In the photo above, the guy on the left is yours truly, Jerry Beck, blathering on about the fine points of American animation to the guy on the right: the father of anime, the Disney of Japan, Osamu Tezuka.
This fateful meeting took place in 1978, at a screening of Bander’s Book at the Japan Society in New York City. And obviously, it was one of the greatest days of my life.
Tezuka San had somehow obtained a copy of Mindrot, the fanzine, in which I wrote about my love of his comics and Astro Boy, and was as delighted to meet me as I was to meet him. He even invited me out to have sushi after the screening. I’ll never forget it. He was a great artist and a great human being.
The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco will be presenting an exhibit, Tezuka: The Marvel of Manga, June 2nd through September 9th, which is shaping up to be an absolute must-see event. The official website is loaded with essays, information, podcasts and even a blog worth reading.
And in case you don’t know who Tezuka is, here’s a 30 second refresher course:
According to this piece in today’s LA Times, Ward Kimball’s family is dismantling his backyard Grizzly Flats Railroad – one of the major inspirations for Disneyland. John Lasseter is personally taking some of the depot buildings… the rest of the material donated to museums, or destroyed.
It isn’t everyday that the LA Times prints an editorial that mentions Song of the South (1946) and Alice’s Egg Plant (1925). But that’s just what they did today in condemning Farfur, the Mickey Mouse imposter that hosts Tomorrow’s Pioneers, a kids’ television show on Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV.
The LA Times editorial encourages using a power greater than the U.S. Army to confront to this terror threat: the Disney lawyers!
At the risk of encouraging lawyers, here’s a lawsuit we’d love to see: Hamas getting dragged through some international court by Disney’s implacable army of attorneys. If ever there were a real claim that the company suffered dilution to the value of its intellectual property, this is it.
In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the video everyone is talking about:
On his post about Filmstrip propaganda, Gable posts frames from several cool old strips, religious parables aimed at Sunday School kids, mainly drawn by animator George Martsegis. But among the images he posts are two frames of a filmstrip created by Bill Hanna and Gene Hazelton!
Filmstrips were a popular teaching tool back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, in the era before PowerPoint and video. The medium was a great outlet for commercial artists and cartoonists. I believe even Disney created filmstrips for educational purposes as well. I never knew Bill Hanna and Gene Hazelton did them. I wonder how many they made and when? Anyone have more info on these?
A Hollywood production artist, part-time performer and animator, Paul Manchester, has inherited a cache of rare World War II animation artwork of great significance.
Manchester’s great uncle, Harold “Al” Curry, served as a storyboard artist under Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) during the war. Paul recounts his story:
Before my great uncle Al died he was cleaning out a bunch of old stuff in preparation for a move and he gave me a manilla packet of old stuff he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really know what to do with. I was following in his footsteps as an illustrator who occassionally worked in animation. At the time I briefly looked through it but was more distracted by the old art books and art supplies he gave me at the same time. Ten years passed.
Last month the National Academy of Sciences presented PRIVATE SNAFU VS. MALARIA MIKE as part of their Cartoon Medicine Show exhibition. It rang kind of a bell in the back of my brain and I pulled out the old manilla envelope and right on top was a rough storyboard drawing from Malaria Mike. I found four painted cels- two with backgrounds attached and a whole stack of roughs from HOME FRONT, PAY DAY (and others).
But the cool thing was an entire storyboard from an animated short called A FEW QUICK FACTS: WEAPON OF WAR. It has been bound into a small book maybe 8″w x 4″h and is about 1 1/2 ” thick- it has the entire script copy printed on the left side of the page and the image on the right.
Paul has scanned and posted all this great artwork – he even created a video, shooting the entire 89 page storyboard from the Weapon of War, assembled it in iMovie and posted it on YouTube.
Paul has set up a webpage to showcase his find. Original 1940s wartime cartoon art like this is extremely hard to find, as most of it was destroyed as classified material. Thank you Paul for making these rare pieces accessible to all.
It’s too bad You Feets To Big had to be removed from You Tube. In it’s place we present, direct from the aforementioned Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park, the scariest music video we’ve ever seen. If you thought It’s A Small World was annoying…
It’s one thing to bootleg a DVD of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it’s quite another to rip off an entire theme park! While copyright piracy is a major concern in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, Beijing’s Shijingshan Amusement Park has gone ahead a built an imitation Disneyland right down to the costumed characters who look awfully – and I mean awfully – familiar.
An article about the park in China’s business newspaper, The Standard, quotes a Chinese consumer who asks: “I don’t understand why that is such a big problem. Shouldn’t others be able to use those characters besides [Disney]?”
The article also describes Beijing as being a place where “one can spend a morning at an imitation Disney amusement park, have lunch at a KFC knock-off, shop for fake foreign-brand fashions in the afternoon and relax at night with a DVD of a Hollywood film that is still in the theaters in the United States.”
