Q: What do you get if you combine Jessica Rabbit and Winnie Woodpecker?
A: The logo for Major Woody’s Bar in downtown Columbus, Ohio and a very disturbing image.
Q: What do you get if you combine Jessica Rabbit and Winnie Woodpecker?
A: The logo for Major Woody’s Bar in downtown Columbus, Ohio and a very disturbing image.
I just saw Ted Thomas’ feature Walt and El Grupo that just had its world premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. It is a documentary about Walt and some of his staff on a goodwill tour of South America in 1941 that occurred during the strike at the studio. It provides an excellent account of why the tour happened and what resulted from the adventure. The story is told using interviews of Latin Americans and relatives of the people who went, footage from Disney TV shows about the trip, lots of still photographs, art work created on the trip, 16mm “home movies” shot by the people who went (often hand held footage and probably shot on Kodachrome film so the colors are still excellent), newspaper coverage that sometimes included grim reminders of the coming war on the same page as a photo of Walt, plus lots of modern footage. One nice design element is Ted uses lots of well registered dissolves between modern color and historic b/w photos often set to charming music. John Canemaker and J. B. Kaufman do a valuable job provided historical details/background information. The documentary has some really important material in it, but it does drag at times. I’m not sure of the length, but it seemed like it lasted about 2 hours.
Walt and El Grupo is really is an impressive accomplishment and provides a great deal of information about the trip, plus rarely talked about details about Disney’s studio and Walt before, during and after the strike. The all too brief segment on Mary Blair is one of many excellent highlights. It also has some interesting comments by people in South America about the films that resulted from the trip (mostly favorable, but…). I hope ASIFA-Hollywood can present it with Ted present, and eventually all Cartoon Brew readers can see it soon on a big screen at a film festival. I assume Disney will eventually release it on DVD; Ted’s earlier work includes the important feature length documentary Frank and Ollie.
Tomorrow night in Manhattan is the big event. And there is still time to get tickets and a good seat. And it’s FREE!
Hobnob with the finest animators in New York City, as ASIFA-East Presents The 39th Annual ASIFA-East Animation Festival. The most anticipated local animation event of the year: Awards, films and a glorious reception afterwards (sponsored by Cartoon Network).
Sunday May 4, 2008
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: Tishman Auditorium at The New School, 66 W. 12th St (bet. 5th/6th Ave.)
This image just makes me smile.
Shirt.woot, a website devoted to offering tee shirts with unique designs, had this doozy up the other day, Finding Technicolor. It was drawn by New Zealand based illustrator David Creighton-Pester, and I love the Terry/Van Beuren feel to it.
(Thanks, Travis Gentry)
Michael Jantze, former art director at ILM and former newspaper cartoonist (The Norm), has started animating cute little films
in flash with traditional animation and Adobe After Effects that have a nice UPA feel. At Your Service is the first in a series.
UPDATE: Recieved some further information about the Mr. Lux shorts direct from its lead animator:
My name is Kelly McNutt, lead animator for Jantze Studios.
It’s great to see that Mr. Lux found its way to Cartoon Brew! But allow me a quick note on how we produced the Mr. Lux shorts: we used a combination of traditional animation (scanned inks, no less) and Adobe After Effects, but no Flash. The individual hand-drawn animation segments were assembled and selectively augmented with AE animation for the sake of efficiency due to a very small production team and relatively short production schedule. The goal was to retain a traditional feel as much as possible and to capitalize on AE’s strengths and minimize its weaknesses by designing around them. I would point you to this other short we created using the same method, but with more traditional animation (as it was a far shorter production): Tech Tips with Boy Norm.
Also, we’ve just this week received word that Mr. Lux has been accepted for Cannes Short Film Corner, so we’re feeling rather enthusiastic these days.
(Thanks, Adam Perry)
This note just in from Bill Kroyer:
I think this would be of interest to some of your readers: I’m hosting a public program at the Motion Picture Academy on Friday, May 16th about the changing world of production design.
You might remember I do these programs as a member of the Science & Technology Council. The first two were strictly animation focused: THE ANIMATED PERFORMANCE and ANIMATION INVADES LIVE ACTION.
Talking to Ralph Eggleston I was struck by the similarities in spirit but radical differences in tools when comparing his experience as a designer with the classic guys like Robert Boyle. So we put together a show with all the latest technology and lots of Oscar winners to showcase what’s changing and what’s coming.
The Art, Science and Psychology of Production Design will feature onstage presentations by production designers Alex McDowell (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Minority Report), Doug Chiang (Beowulf, The Polar Express”) and Ralph Eggleston (The Incredibles, Finding Nemo). It will also present a real-time pre-visualization demonstration by pre-visualization director Daniel Gregoire (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Spiderwick Chronicles) and a review of new technologies by art director Daniel Jennings (G-Force, Matchstick Men). The program will also include a brief history of production design under the studio system, featuring an onstage conversation with legendary production designer Robert Boyle.
Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Doors open at 7 p.m. All seating is unreserved. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For additional information, visit oscars.org.
Got a postcard from Marv Newland today. He wrote:
The Vancouver Art Gallery is launching a large scale exhibit on May 16th, to run until September 7th. It is called Krazy!, with a tip of the hat to the Kat. Comics, graphic novels, manga, games (computer) and animated films. Tim Johnson of Dreamworks co-curated the film selection and he did a good job!
This installation is tied into co-curator Bruce Grenville’s new book. Art Spiegelman also helped curate the show and will give a talk May 15th (as will Newland, May 20th, on the history of animation in Vancouver). A list of lectures tied into this exhibit is here. If you are in the Northwest, check it out!
In North America, more kids think of Popeye as a Fried Chicken resturant chain. In Chile, Popeye represents a bar of soap. Brew reader Diego Cumplido sent this in. “I remember doing little sculptures in school made of Popeye’s Soap when I was a kid. It reads “since 1949″ and “the power of cleaning”.
If you find unusual food or product merchandising using classic cartoon characters (aka characters no longer running on American television), please share an image with us.
Nostalgic for a Looney Tunes fix? Need a new Scooby Doo tumbler or a Tweety and Sylvester bookend? Brew reader Michael Levine and his wife just got back from traveling in Hong Kong. In Macau they stumbled upon an actual - gasp! - Warner Bros. Studio Store! Says Michael:
“I thought the pics of Chinese landmarks with Bugs and Tweety on them would interest you. I guess images of historic areas with Looney Tunes characters on it, are what people want – ?.”
As we cartoon fanboys anxiously await a big Disney Oswald merchandising blitz, it’s a bit disheartening to learn that one initial line of upscale merch is being directed exclusively towards the ladies.
Oswald footwear is currently being sold in the finest Paris fashion boutiques, via Brazilian shoemaker Melissa. These “Ultragirl peep-toe flats”, adorned with a retro Lucky Rabbit design, are apparently all the rage.
Can sneakers be far behind?
(Thanks, David Gerstein)
Unusual article in today’s L.A. Daily News about a cache of letters dating from 1918, sent by future animation director (Woody Woodpecker voice and Bugs Bunny namesake) Ben Hardaway (above right). The article points out something even more interesting — Ben’s son Bob (above left) is still alive and was a musician with Benny Goodman’s orchestra. Who knew?
(Thanks, Mark Kausler)
The 2nd annual Animation Book Look is the place to be. The Creative Talent Network and Van Eaton Galleries are presenting an all day book signing event on May 17th with appearances by a large number of artists and authors representing over seventy-five books. Everything from children’s books to artist’s sketchbooks, from illustration to fine-art, and from How To’s to History Of’s. Join me, along with Martha Sigall, Tom Sito, Rik Maki, Tony White, Willie Ito, Jim Smith, Amanda Visell, Stephen Silver, Maureen Furniss, Jon Gibson, Mike Kunkel and dozens more on Saturday May 17th, 2008 from 1:00pm-6:00pm.
VAN EATON GALLERIES
13613 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA
The Animation Book Look is free and open to the public. Animation Magazine and MyToons are sponsoring the event. For a List of Authors and Books visit the website. You may pre-order signed and dedicated books online starting May 1st. If you have any questions, please call Van Eaton Galleries at 818-788-2357.
An article in today’s NY Times on the shocking proliferation of racist cartoons on You Tube has had an (unintended?) effect in further spreading the awareness of said cartoons. Gawker has just posted a link to it, adding to it an (awful quality) embed of Clampett’s Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs.
The Times article is somewhat sympathetic to the idea that these cartoons should be released legally. In the last paragraph, Michael Barrier, is quoted saying the cartoons should be “presented in an informed way for an intelligent, adult audience.” Barrier also said the Censored 11’s appearance on YouTube “shows that there is a demand, so the logical step would be to release them in a way that is profitable for you as a copyright holder.”
Among a cache of recently discovered American silent films from 1912-1927 was one cartoon, Mutt and Jeff in On Strike (1920). It, along with seven others, will be restored via a new international cooperative film preservation program between the major U.S. archives and Australia.
The cartoon itself is interesting as it reflects and lampoons the strikes and labor strife common in the US during the post World War I period. The plot has Mutt and Jeff going on strike when they are refused a pay raise and their attempts to make their own cartoons. “Chastened by the experience, they return wiser workers.” It also features a rare on screen appearance of Mutt & Jeff creator/cartoonist Bud Fisher. Exhibition prints will be distributed to the U.S. archives for screenings later this year.
UPDATE: The cartoon has been posted online, click here.
Is this the fate of Bugs Bunny?
(Thanks, Doran Gaston)
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences new lobby exhibition, Ink & Paint, opens to the public on Friday May 16th. It highlights the work of animation artists who have devoted decades to creating the characters, storyboards, color keys, backgrounds, layouts, and cels needed to assemble the classic, 2-D Hollywood animated cartoons. According to the press release:
Encompassing all stages of the filmmaking process, this exhibition showcases artwork from the 1940s through the 1990s and features such animated classics as Alice In Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, Gay Purr-ee, The Secret of NIMH, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Lion King and The Iron Giant as well as from Oscar-winning shorts starring such timeless characters as Mr. Magoo, Winnie the Pooh and the Pink Panther, as well as Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons and the Academy Award-winning shorts of UPA.
Artists whose work is represented include Ãlvaro Arce (The Prince and the Pauper), Mary Blair (Cinderella), Paul Carlson (Gay Purr-ee), Ron Dias (The Secret of NIMH), Ann Guenther (Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too), Michael Humphries (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Homer Jonas (Sleeping Beauty), Art Leonardi (Pink Panther), Abe Levitow (1001 Arabian Nights), and Gloria Wood (Gay Purr-ee).
The Academy’s Grand Lobby Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Please note the Academy will be closed May 24-26 and July 4-6 in observance of Memorial Day and Independence Day.
I can’t stand Popeyes Chicken, but if the restaurants looked like this one in Puerto Rico I might give them another try.
This one, recommended by one of our readers, is on Highway 3 between San Juan and Luquillo, hasn’t gone all “New Orleans”, but continues to embrace its animated namesake. I’ve been told Popeyes is very popular on the island, and all of them have some sort of reference to the character. Click on each photo for a larger image.
Aaron Higgins of Toonarific has started a new website devoted to cataloging classic coloring books. As an art resource, it’s invaluable as the site is showcasing and preserving coloring book art since the 1930s. Higgins’ RetroReprints site is a guide to what books have been published over the years, and he is slowly adding images under the books themselves for users to download and color. He is also reformatting the images and creating complete ebooks, also available to download.
And in case you were wondering where you could buy vintage coloring books of your favorite characters, Aaron also has over 1000 coloring and activity books for sale here on ebay.
The television broadcast premiere of Leslie Iwerks documentary, The Pixar Story, will be on the STARZ cable channel tonight at 10pm EST/PST. It will be preceded by the feature presentations of Cars (6pm ET/PT) and Ratatouille (8pm ET/PT). Also visit starz.com for additional show times and two new Leslie Iwerks mini-docs, Emeryville Studio and the Love Lounge and Pixar University.
Charles Shopsin has posted a January 1941 article from Popular Science about Disney’s pioneering sound processes for Fantasia on his Modern Mechanix blog. It features some unique photos of the sound engineers and audio technicians at work on this groundbreaking achievement.
