Saturday Morning Cartoons


A long, long time ago on a winding red-clay road in rural Georgia, my sister, brother, and I looked forward to watching Saturday morning cartoons. Not that we had the endless selection of viewing fare available to children today, mainly because, unlike today, with its countless cable channels, many of which air cartoons and even animated series, in the 1950’s there were only three channels. Yes, that’s right, three channels. What’s more, there were no remotes, so we actually had to get up and cross the room to switch TV stations. Bugs-Bunny-Whats-Up-Doc

Anyway, number of channels and lack of remotes aside, Saturday was the one and only day of the week when cartoons were shown, well, other than on the Walt Disney Show, which aired on Sunday nights. Then again, come to think of it, they also showed cartoons on the Mickey Mouse Club, the one television show my sister, brother, and I were allowed to watch on weekdays after school, but only if we’d done our homework and finished our chores, at least until we became teenagers when we instead watched American Bandstand. But wait, I digress; back to Saturday mornings.

Sylvester and Tweety BirdMy siblings and I would line up on the floor in front of the black-and-white TV, sometimes munching on potato chips and slurping Coca Colas or Nehi Orange drinks, and giggle maniacally over the antics of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Tom and Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, Sylvester and Tweety, the Tasmanian Devil, the Roadrunner, and Wile E. Coyote.

Yet, we not only laughed with them. We also cried with them. We sympathized with their losses and disappointments. We felt their pain. We celebrated their victories, however small, and we cheered when they overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But how could we not? After all, they were real to us—just as real as the flesh-and-blood actors in movies and TV shows—just as real, in fact, as we were, so we could relate to them—see in them a measure of our own humanity.

Tom and JerryAnd perhaps—just perhaps—this is why cartoons are still so popular today: Children of all ages, including me, and from all cultures and all walks of life, can relate to the characters, glimpsing in them that universal thread that binds us all together—the ability to fall down and somehow still manage to find the courage to stand up again, brush ourselves off, and start all over again. Like our favorite cartoon characters, we too triumph over adversity, and in the end, we too endure.

Fan Theories


A new trend has emerged in popular culture: Fan Theories. While it has been around for as long as people have gathered to discuss thoughts and opinions on a creative work, it is gaining new ground in social media. Theories can now easily be shared with large audiences and gain a popularity that changes how the original works are viewed. The peer review process has come to popular culture.

If the creator of a Fan Theory is lucky, the originator of the work will weigh in on the topic. Recently, it was suggested that the the character Dumbledore from Harry Potter was actually supposed to personify Death. The theorist cited the “Tale of the Three Brothers” from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as proof that Harry, Snape, and Voldemort were the Three Brothers. Click here for a synopsis:

What is unique about this particular theory is that when author J.K. Rowling was asked about it, she seemed to actually endorse it in a wink-and-nod style. Her response left Potter fans wondering if they’d missed these clues all along. Many copies of Book 7 were opened and re-read. Her work is kept alive because people are still talking about it.

So, if you have a theory about a work, don’t be afraid to share it. You might be on to something!

Here’s a bonus example: Jon Negroni’s ‘The Pixar Theory’

Kevin the Grey Wizard

Wiz-11 Kevin(Gray)'Sphinx

Greetings 3twins fans!
Today I bring you another of the 12 Wizards from the world of Midieville!  This is Kevin the Grey Wizard.  Kevin is a sphinx who makes his dwelling in the northwest Magenta Forest, governs the element of night, and serves as the protector to the fairies.  One of the more stoic wizards, Kevin can often be found in the Lava Lands conversing with his life-long friend, Sam the Magenta Wizard, who lives just across the river that separates The Magenta Forest from the Lava Lands.

What’s New with Android M?


Well, a new version of Android is on the horizon with the arrival of Android M, or rather Android Marshmallow.

