Warner Bros. has announced the November 14th release date for the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 4. See the trailer here. The contents have been leaked to TVshowsondvd.com and I recommend going there to read the full list of the cartoons that will be included on this volume.As usual, the 60 uncut digitally remastered cartoons are only half the story. The other part is the bonus materials that enhance our appreciation of the Looney Tunes legacy. Here’s what they are:BUGS BUNNY – Disc 1Commentaries Rabbit Hood by Director Eric Goldberg Operation: Rabbit by Writer Paul Dini Mississippi Hare by Director Eric Goldberg Hurdy-Gurdy Hare by Writer Paul Dini 8 Ball Bunny by Historian Jerry Beck Rabbit Romeo by Actor June Foray and Historian Jerry BeckAlternate Audio Programs Operation: Rabbit Music and Effects Track Knight-Mare Hare Music Only Track Southern Fried Rabbit Music and Effects Track Sahara Hare Music Only Track Barbary-Coast Bunny Music Only Track To Hare is Human Music Only Track Rabbit Romeo Music Only TrackBehind the Tunes Twilight in Tunes: The Music of Raymond Scott Powerhouse in PicturesBugs Bunny Superstar Pt. 1 (1976 documentary)Fifty Years of Bugs Bunny in 3 Â½ Minutes (1989 short)The Bugs Bunny Show Ballpoint Puns Bridging Sequences Foreign Legion Leghorn Audio Recording SessionsTrailer Gallery Bugs Bunny’s Cartoon Carnival Bugs Bunny’s All-Star RevueFRANK TASHLIN – Disc 2Commentaries The Case of the Stuttering Pig by Animator Mark Kausler Now That Summer is Gone by Historian Michael Barrier with Director Frank Tashlin Porky in the North Woods by Animator Mark Kausler You’re an Education by Historian Daniel Goldmark Plane Daffy by Filmmaker Greg Ford Cracked Ice by Historian Michael Barrier with Director Frank Tashlin Puss N Booty by Historian Jerry Beck I Got Plenty of Mutton by Filmmaker Greg Ford Porky’s Poultry Plant by Historian Michael Barrier with Director Frank Tashlin The Stupid Cupid by Director Eddie FitzgeraldBugs Bunny Superstar Pt. 2 (1976 documentary)Porky and Daffy in “The William Tell Overture”Frank Tashlin’s Storybooks Little Chic’s Wonderful Mother Tony and ClarenceFrom the Vault The Goldbrick (1943 Snafu short) The Home Front (1943 Snafu short) Censored (1944 Snafu short)SPEEDY – Disc 3Commentaries Cat-Tails for Two by Actor Stan Freberg and Historian Jerry Beck Mexican Boarders by Filmmaker Greg Ford with Director Friz Freleng Nuts and Volts by Animator Art Leonardi and Historian Jerry Beck The Wild Chase by Writer Paul DiniAlternate Audio Programs Cat-Tails for Two Music and Effects Track Tabasco Road Music Only Track Mexicali Schmoes Music Only Track West of the Pesos Music Only Track”Friz on Film” (A new one hour documentary)From the Vault 90 Day Wondering (1956 Army reinlistment film by Chuck Jones) Drafty, Isn’t It? (1957 Army recruitment film by Chuck Jones)CATS – DISC 4Commentaries Conrad the Sailor by Filmmaker Greg Ford with Director Chuck Jones The Aristo-Cat by Director Eddie Fitzgerald The Aristo-Cat by Filmmaker Greg Ford with Director Chuck Jones Dough Ray Me-ow by Historian Jerry Beck Pizzicato Pussycat by Daniel Goldmark The Unexpected Pest by Actor June Foray and Historian Jerry BeckAlternate Audio Programs Cat Feud Music Only Track The Unexpected Pest Music Only Track Go Fly a Kit Music Only Track A Peck of Trouble Music and Effects TrackBehind the Tunes One Hit Wonders Sing-a-Song of Looney Tunes The Art of the Gag Wild Lines: The Art of Voice Acting Looney Tunes: A Cast of ThousandsFrom the Vault Porky’s Breakdowns Sahara Hare Storyboard Reel Porky’s Poor Fish Storyboard Reel
Forget those mo-fo snakes on the plane. Samuel L. Jackson is voicing the lead character in an original Spike TV anime series AFRO SAMURAI. This 5-part series is being produced in English by Japan’s Gonzo Digimation. Jackson as also apparently developing a live action version. The anime series will debut this fall, and a trailer for it can be seen here.
