by Jim Korkis
I am cautiously awaiting the premiere of Disney’s live action film John Carter this March. I have long since learned that trailers and concept art and encouraging words from the production staff don’t always give an accurate view of the final product. While the film could be the blockbuster tent pole for a new franchise, it could also be a crushing disappointment, like Prince of Persia and so many other high-concept films.
I have always been fascinated by how a film develops and also why some projects, despite the involvement of talented people, never reach the screen. It has taken the Disney Company 25 years to bring their version of John Carter to life so let’s look back at that convoluted history.
Besides being a respected Disney historian, I am also recognized for a level of expertise in several other areas, including animation history. Several years ago, I wrote an article about the ill-fated attempt in 1936 by legendary animator Bob Clampett (who as a teenager did the designs for the first Charlotte Clark Mickey Mouse stuffed doll in the 1930s) to bring the story of John Carter of Mars to theatrical animation.
Also, here is a great video about the Clampett production: