A “self-propelled action bed” from a company called “Horsman”? Discuss.
(Thanks, Dave Pruiksma)
A “self-propelled action bed” from a company called “Horsman”? Discuss.
(Thanks, Dave Pruiksma)
Sorry for the late notice. There is a sale today at Clars Auction Gallery that is offering several lots from the estate of Preston Blair. Among the material being offered is (click thumbnails below to see enlarged image): original art to pages of his essential Walter Foster Animation book, several autographed copies of the same, the storyboards for Journey Back To Oz, rare magazine articles on Red Hot Riding Hood, cels and production art from his commercial films, as well as this transparancy negative (pictured above, flipped to positive) for the rare original titles of Columbia’s 1930s Krazy Kat cartoons. If you act fast you may still be able to place a bid on some of these items. If not you can, like me, simply enjoy some of these images online.
(Thanks, Robert Forman)
“Yo! You down wit’ dis? Listen up, I hear Cupid got some new dope powers…” Man, I love classic cartoon posters, but this one from 1917 is not only ugly, unappealing and racist (click image at left to enlarge), but it seemingly anticipates hip-hop slang from 90 years into the future. The word “dope” on this one-sheet poster is indeed a drug reference: for a new love potion – which Cupid in the cartoon uses to create mischief. The word “Powers” is not part of the film’s title, its the name of the series (A Pat “Powers Cartoon Comedy”). The text is so poorly laid out it, it can be read the wrong way (at least, by me). I found this poster while browsing at Moviegoods.com, they are selling this repro for $19.99 – the original would be worth thousands. For the record, Pat Sullivan’s Cupid Gets Some New Dope (1917) features his character Sammy Jonsin as “Cupid”. Two years later, Sullivan would find lasting success with the creation of Felix the Cat.
NPR.org posted these thoughtful two-cents from a female Pixar viewer. Linda Holmes writes:
“Of the ten movies you’ve released so far, ten of them have central characters who are boys or men, or who are anthropomorphized animals or robots or bugs who are voiced by and imagined as boys or men. These movies feature women and girls to varying degrees — The Incredibles, in particular — but the story is never “a girl and the things that happen to her,” the way it’s “a boy and what happens to him.”
While you’re checking in at NPR, don’t miss the interview with Pete Docter recently broadcast on Fresh Air. Docter talks about UP and animation in general. Good stuff. Here’s the link.
(Thanks, John Paul Cassidy and PJ)
If you think the U.S. has a monopoly on ruining its classic cartoon stars… have you seen Little LuluÂ´s Brazilian-made comics revival as a teenager?
Here is more info (in Portuguese) and pictures. Check out the slim Tubby – according to this info, Tubby left his violin to lead a rock band, Annie is the gang’s geek and a videogame freak, Gloria is a fashion expert and Alvin has become a skater and surfer.
(Thanks, Alfons Moline)
The Autumn Society is a group of artists who started in Philadelphia and are now expanding worldwide. Their 80s POP art exhibit premieres this Friday, June 5th in Philadelphia:
The 80s POP Show! is a collection of artwork inspired by movies, cartoons, and video games from the amazing and imaginary era of the 1980s. The opening party starts Friday at 6pm, at Brave New Worlds Comics. The show features the works of Alex Leighton from Mukpuddy Animation, as well as the talented character designers Brianne Drouhard and Tara Billinger.
Hayao Miyazaki will appear in person, accept a prize and participate in a Q & A on July 25th in Berkeley California. Miyazaki so rarely travels to the US, and even less so to make public appearances, we urge you to reserve your tickets NOW!
The Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley will award Miyazaki with the 2009 Berkeley Japan Prize, for a lifetime of influencing the world’s understanding of Japan. On July 12th, 14th, 19th, and 21st, the Pacific film Archive will host a A Tribute to Hayao Miyazaki. All films will be shown in the original Japanese 35mm prints with English subtitles.
Sunday, July 12, 4:00 PM – My Neighbor Totoro
Tuesday July 14, 7:00 PM – Porco Rosso
Sunday July 19, 2:30 PM – Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Tuesday July 21, 7:00 PM – Princess Mononoke
The Center for Japanese Studies, in conjunction with the Pacific Film Archive, is pleased to present the Northern California premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, Ponyo, to be screened at Wheeler Hall on Friday, July 24, 2009 at 6pm and 8pm. For tickets to this limited-seating engagement, please visit the UC Berkeley website
On Saturday, July 25, 2009, leading scholars of Japanese popular culture, literature, and film will discuss Hayao Miyazaki’s work and his international influence in a roundtable panel discussion, The Hayao Miyazaki Symposium. This will take place at 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor conference room from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. It’s Free and open to the public.
