The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians
|The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians|
|Genre||Animated television special|
|Written by||Romeo Muller|
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
|Theme music composer||Maury Laws|
|Country of origin||United States|
Arthur Rankin, Jr.|
|Running time||30 min.|
|Original release||April 7, 1970|
|Preceded by||Mad Monster Party|
|Followed by||Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town|
The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians (1970) is an animated half-hour ABC television special produced by Rankin/Bass. The show aired on April 7, 1970 before the airing of that year's Oscars. It was a tribute to early vaudeville, and featured animated reworkings of various famous comedians' acts.
Production and Marx Brothers
Most of the comedians provided their own voices for their animated counterparts, except for W. C. Fields and Chico, both deceased, Zeppo who had left show business in 1933, and Harpo also deceased, but no voice was needed for him since his stage persona did not speak. Groucho was still playing himself. Voice actor Paul Frees narrated the show and filled in for those actors who were not able to do their own voices.
The show included such segments as a Marx Brothers skit, which was a reworking of a scene from their Broadway play I'll Say She Is (1924). The skit included their famous Napoleon parody, with Napoleon played by Groucho. The sketch featured animated representations. Romeo Muller is credited as having written special material for the show in addition to the original scripts that came from the various comedians' sketches.
Although not really remembered now by the general public, at the time it gave Rankin/Bass their highest TV ratings ever, notably even higher than the high-rated Rudolph. In recent years, Behr Entertainment was in talks to produce a similar show that would feature cartoon renditions of Jack Benny, George Burns, Abbott & Costello, and Bob Hope. 13 half-hour episodes were proposed.
- Jack Benny – Himself
- The Smothers Brothers – Themselves
- George Burns – Himself
- Phyllis Diller – Herself
- Paul Frees – Chico Marx, Traffic Cop, W. C. Fields, Zeppo Marx
- Joan Gardner – Josephine Bonaparte
- Tom Bosley – Policeman
- George Jessel – Himself
- Jack E. Leonard – Himself
- Groucho Marx – Napoleon; Himself
- Flip Wilson – Himself
- Henny Youngman – Himself
- Producers/Directors – Arthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass
- Special Material – Romeo Muller
- Flip Wilson Segment Courtesy – Atlantic Records
- Caricatures – Bruce Stark
- Continuity Design – Don Duga
- Animation Production – Mushi Productions
- Animation Supervisor – Steve Nakagawa
- Animation – Osamu Dezaki, Sadao Miyamoto, Akio Sugino (all uncredited)
- Editorial Supervision – Irwin Goldress
- Title Song – Maury Laws, Jules Bass
- Music – Maury Laws