Scarlet 2 Claude

On April 4th 2024, Doja Cat dropped a new album. The album is a deluxe edition for her 2023 album “Scarlet”

According to Doja Cat, the album’s name references the antagonist Claude Frollo from Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” Also addingThe name of the deluxe edition serves as a metaphor that represents the pressures creatives face in the music industry — much like the pressures Frollo imposed upon Esmerelda throughout Hugo’s novel.”

There is also another interview where she calls Frollo a “tyrant”. The whole quote is

“Because he is like a… is he a tyrant? He’s like a… I feel like it connects to the story of Scarlet in some way. And if you look up his personality traits and who he is and his story, you’ll understand kind of the whole connection. There’s a control aspect, like he just abuses his power and his control and is just dogmatic and is just a total c*nt. And all Esmerelda wanted to do was just be creative and sing and dance, but nasty old Claude Frollo was just having a field day on her, just being awful and a bad guy, stinky man.

And this isn’t about anyone in… there’s not anything very personal happening to me with one person. Claude Frollo doesn’t depict a single person in my life. It’s like a metaphor for the people that creatives endure on a daily basis in a bigger picture, a bigger scale.”

I don’t think I would use the exact word “tyrant” to describe Frollo from the novel, Disney movie, yes, he is pretty much the de-facto king. This quote was taken from a podcast and was most likely an off-the-cuff word choice. The rest of what she says tracks and is on-point with her thesis of the music industry and the character from the novel.

All in all, it’s great to see a hunchback reference like this in the news.

A Disney-esque Esmeralda

Saray Rubio Montoya
Saray Rubio Montoya

Back with another Hypothetical Casting Post a.k.a a Fan-Cast.

This one is a suggestion from a reader for Saray Rubio Montoya for Esmeralda. I think the idea was behind this suggestion was for the live-action Disney version, which isn’t getting made right now but let’s just consider that version of the character for this casting post.

Saray Rubio Montoya is Spanish of Romani descent, so she already has the right look for Esmeralda. I mean she looks so right for Esmeralda. She is also is a good age range for the role and has a background in singing and dancing which are defiantly plus for the role. Her dancing also includes flamenco.

As far as her singing voice goes it has a warm quality. A rendition from her of God Help the Outcast would be very lovely.

Her music

And some of her dancing:

Can She Act?

Saray Rubio Montoya in her Mi Origen Music Video
Saray Rubio Montoya in her Mi Origen Music Video

One hinderance to this casting choice is acting skill. Saray Rubio Montoya is not a screen actress, she is a performer skilled in singing and dancing. However acting, while there is a talent involved, is a skill that can be learned. With the right coaching, director and script she very well could turn in a great performance as Esmeralda, showcasing Esmeralda’s strength, warmth, and charm. The hardest part of the role for any actress playing Esmeralda would really be the singing and dancing and Saray Rubio Montoya is already skilled in those areas.

Saray Rubio Montoya as Esmeralda… Yay or Nay…?

Saray Rubio Montoya
Saray Rubio Montoya

Aside from the question of her acting chops, Saray Rubio Montoya ticks all the other boxes to play Esmeralda. She would make an ideal Esmeralda casting choice for any adaptation of the character.

But what do you think? Would Saray Rubio Montoya make a great Esmeralda or she too green in acting to play her???

If you have a casting suggestion, please leave it in the comments.


Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4, The Star Master
Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4, The Star Master

I’m going to preface by stating that I did watch the first episode of The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo years before I reviewed it properly. My initial impression was it that the show wasn’t great but wasn’t awful. This show didn’t impress any strong emotions or opinions for me. It was alright and just a weird mixture of the concept of have classic literary figures going on weird and magical adventures aimed at children but that is the end of its level of interest. Really I found it an average to middling children show of its time that had Victor Hugo’s characters*. 

And now, having watched all the episodes, that it pretty much still the case. For me, it’s fine. It doesn’t make me angry the way 2023’s Quasi or the Dingo production did but nor is a feat of story-telling or artistry. If you were to think of basic premise  for a Saturday morning cartoon show that was made in the 90s, a group of friends going on magical adventures with a wizard villain that they have to thwart would be a leading contender. The fact that show uses Quasimodo and Esmeralda with a sorcerer Frollo makes it a little more note-worthy. Still it’s an average cartoon show.  

Quasimodo & Doris the Gargoyle, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 25, The Guardians
Quasimodo & Doris the Gargoyle

However I do un-ironically love Doris, the pink Gargoyle from a single episode. Maybe it’s a weird affinity I have for pink dinosaurs and pink dragon-like creatures. I do love her, she made me feel something as well as the other dinosaurs from the episodes. So totally worth it. 

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo very much the epitome of a “Saturday morning cartoon show.” Not super deep in its content but instead invokes a sense of “fun” using classical literary characters going on the titular magical adventures.

A Lingering Question 

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, Quasimodo, Episode 15 The Beast
Esmeralda, François, Quasimodo, Episode 15 The Beast

Was The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo a knock-off production? Does it only exist to ride on the coattails of the Disney version? 

Given the studios other works, that there is a credit in the opening for “original idea and Graphic design,” a villain was named Yensid, which is Disney spelled backwards, I would say no, it’s not. The timing makes it seems that way but there are no other works from the studios involved in the production that mirror Disney other movies**. is Not sure how both versions came out the same time, I do have a wild speculative theory. Or maybe the idea between was in response to the Disney movie. 

In a Nutshell

If you grew up with this show you’ll probably still like it but as a standalone cartoon it’s middling to fine. As a Hunchback version it’s a weird version but it’s definitely a take on the characters and the setting and not so much the plot.

Some Bonus Stuff that I want to Mention

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo cover art picture iamge
The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Cover Art
  • I feel like an idiot for not catching this sooner; Quasimodo’s family name is de Bernasac which had to been inspired by Cyrano de Bergerac 
  • It took me way too long to realize who the cloaked figure was cover art. It’s Robert, the Abomination, from a single episode.  
  • They made dolls and for some reason Esmeralda was packaged with Dennis and Frollo with Dragon. I’m not sure if there were dolls of Quasimodo with François   
Dolls from the Magical Adventures of Quasimodo with Esmeralda with Dennis and Frollo with Dragon

*There is a 2007 children anime based around Cosette from Les Miserables. She did not go on magical adventures though.  

**To be fair, I’m not sure about Arès studios since I couldn’t find a record of their works but looking at the other studios this show is an outliner in works that were similar to Disney animated films. 

We’re discussing the Production Values in this post.

Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 10
Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 10

Production Values refers to the technical merits of a production. So in terms of animation, it would mean the character design, background design, the style and the quality of animation, music, voice acting, etc.

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo was produced by Arès Films, CinéGroupeTélé-Images, and Astral Media. CinéGroupe and Astral Media are Canadian companies while Arès Films and Télé-Images are French companies. Arès Films, CinéGroupe and Télé-Images were on the animation production side of the industry while Astral Media was a media conglomerate.  

Perhaps if you grew up with shows produced by these companies you would be more familiar with them and their “notable” shows/films. According to their wiki,  CinéGroupe’s most notable productions were The Kids from Room 402, What’s with Andy?, and Pig City.  Of those three, The Kids from Room 402 rings a bells for me but I’m not 100% sure if I recall it. They also did the sequel to Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal 2000 but for me that just name recognition. As for Télé-Images, they did Highlander: The Animated Series and again that sounds vaguely familiar to me but I could just be remembering the name of the older show and not the animated show.  

Frollo with the Philosopher's Stone, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 23, The Treasure
Frollo with the Philosopher’s Stone, Episode 23, The Treasure

What does all the mean for The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo? All it really means is that the studios who produced it did not have widespread cultural reach. Not saying they were not known in their own countries or not successful, they were just not titans of industry. Which is fine.

However production can not happen without financing. According to the credits the financial participants were with Telefilm Canada, the Government of Quebec, and Centre National de la Cinématograohie (France.) All of these are state-funded agencies. 

I do not know what the production budget was for The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo. I couldn’t find any info. It might be behind the paywall of imdbpro. However considering the show was financed either fully or in-part by public-funded agencies, I would wildly speculate that the budget for The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo wasn’t exorbitant but it doesn’t appear to be shoe-string either. It was 26 episodes which are mostly consistently produced across the board. In looking through the credits it appears that the animation was not outsourced to a cheaper studio to do in-between frames, which I think is a fairly typical practice. Not outsourcing would have impacted the over-all budget. 

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, Quasimodo, Episode 15 The Beast
Esmeralda, François, Quasimodo, Episode 15 The Beast

I do think that there was a couple hundred grand spent on this show which means a modest to average budget for a 26 episode show which also includes the writing, editing, pre-production etc. There is nothing about the production values that were overtly awful but also nothing amazing. The story and the over-all concept are more “interesting” than the character designs/ setting but again they are fine, very serviceable with getting the point and characters across to the viewer.     

