Older Than They Think/Western Animation

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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  • Apparently some fans believe that the term 'twinkle toes' was coined by Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • Who first used Humongous Mecha? Was it Transformers? The Japanese Spider-Man? Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers? The tripods from the original War Of The Worlds book from 1898? The Tale of Garuda from ancient Hindu legend had a robot with rotary saws for hands. This one is officially one of The Oldest Ones in the Book.
    • Then there's Talos from Greek mythology, the original model for Dungeons & Dragons' "iron golem".
    • Myths are replete with this. Hittite mythology has one. Golden automata and other mechanical creatures were all over Greek Mythology. Rabbi Loew's Golem was well-known for being large and powerful. Creating a mechanical man is a very old idea indeed, and making it huge is simply the next step up. Naturally, it's arguable which of these "count" as actual mecha, but the basic idea goes back.
  • Some people associate "Whoop whoop whoop" noises with Zoidberg, completely forgetting The Three Stooges.
    • The DVD subtitles, at least, give "MIMICS THREE STOOGES" or "IMITATES CURLY FROM THE THREE STOOGES" rather than "WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP".
  • The triangular Cool Shades worn by Soundwave and Prowl of Transformers Animated are often mistaken to be a Shout-Out to the famous ones worn by Kamina of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, but Derrick J. Wyatt said they were actually a reference to the much older ABC Warriors of 2000 AD fame. They were also worn by several other characters before Kamina, including Calvin (in one strip) and Ash's Squirtle. Many also thought the Lagann had some influence on the Headmaster design (both are robots that could become the head of another mecha to boost it's power). However, besides the idea of a robot becoming a Transformer's head dating back to G1, Wyatt stated that he'd never seen Gurren Lagann until after the first season was already done with production (though he stated that if he had seen it before, the design would probably have stubby legs and let Masterson poke his head out the top).
  • Although many people think the catcall "Hellooooo, nurse!" was originally from Animaniacs, it originated several decades ago, in vaudeville.
    • As did most things on Animaniacs.
  • The cars in this short bear a certain striking similarity to Cars. Thing is though, the short is actually from 1952!
  • Woody Woodpecker's first appearance was actually as the villian of a short of a now forgotten character called "Andy Panda." Oh, and his laugh (produced by Mel Blanc) didnt start with him either-Blanc used it earlier in a few of his Warner Bros. shorts like "Porky's Hare Hunt".
  • When The Simpsons first aired, some viewers believed certain lines popularized by Bart to have been invented by the show's creators. These include Bart's replacing the words of "Jingle Bells" ("... Batman smells, Robin laid an egg...") in the first episode and "Eat my shorts", first said in The Breakfast Club (1985).
    • This is particularly ironic, as the creators note in the first season's DVD commentary, because Bart was meant as social commentary, speaking almost entirely in borrowed catch phrases and clichés. When The Simpsons's popularity caused people to attribute the phrases to Bart instead, the joke was lost on many viewers.
      • Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart) says that she first heard "eat my shorts" when she was in high school, and that it became a running gag among the fellow members of her high school marching band.
    • Homer Simpson's iconic "D'oh!" outburst is from Laurel and Hardy (though in a shorter form), as confirmed by Matt Groening.
    • While Homer Simpson is named after creator Matt Groening's father, he also shares his name with a supporting character in Nathanael West's novella, The Day of the Locust, which was written in 1939. This has amused more than a few English majors.
    • Adam West was Adam Westing seven years before Family Guy premiered in "Mr Plow".
  • Ah, Toy Story! What a cute and creative idea, the thought that toys actually come alive while their master is away. Older folks remember reading those stories when they were about good old Raggedy Ann.
    • The Velveteen Rabbit was slightly younger -- 1922 to Raggedy Ann's... call it 1918 -- but the doll predates the stories by a couple years. Seems older, what with the scarlet fever, and all.
