Biography: John Kricfalusi

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Birth/Death

Birth: September 9, 1955 in Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada

Occupation/Title

Animation Director / Designer / Creator

Bio Summary

Early Life/Family

John was born in Canada, but spent most of his early childhood in Germany with his parents. They all moved back when he was seven. His father figures prominently in several of his cartoons, most notably “A Visit To Anthony”.

Education/Training

Attended Sheridan College in Canada, but since he is primarily self-taught, he was not unprepared, and soon enough went to work in California.

Career Outline

Canadian-born cartoonist John Kricfalusi (also known as John K.) began his career by working on typical Saturday morning cartoons like Filmation’s Mighty Mouse and Ms. Pac Man. He made his first mark on the revival of The Jetsons. In 1987, Kricfalusi’s mentor, Ralph Bakshi hired him as Supervising Director on “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures”. John set to work changing the way cartoons were made at the time, reverting to the “unit system” as used at Warner Bros. in the 40s. John left the show at the end of the first season to head up the revival of “Beany & Cecil” at DIC. “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures” was canceled during second season reruns after controversy erupted over a scene where Mighty Mouse sniffed a flower in John’s cartoon “The Littlest Tramp”. “Beany & Cecil” was cancelled as well, after only a few episodes, and John was left without work.

Along with a group of like-minded artists, John K founded Spumco, and began pitching the networks with a handful of delightfully twisted concepts. Nickelodeon bought “The Ren and Stimpy Show”, which rocketed to the top of the ratings during its first season. But during the production of the second season battles over script content and control with network executives erupted, and he was fired from his own show in 1992.

At Spumco, John K furthered his fight for creative freedom by launching a website where he produced the first internet Flash cartoon “The Goddamn George Liquor Show”. Along with Spumco “bigshot” Jim Smith, he also created and produced “Weekend Pussy Hunt” another ‘made for the web’ series which raised Flash animation standards to feature quality levels.

John K’s television work during this period included directing an award winning music video for Bjork called “I Miss You”, a series of successful commercials for Old Navy stores, and a prime time special for Cartoon Network starring Jellystone’s Ranger Smith. In 2001 he returned to Saturday morning TV with a cartoon for Fox Kids called “The Ripping Friends”. In 2003 Spike TV (formally TNN) hired Spumco to produce new Ren & Stimpy Episodes for an adult audience, which were aired under the title “Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon”. Several of the cartoons aired, and several were held back for DVD release.

In addition to his work in animation, John K is a respected toy designer, having created a series of dolls, paint by numbers kits, and other toys based on his own characters as well as the Three Stooges and classic Hanna-Barbera characters.

Comments On Style

Influences

Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Grim Natwick, Jim Tyer, Rod Scribner, Robert McKimson, Ed Benedict, Milt Gross Harvey Kurztman and many more

Personality

Anecdotes

Miscellaneous

Filmography

Ted Bakes One (short)
The Rolling Stones: Harlem Shuffle (music video)
Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures (TV series)
Beany & Cecil (TV Series)
The Ren and Stimpy Show (TV series/1991)
Fanta: Animation Festival (commercial)
Aoki Pizza: Jimmy & Sody Pop (commercial)
Bjork: I Miss You (music video)
The Goddamn George Liquor Program (web catoon series)
Weekend Pussy Hunt (web catoon series)
Nike: Big Bad Wolf (commercial)
Old Navy: Big Pockets Jeans / Flares / Curly Fleece / Hooded Sweatshirt (commercial campaign)
Wagwells: Doc Wagwell (commercial)
A Day In The Life of Ranger Smith / Boo Boo Runs Wild (prime time special/1999)
The Ripping Friends (TV series/2001)
Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon (TV Series / Direct to Video / 2003)
“Weird Al” Yankovic: Close, But No Cigar (music video/ 2006)
Tenacious D: Classico (music video/ 2006)

Honors

Annie Award: Individual Achievement in TV Animation: The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991)
Annie Award: Best Short Subject: Bjork: I Miss You
Annie Award: Best Animated Interactive Game or Web Cartoon: The Goddamn George Liquor Program
Annie Award: Best Commercial: Old Navy Big Pocket Jeans / Flares
Two Night Career Retrospective at the American Cinemateque in Hollywood
Annie Award: Winsor McCay Career Achievement Award (2007)

Related Links

John K’s Blog: All Kinds of Stuff

John K Archives (fan site)

Bibliographic References

Film Threat Issue 7 Dec 1992
The Ren & Stimpy Show Exposed 1992
Cinefantastque Vol 24 #1 June 1993
Wild Cartoon Kingdom Issue 1
Hero Illustrated #15 September 1994
Comics Interview #131 1994

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Contributors To This Listing

Nicolas Martinez, Otherthings, Enoch Allen

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