Tad Stones – The Creator of Darkwing Duck!
LETS. GET. DANGEROUS! Cartoon legend @tadstones joins us on the show to talk about his career, working for the mouse, and creating one of the most memorable characters to come out of after school cartoon programing.
This Transcript was auto generated by Descript. Please expect grammar and spelling errors!
Kenric: All right. Hey guys, we’re back and today we got what? We got something really special for you guys today. We are here with, I don’t know about you, but I was a teenager when this came out and I still loved it and he’s worked on some stuff that I really loved in the mid two thousand or so.
And this is tad stone, actually. Tad stones, plural, get it right. Yeah. And he is the, yeah, the creator of duck tails. Not duck tails, but well through duck tails. Darkwing duck.
Tad Stones: Hello. Hello.
Kenric: Hello. Hello. Well, thank you so much for coming on.
Tad Stones: Oh, thank you very much. My pleasure so far. We’ll see how this goes.
John: We’ll see. We’ll see.
Kenric: they could take a turn for the
John: We’ll ask you to get it in half an hour and see how we’re doing. Okay.
Kenric: Yeah. Right. So Disney 30 years. That’s a long time.
Tad Stones: years after that, bouncing around the industry at different projects.
Kenric: Yeah. What was the last one that you worked on?
Tad Stones: The last one, I got to go out with the cool kids because I did a show for Netflix called the coolest , an army of frogs, which is a real weird project. But, I was just hired as a director. Buddy ended up, you know, co-writing every script within a way too short amount of time. Uh, but it was. I wasn’t in control of the story.
Uh, I could push it certain ways, but the scene by scene stuff, I definitely wrote,
Kenric: Yeah. How did, how did tad stones get into animation? What was, what was the driving force.
Tad Stones: well, when I was a kid, my dad worked for a Carnation company and they had a deal with Disney land, with, you know, main street, Carnation company, restaurant, and just an ongoing. Classic Disneyland sponsor. Uh, and that meant we got from the earliest days of Disneyland, we got na trip once a year at the company party or company picnic, whatever was held at Disneyland.
So right about where pirates of the Caribbean now. Sits in Anaheim was just a park, like a literal grassy picnic tables type park. And, that’s where the picnic was. And they would set up a tent and Wally Bogue and the golden horseshoe review, we’d put on a show, and they would play bingo. And then at a certain time, they would open the Gates and we would enter the park through the backway.
Now, at the time, I was just a kid, so it was. What it is these days. I look back on it and go, you’re playing bingo and Disneyland is right there. It’s like 50 feet away is Disneyland, and you’re putting. Dried beans on numbers.
Tad Stones: so my dad had wanted to be a cartoonist. so I grew up when anybody came out of college in the great depression.
So he basically took what jobs he, uh, did need, didn’t. You know, we had a family, instead of doing the come home from work and chase your dream type thing, but he had a lot of how to draw books and had a cartoon books and a, I just, those are the books I read growing up and then going to Disney and all those times I went to the art of animation exhibit that I loved and bought the book.
The art of animation by Bob Thomas, the original version, which was focused on sleeping beauty. and then of course, the Disneyland TV show and the wonderful, wonderful roles of Disney. And then the wonderful color. Um, always had those behind the scenes. Parts that show Disneyland, which I love, but they also had special episodes about animation, and I just loved it.
I loved cartoons. I, because of those art books, I was never mystified. There was never that point where
I had to go, wait, people make cartoons. I just. I knew they did. Cause I grew up with all these cartoonists books of, you know, and the Disney book of guys working behind the scenes. but when I was in high school and then, uh, went to college, I was thinking like, well.
I wanted to do animation, but the only place worth working at would be Disney. At least the only place doing full animation is Disney. Everything else was, you know, very cheap stuff like Hanna-Barbera stuff that was designed to be on television for a very, they had to turn out tons of material at a very cheap cost, and they came up with the extreme limited animation, which didn’t have the.
Creative design of like some of the UPA stuff. It was, no, this is how we get something on TV. And that didn’t interest me. It was the, ironically, I was not interested in TV animation. anyway, I thought that, well. Disney is the only place where it’s going to, and they’ve got all their guys that started the studio with Walt.
So I don’t know, maybe I’ll go into comics or whatever and, you know, went to a college and, started one year as an art major and all my English teachers wanted me to switch to English. , because of my writing. And then they created a major called humanities, which sounded like it could combine both.
Turned out it didn’t, strangely enough, all the art courses I did from then on were all three D things. I became a teacher’s assistant in a ceramics. Uh, I have a pottery wheel in the garage that I haven’t used
several decades. but the main thing I that my girlfriend, at the time, is now my wife.
And, uh, but at the time, her, her a suite mate at school in the dorms was Tory Atencio, who’s, uh, I think still works at Disney and Imagineering as a interior designer. Uh, but her father was X Atencio who worked with ward Kimball, was a layout guy, also an animation. anyway, through her. She said, you ought to, in my senior year, trying to figure out what I’m going to do in the following year.
she said, you ought to try for the training program. And I went, what, what, what training program? What I had believed about, they had their guys, they aren’t looking was actually true when I was thinking that. But I guess in 71 I want to say, They, Robin hood had come out and made a lot of money, $6 million domestic.
Uh, which back then was huge.
Kenric: I saw Robin hood in the theater,
Tad Stones: they basically said, uh, they talked to the animation guys saying, well, what are you doing to train new people? And they said, what? We thought you were going to shut. Roy senior always said they’re going to shut down the. Animation division. And he started saying that around the time of, I want to say Bambi, like after they had a few in McCann, he said, we can just rerelease these every few years a while said, no, we’re going to do more.
And then when Walt got interested in Disneyland, it was still an animation was very expensive. , I guess. What was approached again, he says, no, I started the business with these guys. You know, let’s, you know, we got to keep this going until, you know, until they can retire. Uh, and what saved animation around that time was the Xerox process because it’s suddenly hugely brought down the cost of doing an animated film.
Anyway, suddenly they created a training program, which basically was Eric Larson sitting in his room working with a bunch of, you know, new people in the next room. so I was lucky enough, I called in to get information. the name of the guy to talk to is Donald duck wall.
Kenric: No. Really.
Tad Stones: easy to remember.
But, I went in for, I just called up to get information and he, uh, kind of thought I was coming in with my stuff. So suddenly the following Thursday, I hadn’t an appointment to drop off my portfolio, you know, at the Disney studios. Well, again, I wasn’t an art major. But luckily I was that year when I was the TA in ceramics, my ceramics teacher took over the art department cause the original head was on sabbatical.
And so I, he could even do the goofy yell, which he was happy to demonstrate. But he let me go back to art classes and sit in on life drawing and do sketches. And so in one week I tried to, you know. Workflow is a much more polished now and there they just wanted to see how you do you do life drawing and how do you do sketches from life? So I went in, met with Don, and, uh, Ed Hanson was the manager of the department and, uh, they looked through it and they said, well, these look good, but we really need action sketches, just quick gesture drawings. And I don’t think they mentioned when they needed it. And after I got in, I talked to guys who had.
Come back every six months. I thought they needed it immediately. , so over the weekend I basically watched, I think it was basketball, mostly on TV, and I was not a sports guy, but I watched it and sketched off the TV screen and achieved a little bit by looking at really cool, cool poses in a sports illustrated magazine.
but they really liked two things. One that I’d come back. That I, they liked my drawings that are captured the action, but also, I had done a lot of them and I’d come back with them quickly. And, which is basically what you need in animation. , and they actually used mine as examples. They had never thought of drawing off the television before, and they.
After that talk to, you know, when people are coming in for interviews. , and I do not think of myself as the good artist of the bunch of the guys I came in with. Anyway, that’s how I got in with, uh, I started the training program five months after Ron Clemens, who is the director of, you know, and writer of little mermaid and Aladdin and a treasure planet and Hercules and Milana along with
Kenric: Do you very much then.
Tad Stones: Ron was there and then I think three months later. Uh, going Keane came in. So that’s where I was right in that little nook. Uh, and it was great. We, you had eight weeks to basically do two personal tests that were, again, now you see personal tests coming out of art schools that are fully colored with soundtracks and all that.
Ours were very, very basic, very rough. And, , my first one was just an alligator doing a little jig. Throwing is. Soared up in the air and catching it with his tail. And they thought that, I had, they had a feeling for the alligator’s personality and that’s what they took to, and it had life too and all that, but it was very, very rough and sketchy. My second one, I was there. That was before they had done the black cauldron, which was this big carrot. They’re holding out
Tad Stones: like, well, maybe we’ll get to work on this. Uh. And, uh, so I did a test of this guy who was, I forgot the character’s name. I don’t think he was in the feature film, but he just, he’s kinda Craven, you know, guy walking down these steps with a giant bone, which he then stirred a cauldron with.
And then a very. The stiffest wizard in the world or horn King in the world. Just a guy in a robe with antlers, uh, lifted up his arms, like he was doing a spell and the guy transformed into a T-Rex with a big pile of drool that came out of his mouth. , I got in and then about God, I want to say six months later, maybe more.
I was just conversing with ed Hanson again, the manager of the department. . And he just threw out, you know, he says, well, well, you know how much they liked your test? And I said, no, ed, I don’t, because you know, Frank and Ollie came in the room and they said, ah, I hear the geniuses. And they immediately walked over to Ron Clemens desk because Ron at that same review board meeting had done this fantastic. you don’t think of Ron as an animator cause he didn’t, he moved into story and direction pretty quick. but he did a test crawl, a Deville. And Jasper is a simple scene where Kroll is walking down an alley and Jasper’s leaning on a trashcan. Corella slips in a puddle, lands on our ass. And then she picked and he laughs at her and then she picks up the garbage can lid and smashes him on the head. It was, and this is not exaggerating, and in fact the review board, including milk call Frank Thomas, will arrive. The men, Ali Johnson. They said that was good enough to be in the film. And it was, and Ronald was hated hearing that. Cause he says, well, what am I supposed to aspire to? You know, it’s that good. But so obviously everybody was talking about that. So even though they like my tests. I didn’t care. I was like, I was in, but I had never heard any sort of detail about it. But, yeah. Raanan on Fox and hound did a big mama, the owl Pearl Bailey’s voice, which really didn’t give them a chance to show off if he had done one of the human characters, I think people would think of Ron as a really top animator, which he was. But then again, he recreated the. Art form of animation along with John Musker instead. So I guess it was a pretty good trade off
Kenric: That’s awesome. That’s amazing.
Tad Stones: happened, and that’s why you asked me one question, and I go through the parks and Wally Bogue and picnics and art of animation, and my wife
John: You make it easy for us.
Kenric: It’s easy for us. Exactly.
Tad Stones: the show folks.
Kenric: there we go. So, uh, did you, when you there for opening day of, Disneyland.
Tad Stones: No, I was born in 52 and when did Disneyland open? 52 54
John: 1955 I only now, I only know that cause he told me, he told me all the time growing up that he was, he was at opening day.
Tad Stones: yeah. So I might’ve been, I probably went the first year though, as young as I was, but cause that’s when we were going to those picnics and everything. so it’s always felt like part of my life.
Kenric: How, where did, where did dark wing duck where, where did that start to form in your brain?
Tad Stones: I think that that is a very. People think some people have thought that, Oh, is inspired by, duck tails. And, there was an episode of ducktails called the mast Mallard, which, by the way, I had never seen that episode when we did it. But no, this specific reason that dark wing exists is Jeffrey Katzenberg, who before Dreamworks, you know, remake Canon nation there. Jeffrey talked to me, cause I was, you know, I would not only produce and, and you know, run shows, we kind of trade off me and Jim Megan at the time. Uh, so if he was doing a show, I’d be in development and vice versa. and Jeffrey. Told me to. he really liked clever names. Like, rescue Rangers started out as a pitch called Miami mice, which then became Metro mice, which then became rescue Rangers and ended up Chippendales rescue Rangers.But they
Kenric: love my, I mean my stuff.
Tad Stones: they like gimmicky titles because they always expected you. And when I say they, I mean Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, uh, they expected you to do a great show. But if you had a clever title that, you know, their idea was an audience would check it out easier if there was something they liked about the title they had, you know, some sort of kick to it.
and then it was up to us to, uh. Keep the audience. Anyway, there had been that episode of duck tales called double O duck and featured launchpad Padma quack, and he said, I want you to do a show called double O duck. It cannot feature launch pad. It has to be a new character. I was not excited about that.
I mean, I like James Bond and all that, but.
You know, all I think of, I say both. It’s just going to be a parody and it’s not going to have a lot of heart to it. And that’s exactly what I pitched at parody with not a lot of heart. And, uh, which is exactly what Jeffrey said. And then he said, which I was very lucky.
I recently realized that the normal thing is to, I’ll get somebody else. but he told me to do it again, so I threw out. What I didn’t like, which is what I should’ve done the first time. You should always pitch something you believe in. I do not know who came up with the idea of giving a double O duck a mask.
I guess it was me. It just seems like an odd thing to suggest, but every drawing, whether it’s by me or other people, he had a mask and you wore white tuxedo had, A specific artist. Bob Klein gave him a bandana mask, which we thought was a little weird, but it looked fine. And he had a little pork pie hat, which tended to get larger and larger.
anyway, seeing him in the mask and a tuxedo on Cape, one of the guys who eventually was the story editor or mine. A quick digression, back then we were all under a term contracts. So your contract was for X many years and Disney owned anything you came up with as opposed to the more normal thing is to, say, Oh, I’m, your contract is for this show, a show you created, or a different show, but this is your contract.
Because of that. You could, if you wanted to brainstorm, you could grab anybody. You could, they could charge time to, you know, your show. anyway, and bringing together a bunch of guys that I eventually wanted it to work on the show. Dwayne KPC. Uh, it was a story editor, uh, who’d done Jackie Chan’s adventures and a bunch of other stuff.
Anyway, Duane was there and he says, you know, I look at the character and his mask and his tuxedo, and he, he feels more like a Pope character, like the, you know, the green Hornet, or the shadow. And I instantly zeroed in on that because I was too young to know those things except through my. Comic fandom and, you know, and tape recordings and all of that.
I love that. Uh, hence the shadow S, you know, mantra of dark going duck of, I am the chair, the flaps in the night. Uh,
Kenric: Who came up with that line. That line is iconic. You hear people say it all the time.
Tad Stones: Because it, it changed. Um, anyway, the, so dark, Wayne came from the pitch one way, and then it didn’t congeal the, until we had the heart, which was having him raised Goslin, some early description called her on, his niece.
And it’s because every was used to uncle Donald, uncle Mickey.
Tad Stones: I wanted something closer. And it’s like, but we don’t want to deal with a mom. It’s got to be here. It’s all about this guy who thinks he’s a cool guy, great hero, and throwing obstacles in his past. And his biggest obstacle is his ego. and then suddenly it became this thing of what a Batman had a little girl who refused to stay at home.
And that was Gaza, Olin, uh, who was as crazy as we could make her. So it was like, no, she’s going to be just as funny as dark wing, just in a different way. so once we had the heart, the show, sold. We made little cloy Zanay pins to give out at the syndication conventions, called double O duck. And then the James Bond people said, we own double O duck.
It’s not a thing. It’s something Ian Fleming created. So, we had to come up with a new name. you know, once you’re working with a name, I would, I couldn’t think of anything. So we actually had a contest and the winner got 500 bucks. I realized back then was a really good chunk of change, especially for my boss, Gary Krystal, who management loved because he treated Disney’s money as if it was his own.
So the idea that he put up that big of a prize,
it’s kind of amazing. anyway, everybody entered names, dead. I ducked dead shot, duck, dastardly, duck dim with duck. You know, a lot of alliteration going on. So the winner was Alan Burnett came up with dark wing. And that was kind of like a forehead hit, cause I’d never even thought of Nightwing.
and I said, that’s perfect. That’s what he thinks he is. And then we’ll add duck to it to add the silly part. So we’ll have both sides, you know, the adventure and the comedy right there in the title. and it wasn’t, it wasn’t like, well these are the. Five top names. It was dark wing duck and a bunch of trash.
It was just nothing came close. He was just like, you’re going down that list and you’re saying, Oh, we are in big trouble. and of course Alan took the money and, uh. I think within a year moved over to Warner brothers where he became the story editor and the guiding light in story terms to Warner brothers.
