Even though he had a fairly normal suburban upbringing in his Burbank, California home, Tim Burton, as a kid spent most of his time doodling up very twisted and unique drawings. A few of these childhood doodles would serve as the influence for some of his most well-known characters and movies such as Edward Scissorhands and Jack Skellington from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas. The design for ‘Frankenweenie’ was based on a dog he had when he was a kid. Burton hasn’t given up his art as a grown up, and he sometimes has work exhibited in art galleries and other exhibitions around the world.
While it’s usually sought out as a victorious example of the genre-confusing combo of funny and scary, earlier renditions of the storyline pushed much more on the scariness then wanting to crack some smiles. Screenwriter Michael McDowell, who first worked with Larry Wilson on the story and who was a very popular and beloved writer of paperback novels, had first come up with the script as a much meeker, more horror-driven story. The first script had a much more serious version of the Maitlands’ car crash. In McDowell’s spin of the story Geena Davis‘ character’s arm gets crushed in nauseating detail; drafts to follow this one kept a reference to this), while the Beetlejuice character isn’t a sweetly used car salesman of the undead; instead he was viewed as leather-winged demon whose human form is that of a small Middle Eastern man.
Burton’s first rogue mission while working with Disney was the stop-motion cartoon short ‘Vincent,’ a shoutout to Burton favorite Vincent Price, who also narrated the fil. The short can be found on ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ DVD, where its dark design was perfectly in the same tone as Jack Skellington and the rest of the Halloweenland characters. Burton followed up ‘Vincent’ with a strange, Japanese-influenced adaptation of the legendary fairy tale ‘Hansel & Gretel.’ The barely seen Disney Channel program included puppetry, stop-motion animation and Burton’s original visual style throughout. The film never made it to VHS or DVD, however, was debuted as part of Burton’s exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.
Back in the day when Burton was hitched by the ring finger to Helena Bonham-Carter, according to reports, the director snored so loudly and badly that it severely annoyed his wife. In order to escape the curse of Tim Burton’s God awful snoring, the two agreed to live and sleep in two separate, adjacent houses that were connected by a hallway so they could see each other when they woke up in the morning.
When he was just a preteen, right before he hit adolescence and discovered girls, Burton was known to create short films in his backyard with his friends on Evergreen Street. He would use unrefined stop motion animation techniques or shoot these films on 8-millimeter film without using any sound. One of his oldest known amateur films is The Island of Doctor Agor. He made this masterpiece at just the young age of thirteen years old.
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