I find if funny just how out-of-the-box Google is with its version names. Apple, with a new OS release, names it iOS X.X.X….Google names it after a dessert. I mean, come on; how does that not get your stomach going and make you want to buy an android phone? I can see the headlines now: “Obesity in America, It’s all Google’s fault.” All jokes aside, though, I will focus on two key major changes coming with the new version of Android:

Security and Permissions

The argument since Android was born has been whether it is “secure” or not. Well, this version will shut a lot of people down about that argument.

First are app permissions. In Android M, Google has refined the control over app permissions. Upon installing an app, the user has the ability to control what features the app has access to. Not only that, but Google unfortunately has pulled a Microsoft and added a warning: “Are you sure you want to grant access to this feature for this app”. Yup, that’s right; just like Vista did, it asks you whether or not you want to grant access to an app upon request.

Next is fingerprint support. Google has finally brought fingerprint scanning support to apps with Android M. Yes, this means you can not only use the fingerprint scanner to unlock your phone….but to keep apps locked or, yes, even to login to certain apps.


I can finally tell all the Apple phones to bring it when it comes to battery life. Android introduces a new power-saving feature called DOZO.  Using the device’s built-in motion-sensing capabilities, Doze will know whether or not a device is in someone’s hands, and will go into a deeper, powered-down state to save battery in the long run. However, it won’t turn off entirely, since it’ll still be able to activate alarms or wake up for incoming chat requests. This, believe it or not, is a huge success for Android. I mean, it took them long enough I know, but still.

Well, that’s all, guys. There’s a lot to come with Android M. A lot!

What Should I Play Today?


It’s no secret that here at 3twins we love video games. There are so many kinds of games to play–action, role-playing (RPG), strategy, puzzle (like Of Mages & Pages!), adventure–and they all have their challenges and excitement. I’ve noticed that some games are called “casual”, like the simple app games I have on my phone, while others are more “serious,” for instance, games that have complex plots and worlds, like the Bioshock series or Legend of Zelda.

I’ve also noticed that I play different games depending on how much time I have to play or how invested I want to be in the game at the time. If I want an easy game I can play while tumblr_nm97d2Pkqy1tmijmoo1_1280watching something, I often play Civilization V on my PC. I frequently play this to relax after school. While its premise is simple (take over the world), Civ V is easy to play, addictive (just ask my mother), and doesn’t require the concentration that Fire Emblem, also a strategy game, demands. Then again, if I just need to be occupied for a few minutes, it’s best to play a quick game of solitaire on my phone.

Some games don’t require you to spend a great deal of time playing; for example, Animal Crossing takes just a few minutes for you to complete the daily routine of living in a town. Moreover, games don’t have to be long and involved to be fun.

okami_hd_34Some games, though, take time to explore. To the left is a screenshot from the gorgeous PlayStation 2 game Okami, in which you play as a Japanese folk god with a mission of reviving the land with faith and hope. The story and art is engaging and worth the time it takes to sit down and immerse yourself in its world. It’s just as fun to play as Civ V, but for different reasons.

A friend of mine who likes playing games said that she prefers small games, like those on her phone, to have something to fidget with. Simple games can be a great way to relax. Sometimes you don’t want to save the world or the princess or whatever is in danger today, you just want to sit back and have fun.

Video games are also a great storytelling medium–Bioshock: Infinite is a story of a lost child and an even more lost father (trying not to spoil the ending)–but sometimes you’d rather jump on goombas with Mario than explore complex philosophical themes and try to babysit a time-traveling girl. No one has ever complained of the ending of Super Mario Bros. being ruined for them. Spoiler–the princess is in another castle.

Some people might say that a simple game on a phone or on Facebook isn’t a real game. However, they’re flat-out wrong. A game is something that brings joy and entertainment, no matter how simple or how complex, and that’s something we all can enjoy–well, as long as the games don’t start playing us… 

From Idea to Reality: Teento’s Revenge Part II

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Hiya, 3Twins fans! It’s me again, Tom Cox, Chief Brand Officer and co-founder of Back in May, we embarked upon a journey that explored what went into making a video game. Rather than rehash that all here, I invite you to click on the archive button for May on the right side of your screen. Read Part1 of this post and you will be all caught up (or you can click on this hyperlink).

Part 2

When we last saw our daring 3twins’ team, we had come up with an idea for a puzzle game, and Jason and Andy had designed the first few levels. Jason then went to our AWESOME art department to design the obstacles and characters that would be a part of the game. The concept was to create a game where fans could engage in the story. Of Mages and Pages: Teento’s Revenge hinges on the history of Midieville. But how did it all come to be?

We first had to write a bit of a history review to share the story and tell you why you were playing this puzzle game. Realm1- Level PagesIn short, explain the objective of the game. Several of us were involved in the storytelling. Once that was complete, we had to come up with a way to incorporate the story into the game. Thus, the Magenta Pages were selected as the goal of each level. The objective of the game was to collect all of the Magenta Pages from The Magic Spellbook that had been scattered throughout the kingdom. Objective: CHECK!

Next, we had to devise an engaging way for our fans to play the game. We created two teams of players: Good guys and Bad guys. And you the player get to control both. We created grid style puzzles, and we hid eight coins and two pages on each level behind various obstacles, and as the player moved to a space on the puzzle board the obstacle would be removed and whatever was underneath it would be revealed. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast there, hot shot. The coins would help you in later levels of the game, so the primary objective of the game was to collect two Magenta Pages, but a secondary objective was to collect eight coins for each level. Because the coins would be a “help” to you later, it was decided that there must be some challenge to getting these valuable artifacts. We decided that if you found the Magenta Page before the coins for each level, you would still progress to the next level; thus requiring the player to want to try and find the coins before he/she found the Magenta Pages.

After we had the objective of the game and the challenge designed, it was time for the art department to see what types of beautiful graphics they could come up with for the game. But that is for our next installment…

“Back to the Future” Predicts the Future!!!


I love Back to the Future! I remember watching the exploits of Dr. Brown (Doc) and Marty McFly and realizing that time-hopping was (and still is) fuel for the imagination. I was particularly fascinated by their future jump in Back to the Future Part II. At that time (1989), 2015 looked as if it were going to be amazing–self-tying shoes, hoverboards, big-screen phone conferencing, self-driving flying cars, 3-D movies…You see where I am going with this. The truly amazing thing is that we have realized most of everything on this list and some are even in practical daily use. Take a gander at this video and see how far we have come…Nothing is impossible!!!



O.K., O.K., O.K., Hollywood is remake crazy now. While some have been welcome, even rectifying old wrongs (Judge Dredd, The Magnificent Seven, True Grit), most have been awkward, unfortunate, and unwanted (Total Recall anyone…or the abysmal Planet of the Apes), and many have simply been unnecessary (Robocop, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Conan)

ghost_w32-2009-07-10-15-08-36-31With the scales tilted more in the “should not” than “should” direction, why would anyone tamper with a classic that Screen Junkies calls “The Best Summer Blockbuster Ever”? The chemistry, comedy, and action were so perfectly balanced in the original Ivan Reitman film Ghostbusters that it is difficult to believe that a remake of one of the most popular movies of my childhood could be done justice by a modern-day retelling.

But, if there is anything that I am, it is optimistic; and if there is a cast that has the chops to pull off this remake under the ideal conditions, it is the one led by Kristen Wiig and powerhouse Melissa McCarthy. They, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones (on her best day) definitely have the swagger to pull this off…but will the writing and filmmaking be equal to the tasks? Fingers crossed and cautiously waiting…

The Story of 3twins: Part 3

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This post is Part 3 in an ongoing series about the history of our company. If you need to catch up, here is Part 1 and Part 2.

Previously in this series, I explored the origins of our web series Star Fetched and explained how it slowly shaped the mediums in which we, as a company, chose to tell stories. But this doesn’t explain why we decided to be a company in the first place. For that we have to go back to the year 2000, my parent’s house, and a Hi-8 Sony Handycam.

