Older Than They Think / Western Animation

  • Apparently some fans believe that the term 'twinkle toes' was coined by Avatar: The Last Airbender. "Twinkle Toes" Flintstone would have something to say about that.
  • Who first used Humongous Mecha? Was it Transformers? The Japanese Spider-Man? Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers? The Martian tripods from the original The War of the Worlds book from 1898? The Tale of Garuda from ancient Hindu legend had a robot with rotary saws for hands. This one is officially one of The Oldest Ones in the Book.
    • Then there's Talos from Greek mythology, the original model for Dungeons & Dragons' "iron golem".
    • Myths are replete with this. Hittite mythology has one. Golden automata and other mechanical creatures were all over Greek Mythology. Rabbi Loew's Golem was well-known for being large and powerful. Creating a mechanical man is a very old idea indeed, and making it huge is simply the next step up. Naturally, it's arguable which of these "count" as actual mecha, but the basic idea goes back.
  • Some people associate "Whoop whoop whoop" noises with Zoidberg, completely forgetting The Three Stooges.
    • The DVD subtitles and closed captions on TV, at least, give "MIMICS THREE STOOGES" or "IMITATES CURLY FROM THE THREE STOOGES" rather than "WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP".
  • The triangular Cool Shades worn by Soundwave and Prowl of Transformers Animated are often mistaken to be a Shout-Out to the famous ones worn by Kamina of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, but Derrick J. Wyatt said they were actually a reference to the much older ABC Warriors of 2000 AD fame. They were also worn by several other characters before Kamina, including Calvin (in one strip) and Ash's Squirtle. Many also thought the Lagann had some influence on the Headmaster design (both are robots that could become the head of another mecha to boost its power). However, besides the idea of a robot becoming a Transformer's head dating back to G1, Wyatt stated that he'd never seen Gurren Lagann until after the first season was already done with production (though he stated that if he had seen it before, the design would probably have stubby legs and let Masterson poke his head out the top).
  • Although many people think the catcall "Hellooooo, nurse!" was originally from Animaniacs, it originated several decades ago, in vaudeville.
  • The cars in this short bear a certain striking similarity to Cars. Thing is though, the short is actually from 1952!
  • Woody Woodpecker's first appearance was actually as the villain of a short of a now forgotten character called "Andy Panda". Oh, and his laugh (produced by Mel Blanc) didnt start with him either. Blanc used it earlier in a few of his Warner Bros. shorts like Porky's Hare Hunt.
  • When The Simpsons first aired, some viewers believed certain lines popularized by Bart to have been invented by the show's creators. These include Bart's replacing the words of "Jingle Bells" ("... Batman smells, Robin laid an egg...") in the first episode and "Eat my shorts", first said in The Breakfast Club (1985). And while "Yo!" quite obviously predates Bart Simpson, being famously used at the ending of the first Rocky movie (1976), many Generation-Y kids grew up not knowing that.
    • This is particularly ironic, as the creators note in the first season's DVD commentary, because Bart was meant as social commentary, speaking almost entirely in borrowed catch phrases and clichés. When the popularity of The Simpsons caused people to attribute the phrases to Bart instead, the joke was lost on many viewers. In fact Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart, says that she first heard "eat my shorts" when she was in high school (in the 1970s), and that it became a running gag among the fellow members of her high school marching band.
    • Homer's iconic "D'oh!" outburst is from Laurel and Hardy regular supporting actor Jimmy Finlayson (though in a shorter form), as confirmed by Matt Groening and Dan Castellaneta.
    • While Homer Simpson is named after creator Matt Groening's father, he also shares his (first and last) name with a supporting character in Nathanael West's novella The Day Of The Locust, which was written in 1939. This has amused more than a few English majors, though Groening deliberately got the name from that novel.
    • Adam West was Adam Westing seven years before Family Guy premiered.
    • The Yes Guy is an homage to comedic actor Frank Nelson, a frequent player on The Jack Benny Program.
    • Many famous Simpsons episodes are direct homages to or parodies of other material, especially anything in the Halloween episodes.
      • Even those who think the episode "Cape Feare" is a direct parody of the two Cape Fear films have forgotten that said films are based on the 1957 John D. MacDonald novel, entitled The Executioners; in other words, the episode seems to be parodying the original novel itself.
  • Ah, Toy Story! What a cute and creative idea, the thought that toys actually come alive while their master is away. Older folks remember reading those stories when they were about good old Raggedy Ann.
    • On a related note: Buzz Lightyear not realizing he's a toy? They already did that gimmick with Babette the French Doll in Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure - made in 1976 and released in 1977.
    • The Velveteen Rabbit was slightly younger — 1922 to Raggedy Ann's... call it 1918 — but the doll predates the stories by a couple years. Seems older, what with the scarlet fever, and all.
  • The Princess and the Frog, featuring Disney's first black princess, has already been accused of trying to cash in on the Obama presidency. Anyone who follows Disney will remember this was on the drawing board years before Obama was nationally known, and the first teaser trailer was available before the Democratic primaries.
  • The American Darkstalkers cartoon featured a bespectacled boy named Harry Grimoire who was studying magic (and happened to have Felicia as a "pet"). This would've been an obvious rip of Harry Potter, if not for the fact that the cartoon came out some years before.
    • A similar thing happened with The Books of Magic, which has a bespectacled young boy who is destined to be a wizard — in fact Neil Gaiman admits that despite having a bespectacled wizard go to school wasn't his original idea, and that he and Rowling were more inspired by Arthurian legends than each other (unfortunately, a magazine Mis-blamed him as having accused Rowling of ripping off his ideas, which he rebutted).
  • Most Disney fans assume that Mickey Mouse is Walt Disney's first cartoon character, and Peg-Leg Pete was created to be his primary enemy. Actually, Pete was the very first recurring Disney character, created in 1925 (before even Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) for one of Disney's Alice Comedies, a series of shorts which mixed live action and animation. Pete was always a villain, but the fact is that he was imported into the earliest Mickey cartoons to give Mickey an established character to fight, not the other way around.
    • For that matter, most people don't know that Mickey was an Expy of Oswald...but even fewer know that Oswald himself was an Expy of Julius the Cat from the Disney's Alice Comedies, who was himself a Captain Ersatz of Felix the Cat.
    • Even worse is when people believe that Mickey was the first cartoon character ever, when in fact that honor belongs to Windsor McCay's "Gertie the Dinosaur", who was created when Walt was still in junior high school.
    • Pete's son, PJ, is generally thought to have been created in 1992 for Goof Troop. He was actually created half a century prior, debuting in a Donald Duck cartoon called "Bellboy Donald" (though he went by Junior and he looked like Mickey Mouse with cat ears), and the character is only 17 years newer than his father. However, his personality was the exact opposite in every way from what was to come, so he simultaneously looked less like his father and acted (and sounded) more like him.
    • Likewise, Goofy's son, Max, was created as "Goofy Jr." in 1951 in the Goofy short "Fathers Are People", but also had extensive changes done to his personality and design. Though the personality changes weren't as extreme as PJ's (Max kept his wild side, he just gained a serious side too), the appearance changes were more extreme (originally "Goofy Jr." was a redhead with a pink nose and no ears).
    • It's also common to name Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy in this order, assuming this is how they were created in chronological order. Yet Goofy is actually two years older than Donald, having been created in 1932, albeit still with a beardy chin which made him literally look older than he is nowadays.
  • There used to be a very vocal faction at the IMDb forums which reckoned that "all of DreamWorks' ideas were stolen from Pixar" (yes, all of them). At least two of their favorite examples were shown to be nonsense, as they were in production years before and only bore a superficial resemblance, and in any case one of them (Flushed Away) was actually an Aardman Animations movie — the DreamWorks involvement was minimal.
  • Spoofed in the "Springfield Shopper" booklet that comes with the Simpsons Movie DVD; in it, Homer (as a movie critic who's way behind with his column) describes Star Wars (by which he means A New Hope) as being "a parody of Spaceballs".
  • An animated action series with a Fiery Redhead Action Girl whose blond male sidekick and a Voice with an Internet Connection help her pursue a hot former crimefighter with long black hair who turned to crime For the Evulz because she was bored being a good guy. What? What is this "Kim Possible" you speak of? It's Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?.
  • Now and then someone will accuse Thundarr the Barbarian of being a ripoff of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), despite the fact that Thundarr predates He-Man by several years.
  • To this day, there are still fans of the Teen Titans cartoon who are surprised when they find out the cartoon was preceded by the Teen Titans comic book by 41 years.
  • In one episode of Recess, Gus is involved in a plot against the Ashleys wherein he claims Ashley is also his name - insisting that it's not that unusual in the progressive 1990s. In reality, "Ashley" was almost solely a boy's name until the early 20th century; it was perfectly acceptable for a boy to be named Ashley over a hundred years before the episode was written or aired.
    • One of the best known examples in pop culture would be Ashley Wilkes of Gone with the Wind, a film consistantly put in top 10 lists.
