We try our best to keep politics out of Cartoon Brew, but an item reported this morning on The Huffington Post caught my eye, and I felt it should be noted here (heck, any time a classic cartoon character is compared to a current politician, I’m interested. Anyone remember when Bill Clinton compared himself to Baby Huey?).
Today, columnist Niall Ferguson of London’s Financial Times compared President Obama to Felix the Cat, saying that, like Obama, the cartoon cat was “black and lucky”. The lede of Ferguson’s column reads:
President Barack Obama reminds me of Felix the Cat. One of the best-loved cartoon characters of the 1920s, Felix was not only black. He was also very, very lucky. And that pretty much sums up the 44th president of the US as he takes a well-earned summer break after just over six months in the world’s biggest and toughest job.
Ferguson’s column was accompanied by a cartoon (above) and a caption which reads, “Felix the Cat, the wonderful, wonderful cat! Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks!” See the original column here (site may require registration to read).
Song of the South, the one film The Walt Disney Company will not release on DVD, lives on.
There hasn’t been much to report lately on the status of Walt’s 1946 Uncle Remus classic, but I just read Jim Korkis’ outstanding “making of” article in the latest issue Hogan’s Alley (a Comic Con purchase that I just got around to reading today) and am inspired to raise the issue again. Why isn’t this film on DVD? The studio has released much more “offending material” already, without a peep from special interest groups who might object. I appreciate all the fantastic wartime material the studio has already released, and am grateful to the company for making available all the 1930s and 40s shorts, despite some dated racial stereotypes contained therein.
“Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South?” – that’s the question I’m asking, and also it happens to be the name of Korkis’ piece in the 16th edition of Hogan’s Alley. The article is an absolute must-read and, at 19 pages, is thoroughly researched and possibly the last word on the subject. Korkis documents the complete story of the project, from pre-production to latter day reissues – with all the controversy inbetween. And if this edition of Hogan’s Alley only contained Korkis’ great article it would be well worth the cover price, but there are excellent articles on Little Lulu merchandising (and animation), an interview with Popeye artist Stephan DeStefano, rare Dan DeCarlo comic strips, and a dozen other great features. Buy this today.
On a related note, Mike Van Eaton just acquired a set of Ub Iwerks notes and production boards from SotS (see storyboards below, click thumbnails to see larger images). Note the deleted sequence on the boards second row, below right. Mike isn’t selling these – but graciously allowed me to post them for our readers enjoyment.
Just a quick heads-up that I’ll be introducing a double feature Max Fleischer’s two great animated features, Gulliver’s Travels (1939) and Mr. Bug Goes To Town (1941) at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California on Friday September 25th. Both will be presented in 35mm, with uncut IB Technicolor prints projected on the large screen, just as they were meant to be seen. Mark your calendar now! More details about this event will be posted when we get closer to the actual date.
Sam Henderson has uploaded a rare, heavily illustrated article about UPA on his Magic Whistle blog. The article, by Catherine Sullivan, appeared in the November 1955 issue of American Artist. The text is rather slim, but the images are from a variety of UPA works including commercials and industrials, as well as theatricals like The Jaywalker (pictured above). Worth a look.
Not sure how long this has been online, but I just discovered a Daily Motion page which has several excerpts from the Renegade AnimationFunny Face pilot. We first reported on Renegade’s plans to revive the animated characters back in March 2008. For more info on the folks who control the property today, click here.
I love this record. And I couldn’t resist showing off the label (above).
Marquis Howell (of Hobo Jazz.com and bass player for Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys) handed me this record at the show last night. He found it in a thrift shop for a buck and gave it to me as a gift. Thanks, man! I’d heard the track before, but I don’t recall ever seeing the label for it.
You can listen to the classic Daffy Duck’s Rhapsody on You Tube — as well as it’s flip side, I’m Glad That I’m Bugs Bunny, both written by Warren Foster and Michael Maltese, with incredible vocals by Mel Blanc. For more information on vintage Looney Tunes recordings, visit Golden Age Cartoons. Click thumbnails below see larger images of the labels and record sleeve.
Not animation, but an incredible exhibition of artistic talent from a broadcast of Ukraine’s Got Talent. It’s a stunning and touching artwork/performance about WWII from the Ukrainian point of view, eliciting not only applause but tears from the audience. It’s refreshing to watch an artist draw and perform — and win — instead of the many average singing acts. And it’s also captivating to watch the story develop as each scene is swept away to create a new one:
Here’s a film I’d pay good money to see. Megatron kicking Thomas in his Tank Engine caboose.
Until then, I’ll have to be content with this cheap Chinese toy (possibly a knock-off) currently being sold on ebay. If this is an officially licensed product, there is something so wrong about it — yet, I like it. Check out more pics on LikeCool.com.
Here’s one for the hard-core cartoon historians: Recently, Brew reader Neil was replaying an old Paramount Popeye cartoon, and made a surprising audio find. On the soundtrack of Shuteye Popeye (1952), when the mouse’s audio is slowed down to about 40%, it’s clear that the track is actually a vocal outtake (perhaps director Isadore Sparber, or I suspect Seymour Kneitel) protesting that he doesn’t know what to say. Have a listen for yourself: