Billy Crystal, Brad Bird, and Animalympics

For those who caught yesterday's amazing interactive Google Doodle video game in 16bit featuring animals playing Olympic-like games, then do we have something special for you!

What better way to usher in the 2021 Olympic Games than with this deep cut that is so absolutely worth every inappropriate, animated moment. 

Allow us to introduce...Animalympics.

In this animated film, animals from all around the world gather to stage and compete in their own Olympic games, which feature a variety of summer and winter sporting events.

“Broadcast” on the fictional “Zoo Network” that brings out the beast in sports, the Animalympics features a motley cast of furry friends hellbent on some not so friendly competition in a series of outlandish Olympics-style games. And the animal puns run for miles.

Gilda Radner, Billy Crystal, and Harry Shearer provide dozens of fantastic voices like Barbra Warblers, Cora Lee Perrier, Tatyana Tushenko, Rugs Turkell, Joey Gongolong, Art Antica, Keen Hacksaw, Burnt Woody, and Mark Spritz. Michael Fremer brings up the proverbial rear of voices as René Fromage, Kit Mambo, Bolt Jenkins, Mele, Jackie Fuelit and Bjorn Freeborg.

A very early precursor to the genius that is Pixar, Animalympics speaks to kids and adults from 8 to 88. One can’t help but laugh as an alligator named Bolt Jenkins who was "born as a handbag" and told he would never walk again, sees a frog named Boris Amphibiensky break the world record for the high jump, and becomes determined to break the record. What?!?

This outrageous spoof, however, is no accident. The creative team is remarkable. Roger Allers, Bill Kroyer, and Brad Bird had major hands in the animation and no doubt the comedy. Allers animated Kit Mambo, the lion star of Animalympics years before he directed The Lion King. Bill Kroyer wrote and directed FernGully: The Last Rainforest. And Brad Bird, of course, directed The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and its sequel, and Ratatouille. To have any one of those luminaries a part of a film would be a miracle but this trifecta, it’s nearly impossible to believe. 

And From Graham Gouldman’s poppy, catchy songs to Steven Lisberger’s, (of Tron fame) direction,  the sequences come alive in exuberant breakneck pace.

The film also represents a piece of cinematic history. Animalympics was commissioned by NBC in 1978 as a couple of specials to run parallel to the 1980 Winter Olympics and the Summer Olympics in Moscow. But following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Jimmy Carter boycotted the Moscow Summer Olympics and NBC shelved the coverage and the Animalympics special which did not rear its head again until July 4, 1982.

Now with a whole new set of crises holding the current Tokyo Olympics in the balance along with its lackluster, crowd free coverage from, you guessed it, NBC, we thought Animalympics should be brought back to the fore as a torch bearer of nostalgia harkening to simpler times of free spirited dialogue, less than woke references, and mask-free camaraderie.

Nonetheless, TheArchive could not be prouder to present this gold medal of animation to you and your family.

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