yeah! “CatDog” has always been one of my favorites. That was a crazy show!

As they put these sets out, do you ever get a chance to look back at your career so far and think about how you have evolved in your craft along the way?

Ya know, I am not a big look back at my work kinda person, just because I am always running around doing whatever my current thing is and I have to keep those plates spinning. But now, because I have kids, I will walk in and they will be watching an old “Dexter’s Laboratory” or “Powerpuff Girls” or “CatDog” episode. The TV will be on and you will walk in and be like, “Wow! I remember that! That was that session where we all were cracking up because such and such happened …” or “That guy was a guest star on this! I had totally forgotten about that!” To be honest, it is kinda fun! It is like flipping through a photo album. In terms of how I have evolved, I guess if you have been doing one thing for a long time and you haven’t gotten any better, your stupid and it is probably time to get out! [laughs] So, just by doing it for so long, I am probably a lot better than when I was on “Rocco’s Modern Life.” A lot of that just has to do with confidence and just realizing that you can do it and you figure out the ins and outs of it technically and acting-wise. You figure out the lay of the land. One thing that I have noticed is that my approach and my feel for it hasn’t really abated or changed at all. I am just so glad to have a job that I like! I get to go to work everyday and work with these fun, energetic and visionary creators like Craig McCracken, Pendleton Ward, Peter Hannan who did “CatDog,” Steve Hillenburg and Joel Murray who did “Rocco’s Modern Life” and these voice-actors who are funny, weird, smart and insane in a very benign, functional way! They have figured out how to turn multi-personality disorder into a functioning career! It is a fun thing to do everyday and even after all the years that I have been doing it, it’s great! I may well be one of the last people in America that enjoys going into his job everyday! [laughs] I may be one of the last Americans that has a job!

You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to doing voices. I ask this question of a lot of the actors we interview but I was curious to ask it of an established voice actor. Is there a type of role or genre that you haven’t had a chance to tackle yet that you are on the lookout for?

Tom Kenny Hard At Work!

I have to say that one of the things that attracted me to voice-over as opposed to stand-up or on-camera work is the fact that I could play a wide variety of roles and it doesn’t matter what I look like. I mean, I don’t know what type of roles I would be playing today but back when I was auditioning 20 years ago, it was like, “OK, you are a guy with a kooky haircut and Buddy Holly glasses … let’s put you in the nerd file! If we need a guy on an ‘A-Team’ type show where it calls for a guy who looks like he is really good at fixing computers, we’ll have you audition for that guy!” That would end up being the role you would play! You are kind of a prisoner of your own body. It’s kinda funny because with voice-over, I have gotten the chance to play Iron Man or Captain America or Dr. Octopus! I have played good guys, bad guys, heroes, villains, monsters, comedic characters, nice characters and evil characters. I have gotten to play the straight-laced announcer, like, “Ask your doctor if such and such is right for you!” or on a promo like “Tonight … on an all new ‘Fraiser!’” It is so varied! I feel like I get to access a whole bunch of different vibes and feels. Every work week I get to do six or seven heterogeneous things so I don’t get to feel that frustration that maybe someone feels from playing James Bond or Spock for a million years would feel! [laughs] Luckily I have managed to bypass contracting Gilligan’s disease. [laughs] “I should have never worn this stupid hat and shirt!” [in Bob Denver voice] It’s the tragic side of Bob Denver! “There’s more to me than Gilligan, dammit!”

One of the stranger things I discovered about you was that you were rumored to be dead on Twitter early this year? What was it like to wake up dead?

It’s funny, that happened in October of last year. I remember because I was at a little spooky Halloween train ride here in Griffith Park in LA with my kids. Out of nowhere people just started calling me like, “Are you OK?” or “Don’t go on Twitter!” or “Hey man, did you know that you are dead and the number one trending topic on Twitter?!” At that time, I didn’t even know what a trending topic was and I had to have them define it! Then I found out that I had actually died once before that but nobody told me! So that was my second time dying. It’s kinda weird and kinda fun and definitely interesting because you only have a couple of hours before it is disproven, so it is nice to be able to go on and see what people are saying about you now that you are dead! [laughs] Very bizarre but I guess I joined Jeff Goldblum, Justin Bieber and others in the illustrious ranks of Internet passings!

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on a career in the entertainment industry in any capacity?

Well, I have a couple of capacities! Like I said, I have done stand-up, acting, the voice-over work and I have been a writer on a couple of shows. Ya know, it sounds so trite and cornball but it’s true. Ya gotta come to Detroit if you wanna make automobiles, ya know what I mean? I would say get as many chops in as you can in around your hometown and once you feel that you have hit the glass ceiling where you are from, get to LA and just get in. Whether that is, depending on what you want to do, taking a class on writing, acting, voice-over or whatever you want to do to meet other like-minded people. That was huge for me when I was starting out, realizing that there were all these other like-minded people who were into all the same crazy stuff that I was and kinda knew the secret handshake. Those are the same people that I still collaborate and work with today. They found their way into the industry and found a way to make a viable living at it as well. It can kick your butt! It can be intense. I should say that after “Rocco’s Modern Life” ended, I had a year and a half where I couldn’t book a voice-over. I kept auditioning with no luck and was like, “OK, I guess it’s over!” [laughs] “That was a fun voice-over career that I had for a year! Back to the crappy comedy club that I hate!” But then some other things started to happen. Like the kitten on the poster says, “Hang in there, baby!”

What other projects do you have coming up that we should be on the lookout for?

