Bert and Jennifer Klein just finished producing a very charming 4-minute hand drawn short called The Chestnut Tree. It was directed and animated by a young woman named Hyun-min Lee, who is making her directorial debut. The film was executive produced by Don Hahn. Sorry for the late notice, but it’s screening this weekend for Academy qualification with the filmmakers present at both of the Sunday showings. Here are the details:
Laemmle Sunset 5
8000 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046
Sun, Sept. 9th, 2007 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ 11:05 AM and 11:50 AM
San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum is holding its fourth annual fundraiser at Pixar Animation Studios next Saturday. Tickets are $200. a piece, a bit steep but all the money goes to keeping the Museum alive. Animation art is a large part what the museum preserves and celebrates. In fact, a Mary Blair retrospective featuring rare concept art, advertising illustrations and children’s book illustrations will be opening in late October and run through March 2008.
At next Saturday’s fundraiser Pixar’s Mark Andrews (Story Supervisor), Dylan Brown (Supervising Animator)and Sharon Calahan (Director of Photography) will be guest speakers. A premiere screening of a new short, Our Friend the Rat, with in person commentary by director Jim Capobianco, will highlight the evening presentation in the main theatre. For more info on the Pixar event, consult the Cartoon Art Museum website.
I know it’s hard to believe, but Richie Rich was a cool dude once.
Once upon a time the character, originally created by Harvey Comics in 1952 as a companion feature in Little Dot, actually had a personality, clever stories and appealing comic art chiefly by animator Steve Muffatti, and cartoonists Warren Kremer and Ernie Colon.
Leslie Cabarga and I spent the summer mining the Harvey Comics vaults and cherry-picked the best of the original Richie Rich comics of the 50s and 60s for a new trade paperback volume due out next month. This is the second of several high quality Harvey Comics reprint books we are compiling for Dark Horse.
If you’ve only been exposed to the latter spin-off comic books of the 1970s and 80s, the cheap animated TV shows or that Macaulay Culkin movie, I urge you to give this volume a look. Amazon has just put our Richie Rich book up for pre-order and has posted the the first several pages, including the entire first six-page Richie story from Little Dot #1 (click the Search Inside: Amazon Online Reader option).
“A festival run by animators for animators.” That’s how festival organizer Miles Flanagan describes his ambitious event.
The weekend will include world premiere screenings (FANTASTIC LALOUX), Gala tributes (Fantastic Planet) and guest speakers including musician Sean Lennon and director Michele Civetta. Every screening is followed by a catered networking party (in the theatre’s Spanish patio). Also of note, my good friends over at Ka-Chew! are co-sponsoring a Rockin Animation music video contest.
For full details, ticket sales and a complete schedule of events/competitions go to the Festival website. See you there!
This Saturday you can bid on Bozo’s personal furnishings. The property of Larry Harmon (a.k.a. Bozo the Clown) is being auctioned off in New York by Tepper Galleries (click on the Sept. 8th preview for detailed information). Nothing too weird is listed, no 16mm prints of Laurel and Hardy, no cels of Butchy Boy. Just a bunch of classy furniture.
Some believe that the art of classic character animation is dead. So perhaps it’s quite fitting that the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale is currently hosting an animation exhibit entitled Visions: The World of Fantasy Art.
Crystal Mora (of the Platform Animation Festival) checked it out:
Knowing very little about the exhibit, I was not only delighted to find some amazing fantasy illustrations on display, but also many pieces on loan from the Walt Disney Animation Studio. Some of the work on display includes maquettes from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, original character sketches by Glen Keane, storyboards, backgrounds, and concept art from Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and more!
The entire exhibit itself was not very large, but it’s completely free to enjoy. Having the location be at the top of a large cemetery was a bit questionable, but the drive was lovely (and slightly creepy).
The exhibit is currently running through January 6th, 2008. For more information check the website.
Calling all cartoon historians! Animator Darrell Van Citters is researching and writing a book about the classic UPA TV special Mr. MagooÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Christmas Carol. All primary interviews and research have been completed, but Darrell is now looking for anyone who might have additional relevant information, documents, artwork or photos regarding these crew members: Lee Mishkin, Sam Weiss, Steve Clark, Tom McDonald, Hank Smith, Ed Solomon, John Walker, Xenia DeMattia and Earl Jonas.
Anyone who has any information or artwork from either Magoo’s Christmas Carol or The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo is strongly encouraged to contact darrell.vancitters (at) renegadeanimation.com.
“I came across this animated film while doing some research about F. Scott Fitzgerald. She (the filmmaker, Eleanor Lanahan) is his granddaughter – which is probably not the first thing she wants animators to know about, but it is interesting!”
Van Eaton Galleries, in conjunction with the Creative Talent Network, is holding a unique event featuring a tribute to some of Disney Heroes of Imagination, past and present. Honorees for the evening are Rowland Wilson, Joe Grant (above), Walt Stanchfield and Mel Shaw. From the press release:
There will be an exhibition of art, never-before-seen-publicly, from the private collections of family, friends and colleagues of these artists on display throughout the gallery. Attendees will receive a commemorative brochure that includes biographies of each artist and a collection of statements and anecdotes from the many celebrated artists who have shared studio space with these great talents.
