In the late '70s, producer Lou Scheimer acquired the rights to produce a live-action Flash Gordon movie-of-the-week for NBC, and he commissioned Samuel A. Peeples to write the script. Peeples' script was deemed unfilmable in live-action, so it was decided to shoot it as an animated film. NBC wouldn't give Scheimer additional funds for animation, so he turned to Dino De Laurentiis, who agreed to give him money to complete the movie in return for helping him to secure the rights to make the theatrical film Flash Gordon (1980). NBC was so wowed by the animated film that they decided to shelve it, recut it and run it as the Saturday morning series Flash Gordon (1979). After the series ended its run, the original film was finally aired during prime-time in its entirety.