One of my favorite non-animation websites is Trailers From Hell. This site archives various genre (mainly sci-fi/fantasy/horror) film trailers with commentary by noted directors (including Joe Dante, John Landis, Allan Arkush, etc.). I’ve been waiting for them to get around to doing an animation trailer and they finally have. Here’s documentary filmmaker (and childhood friend of Disney director, Kirk Wise) George Hickenlooper discussing his love of Yellow Submarine:
That’s Gene Deitch (left) examining cels of Bert and Harry Piels (of the famed Piels Beer commercials) with director Connie Rasinski in 1957.
J.J. Sedelmaier recently unearthed several rare photographs depicting behind the scenes life at Terrytoons during the Deitch era (1955-57). They have been added to Deitch’s online book, How To Succeed in Animation. You can see these pictures in Chapter 15A (“Terrytoonery”) on Page 8 (shots of Vinnie Bell, Bob Kuwahara, and Connie Rasinski), page 10 (photo of background artist Bill Focht) and on page 11 (rare pictures of Jules Feiffer, Eli Bauer, Frank Schudde, a recording session of Tom Terrific with Lionel Wilson and Tommy Morrison, and the only known photo of “the Dark Lord”, Bill Weiss!).
It was announced today that Viacom and Paramount have teamed with MGM and Lionsgate to create a new cable channel to compete with HBO and Showtime (which is owned by CBS). The channel will be mainly showing new movies, and it is not yet clear whether this will be a basic cable or a premium pay channel, but the initial press release says “the new venture will have access to motion picture titles spanning the vast libraries of the five studios”. And they plan to push its video-on-demand capabilities.
The announcement of your new cable TV venture has me very excited. I especially like that you are going to use the “vast libraries” of the partner companies to create this new venue for programming. My only concern is that you might overlook the thousands of classic animation titles in your massive holdings.
Viacom/Paramount has rights to the Terrytoons library, hundreds of cartoons which include such rarely seen cartoon characters like Mighty Mouse, Heckle & Jeckle, Deputy Dawg and many others. Paramount also owns classic cartoon shorts of the 1960s. Lionsgate has licensed from you (and does nothing with) the pre-1950 Paramount cartoons which include Little Lulu, George Pal’s Academy Award winning Puppetoons, and the library of Betty Boop cartoons, amongst much else. Together, you can make these classics available for the first time in decades.
Additionally, MGM brings the DePatie-Freleng cartoons to the table. This library includes Oscar winning Pink Panther shorts, and numerous other cartoons featuring The Ant And the Aardvark, The Inspector and the Tijuana Toads.
And guess what? Your home video divisions have only released a fraction of the material you own. Making them available now on cable would provide you with unique, exclusive, entertaining fillers that people of all ages will enjoy. I know you aren’t starting a children’s channel, nor competing with Cartoon Network, but these classic animated shorts are a lot of fun, and deserve to be seen.
So unearth your old cartoons. Make them available as interstitials between programming or for video-on-demand purchase. Believe it or not, people really want to see them.
Best of luck,
This trailer has been out for almost a year, but in case you missed it (or the newer, more action packed one leaked on Gizmodo) I thought I’d open it up here to comments. This Star Wars feature, compiled from episodes of the forthcoming Cartoon Network series, will open August 15th in movie theaters.
If you haven’t been to live performance of Cartoon Dump, my monthly live comedy show in Hollywood, this month’s program is a perfect one to sample. In addition to another fine selection of truly awful vintage animated cartoons and musical comedy skits from MST3K’s Frank Conniff (as Moodsy the Clinically Depressed Owl) and Erica Doering (as Compost Brite), our special guests include twin comedy stylings of The Sklar Brothers. The show starts at 8pm and we are expecting a big crowd this month – but you can reserve tickets online at the Steve Allen Theatre website.
The local monthly Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles Comic Con has three great guests lined up for the May 4th show. Trixie herself, Corrine Orr, will make a rare west coast appearance to sign autographs and answer questions. I’m a big fan of Orr’s voice – she was in Speed Racer, Marine Boy, Johnny Cypher in Dimension Zero and hundreds of Japanese monster movies. That’s her doing the female voices in Ralph Bakshi’s Marvin Digs.
Nuff said! For more info on tickets and hours, check the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction website.
