This month marks the 15 anniversary of comedy legend Phil Hartman’s death. And while we’ll always remember the tragic circumstances surrounding his passing, it would be impossible to forget the nine years he spent on Saturday Night Live delivering one of the best Bill Clinton impressions of all time – not to mention the seemingly endless line of smarmy characters – or his later work starring on NewsRadio and voicing characters on The Simpsons.
Luckily the comedy world is helping to keep his memory alive. Last year, the Ontario native was posthumously inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto, where he joined other comedians like John Candy, Martin Short and Eugene Levy. And today, we’ve gotten word that his largely forgotten comedy album Phil Hartman’s Flat TV will be adapted into an animated project. Although the album was recorded just before Hartman joined the cast of SNL (listen to a track below), it was effectively lost and only released in 2002, four years after Hartman’s wife, Brynn shot him to death while he was asleep, before killing herself. Hartman was 49.
Worker Studio in Colorado is now beginning to collaborate with the Hartmann family to develop animation around the 22 vignettes featured on Hartman’s album. “The tracks all work together as a feature film about the day in the life of the Sphincter family, but Phil brilliantly wrote and performed each vignette as a stand alone piece, which will also give us 22 unique animated shorts,” Jason Cangialosi of Worker Studio, tells Laughspin.
Currently, concept art – some of which is influenced by Hartman’s early artwork (he created a handful of album covers for bands) – is being produced. Though it’s still early in the process Cangialosi expects the final product would fit in well at animation and film festivals. “We’ll be exploring all major distribution scenarios that fit the property,” he tells us.
Tell us what you think about this project Where would you like to see Hartman’s animations? Sound off in the comments section.