"Cro et Bronto" - Bruno Bianchi's Very First Cartoon Series?

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Wow, I stand corrected! In my December 10 post, reminiscing about Gadget's late creator Bruno Bianchi, I wrote that the original Inspector Gadget series was Bianchi's first outing as a director. That's what I always thought... but it appears not to be the case. Bruno Bianchi actually had experience from directing at least one TV cartoon series before Inspector Gadget! Presenting... CRO et BRONTO from 1980!

This show is interesting to Inspector Gadget fans not only because of the involvement of Bruno Bianchi, but also as a piece of ancient DiC history! Yep, this cartoon was of course made by DiC, where Bianchi had already been working since 1977. First broadcast in March of 1980, Cro et Bronto was a co-production between DiC and Antenna 2, the French channel that aired all of the show's 45 episodes, running for 1 minute and 20 seconds each. Below is the series' title screen:

I've never seen this show and it appears extremely hard to see at all. In fact, I can't locate a single clip of it online, not even an intro - and that in itself is saying a lot. The only proper information available anywhere seems to be on the French cartoon site Planete Jeunesse, which at least provide an article containting a few detailed facts and some screenshots.

According to Planete JeunesseCro et Bronto was clearly inspired by chase cartoons from the classic Hollywood era (think Chuck Jones' Roadrunner-Wile E. Coyote cartoons as well as Tex Avery and a plethora of others). It had no dialogue and focused entirely on slapstick comedy accompanied by music. The plots center around a hungry little stone age man named Cro and his obsessive attempts to catch and eat the dinosaur Bronto. Oh, but there is a twist to this predator-prey setup: Bronto, a peace-loving and plant-eating brontosaurus, actually has a crush on Cro... and never realizes that Cro is out to harm him (or her?)! Wow, Bronto's absent-minded personality almost reminds me of... Inspector Gadget!... 

And, needless to say, Cro's ambitious plans and traps for capturing Bronto has a tendency to backfire on him...


The series was co-directed by Bruno Bianchi and Edouard David, with music by Claude Mann. Interestingly enough, Edouard David would go on to collaborate with Bruno Bianchi on the main character designs for Inspector Gadget. Knowing this, it wouldn't surprice me at all if Bianchi and David also did the character designs for Cro and Bronto. The designs in these screenshots certainly feel like Bianchi's style.

To finish off, here's an excerpt of a French comic book adaptation of the cartoon, originally published in the magazine Télé Récré A2 (and found online over at the blog Le Grenier de Récré A2). This comic book version is credited by Planete Jenuesse as part of the reason why Cro and Bronto is still remembered by some viewers today, since they apparently vanished from the television screens long ago. For the record, Télé Récré A2 was a magazine adapting the TV cartoons from Antenna 2's program block of the same name into comic book stories. Unlike the TV series, Cro and Bronto talk a lot... and they appear to have a semi-friendly relationship in some of these pages. What's the deal, is Cro out to catch Bronto or to mock him? Maybe the comic book artist (someone called Gen-Clo, according to the source blog) toyed a little with the characters' personalities...

Hope you enjoyed this slightly Gadget-related post about one of Bruno Bianchi's earlier projects. It may not be Inspector Gadget, but this show is certainly fascinating as a piece of DiC history I was never aware of before, as well as (possibly) Bruno Bianchi's first work as a cartoon director. (Don't quote me on that, though... I've been wrong before!)

The cover for a record edition featuring Cro et Bronto's theme song. I'd 

love to at least hear the song, but like the series itself, it seems pretty 

unfindable online...

Viper's Inspector Gadget Comic Gets Published in Spain

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Well... what do you know?

It seems that Viper Comics' first Inspector Gadget issue (yes, issue -- I still can't get myself to call it a graphic novel when it's only 40+ pages long) is going abroad. If I'm interpreting the facts I've found correctly, the comics department of the Barcelonian publishing house La Galera is publishing "Inspector Gadget: Gadget on the Orient Express" in Spanish (left) and Catalan (right) language editions on February 21, 2012.

I'm sorta surpriced to see this happening in Spain before a country like France, which is probably still the place in the world where Gadget's popularity ranks the highest. On the other hand, it's nice to see the Inspector's new comic book extend its reach outside the United States, even if the comic itself is not exactly perfect.
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