According to an article posted today in the trade publication Broadcasting and Cable, Cartoon Network will start advertising its new CN Real (live action) block with a marketing blitz, which will include a Facebook page and a “fanzine”. The article states:
“Cartoon is also relying on decidedly old-school technology in an attempt to lure viewers to the new lineup: a fanzine. The network is printing eight million copies of the fanzine, which will blend pop culture tips with promotional messaging related to the new shows. The publication will be distributed at movie theaters, Six Flags amusement parks, the Essence Music Festival, Cartoon Network live tours and other events.”
Wait a minute… “a fanzine?” Eight million copies? Any publication printing eight million copies, being bankrolled by a major corporation, and distributed in movie theatres and amusement parks isn’t exactly a fanzine. But then again, Cartoon Network isn’t exactly a Cartoon Network anymore…
I’ve been remiss in mentioning the new limited TV series from Warner Bros. – Man Vs. Cartoon – which began last night on cable’s TRU TV. It’s on every Saturday night at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific. The premise of the program is watching a team of New Mexico tech engineers and students build and demonstrate a variety of Wile E. Coyote Acme contraptions. I caught the first episode and it was typical of these reality shows – lots of interviews, lots of preparation for the stunt and a mediocre payoff at the end. Not very exciting, but it held my interest nonetheless. This week they recreated the Rube Goldberg Road Runner trap from Hook Line and Stinker (1958).
In coming weeks they will create a real life version of the Indestructo-Ball from Chuck Jones’ Wild about Hurry (1959) and will maneuver a hot air balloon to unload an anvil onto an oblivious target below (i.e. 1957′s Scrambled Aches).
If Cartoon Network is moving toward live action reality, this is the kind of idea they could have started with.
The big news today is the announcement of Kevin Lima (Enchanted, Tarzan, A Goofy Movie) as director of a remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet. I’m semi-excited about this because, as a kid, I really loved the original movie. Check out the original trailer below which plays up the live action sequences, and strangely enough, Arthur Godfrey’s cover of the film’s “I Want” song, “I Wish I Were A Fish”.
The animation in The Incredible Mr. Limpet was the last work produced by the original Warner Bros. animation studio, after ceasing production on 32 years of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts. Bill Tytla was brought in to supervise, but essentially the direction was handled by Robert McKimson. After Limpet the studio was disbanded.
The press reports of Lima assuming the director role on a Limpet remake do not mention if the animation sequences will be in CG or hand drawn. I know there were previous attempts in recent years to launch uncanny valley versions starring Robin Williams and/or Jim Carrey (with a Mike Judge script!), using ugly mo-cap human heads grafted onto CG fish bodies. Hopefully they will start from scratch and consider cartoon animation (a la Lima’s Enchanted). Could be a lot of fun.
Three more vintage pieces from TV Guide, presented for your historical reading pleasure. Click thumbnails below to enlarge and read. First up, on the far left below, a color spread on Ward Kimball’s first Tomorrowland episode Man In Space from the March 5th, 1955 issue.
In the center, a review of “TV Cartoons” from the December 30th, 1961 edition. Esteemed critic Gilbert Seldes (The Seven Lively Arts), in the brief space alloted, manages to praise early Disney, Bullwinkle and “a 15-year-old (Paramount) Popeye” – while putting down the use of canned laughter, The Flintstones and Disney realism. A good read.
Finally, on the far right, a page from the February 16th 1963 issue commemorating the birth of Pebbles on The Flintstones.
Pixar’s Teddy Newton produced and co-wrote (with director Gregor Joackim) an independent live action feature, The Trouble with Lou, in 2001. It’s NSFW, laugh-out-loud hilarious and is now on iTunes. It stars animation designer Lou Romano (Ratatouille) as “Himself”, and composer Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Up, Star Trek ) did the score. It’s almost like Pixar’s bastard step-child.
Teddy sent me these facts about he film:
1. The Trouble with Lou was shot over a 33 day period.
2. It was independently financed by Teddy Newton for the cost of $300,000.
3. The entire cast was made up of unknowns.
4. Dr. Killgore is played by Doodie.com cartoonist Tom Winkler.
Below is the first two and a half minutes. Download the entire feature here.
Fellow animation historian David Gerstein is on a roll.
