It’s being widely reported today that Sony is co-financing a live action/CG Smurfs feature film. I’m not usually the pessimist around here, but this can’t be any good – can it??Variety reports that David Stem and David Weiss (Shrek 2, Jimmy Neutron) are being hired to write the screenplay, and Sony Pictures Animation has certainly made some good films (Open Season, Surf’s Up)… maybe they can pull it off?
Hal Willner’s 1988 Disney tribute CD, Stay Awake, is going live.
Stay Awake: the Official 20th Anniversary Concert will take place at UCLA’s Royce Hall on October 30th. Willner has previously staged live concert versions in London and New York over the last year. For its LA performance Willner will attempt to bring in as many of the record’s artists as possible. Artists on the original album included Herb Alpert, Los Lobos, Natalie Merchant, Aaron Neville, Harry Nilsson, Sinead O’Connor, Buster Poindexter, Sun Ra, Bonnie Raitt, The Replacements, The Roches, Ringo Starr, Michael Stipe, and Tom Waits. Who will appear in person? That info will be revealed closer to show time. For now, you can order tickets here.
The fourth edition of The Animation Show continues it’s rollout across the United States with openings in Los Angeles (The Nuart), Boston (Kendall Square), Washington DC (E Street Cinema) and San Diego (Ken Cinema) this week.
I’ll be in attendance at the Nuart on Friday where filmmakers Mike Judge (King of the Hill) and Steve Dildarian (Angry Unpaid Hooker) will do a Q&A after the 7:30pm show.
In honor of the theatrical release of Vol. 4 we will have two trivia contests this week. The winners will recieve a copy of the just-released MTV-Paramount Home Video DVD of The Animation Show Vol. 3. The contests will be posted here Wednesday and Thursday at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific. For more information on The Animation Show and when it’ll play in your town, visit the website.
Chris Lopez has posted all the pages of a vintage Flip The Frog Coloring Book on his ComicCrazy blog. The beautiful artwork for this rare licensed piece was certainly done by the cartoonists at the Ub Iwerks studio. Says Chris:
The remarkable thing about this coloring book is that the colored pieces are original to the printing. They are beautifully done, too. The back cover is the same as the front, so I only posted one side. The cover is holding together by the slimmest of pieces. I dare not scan this book again. It’s stored away for safe keeping.
My “uncle” in New Orleans, Wayne Daigrepont, has just checked out the new Audubon Insectarium (“the first major attraction to open after Katrina!”). He reports that:
“…within its giant & wonderful splendor is a CGI animated film (with interactive seats!!), starring caricatured bugs with the voices of Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, & others! The 10-min. film is quite fantastic….(not unlike the “Tough to be a Bug” film at Disney).”
The CG-animated film, produced by Hollywood-based computer graphics studio Super 78, features a bug-like Rivers performing her typical preshow red-carpet interviews. The show, called the Awards Night Theater, was commissioned by Audubon Studios, and created by Technifex, a theme park ride producer. It’s described as a “sophisticated multisensory theater presentation is a 4-D experiential theater that pokes, prods, spritz’s, buzzes and shakes guests while teaching them about the wonders of the insect world.” CG Supervisor Robert Rose has some images and video clips from this project up at his website.
My friend Fred Patten owns this original Quick Draw McGraw painting (click on it above, or here, for enlarged image) created for a frame tray puzzle. Both of us are stumped as to who may have painted it. I’m no expert on merchandising art, but it doesn’t look like the usual suspects at Western Publishing to me (Pete Alvarado, Mel Crawford, Hawley Pratt, etc.) – or is it? Anyone have any theories?
Or so says the Visual Effects Society who will be holding a seminar on motion capture techniques on Saturday night, June 29th. Demystifying Motion Capture Techniques will be held at the Sony Pictures Imageworks studio in Culver City and will feature guest speakers from ILM, Henson Digital, Sony and others. More information on this event is here.
Dreamworks Kung Fu Panda opens today. I’ve seen it twice now and I think it’s a great film. It works on all levels – humor, action, heart, as well as artistically, etc. – but most importantly it’s pure entertainment. See it this weekend if you can. Oh, and here’s a tip: stick around after the end credits for an additional scene which concludes the story.
The purpose of this post is to solicit readers opinions of Kung Fu Panda. Please respond below only if you’ve actually seen the film (we will not post comments here by those who have not).
This has been around for almost two months, but I just caught up with it last night and had to share. It’s apparently a viral promo short created to boost comic book sales. It’s the best CG version of The Hulk I’ve ever seen, and the Spider-man and Iron Man characterizations seem spot on. I wonder who made it. Anyone know?
Brewmaster Jerry Beck will be broadcasting once again, live on Shokus Internet Radio today, Wednesday June 4th from 4pm to 6pm Pacific time (that’s 7pm to 9pm for you in the Eastern Time Zone).
Stu Shostak and I will be discussing the Universal fire, Looney Tunes Vol. 6 and all other classic animation. If you have a specific question you want answered, call in during the broadcast toll free (888) 746-5875. If you miss the show, it’ll be rerun for the next seven days at the same time. Tune in!
Harvey Deneroff has announced on his blog the forthcoming publication of his new book with Fred Ladd, Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas. The book details the story of Ladd’s involvement with bringing Astro Boy (and by extension, Japanese anime itself) to America in the early 1960s. Ladd was significantly involved with Tezuka’s pioneering series and subsequently responsible for bringing Gigantor, Kimba The White Lion and Sailor Moon to U.S. audiences.
The book will go on sale in November, from McFarland.
Meltdown is hosting a Ralph Bakshi bash in Hollywood next week with a gallery full of original drawings, paintings and animation production art. Chris McDonnell and Jon Gibson will also be on hand to sign copies of their new Bakshi book.
McDonnell tells us:
We are trying to invite as many people from Bakshi Productions’ past as possible. It’s a reunion, it’s a party, it’s Ralph in a room. Ralph is looking forward to talking and hanging with people so he’ll be signing books only as an exception to the rule, if at all. We are looking forward to this really being a great “reunion” for Ralph and all his old artists (and everyone else is welcome of course too).
Join us on Saturday night June 14th. The party starts at 7pm and will go on till 11pm. Admission free. Meltdown Comics and Gallery, 7522 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.
Steve Moore’s summer edition of Flip is now online.
In it, Dave Pruiksma discusses the Fleischer Gulliver’s Travels and PD Famous Studios DVDs, Dan Jeup talks about Frank and Ollie, there’s a gallery of work by featured artist John Kleber (above), an interview with Disney Imagineer turned editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes, and much Moore (pun intended!). Check it out here.
A fire broke out this morning on the Universal Studios backlot. Current live TV news reports are saying that, in addition to the destruction of the New York street and King Kong ride, the film vaults are threatened.
Let’s pray this isn’t true. In addition to Universal’s own library of classic films (and Walter Lantz cartoons) the studio holds the master elements to Paramount’s pre-1950 feature films.
As I mentioned back in March, ForeWord Magazine, the only literary trade journal devoted exclusively to covering independent publishers, had nominated my book, The Hanna Barbera Treasury, for Book of the Year.
The winners were announced yesterday at the Book Expo in Los Angeles, and apparently the Hanna Barbera book was the first place (Gold) winner in the Popular Culture category. Congratulations to me! I’ll be heading down to the Book Expo today to find out what exactly winning this award means (and I’ll be autographing copies of the book there at 4pm).