The Rocko's Modern Life FAQ

Dan Abrams' interview with Jeff "Swampy" Marsh

We'd like to thank Dan Abram's for this contribution to the site. Dan has given us permission to put this interview here. Please keep in mind that the interview is copyrighted. For questions or comments, contact Dan Abrams. All questions in this interview were collected/created by Dan Abrams.

Dan Abrams' interview with Jeff "Swampy" Marsh

Q: Is Carlos Alazroqui really Australian?

A: Not at all. He was born in the U.S.A. but his parents are from Argetina. He has no accent at all. He does however do one of the best Scottish accents I've heard. In his stand-up comedy act he does quite a few accents and he does them all very well. The accent he uses for Rocko is not really an accurate Austrailian accent, but that's the was he did the voice for the pilot episode so he continued to use it for the rest of the shows. If you ever get a chance to see him perform, by all means, go. He is hysterical!! He's also one of the nicest people you will ever meet!

Q. Why is Heffer's right eye notched at the bottom? (and opposing nostril)

A: Purely a matter of Joe Murray's design style. For the animators, it was a little tricky at first keeping the sides straight, but we got it eventually. We used to refer to it as "Tombstone-shaped".

Q: (Kinda dumb)Why is the guy who does Filbert's voice always listed as Mr. Lawrence?What is his real name?

A: His real name is Doug Lawrence and he was also a director onthe show. You would really have to know Doug to understand (or not understand) his unique sense of humor. He was a stand-up comic for a while and his act was truly brilliant, unique, strange and sincerely off-the-wall. Why Doug did many of the things he did will, I'm sure, remain a mystery to us forever. That was just Doug. I must say that I consider it a priveledge to have had the opportunity to work with him.

Q: What do you think about the whole "Nick vs. Spumco" deal?

A: Well, this is a tricky question. There are a lot of strong opinins on both sides of this issue and I have tried to be understanding of both positions. I have had many debates with my fellow animators and have found that my opinion puts me in the minority. That said, it is MY OWN PERSONAL opinion that John K. got what he asked for. I think he is a gifted Animator with a great deal of genius but that his business skills are sadly lacking. Nick was his customer and had given him a uniqe opportunity that any animator would envy, the opportunity to produce his own cartoon at his own independent studio. He then proceded to openly treat his customer with a total lack of respect. He failed to appreciate that they were the ones who owned the property and were the ones who were picking up the check for the whole thing. The cold hard reality is that he entered into a business agreement with a large corporation and then became angry and defiant when they behaved like one. If he had wanted to create and produce his work without the restrictions that are inherent in a national cable TV venue than he should have found another was of doing so. His expectations were highly unrealistic. I think that his work is unsupassed if he is allowed that freedom. If he would have been making shorts for theatrical release, direct to video or some pay-cable medium, he would have found the right path for his unique talent. I'm just sorry that his inability to work within the system he agreed to work within has caused the industry to now become so afraid of allowing other animators to have the same control as John was given. That is a major setback for all of us and will take many years to overcome. His seeming ignorance of the realities of his contract with Nick has caused a great deal of negativity in this industry and it was an avoidable situation. That said, I sincerely hope that in the future, John will find the proper venue for his incredible talent, as I am a big fan of his work.

Q: Do you consider Rocko a show for adults kids or both? Why?

A: Absoloutly both. It was always our intent to create shows that would be entertaining on wany levels. Rocky and Bullwinkle are still funny to me now, but on a new level. There were jokes that I didn't get as a child that I now understand the references to. They were able to create shows that were funny to both groups without sacrificing anything. That is a hard job to do and we always strove to emulate that quality. Sometimes the censors questioned some of the material targeted to the more adult viewers and on occasion we dissagreed with their opinion, and other times we could see their need to play it a little safer. I have been told by many people that we succeded in this endevour and many parents I know really enjoyed watching the show with their kids for just this reason.

Q: could get on Pat Irwin, the musical director.

A: I reaaly know very little. He was associated with the B-52's in some way I believe. I was not happy with his music for the songs that we wrote for the show and even had another arranger brought in for "Zanzibar". He didn't have a good ear for musical parody, (In my humble opinion) but his background music was pretty cool.

Q: Why does Peaches have udders on his head?

A: See the answer to the Mr. Lawrence question above. Doug created peaches and never explained the udders, (or many other things he thought up) to anyone. It was just funny, and that was explanation enough.

Q: Also from "Road Rash" - What did the biker-horse character originally say (It now says "...retorqued your curtain rods...") after fixing up the wienermobile.

A: The biker horse (a characature of me by the way) originally said, "Retorqued your johnson rods". It was amended by the people in broadcast standards and practices as being to sexual. We dissagreed on the grounds that no child would ever make the connection and neither would the vast majority of adults but it was removed none the less. I'll have more on this subject when I answer some of the other questions. By the way, the other bikers are modeled after, Dan Povenmire, My wife, Doug Lawrence and Robert Skull.

Q: Why all the "pinapple" references?

A: See Doug Lawrence answer above. To Doug, Pineapples were just.. well, funny.

Q: Who keeps sticking in all the "That Girl" references?

A: Myself or Dan Povenmire have no recollection of any "That Girl" references at all. If you have any examples, we will try to ask the director of thase shows.
(c)1997 Dan Abrams

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