      • Which was a best-selling book first.
    • Another one people here may be familiar with is Ashley "Ash" Williams of Evil Dead fame.
  • Here's one: The Pollyanna type in a place that is quite clearly Hell, run by a creature that is quite clearly Satan, who acts as a Corrupt Corporate Executive. No, not Jimmy Two-Shoes, but an earlier show called The Baskervilles.
  • You know that routine on A Pup Named Scooby-Doo that Shaggy and Scooby-Doo had. Shaggy makes an Incredibly Lame Pun. Scooby-Doo laughs, then says, "I don't get it." It comes from Hang in There, Scooby-Doo on The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Show. The gang had found a cassette of rock music in the cavern.
    Shaggy: Those cave teenagers love their rock music?
    Scooby-Doo: (laughs) I don't get it.
  • On a larger scale, a lot of baby boomers who grew up in The '60s, if they have no knowledge of animation history, will be surprised when you tell them that cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation such as Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry were coming out in the 1930s and '40s, and were already decades old back when they remember watching the cartoons on Saturday mornings.
  • Adam West as Catman is a parody of Batman in The Fairly OddParents. However, there actually is a Catman which is a Batman villain created in the '60s.
  • The expression "Cowabunga!" did NOT originate on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or even the surfer/skater culture they were imitating). The phrase originated from "The Howdy Doody Show" (1947-60), spoken by Chief Thunderthud, the Indian founder of Doodyville.
  • My Little Pony:
    • Judging from its sheer presence on the internet, it's a fair assumption that the My Little Pony franchise never caught on with males until My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, but there were bronies (not that they called themselves that) back as far as Generation 1 - believe it or not, the G1 cartoon series usually dealt with boy-friendly epic fantasy adventures, not stereotypically girly fare. But since 4Chan wasn't around in The '80s, the male fans of the show didn't make themselves known as a significant Periphery Demographic until the latest series.
    • The infamous "Rainbow Dash always dresses in style" quote is usually associated with G3.5 (as is the theme song the lyric appears in), but the quote - and the song - were actually borrowed from G3's "Core 7" soft reboot.
    • Actually, who here remembers the first time we saw multi-colored equines dancing across the screen in Western Animation. You know, small unicorns dancing around, and pegasi too. What, The '80s? No...we saw these as early as The Forties - we're talking about the Pastorale in Fantasia.
    • The whole "Adult men enjoying a show about girls? It's the end times/turning point for masculinity/insert flimsy sociological viewpoint here" makes you wonder if everyone has forgotten Sailor Moon and The Powerpuff Girls originally had similar demographics in the Nineties and the 2000's.
    • A young children's show appealing to an adult audience? Friendship Is Magic is revolutionary and has broken down all the barriers of the Animation Age Ghetto...if Arthur, The Backyardigans, and Sesame Street didn't beat it to the punch years and even decades earlier.
    • Similarly, Friendship is Magic is hardly the first time a Merchandise-Driven franchise targeted solely towards little girls was adapted into a story-driven animated series with only superficial girly elements that could be (and was) enjoyed by both genders. She-Ra: Princess of Power beat it to that honour in 1985.
    • At first, Friendship is Magic became well-known for its occasional Genre Shift into Slice of Life instead of adventure. This was actually first explored in My Little Pony Tales and later on in ''My Little Pony G3 along with G3.5.
    • Friendship is Magic also averted the Lady Land aspect, introducing popular stallions such as Big MacIntosh, Soarin' and Carrot Cake to the cast. Tales also beat them to the punch, as male ponies have appeared in virtually every episode of that series.
    • Many ponies (especially in the toy line) predate Friendship Is Magic. Applejack was outright one of the first G1 ponies as she was a year 2 character.
  • "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" did NOT originate with Looney Tunes, It even has its own lyrics that are different than the ones Daffy sing. Here is a link to a youtube video with people singing the (slightly modified for gender) original lyrics.
  • Ultimate Spiderman has been getting a lot of flack from the Fan Dumb for being Lighter and Softer getting multiply improbable crossovers and where spidey faces foes not in his Rogues Gallery where in any other story , he would get killed. They probably never heard of Spidey Super Stories
  • Remember that one episode of Family Guy where Peter sang "Surfin' Bird"? Turns out the idea of using that song in a cartoon has been done before a cover was used for the short-lived CBS cartoon Birdz. Oh, and the original showings of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show (In its first episode, at that!).
