They are the three names leaked to E&P’s Joe Strupp as likely finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. And, as E&P has reported on several occasions, all three are part of a growing group of print cartoonists who also do online political animations.
“The profession is abuzz with this,” one cartoonist told E&P today. This cartoonist (not Anderson, Handelsman, or Thompson) added that he heard all three possible finalists submitted animations with their print Pulitzer portfolios.
This is the first year that video, audio, and other new online entries havebeen accepted by the Pulitzers. (Online text and online still images were previously accepted.)
Anderson, a 2005 Pulitzer winner, is with the Houston Chronicle and the Washington Post Writers Group. Handelsman, a 1997 Pulitzer winner, is with Newsday of Melville, N.Y., and Tribune Media Services. And Thompson, a 2006 Pulitzer finalist, is with the Detroit Free Press and Copley News Service.
There is an important Disney history triple-play going on at three of our favorite blogs.
Michael Sporn got the ball rolling last year by posting the first 23 pages of the animator drafts for Pinocchio (1940). These are the sequence by sequence breakdowns of who animated each shot, scene by scene. Start here to read the earliest scenes.
Hans Perk at A Film L.A. picked up the ball and continued this project by posting the rest of the draft, (backtrack from here), posting several new pages each day.
Mark Mayerson is taking this information and visualizing it into “mosaics”: illustrating each shot with a frame grab, identifying the animators, and offering insightful commentary for each sequence. (Mayerson has previously done this, based on Perk’s collection of drafts, for several shorts including Mother Goose Goes Hollywood, Symphony Hour and Plutopia).
This is a treasure trove of information for one of the undeniable classics of animation. It’s also a great example of what the Internet can doÃ¢â‚¬”bringing together information from three sources, in different parts of the world, that now allow us to study the individual work of the artists who brought this masterpiece to life.
First off, this book is a must-have. John Halas himself was one of the world’s great animators and producers. He was also a pioneering cartoon historian and was one of the founders of ASIFA and the Annecy Animation Festival. Joy Batchelor was an amazing artist, designer and business woman. Together they created Britain’s largest animation studio creating hundreds of films, from experimental avant-garde works to commercials, full length feature films (Animal Farm) and TV series (Do-Do the Kid from Outer Space, among others). 3-D, stop motion, CG and practically every other technique available was tried in their fifty year career together.
The book itself, compiled by daughter Vivien Halas and historian Paul Wells, covers their entire history thoroughly–the personal side and the professional–with numerous illustrations and photographs and a bonus DVD featuring seven of their best short films. The art and images are especially well chosen and a delight to look at. This book covers an important piece of animation history and two pioneers who should never be forgotten. Amazon.com has it in stock at discount. Buy it.
We’ve highlighted this new trend before. The high-end, urban fashion vinyl dolls not aimed at the kids or the Disneyland family crowd. From the same Japanese figure maker (Medi Com Toy Corp) who produced the vintage Mickey and Oswald vinyls (mentioned here), here’s an interesting looking pirate Mickey Mouse figurine (above right), a follow up to the companys previous figure, from last summer, where Mickey was molded in homage to the punk band, The Clash.
It’s rare for this website to promote a visit to Disneyland twice within the same week, but we’ve just recieved word from artist Kevin Kidney that, in addition to the Pirates of The Caribbean art exhibit (which Kevin is a part of), the park quietly opened a new exhibit in the Disney Gallery (above the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction) showcasing many of the great Disney Western Publishing book illustrations from the 1950s and 60s. The original paintings on display are among the cream of the crop of Disney book illustration–of any time–with so many of these images permanently ingrained in our memory from childhood. Kevin says:
Viewing these in person is a real treat. The artists represented include John Hench, Al Dempster, Retta Scott Worcester, Campbell Grant, Al White, Dick Kelsey, and several others. There hasn’t been much advertising for this exhibit, but the display is sure to excite a lot of artists who grew up with these beautiful books. In addition, many of the images are available for purchase as “print on demand” reproductions through the Disney Gallery.
A few weeks ago I posted about Chuck McCann and mentioned his memorable voice work as Sonny and Gramps in the original 1960s Cocoa Puffs cereal commercials. At the time, I couldn’t find any on the internet to link to, but thanks to our pal J.J. Sedelmaier we were able to place several on You Tube ourselves. These spots were animated by the great Jan Svochak (1926-2006), who was best known for some of the early Hawaiian Punch commercials.
It looks like he had a lot of fun animating these.
What do Brad Bird, Bill Plympton, Mel Blanc, Pinto Colvig, Carl Barks, Matt Groening, Basil Wolverton and Will Vinton have in common?
They all came from Oregon. Film historian Dennis Nyback has been running an animation festival there all month long, highlighting these local talents as well as the entire history of animation. There are incredible shows all week, leading to grand finale on Thursday March 15th at Portland’s historic Hollywood Theatre. The program that night will include classic shorts in 35mm by Jan Svankmajer, John Hubley, Mike Judge, Marv Newland, Will Vinton, Bill Plympton, John Lasseter (pictured above left), Barry Purves (above right) and, believe it or not, Paul J. Smith (center image).
The show starts at 7:15 PM. Admission: $6.00. Tickets can be purchased online at hollywoodtheatre.org
I found a copy of cartoonist Chuck Thorndyke’s 1939 book The Business of Cartooning: The Success Stories of the World’s Greatest Cartoonists. In it, he profiles three dozen print cartoonists (mainly artists of newspaper strips, magazine gags and editorial cartoons), with caricatures by Thorndyke. Under a subsection for Animated Cartoonists, Thorndyke profiles only three animators. He devotes a whole page to Walt Disney, that’s understandable — but some some unknown reason, from all the animators to choose from in 1939, he singles out Fleischer’s Roland “Doc” Crandall and Jack Mercer.
What? What about Max or Dave Fleischer? Paul Terry? Walter Lantz? Why not Hugh Harman? It’s great to learn a little more about Crandall and Mercer, but it seems a bit odd. My guess is he knew Crandall and Mercer personally. Perhaps owed them a favor. Here’s the spread devoted to animated cartoonists. It’s not particularly well written, but a few bits of odd information can be gleaned from it.
Here’s a reason to visit Disneyland next weekend. Michelle and Amanda (aka The Girls Productions) will be doing a signing Sunday March 18th from 9-11:30 in the Disneyland Gallery above the Pirates Of The Caribbean attraction. This is to commemorate the 40th Anniversay of the ride. There will be some cool new merchandise available and one-of-a-kind art for sale. The Girls will be joined by artist Jeff Granito, and Disney Legends Alice Davis, X Atencio, Bob Gurr, Harriet Burns and Blaine Gibson.
Actress Geena Davis spoke at the National Conference for Media Reform in January, discussing her new foundation, See Jane. This group seeks to reduce gender stereotypes, and encourages an increase of female characters in the media–particularly in children’s media. In her speech, she discussed the history of female cartoon characters. Although her facts may not be completely accurate, she certainly makes a valid point. Her speech was broadcast this morning on public radio’s Democracy Now!.
DAVIS: “Do you remember the kinds of stuff that they made for us, for kids, in the oldie old days? Let’s see, the first animation, of course, was Disney’s Minnie Mouse and… Daisy Duck, who didn’t really do much at all, except ask to go shopping, I think. There were a lot of Hanna-Barbera cartoons — Magilla Gorilla, Wally Gator, George of the Jungle — virtually no female characters. I had a vague recollection that Yogi Bear had a girlfriend, and I searched and searched, and I finally found her, Cindy Bear, as you all remember…”
“…On the Looney Tunes website, they list twelve characters, and only one of them is female, but it’s the great one. It’s the one you all love and remember the best: Granny. She’s the one who owns Tweety, and she has to leave so that the story can happen.”
Geena rips into the Smurfs, Judy Jetson, Winnie The Pooh as well. It’s very entertaining. The whole transcript is posted at the Democracy Now! website, and you can also download a streaming video of the speech.
As a follow up to my posting a 1943 Look Magazine article on George Pal, Brew reader Kevin Kidney sends us this April 1944 Coronet Magazine article. Lots of neat things to look at here, including famed sculpter Wah Chang (in picture #3), and the fact that they are making Jasper Goes Hunting, the one with a cameo by Bugs Bunny. Click on thumbnails below to view at full size.
Dutch animator Paul Driessen will make a rare Los Angeles area appearance next week, on Friday March 16th.
Driessen will do an Q & A at the UCLA James Bridges Theatre following a screening of some of his best work. The program begins at 7pm and there will be a reception after the screening. The whole evening is free (though parking is $8.00 in Lot 3 and you may need to RSVP). See you there!
Once again, Brewmaster Jerry Beck will open his big mouth and blab about classic cartoons on radio this Saturday afternoon, March 10th.
I’ll be on in the second hour (2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, 11am Pacific) on Movie Talk with Dave DuBos. It originates out of BizTalk 990 AM in New Orleans, and you can listen to a live stream on your computer.
Bad enough that Cinderella III was hyped on those dividers at the checkout aisle, now we can take the Peter Pan hype home with usÃ¢â‚¬”on our produce! The Consumerist spotted this latest excercise in Disney corporate mind control.
I was rummaging through my stuff and found this ad I clipped from the October 30, 1980 issue of Rolling Stone.
Of Mice and Magic came out in Spring 1980 (I don’t recall the exact publication date), originally in hardcover from McGraw-Hill. It was issued as a trade paperback by NAL in October 1980, updated in 1987 and hasn’t been out of print since.
