Show Notes – The Pagemaster

The Pagemaster

Check out our podcast episode on The Pagemaster here.


  • The Pagemaster is an American live-action/animated fantasy adventure film That debuted November 23, 1994
  • Budget of $27 million and a Box office take of $13.7 million
    • The Pagemaster earned a Razzie Award nomination for Macaulay Culkin as Worst Actor for his performance in the movie (also for Getting Even with Dad and Richie Rich) but lost the award to Kevin Costner for Wyatt Earp.
    • Has an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes
    • Roger Ebert said it was a “sad and dreary film,” adding that its message seemed to be that “books can be almost as much fun as TV cartoons and video arcade games.”
    • Brian Lowry of Variety said: that the film’s principal appeal for adults would be its abbreviated running time, and that it did not do enough with its famous fictional characters, noting “A more inspired moment has Richard using a book, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ to escape from the belly of a dragon. Unfortunately, such moments are few and far between.”
  • The movie also had a video game developed by Probe Software the same company that developed the Lemmings games, the 1st 2 mortal Kombat games for home console, and the Batman Forever games for home consoles
    • The versions released for home consoles (genesis, SNES, etc.) are generally considered to be just barely above mediocre.

Directed by:



      • Effects artist for the first Star Wars
      • Art Director for the 2nd two Star Wars films, the first 2 Indiana Jones films and Howard the Duck
      • Producer for Willow
      • Directed Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Rocketeer, Jumanji, October Sky, Jurassic Park 3, Hidalgo, Captain America: the First Avenger, and other films
      • He was also a Production Designer for the Ewok films: The Ewok Adventure, and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
      • Apparently George Lucas gave him a paid sabbatical to attend USC film school where he was asked not to return after a year because he “ broke too many rules”
      • Has an Oscar for Best Visual Effects that he shares for his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark


  • Also has a razzy nom for Worst Remake or sequel because of his work on Jurassic Park 3 which it lost to the 2001 Planet of the Apes remake


Produced by:

Production Company:

Notes about Production:

  • The Pagemaster took three years to produce; the animation in the film was produced by (Turner Feature Animation, headed by David Kirschner and recently spun off from Hanna-Barbera Cartoons.)
  • {THIS IS COVERED IN OTHER NOTES} The crew included animators who were veterans of productions such as An American Tail (also produced by David Kirschner and composed by James Horner), The Land Before Time and Aladdin.
  • This was one of the first films to feature live-action, traditional animation, and CGI animation all together. One scene involving a computer-generated dragon made from paint was a challenge for the filmmakers.
  • All of the fictional works featured in the film were created and first published before January 1, 1923, making them a part of the public domain in most countries.
  • Animation production began in August 1992, and live-action scenes were filmed from September 21 to October 15, 1992. After two years in the making, the film was completed and wrapped in the summer of 1994. According to the copyright holder, it was believed to be made in 1993 (although the film was just released a year later).

Screenplay by:

  • David Casci
  • **David Kirschner
  • Ernie Contreras

Story by:

  • David Casci & David Kirschner


Live action

Voice cast



        • During the filming of the first season, he lived out of his suitcase because of his scepticism that the show would succeed,[34]
        • He said he realized he had become famous when “It really wasn’t until the first season ended [when] I went to my first Star Trek convention … [I] had expected that I would be standing in front of a few hundred people and found that there were two and a half thousand people and that they already knew more about me than I could ever possibly have believed.”
        • He also Portrayed Captain Picard in 4 Star Trek films, and the the pilot episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine in a role that in total spanned from 1987-2002
        • He says he is very proud of his work on TNG because of its social and educational messages and impact on young viewers.
        • He even said “The fact is all of those years in Royal Shakespeare Company – playing all those kings, emperors, princes and tragic heroes – were nothing but preparation for sitting in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise.”
        • He expressed gratitude for Gene Roddenberry‘s riposte to a reporter who said, “Surely they would have cured baldness by the 24th century,” to which Roddenberry replied, “In the 24th century, they wouldn’t care.”
      • He is also quite famous for his role as  Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men series
        • In an Interview with the times he said: “It came to a point where I had no idea where Picard began and I ended. We completely overlapped. His voice became my voice, and there were other elements of him that became me” … No director in Hollywood wanted to cast this grand, deep-voiced, bald English guy because everybody knew he was Picard and couldn’t possibly be anybody else. In the event, he effectively reprised the part as Professor Charles Xavier – a grand, deep-voiced, bald English guy – in the X-Men films.”
      • One of my personal favorite roles of his is of a gay seattle socialite and opera director on the TV show Frasier who mistakes Frasier as a potential lover. It’s hilarious
      • In 2013 He got to fulfill a 50 year ambition to star in the famous play Waiting for Godot alongside Ian McKellen (the two of which have quite the bromance)
      • He’s also done many voice acting works Like Miyazki’s  Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and Katsuhiro Otomo’s Steamboy (which I own and is beautiful)
      • More recently he has done voicework for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, &  Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
      • He is also a major activist against domestic violence due to having an abusive father himself and a major supporter of PTSD outreach
      • His current wife is 38…while he is 76!
    • Whoopi Goldberg:  Fantasy: A fairy-styled lavender fairy tale book. She can be aggressive and hot headed
      • The first African American to have received Academy Award nominations for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress
        • having been nominated for best actress in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film The Color Purple, and best supporting actress in 1991
          • This was her breakout role
          • She won the Oscar for Best supporting actress for her role in the 1990 film Ghost making her the 2nd black woman to ever win an Oscar for acting (the last being Hattie McDaniel in 1939’s Gone with the Wind 50 years earlier)
        • Has a grammy for best comedy recording in 1985 based on a 1 woman show she was doing that got filmed, and shown on HBO
          • This was seen by Spielberg who then wanted her for The Color Purple (This movie was nominated for a total of 11 Oscars)
        • A Tony in 2002 as a producer on  the Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie
        • And a daytime Emmy in 2009 for her work as Host of The View