And he started on Batman’s animated adventures with Bruce Tim. And, uh, we always say that, we warmed them up with the, or the duck, and Knight was a warm up to the dark night. another groundbreaking show,
John: I like it.
Tad Stones: Anyway, they, uh, that’s where Darwin came from. That’s where the name came from. Now, what was the thing we skipped over that?
I said, Oh, I’ll get to that.
Kenric: I am the terror that flaps in the night.
Tad Stones: Oh, yeah. Actually, originally there was a couple of rules I made and I said, he has to say, let’s get dangerous. That’s his, his, you know, slogan. I said in every episode, I think there’s maybe two, maybe three episodes where he didn’t say it, but I said, if you don’t do it every episode, it’s not going to be his slogan.
That’s how it catches on. And then it, of course, we ended up putting in a theme song, so that pretty much solidified it. But originally, he said, I am the terror that paps, that flaps in the night. I am the. No, I am the scourge that picks at your nightmares. I am dark wing duck, and that’s what he said every episode.
It just so happened that the third episode was a one-word launchpad had to pretend to be dark wing duck. And the gag was he could never get the line right. And one of his first lines was, I’m the road salt that Russ, the underside of your car.
and after reading that script, I said, that’s too good not to do.
And I said, we’re about, like I say, three or four scripts in. I said, add that line, rewrite all the scripts we’ve done so far. Add the line into every episode. That’ll be our thing. So, you know. It was my genius to recognize somebody else’s genius. They wrote that,
Kenric: It was perfect.
Tad Stones: and that that’s the same thing.
You know, again, I was not about continuity when nega duck was introduced. I said, that is a great character. Jim did a great job doing them and dark wing at the same time. Jim Cummings, um. And I said, I want to do more shows with them. And that was the episode where dark wind was split into a good side and a bad side.
And the story editors said. How do we not do the same story every time that we split them into negative composite doc? And I said, no, I don’t like posit duck. Nobody likes posit. Duck, bring back nega doc. And they said, how do we explain that? And I said, you don’t. Batman never said, Oh, and this is how the joker broke out of, you know, you know, Arkham or the penguin or the, you know, the worst.
You know, revolving doors on a jail block. You know, you just, in the silver age of comics, you just turned open the page and there was, you know, a joker and Batman dancing on top of a giant typewriter or something as they fought. You didn’t say, wait a minute, how did he get there? And who oil’s the keys of the giant type writer?
You know, you just went for the big.
Visual and the cool, you know, idea, which is how I did that show, which of course today drives fans crazy when they try to explain things. And that’s why dark Wayne has six origins, I think, in the series.
Kenric: That’s hilarious. So Jeff, the guy
Tad Stones: because people said, I mean, it’s not like. You know, Batman had an origin, but, and dark wing is obviously close to a Batman type character, as along with the shadow and, and all the Pope heroes. Um, but I said, where are we going to do? He’s going to be sitting in a mansion and saying, I must, I need a symbol to strike evil or fear into the hearts of criminals.
And then a duck flies through the window and he goes, that’s it. I shall become a, wait a minute. You know, there’s no.
And that that is why the pilot was about the creation of the family unit,
Tad Stones: really showed me that Frank and goannas and Matt young bird who do the new ducktails really understood dark wing.
Cause I think at our first meeting, I brought up how important Goslin was. And Frank cut me off. He says, no, no, Ted, we know darkling duck is the story of a father and a daughter and a launchpad. We’re not going to lose that. So. You know, I, that’s when I knew, Oh, these guys
got it. They know stuff.
Kenric: Well was Goslin a portrayal of your daughter?
Tad Stones: She was kinda, my daughter was only three at the time. so it wasn’t like our younger, whatever she was, she did not end up that way. But, uh. It was, she was, rambunctious and, you know, semi out of control. So it was kind of an extrapolation to that. And once I mentioned that, it was like, would not let it go.
They had me say that in every single interview.
Kenric: Oh, really?
Tad Stones: yeah. Well, I mean, it’s just a funny hook.
Tad Stones: It’s like they’re, I mean, there’s some things you do to sell a show, tank muddle foot. During the development of the show, I’d come up with, you know, the older brother of honker who picks on him. Uh, I came up with him and he was part of the pitch, and then I quickly realize we don’t need this character.
Our show isn’t about darkling living in a neighborhood. It’s about the superhero guy. And yes, we’ll do, we’ll use the neighbors as complications, but. We don’t, we need honker to come along with our team. We don’t need to spend a lot of time next door, but every time my boss, who, you know, took go after the first pitches, he would take over the pitches as he goes around the country or sometimes the world selling it to different TV stations that are a different con, you know, selling conventions.
The, uh, whenever he flipped over the card and call tank, muddle put keys, and he told me, he says, it always gets a laugh. So he survived. And we did a few episodes with him, hardly any, and I was figured he’s upstairs with who? Richie Cunningham’s brother. You know, who also disappeared from a show.
Kenric: Yeah. He was only on happy days, like the what? The for the pilot season and that was it.
Tad Stones: Yeah. Something like that. Yeah. So it’s kind of like, you know, you’re just, why are you.
You know, I guess if you’re really continuity conscious, you’d have to waste an episode when he moves away or something, and it’s like,
Tad Stones: one needs to do that. It’s just like, we’re just not going to talk about them anymore.
Kenric: Have you just haven’t fun. Stop talking about him. You’re good. So we have Jeff who, who, uh, procured this interview with you. And he’s actually a real big super fan of yours. And he sent me a list of questions , that he said, I must ask you. So I hope you can, we can get, we can go through these and, some of them, I think you’ve already answered.
So we’re going to skip them and then some of them I’m going to go through. Is that okay?
Tad Stones: That’s fine.
Kenric: All right. So you need a second.
Tad Stones: No, I’m here.
Kenric: Oh, okay.
Tad Stones: I’m not going to get any smarter. Oh, you’re talking to somebody else so
Kenric: Okay. The first one is what does Drake Mallard do for a living?
Tad Stones: intentionally,
you never know.
Tad Stones: up with the show, Ozzy, you see, this is the type of stuff that people would never do in a show. Now that I went in eyes open saying I’m going after the silver age, I’m going after stuff I grew up with in the old show, black and white show, and now I guess people would have to Google it because you’d have to be pretty old to remember.
Uh, Ozzie and Harriet. They were, it was a family show. And there it was the Nelson family and Ricky and Ricky Nelson became a rock and roll guy. but Ozzie, along with a lot of sitcom gags or dads would come home and take off their jacket, like Mr. Rogers and put on a sweater and a pipe. and you never knew what they did.
They were at the office during the day, and then they came home. But the show is about, you know, Beaver now and his brother not, you know, their parents. and I specifically thought of Ozzie Nelson as, because I think it was pointed out in some article that you never knew what he did. And it’s like, again, our show is not about Clark Kent.
Our show is about Superman.
So I don’t need to know. Clark Kent’s life in the daily plan. It was both an excuse of him to find out about things and also an obstacle to overcome a complication. but we didn’t need that. We had plenty of obstacles, just dark wings, brain, basically his personality along with God too.
Kenric: It’s fun. It’s kind of like, yeah.
Tad Stones: answer to that intentionally.
Kenric: Yeah. I like it. I like it. So the next one is an inserting gizmo duck into darkwheel duck. Did you envision the teammate to be a satire of the Batman Superman’s team ups? That’s good. That’s nice.
Tad Stones: And that was, I know people got gotten angry when I say,
Well, there’s the double universe thing that people get irate and they hurt. When I say that, gizmo duck, we used him as our Superman and they said, Oh, he doesn’t even know his own characters. He’s not Superman, his iron man. It’s like, no,
Superman is beloved.
Bye. Everyone. Superman gets the keys to the city, a metal at the U N he meets with presidents. All things that dark wing would love to have, and it drives him crazy. So here’s a hero character who, again, it’s all about dark wings, ego, and just who, what’s the worst position you can put them in with, with, you know, what kind of guy do you put them with?
And again, Frank and goannas and then duck ducktails really captured it in the, uh, finale of last season. Season two, I guess, uh, gives him a duck, sits down next to darkwheel duck and, introduces himself, hi, I’m gizmo duck. When you’re in trouble, you call me. Tarquin just,
Kenric: Someone’s like a bugs bunny. Daffy duck.
