Dr. Tran is the main character of several short animated films by Lone Sausage Productions. "Here Comes Dr. Tran" is the first in the Dr. Tran series. It is a 7-minute, 46 second long animated short film that has become a viral video. It and the accompanying shorts featuring the titular character detail a young boy being shanghaied by American mass media into becoming a James Bond-esque character in a 30,000-strong film series with a cornucopia of product tie-ins.
The original cartoon was created in 2003 by Breehn Burns and Jason Johnson under Lone Sausage Productions, and it premiered at Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation. Over 70,000 pairs of 3-D glasses were produced solely for the short 3-D sequence in the film (less than three seconds long). Critics have called the short, "far and away the best addition to the festival". Episodes of Dr. Tran are regularly featured in the festival which tours the U.S. and Canada.
Trần or Tran is a Vietnamese surname.
Dr. Tran has been put on hiatus as funding for the series had "dried up". On December 20, 2010 Lone Sausage announced a possible fund raiser to raise money for more Dr. Tran shorts. With help from Mondo Media, rewards are said to be given to those who donate and something will be put together in 2011. There are Ten Dr. Tran shorts that remain half finished.
Dr. Tran products
There have been several products available featuring the character of Dr. Tran, including a limited series bobble head doll that was created in 2008 by Symbiote Studios. Lone Sausage has released a series of t-shirts and other products on their website. Two DVDs have been released, "Dr. Tran: #1 American Icon; The Lone Sausage Collection Vol. 1" (a compilation of the various shorts) and a limited run of the DVD "Here Comes Dr. Tran", which included a documentary on the making of the short.
Here Comes Dr. Tran opens upon a small 5-year old Asian boy eating a strange purple fruit in what appears to be a hut in an Eastern tropical locale, possibly Vietnam. Suddenly, a voice, from an unseen narrator, begins to deliver a bombastic movie trailer-style monologue praising the boy as the greatest action hero the world has ever known—an action hero whom the narrator calls "Dr. Tran." The small boy, initially confused, grows increasingly aggravated with the intruding voice and repeatedly expresses that he is neither a doctor nor an action hero and asks the voice to leave him alone. After this, the trailer becomes increasingly surreal and strange, revealing some odd proclivities belonging to the character of Dr. Tran and disclosing that a massive library of previous films (at least thirty thousand) already exists in the Dr. Tran series. Shortly after, the voice descends into deliberately thin biological humor, and eventually even the young boy's world begins to alter. Much of this deliberate agitation of the child is continued until the movie draws to a close with the production credits.
Dr. Tran is the star of several short animated films from Lone Sausage Productions.
- Here Comes Dr. Tran (2003): Tran, attempting to eat his breakfast, is accosted by a bombastic movie voice-over proclaiming his status as an action hero.
- Roybertito's :60 Second Spot (2005): A Spanish-language commercial for a Mexican restaurant featuring its new, Dr. Tran themed meal
- Dr. Tran's Quiet Log Time (2005): Tran enjoys a peaceful night sitting on a log, when a Chicken innocently approaches and threatens to kill him.
- DR. TRAN SUMMER SPLASH (2006): Leland and Fat Friend debate if Tran is an action hero, with Tran sitting mere feet away in a backyard pool that just happens to bear his likeness.
- Dr. Tran's Peanut Butter Square Hula Quest (2006): A 1950s style commercial for a Dr. Tran boardgame.
- Mr. Tran & The Toy Cack (2006): Leland's Grandma Norma attempts to take Leland and Tran to a toy store only to end up killing numerous "little boys" with her senile and reckless driving, effectively scarring the children for life. Hotel Soap makes his first appearance, as the mascot for Toy Cack.
- Dickable Afternoons (2006): A commercial for an unspecified food product called a 'Dickable', the definition of which keeps changing. Tran somehow ends up in a bunny suit and can't scratch an itch.
- The Furious Little Cinnamon Bun (2007): A small pastry gets very upset for no discernible reason and runs off in a huff, killing a Shave Ice Baby along his way. (Dr. Tran appears after the end credits, in the posters on the wall as Leland asks Grandma Norma what is going on.)
- 100% ICE (2008): An aged man gives Tran marketing advice for his '100% ICE' stand, which includes discussing cocaine, genitals, and criticizing Tran's naiveté. Hotel Soap makes another cameo appearance. In the second segment, the old man mocks Fat Friend's 'Hot Dog on a Plate' stand. In the third segment, the man finds a stand he likes: Leland's 'Tits' stand, which he praises for its use of gratuitous false advertising.
- Fruit Hat (2009): While waiting for the subway, pudgy little Dr. Tran must match wits with a talking fruit hat that demands mint gum.
A short-format Dr. Tran series, Dr. Tran FanMail, consists of webisodes where viewers write in to Dr. Tran (at TranLetters@gmail.com) and have a cartoon based on their email:
- (Intro) Send Letters (2009): The Narrator haunts Tran once more, forcing him to read fan mail despite the fact that Tran is just learning his ABC's.
- (S1, Ep01) Murder List (2009): A fan writes in asking Tran why he killed his mother with a broken lawn chair.