    • Family Guy causes a honking crapload of these sorts of errors thanks to its Reference Overdosed nature. Any film or TV show clip later parodied on FG will have hundreds of comments on YouTube mistakenly asserting the video is a reference to Family Guy, even if the age of the clip makes it obvious that it originated decades before Seth MacFarlane was even born.
    • The "Do you remember [X]? Pepperidge Farm remembers." joke from the episode "Hell Comes to Quahog" had also been done in the Futurama episode "A Fishful of Dollars" seven years earlier, which made many say They Copied It, So It Sucks.
  • Pop quiz: what was the first animated series about a teenager from a primitive society who is granted a magical weapon that, when he holds it above his head, grants him super-strength and transforms his pet into a fierce animal sidekick, and it features a character named She-Ra? If you guessed He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), you're wrong - that honour goes to Hanna-Barbera's The Mighty Mightor, created in 1967.
  • A lot of Internet commentators accused the Gravity Falls short "Hidebehind" of ripping off the Slender Man Mythos— being apparently unaware that the Hidebehind is a much older folkloric creature.
  • In one episode of Batman: The Animated Series Harley sings a song about her relationship with Joker. The song, "Say That We're Sweethearts Again", is an actual song from the 40s and Harley did not tweak the lyrics. It's a Black Comedy that's even more violent in the original.
  • A T.V. show about a team made up of four penguins who go on adventures with hijinks ensuing. No, no, not The Penguins of Madagascar, it's actually 3-2-1 Penguins!, made by Big Idea, the same studio that produced VeggieTales.
  • Cartoon characters Breaking the Fourth Wall is nowadays mostly associated with Family Guy, but Looney Tunes did this already in the 1930s and 1940s. And even before that, in the 1920s, Felix the Cat often used a Speech Balloon or other parts of his own drawn environment in his gags, sometimes directly addressing the audience.
  • Adult animation? Most people think The Simpsons, Beavis And Butthead and South Park were the first to specifically aim more at an adult audience. In fact, Ralph Bakshi created the first adult cartoon features in the 1970s, pioneering topics such as sex, drugs, bloody violence and politics. And even before Bakshi you had Animal Farm (1955), a British animated feature based on George Orwell's Animal Farm, satirizing Communism as an animal fable. Not too mention Looney Tunes, Betty Boop and the cartoons of Tex Avery in the 1930s and 1940s making adult comedy jokes, with sometimes sexual innuendo. You might think that Bakskhi at least can attribute the first animated pornographic film to his name, Fritz the Cat? Not quite, in 1928 (!) a silent black-and-white short cartoon was made called "Eveready Harton in Buried Treasures" featuring a man with a giant Raging Stiffie walking around looking for a woman. This short has remained anonymous however, fell into the public domain and was only rediscovered in the 1970s.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Cartoon characters interacting with humans in live-action is almost as old as animation itself. Max and Dave Fleischer already did it in the 1920s with Koko The Clown.
  • Inside Out isn't the first Disney animation to deal with anthropomorphic interpretations of feelings. That would be the 1943 Wartime Cartoon Reason and Emotion.
  • Stylized Limited Animation is associated with the UPA cartoons of the 1950s. Yet Chuck Jones already made a cartoon like this in 1942, The Dover Boys, and was almost fired over it!
  • Classical Music in cartoons is often associated with Looney Tunes, who used a lot of Standard Snippet music from symphonies, Opera and the like. Yet the Looney Tunes just copied this practice from the Silly Symphonies cartoons from Walt Disney Productions who did this since 1930. For instance, it's Mickey Mouse who first performed Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody" on a piano in the early 1930s, years before the more famous cartoons The Cat Concerto with Tom & Jerry and Rabbit Rhapsody with Bugs Bunny.
  • Cartoony gags are often thought to be innovations brought by Tex Avery and the Looney Tunes cartoons who move to a more silly and absurd style compared to Walt Disney's realistically looking cartoons. Yet Disney himself made use of cartoony gags in the 1920s and 1930s, just like Felix the Cat did from 1919 on.
  • The Scooby-Dooby Doors gag is commonly associated with Scooby-Doo, hence the trope name. But Tex Avery already did this gag in the 1940s, two decades before Scooby-Doo went on the air.
  • Cat-and-mouse cartoons. Everybody immediately thinks of Tom and Jerry. Yet even Steamboat Willie with Mickey Mouse and Pegleg Pete is already an early prototype of this typical cartoon situation.
