August 8, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016



So, back in 1992, Nickelodeon put my show Rocko’s Modern Life into development, and my studio in Saratoga, CA produced the pilot all in house. Times were innocent, Rocko was yellow, all was good. We had the cels ( yes we used cels then) inked and painted in Montana, ( no foreign studios used in the making of the pilot) they were shipped back to my studio to be shot by our inhouse Mitchell 35 mm camera and camera stand, film taken to SF for processing, then the completed pilot sent to Nickelodeon.

Then all hell broke loose.

The show was picked up, then my wife died. I was originally going to produce the show from my studio in Saratoga ( next to San Jose) but after my wife died, I decided maybe I should move to LA to get away and do the show there. I convinced about half of my staff to move to LA with me to do the show. Within two months of official pick up, the studio in Saratoga was closed and moved to Studio City in LA to meld with “Games Animation”. For some reason I brought all of the cels with me to LA and brought them into the studio in case we needed to use them for reference on the show. The next year was a blur to me, of simultaneously trying to produce a TV series where I had never done it, and grieving over the loss of my wife. Somehow the cels got absorbed into the Nickelodeon machine and I never saw them again.

Until last week.

Somebody posted on my facebook page an original cel from the pilot for sale at the Cricket Gallery. I had no idea that those cels had made it into circulation for sale through Nickelodeon. I clicked on the Link only to find that someone else had already bought it.

I went into work that day, and Tom Smith, who is working on a project with me laughed and said he was the one who bought it. And after seeing my post on facebook that I wanted it, he offered it me.

So now I have it back. A piece from the original pilot, which I’m very happy to touch again. It has the wrong background ( it should be the roof of Rocko’s house) but I’m happy to have the cel again.


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3 Responses to August 8, 2016

  1. Tytus M says:

    Really happy to hear that, Joe. We’ll keep our eyes open for some more for you 🙂

  2. Joseph S says:

    its interesting, That the cel got to you, I’ve been collecting Rocko’s Modern Life Cels for 3 years now. Been keeping them safe for the future.

  3. Nicky Musk says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss and have never understood why we often lose those dearest to us at the same time as when big opportunities come along. Some would call it balance but it’s so cruel as all of your creative energy can feel as though it’s being absorbed by grief.

    That being said, after losing two of the dearest people to me in the past year, I’m starting to appreciate just how valuable the art process is in order to channel those feelings.

    Thank you for persevering and congratulations on being reunited with your cel, it must have meant a lot. It’s also really cool to see that Rocko started out yellow!

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