Move over Paris and Britney. I’ve made The New York Post Page Six today.
Nothing scandalous. Just a clever plug for the new coffee table art book, Not Just Cartoons, Nicktoons!. It was my sincere pleasure to interview all the creators of Nicktoon series for this project, and the book turned out to be quite a visual feast. You’ll find it at your local bookshop this week. It’ll be easy to spot – It’s the one with a dust jacket covered in green slime.
I wish this festival were in Los Angeles – or anywhere in the United States. But I’m thankful it’s presented anyplace at all. Located in beautiful Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario Canada, The Waterloo Festival of Animated Cinema is the annual film retrospective dedicated to showcasing the latest unreleased international animated feature films – in an actual movie theatre, the way theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re supposed to be seen.
This year the four day festival runs from November 15-18. Screenings will be held at The Gig Theatre (the Hyland Cinema) in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The festival opens Thursday Nov. 15 with the Canadian premiere of Leslie Iwerks’ The Pixar Story. Other films screening this year include: A-Film’s The Ugly Duckling and Me; Korea’s Aachi and Ssipak; France’s The Killer of Montmartre; Bjork’s Anna and the Moods; the Czech puppet horror film One Night In The City; and the infamous Norwegian CG feature Free Jimmy.
Two films document the development of one of Brazil’s leading animators, Otto Guerra: Wood & Stock: Sex, Oregano and Rock ÃƒÂ«n Roll, and Rocky and Hudson. Anime is represented with Five Centimeters Per Second, and SOS Metro Tokyo Explorers. Other Festival selections and premieres include RH+ and Film Noir.
Last but not least, the Festival will be holding the premiere of Ladd Ehlinger Jr.’s Flatland the Film. Director and animator Ehlinger will present the film in person and take Q&A after the screening – and the festival will be presenting the film and the Q&A session not only to the attending audience, but to the entire world via the Internet.
For more information contact program curator Joseph C. Chen via email wfac-at-wfac.ca or through the festival website.
A brand-new online pop culture website, Bridgerack, has posted a really good Conversation With Don Hertzfeldt (Part One of Four starts here). The site is still in beta test, so please bear with any technical glitches if you aren’t using Firefox or a Mac.
Not as exciting as the new Lucky Luke film, but the Argentinean feature, The Ark (el Arca), certainly looks ambitious – and should have the furry fans salivating. Here’s the trailer. Interesting that it is distributed by Buena Vista International (aka Disney). The Ark will screen in Los Angeles, one time only, on Saturday November 17th at 5pm, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. (I’ll be at the Raggedy Ann reunion at the AFI that day myself).
In case you haven’t been following it, the debate over David Michaelis’ Charles Schulz bio rages on. Fresh comments from daughter Amy Schulz Johnson, Peanuts comic book artist Dale Hale and Peanuts animation producer Lee Mendelson add to the conversation. Join the discussion here.
Coming up in November is a series of unique animation programs at the Wexner Center for the Arts, on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. All of them are well worth your time – and take particular note of the one on November 8th.
Tuesday November 6th – The Short Films of the Brothers Quay – 7pm
Thursday November 8th – The Worst Cartoons Ever (with Jerry Beck in person) – 7pm (book signing at 6pm)
Tuesday November 13th – Lillian Schwartz: Selected Works – 7pm
Thursday November 15th – The Best of The Ottawa International Animation Festival – 7pm
Friday November 16th – Experimental Animation since 1933 – 7pm (I highly recommend this show).
If you can get to central Ohio on November 8th, please drop by and say hello. And while you are there don’t forget to check the Ohio State University Cartoon Research Center (and see their current exhibit of rarely seen Milton Caniff art).
Like Schulz’ Peanuts, Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip Calvin and Hobbes was beloved by many and still has a devoted following – despite it’s retirement in 1995. Tim from the Calvin and Hobbes: Magic on Paper website has unearthed a selection of Watterson’s student artwork, from his days at Ohio’s Kenyon College, drawn for the school newspaper and the 1980 yearbook. Considering that new Watterson art is rare, it’s great to see some old stuff that’s new to our eyes.
Starting today, Leslie Iwerks independent documentary The Pixar Story will begin a small Oscar-qualifying run in 14 select cities across the United States.