I still can’t believe the publisher took out an ad in Rolling Stone! Considering the state of animation back then, I can’t believe they advertised it at all.
He’s been mocked by Saturday Night Live, trivialized in junk merchandise, and mostly ignored by the younger generation. The thing is, the early Gumby cartoons are pretty cool and quite trippy. And, though recently displaced by Wallace and Gromit, Gumby and Pokey were the most famous clay animated characters ever created.
Giannalberto Bendazzi sends word that Italian animator Osvaldo Cavandoli died in Milan on Saturday, March 3rd, 2007, of natural causes. He was 87. Bendazzi writes:
Osvaldo invented and animated La Linea, possibly the best known character Italian animation ever produced. A marvelous human being loved by everyone, he had been honored in June 2006 by the Annecy Museum and the Annecy International Animation Festival.
Animator J.J. Sedelmaier has written an editorial for latest edition of Create Magazine making the case for animation diversity. He raises many good points:
“It’s my opinion that animation thrives in an environment that creates an alternate reality, instead of trying to simply re-create it. You’d think a lesson or two would’ve been learned from all the Saturday morning cartoon disasters of 20 to 40 years ago. These were nothing more than radio scripts in tandem with drawn moving imagesÃ¢â‚¬”badly drawn and animated, at that…”
“There are two more important reasons for techniques other than CGI being valid crowd pleasers: 1. “Warmth of the Human Touch”. Styles that look like they were created, drawn and animated by human beings provide a lovely contrast to the hyper-real, machine made, formulaic approach…”
French illustrator, designer and 2D animator Quentin Tavernier (aka Kant-1) has a cool new website worth checking out. It’s as much fun to navigate as his drawings and animations are to look at. He’s also a guitarist for a rock band, Ace Out. Good stuff.
Craig Yoe has redesigned his Arf Lovers blog with new features like an rss feed, perma-links, comments and lots of new links. Yoe’s posts are often hilarious and eye opening – and certainly of interest to Brew readers. Yoe’s new Arf book, Arf Forum is now at the printer and can be pre-ordered at a discount price on Amazon. Based on his previous two Arf collections we highly recommend the latest edition sight unseen.
Craig is also compiling a book full of Clean Cartoonists’ Dirty Drawings, raunchy comics and cartoons by cartoonists known for their
mainstream wholesome stuff (Milton Caniff, Rube Goldberg, Will Eisner, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Mort Walker, Dr. Seuss, etc.). Previews of this book and Arf Forum will be posted regularly on Yoe’s blog.
The Hays office, and Hollywood cartoon producers, were just as mindful of young audiences back in the Golden Age of animation as broadcast standards and practices are today. This article, from Look magazine (January 17, 1939), produced with the full cooperation of Leon Schlesinger Productions, illustrates how the Hays Code operates in regards to animated cartoons.
Note the use of actual stills from classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies like Clean Pastures, Robin Hood Makes Good, Case of The Stuttering Pig, Speaking of the Weather, along with several cel set-ups created especially for this piece, to illustrate specific points like nudity, “the razzberry”, and cow udders. I can think of a half-dozen cartoons released around this time with all of the above. And note the line, “Neither may cartoons show men who appear too effeminate.” Clearly Egghead’s days were numbered.
Click on the gallery below to learn about the different ways that Hollywood censored its animated shorts:
Fred Seibert has posted a group of publicity postcards created to promote his new series, Random Cartoons. Thirty-nine animated shorts were produced by the likes of Bill Plympton, John Dilworth, Doug TenNapel, Pat Ventura, Jun Falkenstein and yours truly. Nickelodeon is scheduled to air the series sometime this year, but no one knows when. In the meantime, these images should keep you intrigued.
Brew reader Charles Brubaker wrote in to tell me that Mel Brooks Academy Award winning animated 1963 short, The Critic, had popped up on You Tube. I always forget how funny this film is. I did some searching around and found a better version on brettratner.com. If you haven’t seen it in a while, or not at all, here it is. Created and narrated by Mel Brooks. Produced and Directed by Ernest Pintoff: The Critic.
Continuing our Japanese theme today, David Gerstein led me to a Japanese website offering some very cool new Mickey Mouse and Disney Oswald vinyl collectible dolls and Kubrick mini-figures. I have no idea if these will offered in the U.S. but I know I want them.
1. in a dying state; near death. 2. on the verge of extinction or termination. 3. not progressing or advancing; stagnant
Yep, that word sums it up.
The Japanese continue to advance the possibilities of animation in the feature film arena. They seem undisturbed by the CG/Mo-Cap blockbuster-mentality that Hollywood has embraced. The highest grossing film in Japan last year was Studio Ghibli’s traditionally animated Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea) by Goro Miyazaki.
I’m optimistic enough to believe it will turnaround here, in time.