Tad Stones: Yeah. I mean, it was perfect, but yes, this the Superman, Batman thing, uh, was there, although it was more about ego and obliviousness, you know, ulterior, what it was, things like that.
Kenric: I love that you can, you can tell the passion you had for the animation in the stores that you’re creating. Um, this is all right. It’s, this is a treat. I really appreciate you coming on. So the next thing was a Disney announced plans to make a sequel to its live action Aladdin movie. And you co-wrote and directed the return, a return of Jafar.
Mmm. Have you, as Disney come out to you and said, Hey, do you want to lend any hand on the live action equal cause apparently it might be based on your animated.
Tad Stones: I have not heard that. So it’s news to me.
Tad Stones: that’s how things work. I mean, There are writers who, you know, when they announced, Oh, we’re going to reboot this show, they think, well of course they’re going to call me cause I did the original. And it’s like, no, if, if people want to, as I say about ducktails, which I love, I said they’re doing the ducktails for the 21st century.
We did the show for the last century. Uh, if they, and if you call back someone.
To revisit something they’ve already done. They may say, Oh no, no, I, I can do it differently. But you think you can, but your default when you say, Oh, I know the character is going to be the character you did now almost 30 years ago.
- They’re not going to, the only time you’re involved is if they’re worried that you’ll say something bad to the press or something. You know, I’m hoping for a Chippendale live action movies so that they, uh, uh, which seems to be an internal development so that they can maybe throw me a few bucks if they were worried about my internet presence.
I doubt it.
So, no, my connection with duck tales is me being a fan and Frank and I connected online. I went into the studio and, uh, it was so great to see the company finally decorate the halls with this new wallpaper, which had model sheets of our shows and silhouettes of the characters from the very beginning.
Because although we made lots of money. For the company. We were like the black sheep. Nobody really talked about T V animation. And the head of features at the time was constantly felt that having TV animation exist, hurt,
you know, Disney features. Um, so that was, you know, it was so nice to see the company own this stuff and say, no, it’s great.
And they’re doing way more animation than we ever did at our busiest.
Kenric: That’s cool. What if you could go back in time, is there anything that you would do different in, in that, during that, the Disney time during those Disney years?
Tad Stones: I would say on, on, uh.
Well, you see, we didn’t have the same time. I sent Frank a a script schedule and it was like, okay, this week you have one script due. Next week you have two scripts do week after that one. It was like one, two, one, two, one, two. It was just this thing you raised through where now they get, of course they’re doing a continuity show.
now there’s time for just the writers to start working and they map out. The entire season and debate it and have, you know, they have a writer’s room. Um, and it was funny, the first time I met some of the writers, one of the earliest questions was, how big was your writer’s room? I said, writer’s room.
guys coming into my office pitching crazy ideas and yelling at each other until we got something to go with, you know, and then you’d pitch like five ideas to get three for, you know, through the process. Um, so now they. They really have the time. So I would love to, if you could
get more of that feeling of, at least on each story, have something formal where, let’s all break this story together.
But really we didn’t, we didn’t think of those terms cause it was just a crazy schedule in general. I would like to
push to get more adventurous.
Camera work basically, and camera positioning cinematics in the adventure side of dark Ling. and obviously,
you know, try to make funny or gags where we could, but, uh, again, we need it ducktails again, some of their staging is just top notch.
If you replaced it with live action, it would be like, Oh yeah, I just watched Indiana Jones. , so. I would love that. But that’s like, you know, even the stuff that I thought I did the best job on, when I look at it, I focus on things I
should’ve done when I did my, uh, second Hellboy movie animated film, , the writer of it, when he saw it finished and, you know, we had done director’s commentary on it.
He said, , wow, I really liked it well, until I heard them. Commentary and found out it was a piece of crap. It was just like me going, Oh, what I really want to do here. We didn’t quite get this. And it was, you know, I’m kind of self aware of people say, Oh, dark Wing’s gonna uh, be on Disney plus let’s have a viewing party at Todd’s house.
It’s kinda like, Oh, I’d be the worst person to, to watch an old coal mine.
Kenric: Well, cause you don’t ever like like this that you make. Right. It’s never, there’s always something that you keep, go ahead.
Tad Stones: I love, and especially with ones animated by our Australian studio, which they did such a great job. They really understood that kind of humor and what we wanted.
, but I’d still, even on of our best shows to a modern sensibility, I’d want to cut five minutes out of it just to tighten things up. Um.
So it’s hard in, in those things just to improve the timing. But, you know, different time. There’s the, you know, the theory that a generation that grows up watching video games
sees more in fast cuts when you see a trailer.
. There’s also, it’s very typical to have a trailer just full of all sorts of, you know, quick cuts, uh, watch a trailer, like a monster movie trailer from the fifties. And it’s like, people wick during this, you
Tad Stones: they just go on forever of most chilling, thrilling adventure, you know, duck carolling just take forever to get through their point, you know?
, so cinema changes so.
Kenric: So when Disney plus came out and they had dark wean duck on and they have dark queen duck on there, it was all over the place on social media. It’s especially in the groups that I follow. people were super excited. Did. Did you get that sense that people were like really excited that they had a place to go and watch this show over again and
Tad Stones: that was kind of true. I mean, I, lot of people who follow me are obviously fans of dark wing and chip and Dale.
Tad Stones: So I, I certainly got that and I saw that it was trending for awhile, I guess. yeah. And I, and the company realizes it too.
the, so I, you know, they may do something with a new dark wing.
of course they are in the new ducktails and, and if you, if I could make the rules, I would say, you will not give darkwheel duck to anybody else except for.
Rankin goannas and Matt young Berg and their team, cause they, they’ve updated it, they’ve now made it heavy continuity. They have told me probably two or three years worth of stories that I would just love to see them do.
And you know, every fan’s dream, but you know, if you get a little bit of success, who knows, it’s up to, you know, Disney channel or Disney plus or whatever, if they do anything at all. But. You know, half the time they spent all this time,
you know, taking pitches, you know, trying to figure out, Ooh, what name can we get?
Or something like that. And you know, the moment passes. So I’m hoping he makes it on the air. He’s still part of ducktail so I can’t wait for an work darkling episodes to come out with ducktails
Kenric: Nice. How was working with doing Chippendales? Is that one of your favorites or.
Tad Stones: let’s put it this way. I missed. Maybe two years and my son’s eldest son’s life because of that show. Uh, we, that was really early in our history and the company didn’t really know how do we do these things? And I swear now looking back on it, it’s like they knew better than this. And nobody said anything cause it was cheaper doing it this way.
We had three production crews to keep busy and there were only two of us, myself and Bryce, Malik as story editors and everything went through me. So let’s put it this way, my day off was Sunday when I only went into the office for four hours. Saturday was an eight hour day at the office, and I’m not talking.
A computer. Cause that was, you know, in the next room I’m talking about literally leaving home, going into the office and every other day was a, you know, 12 or 13 hour day. And, uh, I, you know, there were
a lot of times where. Writers would hand in acts two and three. I would rewrite two and three and then write act, excuse me.
They would hand in acts one and two. I would rewrite X one and two and then write act three myself just to . Keep ahead of the game. Um, usually if you have three production crews to keep busy rule of thumb at then anyway should be to have one extra story editor. So we should have had four story underage to feed three crews, not one other end.
Ultimately, I was taken off the show because they, uh,
they thought the show was getting too young. And Bryce once said, we’re writing a show about. Three inch high chipmunks. Of course it’s going to look young.
But, uh, you know, they brought in other people who kind of went chase their tails. I think they put out two episodes, and then ultimately they gave it to a King Coons and David Wiemers a writing team who really are responsible for early ducktails development.
and the whole, let’s do Carl barks idea. anyway, they took it over and they were told. Do it as fast as you can and as
heavy dialogue because we don’t have time to storyboard things. So they wanted a lot of talking. so it’s like, you know, looking back on it, my feeling is, well, how bad were we doing?
If you know, you end up settling for. Completely throwing quality out the window and just, you know, going for what animations usually criticized for being a radio show.
Kenric: Yeah. That’s interesting. What, is there any like.
