|The Completely Uncensored Unbelievably True Ren &
Written, Compiled by Brandon Finkler
(See end of page for list of stuff I used to write this)
The Dirty Deed
Finally, as morale
had just about crumbled and the beaten-down Cartoonists wondered when they
would see they're last paycheck, Spümcø ran out of money. John
K. informed Nickelodeon that he had only two weeks salary left for the
people who gave Nickelodeon the most popular they ever had and that if
they didn't receive the money that was owed them, he would have to lay
off the crew the following Monday. Nickelodeon promised that the check
would arrive. It never did.
On Monday September
21, 1992, it was over. John K. was forced to lay off 40 people. After putting
on a brave face and trying to encourage the crew to keep a stiff upper
lip even as his own quivered, he then marched down the long corridor to
his office, locked the door and collapsed on his animation desk where,
12 years earlier, Ren and Stimpy had been born.
mourned. All over both floors at the famous cartoon studio, people wepted
openly - both men and women. Eleven-year-old gopher Alionzo Angel
cried out vainly for his adopted big-brother Vincent Waller, who was off
in Korea supervising "Big Baby Scam," unaware of the tragic event.
Nickelodeon yanked The
Ren & Stimpy Show away from it's creator and the dedicated crew that
tried so hard for so long to bring just a few laughs to kids and Moms and
Dads everywhere. And Gerry Laybourne's dream of "creator-driven cartoons"
The Horrible Crime
Two long weeks remained for the broken Spümcø
staff. While they dutifully dragged themselves into work the following
day, Bob Camp asked to speak with his mentor, John K., in Camp's office.
Camp told his discoverer that Nickelodeon was planning to open up their
own studio and produce The Ren & Stimpy Show themselves. Venessa
Coffey had offered Camp the position of "heading up the new studio. They're
going to make me producer! Can you imagine what this will do for my career?"
Understanding that Kricfalusi had lost Ren and Stimpy (who were like his
babies), Camp had the decency to ask for approval from the man who taught
him the ropes. Kricfalusi certianly did not want to stand in the way of
Bob's career - after all, he had been his biggest fan! But he did remind
Camp about all the broken promises that Nickelodeon had made to Spümcø.
Bob agreed that was a possibility, but assured John that he wouldn't dream
of taking the job unless thay "...pay me a helluva lot of MONEY!"
The two old friends shook hands and parted ways.
However, not all the
Spümcø Cartoonists were as quick to give up as their boss was.
Nor were they as forgiving of the horrible crime that was taking place.
Mike Fontanelli and Eddie Fitzgerald, who before Spümcø had
both suffered working on bad cartoons at uncaring studios for years, were
ready to try anything to save their favorite cartoon. They were preparing
a petition which they were asking loyal Spümcø employees to
sign stating that they would refuse to wofk for Nickelodeon unless the
show was given back to Spümcø. When they approached Camp with
the petition, he was aghast. "What are you guys doing? Stop or you'll ruin
everything!" he said to the boys. At first thinking Bob had a better plan
to save the show, they soon realized that Bob himself was going to be the
first employee of the new studio. Camp even made veiled offers of jobs,
with big fat raises. But they refused and the three former friends got
into quite a tiff. Mike and Eddie emphasized the inevitable ramafications
of the firing, including the ripple effect the shows loss would have on
the animation industry. They also pointed out that skeptics would brand
John's expirement in reviving the dead art of cartoony cartoons a failure.
Artists would have nowhere else where their contributions were a priority.
Instead, they would be forced back to other cartoon shops were artists
were treated like dirt. Not only would working for Nickleodeon mean selling
out Spümcø, it would mean selling out
all the cartoonists in the animation industry, and even worse, all of The
Ren & Stimpy Show fans. They also warned that working for corporate-controlled
Nickleodeon would mean working in a "every man for himself" atmosphere.
Camp would never know who to trust. But Bob wouldn't hear any of it. He
was deafened by the lure of money and power.
When Camp tried to shake
hands with Eddie Fitzgerald, Eddie kept his hand firmly in his pocket and
gave Bob his infamous "Fitzgerald-Sneer of disdain." Shocked that
people could feel so strongly about the studio that he helped to found
for them, Camp the "cartoon studio for cartoonists" crushed.
The Hand That Remained Clean
The next day, Bob Camp returned to Spümcø on a mission:
to smooth over the wounds he helped to inflict and to see how many people
he could get to shake his hand. Camp was still reeling from the realization
that Fontinelli, Fitzgerald and the other Spümcø people considered
it a crime for cartoonists to help Nickleodeon sell out their fellow cartoonists.
It slowly dawned on him that maybe what he was doing was wrong and an ugly
sense of guilt overwhelmed poor Bob. He scoured the studio to find people
he could tell his tragic story to. He tearfully explained to anybody that
would listen to his pitiful past. For six hard months he was oppressed
at the hands of the cartoonist-hating Tiny Toons bosses. After his
two years of dedication at Spümcø, the studio created to
give cartoonists great career opportunities, Bob was close to goal.
Spümcø and Ren & Stimpy lasted long enough to give
Bob his great career opportunity. How could people deny him his chance?
