Monday, August 31, 2015

Teletoon Canada Says September

Still no specific date, but at least we're slowly getting there. The below Teletoon promo pic first appeared in an August 9 Facebook post by Teletoon Retro...

...and here's the accompanying text from that posting (actually less specific):

Get your fill of the one and only original Inspector Gadget at NOON in the Retro Rewind Marathon. Plus, get ready for the ALL NEW version of Inspector Gadget on TELETOON this Fall!

"New series coming this September". September is now but a day away, so I'm guessing an announcement for the exact premiere date can't be far off either. Still, it's interesting just how long Teletoon has waited with this premiere, considering they were the ones to order the series from Cookie Jar/DHX to begin with and all other broadcasters (yes, including Netflix, although a large part of America has been led to think otherwise) simply acquired it for their channels later on.

One thought that struck me is that Teletoon's September launch of the new Gadget may have a double meaning. As has been known for a while now, the Teletoon Retro channel dedicated to older cartoons will close down on September 1. Teletoon Retro has been the Canadian home of the original Inspector Gadget for many years... and I can't help but think that strong ratings for the original played a key part in Teletoon deciding to commission a brand-new Gadget series from Cookie Jar back in 2011/2012 (though a certain 2010 hit mobile game also played into that).

Several long-time Teletoon Retro shows - such as The Bugs & Tweety Show, Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones - will move to Teletoon's main channel from September onwards; but the original Inspector Gadget series doesn't seem to be among them. In other words: Come September, it seems the situation for Teletoon viewers will be, 'out with the old Gadget, in with the new'. The reboot launches just as the original stops airing. This timing ain't no coincidence.

Personally, I hope the original series will also turn up on Teletoon somewhere down the line, in tandem with the new show. From my perspective, it could be a cool bonus for kids who like the reboot to discover what the original version was like. And of course, the original series is just so awesome in and of itself that it should never stop airing.

Friday, August 28, 2015

France 3 Premieres the New Gadget Series Tomorrow, August 29 seen in this YouTube promo, posted today on the official channel of France 3's Ludo program block:

This has been known for a little while now. The first YouTube teaser from Ludo appeared on July 27, and a few weeks later, the premiere date was revealed as August 29 (though an online pre-premiere was launched on on August 22). The series is slated to air every Saturday and Sunday at 10:25 in the morning.

As long-time readers might remember, the news of public channel France 3 airing the reboot actually goes all the way back to last summer. Here's what was announced back then, via a French article from July 9, 2014 on

"Eh la qui va là ? Inspecteur Gadget ! Eh la ça va pas ? Ouh ouh". [French theme song lyrics.] The unforgettable theme song of "Inspector Gadget" will soon return to echo on France 3. The public broadcaster has pre-purchased from the Canadian production company DHX Media the rights to a new version of the cartoon series about the adventures of the famous inspector who delighted children in the 80s. (...) 
This new series of 52 episodes of 11 minutes will be delivered in June 2015 by the Canadian production but it will take a few months to France 3 for the translation, dubbing and production of a less dated theme song. The channel should therefore not broadcast "Inspector Gadget" 2.0 before fall 2015.

Obviously, a lot of the above turned out to be wrong. The series ended up premiering in French broadcast already on January 3, 2015; on Boomerang France... so clearly, the translation and dubbing into French must have started as soon as Season 1 finished production at DHX Halifax (around November 2014 if I'm not mistaken).

What did turn out to be correct, though - which I was doubting for a while - is the series' broadcast on France 3 this fall. My reader NBU was right the whole time. It does makes sense: after the initial run on the paid kids' channel Boomerang, the reboot now gets broader exposure on a public, open-for-all channel. And though I've said it before, it warrants repeating right now: it's probably no coincidence that France 3 is the renamed, modern-day version of FR3, the channel which launched the original Gadget in France way back in October of 1983...

Vintage magazine ad promoting the premiere run of Season 1 on FR3. Scan courtesy of GC.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Latter-Day Bruno Bianchi Sketches of Inspector Gadget

This is a bit above my price class for a single sketch, but I'm sure it will find a buyer. Here's an Inspector Gadget sketch from 2000 drawn by Bruno Bianchi himself, currently up on with a starting bid of 150 (!) euros.  [UPDATE (August 25): Well, whaddaya know... it didn't find a buyer. Guess it was a bit above everyone's price class.]

This may be the oldest Bianchi sketch I've seen of Gadget (that is, of sketches and model sheets not related to the original series' production). I'm guessing Bruno did a lot of these for French fans at various conventions and festivals. Since I have a number of other sketches collected on my harddrive, I thought I'd use this occasion to share them, too.

