In the late ‘70s, nearly a decade prior to landing on Saturday Night Live, the late Phil Hartman recorded an album called Flat TV, consisting of him performing various characters and sketches. The album was lost and unreleased until Hartman’s brother John dug it up and put it out on CD in 2002, and now, an animation studio is developing it into a film. Worker Studios has teamed up with Phil’s brother Paul Hartmann (Phil dropped the extra ‘n’ at the end of his last name when he went into show business) on the project. Flat TV is a 22-track album of sketches written by and starring Hartman that revolve around a dysfunctional family, with bits TV shows they consume interspersed throughout. It’s a little Simpsons-esque nearly 10 years before The Simpsons was a thing. Since the original album runs a little over 40 minutes, the animated film project would presumably be a short, though there’s no mention of that in the press release.
One interesting nugget about the project is that animator/writer Michael T. Scott, the fan who wrote Phil Hartman a letter as a teenager and received a heartfelt response that was leaked online a couple years ago, is a new partner at Worker Studios and is collaborating on the project. There’s no word on when the Flat TV animated film will be finished and ready for public consumption, but we’ll keep you posted.
If you haven’t heard Flat TV, you can pick it up on Amazon or check out a track off the album below: