|Birth Day:||September 9, 1955|
|Birth Place:||Chicoutimi, Québec, Canada|
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Michael John Kricfalusi was born on September 9, 1955, in Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada to a father of Ukrainian descent and mother of Scottish and English descent. He spent his early childhood in Germany and Belgium while his father was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He would watch weekend screenings of European feature-length cartoons such as The Snow Queen at Air Force cinemas. At age seven he returned with his family to Canada. After their return they moved from Montreal to Ottawa in the middle of a school season, and Kricfalusi spent much of his time that year at home, watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons and drawing them. Kricfalusi's interest in golden-age animation crystallized during his stay at Sheridan College, where he attended weekly screenings of old films and cartoons at Innis College held by film archivist Reg Hartt, among them the cartoons of Bob Clampett and Tex Avery, which left a deep impression on Kricfalusi. After he was expelled from Sheridan College at the end of 1978, Kricfalusi moved to Los Angeles, California, intending to become an animator.
After moving to Los Angeles, Kricfalusi was introduced to Milt Gray by Bob Clampett, suggesting he should join Gray's classical animation class. Gray was working for Filmation at the time, and soon Kricfalusi found work there as well, getting his start on shows like Super Friends and The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show. His first independent cartoon was a short called Ted Bakes One, which he produced with Bill Wray in 1981 for a cable channel. From 1979 to the mid-1980s, Kricfalusi worked for Filmation and later Hanna-Barbera and DIC Entertainment on various shows that he once described as "the worst animation of all time". However, he did enjoy his work as a layout artist on the 1985 series of The Jetsons as he was able to train a team of Taiwanese animators to draw characters more emotive and wild, which at the time was considered radical. He recalls being "saved" from having to work on these cartoons by director Ralph Bakshi, who had worked with him before in 1980 and 1982. They began working on the designs for the film Bobby's Girl, which was sold to TriStar Pictures but was later cancelled. Under Bakshi, Kricfalusi directed the animation for The Rolling Stones' 1986 music video "Harlem Shuffle".
Kricfalusi contributed several articles in 1993 and 1994 for the magazines Film Threat and Wild Cartoon Kingdom under various aliases. Kricfalusi appears in several bonus featurettes and provides audio commentaries for the Looney Tunes Golden Collection volumes 2, 3 and 5, for cartoons directed by Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones. On February 13, 2006, Kricfalusi started his own weblog, John K Stuff, posting about cartoons and the animation industry. The site was originally intended for other artists and entertainers, and specifically other cartoonists.
Mighty Mouse was cancelled amidst controversy for allegedly depicting the main character snorting cocaine. Bakshi maintained that neither he nor Kricfalusi had the character sniffing cocaine, and that the character was sniffing the crushed petals of a flower, which were handed to him in a previous scene in the cartoon. In 1994, Kricfalusi pitched a revival series of Mighty Mouse to Paramount, which would have featured other Terrytoons characters such as Deputy Dawg, but they rejected the idea.
After leaving The Ren & Stimpy Show, Kricfalusi consulted, and other Spümcø animators worked for Donovan Cook's 2 Stupid Dogs, which was put into production by Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert. The cartoon's credits read "Tidbits of Poor Taste Supplied by John Kricfalusi" for the three "Little Red Riding Hood" episodes: "Red!", "The Return of Red" and "Red Strikes Back". In 1994, Hanna-Barbera and Seibert started production on What a Cartoon!, also known as World Premiere Toons for Cartoon Network. Siebert approached Kricfalusi for advice and for recommendations for personnel to head the shorts, among them David Feiss, Tom Minton, and Eddie Fitzgerald.
Kricfalusi directed Icelandic singer Björk's animated music video for the song "I Miss You" in 1995, which features Björk and the character Jimmy The Idiot Boy. Jack Black of Tenacious D approached Kricfalusi to produce a music video for the song "Fuck Her Gently" from their debut album, released in 2001. Black browsed Kricfalusi's website and, since both he and his bandmate Kyle Gass held Ren & Stimpy in high regard, he asked Kricfalusi to produce the video. The costs amounted to $40,000. Initially, Sony Music did not allow the video to be placed on Tenacious D's website and instead placed it on the record label Grand Royal's website, but later relented. In 2006, Kricfalusi directed two music videos, and served as art director for an animated musical segment. The first music video, for Close but No Cigar by "Weird Al" Yankovic, was released in September, on the DVD side of the DualDisc album Straight Outta Lynwood, which features Kricfalusi's character Cigarettes the Cat. The second music video was for Classico by Tenacious D, starring the band members as cartoon characters. He animated them again in a THX logo parody for the band's feature film, The Pick of Destiny. Kricfalusi served as art director for a musical segment in the show Class of 3000 entitled Life Without Music, which first aired on November 3, 2006. In 2014, he produced art for Miley Cyrus's Bangerz Tour.
