Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little History on WNO from Jonathan

I remember pitching WNO at NBC.  Took me 2 years.  Flying to NY every few weeks from TO.  The old station wagon went unfixed.  We ate frugal.  We never went out. The mortgage went unpaid.  We were doing the occasional Spanish and French inserts for Sesame St and Readalong for chump change. On top of air fares and hotel I was taking this estimable suit, Bill Dannhauser, Head of Specials, for expensive lunches.  Good man, I really liked him.  A good suit, but, hey, a suit.  We started talking about Other Things.  Life. People.  What's It All About. One warm spring day he suggested  -  HE suggested  -  we just take a walk up to Central Park.  We lunched on a hot dog and a cola sitting on a park bench talking about our kids.  I was so close to giving up, man, we were so under water Jean and I talked in bubbles.  But at that moment I knew we had it made.  And so it was.  I went home the next day with a down payment of $40 THOUSAND DOLLARS, seery ass money back in the day.  We were all ready to roll and man did we roll.  Rock and roll.  The amazing thing was that I had not signed a contract yet!  I never knew if NBC just made a big mistake or whether Dannhauser made it happen or what.  Believe me, I never asked, I just ran from the airport to the bank praying I had not become delusional.  Of course, everything got signed soon after but my lawyer never got over it.  After that he stood up when I came in, big smile, big handshake, if he was on the phone he quickly said he was in a meeting and hung up, he would take me to lunch fer crine out loud.  Jean thought maybe I was not a total lunatic after all.  Friends were in awe.  It was the best of times.  

Later I learned that NBC was being very insufficiently appreciative of these new hot stars on this new hot SNL show and they, Belushi, Chase, Radner and all were  so cocky they were saying FY to anything to do with NBC.  There was resentment on both sides.  But Gilda was our friend and the fact that she had agreed to do the principal voice when they could not get any of these rude kids to do anything, well, that was what did it.  I am not sure that any of the suits at NBC, including Dannhauser, ever understood the script or the presentation story board which was like a pre-school comic book.  Prior to airing, a glum group of suits attended the pre-screening and the only laugh was at the party scene, the line in reference to the staircase something like "they don't put that kinda work into things anymore".  At the end nobody said anything to me. It was not a thrill.  

Within a few months everybody who knew me at NBC was gone.  I tried to present "Let's Play Grownups" to Dannhauser's replacement, a 40ish chickiepoo named Mickey Dwyer who I guessed to myself had been a high school girls volleyball coach until the previous week.  You can imagine the frost on THAT little get-together.  


A little history from Jonathan on GOW

Originally all our stuff was shot on a venerable old 35mm Mitchell that had seen better days.  Way better. It was fastened on a wall in our living room and dining which became a shared studio, the ground floor of an old attached 3 story. The whole of GOW has that weird flicker which is the result of a mechanical fault in the shutter.  Due to wear and fatigue it wobbled minutely every time it exposed a frame.  A guy named Hans Geerling, "Ace Gearloose", eventually fixed it but the show was aired by then.  But our Sesame St and Readalong shorts and later, WNO, were more acceptable.  At least the guys in the lab calmed down.  

Then things started to unwind.  WNO got pre-empted mere hours before broadcast so that Jimmy Carter could share his content.  We lost a year!  Meanwhile things were shifting at NBC, earthquake, many souls whacked, the new people had their own friends, and they were not ready for anything more edgy than a blunt instrument, Leach/Rankin was going down, as was Leach, but not Rankin.  She became one of Canada"s most influential and professionally respected psychotherapists and lives well.  

John Leach was over.  I would write a book, but, I have things to do.

In the phoenix rebirth as Jonathan Rogers as a result of a little tumultuous acceptance of what gets labeled as GOD, virtually everything I owned was gone, including every fragment of the original negs, cels, bgs, boards, all the international m&e's, all the tracks, all the takes, all the contracts.  Everything.  Jean has whatever original material, just artwork, some of her bg's and prep material. All I possess, and all that I know of to be available anywhere, is a beat up VHS of each.

 Jesus declared (if the reporting is reliable) "if you would live your life you will lose it, but ... you surrender your life to GOD you will find it".  In the light of that rather stunning pronouncement I cannot help but feel very, very curious about current events as they are unfolding. 


Little Did he know a year later everything would be found!  

Hard Hard Work 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cool poster

Must have been made around the time of the premiere of the show.  Have to ask Jon about this one.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A day that would change my life!


lonely walk home

Young Fan in 1985

As you can see my love with this cartoon was real. You can't see my face but its me .  lol.  I did this for some contest. Had no idea it was the NAACP but that cool to. i remember people loving the story of me liking the cartoon so much and wanting to shake John Leach's hand one day.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Did this a while back. John loved it.  I don't think we will ever go down his path in our new stuff. it takes away from the charm of the animation done on the Leach/Rankin style. But it was fun doing this pass anyway.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Dear Fans,

Sorry for all the water marks on things. But it has to be done . We've done a great deal to preserve these properties and when the dvd's come out you will be able to post your own pics of all your favorite characters.

Thanks Fans.


These still don't do the film justice! Gift Of Winter looks better than ever. Surprising it still holds up from it's 16mm transfer. It was more damaged than Witch's. But with the help from my crew and friends we got it back to it's original color. No release has ever had the original colors like this one. Not even the bootleg versions ( the nerve of those people). Enjoy the pics.

Witch's Night Out hits Walmart stores on September 16 and Gift Of Winter on Oct 31th.  We had both films fully remastered from there original film stock.  Surprisingly both films were well preserved but scattered all over the country.   When we saw the films especially Witch's, It was like looking at a different film. You can see everything!  Trying to get a dvd signing for Jonathan keep your fingers crossed.

Check out these comparisons.  See if you can tell.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Trip Out!! A fan in Idaho who loves manicures did her nails in the characters.  Now thats a true fan!!

Very nice work!!!!  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I saw it when I was 7 back in 78 on NBC. I remember the night like it was yesterday.  We just got home from shopping at Montgomery Wards where my mother would spend ungodly hours shopping for god knows what. Every once in a while I would run up to her with some cool toy and she would yell " Put that back !"  So I just ran around the store shooting imaginary monsters and running up and down the toy isle.   Disco was in the air as we drove home.  The radio was blasting Earth Wind and Fire as my mom and sister fought all the way home like any other day. When we got home they were carrying all these boxes in the house. I had no idea what they were and I didn't care. I wanted to watch TV! I heard on a commercial that some holiday cartoons were coming on that night. Back then you had no VCR or any way to know when shows were coming on. I just remember allot of chaos going on in the background with my aunt, sister and mother yapping away. The house smelled of cupcakes and mothballs that night . My aunt didn't know how to bake anything but cookies which made my mom mad as hell. So I sat on the living room floor and turned the television on.  What I saw then changed my life. It was different and colorful and crazy at the same time. The witch was hypnotizing and Gilda's voice pierced in my soul. I had no idea what the show was called because I missed the opening title. The names did sound familiar because I saw a Christmas cartoon with these same names a year before but it didn't hit me like this cartoon did. The animation for one was out of this world. I have always been that kid that couldn't enjoy cartoons because I picked them apart and saw every frame and technical flaws. Witch's Night Out had many of them, but there was something very organic and alive about this cartoon. Then the ending came and that song blared out of the TV. A song that I would never forget and would hum all through out my childhood.  From that moment I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to make cartoons just like this. I drew allot, but from that point in my life I knew I would be drawing until the day I die.  I didn't see the cartoon again until 1986 when it aired on Fox. But all the feelings came back again when I saw it for the second time.  Being 15 I understood most of the jokes and was able to really look at the craftsmanship and look on this little cartoon as a work of art. I did an art show where I drew the characters and talked about the director.  Then the following year it came out on VHS.  That's when I drove my family and friends crazy! I played the tape every morning before I went to school and in between everything else.  I can't tell you why I love this cartoon so much but it is apart of my DNA.

Little did I know I would be linked to this cartoon for life in a deeper way later on in life.  What a story!!!!      

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Some board samples no particular order just for eye candy. Real board will go up later.
Cool Pic of Gilda.  One of her best performances if you ask me.  John said she was a gem to work with.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yes!!!  right before your eyes! Witch's Night Out fully restored from the 35mm print. Independently done by Cross/Rogers.  Out in stores starting in September! Fans you never have to worry about this film being lost ever again!  More to come.
Welcome fans to Cross/Rogers Witch's Night Out and The Gift of Winter.  It took along time but here it is.  Jonathan (Leach)Rogers, myself and our families want to thank you all for being fans of these two wonderful cartoons.   Here you will find our team talking about the productions, some development drawings and some really cool stories from Jonathan himself.  Put on your seat-belt he's really deep. lol.  But really from the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank you for loving and remembering these cartoons.