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Legendary animators in rare Las Vegas Strip appearance

Updated November 8, 2023 - 3:56 pm

We finally have the answer: Peter Lorre.

The late Hollywood star was the inspiration for the voice of Ren in “The Ren and Stimpy Show.” John Kricfalusi aka John K., was the voice of Ren throughout the series. We’ve long wondered the source of such asides as, “You fat, bloated idiot!”

“Everybody used some version, or an imitation, of Peter Lorre’s voice,” says Kricfalusi, creator and illustrator of the “Ren and Stimpy Show.” “Warner Brothers used to do cartoons with a caricature of Peter Lorre, and they’re really funny.”

Famous caricatures and their creators are being showcased from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2 at a Collectors’ Event Animazing Gallery in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian.

The event is catered to top collectors. But the general public is invited to a rare chance to meet the artists. RSVPs are required at 702-785-0061 or animazing.com.

Kricfalusi and his “Ren and Stimpy” images join some heady company: Bob Singer, the original character designer of Hanna-Barbera Studios, Marvel and Warner Bros., among others; Emmy Award-winning artist Alan Bodner of Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., DreamWorks, The Cartoon Network and Filmation, among others; and Emmy Award-winner Larry Leichliter, animator/director of Peanuts Animation Bill Melendez Studios.

Those on hand have created such iconic characters as Snoopy, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, Tom and Jerry, Josie and the Pussycats, Powerpuff Girls, Simpsons, Kim Possible, Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob SquarePants and many others. They have led projects for the industry’s top studios.

The world of animation is sometimes as small as the Flintstones’ sandstone house.

“It’s really cool, especially with Bob Singer there,” Kricfalusi said. “I used to work for him at Hanna-Barbera in the mid-’80s, just before ‘Ren and Stimpy.’ So he’s kind of a mentor of mine.”

Kricfalusi has not been to Las Vegas in about 30 years.

“One of my big thrills was I saw Wayne Newton in Vegas. I don’t remember which venue it was, but I remember that they lowered him out of a spaceship,” Kricfalusi said. “It was really cool. And then he played like 15 different instruments during the act.”

That would have been at Caesars Palace’s Circus Maximus. Newton would later headline the Stardust. Kricfalusi said he wants to visit the vintage displays at Neon Boneyard, where the original Stardust sign is preserved. That sign shared the same space-age design as “The Jetsons” TV show. In the past, future or today, small world.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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