After several months of ghosts, ghouls and creatures of the night… Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is looking like a breath of fresh air – in more ways than one. This looks like fun:
Legendary Warner Bros. cartoon director Chuck Jones was born on September 21st, 1912. He was the creator of characters like Pepe le Pew, Marvin Martian, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, and the director of classic shorts like Duck Amuck, Feed the Kitty, One Froggy Evening, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century and What’s Opera, Doc?, to name just a few. He passed away ten years ago at age 89, but this is his 100th year and Jones family is celebrating with three (count’em 3) special events in Southern California – all of them worth your time.
First and foremost – Chuck’s daughter Linda is presenting a Chuck Jones Centennial Celebration Film Festival on Friday September 21st (Chuck’s actual birthday) at the Alex Theatre in Glendale (at 8pm). The program will include a screening of 35mm cartoons from Chuck’s personal vault – with on-stage introductions by veteran animators Eric Goldberg and Carl Bell, and some animation historian named Jerry Beck. There will also be artwork on display and other surprises. Cartoon Brew readers can get a 20% discount off the admission price by using the promo code: Cartoonbrew921
The next night, Saturday September 22nd, from 6pm to 10pm The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Costa Mesa will host a gala fundraising event entitled Creativity Season, which includes a three-course sit-down dinner with wine, special presentations by celebrities, and live auction. Those celebrities will include writer Leonard Maltin, musician George Daugherty (Bugs Bunny on Broadway), director Rob Minkoff (Lion King), producer Jeff DeGrandis (Dora the Explorer), director Chris Bailey (Kim Possible), Kelly Asbury (Gnomeo and Juliet), Director/animator Eric Goldberg (Pocahontas) and many others.
Last but not least, Cal Arts is presenting Jones at 100 – a birthday celebration of Chuck Jones (Chouinard ’30) featuring a special screening of his classic films with remarks by John Lasseter in person. Its 8pm on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, with a reception immediately following at REDCAT/Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater in Downtown LA. Tickets are $50. with proceeds to benefit the Joe Ranft/CalArts Alumni Scholarship and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity.
Titmouse artist Mike McCraw animated on Disney’s Motorcity and is currently working as cleanup artist and animator on Black Dynamite for Adult Swim. He had a vision for a really cool animated Power Rangers cartoon and instead of waiting for someone to make it, he just started making it himself. “Not to mention it gives me the opportunity to practice my animating skills,” he told me. “As a longtime fan of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, I began a series of animated pieces featuring a single Ranger in each one. Fully animated/hand drawn in flash, my latest is the Blue Ranger (below) which was preceded by the Black and Pink Rangers.” Great action stuff, says I.
Heads up, New Yorkers: Estonian animator Priit Pärn will be making a rare appearence in Brooklyn to attend a specially curated screening program of his work on September 27th, 28th, and 29th 2012. One of the most influential artists in animation, Pärn has not been to NYC since 1989; this is a rare opportunity to meet him in-person and to see his films on the big screen.
The six-part screening program includes a selection of his post-soviet era films. A complementary/supporting program entitled The New Pärnographers, which plays throughout the month of September in front of other films, will present contemporary animated shorts by over a dozen artists from around the world whose work has been inspired by Priit Pärn. Participating animators include: Koji Yamamura (Japan), Igor Kovalyov (Russia/USA), Dylan Hayes (USA) Ami Lindholm (Finland), Christy Karacas (USA) and many more.
The Spectacle screening space in Williamsburg has limited seating. Tickets are $5 and you should definitely pre-buy tickets if you want to be guaranteed a seat. Full details can be found here. Don’t miss this chance to meet a true animation original.
Animator Darrell Van Citters is following up his most-excellent making of Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol book with a new book on The Art of the Jay Ward Studio. As Ward employed many ex-UPA artists, Van Citters uncovered much Ward material researching his Magoo book, realizing that Ward “more than any other studio, tried to keep ‘funny’ alive in TV animation.” Apparently Classic Media and the Ward estate have given their blessing on the project.
Van Citters is quick to point out that his book won’t be another history of the Jay Ward studio – Keith Scott’s thorough examination of the Jay Ward studio, The Moose That Roared, “has already covered that topic and covered it exceptionally well. This is meant to be a visual encyclopedia of the art created by some of the industry’s most talented designers and boarders within the context of TV animation’s golden age”.