Well, let’s see! Spongebob is still going strong! It is still rising in the ratings, so it will be around for some time to come! “Adventure Time” is doing really well on Cartoon Network. There is some more “Winnie The Pooh” stuff in the works, where I play Rabbit, so “Pooh” is up and running. There are new episodes of Disney’s “Handy Manny” coming out. I write some of the songs for that show along with some of the songs for “Spongebob Squarepants.” There is also a “Green Lantern” series coming out where I play the bad guy, Zilius Zox. That is going to be coming out in the Fall. “Ultimate Spider-Man,” where I play Dr. Octopus is also going to be coming out in the Fall as well. I am kinda like “Where’s Waldo,” ya know?! Always hiding in the background somewhere!

Anything that you would like to say to the fans before I let you go?

Yeah, thanks for watching stuff and giving a crap about me and the stuff I do! [laughs] All of us voice-over actors appreciate the people who notice that we are here. On the show biz ladder, voice-over people are right down there with the guy who sets up the Tilt-A-Whirl at the carnival! [laughs]

Thanks for taking time out to talk to us, Tom. We will be spreading the word on all your projects and I hope that we talk again very soon!

I hope that we will! Thanks so much for having me!

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Relativity Media And Atlas Entertainment To Unleash Voltron™ On The Big Screen!

Relativity Media And Atlas Entertainment To Unleash Voltron™ On The Big Screen!

Relativity Media’s President of Worldwide Production Tucker Tooley announced today the studio has optioned the feature film rights for Voltron™ from World Event Productions, and will adapt the live-action big screen version from the 1984 cult-classic animated series Voltron: Defender of the Universe™. The project was brought to Relativity through their deal with Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven and Richard Suckle, whose company will shepherd the project.

In Voltron™, an elite battle force defends the fate of mankind in the spectacular action adventure. Five young warriors are responsible for the future of the galaxy when they become pilots of a battalion of ultra-high-tech Robot Lions, powerful vessels with the ability to join together to form a fearsome mega-weapon known as “Voltron”.

The original series, based on the Japanese anime properties Beast King GoLion and Kikou Kantai Dairugger XV, aired in the United States for two years and has been described as an “international pop-culture hit” that has garnered a large following over the last 25 years. In recent years, the Voltron™ property has sold over 300,000 DVDs, established numerous apparel and consumer product deals and has spawned a highly-successful TV series, Voltron Force™, which became Nicktoon’s highest-rated debut ever on June 16, 2011. Voltron™ will be making its first-ever panel debut at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Thursday, July 21 where they will feature a presentation of all-new and classic Voltron™ content.

The Original Voltron

The live-action film will be produced by Atlas Entertainment’s Roven (The Dark Knight) and Richard Suckle (The International), along with Kickstart Entertainment’s Jason Netter (Wanted). World Events Productions’ Ted Koplar (Voltron Force) will executive produce. The script is being penned by Thomas Dean Donnelly (Conan the Barbarian) and Joshua Oppenheimer (Sahara).

Tooley said, “For nearly three decades, Voltron™ has captured the minds of a nostalgically loyal and rabid fan base and has long been considered a hotly-pursued project. We are beyond excited World Event Productions and Atlas Entertainment have placed their trust and faith in Relativity to bring this coveted property to the big screen, and usher in a new generation of devoted fans.” Tooley added, “With Chuck and Richard’s experience producing tentpoles, they are the perfect producers to bring this potential franchise to theaters.”

Roven, co-founder, Atlas Entertainment said, “It’s incredibly gratifying to officially announce the development of the live-action Voltron™ movie this week, given its recent resurgence and the start of Comic-Con.”

Suckle, producer, Atlas Entertainment added, “I know there’s been a lot of rumors and speculation about this movie, so it’s great to finally confirm to all the Voltron™ fans everywhere that we’re coming for them.”

World Events Productions was represented in the deal by UTA.

Looking ahead, Relativity will release David Ellis’ Shark Night 3D on September 2, 2011, followed by Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher on September 23, 2011, then the highly-anticipated Immortals on November 11, 2011, starring Henry Cavill, Stephen Dorff, Isabel Lucas, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans and Kellan Lutz with John Hurt and Mickey Rourke. The studio is in production on its Untitled Snow White Project (in theatres March 16, 2012), starring Lily Collins as Snow White, Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts as the evil Queen, Armie Hammer as Prince Andrew Alcott, and Nathan Lane as the hapless and bungling servant to the Queen. Relativity’s expansive 2012 slate also includes Haywire (in theatres January 20, 2012), Act of Valor (in theatres February 17, 2012), The Raven (in theatres March 9, 2012), Untitled Farrelly/Wessler Project (in theatres April 13, 2012), House at the End of the Street (in theatres April 20, 2012), Safe Haven (in theatres June 1, 2012) and Hunter Killer (in theatres December 21, 2012).

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A New ‘ThunderCats’ Trailer Roars It’s Way Online!

A New ‘ThunderCats’ Trailer Roars It’s Way Online!

The ThunderCats have been unleashed! Cartoon Network showed off a full trailer for the new cartoon series at WonderCon last weekend. Now, it is available online for all to see! Check it out below and weigh in with you thoughts!

Roaring to life through WBA and Studio4°C’s use of the Japanese animated artistry of anime, “ThunderCats” characters Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro, Cheetara and others will spring off the screen with realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations.

The new “ThunderCats” will appeal to viewers who have loved the characters all their lives as well as young newcomers to the franchise. A sweeping tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O’s ascension to the throne – and of those who would thwart his destiny at any cost – takes on epic dimensions in this sharp new telling. As the forces of good and evil battle each other in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power, Lion-O and his champions learn valuable lessons of loyalty, honor and mortality in every episode.

“ThunderCats” is executive produced by Sam Register (“Teen Titans,” “Ben 10,” “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”). Michael Jelenic (“Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” “Wonder Woman”) and Ethan Spaulding (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”) are the producers.

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