Animated 'Back to the Future' First Series From Universal Cartoon Studios, Debuts on CBS Saturday Morning Schedule in Fall 1991
Christopher Lloyd To Reprise Original Film Role as 'Doc Brown' in Live Action Segments. New Half-Hour Weekly Series Marks First Venture Between Universal Cartoon Studios, Amblin Entertainment and CBS
UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIFORNIA, March 21, 1991 -- Universal Cartoon Studios, the newly formed animation division of MCA, Inc., and Amblin Entertainment will each mark their entry into Saturday Morning network programming this Fall with the premiere of the animated version of the boxoffice smash "BACK TO THE FUTURE" for CBS. The announcement was made on the Back to the Future Special Effects Stage jointly by MCA President and Chief Operating Officer Sid Sheinberg, Universal Family Entertainment/Cartoon Studios President Jeff Segal, Amblin Entertainment President Kathleen Kennedy, CBS Senior Vice President, Program Planning, Peter Tortorici and Judy Price, CBS Vice President of Children's Programming.
The series will feature animated versions of the original characters played by Michael J. Fox as the time travelling teenager Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as frenetic, ingenious Doc Brown. The show will also star Doc Brown's rambunctious dog "Einstein," as well as the wacky scientist's kids, Jules and Verne, who were introduced in "Back To The Future III." Lloyd will also reprise his role as Doc Brown in live action segments introducing series episodes. His appearance in the series marks the first time a star from a major feature film has appeared in live action segments on an animated series based on that film. A set based on Doc Brown's lab, which will also become part of Universal Studios Hollywood, will be constructed for the series.
According to Segal, the show will take its inspiration from the three Amblin/Universal blockbuster comedy/adventure films ("Back To The Future I, II, and III") directed by Robert Zemeckis, "but will expand to take full advantage of the medium of animation - with the introduction of new characters and wild inventions from Doc Brown." The show will also feature music from the original films, including Huey Lewis's hit single "Back In Time."
"Back To The Future" is Universal Cartoon Studio's debut project, as well as Amblin's first venture in "Saturday Morning" television. "We anticipate that this will be just the first of many animated projects that we will produce with Amblin," said Segal. "We are in the process of putting together an ambitious slate of projects, that will keep both companies busy well into the mid-1990's."
"This project also signifies the start of a long-term relationship between Universal Cartoon Studios, Amblin and CBS," Segal continued. "We expect that 'Back To The Future' will expand into a full hour block for the second season, with the addition of a second show, to be announced in 1992."
"'Back To The Future' is clearly one of our most valuable properties," added Segal. "The first three movies were enormously popular and successful, and have set the stage for a franchise that will continue to grow and evolve."
Commenting on Universal Cartoon Studios, Segal said, “MCA/Universal expects to become a major player in children's and family entertainment over the next few years. We will aggressively acquire and develop new and classic characters, and coordinate closely with all other divisions of the company, with special emphasis on Universal Pictures, Universal Studio Tours, MCA/Universal Home Entertainment and MCA Merchandising."
The show will be launched and supported with a national marketing campaign that will include a major advertising,licensing and merchandising program. There will also be a simultaneous roll-out in Japan, the UK, western Europe and other key markets.
Bob Gale, co-producer with Neil Canton and writer on all three films, will executive produce with John Loy and John Ludin as producer/story editors. Handling animation production services for Universal Cartoon Studios will be San Francisco's Colossal Pictures, which specializes in innovative forms of cel and computer animation. Colossal, and its long-form division Big Pictures, has won numerous awards for their music videos and commercials, and has produced for MTV, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, among others.
"Back To The Future" is a Universal Cartoon Studios production in association with Amblin Entertainment.