I’ve been a fan of Jason Carpenter’s haunting student film, The Renter, since I first saw it – when it was nominated for an Annie Award in 2010. Amid interviewed Carpenter about the film back then and it has since gone on to great acclaim at festivals around the world, winning prizes at Ottawa and Anima Mundi. Finally, it’s online and we are especially proud that Jason allowed Cartoon Brew to be the first to post it.
Here’s a rarity: an industrial film from 1943 with animation by Paramount’s Famous Studios. We’ve long known of several non-theatrical industrial and educational films from Fleischer Studios – and it is known that its later incarnation, Famous Studios, did television commercials in addition to its annual output of Paramount’s theatrical entertainment cartoons. But examples of the studios supplemental commercial work have been incredibly difficult to locate.
To be sure, the animation here isn’t particularly exciting. In fact, it will probably bore most of our readers – but fascinate a fanatic few (like me). It’s essentially a live action film, extolling the virtues of vacuum tubes during wartime, containing several animated inserts that demonstrate electronic current flow. Dull? Yes, but it’s another piece of the puzzle – and I’m damn glad its been uncovered. Produced by Westinghouse, here’s Electronics At Work(1943):
(Thanks, Ken Layton)
Animator Luiz Stockler is a talent I’m keeping my eye on. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Stockler moved to Wales in 1994. In 2007 he attended the University of Wales, Newport, where he made his graduation film Vovô. Home is his first year film from the Royal College of Art in London, where he is going for his MA in Animation. It’s short and simple, subversive and sweet.
Why is this night different from other nights? No, wait… that’s not exactly what I meant to ask. But on this day and night every year we celebrate the life and career of Miss June Foray, the First Lady of Cartoon Voices. September 18th is June’s birthday and today she is 95 years young.
This past Sunday, Jeanine Kasun and Stu Shostack organized a private party for June in a local restaurant and it was filled with friends like actors Rose Marie, Marvin Kaplan, Margaret O’Brien, animators Bob Kurtz, Tom Sito, Art Leonardi, Bob Balzer, Jane Baer, Carl Bell; pals Will Ryan, Mark Evanier, Linda Jones (Chuck’s daughter), and even my new Facebook friend Jill Howard Marcus (the grand daughter of Shemp!). I took the photo above of June at the party, David Nimitz snapped these below (click thumbnails to enlarge): Left to Right – June reunites with her Phantom Toolbooth co-star Butch Patrick; June’s incredible birthday cake; June about to blow out the candles, surrounded by Fred Frees (Paul’s son) and Cima Balzer (Bob’s wife).
Congratulations, June. We love you.
Here’s the pilot for animator Tim Bierbaum’s new mixed-media web series about young artsy types living in New York City: Real Artists. Bizarre looking characters, live action backdrops, hand-held shakey cam, teen angst… it has an MTV Animation vibe written all over it. And yet I find it oddly appealing – and worth a look.
I’ve just heard that John Coates, best known for being the “production supervisor” on Yellow Submarine, a co-producer of Heavy Metal, and producer of several notable shorts (The Snowman), series (The World Of Peter Rabbit) and features (When The Wind Blows) has passed away at age 84.
Coates co-founded TVC London (aka TV Cartoons Ltd.) with George Dunning in 1957 and was known as the business partner of the duo. In the 1960s, TVC produced the original Beatles TV cartoons and the Cool McCool series for King Features – and that led to them being the studio behind Yellow Submarine (1968). Coates continued to align himself with quality work throughout the years, and was most recently nominated for an Academy Award for Joanna Quinn’s short Famous Fred in 1997. A legend of the British animation industry, John Libbey published a biography of Coates last year.
Australia’s coolest boutique design/animation studio Dirty Puppet recently created this unusual rectangle-shaped piece, commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne, under a super tight deadline. Animation director Cameron Gough told me, “It’s designed for the odd format of the new 6 x 1 metre LED screen. Evolution is a tapestry of poetic scenes inspired by the history of the Centre’s new Hamer Hall site”.
It all kicks off on September 27th at New York’s Museum of Art and Design (aka MAD) with a screening of the works of James and John Whitney. This is followed in mid-October every Friday and Saturday with a curated series of screenings dedicated to Ralph Bakshi, The Hubleys, Sally Cruikshank, Martha Colburn, Jim Trainor and Robert Breer. The restrospective is called Adults in the Dark: Avant-Garde Animation at MAD and it runs through mid-November. It’s an important compilation of landmark animated works by some of the true artists in the field. New Yorkers, check this out!
(Thanks, Aaron Anderson)
Good Lord, no…
Here we go again… trendy New York hip-hop clothing maker Mishka is tying its new fall fashion line to Harvey Comics characters. I’m going to assume this deal was put in place before Dreamworks bought the characters…
From their press release:
“We were elated to pay tribute those characters by using them as the basis for the entire Mishka x Harvey Comics Collection. Here’s the Harvey Comics for Mishka Fall 2012 Lookbook starring none other than Casper The Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, Spooky, The Ghostly Trio, Hot Stuff The Little Devil, Baby Huey, and Wendy The Good Little Witch. These beloved icons can be seen sporting the very best of our Fall Collection, decked out in everything from Richie’s khaki’s + button-up country club ready outfit, to The Ghostly Trio’s imposing camo uniforms.”
The Ghostly Trio’s “Camo uniforms”? I won’t even begin to dissect the schizo-illogic of invisible characters needing camouflage uniforms… But I’m also going to assume the characters are in better hands now and crap like this won’t be happening again.
(Thanks, Mark Bieraugel)
Bare is a film about a bear who moves to the woods, but soon finds out that he doesn’t like nature’s messy ways. Helen Dallat’s quiet, delicate and charming 2011 graduation film from University of Wales, Newport.
With Halloween just around the corner, Warner Bros. has started selling a new crop of character costumes on their on-line store. Is it just me or do Scooby, Tom, and Jerry all look like demented PEZ dispensers about to vomit up small children?
(Thanks, Alex Rannie)
After several months of ghosts, ghouls and creatures of the night… Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is looking like a breath of fresh air – in more ways than one. This looks like fun:
Legendary Warner Bros. cartoon director Chuck Jones was born on September 21st, 1912. He was the creator of characters like Pepe le Pew, Marvin Martian, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, and the director of classic shorts like Duck Amuck, Feed the Kitty, One Froggy Evening, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century and What’s Opera, Doc?, to name just a few. He passed away ten years ago at age 89, but this is his 100th year and Jones family is celebrating with three (count’em 3) special events in Southern California – all of them worth your time.
First and foremost – Chuck’s daughter Linda is presenting a Chuck Jones Centennial Celebration Film Festival on Friday September 21st (Chuck’s actual birthday) at the Alex Theatre in Glendale (at 8pm). The program will include a screening of 35mm cartoons from Chuck’s personal vault – with on-stage introductions by veteran animators Eric Goldberg and Carl Bell, and some animation historian named Jerry Beck. There will also be artwork on display and other surprises. Cartoon Brew readers can get a 20% discount off the admission price by using the promo code: Cartoonbrew921
The next night, Saturday September 22nd, from 6pm to 10pm The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Costa Mesa will host a gala fundraising event entitled Creativity Season, which includes a three-course sit-down dinner with wine, special presentations by celebrities, and live auction. Those celebrities will include writer Leonard Maltin, musician George Daugherty (Bugs Bunny on Broadway), director Rob Minkoff (Lion King), producer Jeff DeGrandis (Dora the Explorer), director Chris Bailey (Kim Possible), Kelly Asbury (Gnomeo and Juliet), Director/animator Eric Goldberg (Pocahontas) and many others.
Last but not least, Cal Arts is presenting Jones at 100 – a birthday celebration of Chuck Jones (Chouinard ’30) featuring a special screening of his classic films with remarks by John Lasseter in person. Its 8pm on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, with a reception immediately following at REDCAT/Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater in Downtown LA. Tickets are $50. with proceeds to benefit the Joe Ranft/CalArts Alumni Scholarship and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity.
Titmouse artist Mike McCraw animated on Disney’s Motorcity and is currently working as cleanup artist and animator on Black Dynamite for Adult Swim. He had a vision for a really cool animated Power Rangers cartoon and instead of waiting for someone to make it, he just started making it himself. “Not to mention it gives me the opportunity to practice my animating skills,” he told me. “As a longtime fan of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, I began a series of animated pieces featuring a single Ranger in each one. Fully animated/hand drawn in flash, my latest is the Blue Ranger (below) which was preceded by the Black and Pink Rangers.” Great action stuff, says I.
Heads up, New Yorkers: Estonian animator Priit Pärn will be making a rare appearence in Brooklyn to attend a specially curated screening program of his work on September 27th, 28th, and 29th 2012. One of the most influential artists in animation, Pärn has not been to NYC since 1989; this is a rare opportunity to meet him in-person and to see his films on the big screen.
The six-part screening program includes a selection of his post-soviet era films. A complementary/supporting program entitled The New Pärnographers, which plays throughout the month of September in front of other films, will present contemporary animated shorts by over a dozen artists from around the world whose work has been inspired by Priit Pärn. Participating animators include: Koji Yamamura (Japan), Igor Kovalyov (Russia/USA), Dylan Hayes (USA) Ami Lindholm (Finland), Christy Karacas (USA) and many more.
The Spectacle screening space in Williamsburg has limited seating. Tickets are $5 and you should definitely pre-buy tickets if you want to be guaranteed a seat. Full details can be found here. Don’t miss this chance to meet a true animation original.
Animator Darrell Van Citters is following up his most-excellent making of Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol book with a new book on The Art of the Jay Ward Studio. As Ward employed many ex-UPA artists, Van Citters uncovered much Ward material researching his Magoo book, realizing that Ward “more than any other studio, tried to keep ‘funny’ alive in TV animation.” Apparently Classic Media and the Ward estate have given their blessing on the project.
Van Citters is quick to point out that his book won’t be another history of the Jay Ward studio – Keith Scott’s thorough examination of the Jay Ward studio, The Moose That Roared, “has already covered that topic and covered it exceptionally well. This is meant to be a visual encyclopedia of the art created by some of the industry’s most talented designers and boarders within the context of TV animation’s golden age”.
Van Citters is putting out the call to any and all collectors of Jay Ward original art, soliciting scans of their pieces for use in the book “in order to make it as complete as possible. This call includes original storyboards, model sheets, layouts, cels, backgrounds, pitch art for unsold pilots, promotional art, ad art, the Bullwinkle comic strip and comics, etc. I realize that much of the early Ward production work was done in Mexico making it extremely difficult to locate, if in fact it still exists.” If you’re a collector of Jay Ward production art or know someone who is, or know family members of artists who worked at Jay Ward, contact Darrell via his website. He’s hoping to have this book published next year. If it’s half as good as his previous volume, we’re in for a treat!
Witte van der Tempel made this haunting film over a year and a half period, while at Netherlands’ Utrecht School of Arts. Says van der Tempel:
“I wanted to make a gripping film in which the character would undergo the deepest terror and anxiety and come out transformed and illuminated. Visually this film had to represent something essential about my style. My favorite drawing technique has always been to scratch the image onto the page in an almost psychotic way – allowing the pen to “find” the picture. I wanted to examine to what degree this could be applied in animation, and secondly how well it could combine with 3D elements.“
Graduation film (done during an exchange between Gobelins and Calarts last semester) by Louis Thomas. Thomas is currently working as a character designer/illustrator for both Pixar and Jib Jab. We featured Thomas’ previous short back in 2010. This one is a tribute to composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein and about 250 other Hollywood movie-star inspirations (all the caricatures are named in the end credits).
Whatever you thought of John Carter (Me? I liked it, a lot!), its director Andrew Stanton is one of the good guys. Full disclosure, I met Andrew when I moved to LA way back in 1986, when he was one of the artist/writers behind Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. A few years ago, Andrew allowed me and small crew special access to shoot some of the interviews for the Mighty Mouse DVD bonus documentary at Pixar. He told me then that his next film was a live-action/animation adaptation of Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars – and his excitement for the project was intense.
Today, The L.A. Times ran a front page story (must be a slow news day) on how John Carter’s failure has affected him. The article gives some insight in how this project was produced – Disney pretty much gave Stanton a green light and no other supervision, notes or interference. It’s failure was a humbling experience for him and any hope for a Carter sequel has been squashed. Stanton is now back at Pixar directing a follow-up to Finding Nemo.
No, it’s not a kids stadium show with people in giant-head costumes on ice skates. The cast and crew of Nickelodeon’s classic series Rocko’s Modern Life are having a reunion and they want you to attend. Voice actors Carlos Alazraqui, Mr. Lawrence, Tom Kenny, Charlie Adler along with creator Joe Murray and couple of directors, Swampy Marsh, and Dan Povenmire will perform several episodes live and hold a panel discussion and a meet-the-cast autograph session.
(Left to Right, above: Tom Kenny, Carlos Alazraqui and Mr. Lawrence behind the scenes, back in the day)
Visual effects shop The Mill has started posting monthly videos from their lecture series with various animation creatives – starting this week with director, producer and notorious Spumco big-shot, Bob Camp. Check out this Q&A between Bob and his friend, The Mill‘s Ross Scroble. Bob discusses how he got his start in the industry, how it’s evolved and why drawing is never going to go away. Good stuff here, worth a watch:
Frank Thomas, one of Disney’s famed “Nine Old Men” supervising character animators – as well as the piano playing member Ward Kimball’s Fire House Five Plus Two – would have been 100 years old today. Thomas passed away passed away eight years ago on September 8, 2004 at age 92.
Thomas’ remarkable animation included such scenes as the first date and spaghetti dinner in Lady and the Tramp, Thumper teaching Bambi how to ice-skate, Baloo the bear telling the man-cub Mowgli that he can’t stay in the jungle in The Jungle Book, Pinocchio trapped in the birdcage by the evil puppeteer Stromboli, the lovesick squirrel whose heart is broken in The Sword in the Stone, Captain Hook playing the piano in Peter Pan, the dancing penguins in Mary Poppins, among others. He also animated several of Mickey Mouse’s most impressive scenes in such shorts as The Pointer and Brave Little Tailor.
Thomas retired from animation in January 1978, then spent the next five years with his lifelong friend and colleague Ollie Johnston writing the definitive book on their craft, Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, one of the greatest books ever written about animation.
He’s gone now, but will never be forgotten. Let’s take a moment to remember…
Happy Birthday, Frank.