  • The Princess and the Frog, featuring Disney's first black princess, has already been accused of trying to cash in on the Obama presidency. Anyone who follows Disney will remember this was on the drawing board years before Obama was nationally known, and the first teaser trailer was available before the Democratic primaries. Anyone with half a brain will know you can't just pop out a fully animated film, complete with merchandise and advertising, in less than a year.
    • Another case of this trope in action. Disney's first black princess was actually Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. She was not added to the Disney Princess toy line was because the movie flopped. Of course, it's also a bit of a stretch to call her black.
      • ...Because "black" means "Recentally African" rather then a skin color for some reason. The Australian Aboriginals say hi.
        • Crocodile Dundee referred to the black limo driver as a 'black fella' in the first movie and clearly isn't differentiating him from Australian Aboriginals in this.
  • The American Darkstalkers cartoon featured a bespectacled boy named Harry Grimoire who was studying magic (and happened to have Felicia as a "pet"). This would've been an obvious rip of Harry Potter, if not for the fact that the cartoon came out some years before.
    • A similar thing happened with The Books of Magic, which has a bespectacled young boy who is destined to be a wizard -- in fact Neil Gaiman admits that despite having a bespectacled wizard go to school wasn't his original idea, and that he and Rowling were more inspired by Arthurian legends than each other. (Unfortunately, a magazine Misblamed him as having accused Rowling of ripping off his ideas, which he rebutted)
  • Most Disney fans assume that Mickey Mouse is Disney's first cartoon character, and Peg-Leg Pete was created to be his primary enemy. Actually, Pete was the very first recurring Disney character, created in 1925 (before even Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) for one of Disney's Alice Comedies, a series of shorts which mixed live action and animation. Pete was always a villain, but the fact is that he was imported into the earliest Mickey cartoons to give Mickey an established character to fight, not the other way around.
    • For that matter, most people don't know that Mickey was an Expy of Oswald...but even fewer know that Oswald himself was an Expy of Felix the Cat.
    • Pete's son, PJ, is generally thought to have been created in 1992 for Goof Troop. He was actually created half a century prior, debuting in a Donald Duck cartoon called "Bellboy Donald" (Though his name was Junior and he looked like Mickey Mouse with cat ears.), and the character is only seventeen years younger than his father.
  • There used to be a very vocal faction at the IMDb forums which reckoned that "all of Dreamworks' ideas were stolen from Pixar" (yes, all of them). At least two of their favourite examples were shown to be nonsense, as they were in production years before and only bore a superficial resemblance, and in any case one of them (Flushed Away) was actually an Aardman Animations movie -- the Dreamworks involvement was minimal.
    • It was significant enough for the Executive Meddling to turn the animation from what would have been a great Stop-Motion film into a CG film... one of the biggest complaints against the film is that the characters "look/move weird." Note to Dreamworks: CG does not play well with characters designed for claymation.
  • Spoofed in the "Springfield Shopper" booklet that comes with the Simpsons Movie DVD; in it, Homer (as a movie critic who's way behind with his column) describes Star Wars (by which he means A New Hope) as being "a parody of Spaceballs".
  • Stop me if you've heard this before: An animated action series with a Fiery Redhead Action Girl whose blond male sidekick and a Voice with an Internet Connection help her pursue a hot former crimefighter with long black hair who turned to crime For the Evulz because she was bored being a good guy. What? What the hell is this "Kim Possible" you speak of? I'm talking about Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?.
  • Now and then someone will accuse Thundarr the Barbarian of being a ripoff of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, despite the fact that Thundarr predates He-Man by several years.
    • In fact, Hanna-Barbera produced both cartoons. Originally, He-Man was based off Conan the Barbarian but they opted to essentially turn the character into "the new Thundarr".
  • To this day, there are still fans of the Teen Titans cartoon who are surprised when they find out the cartoon was preceded by the Teen Titans comic book by 41 years. Heck, the fact that a works page for the cartoon was added to TV Tropes before the page for the comic book series should tell you something...
  • In one episode of Recess, Gus is involved in a plot against the Ashleys wherein he claims Ashley is also his name - insisting that it's not that unusual in the progressive 1990s. In reality, "Ashley" was almost solely a boy's name until the early 20th century; it was perfectly acceptable for a boy to be named Ashley over a hundred years before the episode was written or aired.
