It was the 25th anniversary of John Candy's untimely death this week. I always found his brand of humor hilarious. Little known fact: did you know that John Candy helped to invent a 3D motion capture process that didn't need 3D glasses? Although his early work in this field was designed for T.V. only, the sky could've been the limit.
Of course, this quick scene is from a time shortly before the current era of animal protections during production. One wonders if something like this today would even be possible. Instead, we have to settle for so called live-action remakes of other animation classics like The Lion King.
Long before Spielberg and Cameron attempted to reignite the 3D market, Candy and his colleagues at SCTV, Harold Ramis and Eugene Levy, pushed the '50s era technology they inherited to new heights. Candy started investigating how to make 3D work without the ubiquitous red and blue glasses, because Candy felt that the $18 (1984 dollars) price tag was too much to ask of home audiences.
Although many critics found their 3D horror series to be too frightening for early-evening TV, the medium managed to help make SCTV a household name across North America. The following is from archives, which means the clip isn't the best quality, but, it does give you a feel for how terrifying this effect could be.
If you'd like to see the first full thriller, you can find it here:
Shortly after their initial success, SCTV abruptly stopped producing 3D content. At the time, there were whispers that the overtly political 3D short, House of Representatives, crossed the wrong lines and annoyed the wrong people. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but does it seem that Candy is doing a great Alec Baldwin impression?
On the other hand, many industry insiders felt that Candy was pushing the technology too hard and too fast. There was talk that Candy was hurtling towards a confrontation with the makers of profitable 3D glasses. I can't remember if it was Kevin Costner or Oliver Stone who said:
You're a mouse, fighting a gorilla.
In later years, while discussing the intrigue, Martin Short, a latecomer to SCTV, but a big supporter of Candy, was quoted as saying:
I don't think I want to know a six-year-old who isn't a dreamer or a silly-heart,
In my opinion, it wasn't the industry infighting that ended the experiment, it was his plans to make the blue movie, The Canadian Mounted, that pushed production to shutdown.
Despite all the uproar, Candy's closest friend, Eugene Levy, maintained:
There was nothing going on between us, it was only sex.
Although they were eventually shutdown, the team from SCTV had worked very hard for several years. Apparently, there are dozens of unseen films sitting in dungeons around Canada. It's interesting to note that Candy's team was actually notorious for working their talent to the bone. Surprised by journalists after 47 straight hours of testing, Steve Martin was quoted:
My dogs are barking.
It's funny though, all that work sitting in storage, just waiting to be rediscovered, you can't help but feel exactly like Mel Brooks when he exclaimed:
That's gonna leave a mark.
I adore this photo of Candy working on the 3D camera.
I realize that everyone isn't going to be a fan of this type of work, but, to quote Candy himself:
If you get the pole out of your keester, we're going to get along just fine.