Mike Peters takes a few shots in our direction this week:
Mike Peters takes a few shots in our direction this week:
I will be off the internet for most of the next four days, enjoying my holiday weekend at Cinecon (the classic movie festival at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard). Cinecon specializes in screening rare films and recent studio restorations not available on DVD, TCM or anywhere else.
King Kelly of the USA (Monogram, 1934) is the kind of offbeat B-movie Cinecon would show – except that this film can be found easily on DVD, as it is one of hundreds of Hollywood orphan films that have fallen into the public domain. It’s not a particularly good picture (though co-stars Edgar Kennedy and Franklin Pangborn have some funny scenes, and they’re always worth watching), however it has this curious animation sequence about 18 minutes in.
Here, Broadway singer Guy Robertson (starring in his only film) tries wooing co-star Irene Ware in song, with a little help from his table cloth drawings. The animation looks familiar, but I can’t quite place who did it. Bizarre in a fun way – check out the mouth action – very much like something a New York studio would do. It certainly isn’t from Terrytoons or Van Bueren. Anyone want to take a guess who’s behind this… Ted Eshbaugh? Les Elton?
I ragged on an upcoming Brazillian production last week, but have since been alerted by several of our South American readers of a more ambitious, adult skewing, hand drawn film, Lutas. Buriti Movies and Gullane Filmes are producing, with animation production being done at LightStar Studios. Luiz Bolognesi is directing, with a scheduled release date in 2010.
(Thanks, Fabiana Catunda)
Is this anyway to rebuild a brand? Hmmmm…. Could be!
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has entered into a licensing agreement with urban clothing designer Johnny Cupcakes to produce a line of limited edition T-shirts featuring the Looney Tunes characters. The new t-shirts will be available ($40 each) beginning this month at Johnny Cupcakes stores in LA, Boston and Hull, Mass as well as online. More info to come via the Johnny Cupcakes blog.
Author and historian Tim Hollis (Mouse Tracks, Hi There Boys and Girls) allowed a local news camera crew to shoot a story about his incredible collection of cartoon memorabilia:
And if anyone wants to visit his private museum in Alabama, contact Tim via email.
Didn’t take long.
Jason Peltz, who has worked for Marvel Comics, Disney Consumer Products and Disney Feature Animation in Orlando, sent in this drawing he made on the occasion of the announcement of the Disney’s Marvel takeover.
If you’ve drawn a clever image or cartoon reflecting this merger, send a link into our comments section below.
Move over Uncle Scrooge!
Disney will now compete with Hollywood (and in particular, Warner Bros. the owner of DC Comics) buy purchasing Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion dollars, according to Variety.
What will this mean for our favorite comics characters – and the animation studios Disney controls? Will Donald meet Howard The Duck? Will The Incredibles cross over to fight The Fantastic Four? Will Disney Feature Animation do an Inhumans movie? Will Disney character comics be published by Marvel? How will this affect the theme parks? Disney XD?
Due to prior deals (for example, Iron Man is sown up at Paramount for years to come) nothing will happen right away, but lots to think about, and lots of exciting possibilities.
Join me at the Silent Movie Theatre on Tuesday (September 1st) for an entire orgy of 35mm Technicolor cartoons from the 30s, 40s and 50s. We’ve dug up a whole program of diverse classic cartoons with only one thing in common – each is a vintage film print struck in the original three strip Tech process.
Not to go all film geek on you, but this is going to be one helluva show, with Color Rhapsodies, Terrytoons and Noveltoons galore – projected as they were originally intended on the big screen. Forget digital, Technicolor was the cream-of-the-crop chemical film process which required three separate negatives to create its vivid images – and unlike other film stocks, the color never faded. Sadly, Technicolor’s dye-transfer process, used during the golden age of Hollywood, stopped due to costs in 1974.
Luckily, prints still exist – but they are getting scarce. Our big show starts at 8pm and advance tickets are on sale now. Check the CineFamily website for more information. Click the thumbnails below to see frame enlargements from a few of the actual prints we will be showing.
Walt and El Grupo is the new feature length documentary about the two month tour of South America that Walt and his staff (which included Lee and Mary Blair, Frank Thomas and Norm Ferguson) took – by arrangement of the U.S. Government – in 1941. I had a chance to see it last week – and I enjoyed it very much.
Using previously unseen 16mm color home movies, rare newsreel footage and photographs, as well as interviews with relatives, historians (John Canemaker, J.B. Kaufman) and witnesses (several people who interacted with Walt and the group during the trip were located and interviewed!) the filmmakers (Franks son, Theodore with Kuniko Okubo) retrace the entire tour and take us along for the ride.
If you are a fan of the history of Walt Disney, the Disney studio in general, the Latin America themed shorts (and features) – or, if like me, you just like watching candid footage of Walt – you will love this film. In fact, if you fall into those categories, it’s a must-see. This is a whole chapter in the life of Disney we hadn’t seen before, told in depth, bringing us much closer the man behind the mouse.
This was a troubling time for Walt, personally. The animators strike was in full swing at the studio, Fantasia was in the red, and if that wasn’t enough, his father passed away while he was on the trip. This period marked a true turning point in Walt’s career as a filmmaker and producer. But, as this documentary shows, the experience from this tour influenced not just Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros but films and ride attractions in the decades to come.
If I had to nitpick, I’d say Walt and El Grupo doesn’t show enough clips from the cartoons which resulted from the tour. But rest assured, this is no simple DVD “bonus piece” – it’s a well made, well researched film that will add to your knowledge of Disney history. It opens on September 11th in New York and L.A. (with additional cities to follow) and its well worth your time.
Ehhh, What if…
(Thanks, Tim Lawrence via Facebook)
This year, Popeye celebrated his 80th birthday (his first comic strip appearance was on January 17th, 1929). This painting, from 2007 by monster-movie make-up guru Rick Baker, shows what the sailor-man would actually look like at this age.
(Thanks, Doran Gaston)
I am not sure if this French production, Baidir, is a proposed TV series or a feature film – but it’s damn nice looking: