Leonard Maltin, aware of my interest in old-time animation publicity materials, sent along this image (above) from Benjamin Hampton’s 1931 book A History of the Motion Picture.
This picture got me thinking about how, back then, each individual cartoon short was treated as special as a live action feature. Stills, publicity art, posters, sometimes lobby cards and newspaper ads were created for individual cartoon shorts. And all that old promotional material seems fun to me, like the image above.
We’ve come a long way since then.
Today, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel may mount an occasional bus poster or billboard for one of their new series (mainly in New York or L.A. to attract advertisers), but publicity for individual episodes is pretty rare. There are some exceptions to the rule: The Simpsons has always done it; Frederator creates original postcards for each of its shorts. But those are special cases. I guess my point is, promotion of animated TV series, not to mention individual episodes, is practically non existant these days.
It’s just one of the differences between the business then and the business now. And it’s one of the reasons why I prefer the business then.
Jake Friedman sent this one in. Above is a still from Chuck Jones Now Hear This (1963). Below is a Morse Code decoder. Jake says:
I spent a few minutes trying to decode one with the other, hoping it spelled “Eddie Selzer eats sh-t” or something like that. Maybe Brew readers will see something in it…?
Any ideas? A prize to the reader with the cleverest “translation”. (Winner will be at the sole discretion of the Brewmasters. No deadlines, we’ll pick a winner sometime next week).
Here is some nice eye candy. This music video by Faithless, which I believe premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last week, for a Coca Cola marketing operation (Coke’s M5 project), is dazzling. French designers Sara Prince, Pierre Marie, the animator Emmanuel Linderer conceived it. Paranoid NOW, a group of designers, animators, directors and graphic artists, led by Sophie Gateau and FranÃƒÂ§ois Vogel, produced it.
Check out the video here and great behind-the-scenes info here.
From our friends at Mental Floss.
If you think the animation business is tough, try selling blankets.
Michael Marrer of Brackney Hills Knitting obtained a licensing agreement with Classic Media for Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends and Dudley Do-Right knitted products. He knew this would be a niche market, but he’s been surprised to see just how difficult it would be to sell them. He wrote me me for some advice:
We are very frustrated in finding ways to get the word out. To date we have not had any inquiries about them. So … how to reach the Rocky & Bullwinkle fans out there? We are working on some
sweaters to be released this fall, plus we have a Wossamotta U design coming for blankets too. More character designs will come out once we see some sort of action in the marketplace.
Not to be a shill, but these look pretty cool to me. I’ll probably pick up a Peabody and Sherman wrap for those cold winter nights. But I have no idea how one sells blankets.
However, I recommend to anyone with products like this to try advertising right here on Cartoon Brew. Everyone interested in obtaining blankets like these is probably reading this blog.
I like Casper. But I hate those direct-to-video CG Casper movies.
However, I just became aware of this new Casper movie which played on the Cartoon Network last year. I checked the website, the stills, and the music video. It looks kinda cute. I’m liking the design of the supporting characters. I think maybe I’ll give this one a shot.
Hey, it’s for kids – and we’ve seen worse. And I’m not saying this because I have my own Casper book coming out.
A new edition of FLIP is now up. I’d be plugging Steve Moore’s online magazine about animation (written and edited by animators) even if I weren’t profiled in it.
But since I am, I especially recommend it.
Auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields will hold an Entertainment Memorabilia and Animation Art sale on June 4th 2007 in Los Angeles, featuring property from the Estate of Carl Barks. The auction will include rare original animation drawings, working storyboards and watercolors from his personal archive. From the press release:
From the early 1940s until the late 1960s, Carl Barks illustrated Walt Disney’s comics and stories and drew the beloved “Donald Duck” character as well as “Huey, Duey and Louie” (adding his own creation “Uncle Scrooge” in 1948). Having never signed his name to a single Donald Duck story, Barks received no biographical notes in any of the Disney comic books (unlike artists of comic book publishers of the 1950s). Barks toiled in privacy for more than 25 years before fans of comics and animation sought him out.
Featured highlights from the Estate of Carl Barks include: a large collection of preliminary drawings for many of his more famous Walt Disney Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge paintings (offered individually, estimates from $600 to $2,000); an unfinished painting of a Saloon Woman in a White Dress (est. $5/8,000); a selection of early paintings from Barks’ private studio including landscapes and historical portraits; a selection of framed and signed gold plate artist’s proofs; unpublished circa 1940s pencil cartoons; early finished watercolors; and a collection of five caricature cartoon drawings done by colleagues of Carl Barks while he was working at the Disney Studios.