The Disney Heroes of Imagination event will be held on Saturday, September 15th, 2007 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Van Eaton Galleries, 13613 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, California. RSVPÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s are now being taken. Anyone interested in attending should call (818) 788-2357.
Lest we forget: This year marks the anniversary of Disney’s biggest commercial cartoon star: Fresh-Up Freddie.
It was fifty years ago (in 1957) when the Leo Burnett Agency created the Freddy ad campaign for 7-Up and its sponsorship of Disney’s prime time Zorro TV series. The Disney studio made the commercials and designed the character (essentially a hybrid of Panchito and the Aracuan Bird from The Three Caballeros). I’ve seen very few of them myself, but luckily, like everything else, they are now showing up on the Internet. There is a nice long Freddie commercial currently featured at The Museum of Broadcast Communications website near the start of the American Bandstand episode (at the 1:50 mark). And here’s another one from YouTube:
These spots are nice, but they are nothing Walter Lantz or any other commercial cartoon studio couldn’t do just as well. Commercials were not really part of Disney agenda…perhaps he should have stopped doing them 35 years earlier, after Tommy Tucker’s Tooth.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t update Brew readers to the forthcoming Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 5 – which will be released on October 30th, available from your favorite online retailer or at a brick and morter video store near you.
Details of its contents have been floating around various websites for a couple of weeks. TVshowsOnDVD.com has the best listing – but even their information has a few omissions and errors: for example, the Snafu and Hook cartoons are actually part of Disc 3 (not Disc 2) and the Walter Lantz Hook cartoon, “Take Heed Mr. Tojo”, and the Private Snafu cartoon “Gas” are unfortunately not included, despite what others on the Internet have reported. There are a few things on the set that nobody has mentioned yet. Disc 1 has a bonus section featuring of over a dozen rare Bugs Bunny Show prime time TV commercials for sponsor General Foods, for such products as Tang and Post Cereals. I’m particularly delighted with the inclusion of these little advertising gems, most transferred from 35mm elements, which were produced during the waning days of the original studio.
And then there are the restorations (see comparison below: laser disc frame at left, DVD frame at right) and several newly restored original titles… but I’ll be telling you much more about that in the weeks to come. For now, mark the date: October 30th.
As long as we are exploring The Smoking Gun – check out this mainly live action, somewhat campy, obscure educational film by Hugh Harman Productions: A Message To Women (1945). The film, produced for the United States Public Health Service, is a frank discussion on the perils of veneral disease. It’s about eighteen minutes long and contains some simple human body diagram animation by Robert Allen. A far cry from the Happy Harmonies of just a few years earlier – but an interesting footnote nonetheless.
Starting today, an Oscar qualifying one week engagement of Leslie Iwerks new feature documentary The Pixar Story will be screening at Laemmle’s One Colorado Theatre, 42 Miller Alley in Old Pasadena, California. There’ll be two showings daily, at 7:10pm and 8:45pm. Leslie will be at the theater in person (along with family and friends) at the 7:10 screenings on Saturday 8/25 and Sunday 8/26. The film will only play through Thursday, August 30, and it’s really worth seeing on the big screen. I’ve seen it and it’s really good.
The 88 minute film was written, directed & produced by Iwerks and features narration by Stacy Keach. Its only prior public showings have been at Annecy and at the San Diego Comic Con (where it was reviewed by Variety). For periodic screening updates, visit www.LeslieIwerks.com.
If you love Looney Tunes even the little details are interesting. Warner Bros. uber-art collector Eric Calande recently added this item to his collection: A 1944 paystub belonging to animator Thomas McKimson (click above to see slightly larger image). Notes Eric:
Schlesinger was paying him a whopping $90 a week. This comes to about $4700 a year when an average salary in 1944 was $20 – $25,000 $2, 600. As these were the war years, the check shows a “Victory Tax” deduction. There’s also a field for a “war bonds” deduction.
Who says Cartoon Brew isn’t up on the world of fashion?
Warner Bros. Studio Stores may be a thing of the past, but that hasn’t stopped the Warner Consumer Products division from selling high end designer Looney Tunes items and opening a fancy Tweety boutique in Beverly Hills.
Located at 9699 Wilshire Boulevard, and open for a limited time (through September 3rd), the boutique had a splashy opening last month with several photo ops with Hollywood starlets (including Hillary’s Duff’s sister Haylie, pictured at left). According to the press release:
The latest offerings from the Tweety collection are decidedly more designer-oriented and cater to a more sophisticated female shopper, as the line expands to include appropriately themed products from Alexandre Herchcovitch, Alexander Wang, Alice Ritter, Erickson Beamon, Issa London, Miss Davenporte, and Scoop.
Not that we need anything else to further blur the line regarding Tweety’s sexual status. For the record: He’s a man, baby!
Brewmaster Jerry Beck will be broadcasting again, live on Shokus Internet Radio today, Wednesday August 22nd 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 the Popeye DVD, Terrytoons, Harveytoons and 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. If you miss the show, it’ll be rerun for the next seven days at the same time. Tune in!