Later that day, from 6:00 PM to 7:45 PM in Zellerbach Auditorium, Hayao Miyazaki in Conversation. Miyazaki will be interviewed on stage, followed by a question and answer period with the audience. For tickets to this limited-seating engagement ($25.), please visit Zellerbach Hall website.
Animation is not strictly a kids medium, despite the general perception (here in the U.S.) that it is. Clearly – South Park, Adult Swim and Fox Sunday Nights aside – animation produced for television is still largely kid-driven and supports the industry, thanks to multi-million dollar merchandising and ancillary businesses.
But animated feature films have been appealing to adults for a while now – and yet with every success, it’s still a surprise to the mass media. As The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday:
“UP grabbed the attention of audiences of all ages in its first weekend, according to Disney officials. “It was as strong with kids aged two to 11 as it was with adults both under and over 25,” says Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Motion Picture Group.
Is this still news? Not to me. Every (or most) Pixar and Dreamworks film has opened at number #1 and gone on to gross well over $100 million dollars domestically. Mainstream reporting like this just shows that we still have a way to go to change the kiddie-show perception of animation.
Brooks Barnes wrote this in yesterday’s New York Times:
The medium is showing signs of expanding beyond the kiddie market. The success of video games has resulted in a generation of adults who are comfortable consuming animated entertainment, Hollywood executives say. One indication: “Coraline,” the sophisticated 3-D picture about an adventurous girl, found an adult audience, so far selling $85.2 million in tickets.
Disney will test this part of the market with “Ponyo” on Aug. 14. This Hayao Miyazaki film is centered on a 5-year-old boy’s friendship with a goldfish that wants to be human. “Sophisticated stories coupled with powerful imaginations and beautiful animation appeals to everyone,” said Kathleen Kennedy, who is co-producing the English version of the film.
I’m not sure Ponyo is the film to test the adult appetite for animation. I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks like one of Miyazaki’s more juvenile films (though personally, I can’t wait to see it). Barnes’ article notes the emerging competition to Disney and Dreamworks – a whole slew of forthcoming films films (Astro Boy, Planet 51, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) vying to compete for the “new” all-ages theatre going audience. While noting the failure of Battle For Terra and mild success of Igor, Barnes neglects to mention the true tests of his theory: Shane Acker’s 9, Adam Elliot’s Mary and Max and perhaps Wes Anderson’s the Fantastic Mr. Fox – all opening later this year, all with a more mature point of view.
As for The Princess and The Frog, Mr. Barnes (who is apparently the official NY Times animation reporter) wrote a separate article last Friday on the “controversy” (is there one?) over a black princess. This piece alone indicates that the mainstream media has a long way to go to catch up with what the rest of us has known all along: animation is for everyone.
Some disappointing news out of the Licensing Expo now going on in Las Vegas. Disney has officially announced their next hand-drawn animated theatrical: a new Winnie the Pooh movie. The new Pooh feature is planned for release in spring 2011.
This is a real let down for me. I was hoping the The Princess and the Frog was the starting point for a new era of original hand drawn masterpieces. Greenlighting a new Pooh is an understandable commercial business decision, but it only seems to reinforce the stereotype of what hand drawn cartoons have become: a babysitter – and it’s a regression of the medium’s true potential.
Disney needs not only to reclaim its mastery of this art form, but to push it forward. I fail to see how Pooh will accomplish this. However, if it keeps artists employed while more ambitious projects are developed, that could be a good thing. And who’s to say a good Winnie the Pooh film can’t be created?
The studio also announced today plans to “pump more enthusiasm into the world’s largest licensed character franchise: Mickey Mouse.”
“That effort, said consumer products chairman Andy Mooney, could include classic footage of an animated Mickey mashed up with contemporary Disney properties, with the resulting creations running on the Disney Channel. “Through extensive research with kids, we found they actually love the original Mickey Mouse property,” Mooney said.