- (S1, Ep02) AIDS (2009): A 9-year old girl with AIDS writes in to Tran. The Narrator berates her.
- (S1, Ep03) The Specials (2009): A fan writes in asking Tran about breakfast specials.
- (S1, Ep04) Hotel Soap (2009): Hotel Soap returns to reminisce about past times with Tran and brings the Shave Ice Babies (as seen in The Furious Little Cinnamon Bun) with him.
- (S1, Ep05) Time Machine (2009): Tran is visited by 1944 and 2085 versions of himself after a fan asks about a time machine. One of the three doesn't make it out of the episode.
- (S1, Ep06) Keith Cares (2009): Tran actually gets a positive fan letter. The Narrator will not let him answer it, and instead reveals Tran's penchant for getting erections in answer to a second fan letter. Cameos by Leland, Fat Friend, and an off-screen Grandma Norma.
- (S1, Ep07) Nail To The Gut (2010): Tran is still learning to read. A fan writes in with suggestions on what Tran should wear and anything he or The Narrator suggest magically appears on Tran's body. Fat Friend gets shot with a nail gun.
Interstitials and vignettes featuring the Dr. Tran character include:
- G4tv I.D. Spot: BomberTran (2005)
- G4tv I.D. Spot: Kung Fu Tran (2006)
- Warning: Adult Content (2006)
Characters in the Dr. Tran series
- "Dr." Tran - A 5-year-old Vietnamese boy living in a hut which seems to be close to civilization. He is followed by a manly voice claiming that he is an action hero, a film star and a doctor, the latter of which results in him being referred to forever as Doctor Tran. He is not a fan of being labeled a doctor.
- "The Narrator" - A disembodied voice who makes absurd claims about Tran (sometimes implied to be actually true). Whatever he says is accompanied by a black background with large yellow-orange text. While he seems to be the chief cause of torment in Tran's life, he only appears in three of the twelve major Dr. Tran cartoons ("Here Comes Dr. Tran", "Summer Splash" and "Fruit Hat"), but has a major role in the Dr. Tran MAIL series.
- Leland the Cough Drop - An anthropomorphic horehound cough drop child that is always seen wearing water wings. Despite owning a lot of "Dr. Tran" merchandise, Leland does not believe Tran is famous. Leland lives with Grandma Norma, and runs a store called "Tits."
- Fat Friend(Conlan) - A chubby, red-headed boy with a sunburn, and Tran and Leland's buddy. Fat Friend lives with his parents and does not enjoy bathing. He no longer goes by the name "Barbara."
- Grandma Norma - Leland's senile grandmother who has a penchant for running over little boys in her station wagon (although she's never had a driver's license). Grandma Norma has an obsession with taking off her top and getting killed by Greg Kinnear.
- Hotel Soap - An anthropomorphic bar of soap with visible little perfumed balls. Hotel Soap is the spokesman for Toy Cack (a local toy store), eats cocaine (cocaine is vitamins for Hotel Soap), and loves to yell the phrase, "Everything's fuckin' wonderful!" at the top of his lungs.
- The Chicken - A talking bird that tells lies and has a sick desire for chewing gum.
- Shave Ice Babies - Little creatures resembling snow cones. They come in a variety of colors including "Rainbow," speak an indecipherable language and follow Hotel Soap around like groupies. When seeking vengeance, they are able to summon their "God," the Great Dick In The Sky.
- Goodmonson the Dickable Dog - The neighbor's dog and the mascot for "Dr. Tran's Old Fashioned Peppermint Dickables."
- Grandpa - An old man who gives the kids advice in Dr. Tran: 100% ICE. His design is similar to the character in Lone Sausage's earlier films, the "Beyond Grandpa" series.
- Fruit Hat Lady - A large old woman asleep in a subway station in the short, "Fruit Hat." She gets cookie recipes from James Van Der Beek, and is the one who showed him "the creek".
- Cinnamon Bun - A small, angry, baked good who gets very angry for no discernable reason and runs to Mexico after he kills a Shave Ice Baby.
- The Great Dick in the Sky - The god of the Shave Ice Babies that destroys the cinnamon bun in the short "The Furious Little Cinnamon Bun."
Episodes of Dr. Tran tour with Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation.
Dr. Tran shows up annually at the San Diego Comic-Con with Spike & Mike, and at film festivals such as Sundance and Annecy. Many anime conventions around the US often have underground screenings of the shorts as well.
Dr. Tran may also be seen in the Mondo Mini-Shows section of YouTube
- Jason Johnson - Dr. Tran, Hotel Soap, Fruit Hat Lady
- Breehn Burns - "The Narrator," Fat Friend, The Chicken, Leland's Grandma, Cinnamon Bun, Grandpa
- Juni Bucher - Leland the Cough Drop
- Carlos Victorica - Roybertito's Narrator
- "Here Comes Dr. Tran". Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- Tanner, Dylan (February 25, 2004). "Farting with impunity". Portland State University Vanguard. Retrieved 2006-08-25.[dead link]
- "Lone Sausage Production Journal". Retrieved 2008-01-27.
- "Lone Sausage Production Journal". Retrieved 2009-11-05.