BEHIND THE STORY...
For some reason, it occurred to someone at Film Roman that an animated series based on Dr. Dolittle would be a good idea. The books were popular. The live action feature, starring Rex Harrison, was known, if not loved. There had even been a mostly forgotten animated series in the early 1970s. Then there was EMPTY NEST, a show on TV starring Richard Mulligan. It was considered that Mulligan would be the perfect voice for the animated Dolittle. (He had just appeared as the voice of Einstein in Disney’s OLIVER AND COMPANY.) Our initial talks with the owners of the Dolittle property found that they had been “displeased” with the Rex Harrison film and first animated series. They felt neither caught the spirit of the books. However, they liked our idea to use Richard Mulligan. So they asked to see a proposal. I took a quick look through a copy of the book we had in the studio and created the official proposal.
The owners of the property liked the proposal and felt it was true to the books. They also liked the visual style, which was very cartoony. However, when we approached Mulligan’s agent, we were told his current work schedule did not allow for other projects. With the absence of Mulligan, the project became mute.
And now my pitch...
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF DR. DOLITTLE
An Animated Series Proposal by John Cawley
Everyone knows that when Dr. Dolittle talks... everything can talk back! Dr. Dolittle's amazing ability to communicate with the animals has enchanted readers and film watchers for decades. Now join Dr. Dolittle as he heads into new adventures via the magical wonder-world of animation.
A classic literary character, Dr. Dolittle has just the qualities that parents and children are attracted to. His escapades have been told in award winning books, an Oscar winning film, and a popular animated TV series in the early 1970's.
Under the guidance of Film Roman, he'll star in a new series of whimsical, comical, and unbelievable escapades with his fanciful and exotic menagerie. An emphasis on quality storytelling, along with strong characters and fast-paced, entertaining writing will be key elements in Roman's Dolittle. The series will feature entertaining stories with an underlying theme of respect for all living creatures.
As Dolittle and his menagerie travel the world to assist animals and humans alike, he is frequently at odds with Patricia Batty famed hunter of rare species. Ms. Batty is the top huntress in the world and whether she is hired by a circus, a reclusive millionaire, or a major corporation, she intends to deliver in full. A mercenary, Batty sells her environmental knowledge and talents to the top bidder. Dolittle's team must stretch their skills and imagination to the limit when joining a battle of wits with this wily character.
Dr. Dolittle - Dr. John Dolittle is a prominent veterinarian in Puddleby-On-The-Marsh whose parrot, Polynesia, taught him to speak a variety of animal languages. Now he travels the world on his island home, which is actually a giant turtle! a celebrity of some note, Dolittle is met with both cheering crowds, scheming fortune hunters and heckling doubters. None can keep the good Doctor from his self-proclaimed desire to help all creatures of this and other worlds. With his traveling island and team, he uses his knowledge of animal languages along with his inventive nature to assist any creature in need either animal or human. Whether it's settling a dispute between sheep and cattle, helping the Loch Ness monster build a new home, organizing a union for circus bears or merely locating a lost kitten, Dolittle and his crew is ready for action.
Polynesia, The Parrot - Polynesia taught Dolittle how to speak to animals and still feels a bit superior to the Doctor at times. This colorful character will even act as liaison when the team encounters a species that the Doctor hasn't learned to converse with yet. a bit stuffy and "veddy˘ British, he tries to keep the Doctor on a more logical, proper path.
Jip, a Golden Labrador - As with all dogs, Jip is loyal, trustworthy and playful. He finds the Doctor's travels nothing more than romps, loving to play with and play pranks on all he comes in contact with. The only thing that can make him lose his jolly charisma is any sort of threat towards his friends, especially Dr. Dolittle.
Chee-Chee, a Chimpanzee - Chee-Chee is Dolittle's self appointed assistant. Since he has "hands˘ he feels he can lend "hands on˘ experience to the Doctor for his various inventions and adventures. Desiring to be fully human, he enjoys dressing in human clothes and at times has even been mistaken as the Good Doctor "speaking Chimpanzee."
Tommy Stubbins - Tommy is a young American the Doctor found adrift. a student at some of the best schools and a voracious reader, Tommy has a great deal of book education but knows little about life. The boy idolizes the Doctor and his abilities and hopes to one day add animal languages to his many other vocabularies.
Kana, a Native Girl - The only "original" resident of Dolittle's floating island, Kana was shipwrecked there during a storm. Having been reared in natural surroundings, she admires the Doctor for his rapport with animals. Kana is the same age as Tommy, and she is impressed with Tommy's large amount of "book facts" but she is equally amazed at how little he really knows about dealing with life.
Patricia Batty - World renown as the foremost pursuer of game, Batty is one of the most quick witted foes Dolittle has ever had to deal with. Like the female archaeologist Schneider in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, her dedication and expertise make her an even match for Dolittle's team. In fact the Doctor often wishes she were on his side. Not only is she an expert naturalist, Dolittle has a slight crush on her. She is not truly evil, "merely a business-woman for a competing firm" as she might say to Dolittle.
text, image and format © John Cawley
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