The film contains never-before-seen footage from the Pixar library, along with exclusive interviews with some of the key players in the Pixar story including John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Brad Bird, Michael Eisner, Bob Iger, Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal and more. Go see it if it’s playing in your area – it’s incredibly informative and very entertaining.
SCREENING SCHEDULE: October 23-25, 2007
Chicago Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Century Centre Cinema
Dallas Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark The Magnolia
Detroit Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Maple Art Theatre
October 30 – November 1, 2007
Washington DC Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark E Street Cinema
New Orleans Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Canal Place Cinema
Denver Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Chez Artiste
Seattle Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Metro Cinemas
November 6-8, 2007
San Diego Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark La Jolla Village Cinemas
Boston Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Kendall Square Cinema
Atlanta Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
Milwaukee Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Downer Theatre
Indianapolis Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Keystone Art Cinema
Minneapolis Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Lagoon Cinema
San Francisco Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Lumiere Theatre
IwerksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ award-winning theatrical documentary The Hand Behind the Mouse-The Ub Iwerks Story will be included on the forthcoming Disney Treasures: Oswald The Lucky Rabbit dvd, on sale Dec. 11th.
Hal Adelquist, (pictured above, left of the Mouseketeers) was an assistant director on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, production coordinator on The Mickey Mouse Club, and a loyal Disney employee for 23 years. He was given the boot in 1956 and apparently ended up on Skid Row. Don Brockway found this 1977 article about Adelquist from the New York Times which tells some of the sad story.
My friend Bruce Schwartz runs the Comic Book and Sci-Fi Convention at the Shrine Auditorium (near USC) in Los Angeles each month. And he always invites down some great in-person speakers, the famous and the infamous. I want to give a heads up for his November 4th show because it features two of my favorite people – from two completely different ends of the cartooning spectrum.
Actor Marvin Kaplan, the voice of Choo-Choo (pictured above left) from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Top Cat, will be there signing autographs from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Marvin is also known for his role as Irwin in the comedy film It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and has done many cartoon voices throughout his career, such as The Smurfs.
Animator and Playboy magazine cartoonist Dean Yeagle will be signing copies of his books, Mandy’s Shorts, and his new book, Melange: The Art of Dean Yeagle, from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Dean is an amazing artist and his drawings of the ladies define the term “good-girl art” (sample above right).
For more information on the monthly Shrine Auditorium Comic Con, check the website at www.comicbookscifi.com.
Our friend Charles Shopsin has unearthed yet another vintage article about animation in the 1930s from the pages of Modern Mechanix. This one from 1934, What Makes Mickey Mouse Move, is very simplistic and, despite a blurb that mentions “fifty highly trained artists” and photos of animators and technicians at work, the article itself credits Walt with drawing the figures and painting the backgrounds (though no mention is made of Walt providing the voice of Mickey).
Once again, another Euro 2D animated feature that looks intriguing – and with no U.S. release planned whatsoever. This is the latest Lucky Luke animated feature (Tous ÃƒÂ l’Ouest : une aventure de Lucky Luke) opening in France on December 5th and the trailer looks great.
(Thanks, Tristan Rogers)
Citizens of Los Angeles – please note: tonight we are once again presenting Cartoon Dump Live at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood. That’s Joel Hodgson (creator, Mystery Science Theatre 3000) above with Dumpster Diver Dan. He once again joins our regulars Frank Conniff (Moodsy), Erica Doering (Compost Brite), Eddie Pepitone (Morty the New-Age Agent), Joe Keys (Hangover Hound), along with a new character, Lizzy Cooperman (as Quack Whore), and guest comedian Blaine Capatch. It’s our Halloween show, so expect some scary cartoons and a visit from a friendly ghost. And free candy!
The fun starts at 8pm. Ticket info here.
If you have any desire to watch and own some of the best animated shorts of the last twenty years, Acme Filmworks has just released 18 DVD compilations of these films – available individually or in three box sets.
The filmmakers on these sets are a virtual who’s-who of the best contemporary independent animators: Cordell Barker, Borge Ring, Mark Baker, John Dilworth and on and on. The shorts collected include Bill Plympton’s THE FAN AND THE FLOWER, Gaelle Denis’ CITY PARADISE, Marv Newland’s ANIJAM, Virgil Widrich’s FAST FILM, Chris Landreth’s RYAN, Michael Dudok de Wit’s FATHER AND DAUGHTER, Paul Driessen’s 3 MISSES, Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis’ WHEN THE DAY BREAKS, Koji Yamamura’s MT. HEAD, Richard Condie’s THE BIG SNIT and Joanna’s Quinn’s GIRL’S NIGHT OUT, amongst many others.