In case you haven’t noticed, CG animated penquins are apparently hot (at least among the Hollywood movers and shakers). Just take a look at MADAGASCAR, HAPPY FEET and SURF’S UP. Now Berkely Breathed has chimed in on the CG debate in the current storyline of his comic strip, OPUS.(Thanks, Mark Bunker)
No, this isn’t a picture of the latest Disney Treasures DVD. It’s a new trade paperback from Gemstone Publishing, and another labor-of-love compiled by Gemstone’s Archival Editor David Gerstein (whose previous Mickey and the Gang: Classic Stories In Verse is a must-have). I did not grow up reading Disney comics myself (I was immersed in everything else, from Spider-Man to Baby Huey), but even back in those days I admired the stories and artistic skill of those books from afar.This new collection is truly special. In the tradition of the Maltin DVD collections, it compiles the best and most interesting examples of Disney comic art during the last 75 years and puts the stories in historical context. Gerstein begins the book with a detailed, yet concise, two page overview of the entire history of Disney comic strips and comic books. He then presents rare, restored Mickey newspaper strips from 1930 (by Floyd Gottfredson), prime examples of Sunday pages (including a rare Uncle Remus strip), and un-P.C. Carl Barks material that has never been reprinted. Great comics from Disney legends Paul Murry and Al Hubbard through the modern works of Don Rosa, William Van Horn as well as great European cartoonists like Cesar Ferioli and Vicar fill the 160 pages. I think anyone who loves Disney animation will enjoy this journey through their rich comics history. But if the names Walt Kelly, Gil Turner or Al Taliaferro mean anything to you, or if Bucky Bug, Gyro Gearloose or Super Goof rock your world, Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Comics 75 Years of Innovation is definitely for you.
Joe Dante sent us what must be the first article ever published about Warner Bros. cartoons. It’s from the December 7th 1930 edition of the L.A. Times and you can read it here. If anyone knows of any print publicity dated earlier than this, please let us know.
Michael Dobbs has had a lifelong obsession with the Fleischer Studios. And his efforts to write a book – and the subsequent book he has written – are now being blogged via his new site Made Of Pen & Ink.(Thanks, Michael Sporn)
Animated cartoons with a point of view on current world wars and the political scene are relatively scarce compared to the days of World War 2. Luckily, Adolf Hitler is still a villain we can all agree on. German cartoonist Walter Moers has taken on Adolf Hitler in comics, and now has a music video adapting his Adolf, Der Bonker which has been posted on the internet. It’s fun, and the tune is catchy. Here’s an English translation of the lyrics.(Thanks, Peter Krause)
Rankin-Bass historian Rick Goldschmidt has now started a companion blog to his already massive Enchanted World Of Rankin Bass website. Considering that Rick eats, drinks and breathes Rankin-Bass on a daily basis (when he’s not performing his own music, that is), this will be the place for updates, new finds, and R/B news on a regular basis.
Are you a PINKY or a BRAIN?We had a contest this morning and the first ten readers who answered any one of the questions below won a DVD prize.
