Speed Racer, CNN, And A Flight To Atlanta: A Story Of What Almost Was
Peter Tatara - May 11, 2008
I received a call a few weeks back from Turner Broadcasting. They were hosting a special preview screening of the new Speed Racer film and were curious if I'd like to attend to speak about Speed Racer, anime, and Japanese culture in America. Sure? The screening was going to take place in early May in Atlanta for the combined employees of CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network, and Turner's other television channels, and I'd be flown out to the event, introduce the film, and then do a short interview with a CNN reporter. Really?
I was honored and amazed that Turner went after me. My day job, Programming Manager behind the New York Anime Festival isn't as glamorous as fans often make it out to be, but it does have its perks -- like being invited to Atlanta.
Of course, I fucked it up. Did I cuss on the air or give my speech loaded? Nah. I didn't go. See, in my discussions with Turner, I happened to mention I knew Peter Fernandez and Corinne Orr -- the original voices of Speed and Trixie -- through my role in the Anime Festival, and if they were looking at speakers for a Speed Racer event they absolutely had to bring Peter and Corinne.
Well, Turner agreed. Only there was a hiccup. There wasn't the budget for Peter, Peter, and Corinne. I wanted to visit Atlanta, make small talk with the Adult Swim team, and pitch them my idea for a new cartoon. (It's a Vampire Western.) But I also knew my wants amounted to nothing next to what had to happen. I was tangentially involved with Speed Racer at best, but for Peter and Corinne, Speed Racer was their life. So, I bowed out.
I prepared biographies, helped with logistics, and made sure the event took place, but I did it all from my desk in Connecticut. Peter and Corinne enjoyed themselves, and knowing that they were happy made me happy. Turner was pleased with the preview screening, too, and that's awesome. (But not as awesome as Turner producing my Vampire Western.)
Oh well, there'll be more chances and other opportunities. And, if memory serves, I was pretty productive that day at work. My biggest regret out of everything is that I didn't get to see Speed Racer. I still haven't. But that'll change soon. I have plans to go this weekend with Trixie.