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Trivia / Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure

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  • Approval of God: While critical reception of the film was mixed-to-negative, Raggedy Ann creator Johnny Gruelle's descendants loved it.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget: $4 million; Box office: $1.4 million.
  • Creator Backlash: Richard Williams didn't look back on the film itself with much fondness, admitting at a book signing apppearance that it "was a fuck up" in hindsight. At an appearance at Ottawa International Animation Festival, when animator Steve Segal let it slip that he thought John Canemaker's Making Of book, The Animated Raggedy Ann, was better than the actual film, Richard agreed with him.
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  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The film was released on VHS in the late 1980s and 90s, but copies are rare and it has never seen a DVD or Blu Ray release due to it's current owners having no interest in making the investment. It's shown up on the internet here and there and — since it was filmed in Panavision — any festival screenings are forced to work with tortured theatrical prints to present it in the correct aspect ratio.
  • Missing Episode: As detailed below, the original negative of the film disappeared shortly after the film was released with no clues as to where it could possibly be. Simon and Schuster, who now own the rights, have expressed no interest to invest in hunting it down, meaning that it most likely won't be found.
  • Money, Dear Boy: The ITT Corporation, who funded the production, had just helped the CIA to overthrow the president of Guatemala (yes, really) and saw a significant drop in stocks as a result. They decided to invest in a piece of major entertainment to quickly recoup their losses, choosing the Raggedy Ann character because of her recognizably. They pushed production duties onto their publishing arm the Bobbs-Merrill Company and had it distributed through 20th Century Fox to downplay their involvement.
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  • One for the Money; One for the Art: Richard Williams only took the directing job so he could fund The Thief and the Cobbler.
  • Screwed by the Network: ITT sold the Bobbs-Merrill Company and the rights to the film to Simon and Schuster for $1 once it was finished. The original physical negative of the film was lost in the kerfuffle. Because the film was a flop, Simon and Schuster have never had the interest in looking for it or releasing any version of it on home video.
  • Throw It In!
    • Didi Conn had laryngitis when she voiced Ann. Richard Williams asked it be left it because it worked for the more emotional scenes.
    • Improvisation was encouraged among the actors, most notably the camel's line "Look at mah poor knees!"
  • Troubled Production: The film was produced by a team of Broadway producers who'd never worked on a film, let alone animation, making it difficult for them to know what they wanted. The crew eventually assembled consisted mostly of recent art school graduates and veterans of theatrical shorts who'd never worked on a feature, including director Richard Williams himself, meaning that everyone was at different levels of experience and ability. Williams, who could not work for a budget, balked at the initial proposition for UPA-style animation and insisted that, to get the storybook quality visuals he desired, he would need to have two fully operational units on either coast. This ambitious technique, plus the cost to fly Willaims back and forth between the two to supervise and for animators to mail their scenes to the New York studio, caused the once-minuscule budget to skyrocket, slowed the production down resulting in several missed deadlines. It confused the animators, with one unit sometimes completing a scene the same day it had been assigned to the other unit. Emery Hawkins, who animated the infamous "Greedy sequence," got fed up and quit halfway through reanimating the scene for the second time, forcing two assistants to finish it for him. When the studio told Williams that there was no money left to give the film his trademark Artistic Title, he cursed them out and animated it himself. Williams was eventually fired and replaced at the tail end of production simply to get it finished.
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  • Wag the Director: The decision to include so many musical numbers was a demand from Joe Raposo, who refused to let more than ten songs be cut.
  • What Could Have Been
    • The film began as a stage musical, then as a live action film with humans as dolls before it was decided that that'd be too hokey. When it was decided that it would be animated, it was envisioned as having low-budget, UPA-style animation until Richard Williams was brought on and designed the production to resemble 19th century children's books to compliment the lavish, classical animation he wanted.
    • Production was originally going to be handled by Chuck Jones' studio Sib Tower 12, who had produced a Raggedy Ann Halloween TV special, with Jones' frequent collaborator Abe Levitow directing. Levitow had a massive heart attack and died before production, so Jones recommended Richard Williams, with whom he'd worked on his Animated Adaptation of A Christmas Carol, as a replacement.
    • At one point, Joe Oriolo (who, by coincidence, had animated on the Fleischer Studios two-reeler adaptation of Raggedy Ann and Andy) was considered as a director for the project, but lost the option when Richard Williams became director.
  • Writer Revolt: The guy King Kookoo says "Fire him!" to is a caricature of Richard Williams. It was added when several of the animators got fed up with his seemingly hard direction.
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