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.  

François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1

The third member of the gang of pals triumvirate is François. François is Esmeralda’s twin brother. He is quite different from Esmeralda and Quasimodo as he is cowardly and egotistical. This means his ego can override his cowardice when properly manipulated and his twin sister can absolutely play him like a fiddle. But don’t worry, Esmeralda manipulates her brother for only good.   

Le Poète des Fous

François and some thieves, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 7, The Court of Miracles
François and some thieves, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 7

François is very often the butt of the jokes. Typically the jokes involve his very bad poetry, falling down, or some sort of embarrassing scrape. Speaking of his poetry, it is very bad. His poems are so bad that it often used to drive people away.

François naturally doesn’t think his poetry is bad, everyone else is just doesn’t understand great works of high art. It’s often a red flag if someone claims to like François’ poetry. This is either because they are a bad guy or trying to use François for some ulterior motive. This tactic absolutely works because of François’ pesky ego.  

Lovely is the Love of François’ Lovey Love Poetry

François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4,
François reciting his genius work with a harp

Admittedly his poetry was funny in the beginning of the show but wore thin after a few episodes.

François also has no other talents. He can not sing, play an instrument, draw etc. This is because Quasimodo and Esmeralda are good at things. But at least he thinks he is good at stuff, so he has confidence and that is at least something.     

Unlike Quasimodo and Esmeralda, François is a flirt. Some girls seem into it and some are not. François being a flirt is presented as an off-shoot of him being a “poet.” Wooing ladies with his sonnets, in his mind, adds to his mystique. Also at one point, Quasimodo tells his that he is a handsome guy, so the consensus in this world is that François is attractive. Which explains why at least one lady is alright with the bad poetry.

Basically François is the foil to Esmeralda and Quasimodo as well comedic relief. However he does display some measured behaviors. For example, when he learns the truth of his origins, he’s very accepting of it which played against Esmeralda’s reaction. Though a few episodes later, he was all in when he learned that his ancestor was the founder of Knights Templars. So maybe not the lesson about found family and family being more than bloodline was a moot point to François. Though the whole thing feed his ego so it does track for his character.    

François from the Novel?

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

François is technically a new character for The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo. According to IMDB, François was based on the character François Villon in The Beloved Rogue (1927) as they are both poets. That could be true but there is a character in the Hugo’s novel that is a poet, works closely with Esmeralda and whom is considered more like a brother to her and that would be poet Pierre Gringoire. It’s more likely that François was based on Gringoire. Even the last syllable of their names sound a little similar. But why they changed his name is a puzzler.  Maybe they just prefer free men to rocks.    

Also given that François is a handsome flirt, which Gingoire is not, it could that the show threw is a dash a Phoebus into his character. Phoebus is not a character in this show nor does he get a name drop of any kind. But that is a “quasi-baked” theory. 

Warrior Poet François?

François is not as agile as Quasimodo nor does he have a magical item like Esmeralda. He can be helpful in a fight but he is more an assist than the VIP, which is always Quasimodo. It’s a shame they didn’t weaponize his poetry otherwise they would have been unstoppable.

François is a Genius; You just don’t get his Art!

François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1

François is mostly a bumbling buffoon. He does come off as good natured and has some moments to shine but mostly he is there for comedic effect. And donkeys are his worst critics.

Clopin during the Feast of Fools Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image
Clopin during the Feast of Fools, Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney)

Every year the Reveals perform at the historical Sanders Theater at Harvard University. Their shows are to celebrate the winter season with traditional songs and dance. For the 2023 season, the show is the based on The Feast of Fools. Their write-up even calls it “Topsy-Tursy.” Because you know why.

The Reveals’ music has long been a part of my holiday season for a very long time so I’m overjoyed to know they are taking inspiration from The Feast of Fool for their new show.

And if you can’t make the Journey to to olde Harvard, they offer virtual performances.

No News News

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image
Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

I get Google Alerts on Hunchback New and day I got Speculation Over Live-Action ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ Resurfaces With Latest Release. It was about a post from Reddit in which there was excitement around an Esmeralda doll. This lead people to think the doll was ushering a Live-Action remake. The Doll is not new as it came out in 2021

12 Inch Disney Esmeralda
12 Inch Disney Esmeralda

It’s a nice enough Doll, I like wood hair brush. There is one thing minor piece of Live-Action non-news news that I recently happened upon. or I just missed it.

A Tweet from Josh Gad on June 21st 2023 about the Hunchback Live Action Remake
A Tweet from Josh Gad on June 21st 2023

To mark the anniversary of Hunchback’s release, Gad retweeted (are they still called that) Menken’s tweet. Gad even included a pun from the movie.

What does this mean?

Only Gad truly knows what it means. The reports of the project being in limbo were from May and this is from June. Either Gad is alluding to it happening one day with grit and determination or it more of dream at this point.

It’s important to keep in mind that the project hasn’t been officially cancelled and the speculation is that Iger just doesn’t like it. One can wildly speculate as to why Iger dislikes it and can’t be swayed? And I might after Wish comes out, I have a theory.

But It’s also important to keep in mind that Iger’s contact ends in 2026 and there are rumors of a hostile take over of the company. So who knows what is up inside the company? The only reason to really cancel any of the “remakes” would be fatigue. That being said Hunchback MIGHT be one the few IPs that would/could benefit from a live-action remake over more recent ones.

Only time will tell if their live-action plans will come to fruition to be “out there among the millers and weavers and their wives.”