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The WBAA:
WB describes you as an "underground San Francisco cartoonist". Is this an accurate description?

Angus Oblong:
"Yeah, that's about right! I also write and illustrate actual childrens' books and books for children over 25. I started out with hand made books I sold thru the mail. It was my 1st version of "Creepy Susie & 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children." PLUG!"

The WBAA:
Tell me about yourself. How old are you, how long have you been cartooning, and how long you've been involved in animation?

Angus Oblong:
"I turned 87 in August! I am planning on dying soon. I plan to do it while driving."

"Cartooning? I've drawn my whole life but I'm not a trained animator. I have people who do that for me now. (That's my favourite new saying.) I've been involved in animation my whole life,-if you consider watching/collecting & studying the workings of cartoons & animated series' since I was old enough to work a VCR- being involved. So coming into this field, the learning curve for me was pretty small. I'm not saying I knew everything, but a whole lot more than the showrunner as far as animation goes, that's for sure!"

The WBAA:
How did your designs evolve as they were translated for animation?

Angus Oblong:
"A lot like I figured they would; they got rounder, more cartoony. Less sloppy, more refined. The one thing I'd like to change in season 2 is their mouth charts, just don't like 'em."

The WBAA:
As series creator, how much creative control do you have over the series?

Angus Oblong:
"Not as much as I was hoping for! The writers tend to think of me as 'that guy who draws the little pictures' & that they are the only ones capable of coming up with a funny joke. It's a constant uphill battle, one I wasn't expecting."

The WBAA:
Is Warner Bros. involved at all in production, or are they just your distributor?

Angus Oblong:
"All of the producers are employed by Warner Brothers & so it is a Warner Brothers production & overseen by them. I own Warner Brothers by the way, bought it on Ebay. It is animated by Film Roman, the same company what animates The Simpsons & King of the Hill & up until about a year ago, The Family Guy. Everyone over at Film Roman is extremely cool & down to earth, definitely my crowd."

The WBAA:
Who do you share offices next to?

Angus Oblong:
"Not at WB, my office is at Film Roman. It's accross from little Dan Ridgers. Nobody knows who he is, but he's alot of fun. We thow things into eachother's offices and hit each other hard in the heads with things. I have a scar from a golf ball."

The WBAA:
What major influences are evident in the show?

Angus Oblong:
"Hmm... Well the showrunner wants The Oblongs to be exactly like The Simpsons, so you'll be seeing a LOT of parallels there. But the show was initially created to be much darker, more along the lines of The Adams Family than The Simpsons. I'm hoping for more death and loathesome behaviour in the coming seasons. I'm not afraid of what people will think if we push the limits of 'Funny.' "

The WBAA:
How would you fix the Simpsons?

Angus Oblong:
"Sorry, I wouldn't. It's like one of those family pets that everyone loves and doesn't want to die but needs to die becuase it's so old and should be remembered as vibrant and healthy, not blind, crazy and wandering aimlessley. I think (obviously) that The Simpsons is starting to get pretty bad."

The WBAA:
What demographic is your show aimed at?

Angus Oblong:
"Newborns & the elderly."

The WBAA:
How do you deal with an adult show in what's considered a kid's medium?

Angus Oblong:
"Well some say that kids will really like the show! Since it's been tamed down considerably from the original vision, it probably will be just fine for kids to watch."

The WBAA:
Some of the character designs and character profiles are a little risque. Is this something you want kids watching? There's no question that kids are attracted to anything animated!

Angus Oblong:
"There's actually nothing risque about the characters. Limbless or conjoined people are a fact of life & shouldn't be hidden & denied as humans but rather they should be put on little stages dressed funny & pointed at."

The WBAA:
Let's talk about designs.

Angus Oblong:
"Okay"

The WBAA:
Jerry Beck remarked on The Oblongs' "appealingly demented style that's charmingly old fashioned." Is this what you were aiming for in pre-production?

Angus Oblong:
"YES! Somebody got it! Tell this Jerry person I said hi. I like a sense of timelessness in the things I do. Internet jokes & name dropping of whose hot now is -to me- dated & tacky. Let's say this show was made 10 years ago & we mentioned or (God forbid) characterized Arsinio Hall?! How embarrassed would we be now if it was in syndication? Timelessness is also in the designs, rotary telephones, 60's hairdos, and cuffed & collared dresses just to name a few. But again, the writers have somewhat different ideas sometimes. Those nutty nutty writers."