The Smurfs are celebrating their 50th anniversary (and promoting their recent DVD release) with a party at Coachella, the big California desert music festival taking place on April 25th-27th. There will be a Smurfs Village set up, with Good Charlotte and “Vanity Smurf” (supposedly Paris Hilton) DJing the opening party. Local graffiti artists are drawing their own Smurfs for the party.
I will personally be nowhere near this. It sounds like my worst nightmare.
(Thanks, Faran Krentcil)
The very first correct answer to the question below will win the brand new Universal Home Entertainment 3 Disc DVD set Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection Vol. 2.
All those who have won one of our contests in the past 12 months are disqualified from winning this contest. Also, if you’ve already bought a copy, do a fan a favor and do not enter the contest. Give someone else a chance.
QUESTION: Mel Blanc originated the voice of Woody Woodpecker in 1940, and Bugs Hardaway took over from him in 1941. During the 1950s, 60s and 70s who was the voice of Woody Woodpecker?
The contest is closed! We have a winner: Kelly Kilmer! Thank you all for participating.
The Matinee At The Bijou blog has just posted an informative three-part interview with animator, animation historian and film restoration specialist Ray Pointer. The site has posted five of Ray’s restored silent cartoons including a Disney Laugh-O-Gram, Puss In Boots (1922), an Alice Comedy, as well as cartoons starring Ko-Ko The Clown, Mutt & Jeff, and Felix The Cat. Most importantly, they’ve posted an excerpt from one of Ray’s documentaries pertaining to Max Fleischer during his Bray Studio years. Go there, check it out.
I do a lot of posts regarding Popeye’s current licensed (and unlicensed) merchandising activities. Who can forget Popeye the Sewer Man, Popeye the Beer Salesman and of course, Popeye the-Pot-guy-Hip-hop-Hustler-Man? I’m always amused that the character could ever be used a pitchman for anything but Spinach.
Now Brew reader Art Binninger has just discovered that Popeye is fronting a new chain of vitamin supplement shops in Canada. If you live in Canada, here’s a complete list of shop locations. No steroids for this one eyed sailor.
Psssst! I’m going to give away a copy of Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection Vol. 2 at 10am (Pacific Time / 1pm Eastern). First person to answer the trivia question posted at that time will win. Shhhhh! Don’t tell anybody.
Channel Frederator has announced the nominations for its second annual Channel Frederator Awards (CFA). The competition includes 33 nominated films in a total of 11 viewer-voted categories, as well as 7 juried categories.
Anyone can vote – the process is simple and there are a lot of good films to view online. Winners will be honored at an awards party June 4th in New York City, which will be webcast on June 10th. The voting pages went live today on the CFA website.
Here is a rarely seen film by Kenneth Anger (best known for the book Hollywood Babylon and his landmark avant-garde film, Scorpio Rising), using vintage Mickey collectibles set to an eclectic score of tunes from such artists as The Boswell Sisters, The Proclaimers and Ian Whitcomb. We first posted about this film in January 2005; Anne D. Bernstein reported here on its premiere screening at the Museum of Modern Art the same month .
(Thanks, Patrick McCart)
The video tells the story of a couple who crash their car on a dark forest road and encounter a Konaki-jiji (a monster baby with the face of an old man) who leads them deep into the woods to a wild party for yokai (a klatsch of traditional Japanese monsters). The music comes from Denki Groove’s theme for the current anime horror series Hakaba Kitaro. This video, by manga artist and animator Amahisa (check out his previous animated video for the same group), has nothing to do with the TV series.
(Thanks, Seth Sherwood)
I’m obviously excited about the release next Tuesday of Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection Vol. 2. It’s an excellent companion to the first volume with 75 restored cartoons including classic Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Andy Panda and Swing Symphonies cartoons, and well as a dozen of those Walter Lantz behind-the-scenes films demonstrating how his studio made cartoons in 1957 — and much much more. Hours of fun. Best Buy will be selling it for $29.99 with an exclusive 4×6 inch limited edition “cel” from Wet Blanket Policy (above). A bargain! (Oldtimers, remember when Castle Films sold only one color Woody Woodpecker cartoon (with magnetic sound) on Super 8 for $22.95 and in 16mm (optical sound) for $49.95?).