Why is it a no-brainer (literally) for major studios to green-light live action CGI remakes of classic cartoon properties as feature films (Scooby Doo, Marmaduke, Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Underdog, Garfield, Speed Racer, etc.), but the idea of reviving such characters as TV series is considered a no-no?
One major reason movie execs chase these characters is that these properties appeal to adults who grew up with them and can easily attract their kids (if handled correctly). Case in point: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel in two weeks of release has a North American box office gross of $157.3 million!
20th Century Fox should just stop making live action films. The studio has been doing poorly in recent years, it’s only saving grace being The Ice Age movies, Alvin and the Chipmunks and the mo-cap Avatar (not to mention their TV fare led by The Simpsons and Family Guy).
Our weekly survey of recent comic strips and editorial cartoons that reference animation characters. Though we usually feature print cartoons, the two below — Medium Large by Francesco Marciuliano (12/30/09) and Eek! by Scott Nickel (12/30/09) — are professional web comics.
(Thanks to our regular eagle eyed comic strip watchers Edwin Austin, Jim Lahue, Charles Brubaker and Uncle Wayne)
Heads up, Jarheads! Here’s the scoop from our roving reporter Dave Filipi, direct from a supermarket in Philadelphia. Nutella, the bread spread made from a “combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of cocoa” is currently offering its product in glass jars adorned with images of four Looney Tunes stars. I love that Clampett-esque Daffy, I want ‘em all!
Dave snapped these pix with his iPhone (the first two from the left, below, click to enlarge) off a supermarket shelf in Philadelphia. A closer look at his photos shows these particular jars to be imported. Let’s hope these imports are making their way across the USA. I have no idea what Nutella tastes like, but I’m sold.
We posted the centerpiece of this animation back in 2006, but here is an expanded version featuring the pre-show with Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. Boy is this script corny, but the animation is fantastic, full (maybe too full) and at this point, quite nostalgic. The character animation for The Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera ride at Universal Studios Florida was produced at Sullivan Bluth Studios in 1990, and was directed by David Steinberg. The ride ended its run at the Orlando theme park in 2002. Thankfully someone had the foresight to photograph this bootleg video:
Each year the National Film Preservation Board of The Library of Congress names 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant films to the National Film Registry, a collection of movies selected to be preserved for all time. In previous years, Chuck Jones’ What’s Opera Doc?, Bob Clampett’s Porky In Wackyland, Fleischer’s Snow White (1933), Pixar’s Toy Story and several Disney titles including Steamboat Willie and Three Little Pigs have made the grade.
The 2009 selections were just announced this morning and animation was represented by Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo (1911), Sally Cruikshank’s Quasi at the Quackadero (1975), Janie Geiser’s art film, The Red Book (1994) and Helen Hill’s Cal Arts short, Scratch and Crow (1995).
Animation is also ultilized in two other shorts selected — Sidney Peterson’s avant-garde The Lead Shoes (1949), and Chuck Workman’s DGA montage, Precious Images (1986) which contains fleeting seconds of Fritz The Cat, Roger Rabbit, Song of the South, King Kong and others.
Though not animation, it should be noted that Jim Henson’s The Muppet Movie (1979; directed by James Frawley) also made this year’s selection. Check the complete list here. For your enjoyment, McCay’s pioneering Little Nemo is embedded below:
David Levine was one of the great caricaturists of the 20th Century. He was best known for his work for the The New York Review of Books. He passed away today at age 83 and here is his obituary from The New York Times. It’s worth noting (at least on this blog), Howard Beckerman and Fred Wolf both told me that Levine began his career as an assistant at Famous Studios (Popeye, Casper, et al) in the early 1950s. A gallery of his caricatures can be found here.
It’s official. I’m hosting a regular series of cartoon screenings, the first Tuesday of each month, at the CineFamily/Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Avenue. My screenings will be different each month. Sometimes I’ll show classic cartoon shorts in 35mm, or maybe I’ll screen a rarely seen animated feature, or possibly do a tribute to filmmaker.
For the first program of the new year, I’m extremely proud to be presenting the public world premiere of a new animated musical documentary from HBO. Written and directed by New York independent animator Debra J. Solomon (Lizzie McGuire), Getting Over Him In 8 Songs or Less is a sexy, funny and poignant film about losing love and finding yourself. Filmmaker Solomon will appear in person for a Q&A and we’ll also screen several of her other award-winning shorts. It’s happening Tuesday January 5th – a week from tonight — at the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theater at 8pm. Ticket info here.
Our weekly survey of recent comic strips and editorial cartoons that reference animation characters. Once again we begin with The Princess and the Frog being used as a metaphor to comment on the Health Care Reform Bill (via Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal Constitution):
Next, Tim Rickard’s sci-fi spoof Brewster Rockit presented a Christmas Special in serialized form:
Howard Beckerman is the king of New York animation; a teacher, a mentor and a living legend. It was his birthday yesterday, on Christmas, and to celebrate the occasion we present The Trip (1967) which Beckerman wrote, animated and co-designed — another hidden gem produced during the Shamus Culhane era at Paramount. Howard recalled:
“The film was originally titled “The Vacation”, but Paramount changed it to “The Trip” and it always gets confused with the Peter Fonda live-action production.”
Here’s a Christmas treat from BBC Radio Scotland. The radio network is presenting a 25-minute tribute to Jimmy MacDonald – The Voice of Mickey Mouse from 1947 to 1977. Once it is broadcast on Christmas Day (9:00 a.m. EST / 6:00 PST), everyone can stream it any time of day for seven days afterward. Here’s the link.