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From tusk till dawn
Saturday Night. 114.4 (May 1999): p45.

A memo from an executive producer outlines the changes to be undertaken with regards to the creation of a feature film entitled 'Babar, King of the Elephants.'In scenes 22 to 28, revisions are to be undertaken since the producer believes that Paris, France does not have any Chinatown district.

Full Text: 

"Ten years ago, Nelvana made a feature film about the exploits of Babar. . . . In the mistaken belief that. . .kids wouldn't go for a film with the graceful, old-fashioned pace of the books, Nelvana opted for a dark and somewhat violent Babar. Kids didn't like it. . . . Now they've returned with Babar: King of the Elephants."

From "NELVANA REVIVES KINDER, GENTLER BABAR," The Globe and Mail March 13, 1999

DATE: March 13, 1997

TO: Production team, Babar: King of the Elephants

FROM: J. Kindling, Executive Producer

RE: Getting on the same page

As you've no doubt heard by now, due to creative differences, Brian will no longer be supervising the Babar: King of the Elephants project. I will now be overseeing the film. While I understand that you're all proud of your work on Babar: The Movie, I hope we're all agreed that its dark and somewhat violent tone wasn't the right fit. The movie was, financially speaking, a misfire, and I'm sure we'd all like to forget the critical drubbing and public outrage that greeted its two ill-advised sequels, Babar 2: Tusks of Terror and I Still Know What Babar Did Last Summer.

Having looked over the shooting script, I'm confident that Babar: King of the Elephants is moving in the right direction. I have, however, outlined a few edits:

1) SCENE 8: While the scene in which the hunter shoots Babar's mother is integral, let's not forget that it's a pre-school audience we're hoping to attract here. I admit that the tusk-extraction sequence you've added does exhibit a certain Tarantinoesque flair, and playing the Guess Who's "No Sugar Tonight" in the background is a nice touch. I'm pretty sure, however, that, in reality, tusk extractions occur after the elephant is dead. Let's lose this scene altogether.

2) SCENES 10-13: The sequence in which the young Babar finds himself in Paris and falls into the care of the Old Lady is, for the most part, deftly executed. However, the description of her apartment as "strewn with spent crack pipes" is not consistent with the original stories. If Jean de Brunhoff didn't feel it necessary to explain why an old lady would take in a rogue elephant and dress him in spats, then I don't think we should.

3) SCENES 22-28: As far as I know, Paris contains no "Chinatown" district. Please make the necessary revisions.

4) SCENE 56, PAGE 77, LINE 13: I'm fairly confident that Babar would never promise to "open a can of whup ass" on anyone.

5) SCENES 66-73: Can we eliminate the sequence in which Babar battles an invading army of Transformers? Having skimmed through the original stories again, I'd point out that at no time does Babar display the ability to fire surface-to-air missiles from his trunk.

6) Finally, please cut the following lines from scene 88:


A BELL jingles as BABAR enters a Parisian gun shop. MONSIEUR PLAMONDON, the gun shop owner, stands polishing the countertop of the glass display case.


Good day, Monsieur Plamondon. Some years ago, you sold a shotgun to a hunter. Do you remember?


No, Babar, I cannot say that I do.


Very curious. That gun was used to kill my mother.

Are you sure you don't remember?


(visibly nervous) N-N-No, Babar, I don't.

BABAR pulls out a double-barrelled SHOTGUN and levels it at the gun store owner.


Perhaps this will jog your memory.

7) One last note: In preparing a new draft of the script, I would encourage you in advance to rethink any scene which includes the words "leaking viscera." I cannot stress this enough.


J. Kindling

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
Sternbergh, Adam. "From tusk till dawn." Saturday Night, May 1999, p. 45. Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly, Accessed 21 Nov. 2018.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A54711481