In a series of cost-cutting moves, several Hollywood studios as well as independent film makers, are hiring legends of the Silver Screen and television to star in their forthcoming projects. Due to the high cost of CGI and other forms of special effects, film producers are giving a certain, all but forgotten group of actors and actresses new life.
In the current blockbuster, Magilla Gorilla, Grape Ape and Donkey Kong star in the remake of King Kong. So seamlessly did the three cartoon apes blend into the filming process that Kong appears to be uncannily real and life-like.
....Barney the dinosaur of PBS fame, makes a cameo appearance as the Tyrannosaurus Rex in an exciting battle scene with Kong.
Scheduled for a summer release is the long anticipated remake of Barbarella. In her triumphant return to the big screen, Betty Boop will light up the screen as the sexy space nymphet once portrayed by Jane Fonda. Also guest starring is Hawkman, formerly a member of the Super Friends, as the fallen blind angel.
There have been a few cartoon legends used in earlier films without fanfare. Quickdraw McGraw, seen here as his alter ego El KaBong, appeared in George Lucas' Star Wars films as Jar-Jar Binks. Clever costuming and the sped up dubbing of the Muppets' Swedish Chef as the voice, was not realized by those who saw the movies.
On loan from Warner Brothers Taz, the Tasmanian Devil appeared in several disaster movies. Most notably, he portrayed the tornadoes in the movie Twister.
Another Warner Brothers star, Michigan J. Frog served as a body double for Kermit T. Frog in the Muppets movies.
The special effects and wonderful acting seen by the title character of the Harry Potter films would not have been possible without the stellar performance of Waldo.
Waldo can also be seen in the Superman movies playing the mild mannered reporter, Clark Kent.
Although not confirmed, some inside sources in Hollywood have hinted that Rosanne Barr was in costume as Shrek. If this proves to be true, it would be the first known time that a living person was used as a body double for an animated character.
If you saw the film Hidalgo, you probably didn't recognize Gumby and Pokey in the race scenes. Thanks to the magic of trick photography and special effects, few viewers suspected there was no real horse and rider racing across the desert. The real actor and horse appear only in the closeups.
The duo also turned in some thrilling race scenes in The Legend of Seabiscuit.
Did anyone realize that it was actually Calvin who appeared as the title character in Dennis the Menace. He was also the stunt double for McCauly Culkin in the Home Alone films.
Enjoy the movies when you watch them, whether at the theater, on your cell phone or at home on your TV set, and remember that what you see isn't necessarily what you get.