I think it would be easy to wave this show off as just another kid’s show from the mid-90s and therefore it just par-for-the-course that it was so averagely produced. But there were quite a few kids shows at the time that were pushing the envelope in terms of stories and animation that it would be disingenuous to those productions. However though shows probably had more of a budget and/or name recognition behind the production.     

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Background extra, Episode 15, The Beast
Background extras

On a scale of Disney’s Hunchback to the Dingo Production, Magical Adventures falls somewhere is towards middle of the spectrum. It’s not a total trash piece but it’s by no means an example of the art of animation. However I doubt the production behind The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo was trying to be anything more than a semi-decent animated TV show of the mid-90s. It’s average in its scope of its production values and I think that was the goal. 

Animation: C-
Backgrounds: C-
Character Design: C-
Music: C
Voice Acting: B-
(My opinions)

Quasimodo in action with frame-blending in The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 21
Quasimodo in action with frame-blending

Also I just want to mention that show’s quality of the animation that is available on streaming sites is at disadvantage. This due to the conversion process to covert film to digital which means there are frame-rate issues resulting in frame blending, rainbowing, and artifacts. The show is free so I don’t think much effort was put into the conversion other that to get it in a digital format. So any moments that MIGHT have had good fluid animation, like action scenes, suffer a bit. But at least it is available to watch and not lost to time.  

Miss Piggy, Muppets Most Wanted, 2014
Miss Piggy with her haul

The Balance of the Sacred and the Silly

I love the Muppets. I cannot recall a time I didn’t love them. I wouldn’t say that i’m “a super fan,” I have not watched every piece of media that they have put out but generally I really enjoy them and especially their movies. 

There have been Eight Muppet Theatrical movies released into the world. The first came out in 1979 and the last one was in 2014. But which ones are the best?

Strictly speaking, I think the movies range from pretty good to amazing. But this is not a ranked list of my favorite Muppets Movies. I have some metics to this for the list, key word is “some.” 

On May 21st 1990 during Jim Henson’s memorial service, Muppet screenwriter Jerry Juhl said in his speech that he will remember Henson “as a man who was balanced effortlessly and quite elegantly between the sacred and the silly.

This balance of the sacred and silly is the metic I’m going to judge the movies on. Sacred meaning artistry and showcasing innovations of puppetry in film as well as genuine heartfelt moments and sentimentality. Silly is subjective, it differs culture to culture and person to person. However the muppets do have a few hallmarks to the humor. They can be witty, weird, surreal, with lots of running gags, one-lines and of course meta fourth wall breaking. Their humor runs the gamut of chaotic to dryly-subtle. 

While rewatching these movies, two of them maybe tear up and it wasn’t the one I THOUGHT.  

Read More →

 The other members of the main cast (plus a very special bonus) 


Esmeralda, Dennis, Quasimodo and François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 26, The Secret of the Templars
Esmeralda, Dennis, Quasimodo and François

Dennis is Quasimodo’s primary care-taker. He works at Notre Dame though what he actually does is not clear. He seems to fulfill the arch-deacon role but Notre Dame functions more a secular place of knowledge. For instance, Dennis is always at the ready with just the right book from Notre Dame’s library for any situation. 

He also is the King’s advisor and confidante. 

King Louis XI

King Louis, The Magical  Adventures of Quasimodo
King Louis

This show depicts King Louis as a kind good-nature ruler. Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François are held in very high esteem with him as they help protect France from Frollo’s scheme to take over. So he’s more akin to the 1939 version rather than the book who was an apathetic misanthrope. 


Esmeralda, François & Angelica, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1
Esmeralda, François & Angelica

Much like Dennis is Angelica, Esmeralda and François’ adopted grandmother. She took them in and raised them after their parents died when they were babies. Also like Dennis, Angelica is also has just the right piece of knowledge or insight when the situation calls for it. Though her knowledge is based on her experience and know-how rather book knowledge.  

She also works at Notre Dame as house keeper of sorts.    

Between Dennis and Angelica they either point Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François towards adventures or they help solves the issue.  


The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Djali, Episode 15, The Beast

Djali is Esmeralda’s pet goat and is the best. She is very similar to other versions of the character in that she is highly trained and very intelligent. This Djali is the most intelligent version as she saves Esmeralda’s life not once but twice. She is also either slightly older than Esmeralda or the same age given that Djali saved Esmeralda and François as babies after their parent put them in the river to save them from a forest fire.  


Frollo's Dog, Azarof, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 2,
Frollo’s Dog, Azarof

Azarof is Frollo’s dog who is very loyal to Frollo even though Frollo is terrible. Frollo does prefers Azarof’s company to other people, which is relatable. Azarof is often used a test subject for Frollo’s magic however Azarof is a very talented singer and a good boy. 


Dragon, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo
Dragon the Gargoyle

Of all the main characters Dragon is the weirdest. Dragon isn’t really a character, he is a stone gargoyle that Frollo brings to life via magic to do the heavy lifting, transport or whatever Frollo needs done. Dragon is Frollo’s brute-strength, a literal strong silent type.  


Azarof, Frollo & Clopin The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 20 The Music Master
Azarof, Frollo & Clopin

Clopin makes a few appearances. He is one of Frollo’s associates who assists in a few schemes. He is the leader of a gang of thieves and has some association with The Court of Miracles. This might be the only instance of a version having Clopin in cahoots with Frollo since they tend to be on opposite sides thematically.

Though had his name not been associated with a book character I wouldn’t have included “Clopin” as he is a side-character in this show at best.   



My home girl Doris    

Doris, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo
Doris the Gargoyle

Doris is the best!

She is a pink gargoyle who had an injury but is all better and can fly again. According to the show, Doris was the inspiration for the gargoyles of Notre Dame. She helps Quasimodo who is helping the hidden valley where she lives with other mythical creatures and sauropod dinosaurs.

Doris should have been in more episodes. She is a hit of pure serotonin

There was some big Hunchback related news in 2023. So let’s over some big ones.

Gina Lollobrigida (1927-2023)

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame, picture image
Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

On January 16th 2023 Gina Lollobrigida passed at the age of 95. She was well known for playing Esmeralda in the 1956 film version.

New Quasi-Version

Broken Lizard Quasi
Steve Lemme as Quasi

In April 2023 there was a new version of Quasimodo to get a movie. Broken Lizard’s Quasi was a spoof version of the Hunchback that served as a kind of sequel for the Bell-ringer. It was not good, in my opinion. It was Quasi in name only. It did give people a pay-check, so that is at least a net-positive. And it was the latest movie to feature the character since Hotel Transylvania.

Notre Dame de Paris Returns

Notre Dame de Paris July 2022 New York City Lincoln Center picture image
Notre Dame de Paris July 2022 New York City Lincoln Center

In 2023 the World Tour Cast of Notre Dame de Paris had two returns. First it returned to Lincoln Center in New York City and then in November it went to Paris to the Palais des Congrès which was the show’s original venue in 1998.

Frollo in Limbo

Frollo singing Hellfire Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image
Frollo singing Hellfire Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

And lastly the state of the so-called Disney Live-action remake is in limbo. In March there was a viral TikTok fancast that gave the Disney Live-action remake some attention. Josh Gad stated that the fancast was not real and added that he hoped “the powers that be will see this love and let us make the live action adaptation the original animated film deserves.” By May, Alan Menken said that the project was in limbo and in August it was being reported that Iger scraped the project but it wasn’t official just rumored but does seem likely.

Quasimodo with the Gargoyles, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio
Quasimodo with the Gargoyles, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio

The Disney versions of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Frollo, Phoebus, the gargoyles, and Djali did appear in the Once Upon a Time short along with 500+ characters and Quasimodo got one of the solos so that is a positive.

A 2nd Centennial

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Poster picture image
Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Poster

On September 6th The Lon Chaney version of Hunchback celebrated its 100 year anniversary.

A Sum-up

A mix-bag to say the least. I’m sure there are other news pieces of merits but these are the ones that just stick out the most.

Do you think Hunchback dodged a bullet with the live-action movie get scrapped? Is Disney too scared of the project? Will 2024 bring any new Hunchback news? It might since Notre Dame is set to re-open December 8th 2024.

Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays 2023

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas & Happy 2024

Once Upon a Studio is a 10 minutes released back in June 2023 for the Centennial anniversary of The Walt Disney Company. The short features 534 characters from Disney’s animated shorts and featured length movies.

Given that it’s less than 10 minutes and there are several hundred characters in the short what does the mean for the Hunchback Characters? I originally thought some would be BUT you have to keeping an eye out to notice them. So these are the instances I noticed, I could have missed some.

Top of Frollo's head at the bottom of the frame, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio
Top of Frollo’s head at the bottom of the frame, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio

Frollo’s head can be seen in at the bottom of the scene next to Maleficent.

Esmeralda on the far right side, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio
Esmeralda on the far right side, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio

Next you can seen Esmeralda WAY to the far right between Baymax and Jacchus from Fantasia.

Esmeralda in the foreground of Disney's short, Once Upon a Studio
Esmeralda in the foreground of Disney’s, Once Upon a Studio short

Clearly Esmeralda’s skirt in the foreground.

