Sheesh! Are there ANY new cartoons of 1984 that DON'T have some crazy story behind them?
In 1984, NBC kicked off their official broadcast Saturday morning with a half-hour of The Snorks at 8:00. The most successful of all the Smurfs knock-offs, The Snorks are the product of underhanded business dealings, Dutch pop-star negotiations and an honest-to-gosh 3-minute LOST TREASURE OF THE 80'S!
You can blame Freddy Monnickendam.
Freddy was a Belgian businessman, plain and simple, who negotiated the rights for Father Abraham (real name: Pierre Kartner, a well known and respected Dutch performer) to sing "The Smurf Song":(YOU MUST WATCH THIS TO UNDERSTAND!)
This negotiation (which proved to be quite financially agreeable for all parties involved) lead to Freddy Monnickendam becoming THE GUY who negotiated all of the Smurfs merchandising beyond the comics. Freddy is the reason we have a Smurfs cartoon!
Freddy is also the reason we have a Trollkins cartoon :(
Remember back in the write-up of The Trollkins where I told the tale of Peyo seeing the finished committee-aproved version of The Smurfs (aka "Trollkins") and he reportedly said "That is a very nice cartoon, and I can hardly wait to see what you can do with a GOOD concept like my Smurfs"?
FREDDY MONNICKENDAM WAS THE GUY ON PEYO'S SIDE OF THINGS WHO TOLD HANNAH-BARBERA THAT THE TROLLKINS VERSION WAS OKAY AND TO GO AHEAD WITH IT!!!
Freddy was the first executive producer of The Smurfs, but Peyo wanted the Smurf cartoons to be as faithful as possible to the world he had created in his comics, and Monnickendam preferred to make the cartoons more "mainstream" - (aka "Scrappy-Dooified"). This led to fast deterioration of relations between the two men, ending in court cases about the division of the rights and the money involved.
Freddy was pretty open about how he though Peyo was foolish to not allow these big, important American Marketing Executives to make The Smurfs in to something that would be a sure-fire hit (like "Trollkins"), and if HE owned The Smurfs, out-right, he could -
Hang on. A light bulb of villainous ingenuity appeared over Freddy's head, his eyes turned in to dollar signs, and he rubbed his hands together in sheer delight at the awesomeness of his evil plan...
He hired an artist/designer by the name of... crap. Can't remember his name. Freddy hired a guy who took the smurfs, replaced the heads and put them underwater. Freddy rushed this concept right along. Now that he had connections at Hannah-Barbera, he was able to push this concept through production and create a three-minute "Pilot" that, although it is on production schedules and notes and was paid for through billing and was well received by the test groups according to the reports, NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN IT OR KNOWS WHERE IT IS.
Little tiny bit of it (about 15 seconds total) showed up on the NBC Saturday Morning Preview Show that year, but that's it. It's a bonafide lost treasure of The 80's :)
Freddy maneuvered quickly, buying up all the rights to The Snorks and just waiting for the Smurfs-like money to come rolling in.
So now you know the secret behind The Snorks; created out of spite by a Belgian businessman to try and teach a nice cartoonist a lesson :)