  • Everybody knows Aladdin was the first ever animated cartoon to have a Celebrity Voice Actor. Except Disney has been using celebrities in their films as far back as Pinocchio, which had Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket. And many many actors known for their voice work (like Alan Reed, Billy Bletcher, Sterling Holloway) have had plenty of live-action roles, making the celebrity voice actor term kind of foggy.
    • And the trend of having a Celebrity Voice Actor in animated films actually started with An American Tail, a Universal Studios production from 1986 that starred Dom De Luise and Madeline Kahn, though Aladdin would be the Trope Codifier.
    • Even earlier was Rankin/Bass's The Last Unicorn, featuring Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, and Christopher Lee.
  • Arthur is one of those series associated heavily with the late 90s and early 2000s. The first book (Arthur's Nose) came out all the way in 1976. Several generations grew up with the characters before the cartoon came out.
  • The voices in The Archie Show were cast to emulate the voice from the 1940s radio shows.
  • Super Secret Secret Squirrel from 2 Stupid Dogs is a revival of a 60s cartoon named Secret Squirrel.
  • Many people are unaware that the cartoon segments on House of Mouse originated as segments of the short-lived Mickey MouseWorks television series, possibly due to some of the shorts making their debut on House of Mouse without previously airing as part of Mickey MouseWorks.
  • When it was announced that Samurai Jack would be getting a brand new fifth season years after being cancelled, one notable aspect that surprised many is that the new season would be set to premiere on Toonami on [adult swim]... and would still be produced by Cartoon Network Studios, the same company who produced the first four seasons. Surprising? Maybe, but it's actually not the first time that Cartoon Network Studios has produced anything for [adult swim]. That honor belongs to the second season of Black Dynamite.
  • The Chipettes from Alvin and the Chipmunks first officially appeared in 1983 however they were first referenced a year earlier in the song "The One That I Want" from the CD The Chipmunks Go Hollywood. In the song, Theodore mentions Charlene and states that she's from a group known as "The Chipettes". Charlene was eventually replaced with a Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Brittany.
  • Disney's animated take on "Beauty and the Beast" isn't the first adaptation of the work to feature Animate Inanimate Objects — they can be seen in Jean Cocteau's legendary live-action film from 1946 and a Russian animated featurette from the same decade, both of which were adapting the detail in the source fairy tale that the castle seems to have no residents aside from the Beast, yet it's always meticulously maintained, food is plentiful, etc. The main difference, and it is significant, is that Disney's Enchanted Objects are fully-developed characters. The 1946 film is also the first adaptation to have a character who is a romantic rival for the heroine, and who tries to loot the castle and destroy the Beast in the climax, although Gaston is a much more developed and diabolical character than Avenant. Disney doesn't make a big point of acknowledging this film's influence on their version, but they occasionally do; they once considered doing a Direct-to-Video sequel to their version that would have had Gaston's brother, who would have been named Avenant as a direct reference, as the villain.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs-related examples:
    • Walt Disney choosing the fairy tale as the basis for his first feature-length production goes back to his being impressed by a 1916 silent film version that adapted a 1912 Broadway play based on the story collected by the Brothers Grimm! The play is probably the first adaptation of the story in which the Queen's disguise as a peddler woman is the result of a magical transformation rather than Wig, Dress, Accent. The silent film adds the detail that Snow White is forced to work by her stepmother as a maid, in hopes of playing down the girl's beauty.
    • While often touted as the first full-length animated feature, 1926's The Adventures of Prince Achmed predates it by eleven years. It's a silent feature that uses cut-out silhouettes against painted, colored backdrops. Disney's film is the first full-color and cel-animated feature, with a full music-and-dialogue soundtrack.
    • Jiminy Cricket is the sidekick in Disney's next animated feature, Pinocchio, but his name isn't original — it's a pun playing off of a then-common expression that turns up in this one! When they first realize a stranger is in their cottage, the dwarfs whisper "Jiminy crickets!" in unison.
  • The Incredibles has a multiple dose of Older Than They Think on this very wiki; on the Headscratchers page, one troper claimed that Pixar got the idea of zero-point energy from Half-Life 2. Another then pointed out that The Incredibles came out first (albeit by only a few days), a third claimed that he had first come across the idea in a story in 1980, and a fourth pointed out that the idea was far older even than the latter story, having been devised by Albert Einstein and Otto Stern.
  • Thought Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated was the first Scooby-Doo cartoon that deconstructed its previous elements and cliches, introduced real and heinous, evil and dangerous villains instead of just guys in costumes to make a new Darker and Edgier iteration? The direct-to-video movies of the late-90's-early 2000's did it first. Starting with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/OlderThanTheyThink/WesternAnimation