Tad Stones: it’s, it’s, it’s like I enjoyed it while I was on it, because of that schedule. I’m sure there’s a lot of my subconscious on this screen.
I mean, I’ve never gone back to analyze it, but I just think creatively, I think my two peaks in my career as far as I’m concerned, are dark wing duck and Hellboy animated,
Kenric: Yes. We didn’t get into Hellboy cause that’s exciting. how did you even get to the point of working with Mike Mignola.
Tad Stones: Well, I had, there was going to be a, um, a, an Atlantis TV show. We, it was called team Atlanta’s, PG and all that. We started it before while the movie was still in work.
and we had great development and people were getting super excited about it. People thought basic. I thought.
I’m never going to get a chance to do Hellboy.
So, which I did pitch at Disney. and they’re going to get a chance to do that. I’m going to make this my Hellboy. And, uh, it was a really cool show. One of the scripts about the Lochness monster was possibly one of the best stories I ever came up with,
Kenric: That was your, you came up with that story.
Tad Stones: Yeah. And, and well, uh, Henry Gilroy and I worked on it together.
All the story was mostly mine. Uh, and then Henry took a descript.
Kenric: tad, I’ve watched his movies like so many times. Those are ones I keep going. I keep going back to those like I love the, the, the original two movies that, Guillermo Del Toro did. you know,
look great, but the animated ones I have watched, I can’t even tell you how many times. I, I love, I honestly, I really, I love those.
And I, I had no idea that you had done those. When Jeff says, Hey, we’re gonna, we’re gonna talk with tad stones. I’m like, Oh. He’s like, yeah, he created dark wing duck. And I’m like, Oh, that’s cool. And then I look and I’m like, Oh my God, he did die.
Tad Stones: No, I was a huge Hellboy fan. It was not that kind of fan. Although, you know, there’s always this suspicion of, Oh, here’s a director who says he’s a big fan and he’s, you know, he’s just read the comics. It’s like, no, I was there on the hellboy.com bulletin board. Uh, and, you know, they’re friends I made on that board that, you know, from different countries that have stayed at my house.
but anyway, I mean, I just love doing that because it was a whole different. Type of challenge of doing a story, the idea of a haunted house where instead of Scooby doo, where you draw it spooky and you know, somebody calls it a haunted house and shaggy and Scooby or you know, shaking in their boots that it’s like, no, we’re going to discover it along with the characters.
And, uh, we came up with some imagery there that. That I just loved. I mean, one was, uh, in the second one, Abe Sapient is what you eventually learn in the backstory. It was based on the legend of, uh, Elizabeth Bathory, who supposedly bathed in blood of servant girls who went to sing. anyway, we had her as a, as a vampire and a while, as you know.
Got very ambitious that part of the story is told backwards. And the other part of the story is told frontwards. and, uh, anyway, you realize all these women died and there’s a multitude of ghosts at this house. And Abe Sapient is in a room with big glass windows. And he says, no, I haven’t seen anything yet.
He goes, wait a minute. The temperature is dropping. They see a little breath coming out. And, uh, he. You know, he’s on the walkie talkie, I think to somebody. And then suddenly, you know, we had just been looking out the window, you cut wide and the entire window of that covers a wall is covered in bloody hand prints.
I just loved that moment. And Hellboy walk into a dark kitchen and suddenly knives that have been hanging. Land on the table and start spitting like tops on their point. And Hellboy says, I know you’re in here. You just drags his stone hand across the metal table. It was just being able to play with the mood, was so much fun.
It was so great. And Mike and I did write a, uh, a final script for the third one because we were supposed to do like seven of them. And then the company. Making them, sold to stars and stars says, we don’t want to put our own money into original projects. That’s not what we bought this company for. Oh, but to backup how I did that, we were supposed to do a spin off Atlanta show.
Mike had worked on Atlantis and, uh, I
Kenric: Ex Nolan worked on Landis.
Tad Stones: Oh yeah.
Kenric: I have no idea.
Tad Stones: Atlanta’s books, you’ll see it’s full of like menial artwork.
Kenric: Oh, that is awesome.
Tad Stones: Yeah. Uh, the, uh, anyway, I would show Mike this grip and then he would just, you know, he’d come up with some monster designs until finally he says, you know what, I don’t have time to be reading all these scripts.
Can you just cause he is an idea machine to which you can’t help sharing. he’s just telling me about the monster and I’ll take a shot at things. then I left Disney. I said I needed some. anyway, Atlantis didn’t go because,
It turned out we were going to say, well, where are we going to put it?
Cause you know, Toon Disney was just being created and we thought, well, that’s going to be where it is. And I said, okay. They pitched it and uh.
By the time it got through it and, and they really fought for it. It turned out it was going to be on one Saturday morning and I knew it was kind of doomed as soon as I heard that, because it’s like one Saturday morning, he had been turned into kind of an educational Saturday morning, you know, with some great shows of, you know, Doug and, and, uh, recess.
anyway, the. You know, it was not a good fit because we had not pulled back. It was like a PG plus show.
Tad Stones: and then, you know, when I heard that, Oh, that’s in trouble. And sure enough, we were getting all these notes that kept fighting us. And then, the Disney executive who had taken over TV animation, David Stainton,
You know, he had really pushed for it and really called in chips to get it sold. But once it was sold, he went the opposite way and was just,
you know, giving notes. Like we had one set in the Bermuda triangle, the idea that they’re under the ocean. There was Atlantean crystal that had mutated fish and to basically creature of black lagoon type things.
And he said, why do we need these fishmen? And we said, well. It’s the jeopardy of the show. Why do we need jeopardy? I threatened to have tee shirts made with that on cause like, we know what you’re doing. An adventure show jeopardy. You know, the big J comes in handy sometimes. Uh.
Tad Stones: Anyway, in that Lochness monster story, people were saying like, well, kid, I think you should keep the mystery so we don’t know whether it’s a monster or not.
And it’s like, because they’re, you know, and they’re saying, why not make it like a Linda Nimoy show? You know, where he just investigates mystery because it’s not live action. It’s cartoon. It’s either, it’s either the old man real estate. You know, investor who is trying to scare kids away from the lock so he can build a condominium or it’s a monster.
It’s one or the other. You don’t say, I wonder if it was real after all, you know. so that wasn’t this show we wanted to do or that we, that would have
been good at all anyway. Nobody had to worry about it cause, when the movie came out, it did not do well at all. They immediately withdrew support from it.
So it didn’t really have a chance after that. And as soon as that happened, all these people who are fighting the TV show, you know, ABC never wanted the show. Then they said, Oh, you can’t have it. And now the companies since they’ve withdrawn support from the property, uh, suddenly, uh, on Friday the 13th of that year, we had to lay off 80 people.
Tad Stones: It was, it was a terrible day for, not just for obvious reasons, but,
you know, the executive, not the crazy guy, but one step lower down. It was really a nice guy and creative guy. Uh, he called me the night before, told me the decision. He says, I want to tell people in person. I’ll be over there, you know, around 10 o’clock or something.
So the next morning I did tell my story, editors and directors, but
you know, at 10 o’clock, people are saying the word was out weird. There’s going to be a meeting at 10 o’clock, you know, very bumper’s coming over.
people wondered what it was about. And I really regret, I just had my doors close, talking to my, you know, top staff.
I really should have said. He’s coming over. I don’t think it’s good news.
Tad Stones: just to give people a hint, because again, people thought this was one of the best things we had ever done, and the writers were way far ahead. We had premises already up into the.
Thirties or forties, out of a 65 episode series.
So we had suffered through all these notes where those early scripts were really like really top stuff before they began getting watered down. well, the staff was just in those early scripts and they were so excited. Some people thought he was coming over to give people bonuses.
Tad Stones: when the bomb dropped, it was a big bomb.
and you know. Almost everybody got hired back as soon as the next show was developed or worked on. But, uh, I do regret not walking around looking glum at least.
Kenric: Right, right,
Tad Stones: there is something you want to change.
Tad Stones: But anyway, it was a, it was a great show and some, those early scripts are really fantastic cause everybody got to do them.
And at least the, uh, since we had.
Two shows that already shipped and were in production. And the third one was all bit out the door. I think. we got permission to make back a little money by cutting three together. And he said, yes, you can have some connective material. Well, he thought there’d be like five minutes of connected material and instead we did, I want to say 15 minutes to just weave them together as best we could.
