How do they make those drawings move? The chart above (click on it for the BIG version), a separate pull-out from the 1943 booklet The Ropes At Disney, explains the whole process. You’ll note that it all starts with “Walt”. And his main focus was “Story” and “Direction”.
Ever wonder what it was like to work at the Disney Studio during the Golden Age of Animation? Think it was the “happiest place on Earth”? Think again. This 1943 booklet, given to all new employees, spelled it out for you. Gals ain’t allowed in the Penthouse Club, personal phone calls will be charged to you, and if you need to leave the studio, you cannot do so without an “Off the Lot Pass”. Oh, and “Any violation of the U. S. Espionage Act” will get you discharged.
UPDATE: We’ve learned the illustrations in this book were done by Tom Oreb.
(Thanks to Mike Van Eaton for sharing this with us)
I was visiting the Van Eaton Gallery in Sherman Oaks this week (and you should too if you are in the area), and Mike Van Eaton, knowing I am a big fan of pressbooks and old animated movie advertising, showed me this newspaper clipping of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS from its premiere Hollywood engagement at the Carthay Circle Theatre. I’m always wondering what cartoon shorts played with what feature films back in the 1930s and 40s. But have you ever wondered what live action shorts played with SNOW WHITE? This ad tells you: A newsreel and a Pete Smith Specialty – matinees only.UPDATE: Disney historian J.B. Kaufman tells us more about the short subjects that played with SNOW WHITE dsuring its initial engagements:
The story of short subjects playing with Snow White at the Carthay Circle gets a little more complicated. Snow White was at the Carthay Circle for four months, and the supporting bill changed periodically during that time. According to the theater’s programmes, there was a newsreel every week — The March of Time, Pathe News, Pathe Parade, and sometimes more than one of these on the same program. The Pete Smith short A Friend Indeed was on the bill for five weeks, apparently, from February into early March 1938. For the last four weeks there was a short called The Quintuplets, surely about the Dionnes. (The ads read: “They Sing, They Dance, They See a Movie.” No short titled The Quintuplets appears in the Copyright Catalog, but in 1935 Pathe News had copyrighted a short about the Dionnes called The Quintuplets’ Second Christmas.)Another item of interest: the Spanish-language edition of the feature, Blanca Nieves y los siete enanos, was unveiled at the Carthay Circle on Sunday, 27 February 1938, and became a regular Sunday-afternoon feature during the remainder of Snow White’s run there.Finally, for what it’s worth, when Snow White opened at Radio City Music Hall in New York in January 1938, it played for five weeks. For the first three weeks it played with The March of Time, for the fourth and fifth week there was a different newsreel which I haven’t identified, and during that last week there was an added attraction: the Warner Bros/Vitaphone short Ski Flight.
(Thanks, Mike Van Eaton)
I don’t know how I missed mentioning this last Tuesday, but it should be noted here that our good friends Mike Glad and Leslie Iwerks were nominated for an Academy Award for their live action film, Recycled Life in the catagory of Best Documentary Short.Mike Glad has one of the largest and finest collections of vintage animation art in the country. His various collections of animation movie posters, cartoon sheet music, backgrounds, cels and all manner of production materials have been the backbone of many exhibits at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and museums around the world. He’s donated numerous pieces from his incredible archive to Amid’s Cartoon Modern and to several of my books and DVD projects. Leslie Iwerks is, of course, grand daughter of Ub Iwerks and an incredible documentary filmmaker. She’s best known in our circles for The Hand Behind The Mouse and will be better known outside our circles with her forthcoming documentetry on Pixar (I’ve seen it and it’s teriffic).For more information about Recycled Life, go here and here. Congratulations to Leslie and Mike. We’ll be rooting for you.
Spotlighting talent from Cartoon Network’s local team of designers, animators, graphic artists and, according to the press release, “producers and writers,” the Museum of Design Atlanta will present an exhibition, Design at Play: The High Design and Low-Brow Humor of Cartoon Network opening on February 1st. The exhibit will include samples of print advertising and marketing materials, billboard executions, premium design, on-air spots, Web sites and online games.Artist Stephanie Gladden tells us:
This exhibition shows off the talents of the designers and illustrators from Cartoon Network Atlanta. The displays will include posters, premiums, and some CN Studios production art. Also I’m hyping it ‘cuz my fellow illustrators and I are gonna paint cartoons on the walls!
The installation runs through May 19 at the museum’s downtown facilities at 285 Peachtree Center Avenue. More information here.
More OSWALD THE LUCKY RABBIT merchandise we can’t have (or can’t afford). Jeremy Povolny points out that Japanese clothing brand Comme Des GarÃ§ons has started a line of Oswald T-Shirts (one of their nifty styles pictured above).If this new wave stuff isn’t your bag, click here, scroll down past Oscar the Grouch for a few vintage Oswald rubber dolls.
(Click on pictures for a larger version of each)
Aren’t these cool? Too bad we may never get a chance to buy ‘em.Disney character merchandise designers Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily (recently let go after two decades at the studio) produced these last summer – the first Disney Oswald merchandise in approximately 80 years. Despite being unveiled to the public at a recent Disney collectibles show, it now appears that these items may be scrapped altogether. As Kevin notes:
At the moment, it seems that Oswald (as a merchandise character) is “on hold” while Disney Consumer Products creates a style guide to streamline him. Disney eliminated the creative department that we worked for, so these may have fallen by the wayside after our departure from the company, but I thought you’d be interested in seeing the first Oswald figurine (in resin, at right) and the first Oswald ‘plush’ doll (actually he’s made of soft-sculptured suede!)
There is a small chance these babies will be offered as limited editions at the Disney theme parks or through Disney’s website. But don’t hold your breath. Personally, I hope they are mass produced. I know a few of our readers would be interested in them.
The nominees were announced today.Best Animated Feature
HAPPY FEET (Warner Bros.)
MONSTER HOUSE (Sony)Notes on the Feature nominations: The obvious casualty of the Arthur And The Invisibles disqualification was the lockout of two potential Dreamworks pix and Sony’s Open Season. Had the Weinstein Company submitted its all-animated Doogal instead of Arthur the catagory would have been open to five nominees. It’s to the benefit of the industry that all qualified nominees be submitted for Academy consideration. Hopefully this will encourage more studios to release independent films, and those hard to see foreign features, and qualify them for this honor. As it is, this is a fine list of nominees. A Pixar film competing against features produced by traditionally live action filmmakers (George Miller, Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg). Is this the beginning of a trend? We’ll see. In the meantime, may the best car, penguin or monster win.Best Animated Short Film
The Danish Poet (NFB) Torill Kove
Lifted (Pixar) Gary Rydstrom
Little Match Girl (Disney) Roger Allers
Maestro Géza M Toth
No Time For Nuts (Blue Sky) Chris Renaud and Mike Thurmeier
Notes on the Shorts nominations: An interesting list. Pixar, Blue Sky and Disney, plus an NFB short and one Hungarian independent film. The big surprise was that Joanna Quinn’s award winning film (Dreams and Desires), didn’t make the cut and that three big studio produced shorts did. Is this the beginning of another trend? Two things grab Academy voters (and technique is not one of them): Laughter and Heart. LIFTED, MAESTRO and NO TIME FOR NUTS (all CG) got big laughs at the Academy screening; THE DANISH POET and LITTLE MATCH GIRL (both hand drawn) had heart. I can’t begin to predict what the full membership will select, but it was a strong year in this catagory.
Randy Newman’s song from CARS, Our Town, was also nominated for Best Song. In L.A. the Academy will screen all the nominated shorts with a filmmakers Q&A on Tuesday February 20th. The winners will be announced on Sunday February 25th. Congratulations to all the nominees!
