Have you seen these Japanese super-deformed Felix mini PVC figures? These look way off model to me. The manufacturer, Organic Hobby, has created some fantastic Tezuka figures that respect the orginals… but these are painful.
(Thanks, Jupey Krusho)
Mickey Mouse is “one of Satan’s soldiers” and makes everything he touches impure… or so claims Sheikh Muhammad Munajid during a religious affairs program broadcast on al-Majd TV, as reported in today’s London Telegraph.
The Sheikh warned that depictions of the creature in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, and Disney’s Mickey Mouse, have taught children that mice were, in fact, loveable. The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Islamic law, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed.
(Thanks, Doran Gaston)
Cynthia Petrovic of Red Tango spotted this package (above) in a local supermarket:
Maybe I’m just getting more perverted in my old age, but I could not resist this packaging by Vons, who has it’s own “eating right” selection of foods, and they are now enlisting Warner Brothers characters to help hock the goods. What stopped me in my tracks was this insane pic of Daffy, coated gleefully in pudding, having a gay old time. What pudding has to do with eating well I don’t know, but the image of Daffy reveling in being splattered with goop on the front of a food product certainly made my day!
These products, exclusive to Safeway, Vons and Pavilions supermarkets, are part of an initiative announced several months ago by Warner Bros. to begin linking their characters to healthier food choices for kids. For more information on this, here’s an intereview (below) with Brad Globe, President of Warner’s Consumer Products, shot earlier this year at the Licensing Expo in New York.
This new trailer for Spaceballs The Animated Series is a lot more “adult” than the kiddie show I was expecting. I had no interest in seeing this show – the character design and animation look awful – but now I must admit I’m intrigued to see what low level this series has descended to. Spaceballs begins airing September 24th on G4 Network.
This just in! Mark your calendars! The animation event of the year! Nicktoons Network will start airing Random! Cartoons begining on Saturday, December 6th. Below are the premieres for 2008. All times are 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, 12/6 – Episode 101 (Solomon Fix, MooBeard, Two Witch Sisters)
Sunday, 12/7 – Episode 102 (Finster Finster, Adventure Time, Mind the Kitty)
Saturday, 12/13 – Episode 103 (Ivan, Boneheads, Tiffany)
Saturday, 12/20 – Episode 104 (Call Me Bessie, Teapot, Hornswiggle)
Saturday, 12/27 – Episode 105 (Hero Heights, Yaki & Yumi, Gary Guitar)
More details to come…
Another great photo from the Warner Club News. Here’s layout artist and background painter Robert Gibbroek from the December 1959 issue. He’s a real unsung hero of many classic Warner Bros. cartoons. His work appears in such great films as One Froggy Evening, Fast and Furry-ous, Operation: Rabbit and The Mouse That Jack Built to name but a few. Note the image below left (click on thumbnails to enlarge) where Gribbroek worked his name into the background of One Froggy Evening. His fine art was outstanding too (see examples below).
If you are anywhere near the Pacific Northwest this weekend, head on over to Spark Animation ’08, an animation festival and state-of-the-art showcase sponsored by SIGGRAPH ACM Vancouver.
The festival started yesterday and will run through Sunday night. All of the events are ‘a la carte’ so you can select which events you want to attend and buy tickets for those, either online or at the door. Featured guests include Mark Osborne & John Stevenson (directors of Kung Fu Panda), Jimmy Hayward & Steve Martino (directors of Horton Hears a Who!), Ed Hooks (author: Acting for Animators), and me, Jerry Beck (screening The Worst Cartoons Ever! on Saturday night, 7pm at the Vancity Theatre). Bill Plympton’s latest feature, a Marv Newland retrospective and Leslie Iwerks’ The Pixar Story are among the special screenings. A party following my screening is free for all festival-goers – come by and say hello!
Full schedule and ticket ordering info is posted here.
More rare pictures from a stash of Warner Club News I picked up last week.
The Warner Bros. Cartoon Dept. had it’s own building, with its own gate and sercurity on the main lot in Burbank during the 50s and 60s. The building is still standing today. I’m not sure who’s occupying it this year, but it was most recently the headquarters for producers, writers and staff of Everybody Loves Raymond.
To commemorate the 100th birthday of composer Raymond Scott (1908-1994), the folks at his official website, RaymondScott.com, have commissioned one of my favorite caricaturists, Drew Friedman, to create a limted edition portrait of Scott and his Quintette.
Scott is, of course, best known for his jazz compositions (such as Powerhouse) which were heard in numereous Warner Bros. cartoons, George Pal Puppetoons, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Animaniacs and other cartoon series. Scott was a band leader, composer, inventor and electronic music pioneer. Though he personally never wrote music for cartoons, his compositions work perfectly in the medium – and continue to do so today. For more information on Raymond Scott click here.
Anyone been to the post office lately? Anyone still use snail mail?
The postage stamps have gotten a lot better — even if I have no one to mail a letter to I couldn’t resist some of these new commemoratives. This one (above) devoted to Latin Jazz, with the distinctive artwork of Michael Bartalos, really caught my eye. Bartalos’ art is best known (to me) for Nickelodeon and Nick-at-Nite promotional materials, but here it evokes a cool Jim Flora feel.
I also stocked up on the new Art of Disney Imagination set which includes this neat Steamboat Willie, and the Vintage Black Cinema set with several attractive old movie posters. These are pretty nice – too nice to use only for paying my cable and internet bills.
Another great photo op from the pages of The Warner Club News (December 1961). Mel Blanc and Elmer Bernstein! Blanc is still recovering from his January 1961 auto accident, receiving The Golden Carrot Award, which is pictured up close and in color in my book Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Guide.
Some of my favorite blogs have just posted some unusual posts of interest, all worth a look. Back in December, Don Brockway took a look at Donald Duck and His Crappy Cars. He’s just posted another hilarious follow-up.
John Vincent is infatuated with Columbia cartoons and other animated oddities. He’s got a lot of worthwhile posts and frame grabs to prove it on his Uncle John’s Crazy Town blog, including his latest on take on the obscure Screen Gems Color Rhapsodies series.
And finally, another shout out to Rob Richards, the Disney obsessed organist-at-the-El-Capitan, who maintains several Disney blogs, including one on Animation Backgrounds. He broke his usual train of thought by abruptly posting about a background on Cambria’s New Three Stooges. In doing so, he may have found the only redeeming feature of this otherwise forgettable TV cartoon (the backgrounds and the new color footage of Moe and Larry, but I digress…).
This is an excerpt from an issue of Warner Club News, the studio’s in house magazine, from February 1958. Each issue had a column, aptly titled “What’s Up, Doc?” written by a member of the cartoon division staff. I picked up half-a-dozen issues from the late 50s, early 60s at the recent Cinecon and I’ll be posting bits and pics from these issues all this week. The cartoon being discussed above was released in April 1959. To be included in the February ’58 magazine, I’d place the recording session in January ’58 or possibly December ’57.
Isn’t this photo terrific? Where are the original negatives and prints to photos like this? I’ll have to check with Warner Bros. Archives. These are gold.
This is rather bizarre, but leave it to the French. A current project out of Paris,
Reality Toon, is an homage to classic Hollywood cartoons and the silent comedies that inspired them. The French love cartoons, slapstick, and perhaps above all Tex Avery and Jerry Lewis. This project combines all these into one strange set of three webisodes. Check them out – also view the behind the scenes, making-of film at realitytoon.com.
(Thanks, James Daniels)
Jon Stewart made a very funny comparison of some of our current politicians to a pair of cartoon favorites on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show this week.
You Tube pulled down the clip we had embed. You can catch the video over at TheDailyShow.com (John McCain: The Person He Is). Skip ahead to the three-minute mark.
(Thanks Aaron H. Bynum)
Today’s L.A. Times features a story on Waltz With Bashir, the sure-to-be-controversial animated feature from Israel, being screened at the Toronto International Film Festival tonight, and at the Ottawa Animation Festival on September 17th.
Waltz With Bashir is a documentary, spoken by veterans of a 1982 invasion of South Lebannon, woven into a narrative containing shocking violence (the film is a hard “R” rating) and potent graphic images. I had the opportunity to screen the film last week. It’s an effective anti-war film and a strong denouncement of the Israeli Army. The powerful story it tells transcends the technique – the animation is not the point here, it’s simply the medium to communicate the message. We all know animation is not just talking animals and can do more than tell jokes. Here’s a film that proves it. I admire Bashir, not as an animated film, but as an important film with significant things to say, that leaves you with lots to think about. It also pushes the artform into a bigger arena of filmmaking potential and points towards the possibilities of where else it can go.
Bill Melendez, the Mexican-born American character animator, film director, and film producer, best known for his animation for Warner Bros, UPA and the Peanuts specials and feature films, has passed away.
In 1938, Melendez was hired by Walt Disney to work on animated short films and feature-length films such as Bambi, Fantasia and Dumbo. Three years later, he joined Leon Schlesinger’s team at Warner Bros. studios, where, as a member of the Bob Clampett and Art Davis units, he animated on a number of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck shorts. Among the classic Warner Bros. shorts he animated on are Book Revue, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, Baby Bottleneck, and The Big Snooze. UPA put him on their payroll in 1948 to work on many television commercials, as well as the Gerald McBoing Boing and Madeline shorts.
After a decade working on commercial and industrial films at studios like John Sutherland Productions and Playhouse Pictures, Melendez founded his own production company in 1964. Bill Melendez Productions helped produce the annually broadcast Christmas special A Charlie Brown Christmas, for which he won an Emmy Award and the George Foster Peabody Award despite having to work on short notice and with a tight budget.
Melendez has gone on to do over 75 half-hour Peanuts specials, including the 1989 miniseries, all with partner Lee Mendelson. In 1979, he directed a made-for-TV animated version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
(click on image for bigger version) Bill Melendez (far left) at UPA in 1953 during a story session for Ballet-Oop (1954). Other artists in photo from l. to r. are Jules Engel, Alan Zaslove, Frank Smith, T. Hee, C.L. Hartman and Bobe Cannon.
An 8-minute interview with Melendez posted on YouTube:
Last year Joe Dante (Looney Tunes Back In Action) established a terrific website called Trailers From Hell, featuring audio commentary by several top genre directors (including John Landis, Stuart Gordon, Eli Roth, etc.) over some of their favorite vintage guilty-pleasure horror, fantasy and science fiction film trailers. They’ve tackled animation only once before – Yellow Submarine (with comments by George Hickenlooper) which we linked to here back in April.
Dante produced one other animation trailer for the site, with director Mick Garris (Showtime’s Masters of Horror, HBO’s Tales From The Crypt) commenting on Chuck Swenson’s 1977 X-rated animated feature Dirty Duck (aka “Cheap”). This trailer proved a little to hot for Joe’s domain so he’s graciously allowed Cartoon Brew to exclusively post it. It’s perfect for our readership – Dirty Duck is one of the most overlooked animated features of the 1970s, a glorious experimental mess of a film, which, from today’s vantage point, looks incredibly creative and daring, and something current Hollywood studios would never attempt.
For more Trailers From Hell click here.
A major retrospective of work by underground cartoonist Kim Deitch opens at New York’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art on September 9th. There will be an opening reception on Friday September 12th from 6 — 9 pm. The exhibit will display original comics pages and other work covering the artist’s entire career to date, beginning with full-page comic strips drawn for the East Village Other in the sixties up to recent graphic novels including The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Alias the Cat, Shadowland, and Deitch’s Pictorama. The Museum will also host a series of talks and events related to the exhibit.
MoCCA is located at 594 Broadway, Suite 401, between Houston and Prince. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 12 — 5 pm, Sundays 12 — 3 pm. The opening reception is free and open to the public. For more information visit the MoCCA website. The Deitch exhibit will run through December 5th.
The LA Times reports (with several errors) on the passing of Morris Sullivan, the man who financed the Don Bluth studio and produced An American Tail, Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven and Rock-A-Doodle.
Cinecon, the film buff convention I attended over Labor Day weekend, is not a place to do animation research, but from time to time I’ve found some nice pieces there to add to my files. For example, one dealer had a stack of Andrews Sisters photos — hundreds of them – which apparently came from the estate of one of the sisters. I shuffled through them and found this nice publicity shot of the gals in front of the boards from the Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet sequence in Make Mine Music. (Click on thumbnail below to see full image).
I found another foreign sheet that I couldn’t resist – a poster for The Man Called Flintstone in Spanish. Gotta love Fred and Barney with blue 5-o’clock-shadow! My prize find this year, stuck in a stack cartoon stills (mainly of Hanna Barbera TV shows) was this still/photostat of a “George” model sheet from Tex Avery’s Of Fox And Hounds. This piece has “property of Walker Edmiston” rubber stamped on the back (Edmiston, a voice actor, puppeteer and kids show host passed away last year). Click on thumbnail below to see full image. All in all, I had a great time at the show – and was glad I could find a few goodies to share with my friends.
I find myself agreeing with that guy with the glasses:
It’s Labor Day in the United States. I’m still at Cinecon. What better way to spend a holiday than with the latest from that looney luchador from Ecuador (who just moved to Toronto), Makinita (aka Andres Silva):
Now that you can buy a copy of my Pink Panther Guide for as little as 24Â¢ on Amazon, MGM Home Entertainment is including it with The Pink Panther Ultimate Collection a DVD collection of
all almost all Panther live action features and animated shorts owned by United Artists (MGM). This does not include Return of The Pink Panther with those gorgeous Richard Williams opening titles. However, among the 18 dvds are more Inspector, Roland and Ratfink and Ant and Aardvark cartoons than you’ll ever need. Oh, and I as I’ve mentioned, they’re throwing in a copy of my Ultimate Pink Panther book. The Pink Panther Ultimate Collection will cost $199.98 and will go on sale November 25th. More details are posted here.
I’m still at Cinecon watching movies. Picked up a few nice stills and lobby cards in the dealers room. Here is something I got cheap: an incredibly ugly Spanish movie poster for Beaver Valley and some Disney cartoons, with the strangest drawings of Mickey, Donald and
Goofy… err, Pluto, ever seen on studio approved publicity. I both love it and hate it. And that giant realistic beaver hovering above them doesn’t help. Click on thumbnail below to see larger image of the piece.
If you are wondering where I am this weekend – I’m hanging out all day and night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, attending the annual Cinecon convention. Cinecon is essentially a non-stop schedule of screenings of classic Hollywood films – from 1914 through the mid-50s, new restorations of mostly obscure films, projected in 35mm, from 9am to midnight for four days. Highlights include several films with Shemp Howard, the final chapters of The Iron Claw, and the rare Krazy Kat cartoon, Southern Exposure. Complete schedule here.
Also on the program, a rare theatrical showing of Crazy House, Olsen and Johnson’s zany follow-up to Hellzapoppin’. Someone posted the first five minutes of this film on You Tube. Check it out and you’ll have an idea of how bizarre this film is. And what kind of films I’ll be seeing this weekend.