Yeah, mashing classic Mickey cartoons into Hannah Montana is exactly what kids want. Hoo-boy!
Funny, the things you find for sale on the Internet. Got a spare $2 million? If so, you can afford Max Fleischer’s house in Miami. From the seller’s listing:
Designed in 1936 by Albert Anis for Winter Residence of famous cartoonist, Max Fleischer, creator of Superman, Popeye and Betty Boop… John F. Kennedy once visited this house… it’s full of history.
Full of history? I’m wondering if the basement is filled with cels from Gulliver or Mr. Bug. Obviously the house has been renovated and not much of original is left – however the shelves in the kitchen do look like something Grampy might’ve installed. Click here and check it out.
Bill Kartalopoulos and Mark Newgarden are putting together a one-of-a-kind musical event taking place Sunday, June 7 @ the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn NY, to coincide with the MoCCA Comic Arts Fest. It’s called Comic Strip Serenade, and it’ll have a slew of stellar musicians playing old songs based on vintage comic strips (Barney Google, Smokey Stover, Krazy Kat, and many, many more) featuring lyrics by Milt Gross, Rube Goldberg, Walt Kelly, and other cartooning legends.
Many of these comic strip songs were never recorded, never filmed, and most have never been publicly performed in the decades since their original publication. The event will also feature some later, post-war songs, including a selection from Broadway’s Li’l Abner and Walt Kelly’s memorable Pogo songs. The archival sheet music used for this special performance was provided courtesy of Newgarden’s legendary collection. The line-up of celebrated musicians bringing these unearthed gems back to life, will include Doug Skinner (The Regard of Flight), Peter Stampfel (The Holy Modal Rounders, the Fugs) and John Keen (Ragtime pianist extraordinaire).
Show starts at 9:00 pm, there’s a $10 cover charge. Jalopy is located at 315 Columbia Street in Brooklyn, NY (F or G train to Carroll St.).
Sony Pictures Television has dumped its 2008 TV pilot, The Adventures of Captain Cross Dresser on the internet, via its web portal Crackle.com. Had you even heard of Captain Cross Dresser? Neither had we.
George Shapiro and Howard West (Seinfeld, Man on the Moon) produced this. You’ll note no “Created by” credit… we understand Carl Reiner may have been more than just a voice (he’s voicing the psychiatrist, Dr. Fillmore). Fred Willard (Wall-E) does the honors as the Captain. Note: It’s nine minutes long, and is preceeded by a commercial. Ed Wood would be quite proud.
(Thanks, Charles Brubaker)
I guess this is slightly O.T. as the film referenced here is a live action short.
I was at a horror movie convention in Burbank yesterday (Monsterpalooza ’09) and found this piece (above) in a box of cheap lobby cards. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, nor could I couldn’t stop laughing at it. This has to be the worst Disney poster/ad art/promotional painting I’ve ever seen! It looks like a Bruce McCall-National Lampoon spoof – but it’s the real thing. It’s so stupid looking, so God-awful, even the logo/typeface is so boring; I can’t believe they thought this would be an effective come-on to a film, even a short. I bought it for $2.
Is this the worst poster Walt Disney’s name was associated with? I don’t mean worst film… I mean, of all the films Walt produced in his lifetime, was this the lamest movie poster to bear (no pun intended) his name? If not, do you have a better candidate?
UPDATE: Kevin Kidney posted a follow up on his blog, with a full image of the original painting used in this poster.
Remember that rare Leon Schlesinger merchandising manual we posted about a year ago? Here’s how one Looney Tunes licensee used it. Dan Goodsell recently posted these rare ice cream packages (click thumbnails below to view enlarged image of each) on flickr. Dig the blue hairy Daffy Duck, the early still-evolving Elmer and note the fact they chose to use the obscure Fluffnums (from Tashlin’s Porky’s Romance) and “Patrick” Parrot (from Avery’s I Wanna Be a Sailor) as representative Looney Tunes.
Frankly, I learn almost as much about old cartoons from their merchandising as I do from watching the cartoons themselves. Thanks to Dan Goodsell for continuing his archeology in this area of research. Check Dan’s blog regularly for new finds – and updates on Mr. Toast.
(Thanks, Billie Towser)
Pixar’s UP opens today. I gave you my opinion last week – what is yours?
Please comment below only if you’ve seen the film.