  • Making her one of only 12 people to ever hold an EGOT


      • Had a recurring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Guinan, which she also portrayed in two Star Trek films.
      • She also was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in the 1992 film  Sister Act which I remember was a big movie at the time.
      • Was the voice of one of the Hyenas in The Lion King
      • Hosted the Oscars in 94, 96, 99, & 2002
      • Replaced Rosie O’Donnell on The View in 2007
  • Frank Welker: Horror: A turquoise horror fiction book. Despite his name, he is quite the opposite of horrific. Frank Welker also provides the sound effects of the dragon and the other creatures.
  • Leonard Nimoy:  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The fictional scientist who turned into the horrific monster
    • Most famous for his role as Spock from the original  Star Trek Series
      • He played Spock from the first Pilot in 64’ to 2013
      • Nimoy has said that the character of Spock, which he played twelve to fourteen hours a day, five days a week, influenced his personality in private life. Each weekend during the original run of the series, he would be in character throughout Saturday and into Sunday, behaving more like Spock than himself—more logical, more rational, more thoughtful, less emotional and finding a calm in every situation. It was only on Sunday in the early afternoon that Spock’s influence on his behavior would fade off and he would feel more himself again—only to start the cycle over again on Monday morning.[86] Years after the show he observed Vulcan speech patterns, social attitudes, patterns of logic, and emotional suppression in his own behavior
      • Apparently he quietly, but successfully advocated for equal pay for Nichelle Nichols on Star Trek during the 1960s
      • His character became so iconic and popular, that it took the public by storm, overtaking Captain Kirk in popularity
      • Shatner and Nimoy became as close as brothers and were lifelong friends until Nimoy’s death according to Shatner
      • Nimoy based The now famous Vulcan salute off of the way Jewish Priests hold their hand when giving blessings. The Priestly Blessing from the book of Numbers reads: May the Lord bless and keep you and may the Lord cause his countenance to shine upon you. May the Lord be gracious unto you and grant you peace. The accompanying spoken blessing, “Live long and prosper.”
    • Also starred in 2 seasons of the original Mission: Impossible TV series
    • He also had a recurring role on the TV show Fringe which aired from 2008-2013 and is a really great Sci-Fi TV series
    • There is a fantastic documentary about Nimoy Directed by his son Adam Nimoy called  For the Love of Spock that came out in 2016 which I believe is still up on Netflix
    • He recorded a song in 1967 called The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins that tells the story of Bilbo from The Hobbit and was featured on Nimoy’s 2nd album :Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy
      • He did a lip synching of this song on a short lived variety TV series that year called Malibu U.
      • The song and performance basically disappeared from the public consciousness until it was unearthed decades later and became a bit of a meme/ example of 1960’s camp (link below)
  • George Hearn:  Captain Ahab: An almost psychotic whale hunter who is out to kill the white whale Moby-Dick
    • 2 time Tony award winning Broadway actor, who has primarily done Stage acting but has a few film roles too
  • Jim Cummings: Long John Silver: The ruthless usurper Captain of the Hispaniola.
    • He IS… Darkwing Duck!
    • Razoul from Aladdin
    • He and Peter Cullen both shared the role of Monterey Jack in Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers
    • He is currently the roll of Tigger and Winnie the Pooh for Disney
    • The first 5 episode pilot episodes of DuckTales, He plays the main villain El Capitan (these 5 episodes are probably my favorite of the entire series)
    • He is currently the voice of Pete the Cat for Disney on Mickey Mouse Club house etc
    • He currently also plays the roles of Wormwood the Raven, Goodwin the Great on Disney’s Sofia the First
    • He is also the voice of Hondo in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels TV series
    • Very famously the voice of Don Karnage, Louie, and a couple other voices from TaleSpin
    • Ed the dimwitted Hyena from Lion King
    • And literally hundreds of other roles in Television, Film, and video games
  • Phil Hartman: Tom Morgan: A slender and violent pirate on the Hispaniola
    • Hi, I’m Troy McClure… You might remember me from such films as…
    • Joined the comedy group The Groundlings in 1975 and there helped comedian Paul Reubens develop his character Pee-wee Herman. Hartman co-wrote the screenplay for the film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and made recurring appearances as Captain Carl on Reubens’ show Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
    • Rose to fame for his work on SNL where he stared from 1986-1994
      • His Bill Clinton is considered legendary, as was his Frank Sinatra
        • Clinton sent Hartman a signed photo with the text: “You’re not the president, but you play one on TV. And you’re OK, mostly.”
      • I’ll always love his role as  Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer
    • Eventually getting his own show on the hit NBC sitcom NewsRadio alongside Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall, Andy Dick, and Joe Rogan
      • His role on this show is generally underappreciated and absolutely Hilarious
  • Ed Gilbert: George Merry: An obese and ugly pirate on the Hispaniola
    • Baloo on TaleSpin
  • B.J. Ward:  The Queen of Hearts: The tyrannical ruler of Wonderland who appears in the Alice in Wonderland book in the dragon’s stomach
    • We previously mentioned her on our coverage of The Centurions for her role as Cassandra Cross
    • But she only has ONE speaking role in this movie which is when she screams “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!’
    • Scarlett on G.I. Joe
    • Multiple characters on The Snorks
    • She was Betty Rubble for various Flinstones projects from the 1980s-early 2000s
  • The Pirates of the Hispaniola are voiced by

Music by:

  • James Horner:
    • Did the music for 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    • score for 1997’s Titanic is the best-selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time.
    • Also did the music for James Cameron’s 2009 Avatar
    • composed music for over 100 films
    • Has 2 Oscars for his work on Titanic and an additional 8 Oscar noms for the films Aliens, American Tail, Field of Dreams, Apollo 13, Braveheart, A Beautiful Mind, House of Sand And Fog, and Avatar
  • The theme songs to the movie are “Dream Away“, sung by Babyface and Lisa Stansfield, and “Whatever You Imagine”, sung by Wendy Moten.
  • random musical interlude is whatever you imagine Wendy Moten
  • the end credits are accompanied by the song “Dream away” with Babyface and Lisa Stansfield
    • Joy immediately recognized Babyface and she was both very proud of herself and thoroughly embarrassed

Distributed by:


  • The screenwriting credits for this film were the subject of a protracted legal arbitration with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) when its producer, David Kirschner, attempted to claim sole authorship of the screenplay and original story, with no credit for its original screenwriter, David Casci.
    • Typically, proposed credits are submitted to the WGA for approval well in advance of the release of a movie or the publishing of posters or novelizations on which writing credits appear.
    • In the case of The Pagemaster, the producers attempted to claim that, as the film was now largely animated, the WGA did not have jurisdiction to determine credits. Casci had written the screenplay under a WGA contract, as well as previous live-action versions for Disney Television dating back to 1985, also written under WGA contract.
    • These facts positioned the WGA to get involved, testing their tenuous authority over a feature film with animated elements.
  • After a lengthy investigation and interviews with those intimately familiar with the genesis of the Pagemaster project, including three persons within Kirschner’s own office, the WGA credit arbitration process determined that David Casci was, in fact, the primary writer, and that Kirschner did not provide a sufficient creative contribution to the writing process to warrant any screenwriting credit.
    • Upon receiving this determination by the WGA, Fox threatened to pull out of arbitration and release the film without WGA-approved credits, positioning the WGA to be forced to file an injunction blocking the film’s heavily promoted Christmas season release
  • Ultimately, a settlement was reached, and Fox released the film with both Kirschner and Casci receiving story and screenplay credit, with a third writer, Ernie Contreras, also receiving screenplay credit.
  • At the time, this case was the most expensive and extensive investigation of its type undertaken by the WGA on behalf of one of its members





Roger Ebert Review:

Frank Welker Roasting the Famous Comedian George Burns:

Frank Welker in a supercut of 80+ characters:

Frank Welker Mars Attacks aliens:

The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy:

Phil Hartman supercut of Troy McClure:

Jim Cummings supercut of 50+ character:

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