The 12th Marc Davis Celebration of Animation Drawing on the Future: Mentorship In Animation will feature (above L to R) Pete Docter (Monsters Inc), Eric Goldberg (Pocahontas), James Baxter (Enchanted) and Andreas Deja (Aladdin), in a panel moderated by animation critic Charles Solomon. The panelists will spotlight the mentors who fostered their professional development, as well as provide insights into their individual approaches to their art. The lecture will include clips from the animation that inspired each of the panelists, and from their own work reflecting that inspiration.
The Marc Davis Celebration of Animation will be held on Friday May 9th, 7:30pm, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, CA (Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd.). Tickets are $5.00 (Students $3) and available online at Oscars.org.
Thanks to several of our readers, I’ve just caught up with this music video from French music group, Justice. It’s directed by Jonas and FranÃ§ois, a directing team at production company 75 in Paris. The art director and designer is So Me of Ed Banger Records. This creative team was also behind Kanye West’s The Good Life. Check that one out too.
(Thanks, Kelly Toon and Brad Constantine)
One of my favorite non-animation websites is Trailers From Hell. This site archives various genre (mainly sci-fi/fantasy/horror) film trailers with commentary by noted directors (including Joe Dante, John Landis, Allan Arkush, etc.). I’ve been waiting for them to get around to doing an animation trailer and they finally have. Here’s documentary filmmaker (and childhood friend of Disney director, Kirk Wise) George Hickenlooper discussing his love of Yellow Submarine:
That’s Gene Deitch (left) examining cels of Bert and Harry Piels (of the famed Piels Beer commercials) with director Connie Rasinski in 1957.
J.J. Sedelmaier recently unearthed several rare photographs depicting behind the scenes life at Terrytoons during the Deitch era (1955-57). They have been added to Deitch’s online book, How To Succeed in Animation. You can see these pictures in Chapter 15A (“Terrytoonery”) on Page 8 (shots of Vinnie Bell, Bob Kuwahara, and Connie Rasinski), page 10 (photo of background artist Bill Focht) and on page 11 (rare pictures of Jules Feiffer, Eli Bauer, Frank Schudde, a recording session of Tom Terrific with Lionel Wilson and Tommy Morrison, and the only known photo of “the Dark Lord”, Bill Weiss!).
It was announced today that Viacom and Paramount have teamed with MGM and Lionsgate to create a new cable channel to compete with HBO and Showtime (which is owned by CBS). The channel will be mainly showing new movies, and it is not yet clear whether this will be a basic cable or a premium pay channel, but the initial press release says “the new venture will have access to motion picture titles spanning the vast libraries of the five studios”. And they plan to push its video-on-demand capabilities.
The announcement of your new cable TV venture has me very excited. I especially like that you are going to use the “vast libraries” of the partner companies to create this new venue for programming. My only concern is that you might overlook the thousands of classic animation titles in your massive holdings.
Viacom/Paramount has rights to the Terrytoons library, hundreds of cartoons which include such rarely seen cartoon characters like Mighty Mouse, Heckle & Jeckle, Deputy Dawg and many others. Paramount also owns classic cartoon shorts of the 1960s. Lionsgate has licensed from you (and does nothing with) the pre-1950 Paramount cartoons which include Little Lulu, George Pal’s Academy Award winning Puppetoons, and the library of Betty Boop cartoons, amongst much else. Together, you can make these classics available for the first time in decades.
Additionally, MGM brings the DePatie-Freleng cartoons to the table. This library includes Oscar winning Pink Panther shorts, and numerous other cartoons featuring The Ant And the Aardvark, The Inspector and the Tijuana Toads.
And guess what? Your home video divisions have only released a fraction of the material you own. Making them available now on cable would provide you with unique, exclusive, entertaining fillers that people of all ages will enjoy. I know you aren’t starting a children’s channel, nor competing with Cartoon Network, but these classic animated shorts are a lot of fun, and deserve to be seen.
So unearth your old cartoons. Make them available as interstitials between programming or for video-on-demand purchase. Believe it or not, people really want to see them.
Best of luck,
This trailer has been out for almost a year, but in case you missed it (or the newer, more action packed one leaked on Gizmodo) I thought I’d open it up here to comments. This Star Wars feature, compiled from episodes of the forthcoming Cartoon Network series, will open August 15th in movie theaters.