You can buy them on individual DVDs (containing three shorts each) for $5.00 or you can obtain all 54 shorts in three box sets for
$30 $90 bucks. An incredible bargain if you ask me. The DVDs are only available through AWN’s www.filmporium.com and the AWN Store.
Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, Happy Harmonies… and it all came down to this: Sir Gee Whiz On The Other Side Of The Moon. Needless to say, the latter years of Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising were rough.
Breaking away from Disney (and Charles Mintz) in 1930, they struck gold by hooking up with Leon Schlesinger and establishing the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for Warner Bros. In an effort to upgrade their product and compete with Disney, the duo left producer Leon Schlesinger in 1933 and, after sub-contracting a few Cubby Bear cartoons for Van Beuren, accepted an offer to provide Happy Harmonies color cartoons for MGM. It was their work at MGM that ultimately laid the foundation for the later success of Hanna and Barbera and Tom & Jerry.
Hugh and Rudy gave it up to support the effort during World War II, creating instructional animated films for the Armed Services. They spent the rest of their careers creating educational, industrial and commercial films, never achieving the public fame they once enjoyed during the 1930s. Not that they didn’t try. One of their efforts, long thought lost, was this 1960 pilot for Sir Gee Whiz.
Limited animation was not something Harman and Ising could grasp easily. This short shows just how badly Hugh and Rudy didn’t get it. The problems start with the premise: A little old gnome who who knocks out adults and takes little girls to his home — on the moon. Because it concerns the moon, the whole show has an unpleasant, dark, look. Rudy Ising’s vocal as Sir Gee Whiz sounds scary – like a perverted old uncle. And then there are characters like “Senor Ropo” (pictured, above right) and the “Terrible Kinker”…
Enough talk! Check out Sir Gee Whiz On The Other Side Of The Moon this week on Cartoon Dump, now up at CartoonBrewFilms.com. And if you think this is a hoot, come see Cartoon Dump Live next week, on Tuesday (Oct. 23rd) at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood!
The new classic Popeye DVD has ignited a long dormant interest in the East coast animators of the Max Fleischer studio. Animator Bob Jaques (Ren & Stimpy, Baby Huey, etc.) has been studying the animation in Popeye cartoons for years. As he has become one of best directors in the business, clearly there is a lot more to the Sailor than meets the eye (pun intended). So now Bob has taken the plunge and joined the rest of us in blogging, with a site dedicated to identifying the unsung animators of the classic Popeye cartoons of the 30s, 40s and 50s. First up, George Germanetti. Who? Check out Bob Jaques’ Popeye Animators ID and learn.
Cartoonist Kent Butterworth (Tiny Toons, Sonic, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures) has done what other animators only dream of, he’s written and directed his own animated feature.
Independently financed, and with total creative freedom, Butterworth made Attila and the Great Blue Bean, and has even secured distribution. And tomorrow, Sunday October 21st at 3pm, the film will have its first public screening – at the Hollywood Film Festival, at the ArcLight Cinemas on Sunset and Vine. Good luck, Kent, I’m rooting for you.
Historians Jayne Pilling (from London, editor of A Reader in Animation Studies, Animation: 2D and Beyond, among others) and Giannalberto Bendazzi (from Italy, author of Cartoons:100 Years of Cinema Animation) will be in Los Angeles next week for a symposium, Animation: From the Avant-garde to Popular Culture, being organized by the San Diego Museum of Art. It includes three separate events, the first of which takes place at the University of Southern California.
Redefining Animation will be held at USC’s Davidson Conference Center, Embassy Room, on Thursday, November 1 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. (plus a reception follows). Pilling and Bendazzi will be joined by animator and digital artist Greg Araya and multi-media performance animator Miwa Matreyek, as well as artists and educators Christine Panushka, Kathryn Smith and Sheila Sofian (moderator), all from USC’s John C. Hench Department of Animation and Digital Art.
Details on the other two symposium events, Animating Cinema in La Jolla and Animated Painting in San Diego, which take place November 2 and 3, can be found at: http://anim.usc.edu. All symposiums are free and open to the public.
How did this one get by me? Did Walt Disney name his most famous creation after a toy, Micky Mouse (sic)?
On eBay today, someone is selling a 1925 Micky Mouse doll, along with a stock certificate from the long-defunct Performo-Toy Company. According to the seller:
“…it has been reported that all documents from the Performo Toy Company relating to this Micky Mouse toy were ordered to be destroyed after a Law suit filed by Disney that stated this mouse toy was originally taken from Disney…”
Apparently there are even TWO books about this Micky doll and Performo Toys: Broken Toy and Who Was First?
I’d never heard about this before, have you?
(Thanks, Kevin Coffey)
Guess what’s coming out in two short weeks?
Yeah, I’m plugging it again. That’s because it’s a great set of 60 uncut, restored cartoons and I want to make everybody buy it (by doing so you are voting with your pocket book, sending a message that you support the restoration and availability of classic cartoons). On sale October 30th: Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 5.
Yours truly will be broadcasting once again, live on Shokus Internet Radio this Wednesday October 17th 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 Terrytoons, my new books, and the upcoming DVD releases of classic animation. If you have a specific question you want answered, call in during the broadcast toll free (888) 746-5875. The first hour will be open for listener Q & A.
Calling all New Yorkers. Check out Treasures from a Chest at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) this Friday.
The annual program, mostly live action, presents rare silent films curated by film preservationist/entertainer Serge Bromberg (artistic director of the Annecy International Animation Festival). Bromberg’s Lobster Films archive is one of the best in the world – and Serge is one of the world’s great animation historians and film preservation heroes. The program at BAM is distilled from nearly 200 pounds of old film discovered in a hidden chest in a house in France, and includes comedies, fantasies, trick films, newsreels, cartoons, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“talkiesÃ¢â‚¬? selected to recreate the magic of the first cinema screenings. Bromberg will be present for live piano accompaniment and commentary. If I were in New York on Friday, I’d have a front row seat (as it is, I’ll be in Burbank celebrating June Foray that night). Click here for more information. Go!
ASIFA-Hollywood is planning a special screening and panel discussion in honor of the 30th Anniversary of Richard Williams’ Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure. This event will take place on Saturday November 17th in the Mark Goodson Auditorium at the American Film Institute (2021 N. Western Blvd.) in Hollywood. At 3pm, a rare CinemaScope 35mm print will be screened, followed by a panel discussion at 5pm with a large group of production personnel. Light refreshments will be available.
Williams’ Raggedy Ann was the subject of John Canemaker’s first book, and the film was unique at the time, as it was based in New York (with satellite studios in L.A. and London). Veteran animators, such as Art Babbit, Grim Natwick, Emery Hawkins, Tissa David, Gerry Chiniquy, Willis Pyle, Corny Cole, Irv Spence and Williams himself, were joined by a who’s who of talented newcomers including Michael Sporn, Eric Goldberg, Tom Sito and Dan Haskett. This event is a benefit for the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. Admission will be $15 for ASIFA members, $20 for non-members.
I don’t know how this happened, but I just found out that Song of the South had a public performance in the Philadelphia last Tuesday night. The Chestnut Hill Free Library showed it twice, apparently without protest. Sam Adams of the weekly Philadelphia CityPaper gave the film a plug with a nicely written overview.
Was this an authorized showing – or did they screen an old VHS? Can any institution book the film? When will Disney release the film on DVD? Inquiring minds want to know.
We’ve all seen the 16mm color footage of Walt Disney visting South America in 1941. Now, courtesy of the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture website, comes a segment from a 1941 newsreel (in Spanish) showing a little more of Mr. Disney’s trip to Argentina. Couple of nice shots of Disney signing his name and sketching (sketch above right) with Argentine cartoonist Ramon Columba (sketch above left).
Anyone care to translate the narration?
(Thanks, Oscar Grillo)
A little boy and his brain challenged teddy bear.
Spunky and Tadpole was one of the worst cartoon shows ever made. Originally distributed in 1958 by Guild Films, the show was quickly outclassed in every department by Hanna-Barbera’s Huckleberry Hound and trounced by all other kiddie competition. Your tip off that this going to be awful is the cheesy title card touting “Beverly Hills Productions.” There is nothing Beverly Hills about this production!
On the plus side, it does feature Don Messick doing voices… however, the ugly artwork, minimal animation and shoddy production values justify its place in the Cartoon Dump. The fifth episode of our original live-action/animation podcast is now up on CartoonBrewFilms.com