LA WEEKLY’S Nikki Finke is reporting the breakup of Roy Disney’s 51 year marriage to his wife Patty.
The only reason I posted this is because of the possible business consequences: I imagine a lot of Disney Co. stock/cash will change hands when Roy’s $1.2 billion-estimated fortune is divvied up — after all, they were wed just after Disneyland opened — so it looks like his stake in the corporation could be dramatically reduced. Then again, Roy reportedly sold off chunks of shares in Disney Co. in protest while he and his adviser Stanley Gold were fighting with FrankenEisner.
The actual court papers are posted in this PDF file.
Frederator Studios is hosting a party for animators next week at Cinespace in Hollywood. The event is to celebrate the first year of Channel Frederator podcasting and many of the filmmakers will be flying in to attend. All attendees will have the opportunity to get a beautiful 100 page full color program book (full disclosure: I contributed a page to it) which contains dozens of great pieces drawn by the Frederator podcast animators. This event is not an award show (like the Annies), Fred Seibert says it’s “three hours for you to eat, drink, and hang out with the animation community”. Sounds good to me. Wednesday January 24th at 8pm. See you there.(For more details, go here)
This may be the silliest observation ever posted on the Brew, but I was reading the paper today and I couldn’t help staring at this photo of Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki with foreign diplomats in conference. I wondered what those red boxes in front of each board member was. Looking closely, I deduced they were boxes of tissues. How considerate. At home I also have several boxes of Kleenex in the same dark red color, in fact they are Pixar CARS Kleenex. Is it possible Maliki offers Kleenex decorated with Lightning McQueen at his board meetings?What next? Spongebob Whistle Pops for dessert?
Art director (Little Mermaid) and production designer (Jimmy Neutron) Fred Cline has just started a blog. Cline was mentored by Lee and Mary Blair in his younger days, and is researching their careers. We need to get him to post video of the rare commercials he has in his possession. He’s also researching the career of Hugh Harman. And maybe he’ll discuss the project he’s working on at Laika. It’s all at Fred World.
Courtesy of our pals at The Animation Show we have four copies of the new dvd set of the ANIMATION SHOW Volumes 1 & 2 just out from Paramount and MTV Home Entertainment. The first four entrants that answered the question posted earlier today won one of these beauties.
CONTEST NOW CLOSED!
Our winners were Stewart Shaw of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada; Raymond Delgadillo of Pico Rivera, CA.; Ian Jones-Quartey of Brooklyn, NY; and George Col–n of Hayward, CA.
Girl animation artists drawing girls. Cool. It’s a new book, it’s a gallery show, it’s an event on January 20th at Pehr Space in Los Angeles (near Echo Park). The gals include Anand Duncan (Disney), Anne Walker (Renegade), Nicole Filiatrault (South Park), Shannon O’Connor (Iron Giant), Crystal Chesney (Looney Tunes: Back In Action) and a whole slew from The Simpsons, including Melody Severns, Debbie Bruce, Nancy Kruse, and Jenny Moeller. More info at the Girls Drawin Girls website.
Forget Astro Boy! Digital Meme has announced an upcoming release of a new DVD collection of vintage Japanese anime that predates Tezuka’s classic by thirty years! The set includes fifty five rare cartoons from the Golden Age of Japanese silent film and early talkie period.
Japanese Anime Classic Collection is a digital collection of hard-to-find anime produced from 1928 through 1936. Entertaining, exciting, and startling, the collection will be treasured by enthusiasts, who will find it a valuable reference tool for retracing Japanese animation from its early roots to what is now universally known as anime. Presented chronologically, these anime have been painstakingly digitally reproduced for DVD viewing. Nothing has been altered or edited except for the integration of music in some titles.Some selections in the set are “record talkies.” These anime came to theaters together with a gramophone record, which provided a separate, simultaneous audio track with music, voice, and effects.
I don’t know about you, but I’m very intrigued. The price is $110.00 (or $40.00 per DVD when sold separately) and it’s scheduled for release on April, 30th 2007. For further details, please check Digital Meme’s website.