But, even then.
The, uh, if you’ve seen the DV of Milo’s return, which is the Atlantic sequel, the first episode was my episode where I’d say a kind of a Lovecraft and a creature, and, uh, it had an ending that seems like a happy ending. And then there’s a little twist and you go, Oh, geez.
Tad Stones: Again that the executive who
decried the need for jeopardy, he did not like that.
It was too spooky for him. And the other executive said, no, it’s part of the genre. This is the gets Twilight zone. This is the thing you do. We were at the final mix, you know, we’d finished mixing the movie, we’re showing it to them and he said, why is that still in? I didn’t want that in. It’s like nobody ever told us to.
You have to take this out. You know, it was just debate
that costs a bunch of money. He wanted it out. And so we had to cut it out and remix all the, the reels. It is not a cheap thing. and then when I was ready to go out on DVD, I called up the DVD people and said, do you guys like it? You know, extra scenes are all alternate scenes.
They see. Yes. You know, they rarely got those in animation because you know, you drew it. It’s all in the movie. anyway, I told him about the scene. They loved it, and I said, can you make it that it, you can play it with that scene instead of the other scene, like as an option. They said, Oh, that would be so cool.
When the executive heard about that? He said, no,
and it’s like, I’m thinking, so you’re saying somebody watches the movie.
Then they watch the extras and see this cool twist
and they want to see it in continuity with the movie and you’re going to say, no, I am not going to let you do that. But I didn’t say a word because I knew that if I said anything, it wouldn’t be there on the disk at all.
And so, uh, I’m very proud of that little twist, you know, uh, that’s on the DVD, but, you know, that was dark time in the empire. What can I say.
Kenric: being a creative person. Putting out, you know, it’s a lot of, you put a lot of yourself into your work and then to have an executive just come in and say, we’re making this change. How frustrating is that?
Tad Stones: Well, it’s funny. I mean, you realize every, it was always funny that sometimes, you know, you get a Storybird guy and a director wanting to make a change as early on as they, and it doesn’t happen today at all, cause everybody knows the. What goes on, but back then
they’d say, Oh, how can you give this notes?
Or we made this cut. I said, you can’t make that cut. And they say, why? And you’d say, you don’t understand. We got this note. And the only reason why this all is in is because we gave in on that. So if you cut out that, we’re in big trouble, you know? So you are used to getting notes that turn things around.
But generally. I was lucky on darkwheel duck. Our notes were, our executive who gave us notes was Greg Wiseman, uh, who of course, later did gargoyles and Greg had been an editor at DC comics. So whenever we did a silver age reference or inspiration, he knew exactly what we were doing. So it notes are really good now.
He was very passionate and, uh, Greg once said to me, he says, look, it’s my job to give you these notes. It’s your show. You don’t have to take them. And I was thinking of myself. Never say that to the boss, because the last thing he’s going to give permission to is for someone not to take a note of one of his executives.
But that was Greg’s. I mean, Greg will wear you down if he was really convinced of a different way of going.
but Amy, it was great. So the notes are dark, Wayne, or really. Supportive and creative. We didn’t have that kind of, you know, roadblock maybe in the last season at ABC since, at that point I did have to go through the regular kind of note process.
But even then, some of those shows
were some great ones. And in fact, one is one that isn’t even on Disney plus hot spells where Gaza makes a deal with the devil.
Which is not a big deal then. I mean, it’s a literary conceit that is constantly used in literature, but, uh, I think ABC got some letters. and you know, back then if they got seven letters, that meant like 7,000 or 70,000 people thought that way.
the sad thing about it is
it’s not like. The fact that it’s not on Disney plus is probably less somebody making a decision to keep it off and more somebody just grabbing, Oh, here’s all the episodes. That played in syndication and at ABC, and, and just putting them on without saying, Oh, wait, there’s an episode missing here.
because when they, I mean, as most people know, when they put, several of the animated shows on Disney, plus they went on without being in the correct order. And especially in duck tales. that’s a very heavy continuity show. And the characters are explored in a certain sequence. And. It was just a random, we don’t even know.
It wasn’t like it was an alphabetical order or something. It was just like somebody threw a mall up in the air and picked them up. You know? However they landed was the order they put them on, and I think they’ve corrected
most of it, if not all of it by now.
Kenric: Yeah. That’s great. I wonder if it’s on, I wonder if you could find that that episode somehow, you know, like on YouTube or something.
Tad Stones: on, it’s been on YouTube and then it gets taken off and you probably can. The one part of darkwheel duck that I wish Disney plus would have done, and again, it’s not intentional. It is kind of a lazy thing. When we did the pilot episode, we did it.
It wasn’t the first thing that we did. It was not what I consider the pilot, but darkly dones.
The duck is the story of how dark wing meets launchpad and adopts Goslin. had to be to fit in the prime spot where we showed it as a movie. It had to be a minute longer. And so I said, well, this is great. We’ll design it. We’re going to do this first minute of him chasing criminals and bringing them to the police department.
To his theme song, and then when it’s ensue syndication, we’ll just cut that out and that’s where the title goes. That is some of the best animation and probably the best example of how dark wing can
be competent. And yet.
Order an incompetent at the same time. It’s a fantastic piece of animation. It really, you know, how he, things seem to be going well for them and how clever he is, and then something goes wrong.
If you know at the time I should, once it was animated, I should have shown it to the staff every week, just as a refresher. This is what we’re going for, this is what we’re going for. But once that was cut out and then they put them out on DVDs, they just grabbed the syndication cut. They didn’t go back to get
the full version.
So that was unfortunate.
Kenric: Yeah. That is unfortunate.
Tad Stones: that is somewhere on YouTube. And if you track it down, darkwheel duck opening or George Wein darkling darkly duck, the duck, whatever it’s called. if you Google enough, you can get it down to, you know, and find that. And it’s an incredible piece.
Kenric: So you completed a screenplay for the Phantom claw with, which would have been the third and Hellboy series. Um.
Tad Stones: the first, the first Hellboy was about,
Mike did Hellboy short stories. Those are some of the most popular stories that he did at the beginning. and that was kind of. You know, and one, we adapted exactly out of the comics, the heads, and it was all these Japanese stores, but they were little being yet tied together.
And, uh, unfortunately what we tied it together with wasn’t as strong. But then the second one are like hell boys, roots in vampires and werewolf in the central European flavor. The third one was the Paul lobster Johnson, cybernetic apes, heads floating jars. The mad scientists, side of Hellboy plus you’d see his origin and you know, it was a slightly different from origin than either Mike’s or Guillermo’s.
- By the first two overlapped. So there was no real learning curve because you know, after, for the third one it was like, okay, now we know the stuff that works great and the stuff that’s hard to pull off or didn’t work as well. that was fine and script, but too difficult to execute. And so the third one was written with that in mind, and, uh, we loved it.
And then. We’re paid to do it. And then they said, here, we need to do this Turok son of stone, thing. And then you can go onto that. And in the meantime, they sold the company. So we never got to do the third. So
Kenric: I’m really kind of bummed to hear that. What you said, there’s seven plan and I’m like, no, cause I really liked those ones. You know that
Tad Stones: Originally, Hellboy was going to be a series on cartoon network. That’s how I.
Kinda got involved in the project in a weird way that I had a meeting with Sam register, who is, you know, it was his baby to do. And I was there interviewing for something else. And then the, the lower executives said, Whoa, well tad is big fan of Hellboy.
And then suddenly Sam’s energized cause he was interviewing me on behalf of a different executive. Uh, and it was like, but Hellboy was his project. anyway, you know, it was going to be a series and Mike and I divided out, okay, we’re going to have this many lobster Johnson stories, this many with a, but this and kind of.
We had a bunch of stories, talked about, wrote two scripts. but then I remember is that San Diego comic con we got the bad and good news is we’re not doing the series cause basically they couldn’t come together. There was three partners, the studio cartoon network, and then guys who revolution studios who helped the rights.
And basically cartoon network was saying. Our part is this valuable, we should get this slice of the pie because we’re actually putting it on the air.
Tad Stones: and then they couldn’t come to an agreement, so they said, we’re not doing it as a series. We’re doing it as a series of DVDs. And Micah like taken a back.
