Diamonds in the rough

The TTA crew had promised to keep us in the loop as much as they could while the episode was in production, and for the most part they did. (Okay, we were still a little disappointed that we didn’t get to do our own voices.)

On September 11, 1991, another part of that promise came through when we received a package with the rough cut of the episode.

VHS box for the rough cut

The rough cut was the final animation plus voice tracks but without the score or sound effects, and it was our first real sense of what things were going to look like in finished form.

All in all, it was great, though as I noted in my journal, “I had my favorite parts and my… well, not-so-favorite parts.”

There was only one major thing I had a problem with (but I’ll have to live with it, of course). They cut out the cruise ship scene. That part wasn’t what I didn’t like. I didn’t care that they cut it out. What I cared about was that now it doesn’t make sense. The volcano hurls them into the sky—and they land on a raft. A raft that just happened to be floating there, in the middle of the ocean. Does that make sense to you?

(I’m guessing now that the raft was debris from the fated luau, but try telling that to Fourteen.)

As background, our original story had Buster and Babs deciding to go on a cruise near the end. One page showed them having a great time, all dressed up but with Buster saying, “The way this trip’s going, we’ll probably wind up shipwrecked.” On the next page, they’re both in a life raft, with Buster saying “Me and my big mouth.” (This was an ending that came to Amy in a dream, when I’d talked about having trouble figuring out how to wind things up.)

There would be several lines of dialogue changed between the rough cut and the final version, some for the better, and a couple others not so much. Here’s the full list as far as I can remember, with the caveat that it’s been years since I watched the two versions back-to-back:

  • After the Karl Malden character walks off with their money, the rough cut line was “Hey! That guy ripped us off!” In the final version it became “Hey! That guy’s nose is huge!” (Not crazy about this change, but as we said back then, maybe they didn’t want to sound like they were accusing Karl Malden of being a criminal so had to change it for legal reasons?)
  • When Buster gets out of the limo at the hotel (after Babs is kissing the credit card), in the rough cut Buster’s line was “Thank you, my good man,” in a fake British accent. This became “She’s got a thing for plastic.” (No strong opinions on this one.)
  • When Gogo is asking what kind of “suite” they want, in the rough cut as he was spinning around he offers “a sugar twirl?” and I believe the final line is “a sourball?” (Unless that was the other way around. *shrug* What the heck is a sugar twirl, anyway?)
  • When Sneezer trips and their luggage tumbles into their room, in the rough cut he said a cute “Oops, I stumble-led” and giggled. The final line was “Hey, guys, it’s not my fault!” (This change we hated. With a passion. The original line was adorably delivered, and the final not only made little sense in context, it made Sneezer sound like a brat. No clue why it was changed; I have to hope there was some kind of technical reason because honestly, I still don’t get it.)

And yet, for all the excitement, Fourteen ends the journal entry on something of a wistful note:

You know, in a way I don’t want the cartoon to air. Because when it does, all this will be over. All the publicity will be over, all the preparations and fun of seeing the cartoon being made will be over. And after all this is over, will anybody at WB care about us, or will they just care that all their publicity is gone?

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