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8 Things You Probably Don’t Know About ‘An American Tail’

feivel

Remember Fievel? Fievel is the adorable mouse in the animated series “An American Tail”–and its sequel “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West.” How could you forget the whole Mousekewitz family saga? The movie, which chronicled their move to America, may seem eerily like your own family’s story.

There are a ton of things you may not realize about the American Tail series, however, and I’ve compiled them below:

1. There’s two more movies that many people don’t realize exist. They are “An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island” and “An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster,” which came out in 1998 and 1999, respectively, and went straight to video. Ouch.

2. Roger Ebert was not a fan. He called “An American Tail” is one of the most depressing children’s movies of all time.

3. It’s not a Disney film. It’s a Universal Pictures movie, produced by Steven Spielberg and created by a former-Disney animator, Don Bluth. Bluth resigned from Disney with another animator, Goldman, and took 16 animators along with them.

4. Fievel was named after Spielberg’s grandfather. Fievel was the Yiddish name of his grandfather Philip Posner. For Spielberg, the film was personal — and in many ways, an homage to his immigrant grandfather who moved from Russia.

5. Philly, Fievel’s nickname, was inspired by voice actor Phillip Glasser. Glasser was only 7 when he worked on “An American Tail.” Glasser’s grandmother called him that, and Bluth overheard that one day. And well, the rest is history.

6. Spielberg was accused of plagiarizing by Art Spiegelman. Spiegelman had been developing a concept for his graphic novel, “Maus,” which depicts Jewish people as mice and Germans as cats. Believing his idea was stolen, he instead rushed to release the first half of his book before the movie came out, rather than suing.

7. Fievel was announced as UNICEF’s spokesmouse in 2000. How cute!

8. The movie’s hit theme song, “Somewhere Out There,” hit #2 on the charts and won two Grammy Awards. It was also nominated for an Oscar, but lost to “Take My Breath Away” from “Top Gun.”

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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