It was literally at his table and he says, well. I guess this is good news. And you know, when you think about it, well, this is actually wait cooler had we really gotten to do it, to do a series of, you know, Hellboy films. Uh, cause each one could have had definitely a different flavor.
so it was like,
you know, that’s, that was the plan.
Originally it was the series and then it was, you know,
doing a series of movies and it became like. The project. Nobody saw even big Hellboy fans didn’t know the films existed. partially because I was at the meeting where they’d called in this outside marketing group and they said, okay, we’re going to do all these Mike cutout are going to do all these interviews and all that.
Where do we want to place them before the premier of the movie on cartoon network, or when the DVD comes out and the outside marketing group says, well, you always promote. The actual movie,
and then the, the residual marketing is when you put it on DVD, it just kind of repeat this stuff. Well
too. And we didn’t know any better.
This was early in the years of, you know, directing videos. The problem with it is everyone is counting on it getting a big splash on cartoon network, but it wasn’t a cartoon network movie, so they really didn’t promote it. It was just part of this weekly thing they did. So it didn’t get a huge amount of promotion.
Plus there again, early days, they were
afraid that if people saw it too many times on TV, they would buy the DVD. So they only showed it.
Twice, maybe. and then, so basically, Mike and I did all this publicity and magazine articles and podcasts and all of that, and then we had to say, yeah, the DVD will be out three months from now, or whatever it is.
Whereas it should be, you do all that and you say it’s in the storage right now. but it wasn’t like I was smarter than anybody else. It was just that really hurt people from actually
learning that it existed.
It’s an odd thing, you know, in the middle of their schedule.
Kenric: I still tell people today to go watch those. If you’re a Hellboy fan, you got to watch those movies cause they’re good, they’re fun.
Tad Stones: mean, my feeling is that I came closer to the, I mean, Mike always calls these things. He says, those are Guillermo’s hell boys. Those are Tad’s held boys.
Those are, and I forget the. New guy’s name. and then his Hellboy is the one in the comics. But I was a huge fan of the comics, so I felt like
came closer to capturing the feeling of the comics.
I mean, the biggest change Guillermo did, I felt was he made Hellboy a teenage boy, hormonal teenage boy, basically, regardless of how old he was. And to me, Hellboy was, he was the rock. He’s the guy you wanted to be with because his friends come back alive, you know? Uh,
Kenric: There’s nothing she could be, you can’t
Tad Stones: I mean, I, I enjoyed Gallo’s movies.
It’s just like, I can enjoy new versions of, you know, Disney projects I’ve worked on because you divorce yourself from the old ones. Just say, Hey, is this thing entertaining or not?
Tad Stones: but, uh, yeah, that was
Kenric: entertaining, or is it not entertaining? If it’s entertaining, then it passes the bar. Right.
Tad Stones: Yeah, exactly. So it was like people were sweating.
Okay, new ducktails versus the old cocktails. And I said, I happen to really like, I think it’s a much better quality show, but it part of that is just that you know that the new one is. Had more time in production and it is run by fans of the original show.
That’s what fans have to understand. It’s like, no, you guys, there’s people just like you on the inside making this show, and luckily it very smart and have spent most of their lives thinking about this. So
Kenric: Yeah, well, and you can’t make everybody happy. You know? You’ve got to just make the show that you think that’s going to be entertaining, and that’s all you can do right.
Tad Stones: again, there’s, there’s plenty of people just want to see more episodes. I mean, all sorts of people want to do see a new gargoyles. and it’s like, how do you do that? Cause you know, people say, Oh, would you shouldn’t happen without Greg Wiseman. But it’s, it’s like, well, Greg. Redo this story.
I tend to think not because every comic has bitten since then about gargoyles has continued this story, but you can’t really do a series that counts on you seeing a show from 30 years ago. Now. Maybe you can, if you do it on Disney plus, you can say, here’s the old stuff. Get familiar with it. Okay, here’s where it continues on.
But again, it’s a new century. You want to see.
The company doesn’t want to see just more episodes of the old thing. It’s like, how are you going to make this for today’s audience such as whole different tastes and a different lifestyle? And yeah, it’s 30 years later, so everything visually should be different.
You know, it was funny.
Maybe this is the tales out of school, but, Frank told me that, uh, he was in a room once where somebody said, Hey, what have we do? Garden boils like, Go teen Titans and, uh, which is a great show. It’s just like, you know, deep have a beef with it cause it’s not an adventure show.
Uh, Craig says, without realizing, I suddenly said no out loud.
forgot how he got out of that and everything. But actually I mentioned that to Greg Wiseman. He said I’d be fine with that. You know, this is kind of the Mike Mineola sensibility of. He rather see somebody go crazy with his character and do something entirely different.
He’s more comfortable with that than seeing somebody trying to design it like as cop comics because all he can see is where they fail.
know, it’s just, you know, cause he’s really hard on himself when he draws a page.
It’s a, you know, thing that I share where I have a hard time looking at, well, of course it’s different.
I need the stuff I’ve done.
Kenric: I see. That seems to be a theme with creative people in general. we interview a lot of,
Tad Stones: thing where, you know, let’s go back and reduce star Trek or star Wars with, new special effects.
Kenric: yeah. .
Tad Stones: it’s, you know, there are, well, I mean, especially. When you go back and watch the classics, star Trek with the Avalon scene, a couple of them with new effects. It’s like, that’s really cool.
That’s how I want to watch it. I want to see the old actors. I want to see, you know, the film looked better and then when it goes to the outside of the ship, I would like to see a believable ship, you know, or at least something you’re used to done nicely. It’s like if he had, you know, a show that involved affects, there were, the creature was a marionette.
Kenric: That’s true. Are you there? Nope.
Tad Stones: hearing me?
Kenric: Okay. I thought, I thought maybe you, I thought I lost you for a second. I was like, no. Well,
tad, we’ve been on for over an hour already. Can you believe it?
Tad Stones: Yeah. That’s how it goes with me. I can, like I say, just that one question. I think that first question I took to probably 15 minutes or
Kenric: No, it’s okay. That’s what we like, man, you’re, you’re passionate about what you’ve gone through, what you’ve done, and, and man, you, you gave us stories of things we never would’ve heard of before. And so it’s, it’s been very enjoyable. I’d love to have you back on again cause I feel like we have like a good another hour to two hours and things that we can talk about.
Tad Stones: Well, next year is dark wings. 30th anniversary. So
even get to my rush stores.
Kenric: I know. See we need to have you back on because we’ve got to get to that.
Tad Stones: Yeah. There you go.
Kenric: Yeah. Hey, but actually before you go though, is there anything out there that you’ve done that you feel like, man, I wish this got more marketing. I wish it got more play. I wish people saw this more because it really is that good?
Tad Stones: Well, never in those terms.
I mean, never, never that positive, but, yeah. I’m. It had a lot of fun doing the Hellboy movies. You know, I’d love to people, at least fans, you know, know about them. I mean, I did things that were nice little things. I, one of the first things I did out of Disney was Brer rabbit for universal studios as a DVD.
and I ended up not only storyboarding, but actually art directing one sequence that was a song. and overall it was a neat, I mean, no surprises. It was. Super rapid stories. but it had a great cast. And, uh, you know, that was neat. And, uh, just, I just,
I mean, I was on Bob’s burgers for
three seasons, I guess, but, uh,
Kenric: Oh cool.
Tad Stones: it’s, again, I was just, at that point, I was just a storyboard guy.
And that show, is dialogue dependent. You’re not even allowed to add in a gag. So it was kind of a. Killer for me. the only thing that kept me going was I actually did a pilot for Disney, which of Bob’s burgers, studio bento box was producing and had the series gone. It would have been done there because some of their projects are done outside and some are done in the studio.
And that was a really cute thing that was not, you know, somebody else pitched me. I, in fact, Jennifer coil, who currently is doing the Harley Quinn animated show, uh, the R rated one, she was my director on Bob’s burgers and she said, cause they wanted me to pitch ideas for shows and she said, you have to do Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Cause, look, it’s such the key. She loves show Allah’s, they even did this little animated thing at the end. So it was kind of a go getting back to that
rescue Rangers kind of era where it was animals. It was, you know, one of the nicest looking pilots I’ve ever done. But, uh, we’ll never end the, one of the catchiest theme songs too, right?
