A Kitty Bobo Show
|A Kitty Bobo Show|
|Story by||Meaghan Dunn|
|Music by||Clay Morrow|
|Studio||Cartoon Network Studios|
|Distributed by||Cartoon Network|
|Release date(s)||June 2001|
|Running time||7–8 minutes|
A Kitty Bobo Show is an American animated television pilot created by Kevin Kaliher and Meaghan Dunn for Cartoon Network. The pilot revolves around the titular character, Kitty Bobo (Dante Basco), as he tries to prove his coolness to his friends.
The premise is roughly based on Dunn's life as a Korean adoptee; the main character had previously been featured a comic strip by Dunn titled Kimchi Girl. The pilot aired in June 2001 on the network as part of their Big Pick competition, a marathon of ten pilots with viewers selecting one to be produced for the network's fall 2002 season. The series lost second place to Codename: Kids Next Door.
In the pilot episode, "Cellphones", Kitty Bobo (Dante Basco) tries to prove his coolness to his friends Paul Dog (Chris Williams), Monkey Carl (Nick Jameson) and Maggie (Lela Lee) by showing off his new cell phone. However, it becomes clear that a lack of incoming calls is not very convincing, so he asks Paul Dog to dial fake calls out to him.
The pilot was created by Kevin Kaliher and Meaghan Dunn; both were married as well as Korean adoptees. Dunn, an adoptee of American-Jewish parents, based the main character on her life experiences as an immigrant. In years prior to making the pilot, she had started a nonprofit organization for helping adopted children locate their biological parents. The character of Kitty Bobo had also been featured a comic strip by Dunn titled Kimchi Girl, which had been published in Korean Quarterly since its inception in 1997. Kaliher felt much of the impetus for the pilot came while searching for his birth family in Korea. However, Dunn later remarked that the pilot "had nothing to do with" her life.
The pilot was optioned by The Walt Disney Company before being turned down. Cartoon Network first approached Dunn in Los Angeles, then a comic shop employee who had just moved in. The network, impressed by her work in independent comics, which had spread through word of mouth, landed her a job at Cartoon Network Studios, and a few years later, she and Kaliher produced the pilot.
Broadcast and reception
A Kitty Bobo Show aired in June 2001 on Cartoon Network as part of their Big Pick competition, a marathon of ten pilots with viewers selecting one to be produced for the network's fall 2002 season. More than 200,000 votes were cast during the marathon, with 50,000 more being entered online. The pilot earned second place, losing to the pilot episode of Codename: Kids Next Door.
Editors of KoreAm reported that Korean-American adoptees would be able to see a reflection of themselves in the pilot. In a retrospective review of the show, Amid Amidi of the animation entertainment blog Cartoon Brew wrote that, relative to pilots produced by the network, Kitty Bobo had "some potential". He regarded its color styling and "appealing design" to be most memorable, while recalling it to have "decent storytelling" as well. Also writing retrospectively, Adam Finley of AOL TV, stated that, while "not side-splitting by any means," the pilot contained a few comedic elements. He praised the art style, contrasting it other Cartoon Network programming. He ultimately opined that the short did not deserve to win, but that it would provide "a little more variety in style" for the network.
A storyboard for the second episode had been fully produced when at the time of cancellation. Had the series been picked up, it would be the first to have a woman as a creator (before Julie McNally-Cahill as co-creator of My Gym Partner's a Monkey and Rebecca Sugar as sole creator of Steven Universe). Dunn divorced Kaliher in 2005 and moved to the East Coast along with her daughter to work as creative director for a 3D pharmaceutical studio in Baltimore. Kaliher released a 50-page bible in 2006, exploring the Kitty Bobo 's universe in more depth.
Dunn returned in August 2010 to her hometown of Bucks County, Pennsylvania to start her own animation and graphic-design company named Dunnamic. Following a stream of strictly commercial work, she created an idea for another animated series titled Chloe and the Stars. Dunn kept files from her work at Cartoon Network on a hard drive, which needed to be repaired before they could be retrieved. With her company no longer a startup, she and her employees developed the final designs for the characters of Chloe and the Stars and storyboarded its pilot. Upon receiving an animatic of the pilot, Frederator Studios agreed to donate and promote the series on Kickstarter. As a perk for donating $75 or more to the series, backers may receive the storyboard for the second episode of Kitty Bobo. It was later promoted as a "Staff Pick" on the website.
- "Adoptees relate to cartoon image". San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications). August 26, 2001. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- Checker, Melissa; Fishman, Maggie (2013). Local Actions: Cultural Activism, Power, and Public Life in America. Columbia University Press. p. 228. ISBN 0231502427.
- "Kickstarter Spotlight: Dunnamic's Chloe and the Stars: A Show 13 Years in the Making". Comics Bulletin. August 14, 2014. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Korean Quarterly (Summer). 2001. ISSN 1536-156X. Missing or empty
- Mastrull, Diane (October 31, 2011). "Doylestown woman follows her dream in animation—and her own studio". Philly.com. Philadelphia Media Network. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- DeMott, Rick (August 28, 2001). "Kids Next Door Wins The Big Pick On Cartoon Network". Animation World News. Animation World Network. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- Amidi, Amid (August 23, 2006). "Kitty Bobo Resurrected". Cartoon Brew. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- Finley, Adam (January 5, 2007). "A Kitty Bobo Show—Video". AOL TV (US ed.). AOL Inc. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- "Chloe and the Stars". Kickstarter. August 5, 2014. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Gutelle, Sam (August 12, 2014). "Fund This: Chloe And The Stars Seeks $35,000 To Go out of This World". Tubefilter. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- KoreAm. August 2001. ISSN 1541-1931. Missing or empty
- Korean Quarterly (Winter). 2000. ISSN 1536-156X. Missing or empty
- A Kitty Bobo Show at the Internet Movie Database
- Series bible by Kevin Kaliher at Fairpark Studio
- Official website of Korean Quarterly
- Chloe and the Stars at Kickstarter