The questions (and answers) were:1. What Warner Animation employee’s caricature was the inspiration for the look of The Brain? Answer: Tom Minton2. What is Brain’s country music name? Answer: Bubba-bo-bob-Brain3. What famous film comedy is “King Yakko” loosely based on? Answer: Duck Soup
THE CONTEST IS NOW OVER! No more entries accepted.The first two winning BRAINS were Tyler Sticka and D. Brown (who got the new PINKY AND THE BRAIN dvd Collection). The next two winning BRAINS were Scott Underwood and Robert Palmer who will get the ANIMANIACS collection). And the next six PINKYS were Jared Norby, Eric Emin Wood, Ellen Yu, Ralph Bingham, Alicia Wishart, and Michael Nusair – and they are getting my home made WORST CARTOONS EVER collection (2006 edition). PINKY AND THE BRAIN and ANIMANIACS are available from Warner Home Video at fine video stores near you. THE WORST CARTOONS EVER (2006) can be purchased here.(Thank you Earl Kress for providing the questions)
Thursday night, August 3rd, in a small theatre in Hollywood I will be projecting several celluloid 16mm cartoons as the “opening act” of a live-action, in-person, performance by Janet Klein And Her Parlor Boys. Long time readers of this blog know by now that I do this the first Thursday of every month at the Steve Allen Theatre (4773 Hollywood Blvd. two blocks west of Vermont), in the lovely Los Feliz area. Cartoons to be screened this month include Love Krazy (a bouncy Krazy Kat cartoon), You Took The Words Right Out Of My Heart (a Max Fleischer Screen Song), and Voodoo In Harlem (a jazzy Walter Lantz musical cartune). The show starts at 8pm. Please check Janet’s website (under “Showtime”) for even more details and nifty vintage artwork. See you there!
Narf! Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) we will give away a few copies of the brand new ANIMANIACS and PINKY AND THE BRAIN dvds to several lucky Cartoon Brew readers.These two dvd collections were released last week and Warner Home Video is graciously supplying us with a few copies to give away as prizes. Are you a PINKY or a BRAIN? We will hold a quick cartoon trivia contest tomorrow (at 9am Pacific Time) and the first two BRAINS will get the PINKY AND THE BRAIN set. The next two BRAINS will get an ANIMANIACS collection. And the next six PINKY’S will get my home made WORST CARTOONS EVER collection (2006 edition). So get a good night’s sleep and see you here at 9am. “Those are the facts!”
I’m still going over the booty I obtained at the San Diego Comic Con last weekend. One thing I didn’t devote enough time to at the Comic Con was actually buying comics. I picked up a scant few. My favorite purchase was a well worn copy of BLUE RIBBON COMICS #1 (St. John, 1949). The cover logo actually reads TERRYTOONS PRESENTS HECKLE AND JECKLE, and I believe it’s the first solo comic book for the talking magpies.This particular book contains four stories – two drawn by background painter Art Bartsch and two by director Connie Rasinski. Rasinski’s Terrytoon comic book art is wonderful. His drawings have a handsome, controlled zaniness (as opposed to the raw unrestrained work of the great Jim Tyer) that point to what the screen Terrytoons could have been like if they had the money and time to make them better. The two stories by Bartsch are adaptations of animated cartoons. The first one, “Mind Over Matter” (panels pictured above), is an adaption of the 1949 meta-cartoon THE POWER OF THOUGHT, in which Heckle & Jeckle develop mental telepathy upon the realization that they are cartoon characters. The other Bartsch story, “Sour Grapes”, rips off Tashlin’s Columbia cartoon THE FOX AND THE GRAPES (1942) with H&J in the Crow role, versus Terrytoon bit-player Slyvester the Fox.The only comic books I’m actively collecting these days are ones with comic art by animation artists. This includes a wide array of titles ranging from DC’s FOX & CROW and FUNNY STUFF titles (with art by Otto Feuer, Jim Davis, Bob Wickersham, etc.), to Harvey’s Paramount comics (drawn by Dave Tendlar, Steve Muffatti, Bill Hudson, Marty Taras, etc.). As much as I like watching the animators art on a frame by frame basis, the strong poses in each comic panel of these 40s and 50s comic books are a pleasure to look at – and incredibly entertaining.