With an outstretched
hand, limp and puffy, he roamed from office to office in search of understanding
people. Many shook his hand out of pity. But in the layout department,
Camp found no solace. Fitzgerald made it a point again to NOT shake Bob's
hand. No, this cartoonists hand would stay clean!
Bob's Tears of Shame
K. was soon interrupted by a broken man. Tears streamed from Bob's eyes.
White sticky foam churned at the edges of his quivering lips. Camp, between
sobbing gasps, begged Kricfalusi to talk to the rest of the crew and explain
why Bob was doing what he was doing. Unfortunatly, while Kricfalusi forgave
Camp, he couldn't explain what Bob was doing because he didn't understand
it himself. Bob was particulary upset by the fact that his old pal, Eddie,
who once took Bob under his wing, wouldn't shake his hand. He blubbered,
"Eddie and Mike hate me, John. You've got to talk to them. Don't you understand?
I'm doing this for you!" Kricfalusi patiently suggested that maybe Bob
should not come to Spümcø for the remaining few days, while
the rest of the crew was in such a state of mind. Bob obeyed this last
command from his superior officer. He left Spümcø and never
came back as his Captian and crew went down with the ship.
"Games" is Founded
In the next few weeks, Camp and Roy Smith,
a Nickelodeon producer, tried desperatly to recruit many members of the
original Spümcø team. They were soon
surprised to find out how many refused to sell out. These people worked
long and hard on Ren & Stimpy and were proud of it's success.
They weren't about to help Nickelodeon destroy what their fans had come
to love. All of the key members of the Spümcø team, including
the producer, directors, writers and most of the layout artists, stuck
loyally with the studio that freed them from the sterility of the Saturday
morning cartoon buisness.
With huge pay raises,
promises of job promotions and fancy credits, Camp and Smith did manage
to snare a few unsuspecting Spümcø employees. Once they set
up their hideout in Beverly Hills, Roy Smith, who helped engineer the takeover,
received his reward: He was fired for his efforts. Roy was only the first.
Ren & Stimpy's Final Hours
Why is Nickelodeon hiding? Because they don't want Ren & Stimpy
fans, especially the kids, to know what horrible thing happened to their
favorite cartoon characters. And that is why this story is finally being
told, to bring you the truth. And the sad truth is, you have been duped,
swindled and cheated.
Once Games Productions
(the new name of the company producing the show) settled into their new
studio, they began to plan Ren and Stimpy's slow death. Nickelodeon president
Geraldine Laybourne flew to Beverly Hills to inform her gang of pirates
of the new directions. Ashamed of The Ren & Stimpy Show that
Spümcø produced, she barked stuff like: "Now that John K. is
no longer in control of Ren & Stimpy, it's time to make some
changes. Although we at Nickelodeon made our reputation and fortunes off
puke jokes and toilet humor, wee now have decided to go 'respectable.'
We don't want to be know as the 'network of boogers and farts!'" Camp was
the first one to echo his new master's sediments. He assured Laybourne
that now that Kricfalusi had been kicked out there would be no to force
him to do the kind of rude humor that brought him fame.
Nickelodeon Spending Out of Control
With the future of the
series set, Nickelodeon still had a nasty problem to deal with. They had
these eight or nine half-hours of Ren & Stimpy cartoons left
over from Spümcø in various stages of production. These cartoons
were filled with annoying jokes, gross stuff and Ren Hoek. In a wild spending
spree. Vanessa Coffey encouraged the Games crew to replace funny scenes
in Spümcø-produced like 'Man's Best Friend" and "Fake Dad"
with new respectable scenes. This had to cost at least a jillion
Because the dummies
didn't know what the heck they were doing, when they finished the final
scenes, they were so ugly and babdly done that they didn't even use them.
Embarrassed by this, they took their vengeance out on Spümcø's
other cartoons. They took "Sven Hoek," which was written and directed by
John K. and did mean things to it. They cut out the funniest scenes and
then played loud music and stupid noises over the cartoon to make it hard
for you to hear what Ren and Stimpy are saying. They even filmed Bob Camp
dancing and lederhosen clad for the title sequence. Even so, it's still
a pretty coll cartoon, right?
Well, they were just
getting started. They really screwed up "Haunted House." "The Great Outdoors,"
and how 'bout that "Monkey See, Monkey Don't?" Wheew!! Who stepped in that?
Meanwhile, when they
weren't buggering up the last few good cartoons, they were stabbing each
other in the back. More people were getting fired and many of the job promotions
that people were promised turned out to be bad jokes.
Oh, no. That's not the end folks, stay tuned for
....TO BE CONTINUED!
I used a buncha magazine articles, John K.and other Spümcø
bigshots interviews to write this lil' thing. Here's what I used-
- "Cel Out- The Plot to Kill Cartoons" by Chris Gore and
his Magic Gremlins
Wild Cartoon Kingdom #1, 1993 (I shamelessly
copied about 90% of the the story from this)
- Wild Cartoon Kingdom #3, 1993
- Spumco News #2, August 1994
- Spumco News #4, January 1996
- Hero Illustrated #15, September 1994
- Cinefantastique Double Issue Vol.26 #6/Vol.27
#1, October 1995
- Ren & Stimpy: The Definitive First and Second
Season Episode Log by Michelle Klein-Hass
-A bunch of Interviews with John K., Jim Smith, Bob Camp