The attempts to make a modern Little Nemo in Slumberland film.

I’ve blogged in the past about Winsor McKay’s greatest creation, his Sunday cartoon Little Nemo in Slumberland. I’ve also noted that there was a time, in 1911, when Winsor McKay created a short animated film featuring Nemo and the rest of the Slumberland characters. Here’s that film.

Well, in the 1980’s, there was an attempt to create a Little Nemo in Slumberland animated feature. It would be produced in Japan, and at one point in time Hiyao Miyazaki was part of the project. And at one point or another, three separate test pilots for the film were created, each one with their own stylish beauty and elegance. I mean, this stuff was right on the level of Disney or Don Bluth or Richard Williams at the time. Here are all three pilot films.

I should note that the film was finally completed in 1989 … but the energy of the original pilots seems to have completely disappeared. Straight-up poof. See for yourself, the entire movie has been posted on YouTube.

And the crazy thing is … some of the Little Nemo characters made a better appearance in, of all places, a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers music video. Yep, there’s an animated Tom Petty cavorting with the cigar-smoking Flip in the music video for “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”

So honestly … could a truly spectacular Little Nemo in Slumberland movie be made today? Maybe. I say maybe. Get Studio Ghibli on it. Or maybe pitch it as a Dreamworks project. Heck, I’d even watch an Aardman stop-motion animated adventure of Little Nemo interacting with Wallace and Grommit and Shaun the Sheep.

I just think there is so much potential there for a true Little Nemo in Slumberland feature.

Someone just has to step to the plate and do it correctly.