Bonus – Interview with the "Old Farts" of Anime, Otakon 2008

Here’s the first of many audio interviews we conducted at Otakon 2008 with some of the members of the Philadelphia Animation Society, an anime club that’s been around since 1982. All of them were present at the Old Farts Anime Appreciation panel, so listen to it for the sake of us AND FOR ROMINA, THE AL-IEN PRINCESS!

From left to right: Sidney, Kevin, Bill, and Jim.

Other news: this weekend is the Providence Anime Conference over in Rhode Island, which we sadly won’t be attending on account that we’re still trying to recuperate after Anime Weekend Atlanta. But in a few short weeks in upstate New York is SITACon, with special guests Gerald and Clarissa! Then after that, it’s EXPCon, followed by Anime Supercon! Man, remember when AWA was the last con of the year? Or when we were able to actually play the videogames we bought?

(please note: Rowena the AL-IEN PRINCESS is not to be confused with Ruruna, the DA-TA-BASE PRINCESS)

35 Replies to “Bonus – Interview with the "Old Farts" of Anime, Otakon 2008”

  1. It's fun for me being from the same town, and hearing them talk about these old UHF stations that I remember being plunked down in front of on our old B&W living room TV (with vacuum tubes! and rabbit ear antenna!) when we lived in our old row home in NE Philly.

    But man, I haven't heard the name "Wee Willie Webber" in probably 30 years or more!

  2. God, I could have listened to these guys talk for hours…

    Also, I think it might actually be “Romina” not Rowena.

    On the other hand, Koji can shop underground, he can plant a little tree.

  3. Thanks, that as great.

    I came to anime from foreign films rather than the US TV and Science Fiction side (tho’ I’m a SF fan) so it is fascinating to hear conversations like this one.

  4. UHF was a wonderful thing. I was exposed to so many great cartoons from Return to the Planet of the Apes to Johnny Quest to Tranzor Z.

    Nothing like waking up in the morning to watch Speed Racer, Robotech, Popeye, and Voltron.

  5. This quickly became one of my favorite episodes of the podcast, i loved hearing about the oldschool fandom.

    Could have listened to these guys for hours on end.

  6. You truly are an evil man, Daryl Surat. I could have gone my whole life and not known about that desecration of Tobigaki’s opening. I can not forgive you!

  7. That was a really great interview, its always interesting hearing about the early days of Anime fandom in the west. Hearing about how hard old-school fans had to work to get a hold of these shows really makes you think about how easy we have it today.

    Though it is awesome that Anime and Manga have become widely available in America, I would love to have a better story to tell younger fans twenty years from now than,”Well, in high school there was this thing called Youtube”.

  8. It was pretty fun to hear about how things were from real old school anime fans. It good to have an idea about where the current fandom in America has come from, as I don’t think too many people have been willing to make that effort. It would have been great if the conversation lasted longer. ๐Ÿ˜›

  9. Man, my anime club is about to break the nine years mark and I thought we’ve lasted for a while!

    Nice to know there are other groups out there that can put it into perspective.

  10. I’m not sure which of the fellows it is, but one of those guys should seriously get into voice acting or radio; He had a voice that would make Isaac Hayes proud.

    Man, did you see the haircut of the chap in the background with a white shirt on?

    Prince Adam of Eternia called, he wants his his haircut back!

    Fantastic episode!

  11. I’m not sure which of the fellows it is, but one of those guys should seriously get into voice acting or radio; He had a voice that would make Isaac Hayes proud.

    If only I said his name before the interview started, or he said his name at the start of the interview! That was Bill Thomas. I think Sydney had my favorite story of the bunch regarding how to give children nightmares. I think I just found the much-delayed new AWO promo.

    It was unfortunate that I had to cut the interview short. Normally, space isn’t a concern on the laptop, but we’d done several hours of interviews at the
    convention and had an interview with JAM Project to conduct a few hours later. It was only later that I discovered that I still had had the uncompressed audio from all the AWA interviews on there (plus a panel recording or two which was never posted). If they’re back at Otakon next year and are up for it, we’d totally do another multi-part interview akin to our inaugural TV’s Patrick Macias interview.

    Even though the audio quality on this wasn’t the greatest, it’s probably the best sounding one of everything we did at Otakon because this is the only one where the interview subjects were actually speaking directly into our microphones. Everything else is going to have to be amplified up substantially (like, at least 40 dB), and there’s only so much noise/static removal you can do in situations like that. Editing those will prove problematic.

    One last thing: due to said time limits and the fact that it’s not of much interest to us, we did not delve deeper into the parallel and simultaneous development of anime fandom with furries. Let’s not kid ourselves: these guys were oldschool C/FO, and if you go back and listen to the Walter Amos and Rob Fenelon interview you’ll know what the “/F” in that REALLY stood for. This just confirms it, though the record will show that “the junk parts” at the beginning of the recording run about 5 minutes, not 10.

    Since I can’t actually post a reply there, I’ll write it here: it was a necessary evil that I talked about what we were up to and what we would be doing at the start of the show. This is, after all, our own podcast. That said, we knew well enough to not really say much during the interview itself; there was no real need for us to say anything as long as someone else had something to say.

  12. If this episode whetted your appetite for more old school fan stories, head on over to where you can read about what fandom was like in Japan back in the early to mid 70s, when all this madness actually got started. If not for them, we probably wouldn’t even be here!

  13. this episode was great thanks a bunch, like for real THANKS!.

    hearing all these storys and how cool it is to keep going and finding what you, really fun.
    i never new that much about super sentai or kamen rider, but i think ill check it out since the guy with the funny voice mentioned green ranger dying sounds liek drama. must watch

    same for cyborg 009 ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Awesome all around. No doubt about it. Altho I do wonder how much the Ameriotaku (born via Gundam W on CN/Toonami) will get out of that, or if it’ll all come across as “old guys talk blah blah VHS blah blah UHF Blah blah old shit I don’t care about blah blah” noise to them.

    Because you know, if you’re O-G you would read so much between the lines of what was said, so much shorthand. I grokked.

    I was VERY VERY happy to hear so much love for Jetman. Yeah, we can all laugh at the Ramen Otaku and the God Ramen monster, but there’s a hella lot of dark, dark story going on.

    I need to echo and second Tim’s remark that if you dug this podcast you NEED to go to and read the articles about those daring brave pioneers that created Yamato fandom in Japan, and then went pro. It’s the REAL ‘Otaku no Video’, kids realizing their dreams in ways nobody here has ever suspected. Tim did a backbreaking job on this batch of stuff (above and beyond the usual hard work) and he deserves tons of credit for it.

  15. >>Altho I do wonder how much the Ameriotaku (born via Gundam W on CN/Toonami) will get out of that, or if it'll all come across as "old guys talk blah blah VHS blah blah UHF Blah blah old shit I don't care about blah blah" noise to them.

    Well, for what it's worth, I liked this episode!

  16. Any NYC AWO fans interested in going to SITACon to meet Gerald and Clarissa? I don’t drive, but I’d be happy to chip in for a carpool.

  17. Didn’t think to post this till now… any AWO fans in the greater Philadelphia area who want to see the mysterious Fenelon and myself can attend the several panels we are doing in just under 2 weeks from now, on Saturday Oct. 18, at Zenkaicon in Valley Forge PA.

    I know it’s not as cool as meeting Gerald and Clarissa, but, ya know…

  18. This interview rocks!!!
    Love hearing about the real oldschool stuff, that all the noobs like me don’t know about.

  19. Wow, I heard Jaspion mentioned in this podcast. I grew up watching those sentai shows back in Brazil in the 80’s… awesome bonus episode AWO, and again it totally warrants a multi-part interview as Daryl has mentioned already.


  20. I especially liked their sentai experience. I have the first couple of episodes of Jetman, and they were pretty good. I’d like to find more.

  21. Thx AWO for finding these people.
    And i hope you can do a longer intevju whit them in the future, or have some of them on the regular show later on.

  22. A few things i found interesting

    1 Was Inspector Gadget Orignally broadcast in france before it came out here.

    2 I they only made some Tintin cartoons in the 80s, cause i think they were on HBO when i was about 3 or four. Had no idea they made some in the 60s.

    It’s a shame there’s not anymore places really on tv, like those old UHF channels…. Well there are but lot of what they show is absolute shit.

  23. Having been born much later in the 20th Century, my experiences with that fond Ultra High Frequency was anything but ultra. Having grown up in a medium-sized market, UHF was hardly exploited as it could’ve been in larger cities, so I was stuck with two stations to choose from, one an ABC affiliate (who bothered picking up one or two syndie toons to show in the afternoons) and the other PBS. My only options was picking up whatever came clear from the ol’ rabbit ears from Detroit or Cleveland, throughout that, I’ve only saw a scant few anime gems like Voltron, but once Toledo finally got an indie station in ’85, stuff like Robotech or even Tranzor Z didn’t show up at all, so watching out-of-town stations was still an option most of us had to rely on in those glory days. I think I probably already mentioned this before, but I like to repeat it anyway, since history is all about doing that!

    A bunch of great guys! One of the first guys that got me into buying/trading pirated copies came from Philadelphia I believe, he sent me a ‘preview’ tape that had a lot of opening sequences to cartoons like Marine Boy, Prince Planet and such. Before that, I hardly heard or seen any of it in my life, and it got me looking for more of it!

    It should be of note that it wasn’t until 1964 when a law came into effect that TV’s had to be built with UHF tuners placed in them along with VHF, before that, you had to have a converter to pick up UHF for the time being, but it wasn’t until the mid 60’s when the accessibility of UHF gave rise to many stations that sprang up past channel 13 (though the UHF band had been around since the 50’s).

    It’s often said the English opening to “8th Man” was possibly produced by Hal Seeger Productions, which was another NY outfit responsible for having produced an updated version of Max Fleischer’s Out of The Inkwell, Batfink and Milton the Monster to name a few. A rumored Ralph Bakshi was said to have directed the sequence. Joe Oriolo on the other hand produced previous cartoons for Speed Racer’s original distributor Trans-Lux TV, Felix the Cat and The Mighty Hercules. It’s been said his studio had also been responsible for having dubbed/distributed Princess Knight despite it not having been aired entirely in the states but had seen coverage elsewhere like Australia.

    Nice to hear there was a guy in my hometown that had a tokusatsu fanzine, wished I knew him. Had a couple of guys locally that got me going on collecting 16mm films anyway.

    I feel Bill’s problem with losing AZN or whatever it became (I knew it more as International Channel), my cable company dropped just after it became AZN and replaced it with NASA TV or whatever. Aside for not having the linear Anime Network anymore, they didn’t bother picking up FUNimation Channel yet anyway, but I’d probably wouldn’t bother watching that anyway.

    Also neat that Bill got to go to Europe and visit D.I.C.’s studios in Paris. At that time, their initials stood for “Diffusion, Information et Communication”, though it’s abbreviation eventually became less used as they ended up being named without the dots inbetween the letters. A while back I had to pick up the Ulysses 31 LP and 45rpm singnle of that theme, pretty interesting show, but it hardly got much exposure stateside. Inspector Gadget and The Littles would be DIC’s first North American expansion efforts in 1983 while they have worked on U31 and Mysterious cities of Gold in previous years. This was also back when Jean Chalopin was still head of the operation until Andy Heyward ended up buying out the company in ’86. Today, the company is now acquired by Canadian-based Cookie Jar Group (formerally Cinar).

    Hadn’t heard that theme song before, now it’s stuck in my head, thanks Daryl!

  24. I loved this interview. These guys sound just like my father. It’s always nice to hear from the fans that came before us, because they always help to put things in perspective.

  25. I’m much younger than these guys, but listening to them, I felt like I was one of them. This is because when I was a kid most of the shows they mentioned were still being shown in the area where I lived in the early 80s. So I got to see what alot of people my age missed out on.

    Hearing these guys makes me feel even more out of place within my own generation.

    Thanks for the interview, I hope you get to do another one with them in the near future.

  26. Hearing these guys makes me feel even more out of place within my own generation.

    You and me both! Today's generation is odd and scary.

    One of these days I need to stick up Ninja Robots someplace so people can check out what others saw elsewhere in the world. ๐Ÿ™‚

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