DECRYPTION – The French TV channel will re-broadcast the Japanese cartoon starting this Saturday (1:30 p.m.) and then from Monday to Friday at 2:45 p.m.
Based on the novel by American Mark Twain, the animated series Tom Sawyer (49 episodes of 26 minutes each) is rebroadcast today by France 4 and is also available on the Okoo platform. Enough to throw back to childhood for over 30s or for others to discover this cult anime. In France, Tom Sawyer (1980) was first broadcast on Antenne 2 in 1982, in Recess A2 . We followed the days of Tom, a 19th-century Midwestern kid in the United States. He lives in Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi. Tom is a wild but playful boy. He is an orphan, his parents are dead and he is being raised by his aunt Polly. He likes to skip school with his friend Huckleberry Finn, a wandering orphan. At times, their paths cross with Joe L’indien, a Native American man whom Tom fears more than anything because he saw him commit murder. Tom is in love with the lovely Becky and he fears his teacher Mr. Dobbins’ flogging(!). You understand, Tom Sawyer’s stories are rather bittersweet, sometimes a little dramatic, as the Japanese liked to do back then (hello Princess Sara From where Remi without family!)
1 – Tom Sawyer’s voice was that of a woman
Well known in the voice acting world, it was Francette Vernillat, who died in December 2019, who lent her voice to Tom Sawyer. His voice should be familiar to most people in their forties and maybe thirties. She was the voice of Bouba the little bear but also about ten little boys from shows like Willie Oleson The little house on the prairie and Jonathan Bower from Madame is being served several children out Heavenly Streets Or from MA beloved witch Etc.
Olivier Fallaix, former editor-in-chief of the magazine Animelandco-author of the book The Beautiful Story of TV Credits (Ynnis Ed.) knows her background well and met her in the late ’90s: “Francette specialized in dubbing little boy voices in the 80’s and into the mid 90’s, she had a voice that was well suited to it and she did a lot of it. His voice had a certain warmth and lightness, as well as the naturalness, innocence and spontaneity it takes to double a child. Back then, there weren’t many voice actors who could do that. That is why we have heard his voice many times and we can even call it emblematic.“. Today it’s more child actors who dub the child characters. “But in the 80s and 90s explains Olivier Fallaixthe synchronization technique was less flexible and more restrictive for the children, so adults were brought in for ease and productivity»
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Francette Vernillat has several points in common with a famous voice actress, Brigitte Lecordier: the latter dubbed the Bouba teddy bear like Francette, but for the second generation of the animation, namely from 2003. Then both characters dubbed veteran Japanese voice star Masako Nozawa, 85, which is the voice of Son Goku (dubbed by Brigitte Lecordier in dragon ball ), by Tom Sawyer, but also by Esteban in The Mysterious Cities of Gold, among others.
2 – The cartoon is part of a cult collection in Japan
For the little French, the cartoon Tom Sawyer was an anime among the others. But in Japan it’s part of a cult collection, explains Olivier Fallaix: “Tom Sawyer and a slew of other anime aired by Fuji TV in a Sunday night 8 p.m. slot that has lasted 25 years in Japan. It was dedicated to anime adaptations of literary works from around the world, all produced by Nippon Animation. There was for example Princess Sara, Pollyanna, Doctor March’s Four Daughters, Little Lord, Long Legged Papa and so, Tom Sawyer. It started in January and ended in December. There were always about fifty episodes. It was an escape for the Japanese, a window into foreign novels“.
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3 – There were two different credits
But yes, it will inevitably come back to you! We all know the opening credits of Tom Sawyer: “Tom Sawyer is America – The symbol of liberty – He was born on the banks of the Mississippi – Tom Sawyer is a friend of all of us“. But we forgot for some of us that at the end of the episode there are second, equally familiar credits: “High as Three Apples – Tom Sawyer is a happy boy – who doesn’t like school – and prefers to catch fish.” That’s it, do you have it? It is a very young girl, red-haired and curly-haired, Elfie Astier, who interpreted these two songs, which were a great success at Polydor. Elfie was a co-host for a while Recess A2 with Dorothy. “Two credits, that’s rare, decodes Olivier Fallaix, that’s really part of the myth of the series“.
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