Venturing into Internet cartoons, Kricfalusi created Weekend Pussy Hunt in 1996 for MSN, which was billed as "the world's first interactive web-based cartoon". The cartoon, which was released in segments, was scheduled to be completed on June 1997, but production under MSN stopped before it was finished. Production later resumed under Icebox.com after the release of Spümcø's own web-based Flash cartoon, The Goddamn George Liquor Program. Between 1998 and 2001 Kricfalusi worked on several Hanna-Barbera cartoons for Cartoon Network: three Yogi Bear cartoons he directed and animated, Boo Boo and the Man, A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith and Boo Boo Runs Wild, and two Jetsons cartoons he produced, The Jetsons: Father & Son Day and The Jetsons: The Best Son.
Fox Kids started airing the TV series The Ripping Friends in 2001, created by Kricfalusi and Jim Smith. Kricfalusi had previously tried pitching the show in the late '80s, but networks considered it "too extreme" so did not pick it up. Kricfalusi felt the show's supervisors were doing away with the Spümcø style and was displeased with the direction of the show. He considers the episodes he was involved in to be experimental. One of his contributions to the show was directing the voice-actors, which he "really worked-out" so much that he was afraid he'd give one of them a heart attack.
In 2003, Spike TV produced a new show featuring Ren & Stimpy, which was written and directed by Kricfalusi. The first three episodes were based on fan ideas and scripts that were rejected by Nickelodeon during the original show's run. According to Kricfalusi, Spike pushed for more South Park-like themes in the new show. While he was initially pleased with the added freedom afforded to him by Spike, he later expressed disappointment in the series due to its slow pacing and overuse of toilet humor. Only three episodes aired before Spike's entire animation block was "put on hold", and the complete series was ultimately released in 2006 on DVD including three additional episodes that never aired. Kricfalusi also wanted to release an episode titled "Life Sucks" straight to DVD, but the episode remains unproduced.
Kricfalusi directed commercials for Comcast and Voice over IP company Raketu in 2007. He was developing a series of cartoon commercials in 2008 for Pontiac Vibe starring George Liquor and Jimmy The Idiot Boy, but the series remained unreleased after General Motors discontinued the Pontiac Vibe auto line in 2009. He developed and animated a series of bumpers using Toon Boom Harmony for Adult Swim in 2011 and again in 2015. He animated the opening couch gags of two episodes of The Simpsons, "Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts", which aired in October 2011 and "Treehouse of Horror XXVI", which aired in October 2015. He collaborated with streetwear brand Stüssy to create a short series of apparel based on his designs in 2012, which he promoted with a commercial featuring some of his characters.
In 2012, Kricfalusi funded through Kickstarter a cartoon short entitled Cans Without Labels, starring the character George Liquor (with Michael Pataki reprising the role for the final time before his death in 2010, having recorded his lines beforehand), with the initial delivery date of February 2013. The cartoon was due to be screened at the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival for the first time, however at the last minute it was announced that it was not ready. However, on August 6, 2017, the Kickstarter was updated, announcing the film's completion. On May 27, 2019, Kricfalusi announced the DVD masterings' completion and released it on his MyShopify store within a week or two, with backers receiving first priority.
The advertising agency Muhtayzik-Hoffer hired Kricfalusi in 2013 for an ad campaign for F'real milkshakes. He was involved in the early development of many Reel FX projects such as the 2013 film Free Birds, a pitch for a film adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book Happy Birthday to You! and a pitch for a film he created with Jim Smith. He posted the concepts for these projects on his blog. He partnered with animator Mike Judge to produce a series of shorts for UFC that aired on Adult Swim throughout 2016.
In March 2018, Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice disclosed to BuzzFeed that Kricfalusi sexually harassed and groomed them for sexual abuse while they were underage. Byrd told the website that she was in a sexual relationship with Kricfalusi in 1997 at age 16, and flew to California to live with him when she was 17. Rice said that Kricfalusi had flirted with her and made overt sexual comments towards her starting when she was 14, and sexually harassed her when she turned 18 and began working at his animation studio, Spümcø. Documents Rice and Byrd had saved from those years corroborate their stories, and several people who worked with Kricfalusi referred to his sexual harassment as an open secret in the animation industry. Kricfalusi was also alleged to possess child pornography on his computer. Though the allegations were eventually reported to the police, they could neither arrest nor investigate Kricfalusi because the statute of limitations had passed.
In the 2020 documentary Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story, Kricfalusi stated in an interview that he was "officially retired" from the animation industry, "though not by choice".
Currently, John Kricfalusi is 66 years, 0 months and 17 days old. John Kricfalusi will celebrate 67th birthday on a Friday 9th of September 2022.
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