Seth MacFarlane Teams With Martin Scorsese To Save Classic Cartoons

By Douglas Helm | Published

Seth MacFarlane and Martin Scorsese are teaming up to fund the first curated restoration of animated shorts from the 1920s and 1940s. Macfarlane is partnering with Scorsese through the Seth MacFarlane Foundation and Martin Scorsese Film Foundation companies to restore the shorts, which are considered “historically significant.” MacFarlane’s career has been defined by his animated efforts, which include American Dad, The Cleveland Show, and Family Guy, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

United By A Love For Old Hollywood

“I’m so grateful to Seth MacFarlane for his enthusiasm and his support on these restorations,” Martin Scorsese remarked on the collaboration, adding, “What an astonishing experience, to see these remarkable pictures that I experienced for the first time as a child brought back to their full glory.” The curated collection will include nine animated shorts from Max and Dave Fleischer, creators of classic characters like Betty Boop and Koko the Clown. The collection will also include two stop-motion animated shorts from George Pal (Puppetoons) and a Terrytoon produced by Paul Terry.

Importance Of Film Preservation

Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane commented on the partnership as well, saying, “The work Martin Scorsese and his Film Foundation have been doing is essential cinematic preservation,” adding, “I’m honored to partner with them in restoring their first-ever collection of storied animation.” The curated collection was selected and restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation with Paramount Pictures Archives. MacFarlane funded the restorations, which used original pre-print elements and/or print sources to bring them back to their former glory.

Iconic Movie Shorts

The curated collection will be collectively titled Back From the Ink: Restored Animated Shorts and is set to premiere at the 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 20th, with Seth MacFarlane introducing the collection at the event. The Dave Fleischer-directed shorts that will be screened include Koko’s Tattoo, Little Nobody, The Little Stranger, Greedy Humpty Dumpty, Peeping Penguins, The Fresh Vegetable Mystery, and So Does and An Automobile. The screening will also include a Mannie David-directed Terrytoon titled The Three Bears and a George Pal Puppetoon titled Two-Gun Rusty.

The Work Of Seth MacFarlane

While Seth MacFarlane is best known for creating, writing, producing, and acting in his cartoons like Family Guy, he has since found success in live-action projects as well. He wrote and starred in the Ted films, which he recently created a miniseries for that aired earlier this year. As for future projects, MacFarlane is producing and co-writing a new film in The Naked Gun franchise that will star Liam Neeson.

Scorsese Working With DiCaprio Again

Martin Scorsese is more well-known for his live-action work as a director, though he did direct the underrated animated film Hugo and most recently directed the adaptation of David Grann’s non-fiction novel Killers of the Flower Moon. The film was critically received and was nominated for ten categories at the Academy Awards, though it didn’t end up taking any home. Scorsese will next turn his focus to his long-gestating Frank Sinatra biopic, which is eyeing Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence to star, along with an independently financed production titled Life of Jesus based on the 1973 book by Shusaku Endo.

Grand Debut At The TCM Film Festival

The announcement of Seth MacFarlane and Martin Scorsese’s Golden Age cartoon collaboration didn’t include information on when the general public can expect to see them. Hopefully, after they debut at the TCM Classic Film Festival, they’ll hit streaming services shortly after. We’ll keep you updated on this project, so stay tuned.