In the short the character are trying to get a group shot. The first try fails but then “When you wish Upon a Star is Sung” as a moral booster.

Quasimodo with the Gargoyles, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio
Quasimodo with the Gargoyles, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio

Quasimodo sings a line of the song. This made me happy because it’s so nice to see Hunchback characters get a highlighted in such a way in the short.

Final Group Shot, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio
Final Group Shot, Disney short, Once Upon a Studio

And in the final group shot you can see Quasimodo with the Gargoyles on top of the sign with Frollo, Phoebus, Esmeralda and Djali in the back row next to the Tarzan characters. Djali is kind hard to see but he’s there.

Personally, I really loved this short. I don’t find it hard to separate the corporate side Disney from the creative side. This Short was delightful, endearing and sometimes silly.

Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1
Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo’s version of Frollo isn’t like other Frollos. He differs in one yet very critical way; he is not into Esmeralda at all, ergo he can’t be obsessed with her and thus does not suffer. This Frollo differs in other ways too but that one is the deciding crux of the character, the pivotal element that makes the character essential the character. This Frollo is only the character in name only.


Frollo ≠ Frollo

Frollo kidnapping Esmeralda, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 23, The Treasure
Frollo kidnapping Esmeralda with some magical fire, Episode 23, The Treasure

He does share some aspects of the character. At the start of the show, Frollo works in Notre Dame. What he does there is not stated, he just works there. He does help with raising Quasimodo even though he is abusive. All that is akin to the book, he works at Notre Dame and Quasimodo is his ward. However this Frollo is not part of any religious orders.   

Another similarity is Alchemy. Alchemy is a big part of this Frollo’s characterization. Most of his “evil” plans revolve around alchemy which is magic to a large degree in this show. It also features into his backstory as an assistance to Quasimodo’s parents were accomplished alchemists. 

Also part of this Frollo’s backstory is that he was born to poor parents and was bulled as child. This differs from the novel but ties into to his whole desire for money and power angle for the show. 

He is also around the same age as his book counterpart except he is four years older.  At least 40 in this show versus 36 in the book. But this Frollo is more young at heart than the book version.  

It’s Magical!!!

Frollo with the Philosopher's Stone, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 23, The Treasure
Frollo with the Philosopher’s Stone, Episode 23, The Treasure

In the novel Frollo follows hermetic and seems to working on the classic transmutation of  turning lead into gold. The desire for the transmutation of turning lead into gold by alchemists was not for greed. It was because gold was considered a spiritually perfect metal, while lead was viewed as immature and flawed. 

Frollo in the novel is obsessed with the idea of “spiritual perfection” and Esmeralda ruined it by being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking. Magical Adventures Frollo just wants the gold for wealth. He wants to be really, really, really ridiculously rich and to rule the world. Classic simple villain wants and desires. 

Also unlike his book counterpart, Magical Frollo is unencumbered with mortally or pretending that he was ever a “good” person.  He flaunts being evil and his alignment would be neutral evil. 

Frollo & Friends

Frollo and Azarof, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 10
Frollo and Azarof, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 10

Magical Frollo also has a lot of companions and associates. He has two side-kicks one being his dog, Azarof and other is Dragon, a stone gargoyle he brings to life via alchemy/magic. Dragon works too much and Azarof is good boy who is long-suffering under Frollo who shows little to no gratitude for his sidekicks/minions. 

Given that Quasimodo is liken to a dog and gargoyle, one can see why these work for Frollo to have as side-kicks. Sort-of deconstructed Quasimodo without him being the underling.  Or there is another reason that we’ll circle back to.  

Also Azarof looks to be modeled off a Saluki. 

Frollo has several associates who help him out, including Clopin. He’s also very good at getting help from other like-minded villainous people for his numerous evil schemes. So he has good people skills which is another difference from the book. People did not like Frollo in the novel. So magical adventures Frollo is villainously charming. 

Cartoonishly Evil Magician Trope

Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 5 A Trip to Italy
Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 5

 If the magical adventures version of Frollo could describe himself, he would say (and does say) that he is “Brilliant, Handsome, Sensitive and above a Liar.”  

This Frollo acts and operated more like Gargamel from The Smurfs. He is a sorcerer who obsessed with riches and status and to achieve that end he wants the Philosopher’s stone.  Frollo has dog named Azarof and Gargamel has cat named Azrael….

Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 5
Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 5

 I referred to him a lot as  “Cartoonishly Evil Magician Frollo-type”  and that sums hims up very well.

He might more Gargamel than “Frollo” but he is delightful as well as “Brilliant, Handsome, Sensitive and above a Liar” and doesn’t love those types of villains.