Brent Amacker's

Brent Amacker's
A Slightly Different Perspective

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Evolution of PHINEAS FLYNN

As a fan of the Disney hit animated show "Phineas & Ferb", and having a curious mind, I couldn't help but wonder just HOW Dan Povenmire was inspired to create the 'look' of Phineas. I know the legend of the "Restaurant-Butcher Paper-Epiphany" (you can read the account on Wikipedia 'Phineas & Ferb' entry), but how did he do it? What were his inspirations?

Let's start at the beginning: As a child of the 60's and 70's, I'm sure you will realize that Mr. Povenmire watched a lot of cartoons. Since he is MY age, 45-ish, his early childhood animation viewing was probably limited to Saturday mornings and the occasional classic Disney short on Sunday night's "Wonderful World of Disney".
Add to that the occasional early-morning or afternoon runs of the Tex Avery classics and the endless Warner Brothers 'Looney Toons' & 'Merry Melodies'. The annual eagerly-anticipated Christmas specials. The trips up to TG&Y or the local drugstore to read comics. Could he possibly have been influenced by the numerous pointy heads in the many manic shorts watched over the years? Most likely.
You will note that the early Woody Woodpecker started with a long, pointed head as noted in the above drawing. He was clever. Feisty. His beak was long, straight and rigid. He was invincible. He later evolved into the cutesy, rounded character we see today.
Heckle and Jeckle were two magpies of questionable gender, with heads (including beaks) that resembled footballs or fat ears of corn. They, too were clever and invincible.

"MAD Magazine" featured a long-running gag comic called "Spy vs. Spy", in which two secret-agent types engaged in a symphony of booby traps and explosions while each was trying to eliminate the other. Sometimes subtle, sometimes frantic. Always ending in a good come-uppance or explosion, they were also -say it with me- clever and invincible.
Like Phineas.

This, of course, brings me to my next question: WHO is Phineas Flynn's REAL father? Could he be the offspring of one of the 'SPIES'...?
I know this is a bit far-fetched, but stay with me: He's inventive. He's wiley. He ALWAYS escapes injury. He ALWAYS manages to elude discovery. His pet platypus, Perry, IS A SPY!

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