This one is quite delightful. It’s a new stop-motion music video for Latin American Grammy winners, Jesse & Joy. The video was conceived and directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada (currently a student at Chapman University’s Dodge College) and was shot over a month in a house-turned studio in L.A. by a dedicated (“and painfully underpaid”) group of young artists for Warner Music Mexico. It’s made up of almost 3,000 still photographs with no post effects, featuring characters actually made of edible custom-made cookies. Cameron Clark, the director of animation, explains the process:
“I pre-animated the motion for every shot with After Effects and then used a combination of Dragon Stop Motion, a projector, and a small team of animators to basically trace the motion that I had created digitally. That way we got the smooth motion of digital animation with the charm of physical stop motion.”
A very cool making-of piece is posted here. But watch the video first:
Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon got a little unintended publicity this weekend in Hollywood. A man alleged to have put up a large, “supergraphic” billboard in violation of Los Angeles city law was arrested and held on $1 million bail over the weekend.
The massive movie ad was draped over a 1927 building on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, property co-owned by Kayvan Setereh, the man arrested. The ad was strategically positioned to be seen by the throngs attending next week’s Academy Awards ceremony, both in person and on television. According to the L.A. Times, “the city outlawed such signs in August, arguing they are unsafe for pedestrians below and that they could prevent firefighters from entering buildings in an emergency. Critics also decry them as visual blight.”
Regular Brew readers are aware that I collect old Little Golden Books relating to animation and have frequently mentioned my admiration of the recent “retro-stylized” Golden Books for current Disney and Pixar films. Add Nickelodeon to the watch-list. I just discovered Mr. Fancypants, a Spongebob Squarepants tie-in, at my local Barnes and Noble last night. The book was published as a commemorative to celebrate the sponge’s tenth anniversary and features great artwork by animation artist Caleb Meurer. Take a look — Random House has posted the first few pages online:
Next Tuesday, at my usual monthly screening at The Silent Movie Theater, I’ll be running a great selection of 1950s cartoons in widescreen CinemaScope. I will be showing rare 35mm and 16mm prints – many in Technicolor. Among the titles being screened will be Ward Kimball’s Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom and the Donald Duck Grand CanyonScope from Disney, Tom & Jerry and Droopy cartoons from MGM, Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing from UPA, and a slew of rare Terrytoons, including Flebus, Dinky Duck in It’s A Living, and many others including R.O. Blechman’s Juggler Of Our Lady (narrated by Boris Karloff).
Join us at 8pm, 611 N. Faifax Avenue (one block south of Melrose) in Hollywood. For more information or to reserve tickets check the CineFamily website – or join our Facebook page.
Variety is reporting that veteran Warner Bros. director Rudy Larriva passed away last Friday Feb. 19 in Irvine, Calif. He was 94.
Larriva, an animator for nearly six decades, worked primarily at Warner Bros. in the 1930s and 40s, recieving animation credit on several cartoons including the seminal Chuck Jones cartoon, Elmer’s Pet Rabbit (1941). He later joined Disney (Song of the South, Melody Time) and spent the 1950s at UPA (Mr. Magoo). He is credited as the animation director for the opening credits of The Twilight Zone in 1959-60. He spent much of his later years toiling on TV series for Ruby Spears and other studios. His greatest claim to fame, unfortunately, was his direction of several low budget Road Runner cartoons for DePatie Freleng in the mid-1960s. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. March 1 at Eternal Hills Cemetery, Oceanside, Calif.
The Animation Guild is hosting its second-ever art opening at its new Gallery 839, on Friday, March 5th, from 6 pm to 9 pm. The gallery is located in the new Guild building at 1105 N. Hollywood Way (between Magnolia and Chandler) in Burbank. The show is called Beyond Yellow and showcases the work of Simpsons animators doing what they do outside the realm of Springfield.
(The images above are not part of the show, but are the work of David Barton at limpfish.com.)
“We wanted to make sure that it was not the Speedy of the 1950s — the racist Speedy,” said the comedian’s wife Ann Lopez, who will serve alongside him as a producer. “Speedy’s going to be a misunderstood boy who comes from a family that works in a very meticulous setting, and he’s a little too fast for what they do. He makes a mess of that. So he has to go out in the world to find what he’s good at.” That path becomes clearer once Speedy befriends a gun-shy race-car driver.
“The racist Speedy”? Pardon me, but the Speedy I know from the 1950s cartoons was a hero, a champion. I would suggest the writers watch a few of the cartoons before inventing a scenario from whole cloth.
There’s something special going on in Hollywood this weekend, especially if you love classic Disney music as much as I do. Disney’s Howard Green just informed me that songwriter Richard M. Sherman is doing a special show this Friday and Saturday at the El Capitan Theater. Sherman, the Oscar winning composer of Mary Poppins and more than 150 songs heard in Disney films and theme parks, will make a rare personal stage appearance, singing and telling the stories behind his songs, in what is being billed as A Supercalifragilistic Evening with Richard M. Sherman.
The second half of the program will include additional performers (“including wacky Joanne Worley”) joining in on songs from Richard’s latest show, Pazzazz, co-written with Magic Castle founder, Milt Larsen. The show will be performed on Friday, February 26 at 7 p.m., and Saturday February 27 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the El Capitan Theatre Box Office (6838 Hollywood Blvd.) or by calling 1-818-845-3110.
Plumiferos premiered in Buenos Aires last Friday. It’s the first CG animated feature to come from Argentina, in addition to being the first feature length film animated in Blender. For more information, and a candid review by a production crew member, visit Blender Nation.
Friday will mark Tex Avery’s 102st birthday. To commemorate, the students of North Dallas High School, Avery’s alma mater, the place where Avery picked up the “What’s Up, Doc?” tagline he later gave to Bugs Bunny, are decorating the halls of the school with a mural of characters he created.
In another tribute to Avery’s genius, I highly recommend the latest post by Chris Lopez on his ComicsCrazy blog. Chris has posted over 40 vinatge MGM model sheets from various Avery classics: Lucky Ducky, Little Tinker, Bad Luck Blackie etc. The one above is from Screwball Squirrel, drawn by Claude Smith.
(Thanks, Oliver Coombes, Kevin Kidney and Peter Kurilecz)
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.