The auction also includes other Hollywood memorabilia, Disneyana and animation art. Los Angeles public preview events are scheduled for June 1-3. Pick up the catalog on the website.
Looks like they’ve nailed it.
Considering the track record of most cartoon-to-live action movies, I’m not getting too excited about the new live action Speed Racer movie. But the Wachowski brothers sound pretty smart discussing it in yesterday’s USA Today article. I like that Chim Chim is going to be a real chimp – not CG animation.
(Thanks, Tommy Day)
Opening on Sunday, June 24, 2007, The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons will fill the Allentown Art MuseumÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kress and Rodale galleries through September 16, 2007. This exhibit is an expanded version of the 1985 Museum of Modern Art retrospective, curated by Steve Schneider (author, That’s All Folks, The Art Of Warner Bros. Animation), consisting of over 150 drawings, paintings, cels, and animated films of WarnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s classic cartoons from the 1930s through 1960.
If you are anywhere near the New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia area this summer, you gotta go. The exhibit’s opening will be celebrated with a public preview party on Saturday, June 23, 2007, from 6 to 8 PM. For more info, go to the museum website.
Some people would go to any lengths to get a autograph from Walt Disney. But would you go to any depth? An abandoned cave in Cody, Montana reportedly has Walt Disney’s personal endorsementÃ¢â‚¬”his signatureÃ¢â‚¬”scrawled on the cave wall. Is it for real? Check out this report from Channel 8 News.
(Thanks, Mark Gittman)
Well, there goes Popeye the Sailor Man, It’s A Hap-Hap Happy Day and Casper The Friendly Ghost. Not the characters (they were sold off years ago), but the theme songs and music from 80 years of Paramount Pictures. Viacom announced today the sale of Famous Music to Sony/ATV.
“This is a milestone event for Sony/ATV Music Publishing,” said Michael Jackson (yes, that Michael Jackson. He co owns Sony/ATV). In addition to all the Fleischer and Famous Studios cartoon themes (which include Superman, Little Audrey and Herman and Katnip’s Skiddle Diddle Dee) the Famous Music catalogue includes 125,000 songs, including themes from The Brady Bunch and Star Trek, songs from Broadway shows such as A Chorus Line and The Producers, and hundreds of pop tunes and Academy Award winning soundtracks.
The Famous brand name dates back 1912 when Paramount Pictures founder Adolf Zukor created Famous Players. In 1942 when the studio removed the Fleischer brothers and established their own animation studio, they named it Famous Studios, a sister company to Famous Music. All that tradition comes to an end today.
It all started on John Kricfalusi’s blog in a series of posts where he analyzes UPA’s modern graphics, comparing them to traditional character animation as practiced by Warner Bros., Walter Lantz and Terrytoons.
Michael Sporn then responded on his blog, igniting a series of comments that are, in no particular order, thought-provoking, frustrating, insightful and maddening. Whatever your opinion, it’s a fun read.
One of my guilty pleasures, when watching Paramount cartoons from the mid-1930s through the late 1940s, is admiring the incredible “Fleischer lettering” in the main titles (and occasionally in the body of the cartoon itself). I’ve never been able to identify the mystery studio calligrapher, but this person’s unique work is as much a part of the studio’s style as the animation, voices and music. This lettering style first shows up right before the Fleischer studio moves to Miami and is prevalent throughout the 1940s Famous Studios period (you can view some of this work on my Paramount Original Titles page). This individual also did the Famous Studios logo, Fleischer/Famous letterheads and in-house publications.
Graphic designer Mark Simonson has just created two new fonts based on “Fleischer lettering” and they look terrific. Coincidentally, Mark has also been working on a font resembling to my second favorite classic movie lettering: Columbia Pictures titles (most recognizable from Three Stooges shorts, Sam Katzman serials and just about everything Columbia released from the late thirties through the mid 1950s). But I digress. I’ll be ordering his Fleischer styled Snicker and Kinescope later this week.
It’s less than two months away.
Tom Spurgeon has posted a definitive guide to attending the Comic-Con on his Comics Reporter blog. It’s a must-read if you are planning to attend.
See you there.
(picture via Old Man Musings)