Dark Horse Comics has announced a Disney Gremlins book-signing taking place next week. A special signing at the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store in Hollywood will be held on Wednesday evening, March 19th, to celebrate the release of The Return of the Gremlins. This new comic book, by Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson, updates the characters created in the Roald Dahl’s aborted Disney wartime Gremlins project. Dean Yeagle, the artist on the comic book, and Leonard Maltin (who wrote the introduction to the hardcover Gremlins reprint) will be joining Richardson at the signing.
The Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store is stocking up on the various Gremlins books, toys and statuettes. Here are the details: The event will be from 6:00- 9:00pm. Richardson, Yeagle and Maltin will sign between 7:00-9:00pm. The Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store is located at 6834 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, CA. Should be a fun event. See ya there!
Once again, Disney marketing has invaded the frozen food aisle. Not sure how long this has been out there, but I just discovered Mickey Mouse Pizza. Is it me, or is there something just plain wrong about eating a beloved cartoon icon made of a tomato-like sauce and artificial mozzarella cheese?
I suppose it could be worse, I suppose they could top it with salami.
There is a reason I plug Steve Moore’s online FLIP magazine every month: It’s damn good! The latest edition, now up, features the amazing DEAN YEAGLE discussing Zander’s Animation Parlour – with clips of several classic Jack Zander commercials (Freakies cereal, Good n’ Plenty candy, Crest Cavity Creeps, etc.); features on artist SUE BLANCHARD, illustrator RICHARD MORGAN and an interview with toy collector/creator/Pixar character designer JEFF PIDGEON. Go here and flip out!
I just got a copy of Christopher Lehman’s latest book, The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films. 1907-1954. It’s an un-illustrated, 137-page survey of the black stereotypes and African American cultural influences in the Hollywood cartoons we all grew up with, and most of us still enjoy today.
Lehman goes out of his way not to applaud, criticize or denounce these films. He mainly reports in an even handed way, that they were made, what images they contain, and records any controversies surrounding them. Though he covers almost every black character I’m aware of (including Lantz’s L’il Eightball, Pal’s Jasper and Famous Studios’ Buzzy) he neglects to mention Chuck Jones’ Inki, a pretty significant character. And I’m not sure I agree with his assertions that Bugs Bunny’s personality was essentially a “black cultural characterization”. But overall Lehman did his homework, with considerable research on the NAACP’s protests against such cartoons as Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs and Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat. For more info on this publication, visit the University of Massachusetts Press website.
Lasseter has selected Dumbo (1941) and a special program of animated shorts for the evening. The archive’s Honorary Chairman and series curator Curtis Hanson will host the program, which will start at 7:30pm in the Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd. at Westwood Blvd. (in the courtyard level of the Hammer Museum). Advance tickets are available for $10 at www.cinema.ucla.edu. Tickets are also available at the Billy Wilder Theater box office starting one hour before showtime: $9, general admission; $8 for students, seniors and UCLA Alumni.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will pay tribute to Tex Avery and Michael Maltese, both born a century ago in early 1908, on Monday March 24th at the Linwood Dunn Theatre (on Vine Street) in Hollywood. If we have to tell you who Avery and Maltese are, you shouldn’t be reading this website.
Crossing paths at the Leon Schlesinger studio in the 1930s and 40s, their collaborations and later individual career achievements are among the greatest moments in animation history. The Academy’s tribute, entitled Putting Looney in the Toons, includes some of the classic shorts Avery and Maltese worked on together, as well as separately from their individual careers. The program will also feature audio presentations of rare recorded interviews with both Avery and Maltese discussing their careers with film historian Joe Adamson.
Tickets are available for advance purchase beginning next Monday (3/3). General admission is $5.00 ($3. for students). The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, 1313 Vine Street, in Hollywood. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved. For additional information check the Academy website.
Last week Warner Home Video announced the release date (June 17th) of Popeye Vol. 2.
One of the bonus materials mentioned on the official sales sheet was the 1939 Max Fleischer feature film, Gulliver’s Travels — and this has confused many people (at least according to email I recieved). I’ve just received the actual, final list of bonus materials to be included on this set and Gulliver has been dropped. (I have no idea where they would’ve gotten the print from, or how it would’ve fit on the crammed two disc set). No need to fret, however, over the loss of an oft-seen widely available animated feature. The bonus goodies included in this package are even more exciting — particularly several rare items unavailable anywhere else.
Here then, is the full and accurate list of extra content on Popeye the Sailor Vol. 2:
The Jeep by Historian Glenn Mitchell
Bulldozing the Bull by Writer Paul Dini
Mutiny Ain’t Nice by Filmmaker Greg Ford
Goonland by Historian Glenn Mitchell
A Date to Skate by Historian Michael Barrier with Animator Gordon Sheehan
Cops is Always Right by Historian Michael Barrier with Animator Dave Tendlar
Customers Wanted by Director Eric Goldberg
Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp by Filmmaker Greg Ford
Wotta Nightmare by Historian Jerry Beck
Hello, How am I? by Animator Mark Kausler
It’s the Natural Thing to Do by Historian Michael Barrier with Animator Arnold Gillespie
Popeye Popumentaries Eugene the Jeep: A Breed of His Own – Running Time: 3:14 Poopdeck Pappy: The Nasty Old Man and the Sea – RT: 5:07 O-Re-Mi: Mae Questel and the Voices of Olive Oyl – RT: 8:30 Out of the Inkwell: The Fleischer Story – RT: 48:00
Stealin Ain’t Honest by Director Bob Jaques
Puttin on the Act by Historian Daniel Goldmark
Popeye Meets William Tell by Filmmaker Greg Ford with Animator Shamus Culhane
Popeye Popumentaries Men of Spinach and Steel RT: 6:21
From the Vault Paramount Presents Popular Science (1938 Paramount short; behind the scenes at Fleischer’s Miami studio) – RT: 6:16 The Mechnical Monsters (1941 Superman short) – RT: 11:01 Early Max Fleischer Art Gallery – RT: 3:04 Females is Fickle Pencil Test – RT: 0:29 Stealin Ain’t Honest – Storyboard Reel – RT: 6:00 est. I’m Popeye the Sailor Man Vintage Audio Recording – RT: 2:27 (audio only)
Michael Sporn Interviews Jack Mercer – RT: 6:12 (audio only)
This year it takes place on Saturday, March 1, at 1pm. Tributes will be paid to:
Renee Alcazar Â· Roger Armstrong Â· Dick Arnall Â· Warren Batchelder Â· Max Becraft Â· Pat Boyd Â· Sheila Brown Â· Erica Cassetti Â· Harvey Cohen Â· Alberto De Mello Â· Greg Drolette Â· Walker Edmiston Ray Erlenborn Â· Natatcha Estebanez Â· Becky Fallberg Â· Mary Lou Ferguson Â· Ben Ferrer Â· Lu Guarnier. Ed Hansen Â· Terry Harrison Â· Florence Heintz Â· Dave Hilberman Â· Dick Hoffman Â· Steve Krantz . Ryan Larkin Â· Carol Lundberg Â· Celine Miles Marcus Â· John Marshall Â· Roberta Gruetert Marshall . Tom O’Loughlin Â· Henry Ortiz Â· Brant Parker Â· Nicole Pascal Â· Charles Nelson Reilly Â· Will Schaefer . Charlene Singleton Â· Ken Southworth Â· Art Stevens Â· James Street Â· Iwao Takamoto Â· Aleksandr Tatarskiy . Caren Terry Â· Jim Thurman Â· Elbert Tuganov Â· Al Wilson Â· Jack Zander
The Afternoon of Remembrance is free of charge and is open to all. No RSVPs necessary. Food and refreshments, 1 pm * Memoriams, 2 pm
Hollywood Heritage Museum (Lasky-DeMille Barn)
2100 N. Highland (across from Hollywood Bowl), Hollywood, California.
The image above can only mean one thing: Brewmaster Jerry Beck will once again be broadcasting live on Shokus Internet Radio.
Tomorrow, Wednesday February 27th from 4pm to 6pm Pacific time (that’s 7pm to 9pm for you in the Eastern Time Zone) Stu Shostak and I will be discussing classic cartoon DVD compilations like Popeye Vol. 2, Woody Woodpecker Vol. 2 and other classic animation DVDs. If you have a specific question you want answered, call in during the broadcast and ask me, toll free (888) 746-5875. Click here to listen in. If you miss the show, it’ll be rerun for the next seven days at the same time.
Brew reader Michael Losure is a graduate student at the Texas A&M Viz lab who recently finished work on a couple of projects worth a look.
The first is a 3 minute CG short, just finished, named Goobees. It’s a darkly comic film about the inner workings of a vending machine, with a senario that’s a cross between Braveheart and Candyland. Losure and his partners — Seth Freeman, Tony Piedra, Patrick O’Brien — spent 18 months making the CG short inbetween taking classes and dealing with other college obligations.
The second is a stop-motion music video for the band Motion City Soundtrack. A fellow A&M lab student, Lauren Simpson, won an mtvU contest to direct a music video. Losure became the lead animator and editor. The resulting video, It Had To Be You, is a lot of fun – and a pretty good song. Losure adds:
I’m sending the films to you because I’m proud of them as films, not because I think the actual character animation itself necessarily meets Cartoon Brew standards. I have a strong interest in animation, but my schooling and job (I’ll start an FX position at Dreamworks this summer) are more technical. The viz lab specializes in the technical side of computer graphics – and on merging artistic skills with the technical – but there is no specific coursework in animation. I don’t think we’re very well known in the animation industry as a whole (probably because we don’t usually produce animators or shorts), but a lot of our graduates end up in various TD positions at the big animation companies (Seth and Tony are now at Pixar doing rigging and matte painting, and Patrick, Lauren and I are signed with Dreamworks for lighting and FX).
Pretty good for student work at a school that doesn’t teach animation per se. Pixar and Dreamworks are lucky to get you.
Cartoon Dump resumes its monthly Los Angeles performances tonight at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood. Our February show includes our regular cast — including MST3K’s Frank Conniff, me (above left) and “Cue Card Goddess” (above right) — the worst cartoons ever made, and special comedy guest star Morgan Murphy.
It’s a great big load of fun. And don’t take my word for it… read Peter Sanderson’s rave review at Quick Stop Entertainment. Join us tonight at 8pm!
Here’s a fun website to browse: Radio Use Only is a new site devoted to collecting and making accessible downloads of rare radio station promo discs. One highlight is this rare Hanna Barbera recording especially made for Los Angeles radio station KFWB, featuring the song (with special lyrics) “Open Up Your Heart and Let The Sunshine In” (famously featured on the 1965 Flintstones episode “No Biz Like Show Biz”).
I had the pleasure of meeting animator Jakob Jensen over this past weekend. Jensen has worked in the animation industry since the age of 17 with stints at A Film in Copenhagen and Amblimation in London, before settling down at Dreamworks Animation in Los Angeles in 1995 (as animator on The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Madagascar and all the others. He is currently the Animation Director on Warner Bros. Astro Boy at Imagi Animation Studios).
Jensen gave me a copy of his recently self-published book My First Imperial ABC, a beautifully illustrated spoof of American media and politics disguised as a children’s primer. Jensen “juxtaposes over-used, politically charged words with drawings expressing the author’s dismay with our current state of affairs.” Jensen edited together a video preview (with a bit of animation) of the books cartoon content and posted it on You Tube. I’d love to see a fully animated film based on these ABC’s – till then, this delightful book will have to do.
David Gerstein and Cole Johnson found this delightfully primitive 1934 Japanese cartoon about a war in 1936(?). Clearly inspired by Hollywood cartoons of the era, one can read plenty into the fact that the brave Japanese warriors are doing battle with a “mickey mouse” army. Says Gerstein:
Maybe it’s a “Nutcracker Suite”-inspired thing? Dunno if the “Nutcracker” was known in Japan in the 1930s, and this uses pre-”Nutcracker” classical themes, but it does have a mouse kingdom trying to take over a toyland-like world. What’s great, though, is that the mice are obvious Mickey clones, and at about 1:45 a cat lead briefly mutates into Felix. The music over the main and end titles sounds like it belongs with a 1930 Terrytoon or Van Beuren, doesn’t it?
If anyone can translate the title or tell us more about the film’s plot, we are eager to learn.
Courtesy of Marc Schirmeister, The Asifa Hollywood Animation Archive has posted the complete 18-page Crimebuster story from a 1942 issue of Boy Comics. The story, written by Charles Biro and drawn by future stooge-in-law Norman Maurer, uses the fictional Acme Animation Studio as a backdrop. There are references to animators with some familiar sounding names (Gordon, Tyre (sic), Lovey (sic), Foster). Read it here.
Over ten years ago I was given two drawings. I guess youd call them pin-up cartoon girls. They’re signed JENKINS. On the back of one says, ROY JENKINS, 12625 Welby Way, N. Hollywood. Could it be the same animator who’s name appears on several Columbia Screen Gems cartoons (Cat-tastrophy, Big House Blues and Boston Beanie). Any information would be much appreciated.
