Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Was having a little debate with Mr. Anderson last night. Nothing big. The question was, when it comes to your big sci-fi franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek, should deleted scenes be considered canon? (Canon, for those who don't know, means "official continuity," as in it's part of the real world and not my fanboy daydreams.)

This debate has arisen because a long-lost cut scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn was recently unearthed, and it backs up what the novels and comics have been saying for a very long time: the Lt. Saavik, the plucky young Vulcan in Star Treks 2, 3 and 4, is NOT really a Vulcan. She is, in fact, half-Vulcan and half-Romulan. So now, the debate is on in Trekkie-dom. Does this cut scene now officially make Saavik half-Romulan?

How was this scene unearthed, you may ask? Well, it's not on the DVD. This lost scene came from a 3-minute "sneak peak" that Paramount sent to movie critics in the spring of 1982. Another lost scene hints at a romance between Saavik and Dr. David Marcus (i.e. Kirk jr.), and it also has several "alternate takes" of scenes that were used in the film.

And now, I also have to remark on something I saw this morning that was really, really cool. When I first discovered this Internet-thingie, the first thing I started doing was looking for info on my favourite cartoons. One name that kept coming up over and over was Frank Welker. This guy is god when it comes to cartoon voices. He was a real master of villains, having done the voices of Megatron on Transformers, Dr. Claw on Inspector Gadget, and Gargamel on The Smurfs. Don't get me wrong, he did heroes, too. He was G.I. Joe's Wild Bill and both Ray and Slimer on The Real Ghostbusters. And, according to the running commentary on Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, he is also Hollywood's foremost animal expert. According to Paul Dini, whenever a director needs an animal to make a sound above and beyond what the animal is capable of, Frank Welker is called in. "He was the voice of that monkey that said 'Heil Hitler!' in Raiders of the Lost Ark," Dini points out.

But, his first big break into voice acting was doing the voice of Fred way, way back on the original Scooby-Doo cartoon in the late 60s.

Anyway, it's Sunday morning, I'm reading the paper, and for background noise, the TV is tuned into TeleToon. What's New, Scooby-Doo comes on. This is the all-new Scooby-Doo cartoon that came on in the wake of the success of the live-action movie. And what do I see in the opening credtis?

"Starring Frank Welker as Fred."

That just blew my mind! I mean, I had never seen a voice artist recognized that way in the opening credits of a cartoon. Yeah, it's happened for prime-time cartoons when the voice is some major celebrity, but as far as I know, it's never happened for a regular voice artist on a regular cartoon.

So, yeah! At long last, props to Frank Welker!

And I should also point out that the complete credit read "Starring Frank Welker as Fred & Casey Kasem as Shaggy." Casey Kasem is, of course, the world-renouned DJ who does voice acting on the side and originated the role of Shaggy way, way back on the original Scooby-Doo cartoon.

And after Scooby-Doo, I managed to catch the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. This new one promised to be more faithful to the original comics that the original cartoon was, and they seem to pulling it off. You can see it in the episode I saw, which was the origin of April O'Neil. It's was dead-on accurate to her original origin. Quick comaprison:

Original cartoon: April is a TV reporter for Channel 6. When she does a story on the increasing crime rate, she's attacked by a roving gang and flees into the sewers for safety. The gang chases her. The Turtles rescue her.

New cartoon & original comics: April is the lab assistant for mad scientist Baxter Stockman. When April stumbles upon Stockman's true evil plans for the mouser robots, Stockman sends the mouser robots to hunt down April. April flees into the sewers for safety. The mousers chase her. The Turtles rescue her.

And, since I'm talking about voice artists, I should point out that, on the new cartoon, April's voice is done by Veronica Taylor, who's biggest claim to fame to date is doing the voice of Ash on Pokemon. I think April O'Neil is her first roll that isn't an anime dub.

Next Issue...Next Column

No comments: