Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter books have had a long bumpy road to the screen. While Pixar is now on track to make an animated John Carter movie, this isn’t the first attempt. Back in the 30s, legendary animator Bob Clampett and ERB teamed up on an animated version:

With such a hot property, one might expect it to have been adapted to film. Well, the Mars books weren’t quite as popular as the Tarzan books, but that didn’t stop Burroughs from trying when the opportunity arose. That opportunity came in the early 1930’s from animation pioneer Bob Clampett, who had recently earned his animation stripes at Warner Bros. studios. Clampett approached Burroughs with an idea for an animated film about one of his favorite characters: John Carter.

The surviving footage of the fabled team-up is shown in the above YouTube clip, and one can only imagine what a swashbuckling mind bender this would have been, equalling the Fleischer Superman for fantasy rooted in heightened naturalism.


  1. Having seen “The Empire Strikes Quack” (where Star Wars: A New Hope footage is spliced to the soundtrack of “Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century”), I can’t help but hear Marvin’s voice…

    And when can we see some legit Beany and Cecil DVDs?!

  2. I’ve read that Fleischer Studios had tried to get a “John Carter of Mars” animated film off of the ground. Was this a separate attempt to animate the Barsoom books?

  3. Fans this 1936 animation project may be interested in seeing the promotional portfolio that John Coleman Burroughs created:

    Bill Hillman
    Editor and Webmaster for the
    Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Sites

  4. I knew Bob Clampett in the 1970s and 1980s, having become good friends with him and Sody through my association as a founding member and former chairperson of the San Diego Comic-Con (now known as Comic-Con International, San Diego). After viewing this footage–and listening to Bob’s narration–I believe this footage was shot during his presentation at Comic-Con. The narration definitely sounds as if it was from that presentation, since I was there on that day. Before the presentation, Bob was hoping that it would be received well enough by audience members, and, from what one can hear in the background, it was a very receptive response. In fact, there were many questions that followed, with the overall wishful thinking that someday there would be an animated feature of John Carter’s adventures on Mars. Although the footage shown is very good, I can assure you that it looks much better on the bigger screen.