Jenkins also did a stint at Walter Lantz in the 1960s. I’ll throw it open to our readers. Does anyone know anymore about the life and career of Roy Jenkins? These drawings (which seem to be inspired by the Bill Ward school) are pretty hot. (click on thumbnails below for larger image)
It was officially announced today that Popeye the Sailor Vol. 2 from Warner Home Video will be released on June 17th 2008. Bonus materials will include a documentary on the Fleischer Studios, an interview with Jack Mercer, and the complete Fleischer feature film Gulliver’s Travels (1939). I’ll reveal more information on the bonus features in a future post, closer to the release date. In the meantime, enjoy this rare title card (below), snapped with my notoriously funky cel phone camera, off a glare-filled TV screen. It’s the original opening title card to Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp, not seen since it’s initial release in 1939. This film, the third Technicolor two-reel Popeye special, and thirty other Popeye black & white classics will presented complete, uncut and beautifully restored on this landmark volume.
Steve Stanchfield (Thunderbean Animation) — forever on the outlook for Preston Blair swipes as he travels across the nation — spotted this architectural curiosity (above).
Mary and I were travelling recently through Lexington, KY and saw this. Doesn’t this building scream “Drinking is FUN!”??? It seems as if they either really liked a certain newer animation building in Burbank (at left), or were making fun of the fact that so many animators loved the sauce. Maybe if Disney ever decides to scrap animation all together they can sell the building to these folks!
I’d like to make a reference to “Pink Elephants On Parade”… but I think I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Ric Scozzari, the sculptor who supervised the resoration of the beloved Rocky and Bullwinkle statue on Sunset Blvd. sent in these photos (below) and recollections:
I worked exclusively for Tiffany Ward (his daughter) and Ramona Ward (Jay’s wife). I was the carpenter, sculptor, coordinator, engineer, plasterer, painter, draftsman/artist for both the statue and the final restoration of the store (before it closed, and was renovated, yet again, by a new tenant). I have a before (above) and after (below) of Jay Ward’s, “Animation Dream Machine” mural that I totally redid myself (after 50 years of oxidation,..that might be interesting for your readers to see also).
I was the “total package” for Tiffany regarding the construction and consultation and she loved having a “one stop shop” guy look out for her and her families precious 2-dimensional jewels.
The Bullwinkle and Rocky statue was originally done in steel and fiberglass (back in the late 1950′s),..then years later, someone thought to cover it in “paper mache” (wrong!… on so many levels) I stripped that off, wrapped Bullwinkle and Rocky in surgical plaster bandages and then put a slurry of outdoor industrial plaster for a final coat,..just like the old days in Coney Island figures on the boardwalk. Then I primed and painted with industrial paint with a high UV content (’cause of all that California weather, non fading). Now they are ready for their close-up after getting really, really plastered! Hoky Smoke!
Anyone know who designed the original Animation Dream Machine mural (above)? Bill Hurtz? Click on images below for a closer look.
Steve Hulett, over on the daily must-read The Animation Guild blog, lists all the known union projects currently in production in L.A. — including a few Disney items I’d never heard of (Joe Jump? King of the Elves?).
Most intriguing project: Batman Anime (Gotham Knight?) at Warner Bros. Scariest titles mentioned: Tinkerbell 2 and 3(!) from Disneytoon Studios.
Are you ready to put this in your “Bikini Bottom”?
I was shopping at the supermarket yesterday when I came upon a unique piece of Nickelodeon merchandising – a Spongebob Squarepants Musical Rectal Thermometer! Yes, it’s musical. And yes, it’s clearly marked for rectal use. It actually plays the Spongebob theme in your ass when your temperature is taken!
Spongebob is a huge success, and merchandise like this literally sticks it to the competition. But this product ranks with the infamous Mickey Mouse vibrator as one of the most miscast in cartoon licensing history! What were they thinking? Spongebob has enough trouble regarding his sexual identity. Ren & Stimpy may have been a better choice here… but Spongebob? Nah!
“It’s like a children’s show, but in Bosnia!” -Patton Oswalt
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Highly Recommended!” and “Best pick of the week!” – Time Out NY
One more quick little plug for our Cartoon Dump live comedy show tonight in New York City. Join Frank Conniff and Erica Doering at 8pm at Comix at 353 West 14th Street. Ordering advance tickets (before 2pm) is a few bucks cheaper than buying them at the door.