Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Hold the cow tools, Hollywood once tried to make a live-action adaptation of The Far Side?

We assume there’d be a lot of these in a Far Side movie.
We assume there’d be a lot of these in a Far Side movie.
Photo: Sandra Mu (Getty Images)

The 1980s and 1990s were a wild, often color-saturated time for strange, live-action adaptations of comics and cartoons: The Flintstones, Popeye, Dick Tracy, The Stupids (woof... The Stupids)—all pretty outlandish attempts to bring perfectly fine original works to the big screen. But the oddest of the bunch was one that never actually saw the light of day. What’s more, few of us knew it was even ever a possibility until recently.

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Yesterday, actor Dirk Blocker (responsible for portraying Detective Hitchcock on Brooklyn Nine-Nine) dropped an anthropomorphic bear-sized bomb on the Internet: at one point, Hollywood seriously considered turning Gary Larson’s beloved single-panel comic strip classic, The Far Side, into some kind of live-action film. What’s more, the project involved Blocker himself alongside John Larroquette and was directed/written by Alan Rudolph, of all people.

“Many years ago we were part of a test for a Far Side film. Sadly, nothing came of it, but we had a grand time,” tweeted Blocker, who posted a similar sentiment on Instagram a few months back that, for some reason, failed to cross our radars at the time. In any case, lo and behold, Blocker offered two behind-the-scenes photos as proof. And they’re about as horrifying as we expected.

To be honest, we really can’t tell if we were all mercifully spared Larson’s absurdist, illustrated exaggerations of humans and animals brought to life, or if everyone missed out what would have become an all-time batshit Hollywood project. Either way, that’s pretty much all we know so far on the obviously doomed project. We’re not even entirely sure when the test footage was shot, although this Los Angeles Times profile of Rudolph from 1985 makes brief mention of the director working on the adaptation, so we assume it must have been sometime around then.

If anyone—Blocker, Larroquette, or Rudolph included—has more info they’d like to pass our way, we’re all ears.

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Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).