The first few sketches here were done for a celebration of Inspector Gadget in France. On November 4, 2008, Gadget's 25th anniversary was marked by Fanny's Party at the Hard Rock Café in Paris, France. Probably the biggest sensation of it was, Bruno Bianchi actually attended this party and spent hours chatting with fans, being interviewed and, of course, drawing sketches. Here are three of the drawings he turned out that evening...

Note that Gadget is sporting what I've nicknamed the "Gadgetinis chin" here, reflecting the redesign Bianchi 
gave him for the 2002 spinoff. I personally much prefer the original-series chin (even if I like this drawing!).
Via iRonfle.

Edited from a photo where the lucky fan in question, Anne-Laure, is holding her drawing.
See the full photo, as well as tons of other photos from Fanny's Party.

The above sketch from Fanny's Party, coupled with the next one from I-don't remember-where, are by far the most off-model Gadget drawings I've seen by Bianchi. Still, I like the ink lines and the expression in the below one.

This one was up on the Italian Ebay a few years ago, for a more
reasonable price than the one currently at
Missed it by very little.

To end, how about a picture or two of Bruno himself? Turns out he attended the French Cartoonist animation festival in 2002 - and so did Shingo Araki (to the right), the famous Japanese cartoon veteran who, as it happens, animation-directed a handful of Season One Inspector Gadget episodes...

And here's Bruno in the middle of drawing Gadget at the festival:

Caption from Hello Japan: "Bruno Bianchi dessine son personnage fétiche : Inspecteur Gadget!"
(Bruno Bianchi draws his favorite character: Inspector Gadget!)

Man, how I wish I owned the drawing he's working on here... it looks FANTASTIC! Some of the sketches above are quite off-model and were obviously drawn quickly and spontaneously, but not this one. Gadget almost looks like he could have stepped out of a vintage episode. Seeing this makes me wish all the more that Bruno was still with us.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Horseradish? No - I Said Hosh Hash Habalash

I decided today to take a break from reboot-series updates and just do a post for the fun of it. It's been too long since I did that. Here's something I thought was simply fun to stumble across on the net a few days ago... a vintage Inspector Gadget VHS release from Israel! This scan was shared by an administrator on the Israeli forum

There are several things I find fun about this cover art... for one thing, it's the first I've ever seen or heard of Israeli VHS releases of the series. Secondly, it uses a couple of publicity stills that I've never seen before, from the episodes "Gadget at the Circus" and "The Invasion". It's especially amusing to see the utterly dead, wax-figure-resembling circus audience blown up in all their glory. Yup, that ep's animation was CHEAP. On the other hand, I wish the randomly-inserted still from the much better episode "The Invasion" was shown in bigger size.

As you may have guessed from the headline, the series' title in Israel is "Hosh Hash Habalash" (or "חוש חש הבלש" with the local alphabet*). Of all the foreign names I've seen for Inspector Gadget, "Hosh Hash Habalash" may be the funniest. Just try saying it out loud.

As far as I can gather, "Habalash" means 'detective' and "Hosh Hash" is Gadget's name... but the title seems to be a wordplay as well. The most sense I can make of it with Google Translate is, "The detective feels a sense". A sense of a clue, I guess, though there's probably a better translation for it if you speak Hebrew.

Here's the one other related image I could find over on another Israeli Gadget VHS among a huge lot of cartoon tapes offered for sale:

Only the spine is visible in this photo - can you find it? - but it's enough for me to recognize it as a still from (okay, I checked to be sure) "The Amazon". Here's the full motive, as seen on a sticker released with the Spanish magazine Tele Indiscreta back in the 80s (via the blog tardes de phoskitos, where you can see more nice Gadget stickers):

I can think of no better way to round off than with the Hebrew "Hosh Hash Habalash" theme song. This is one of those instances where the local dubbers decided to just do a completely new theme song instead of translating Shuki Levy's original. The Hebrew Inspector Gadget theme is just as weird as the title... and weirdly fun to listen to. Making it even better, though: the uploader of the specific video I'm featuring below has gone to the effort of subtitling the song lyrics in both Hebrew and English! Weirdness accompanied by understanding. Truly the best of both worlds.

(*Yeah, I know those letters don't look like any of the captions on the VHS scan - but it seems to be the only Hebrew spelling I can find of Inspector Gadget. Maybe the VHS uses an older Hebrew alphabet? I genuinely have no idea.)