In their own words: Tad Stones
Disney is selling RoJ at a lower price than its theatrical features and has avoided calling it a sequel or "Aladdin II." Originally the film started with the word "Aladdin" formed out of smoke before the title. This was removed by Jeffrey Katzenberg, specifically to avoid the impression that Disney was comparing its quality to the original feature. Because RoJ was designed for the small screen, a smaller budget was deemed acceptable.
I work in Disney TV Animation. Believe me, I know how conservative the lawyers are because I am constantly having to cut things out of scripts, or even finished film, because of legal concerns. Concerns from another planet! I can't caricature a celebrity or use a sound alike because it implies that the celebrity gave his permission. I can't use a product name because it might be construed as an endorsement of the product. I've had to avoid a lot of legal parody because another company "might be disturbed." It drives us nuts that Tiny Toons and Animaniacs do it all the time. Makes no difference to our eagles. (We think the references are fun -- some of the writers of both shows are former Disney writers).
I had a fully animated gag in ALADDIN (the TV series) where Al says "Genie!
Stay here and guard the Sultan." Genie's eyes turn into blank half
circles and his ears grow to batlike proportions. A perfect parody of
the BTAS logo. He spouted off rapid fire dialogue about being an "avenger
of the night who hunts for evil as he leaps from one art deco building
to another." The scene turned to night and portrayed a caricatured
Genie morphs back to normal like nothing happened.
Really a nice bit but it ended up going. Maybe I'll upload a screen capture after the show goes on the air.
Anyway, the legal department goes out of its way to avoid the appearance of infringement. It's less work for them.
I'm going to step in here and hazard a guess. Due to the complaints of various Arab groups, the lyrics of the song, ARABIAN NIGHTS were modified to remove the phrases: "They'll cut off your ear if they don't like your face, it's barbaric, but hey, it's home!"
Although the TV show has different lyrics in its theme song, I chose them from Howard Ashman's original lyrics because I thought they better suited an ongoing series of Arabian Nights Adventures.
[E]verytime I see one [a giant monster] I'm reminded of that article that (mumble) posted quoting Tad Stones, I believe, as saying they didn't want the show to be like all the other Sat. AM ones with monsters, dinosaurs, etc....
Take all you read/hear/see in the media with a grain of salt. Sometimes you're misquoted, often you're just misunderstood. I believe the point I was making was that Aladdin got into new story areas and in addition, it's locale is unique when set against the typical SF based show. We tried to put a spin on any of the usual cliches of SatAM animation - robots, dinosaurs, etc.
Actually, I would have preferred doing fewer of these but the production machinery had to be fed. Too many people would be sitting idle while we tried to find something new under the sun. Take Mekanicles for instance. I wanted to keep the technology non-sentient but the stories became cluttered with details about controlling the machinery - with little attached entertainment value. We went for the humor of the character and the jeopardy caused by his creations. For the bulk of our audience, that was more important.
It's like the opening sequence of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Where'd that ancient civilization learn about light activated booby traps and pressurized air for firing poison darts?
Sometimes a monster was added for third act jeopardy. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. We were self conscious enough to give the villain Mozenrath a monster called the Thirdak.
Hindsight is a painful commodity. I am amazed at how well some of our more ambitious scripts have turned out. I wish we had had time to try a few more.
Aside from Val Bettin doing the Sultan and of course, Dan C. [Castelaneta] doing the genie, there are no "impersonators" doing the characters of the Aladdin movie in the Aladdin TV show. Them's the same folks.
As to Genie: by legal agreement Dan is NOT supposed to do an impression of Robin Williams.
[W]e're not saying the peddler is the Genie [in KoT]. I considered it but it wouldn't make sense in the continuity of the movie or the series.
In the original movie it would have made perfect sense, since the peddler was telling a story of his past.
Why don't you guys use some of the songs Howard and Alan wrote for the original Aladdin score, they are great just buy the "The Music Behind the Magic".
A couple of reasons:
First, those songs are so story specific that they would really hem you in when it comes to characters and storytelling. However, I think "Proud of Your Boy" is possibly the most moving ballad the team ever wrote. In many ways it fit the theme of our new story. But...
Secondly, although there's no binding legal agreement that I'm aware of, we feel that we should not set out to rewrite Howard Ashman's work. I think Alan [Menken] feels the same way.
Aladdin was difficult because I knew we would always be compared to the feature. I feel the show was not as funny nor exciting as it should have been.
When we were working on Aladdin, Jeffrey [Katzenberg] told us to stay away from Sinbad because they were developing it for features.
Tad: We're doing the teen aged adventures of Hercules. We learned
our lesson on Aladdin."
Mickey: "And that lesson is?"
I gotta say for the record that I'm embarrassed by The Return of Jafar. Although the first third is watchable.
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