Van Citters is putting out the call to any and all collectors of Jay Ward original art, soliciting scans of their pieces for use in the book “in order to make it as complete as possible. This call includes original storyboards, model sheets, layouts, cels, backgrounds, pitch art for unsold pilots, promotional art, ad art, the Bullwinkle comic strip and comics, etc. I realize that much of the early Ward production work was done in Mexico making it extremely difficult to locate, if in fact it still exists.” If you’re a collector of Jay Ward production art or know someone who is, or know family members of artists who worked at Jay Ward, contact Darrell via his website. He’s hoping to have this book published next year. If it’s half as good as his previous volume, we’re in for a treat!
Witte van der Tempel made this haunting film over a year and a half period, while at Netherlands’ Utrecht School of Arts. Says van der Tempel:
“I wanted to make a gripping film in which the character would undergo the deepest terror and anxiety and come out transformed and illuminated. Visually this film had to represent something essential about my style. My favorite drawing technique has always been to scratch the image onto the page in an almost psychotic way – allowing the pen to “find” the picture. I wanted to examine to what degree this could be applied in animation, and secondly how well it could combine with 3D elements.“
Graduation film (done during an exchange between Gobelins and Calarts last semester) by Louis Thomas. Thomas is currently working as a character designer/illustrator for both Pixar and Jib Jab. We featured Thomas’ previous short back in 2010. This one is a tribute to composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein and about 250 other Hollywood movie-star inspirations (all the caricatures are named in the end credits).
Whatever you thought of John Carter (Me? I liked it, a lot!), its director Andrew Stanton is one of the good guys. Full disclosure, I met Andrew when I moved to LA way back in 1986, when he was one of the artist/writers behind Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. A few years ago, Andrew allowed me and small crew special access to shoot some of the interviews for the Mighty Mouse DVD bonus documentary at Pixar. He told me then that his next film was a live-action/animation adaptation of Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars – and his excitement for the project was intense.
Today, The L.A. Times ran a front page story (must be a slow news day) on how John Carter’s failure has affected him. The article gives some insight in how this project was produced – Disney pretty much gave Stanton a green light and no other supervision, notes or interference. It’s failure was a humbling experience for him and any hope for a Carter sequel has been squashed. Stanton is now back at Pixar directing a follow-up to Finding Nemo.
No, it’s not a kids stadium show with people in giant-head costumes on ice skates. The cast and crew of Nickelodeon’s classic series Rocko’s Modern Life are having a reunion and they want you to attend. Voice actors Carlos Alazraqui, Mr. Lawrence, Tom Kenny, Charlie Adler along with creator Joe Murray and couple of directors, Swampy Marsh, and Dan Povenmire will perform several episodes live and hold a panel discussion and a meet-the-cast autograph session.
(Left to Right, above: Tom Kenny, Carlos Alazraqui and Mr. Lawrence behind the scenes, back in the day)
Visual effects shop The Mill has started posting monthly videos from their lecture series with various animation creatives – starting this week with director, producer and notorious Spumco big-shot, Bob Camp. Check out this Q&A between Bob and his friend, The Mill‘s Ross Scroble. Bob discusses how he got his start in the industry, how it’s evolved and why drawing is never going to go away. Good stuff here, worth a watch:
Frank Thomas, one of Disney’s famed “Nine Old Men” supervising character animators – as well as the piano playing member Ward Kimball’s Fire House Five Plus Two – would have been 100 years old today. Thomas passed away passed away eight years ago on September 8, 2004 at age 92.
Thomas’ remarkable animation included such scenes as the first date and spaghetti dinner in Lady and the Tramp, Thumper teaching Bambi how to ice-skate, Baloo the bear telling the man-cub Mowgli that he can’t stay in the jungle in The Jungle Book, Pinocchio trapped in the birdcage by the evil puppeteer Stromboli, the lovesick squirrel whose heart is broken in The Sword in the Stone, Captain Hook playing the piano in Peter Pan, the dancing penguins in Mary Poppins, among others. He also animated several of Mickey Mouse’s most impressive scenes in such shorts as The Pointer and Brave Little Tailor.
Thomas retired from animation in January 1978, then spent the next five years with his lifelong friend and colleague Ollie Johnston writing the definitive book on their craft, Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, one of the greatest books ever written about animation.
He’s gone now, but will never be forgotten. Let’s take a moment to remember…
Happy Birthday, Frank.
A young woman tries to overcome her shyness, which is personified by a crocodile. Created by De Alice Bissonnet, Aloyse Desoubries Binet, Sandrine Hanji Kuang, Juliette Laurent, Sophie Markatatos, 3rd year students at GOBELINS in Paris, France.
(Thanks, Martin Montgomery)