He’s followed up his discovery of the lost ending to the Bugs Bunny Hare-um Scare-um with an equally intriguing find. He’s just posted on his blog of the existence of several rare Tom & Jerry prints from the 1940s, featuring previously unseen main title art (click thumbnails above for a few samples). You’ll recall that I’ve posted before, on my MGM Cartoon Research page, that the original negatives to MGM cartoons prior to 1952 were destroyed in a studio fire. While duplicate film elements survive, these are from reissue prints. Unfortunately MGM refilmed the opening titles and sometimes removed or changed gags and animation for re-release. In other words, the original visuals for 1940s MGM cartoons only exist in rare nitrate prints. David has posted some choice shots from several of these on his blog. These are images never seen on DVD or Cartoon Network. Click here and enjoy.
Internet broadcaster Stu Shostak has an almost complete collection of TV Guide magazine. While waiting for his radio show to start (which I was a guest on yesterday; rebroadcasts of the program run everyday at 7pm EST/4pm PST) I browsed through several back issues and found a few items of interest for Cartoon Brew readers.
For example, this three page spread from the December 30th, 1961 issue, on the fine art of Format Films animators Jules Engel, Bob McIntosh, Joe Mugnaini and Herb Klynn. Engel, McIntosh and Klynn are well known animation veterans, Mugnaini is best known for his illustrations for Ray Bradbury novels. It’s great they received this sort of exposure in a national magazine at a time when the perception of animation as an adult artform was waning. (Click thumbnails below to enlarge)
Nothing like watching a guy in a Baby Huey suit singin’ the blues… This heart wrenching scene is from Baby Huey’s Great Easter Adventure (1999) directed by Stephen Furst (“Flounder” from Animal House) – and I believe that’s Furst under the suit and singing!
I’m not trying to be a shill for Shane Acker’s forthcoming feature “9″, but the imagery is so striking and the film itself so anticipated (by me), I can’t seem to help it. This Friday, this new poster will be up at local theatres (click on image to enlarge) which will formally begin the public marketing campaign. Virally, on Facebook, a page has been established where the back-story of “9″ has begun to unfold through the voice of the film’s Scientist. According to a press release: “Here, readers can see the Machine that will help rebuild the Nation and be the first to see his designs that will change the world.” – Focus Features will release “9″ in theatres on 9/9/09.
Animator and comic book artist Jack Bradbury passed away in 2004. Now his son Joel has launched a tribute website loaded with comic art and animation history. It’s a treasure trove of over 1300 pages of classic comics, odds and ends and a wealth biographical information, shedding new light on working as a freelance comic artist in the 1940s and 50s. I especially love the correspondence between Jack and various comic book editors, discussing the virtues of Hucky Duck, Pansy the Chimp and Angus McSnoot.
Once again, tomorrow Wednesday June 10th, I will be the featured guest on Stu’s Show on Shokus Internet Radio. This will be my tenth or eleventh (I’ve lost count) visit to discuss all things animation with Stu and his listeners, live beginning at 4:00 p.m. PDT (7:00 p.m. EDT). Topics this time will include the upcoming Mighty Mouse DVD box set from CBS, forthcoming (if any) classic cartoon DVDs from Warner Bros. and your phone calls. As always, listeners will be encouraged to call in with their questions and comments on the station’s toll-free telephone number. Click here for more details. Tune In, Turn On and… Call Us!
It was bound to happen. A reality show based on animators making an animated film.
7200 Frames is seeking independent animators from around the US with ideas for a short (five minute=7200 frames) animated film. The chosen films will be fully funded and the process will be documented on video from start to finish. According to their website:
The documentary series will be about the artists and the behind the scenes process of the creation of the animated films, so the submitting artist must be comfortable appearing on camera. The artists must be able to draw, animate and direct — as well as commit to a 4-6 week exclusive production schedule. Interviews will be held in Los Angeles and San Diego in Summer 2009. Applicants must be 18 or older.
Animators must submit portfolio or reel AND live footage of the artist describing his/her film idea. This live interview should be no longer than five minutes. All submissions are due by June 26, 2009.
Animators will be considered for this project during judging sessions that will take place during 2 days in LA and 2 days at the San Diego Comic Con (the producers have reserved a boat behind the Marriot for the judging).