Classic cartoons (and by that I mean the wide swath of animation history from 1906 to its dying days in the 1970s) are practically extinct on current broadcast and cable television program schedules. That’s why news of an animated character’s revival, or the spotting of a vintage cartoon short, is now considered a big deal to some of us (at least to me). Over on the Animation History Forum, a reader named “Troop” accidentally found a new outlet for an old favorite:
On Saturday morning, I was looking for something to watch and happened upon the Black Family Channel …part of my digital cable package. I was delighted to see KING LEONARDO AND FRIENDS playing there at 9:30 a.m. I came in on the middle of one of the segments featuring “The Hunter” and stayed thru the final King Leonardo and Odie cartoon. It was great seeing this again after “many years”. The print wasn’t the greatest, but watchable… and it was great hearing Jackson Beck again. I noticed Chuck McCann listed in the voice talents as well.Following this was something called BFC FUN FARM which featured short farm and animal segments with two youngsters introducing old PD WB cartoons. During the half-hour yesterday, typical PD prints aired of Porky’s Cafe, Farm Frolics and Yankee Doodle Daffy. Some of the channels’s promos aired clips of “Tennesee Tuxedo” and “Underdog” but I couldn’t find them listed in their web schedule…just “King Leonardo” everyday of the week at 9:30 am with “BFC Fun Farm” at 10 a.m. The BFC web schedule holds this schedule until this coming Saturday, August 5th when “Leonardo” and “Fun Farm” move forward to 9 and 9:30 a.m. and “Bullwinkle and Friends” is added to the schedule at 10 a.m.
Well that’s good news. As the saying goes, old cartoons never die – they just end up on the Fun Farm on the Black Family Channel.
Rarely screened historic medical cartoons will be featured in a film series this fall at the National Academies in Washington DC. The Cartoon Medicine Show: Animated Cartoons from the Collection of the National Library of Medicine, curated by Michael Sappol of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), will feature a good sampling of rarely screened animated medical cartoons from the 1920s to the 1960s. The films will be presented in a two-day series, Oct. 25 – 26, at the National Academy of Sciences Auditorium, each night at 6pm. Films scheduled include Disney’s silent-era Tommy Tucker’s Tooth (1922) and Clara Cleans Her Teeth (1926), Hugh Harman’s Winky The Watchman (1945), Cleaning Mess Gear (1945, U.S. Navy) and Use Your Head (1945, U.S. Navy) and UPA’s A Few Quick Facts: Fear (Private Snafu, 1945, Zack Schwartz), Swab Your Choppers (1946, U.S. Navy) and Man Alive (1952, American Cancer Society).Also on the program are two Bell Science films: Hemo the Magnificent (1956, Shamus Culhane) and Gateway to the Mind (1958, Chuck Jones) and well as several Private Snafu cartoons: Gripes (1943, Friz Freleng), Private Snafu Versus Malaria Mike (1944, Chuck Jones), and It’s Murder She Says (1945, Chuck Jones). Other wartime films include Strictly Personal (1945, Army Signal Corps), The Inside Story (1944, Paramount Pictures for the U.S. Coast Guard), Criminal at Large (1943, Office of Malaria Control, United States Public Health Service). Post war films include: The Appraisal of Competency (1956, Nebraska Psychiatric Institute), Fluoridation Story (1951, Public Health Service, Division of Dental Public Health) and a set of TV spots (1955-1959) for the American Dental Association.Animation historian Donald Crafton (Before Mickey) and medical historians Michael Sappol and David Cantor will provide commentary.National Academy of Sciences 2100 C St., N.W., Auditorium Washington, D.C. Admission: free. Seating is limited. RSVP to [email protected] or 202-334-2436(Thanks, Karl Cohen)
One of my last-second purchases on Sunday, just before I left the San Diego Comic Con, was snagging this copy of the November 1936 issue (at right) of POPULAR SCIENCE magazine. I love old magazines. This one was in a stack of several PS issues, but it had an article that totally justified the $15 price tag: two pages describing the mechanics of Max Fleischer’s patented three dimensional Stereo-Optical Process.Fleischer Studios isn’t even mentioned in the piece, albeit Max is refered to in the last sentence. But among the great graphics and interesting tidbits, the article reveals:
“Several sets can be prepared on the rotating table at the same time. As soon as the filming of one set is completed, the table can be swung to the next.”