    • One of the best known examples in pop culture would be Ashley Wilkes of Gone with the Wind, a film consistantly put in top 10 lists.
      • Which was a best-selling book first.
  • Here's one: The Pollyanna type in a place that is quite clearly Hell, run by a creature that is quite clearly Satan, who acts as a Corrupt Corporate Executive. No, not Jimmy Two-Shoes, but an earlier show called The Baskervilles.
  • You know that routine on "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo" that Shaggy and Scooby-Doo had. Shaggy makes a bad joke. Scooby-Doo laughs then says "I don't get it.". It comes from "Hang In There, Scooby-Doo" on The Scooby-Doo Show. The gang had found a cassette of rock music in the cavern.

Shaggy: Those cave teenagers love their rock music?
Scooby-Doo: (laughs) I don't get it.

  • On a larger scale, a lot of baby boomers who grew up in The Sixties, if they have no knowledge of animation history, will be surprised when you tell them that cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation such as Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry were coming out in the 1930's and 40's, and were already decades old back when they remember watching the cartoons on Saturday mornings.
    • My mom grew up in the 60s and thinks Bambi came out when she was a kid, and won't let me tell her otherwise.
  • Adam West as Catman is a parody of Batman in The Fairly Oddparents. However, there actually is a Catman which is a Batman villain created in the 60s.
  • The expression "Cowabunga!" did NOT originate on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was originally used on The Howdy Doody Show.
    • The phrase originated with Californian surfers, not any TV series within this troper's awareness zone.
  • Judging from its sheer presence on the internet, it's a fair assumption that the My Little Pony franchise never caught on with males until My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, but there were bronies (not that they called themselves that) back as far as Generation 1 - believe it or not, the G1 cartoon series usually dealt with boy-friendly epic fantasy adventures, not stereotypically girly fare. But since 4Chan wasn't around in The Eighties, the male fans of the show didn't make themselves known as a significant Periphery Demographic until the latest series.
    • The infamous "Rainbow Dash always dresses in style" quote is usually associated with G3.5 (as is the theme song the lyric appears in), but the quote - and the song - were actually borrowed from G3.
    • Actually, who here remembers the first time we saw multi-coloured equines dancing across the screen in Western Animation. You know, small unicorns dancing around, and pegasi too. What, The Eightiees? No...we saw these as early as The Fourties - I'm talking about the Pastoral in Fantasia.
    • The whole "Adult men enjoying a show for girls? It's the end times/turning point for masculinity/insert flimsy sociological viewpoint here" makes you wonder if everyone has forgotten Sailor Moon was originally for a similar demographic.
  • "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" did NOT originate with Looney Tunes, It even has its own lyrics that are different than the ones Daffy sing. Here is a link to a youtube video with people singing the (slightly modified for gender) original lyrics.
  • Many Disney fans had thought Scottish character, Merida was among the first to go into a battle in order to save her land. Just ask Mulan, who even has a kill-ratio that happens to be higher than the others, even many villain. If someone was willing to risk getting caught for cross-dressing as a guy in order to save their family and country, Mulan deserve that honor. The film about her was released 1998 while Merida debuted in 2012.
  • Fans of Disney Junior believe that shows like Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First were some of the first preschool shows to not have any Fake Interactivity[1], when in reality, preschool shows without Fake Interactivity, such as The Backyardigans, Handy Manny, and Dragon Tales, have existed long before the Disney Junior block was a thing.
  • A lot of folks think that cartoons intended for mature audiences is a relatively new idea, starting with The Simpsons, which debuted in 1987. Well, go back about 15 years earlier, and you'll get to the debut of Fritz the Cat, an cartoon originally rated X. Adapted from the work of Robert Crumb, this cartoon was clearly never intended for children, and predated The Simpsons by a decade and a half.
  1. Barring the end credits during the first season of Doc McStuffins