One Tuesday evening Jason came over to hang out, and on a whim we decided to make some sketch-comedy videos with my parent’s camcorder. For the sake of our dignity I won’t go into many other details, but I will say that for some reason we decided to make it into a regular gig, invited Andy to join us, and called the production Tuesday Evening Taped. We came up with shorts such as Steve’s World, Midweek Update, Heart No Start, The Hollywood Man Show, and Tuesday Evening Funhouse, just to name a few. Any guesses as to our inspiration? In Tuesday Evening Funhouse, we used toys to, quite inaccurately, act out the story of the inaugural Independence Day.

Just prior to this endeavor, Jason had created a brand name called Hyper*Fiction for his creative writing projects. Preferring this title, we decided to scrap the name Tuesday Evening Taped and continue working under the Hyper*Fiction brand. Our goal expanded from simply making funny videos to honing our skills so we could produce Star Fetched. The Tuesday Evening Funhouse format gave us the opportunity to tell stories and build sets on a small scale, which was a great testing ground for larger projects, so we renamed this venture Hyper*Fiction Toy Chest. The first and only creation under this title was a short video, which some of you may have seen at one time on, about the inaccurate origin of Mother’s Day.

We only produced a few projects under the name Hyper*Fiction before moving on to yet another title. But more on that next time!

The Birth of The Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk_Face

Almost everyone is familiar with The Incredible Hulk. He has, after all, become part of not only America’s cultural lexicon but that of many other cultures as well. I’m sure, though, that very few people have any idea regarding where and how this burly green character originated. And, to be honest, neither did I, at least until I decided to write this blog post.

What I learned in the course of my research is that Stan Lee, the founder of Marvel Comics and co-creator of many of today’s most popular superheroes, wanted to introduce a new character following the phenomenal success of The Fantastic Four’s debut in 1961.

Lee elicited noted artist Jack Kirby, who had gained a devoted following with his interpretation of The Fantastic Four, to “breathe life” into this new character. This character, though, was going to be different. He would not be perfect but far from perfect. Moreover, he would not be “wise, noble, or infallible.” He would, in fact, be a monster. Like Frankenstein’s monster, however, he would not be a monster by choice, and he would “grope his torturous way through life trying to defend himself, trying to come to terms with those who sought to destroy him” Finally, like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Marvel’s new protagonist would suddenly and quite unexpectedly change from “his normal identity to his superhuman alter ego and back again” (p. 75).

Though Lee knew Kirby would masterfully bring his creative vision to life, Lee yet had to give the character a fitting name. As Lee relates, he considered all the appellations that might be used to describe “a gargantuan creature, a being of awesome strength coupled with a dull and sluggish thinking process,” and even poured through the dictionary and the thesaurus, “but nothing was on target” (p. 75). “As Lee says “I knew I needed a perfect name for a monstrous, potentially murderous hulking brute who—and then I stopped. It was the word ‘hulking’ that did it. It conjured up the perfect mental image. I knew I had found his name. It had to be: The Hulk” (p. 75).

Incredible_Hulk_Vol_1_1Another interesting fact that I learned while researching this article is that The Hulk wasn’t always green. In fact, originally he was gray. Lee says that he thought a gray hue would be “intensely dramatic and somber.” When advance copies of The Hulk’s debut comic were released, however, the gray skin color gave The Hulk “a chameleon-like quality;” plus the printer seemed unable to keep the shade of gray consistent, so it varied from page to page and even at times from panel to panel.

Incredible Hulk_2After seeing the disappointing results of the advance copies, Lee says that he paced back and forth in his office trying to decide upon just the right color for a fictional monster, and since there were no other emerald-green skinned “rampagers” at that time, he opted for “a bravely bedazzling basic green” (p. 76).

And that, dear readers, is the “true” story behind the birth of the bright-green behemoth whom we all have come to know and to love: The Incredible Hulk.

Lee, S. (1974) Origins of Marvel Comics. New York: Simon and Schuster