Who’d ever have thought that CHIP AND DALE (1947) would be a more obscure Disney short than DER FEUHRER’S FACE (1943)? Or that THE TRIAL OF DONALD DUCK (1948) would be harder to see than EDUCATION FOR DEATH (1943)? That’s the way it stands now if Disney Home Video has their way.Word is circulating around the Internet that Disney has put a halt to the series of Walt Disney Treasures, the annual set of archival dvds, packaged in a tin container, hosted and produced by Leonard Maltin. The series was close to releasing every short the company ever produced, but has now stopped short of completing the collection of its most important short subject star, Donald Duck. Wartime cartoons, silent rarities, lost Disneyland footage, the complete run of Silly Symphonies – all this and more have been part of the Walt Disney Treasures during the past six years (click here for a complete list).For more information on the situation, or if you want to support the effort to keep these DVDs alive, I refer you to this thread on HomeTheaterForum.com.
Leslie Cabarga and I are conspiring to get you to be friendly to Casper – his comics that is!I’ve made no secret of my love for the Paramount Harvey Comics of the 1950s and early 60s. These have been virtually ignored by the comics community, and unknown to animation fans. Now that we’ve completed our personal collections (through eBay and Comic-Con at bargain prices), Leslie and I are compiling a large volume of the 100 best stories, restored from printers proofs and original art, by permission of Classic Media and to be published by Dark Horse this summer. These comics were drawn mainly by the Famous Studios animators: Bill Hudson, Tom Johnson, Howard Post, Steve Muffatti and others. Warren Kremer’s classic early stories will be presented as well. I’m also contributing an introductory essay to this 480-page volume and we’ve got big plans for further editions. I’ll be plugging this again in the coming months, but you can place an advance order now, for Harvey Comics Classics Volume 1: Casper The Friendly Ghost at Dark Horse Comics.
Starting tonight, The El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood is running a sing-a-long revival of MARY POPPINS for the rest of the month. The El Capitan’s resident organist Rob Richards (a loyal Cartoon Brew reader) sent us this tip: Very early on Saturday January 13th, the El Cap will make a brief return to its historic roots as a live performance theater with a special musical program. On Saturday morning, Rob will be performing solo and in duet with Ralph Wolf, 88, a legendary Hollywood pianist (in addition to his Hollywood movie work, Wolf was the rehearsal pianist for the original Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s). As part of this early bird program, Rob Richards will accompany, on the theater’s Mighty Wurlitzer organ, a restored print of Alice’s Wonderland (1923), the first of the “Alice comedies.” The concert is scheduled to begin promptly at 8 am, concluding at 9:15. Tickets are available at the El Capitan box office. Doors open at approximately 7:30 a.m. The El Capitan Theatre is located at 6838 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood CA.
Stripper’s Guide, a blog dedicated to newspaper comic strips, yesterday posted samples of George Stallings‘ little-known comic-strip Soapy Waters, which ran for a short time in the 1950s. Stallings, a former Van Beuren animator and Disney director and story man spent his latter career writing comic strips, mainly for Disney.This blog is loaded with interesting material. Today’s post is about an obscure solo Lois Lane comic strip from the mid 40s. Who knew? This is good stuff!
If you couldn’t make it to the ASIFA-Hollywood screening of Frederator’s new Random Cartoons last night, here’s some good news. They’ve just posted one of the funniest shorts in the series onto Google Video and you can watch it now. Pen Ward is a great new talent and his Adventure Time has been justly nominated for an Annie Award. Awesome!Good luck, Pen!
We should note that producer Steve Krantz passed away last Thursday in Los Angeles from complications of pneumonia. He was 83.Krantz is best known in our world for his production of the first, ultra low budget, syndicated The Marvel Superheroes cartoons in 1966. He also produced Max the 2000-Year-Old Mouse and Rocket Robin Hood. Krantz met Ralph Bakshi while making the ABC Saturday morning SPIDER MAN animated series. His relationship with Bakshi led to his producing FRITZ THE CAT, HEAVY TRAFFIC, and later without Bakshi, THE NINE LIVES OF FRITZ THE CAT. Krantz was also the husband of author Judith Krantz (Scruples, Princess Daisy).
Another of the old guard of animation, Pete Kleinow, has passed away. He was both a stop motion animator (with Art Clokey), and a renown guitarist (with The Flying Burrito Brothers). He wrote the Gumby song and animated on the original Davey & Goliath. Kleinow did many commercials in the sixties and seventies (including Poppin Fresh, The Pillsbury Doughboy), and animated the robot terminator in James Cameron’s THE TERMINATOR (1984). He also animated sequences for the Krofft’s LAND OF THE LOST and Arnold Leibovit’s THE PUPPETOON MOVIE. He passed away last Saturday night at age 72.(Thanks Joel Fletcher)
In 2005 Warner Bros. released, as bonus material on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 3, a rarely seen 1963 TV pilot called PHILBERT, one of the last things produced by Warner Bros. Cartoons before they closed shop. The live action/animation show starred William Schallert as Griff, a bachelor newspaper cartoonist who lives with his creation, a mischievous hipster cartoon character named Philbert. I was honored to do some audio track commentary on the DVD with animator Art Leonardi and voice actor Trustin Howard. When the show failed to sell (it was intended for ABC), Warner Bros. stripped the show of its laugh track, did some re-editing and released it as a 26 minute theatrical short subject. The version released on the Looney Tunes set is the theatrical version.However, Friz Freleng (who directed the animation) once gave me a damaged copy of the original TV show version and I’ve posted a clip of the opening below for the sake of comparison. Note the lively theme song with lyrics missing on the DVD release. Other deletions include the illustrated titles and the laugh track. It’s worth noting that the pilot was directed by Richard Donner and the opening sequence of Philbert dancing was animated by Art Babbitt.
We’ve just heard that Iwao Takamoto passed away today. Takamoto is best known for his design work at Hanna-Barbera during the 1960s. He designed Scooby Doo, the Jetsons’ dog Astro, and Penelope Pitstop. He entered the business after World War II, where he was hired as an assistant animator by Walt Disney Studios. He eventually became the head of clean-up for Milt Kahl. He worked on films such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Lady and the Tramp.Takamoto left Disney in 1961 and joined Hanna-Barbera Productions where he worked in many capacities including direction of several feature-length animated films, including Charlotte’s Web (1973) and Jetsons: The Movie (1990). Along with the late Ed Benedict and Joe Barbera, Takamoto was responsible for some of the greatest television characters of our generation. He will be missed.
Independent animator Dave Redl has created a mini-industry by writing, voicing and animating his own short-form cartoon series, Family Pants, out of his home in New Jersey. Without any studio support, he’s pumping out his own thing, sharing it on the internet – even explaining everything about how he does it on his website. Here’s a great podcast interview with Dave discussing the hows and whys. It helps that Dave is an incredibly good cartoonist and extremely dedicated to the craft. Family Pants started as an on-line comic strip and evolved into an on-going animated series. His latest, Canned Ham, is the best one yet. Check it out all at FamilyPants.com
Haven’t seen the flick myself yet, but word has filtered out that Arthur And The Invisibles has been officially disqualified from Academy consideration for Best Animated Feature. Apparently the film has animation in less than 75% of it’s running time. The film is currently playing in Los Angeles to qualify for the 2006 Awards, and will open wide around the U.S. on January 12th. But with no chance for an Oscar, and with reviews like this, Arthur is headed for an invisible future, indeed.The film’s disqualification will now alter the amount of films that can be nominated. We had 16 eligible features. Now it’s 15. Which means we just lost two nominees. (The rules state that if there are 16 or more eligible movies, there are 5 nominee slots. Less than 16, it’s three).