The level of detail in these sets has always amazed me. The shots usually last only several seconds – but always ignite gasps of awe from audiences, even today. In fact, there’s nothing in computer graphics today that can compare to the magic in those Fleischer three dimensional sequences. I’ve scanned the article for you to read, below. Excuse the moray pattern which causes parallel lines to appear over the pictures. Click on each page for a larger image.
Who says Stop-Motion is dead? I just got Ken Priebe’s great new book The Art of Stop-Motion Animation, and it pretty much details, step by step, everything you need to know to move clay, cut-outs, puppets and inanimate objects frame-by-frame in front of a camera. Over 300 color pages, loaded with great research (including a thorough overview of the history of stop motion shorts and features). Mike Johnson (co-director of Corpse Bride) wrote the Foreword, and a CD-Rom is included with helpful examples of stop-mo reference. If you are interested in making films, this book has a lot to offer.
One of the highlights of the San Diego Comic Con this year was my chance to play straight man for comic genius Robert Smigel. That’s me (“the nerdiest of the nerds”) on the right in the photo above (look close you’ll see my Oswald Rabbit and Hornswiggle buttons). To see a video of me and Triumph (the Insult Comic Dog) at the Con, go to http://www.nbc.com.(Thanks, Earl Kress)
Buck Biggers, co-creator of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo, King Leonardo and the Go-Go Gophers, will appear in-person at the monthly Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention on September 10th. He’ll be selling and signing copies of his book How Underdog Was Born. And if you are lucky, he’ll sing the Underdog theme song – he wrote that too.
The cult of John K. comes to the Bay Area.The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco is hosting a presentation by John Kricfalusi this weekend. A retrospective of Kricaflusi’s work, entitled John K. Saves San Francisco!, will also be screened at the Castro Theatre on Friday and Saturday, with separate kiddie-show and adult-skewed cartoon screenings.
The presentation at the Cartoon Art Museum will allow Kricfalusi’s fans to hear about his twisted animation experiences and meet the man himself in a unique meet-and-greet event, and give attendees a chance to ask questions or have their DVDs signed by this off-the-wall and talented artist. Visitors will also have the opportunity to win free screening tickets for the showing at the Castro Theatre that evening. Kricfalusi will also be donating a piece of his original art to the Cartoon Art Museum’s permanent collection. This event is free and open to the public, and co-presented by The Castro Theatre.
John K. will do live introductions for each cartoon Friday night at 8pm and Saturday night at 7pm. For more information on the Castro Theatre screenings and admission prices, contact 415-621-5288 or visit www.castrotheatre.com.
Here’s the first of several posts on a few of the experiences I had, and some of the stuff I got, at the San Diego Comic Con 2006. Above is a postcard found on the freebie table touting the release of POPEYE on DVD next year. Interestingly, the postcard was provided by King Features, not Warner Home Video. Glad to see such a teaser at this year’s event, but I’m hoping WHV pulls out the stops to promote Fleischer Popeye at next year’s Comic Con.I still collect promotional buttons, and the two best items I got this year were handed to me for free. At the HOT WHEELS booth on Sunday, Mattel Toys handed out these nifty “Matty Mattel” buttons (below left). Does anyone under the age of 45 even know who Matty Mattel is? Meanwhile, a few days earlier, fellow Random Cartoons creator Andrew Dickman (Ivan The Unbearable) was spotted wearing this promotional Disney Oswald button (below right). When I asked Andrew who was handing those buttons out, he generously gave his button to me (without me having to beg!). They weren’t given out at the con, but only at the Disney Studio, to Disney employees, the day Oswald was traded back several months ago. Needless to say, I was a very happy camper and wore it proudly all weekend.
I want to thank everyone who showed up last Friday night at the Comic Con for my annual WORST CARTOONS EVER screening. You haven’t lived until you hear a crowd of over 500 people singing the MIGHTY MR. TITAN theme song. If you couldn’t make the show, I have this year’s all-new program on DVD-R and will gladly sell you a copy for $15. (post paid). Ordering information and a list of the contents are on my Garage Sale webpage.
This is the biggest animation history find since fragments of Elmo Aardvark began appearing in the 1990s! Two copies of the long lost, early sound RUFUS cartoons (1929) have been discovered and restored by the Deleo Animation Trust.In reality, RUFUS is the brainchild of Dutch illustrator-animator Raoul Deleo. The first Rufus restoration, “Bouncin’ Buddy” was screened in competition at Annecy 2006. For other examples of Deleo’s work, click here.(Thanks, Karl Cohen)
Here’s an odd one.We are the Strange is an independent animated feature film about “two outcasts caught in the middle of a deadly battle between bizarre monsters on their way to the ice cream shop”. The trailer is a bizarre combination of Brother Quay-like stop motion, CG and anime, and well worth checking out. It was created by someone called M dot Strange. Video game producer Shane Neville just posted an interview with Mr. dot Strange, on his webblog.
Just what we need – a revival of Jay Ward’s animated classic, George of the Jungle. However, a new series currently in production is apparently based more on the Brendan Fraser live action movie than Ward’s original Saturday morning cartoon. The website of Vancouver’s Studio B (who are producing the 26 half hours) has pre-production art from the series that at least somewhat resemble the original Jay Ward designs. The image above was distributed by Classic Media at the Licensing Show last month in New York – I guess they figured they’d go in a new, Cartoon Network-derivative direction (especially as Cartoon Network U.S. and Europe will air the show in Fall 2007). Oh well… I wish them luck.
RANDOM CARTOONS SNEAK PREVIEW – Clips, interviews and production art from the new Nickelodeon Frederator series called Random Cartoons. Meet the creators, and get cool stuff! Sneak preview clips from various cartoons including MIND THE KITTY, ADVENTURE TIME, MOOBEARD, THE COW PIRATE and HORNSWIGGLE. Thursday July 20, 2:30pm in Room 2JUST ADDED: On Friday night I will be moderating the SNL: Saturday TV Funhouse Panel with Robert Smigel from 7:30 to 9:00pm. The Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and creator of Saturday Night Live’s hilarious animated “TV Funhouse” segments, Robert Smigel. We will be discussing the upcoming DVD release of SNL: The Best Of Saturday TV Funhouse, show clips from “The Ambiguously Gay Duo”, “X-Presidents”, “Saddam and Osama”, “Mr. T” and other favorites, as well as notable “lost” cartoons, banned from the airwaves forever. Q & A to follow! With appearances by animator/director Robert Marianetti and, possibly, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog (pictured above). Friday July 21, 7:30-9pm in Room 6BThen I’ll run next door at 9pm to present…THE WORST CARTOONS EVER (2006 edition) – My all-new annual screening of rock bottom cartoon crap-ola, includes different episodes of SUPER PRESIDENT, MIGHTY MR. TITAN, JOHNNY CYPHER IN DIMENSION ZERO, as well as new discoveries like Sam Singer’s PADDY THE PELICAN and Harman-Ising’s SIR GEE WHIZ. Friday July 21, 9pm in Room CDEF
I’ll also be appearing at the ASIFA-HOLLYWOOD booth (#5434) on Saturday July 22 at 11am. I’ll be handing out promotional HORNSWIGGLE buttons and postcards at all these events, and everywhere I go. See you there!