They’re up there with duck tails and darkling. but. You know, unless they put it on as a hidden treasure or something like that. They actually,
for a while, they asked me back out of retirement, they said, we’re going to do the show. We ended up showing that, cause it was a finished pilot in full color, full animation music and everything.
They showed it to, I forget who, whatever the people at Disney plus or Bob Iger or somebody, and they saw it and they said, yeah, this can be a show, which should be, so they said. Do you want to come back, uh, to do this? Because we’re just testing it down in San Diego? I don’t if it goes well, it’s an automatic green light.
You’d be able to come in and go right into production.
Tad Stones: But I said, and that’s when I realized, Oh, I guess I am enjoying retirement, because I wasn’t tempted for a second. But I said, make sure you get Jennifer on it. She can run the show for you. Because she directed the pilot. I did. So by day I worked for her, and by night she worked for me, you know, on this pilot.
And luckily I did not. So I said, you know, great, good luck with it. You know, you want to have me come in to kibitz, I could do that. But, you know, they just felt like they needed to, since I had created this show that they felt like they had to do, it wasn’t like they were dying for me to do it. Um, anyway, I’m glad I did not get on that roller coaster because suddenly this thing that was an automatic Greenlight, it did test well, Hey, we’re going to do, it’s fantastic.
Oh no, we’re not. And it went away. And I said, man, I’m glad I did not. I was not hungry to get back in the game and do this show and get pumped for it, and then have it taken away from me so that it will re let’s, before I had, I had developed, the Rocketeer for at first Disney channel and then for Disney, jr got paid twice.
Um. It was actually in some ways, closest to a dark wing because they said, we’re not sure as Disney jr we’ve got an older audience, uh, it’s not a preschool audience. And they, they described it. I said, well, that’s basically the Disney afternoon. And I said, I’m going to do something crazy, and then you pull me back.
So I said,
so let me get this straight. It’s gotta be a kid. It’s the name Rocketeer and there has to be a jet pack and a helmet. Let me see. Yes. Is it okay? And I did a show that was probably a pilot store. I, I never got to script. No, I did development and and story premises over detailed. It was wackier than dark wing.
Crazy. That would’ve been fun. Really fun to do. But then, and I had really had my hopes up and that crushed me when they said, no, we’re going to give it to the other person. I said, what other person? Cause they said, this is your show. We waited until we had to show it. We knew you would want to do.
They had never told me that and they said no. And anytime we do a Disney project, we always go to multiple people. And it’s like, good to mention it to me, cause I thought, Oh, if they don’t go with my story idea, at least I’ll be a producer of the show. Uh, but that wasn’t true either. So I was really, I gotta say I was destroyed.
But looking back, it’s like
I would have been.
- I ended up retiring when I was 64. I would have been 65 before we even got to go ahead to go. now they did do a, a Rocketeer and it was much more like one of their shows, but I heard it was just canceled. So I said, well, maybe I dodged to roller coasters.
Kenric: Yeah. The new one was already canceled. That one with the little girl.
Tad Stones: I heard, I read that on probably Twitter or something that, you know, cause I’ll be Simon rich with a lot of animation people, but, yeah, that,
I don’t know why, you know, I haven’t heard anything about it. Maybe it has to do with, Oh, they’re doing a Rocketeer reboot movie or something.
But from what I saw, the show is, it was charming. It fit in with their other, you know, Disney jr shows, And I told him, I said, I, I just can’t write those kinds of shows. And they show you’re a fantastic writer, which is exactly what you want to hear. And it’s like, yes, I know what you’re saying. I’m, what I didn’t see out loud is I, I don’t want to do that kind of show where I have to think, not for myself.
I have to think down to a. Five-year-olds level, and you can do a great quality show. but also the way things are now, the executives are literally on the show, so it’s not as much as your show.
and as just like.
I don’t need that. It’s kind of like, you know, you’re going to give him notes, huh? Now if they’d let me go with the wacky thing and all that,
have been fine, because if they had, if they have accepted it, they would have bought into the idea because my feeling was, look, you’re talking about a younger audience
at the age of three, I think it was three and a half.
My grandson could name all the bounty hunters. From, uh, empire strikes back. And, you know, star Wars is his favorite movies. So it’s like, why are we holding back? That’s your audience too. You know, you don’t have to, you don’t have to do shows that early looks at and say, Oh, those are for little tiny kids.
It can be truly family entertainment. You just have to write them, not leaving the young kid behind. You have to keep it understandable and all of that. But we’ll never know.
Kenric: Never, no, I don’t think there’s enough with things. I don’t think there’s enough shows like that. You know? I’ve got a six year old at home and it’s hard to watch to find something that we can all watch together that keeps everybody interested.
Tad Stones: you know, I was doing conventions and I had whole families coming up. And they all love duck ducktails. This is before the new duck tales. They love dark wing duck. I say how the little guy, Sam, cause we share it with them. We have all the DVDs and all of that. Uh, and they were super excited for the new duck tails.
And when you watch that show, you realize,
cause it gets really dramatic and you could get Misty eyed. And you know, that first season, especially the arc and how it ended up was just fantastic. I am the storm. Um.
Tad Stones: You know that that is truly family entertainment. I think that’s what Walt Disney, literally, the man used to chase after. It’s like, I’m not writing, I’m not making these movies for kids, you know, making them for everybody.
and that’s, I just think they should do plenty of that. And it’s like you say, it’s hard to find stuff that you all sit down with.
Kenric: Yup. One thing come
Tad Stones: sit down with in various rooms of the house on various devices.
Kenric: Exactly. We’re all in the same room, but we’re all on different devices.
Tad Stones: Yes. There
Kenric: Yeah. It just gets frustrating sometimes cause you just want some,
Tad Stones: you very much for inviting me out to spoiler country.
Kenric: yeah. No, thank you for coming on. It’s been, it’s been awesome. Definitely want you to have you come back and let’s do some more.
Tad Stones: sure.
Kenric: Sure. Okay. Okay. We had some time there. I just did some silence there, so that way it’s easy for editing. Hey. do you mind giving us a bumper?
Tad Stones: Uh, no problem at all.
Kenric: Yeah, just, um.
Tad Stones: my name is Ted stones, creator of Chippendales rescue Rangers and dark wing duck. That terror that flaps in the night. And I’m on spoiler country. Don’t tell anybody.
Kenric: That was perfect. Thank you so much.
Tad Stones: Well, I wasn’t each day at college, so.
Kenric: Oh, man. No, that was perfect. Well, a lot of times we ask people to do a bumper and they don’t really know what that is. And then we gotta, you know. And then you feel weird if you ask them to that. Cause I don’t know. I don’t want it to ask somebody to say something that they’re always talking about and then might get tired of, you know what I mean?
So it’s like, nah, that was perfect. Thank you so much.
Tad Stones: Oh, you are welcome. Let me know when it’s on,
Kenric: Yeah. Well we will, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, it’ll John actually, John will know the skits. John, what kind of schedule are we looking at for?
John: it’ll probably go over live at the end of March, early April.
Kenric: There you go. Yeah, a lot out there. Thanks, Todd. We’ll be in touch.
Tad Stones: Okay. All right. Bye.
John: I could talk
Kenric: Yeah, yeah. He’s a talker. He was cool though. You know, you have, I mean, really, if you listen to what he was talking about, he gave a lot of insight of what’s going on in Disney, how they did things. Yup.
Kenric: Yeah, and he’s not scared to talk shit.
John: retired. Was he care?
Kenric: Yeah. It was just, it was awesome. I loved it. His bumper was, I think that’s the best bumper we’ve ever gotten.
John: That’s up there with, uh, this, the same as limb one for me.
Kenric: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s up there with Sam and slim, but dude, it actually, the fact that he calls out
Kenric: the, the episode shows and everything.
John: and says the terror that flaps in the night and we high. Yes.
Kenric: Yeah, yeah, that’d be, that was, um, yeah. Dad just gave us an Epic bumper. You want to, you don’t want to do the intro real quick.
Kenric: You want to do it later, or we can do it here.
John: I have to get up for a call at like 6:00 AM so,
Kenric: Okay. Pussy. All right, man. Later.
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas