Currently at Texas State University-San Marcos, just south of Austin, there’s a wonderful exhibit on The Making of King of the Hill. Writer and executive producer Jim Dauterive has donated 11 years worth of material to the Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State. This vast amount of material includes original scripts, story pitches, production notes, promotional material, model sheets, research notes, and even tapes from the unseen, live-action spin-off Monsignor Martinez. The exhibit is on display through December 14, but all the material has been made available for research.
Last Saturday night, Dauterive was on-hand to discuss the show’s history – as well as to answer questions from admiring fans. For more information on this exhibit use this link. And click here for a page that includes a pdf of the complete archive inventory.
Apparently this clever little short was commissioned for use as a viral video by Samsung — to promote its new cell phone with video editing capabilities. More info about how it was done is posted here.
Disney consumer products design manager Juan Ortiz recently started an “official unofficial” blog about Disney Store merchandise and the artists behind them. Ortiz hopes to post a lot of original drawings, designs and product that may or may not make it to the store shelves. He’s currently posting about the first wave of Oswald Rabbit items. Check them out at The Disney Store Shelves.
Above, Saturday night at The Grove; The Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles
Say what you will (and most of you have) about Bee Movie, but it’s being reported that it will take the number #1 slot this weekend at the U.S. box office, its second week of release. It’s on track to gross over $100 million by Thanksgiving weekend.
I’m not looking to start another thread bashing the film – I liked it and, yeah, I wrote the Art of book, so I’m a bit biased – but I tend to agree with Steve Hulett that success leads to more health in our industry, and hopefully to more diversity in subject matter and visual styles in future animated films. You can add my congratulations to all the artists involved.
Don’t judge this book by it’s cover… or the guy holding it.
I’m very proud to have been part of a team that helped assemble this fantastic new gift book, The Hanna-Barbera Treasury. My goal with this project was to try to recall the original visual appeal of HB 1960s TV stars and I think we suceeded. The book lavishly reprints images from original animation art, comic books, dolls, toys, merchandising, along with over a dozen removable collectibles. There is a smile on every page. Writers Martin Goodman, Earl Kress and Bob Miller helped me compile the text in record time. Much of the memorabilia came from the Hanna-Barbera collection housed at the Warner Bros. archives (though several images and comics came from my humble stash). Mike Van Eaton loaned us a bunch of animation art and former H-B head honcho Fred Seibert wrote an wonderful introduction. The book goes on sale later this month and I’ll be doing a book signing / launch party at the Van Eaton Gallery in Sherman Oaks, CA on Saturday Dec. 1st (from 1pm to 3pm). Please drop by and geek out with me on all the Saturday morning goodness.
That’s me (at right) today with curator Lucy Shelton Caswell at the incredible Cartoon Research Library, housed in the Wexner Center on Ohio State University.
Wow! This is the place. Everything from McCay to Manga – an incredible collection… perhaps the collection of comic strip art and artifacts in the U.S. I saw rare Winsor McCay, Milton Canniff, Noel Sickles, Schulz and on and on… If you live in Ohio I urge you to visit and support this incredible resource. If you live out of town, add this to your vacation plans next year (a big Jeff Smith exhibit is being prepared now for next spring-summer, May 10-Aug. 17, 2008).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Alvin and the ChipmunksÃ¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for TheatersÃ¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Meet the RobinsonsÃ¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Shrek the ThirdÃ¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Simpsons MovieÃ¢â‚¬?
Only three will be nominated. Care to take any guesses?
No one animator’s career covered the history of animation, with so many important cultural touchstones, as Grim Natwick. His work spanned the entire 20th Century, influencing and contributing to all the important studios, characters and films. When he died at age 100 (in 1990), Steve Worth was given the task of organizing the hundreds of pieces of animation artwork he had personally saved from his career. Worth is currently in charge of ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Archive and has now curated an amazing exhibit culled from this material. He has also created an on-line exhibit catalog, with much of the art and commentary outlining Natwick’s life story.
But nothing compares to seeing this artwork in person. It will be on display at the ASIFA-Hollywood space on Burbank Blvd. for the rest of the year. I highly recommend you check this out if you are in the area.
GRIM NATWICK’S SCRAPBOOK
An Exhibit Presented By The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive
2114 W Burbank Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91506
Now Showing, Tuesday through Friday 1pm to 9pm
I’m en route to Columbus Ohio today to screen The Worst Cartoons Ever at the Wexner Center tomorrow night (11/8). The actual screening starts at 7pm.
But join me first at 6:00pm for a book signing – I’ll have free Hornswiggle buttons and postcards to give away, and I’ll be bringing an advance copy of my new book The Hanna Barbera Treasury to show off.
This will also be the launch party for my new DVD with Rembrandt Films, The Worst Cartoons Ever Made!. We shot video of me introducing these awful animated shorts in a big empty field during the picnic at the Platform Animation Festival in Portland. The video came out great – if you can’t get out to Columbus or the San Diego Comic Con, this is the next best thing. Order your copy today from Rembrandt.
ASIFA-San Francisco president Karl Cohen recently checked up on the whereabouts and condition of Alex Anderson (nephew of Paul Terry, Jay Ward’s original partner, creator of Crusader Rabbit, Dudley Do-Right, and Bullwinkle). According to his wife, Pat:
“He had a little setback 3 weeks ago. He fell and severely bruised his hip. He is now using a walker and slowly progressing. He was very agile before that.”
Get Well cards are greatly appreciated. His address is:
c/o Flanders Court
25661 Morse Drive
Carmel, CA 93923
This week’s special guest on Stu Shostack’s internet radio broadcast is actress/cartoon voiceover leading lady, Janet Waldo (Judy Jetson, Penelope Pitstop, etc.). She’ll join Hanna Barbera cartoon expert Earl Kress and Stu to discuss her experiences as a Hanna Barbera super star. She and Earl will also take questions from callers. Here’s your chance to talk to a living legend. Tune into Stu’s Show starting at 4pm, Wednesday (11/7).
Tomorrow night (11/6), at the Directors Guild (7920 Sunset Blvd.), Asifa-Hollywood is screening The Simpsons Movie – preceeded by a reception (at 6:30pm) and succeeded (at 9pm) by a question and answer session with the filmmakers. There are still a few seats available – RSVP to (310) 369-8033
I’ll have the honor of moderating a Q&A with creator Matt Groening, director David Silverman, writer-producers Al Jean, Mike Scully and executive producer James L. Brooks. I’ve never met Brooks before and that will be quite a thrill. He’s one of Hollywood’s greats (Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment, Mary Tyler Moore, Taxi and on and on… not to mention Carleton Your Doorman and The Critic).
If you can’t make it tomorrow night – and keeping the questions strictly related to The Simpsons – what do you think I should ask Brooks, Groening, Silverman, Scully and Jean?
Is it to be considered a pure animated film or a digitally enhanced live action feature? Is it of a piece with Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Polar Express? Or does it end up in the company of 300, Sin City or Sky Captain and The World Of Tomorrow?
I haven’t seen the film; I’ve only seen the trailers and clips. So far, I’m not impressed. And so far I’m having a hard time accepting this as an animated feature. Should this film compete for an Annie or an Oscar against Persepolis, Ratatouille and The Simpsons Movie?
Buzz from the first public screenings this weekend is overwhelmingly positive (these screenings were in 3-D Imax). This film is shaping up to be huge at the box office. Early reviewers are blown away by both the filmmaking and the technical razzle dazzle. Even sourpuss film critic Jeffery Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere (no fan of animation nor sword & sorcery pics himself) has posted an ecstatic rave:
“Robert Zemeckis’s Beowulf is an exceptional film on its own terms, but the 3-D version I saw last night is, no exaggeration, something close to stupendous… This film is obviously animated through and through. It deserves the Best Feature Animation Oscar, bar none. I don’t care what anyone says — this is not live-action except in the most rudimentary sense of the physical acting aspects, which represent, in my view, a relatively small portion of the whole.”
I’ll decide for myself what camp this picture falls into after I actually see it. In the meantime, I’d be interested in hearing what our readers have to say.
The You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice blog noticed this. An LA-based limited edition “lifestyle brand” company, The Hundreds, is ripping off the character of Holli Would from Ralph Bakshi’s Cool World for part of their upcoming winter collection. (The image above is on their site only on the initial screen if you refresh a few times.)
A former minor-league baseball club known as the Casper Rockies will now be known as the Casper Ghosts.
The club unveiled their new team name and logos Wednesday, adopting their new identity from the animated character, Casper the Friendly Ghost. An agreement with Classic Media will allow the baseball franchise use of the Ghost’s name and to develop an entire souvenir line featuring the friendly ghost. Team merchandise, including Glow-in-the-Dark game caps, are available online at GhostsBaseball.com. This announcement was made — where else? — in Casper Wyoming.
And Steve Moore has post a new edition of Flip Magazine. This month: Alan Smart’s Tiki Room, a memo from Don Graham to Walt Disney, featured artist Steve Purcell, and one of Moore’s almost-true Hollywood horror stories.