Japan’s Doraemon and Hello Kitty are also swiped. Here’s a TV news report where a park executive claims their Mickey Mouse is simply a “cat with a big ear”.
This Sunday, May 6th at 6pm, is the biggest annual animation event in New York City, the 38th ASIFA-East Animation Festival. Awards, films and a glorious reception afterwards – and it’s free. A wonderful evening of animation celebration! If you are in New York you’d be crazy to miss it.
@The New School
66 W. 12th St
Between 5th and 6th Ave.
Universal has posted a teaser page to promote the Woody Woodpecker DVD coming out on July 24th. Note that pre-orders can be taken from this site. The plan is to expand www.woodywoodpecker.com to a full site supporting the revival effort, with streaming clips of the restored cartoons, in the weeks to come. I’ll keep you posted.
Apple and indieWIRE are presenting several Filmmaker Talks at the Apple Store Soho during the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Tomorrow our friend, Oscar-winning animator John Canemaker, will discuss The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation and how the Mac played a significant role in the post-production process. New Yorkers: Go down there at 4pm and say “Hello” to John on behalf of Cartoon Brew.
I love old movie serials, and really admire Kim Deitch’s graphic novels. Strangely enough both converge at the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood this Thursday.
Kim has curated a selection of silent era serial chapters highlighting the great serial heroines Pearl White, Ruth Roland and others, in a program starting 8pm, May 3rd, at the famed Fairfax Ave. theatre, and he’ll be signing his new book, Alias The Cat, beforehand, at 6pm at Family bookstore down the block.
Is it possible to have an animation magazine about animators, written by animators, and edited by an animator?
It is… and animator Steve Moore is doing it. The first edition of FLIP: Lifestyles of the Hunched and Goofy is now online. The debut issue features an interview with Nancy Beiman, a profile of Jeff DeGrandis, James Baker on his drive-in movie memories, a feature on Blue Sky designer Mike Knapp, book reviews and more. Moore is doing this as a sideline hobby, and has no idea what he’ll put in the next issue. Let’s hope he can keep it goingÃ¢â‚¬”it’s quite refreshing and deserves our support.
Just got a last minute call to appear on a radio show tonight (4/30) at 11pm Pacific (2am Eastern). I’ll be discussing classic cartoons with Morgan White Jr. on Boston’s oldest and biggest radio station WBZ 1030AM. Tune in or listen live on the Internet. Billy West is Morgan’s guest in the first hour (at 10pm PST/1am EST).
I took a break from my deadlines on Saturday to see Mike Barrier discuss his Walt Disney biography at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Milt Gray, Eddie Fitzgerald, Miles Kruger, and award-winning author Amid Amidi were also there to cheer Mike on. The auditorium was packed (the entire LAT Book event itself has evolved over the years to become an annual must-do) and the panel of biographers (the others tackling Frank Lloyd Wright, Einstein, and Hitler) were fascinating. I just picked up my copy of Barrier’s new book at the Festival and will begin reading it this week. I know that once I open it I’ll never put it down till I finish, so I’m reserving some time to it during the next few days.
I couldn’t attend the panel with Neal Gabler on Saturday afternoon, but CSPAN telecast the session in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I haven’t read Gabler’s tome yet either – I’ll do so after I devour Barrier’s – but you can’t deny his enthusiasm for the subject. I took the liberty of posting just Gabler’s comments on Disney in two parts on You Tube. Here is the first part (5 mins.), the second part (9 mins.) is embedded below.
The first one was a big success, so here comes Too Art for TV, Too, the second annual exhibition of personal art by New York’s animation industry. Curators Liz Artinian, Amanda Baehr Fuller, Jessica Milazzo have set up the Stay Gold Gallery for 35 artists, for their exhibit of toys, comics, prints, and paintings, “liberating the skills otherwise “owned” by their television networks bosses.” The show runs May 4th through May 25th.
Too Art for TV, Too is the biggest showing of this movement to date; featuring the artists who create, write, direct, storyboard, design, color, and animate “Venture Bros.” (Adult Swim), “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (Fox Network), “Ice Age” (Blue Sky Studios), “A Scanner Darkly” (Richard Linklater), “SpongeBob SquarePants” (Nickelodeon), “Code Name: Kids Next Door” (Cartoon Network), “Stanley” (Disney TV), “Daria” (MTV Animation), “Blue’s Clues” (Nick JR), and more.
Contributing artists include Liz Artinian, Amanda Baehr Fuller, Jennifer Batinich Blue Bliss, Jeff Buckland, Jared Deal, Kelly Denato Jason DiOrio, Marina Dominis, Nash Dunnigan, Jonathan Ehrenberg, Chris George, Marta Jonsdottir Danny Kimanyen, Rick Lacy, Dave Levy, Douglas Lovelace, Todd K Lown, Jim Manocchio, Miguel Martinez-Joffre, Richard Mather, Jessica Milazzo Dagan Moriarty, Liam Murray, Jackson Publick Reject, Kim Rygiel , Pammy Salmon, Tim Shankweiler, PeeDee Shindell, Justin Simonich, Alex Smith, Kate Tyler, Martin Wittig and Irene Wu.
Opening Reception: Friday, May 4th, 7pm-10pm at Stay Gold Gallery, 451 Grand St. (between Keap & Union) in Brooklyn. For more info click here.
I wanted to play around with squash and stretch so I decided to start animating straight ahead and see how many ways I could change the character….after many moons, and after my hand almost fell off, I went back and just created a set up and ending to the piece to finish it off. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun to do.
Fleischer Studios made arguably the funniest cartoons of the 1920s and ’30s — and they made them, from 1923 through 1938, in studio space leased at 1600 Broadway, the heart of Times Square, in Manhattan.
The original building was demolished several years ago. Its replacement is ready for tenants. It’s now a modern high rise condo. Wanna live where Betty Boop was created? Where Popeye met Sindbad? Wanna sleep where Wiffle Piffle was born? It’s all yours at the new 1600 Broadway.
The LA Times Festival of Books (4/28-29) is such a huge event – the Comic Con International of book fairs, if you will – that it cannot be held in any convention center or contained space. It takes over the campus of of UCLA and overwhelms it. If you love books of any type, on any subject, there is something here for you. Even for us animation fans and historians.
Mike Barrier (The Animated Man) will be a panelist on Biography: Icons on the Page which will take place at 10:30am on Saturday at Rolfe Hall (room 1200). Barrier will be around to sign books and chat afterward. Leonard Maltin will be signing books on Saturday at 12 noon at Dutton’s Brentwood Books booth #336. Neal Gabler, the author of the other recent Disney biography, will be a member of another panel of biographers, Biography: 20th Century Lives, at 3:30pm Saturday afternoon in Haines Hall (room 39). Charles Solomon will be on the panel Biography: Remarkable Lives on Sunday morning at 10:30am at Young Hall (room CS 24).
Most major book companies as well as small press and independent publishers, and book stores & major chains, have large booths selling back stock at discount prices (be sure to stop by the Chronicle Books booths #367, 804 and 901 for some great deals on their animation titles). Many big name real world celebritiesÃ¢â‚¬”from Kirk Douglas and Elizabeth Taylor to Ray Bradbury appear on panels or do book signings. And it’s all free. For more information click here.
Here’s the reminder: yours truly, Jerry Beck, will appear on a live Internet radio chat today at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific. I will be joined by animation historian-voice actor Keith Scott and pop-culture addict/host Stuart Shostack on Stu’s Show, which can be heard on Shokus Internet Radio. Together Stu, Keith and I will discuss classic cartoons, animation dvds, cartoon voice acting, Jay Ward, Popeye, and anything you want (call in toll-free!). Stu’s Show is only available to hear via live streaming audio during broadcast; it’s not archived for downloading later. So if you want to hear the two hour show, you’ll have to tune in today at 4pm Pacific Time (7pm Eastern). Click here and enjoy!
Update: The show I recorded live today will be rebroadcast at 7pm EST/4pm PST, each day for the next seven days. Tune in!
According to the folks at Black 20, “Spiderman 3 went way over budget, and to finish the film, producers had to use product placement to generate more money”.
This spoof (embedded below) is too good to ignore, despite the fact that half the 2:02 video is an ad for the Black 20 website, followed by 20 seconds of their logo. You can cut it off at the :47 sec mark.
Yours truly, Brewmaster Jerry Beck, will appear on a live Internet radio chat Wednesday afternoon (4/25) at 4pm. I will be joined by animation historian-voice actor Keith Scott (pictured above) and pop-culture addict/host Stuart Shostack on Stu’s Show, which is broadcast on Shokus Internet Radio. Together Stu, Keith and I will discuss classic cartoons, animation dvds, cartoon voice acting, Jay Ward, Popeye, and anything you want (toll-free phone participation is encouraged).
Australian Keith Scott is, of course, the author of The Moose That Roared, the definitive history of the Jay Ward studioÃ¢â‚¬”and he’s a popular cartoon voice actor (Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, etc.). Stu’s Show is only available via streaming audio during broadcast (and several subsequent reruns); it’s not archived for downloading later. So if you want to hear the two hour show live, you’ll have to tune in on Wednesday at 4pm Pacific Time (7pm Eastern). So mark you calendar now (but in case you forget, I’ll remind you again on Wednesday).