AGTV - American Girl

When American Girl Magazine, the folks that brought new meaning to dolls, wanted to make the jump to TV they got Buzzco to help.

Norm Bendell, the humorous illustrator with whom we've worked extensively in the past (including the recent Ciba/Program Campaign which won two Effie Awards), designed the opening, closing and bumpers.

The eight pieces feature a dog and six girls of various ethnic backgrounds and act as the "glue" to hold this magazine format television show together.

Norm Bendell was always the ultimate professional to work with and these illustrations were spot on! We were asked to make the open and glue for this tween TV pitch. Animation is preferable because real tween girls change physically so much that the cast members would age out quickly-- animated girls don't have to mature.

For Buzzco's part-- this was the LAST commissioned work we shot on film. And that went counter to all my instincts because I understood that re-shooting would be a nightmare, especially in the "we work" section. That background (and cels of the girls) was about 36 inches long, panning the whole time.

The other thing was that this was shot on film, but transferred to videotape.  At the time, everything was SD (standard definition-- 640x480)-- the 3x4 frame ratio on normal broadcast TV's at the time. Unlike today (HD is 1920x1080, 4K is 4096x2160), color wasn't that specific or picky.  When I was asked to have more than 3 skin tones, I told them they wouldn't be able to tell the difference on TV. They insisted. Back then, dark skin tones would turn to black easily and it would be impossible to see the thin black lines describing facial features. Light skin tones wouldn't be different from each other with pinkish, peach-ish, and pale skin all looking the same. I chose my usual dark brown for African American skin tone then an additional 4 other tones.  You could see the African American girl's features, the Latino skin tone, but the rest just all looked the same.

It was a shame it never made it to TV, but Norm went on to illustrate many of the books American Girl created to answer concerns of maturing girls with great sensitivity and style.



The Pleasant Company: Pleasant Rowland, founder/president

American Girl Productions: Elizabeth Richter, Executive Producer

Shelley Spencer, Creative Director

Buzzco Associates, inc.

Directors: Candy Kugel & Vincent Cafarelli

Designer: Norm Bendell

Animators: Vincent Cafarelli & Vincent Bell

Producer: Marilyn Kraemer



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