Apparently a new Pixar short – their first with extensive 2-D traditional animation – will available on the Ratatouille DVD and Blu-Ray Discs (on sale November 6th). The short was directed by Jim Capobianco, who says he was particularly inspired by Ward Kimball, and was written by Jeff Pidgeon and Alexander Woo.
Slightly off topic, but fans of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and Cartoon Dump will appreciate this news.
Original MST3K writer/performers Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl have re-teamed with creator Joel Hodgson to create a whole new movie spoof comedy machine, Cinematic Titantic.
Details on this new show will be posted on Joel’s new website as it develops. Frank and I are still producing Cartoon Dump, and Joel (as “Dumpster Diver Dan”) is still part of the regular Cartoon Dump cast at our live shows each month. I wish the cast and crew of CT the best of luck with this new venture… consider me your number #1 fan!
Howard Green sends us this sad news: Janie Reitherman — Woolie’s widow — passed away on Saturday at her home in Burbank from complications due to cancer. She was 83 years old. There will a memorial service for her this Saturday at 11 am at Crippen Mortuary (2900 Honolulu Ave in La Crescenta) followed by a reception at her home in Burbank. She is survived by three sons: Bruce (voice of Mowgli, Christopher Robin) of Summerland, CA; Richard who lives in Orange County, and Robert who lives in Half Moon Bay. Janie attended the special “Jungle Book” evening at the El Capitan Theatre on Sept. 6th.
(Pictured above, Robert, Woolie, Richard and Janie)
Over the weekend, Mike Kazaleh snapped this picture (above) of the window of a North Hollywood chicken resturant. Their mascot is an obvious swipe of Paramount Pictures beloved (and long-forgotten) 1940s cartoon star, Henry the Henpecked Rooster (at left, with co-star Herman the Mouse). Did they think we wouldn’t notice? I love how he’s dressed like a pimp and pointing towards the resturant’s “B” rating.
Meanwhile, last night, I was driving past the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive in Burbank and snapped this pic, below (with my funky cell phone). After two years, we finally have signage – classy metal signage – on our headquarters building on Burbank Blvd. It looks great, and now you have no excuse not to find it. Next time you are in the area, please drop in.
After months of seeing clips, excerpts, storyreels and tons of production art, I finally saw the finished film for the first time today.
Let me back up a little. About fifteen months ago I began working on latest volume in Chronicle Books ongoing “Art Of” series, The Art of Bee Movie. I’d been a fan of Jerry Seinfeld’s since viewing the first episode of his famous TV series in 1989. Working on this book project allowed me to take a first hand look at the making of a modern animated CG feature and the rare chance to immerse myself with the spectacular preproduction sketches, paintings, visualizations and character designs that both made it and didn’t make it in the finished film.
The book, just going on sale this week, is loaded with much of the incredible art that didn’t make it, and early versions of characters, props and places that ultimately helped the filmmakers realize Seinfeld’s script. There’s enough good stuff here for ten different visual versions of the film. The book is justified if only to preserve the amazing unused material that Craig Kellman, Nico Marlett, Christophe Lautrette and Tony Siruno produced, and I’m proud to have done my part to preserve it.
Obviously I’m biased about the finished film. If you are (or were) a Seinfeld fan, you won’t be disappointed. It’s funny – very funny – and sweet (no pun intended). The film is a “screwball comedy”, as just about everything in it is about getting laughs, telling jokes or a set-up for a comic set piece. It has a good story and I even learned a few things about bees I never knew before (some of them factual: like how honey is produced; some of them fanciful: that bees can talk). Producers Christina Steinberg and Jerry Seinfeld also attended todays screening and were clearly jazzed by the reception the film got: almost non-stop laughs from begining to end (this was a screening for members of the Producer’s Guild – not Dreamworks employees).
Members of ASIFA-Hollywood, ASIFA-East and ASIFA-San Francisco are invited to a members only sneak preview screening on Tuesday night (10/30) in their respective cities. I’ll be there, in Hollywood, to do a Q&A with the directors after the film. Can’t wait to see it again. I’m buzzed.
The winner of the public prize at this year’s Annecy Animation Festival was a stop motion puppet film called Max & Co. Produced by a relatively new studio called cinemagination with puppets constructed by mackinnon and saunders (responsible for the Corpse Bride models), it’s the first feature film by brothers Fred and Sam Guillaume. Currently playing on the festival circuit, Max & Co is now scheduled for a theatrical release in Europe next February. Here’s a link to the trailer.