Long before Hanna Barbera’s Oscar-winning cat and mouse, a decade before Van Beuren’s rubber-hose human pair, a comical duo named Tom and Jerry created mischef on movie screens in animated theatrical short subjects that have long been forgotten – and are perhaps lost for all time.
In the image above, Tom is the man and Jerry is the mule. This was a stop-motion Tom and Jerry series, filmed in Los Angeles in the 1920′s, modeled and animated by Joseph Leeland Roop, a stop-motion pioneer who today is just as forgotten as the films themselves. Lee Roop, his grandson, is presently preparing a book about the animator and provided Cartoon Brew with tantalizing information about the original Tom & Jerry films.
Lee says J.L. Roop worked on twelve shorts for producer Lloyd C. Haynes, released between 1923-1924. All are (as of this writing) lost films. If anyone has any clues to their whereabouts, please contact us. The titles are:
The Incomparable Aerial Comedians in Fly-Time by H. C. Matthews
The Amiable Comedians in Throbs and Thrills (“A Snappy Railroad Comedy Drama”) by H. C. Matthews Gasoline Trail by Bumps Adams Tom’s First Fliver by Bumps Adams Tom Turns Sleuth by Doris E. Kemper Tom Turns Farmer by Doris E. Kemper Tom’s Charm by Marshall Roop Moonshine Frolic by Glen Lambert Tom Turns Hero by Doris E. Kemper The Jungle of Prehistoric Animals by G. E. Baily Ph. D. The Hypnotist
Tom Goes on Vacation
Lee Roop provided this biographical information:
Joseph Leeland Roop was born in Kentucky on December 22, 1869 and died on December 22, 1932 in Glendale California. He was a sculptor most of his life and his work can be found in Indiana, Kentucky, and California.
When he died he was working for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and made most of the Early California History miniature dioramas which most are still on display. He also started and almost finished some of the statues at the Page Museum in Los Angeles (The La Brea Tar Pits) but died before he finished them and Herman Beck finished them and got the credit. You can find the picture of the saber tooth tiger on the internet.
He worked on the 1925 version of The Lost World making and animating some of the dinosaur scenes. His picture is on the Ray Harryhausen website as a early pioneer. He worked on the 1926 version The Gorilla Hunt, making the gorilla model and animating the scenes. He carved a fourteen foot wooden indian which is still in San Bernardino.
Lee sent three images (thumbnails below – click to see larger image). 1. a trade advertisement for the Tom & Jerry series, 2. An article from the May 1924 Popular Mechanics magazine, 3. Second page of P.M. article:
This is the kind of stuff I crave, new information on the unsung pioneers of animation history. Mr. Roop will keep me informed on the progress of his book – and I thank him for sending us this little preview.
Megan Lynch is a singer/songwriter who, like many of us, learned classic American popular songs via watching Warner Bros. cartoons. Lynch has been active in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 20 years or so and on her debut album, Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me, she is accompanied by Tony Marcus and Robert Armstrong of The Cheap Suit Serenaders (Armstrong himself is a well-known animation fan and underground cartoonist. He created Mickey Rat back in the day).
Songs on the album include Hello Ma Baby, I Love To Singa, Someone’s Rockin’ My Dreamboat, The Latin Quarter and eight more you’ll surely recognize. I found it a total joy to listen to. You can purchase a cd or download an mp3 via cdbaby, though Lynch has graciously allowed Cartoon Brew readers to enjoy the entire album free, via the embed below:
Attention! If you are hungry for a new Bill Plympton cartoon – or some great barbeque steak – New York’s Hill Country Barbecue Market will present the world premiere of Plympton’s latest, The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger on Tuesday March 2nd. Plympton will be there to introduce his brand-new cartoon short, along with live performances by his musical collaborators Nicole Renaud and Maureen McElheron. Everyone who comes receives a free Bill Plympton cow drawing.
When: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010, 6-8pm
Location: Hill Country Barbecue Market is located at 30 West 26th St., NY.
Each year I’m dismayed at the lack of U.S. distribution for several high quality theatrical animated features, out of the dozens of really good ones, produced around the world.
However, I recognize that not all non-U.S. features are of the quality of The Secret of Kells, Persepolis, Waltz With Bashir or The Triplettes of Belleville. Here are two examples of recent Euro-features that will probably never see the light of day at an American multi-plex (though I wouldn’t rule them out from the $1 dollar bin at Target):
Once each year at the DeMille Barn in Hollywood, the Animation Guild, ASIFA-Hollywood and Women In Animation present An Afternoon of Remembrance, “a non-denominational celebration of departed friends from our animation community”.
This year the event takes place on Saturday, March 13th, at 1pm (A reception precedes the memorial at 12 noon). Tributes will be paid to many, including:
Wayne Allwine, Ray Aragon, Dina Babbitt, Bob Broughton, Art Clokey, Vincent Davis, Virginia Davis, Jaime Diaz, Roy E. Disney, Bob Dranko, Heinz Edelmann, Ric Estrada, Victor Haboush, Dallas McKennon, Marty Murphy, Tony Peters, Arnold Stang and others.
The Afternoon of Remembrance is free of charge and is open to all. No RSVPs necessary. Food and refreshments, 12 noon, Memoriams, 1 pm. The Hollywood Heritage Museum (Lasky-DeMille Barn) is located at 2100 N. Highland Ave. (across from Hollywood Bowl) in Hollywood, California.
Here’s a heads up on Quantum Quest – the Movie, a 50 minute 3-D Large Format film with an amazing ensemble cast of recognizable voice actors, a lame story and cliche characters & dialogue. It has Delgo written all over it. It opens in museums and Imax Theatres starting this month.
This is an animated short using audio of David Lynch recounting the time he met George Lucas about possibly directing Return of The Jedi. Animator Sascha Ciezata says, “This was shot entirely with my iPhone 3G using the iMotion app. I take credit for the crude illustrations. Enjoy…”
The animated music videos above and below weren’t created to be seen this way. They are the creations of a “motion design” company called Naked. They are used as backdrop light shows for concerts and special musical events. The one above is synced to a track by Canadian pop singer Coeur De Pirate (Beatrice Martin). Directly below is a visual to accompany French DJ David Guetta; below that, a video backdrop for Mika (Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr.) followed by a video of his performance in concert, with the animation in use behind him.
Until Asifa-Hollywood posts the official videos of this year’s Annie Awards (2/5/10 at UCLA’s Royce Hall), we’ll have to do with hand-held shakey cam videos popping up on You Tube. This one was shot from the nose-bleed seats, and the center screen is too bright to be properly photographed, but it does give you a sense of the event – It’s the first seven minutes of the ceremony, which includes a gag video of Tom Kenny battling William Shatner ala a sequence from Star Trek (“Arena“); Shatner’s opening remarks; and Seth Green presenting the Home Entertainment Award to Futurama’s creators.
ABP is an annual New York festival dedicated to showcasing the world’s best independent, professional and student animation. The Best of Animation Block Party will be screening at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood on Thursday February 18, 2010 at 7:30pm and 10:00pm.
This program is highly recommended. A complete list of the films being shown is listed here. Filmmakers in attendance at screenings include Mike Hollingsworth, Rebecca Sugar, Max Winston, Turner Lange, Ben Li and Caroline Foley. Both shows will be introduced by ABP founder, Casey Safron. You can buy tickets online at Brown Paper Tickets.com.