Founded 30 September 1982
|Number of employees 550|
Parent organization 20th Century Fox
|Industry Animation, motion pictures, television series|
Key people Terry Thoren (CEO, 1994–2006) Tracy Kramer Norton Virgien Brandon Scott (Vice President)
Products The Simpsons Rugrats Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Duckman The Wild Thornberrys Rocket Power As Told by Ginger The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald
Owner Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States
Founders Gábor Csupó, Attila Csupo, Arlene Klasky
Klasky Csupo, Inc. (/ˈklæski ˈtʃuːpoʊ/ KLASS-kee CHOO-poh) is a multimedia entertainment production company which specializes in animation and graphic design and located in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. It was founded by producer Arlene Klasky, animator Gábor Csupó and their nephew Attila Csupó, hence the company's name.
- 198291 Early years
- 19912006 Major success with Nickelodeon
- 200612 Decline and obscurity
- 2012present Resurrection
The company was founded by Klasky and Csupo in a spare room of their apartment in 1982, and grew to 550 artists, creative workers, and staff in an animation facility in Hollywood. During the 1990s and early-mid 2000s, they produced and animated era-defining shows for Nickelodeon such as Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Wild Thornberrys, Rocket Power, As Told by Ginger, and All Grown Up!. In the mid-2000s, Nick ended their long running partnership with Klasky Csupo and its shows ceased production. The company then went dormant but was reinstated in 2012.
1982–91: Early years
Klasky Csupo was started in 1982 in the spare bedroom of a Hollywood apartment where Klasky and Csupo were living while married.
Klasky Csupo was initially distinguished by its work on logo designs, feature film trailers, TV show titles, promos and spot ID's for a wide variety of clients, in the process earning a reputation as the industry's most imaginative and innovative studio. Building on its success, the studio opened its first facility in Hollywood in 1988 at the corner of Fountain and Highland Avenues. The studio soon grew to include six buildings that have become well known in Hollywood — in true Klasky Csupo style, the exterior walls of the buildings are decorated with large murals of its characters.
The studio's first big break came in 1987 when James L. Brooks of Gracie Films hired the studio to produce the title sequence for a new comedy series called The Tracey Ullman Show. In addition to the main title, Klasky Csupo was given the opportunity to produce a series of one-minute cartoons which featured a group of characters called The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening. Klasky Csupo produced and animated all 34 shorts, and when it became one of the most popular segments on the show, Fox Television began airing a weekly half-hour series entitled The Simpsons. Klasky Csupo produced every episode for the first three seasons of the series. The studio shared the 1989–1990, and 1990–1991 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program, with Gracie Films.
In addition to that, Klasky Csupo produced the hit video "Do the Bartman". Klasky Csupo animator and colorist Gyorgyi Peluce conceived the idea of The Simpsons characters having yellow skin, and Marge Simpson having blue hair, opting for something which "didn't look like anything that had come before." Klasky Csupo was also responsible for an error during the episode "Homer's Odyssey" in which Waylon Smithers was animated with the wrong color, and was made African American.
In 1992, Gracie Films switched domestic production of The Simpsons to Film Roman. Csupó was "asked [by Gracie Films] if they could bring in their own producer [to oversee the animation production]," but declined, stating "they wanted to tell me how to run my business." Sharon Bernstein of The Los Angeles Times wrote that "Gracie executives had been unhappy with the producer Csupo had assigned to The Simpsons and said the company also hoped to obtain better wages and working conditions for animators at Film Roman." Of the 110 people he employed to animate The Simpsons, Csupó laid off 75.
1991–2006: Major success with Nickelodeon
In 1991, Klasky Csupo began producing Rugrats, an animated show for Nickelodeon. Their next major series was Duckman for the USA Network. The show revolved around the home life and adventures of a dim-witted and lascivious private detective duck named Eric Duckman. The series ran from 1994 to 1997. During the same time, Nickelodeon released Klasky Csupo's second Nicktoon series, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. During this time, Klasky Csupo ended production on Rugrats because they thought they were going to be cancelled after all the 65 episodes were aired (originally, due to the 65 episode rule). However, there were left-over specials because Nickelodeon, instead of cancelling the show, saw potential in the show, and wanted to resume the show's run. The specials were so successful that Nickelodeon, instead of cancelling it, renewed the show for an additional season in 1996, and it aired in 1997.
In 1993, Klasky Csupo worked with popular comedian Lily Tomlin and her partner Jane Wagner to bring the irascible little girl, Edith Ann, to television in two half-hour animated specials for ABC Television. The first, "A Few Pieces of the Puzzle," aired in January 1994 and received excellent critical acclaim and the second, "Homeless Go Home," aired in May 1994 to even better critical response and ratings.
In 1995, the studio debuted, Santo Bugito, the first Tex-Mex animated comedy. Created by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo, "Santo Bugito" is the story of a tiny town of 64,000,000 insects located on the border of Texas and Mexico. Music-driven and Latin-influenced, the series stars Cheech Marin, Joan Van Ark, Tony Plana, William Sanderson, George Kennedy, Marabina Jaimes, and David Paymer. "Santo Bugito" is highlighted by the music of Mark Mothersbaugh and a distinctive look.
Also that year, Klasky Csupo also established Class-Key Chew-Po with Chris Prynoski & John Andrews to continue the successful commercial animation business that had grown from the company's initial work in main titles and graphics. Class-Key Chew-Po had been an immediate success, building an impressive client list with work for companies like 1-800-COLLECT, Oscar Mayer, Taco Bell, Kraft, & Nickelodeon. In 2001, the company founded Ka-Chew, a live-action commercial division.
After Duckman was cancelled in 1997, Klasky Csupo began producing The Wild Thornberrys for Nickelodeon. The cartoon, premiering in 1998, revolved around a girl who could talk to animals.
On December 23, 1998, CEO Terry Thoren concluded an eleven-month negotiation with Mercedes-Benz and moved the company into the state of the art studio in Los Angeles. Between the late-1990s and 2000s, Klasky Csupo began producing new shows Rocket Power, As Told by Ginger, and Stressed Eric.
In 1998, Klasky Csupo redesigned McDonald's mascot, Ronald McDonald. The company was commissioned to develop 6 animated videos which was distributed directly to consumers via McDonald's restaurants - 14,000 in the United States and 21,000 worldwide.
In 2001, in honor of the Rugrats 10th Anniversary, Klasky Csupo released a two-part special entitled, All Growed Up. The special featured the famous babies as pre-teenagers. It was popular enough that Nick commissioned a series based on that special, titled All Grown Up!, which ran from 2003 to 2008. Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys are the only Klasky Csupo shows to have theatrical movies based on themselves.
The company was also active in producing recorded music with the labels "Tone Casualties" and "Casual Tonalities". Gabor Csupo was a good friend of Frank Zappa and occasionally collaborates with Mark Mothersbaugh, who did most of the music for Rugrats. Klasky Csupo also produced a number of projects in commercial advertising.
In 2003, Klasky Csupo was then commissioned by Cartoon Network to direct a music video by the band They Might Be Giants for their song "Dee Dee and Dexter", which features Japanese-style animation, as a fourth music video for Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory. In 2005, the company again did a project for Cartoon Network, when they produced Oogloo + Anju and The Topside Rag for Sunday Pants under Ka-chew!
2006–12: Decline and obscurity
Throughout the mid-2000s, Klasky Csupo ceased production on their Nickelodeon shows. Nick executives had become tired with the Klasky Csupo style of animation and soon ended their long-running partnership. In 2006, CEO Terry Thoren departed from the company, and they dissolved the remainder of their 401(k) program, leading them to a period of dormancy and inactivity.
In fall 2006, Klasky Csupo announced development of 28 new animated pilots (which were sold to Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., The N, Noggin, Nicktoons Network, & MTV until that year), which were to be up for sale at a later date, and posted to their YouTube channel in 2012. The animation designs in these pilots are in various styles, instead of the typical style that Klasky Csupo was famous for in the 1990s. As of 2010, some of the cartoons had yet to be finished. Gabor Csupo posted the remains on his YouTube channel.
Chicken Town was picked up as a series by French company Ellipsanime, though Klasky Csupo was not involved with it.
In April 2011, ka-chew!, Klasky Csupo's commercial division, was absorbed into 6 Point Media.
In 2012, Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo resurrected the company. Along with Craig Singer, they created “Ollie Mongo”, a digital comic book which is about a story of a teenage skateboarding zombie who lives 200 years in the future. They are currently working on "RoboSplaat!", a web series featuring the character from the 1998 Klasky Csupo logo, which is continuing its use as the main production logo. The web series premiered on December 21, 2016. An app based on the web series is also currently in development.
Klasky Csupo are also currently working on some 'top secret projects'.
On September 2, 2015, it was announced that Nickelodeon may "seek to experiment with retooled versions of classics" that could include Rugrats. On September 3, 2015, The Independent announced that Rugrats 'could soon be back on our screens too'. During San Diego Comic-Con in 2016, Arlene Klasky stated that she would be willing to work on a revival of the series, along with co-creators Gabor Csupo and Paul Germain.
In July 2016, it was reported that Nickelodeon was in talks with Klasky Csupo and Paul Germain about a possible reboot of Rugrats.
Three logos of this company were used. The original 1990 logo featured dancing graffiti turning into letters as the blocks slide.
In 1998, the well-known logo was released, over a light purple background, a blob of black ink emerges from the center, soon followed by near purple ink. A hand passes by and drops magazine clippings of eyes and a mouth onto the blob. The mouth says the company name as the white K-C blocks fly out from the mouth. The blocks arrange themselves to form the K-C logo (like before, but refined to match the print logo). After that, the background and the face both disappear, similar to that of a CRT screen turning off, also turning the "Y" in "KLaSKY" purple, flashing faintly. This logo comes in two versions: a widescreen 16:9 version (for movies) and a fullscreen 4:3 version.
The 2003 logo features a rooster on top of a skyscraper on a green city skyline. The rooster has the eyes from the 1998 logo and yells "WAKE UP!" as the sun peeks out and the K-C blocks fly around. The K-C logo appears in a white flash and the rooster mysteriously disappears. The logo is seen more grungier than in the previous logos.
The 1998 logo is currently used as the studio's main logo since the studio's re-opening. The character in the logo was given arms and legs and was named "RoboSplaat" and stars in his own web series of the same name and is voiced by Greg Cipes.