The WBAA:
What do you think the current state of animation is?

Angus Oblong:
"Hmm...I'm personally not a big fan of Japanese Anime that Pokemon brought over, but humans under 10 seem to like it so it can't be all that bad. Also, I think there is more room for more style and artistic, interesting styles in animation, be it either primetime or feature [animation]. Since it's animated/created from the mind, it can go anywhere and do anything and that definitely needs to be touched upon more."

The WBAA:
How do you feel about the "Dexter's Lab-esque" character design trends that have greatly impacted the animation world as of late?

Angus Oblong:
"I love it! It's simple, highly stylistique & amazingly effective! What the Cartoon Network plays are some of my faves. I want to be a Power Puff Girl! South Park: (I know you didn't ask) though I love the content, I wish it looked better. I'm drawn to style and a really unique look & luckily that came thru in The Oblongs."

The WBAA:
How is The Oblongs unique as a cartoon?

Angus Oblong:
"It's not a cartoon. It's an animated series. duh! Unique? It's got some pretty different looking characters, the backgrounds are hand painted & beautifully rendered. I believe that the overall look of it is what'll make it stand out from the rest."

The WBAA:
Do think The Oblongs will succeed above WB's previous attempts at prime time animation: Pinky and the Brain, Mission Hill, and Baby Blues? Why is this?

Angus Oblong:
"Pinky & the Brain was for kids, so that's a whole different golf course. The Oblongs is definitely better'n Mission Hill, which was mostly a writing problem. (I guess my writers aint all THAT bad..) The M.H. writers didn't end a scene with a joke or leave you wanting more when cutting to a commercial. Mission Hill also had a design problem. It hurt to watch because of the freakshow of bright colors. And the voices, for the most part, were terribly strained & hokey. I wanted to like the show I really really did! But it was just bad. Now Baby Blues I expected to dislike, but didn't! It's not an edgy show, but rather a show for families; for kids, which is what TV needed due to the flood of animation for adults, leaving kids wanting to watch but not allowed to."

The WBAA:
What is your favorite contempoary WB cartoon?

Angus Oblong:
"I have to say, even though it isn't comedy, I love Batman Beyond for it's awesome style and design. Also Batman: The Animated Series. And for the most part, Animaniacs, because they were the first to say things like "pee-pee" and that made me laugh as a kid. I also watch Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries (for the cool syle). Other favorities are Earthworm Jim and Freakazoid."

The WBAA:
How did the concept for The Oblongs originate?

Angus Oblong:
"I don't know."

The WBAA:
Should we identify with the Oblong family?

Angus Oblong:
"Yes. Yes you should."

The WBAA:
Why?

Angus Oblong:
"If you were one of these you shall indentify:

A) An ugly unpopular kid who was crammed into trashcans and stuffed into lockers

B) The goodlooking and popular ones who crammed ugly and unpopular kids into trashcans and stuffed them into lockers."

The WBAA:
What genre does The Oblongs fit under? Satire?

Angus Oblong:
"I don't know. Maybe tube socks?"

The WBAA:
What are your views on Hare Krishna?

Angus Oblong:
"I like him. I like him a lot."

The WBAA:
Is there a monster under your bed?

Angus Oblong:
"Strange you ask that! Yes. Yes there is! I've actually seen her! She is ugly, very hairy & dark, just like my sister."

The WBAA:
Is there anything you'd like to say to Richard Simmons?

Angus Oblong:
"Yes. Please tell Richard that he should wear more clothes when he comes on my television. Due to his lack of clothing & hairy back, I am finding myself strangely attracted to him."

Right now, the future of the Oblongs will be on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. You can keep up with the latest at Angus Oblong's site: http://www.angusoblong.com

The WB Animation Archive hopes the best for the 87-year-old Angus Oblong.

 

Image Sources:

http://www.cartoonresearch.com

http://www.acmecity.com

Interview by Archie on March 27th, 2001