In all my years of watching and collecting animated cartoons, only a scant few of the shows I grew up with have eluded my review in recent years. One of those, The Beagles, has just surfaced this week on You Tube. It’s a clip of the opening — a kinescope, in black & white — but it’s all we got.
The show was Total Television’s (Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo) final production and it aired two seasons (26 episodes) on CBS during 1966-68 (Saturday afternoons at 12:30pm). That’s Sandy Becker doing a Dean Martin impersonation for Stringer, and Allen Swift as Scotty their agent. Toontracker reports the possibilty that all the master elements are lost due to being thrown away. The show was never syndicated, and hasn’t been seen since 1968. Even though the characters are not a parody of The Beatles (as reported in numerous cartoon histories), I suspect King Features (who had the cartoon rights to The Beatles) or the Apple Corps. themselves may have had a hand in this series mysterious disappearence.
Whatever happened, thanks to Freenbean, some of my brain cells can now rest easy with the Beagles garage band theme song now restored in my memory bank.
The new Steven Spielberg/Michael Bay live action CG Transformers movie looks to be one of the biggest films of the summer. But if you want to know how far we’ve come in 20 years, compare the latest trailer to the Marvel Productions cartoon feature from 1986:
I’ve just discovered the blog of Enzo Avolio and am blown away by his beautiful artwork and animation design. Avolio teaches character design at Sheridan College and a brief interview with him was posted last year on CharacterDesign.blogspot.com. Nice stuff.
I don’t normally endorse corporate animation contests, but the one my friend Rita Street has been co-producing (with Frederator, the fourth year in a row) for the Nicktoons Network is a fair, well run and ultimately, an entertaining showcase for animators working in all techniques and media.
The top prize is ten grand and nominees are telecast on the Nicktoon channel in August. The deadline to enter this year’s contest is next week (June 1st). Calling all filmmakers: Go to the website and check the rules and requirements.
Film history professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University explains copyright law, via clips from Disney and Pixar films, in this clever video posted by Stanford Law School. Watch it below on YouTube or download a copy to your computer from the Stanford website.
This three-hour presentation/discussion will cover a wide variety of art-related topics, including how they mix and blend their animation and cartooning work with their fine art careers.
Join these celebrated artists for three hours of revealing conversation, as they present their work, divulge behind-the-scenes secrets of their art entrepreneurship, and discuss artistic strategies for successful marketing and building name brand recognition. The artists will also be signing books and selling items immediately after the event.
Tickets are available online at ticketweb.com or call 866.468.3399.
Here’s an kinescope excerpt from the classic 1950s TV show, You Asked For It, from sometime during its first year of broadcast (1950-51 season). Here, host Art Baker is answering viewer mail about how animated cartoons are made, assisted by animator Ken Walker (flipping scenes from the short Plutopia) Ã¢â‚¬” and a rather pathetic Mickey Mouse puppet.
As enthused as I am over the big budget, widescreen Hollywood animated blockbusters en route to the cineplex this summer, I’ve been keeping my eye on this little black & white hand-drawn film based on Iranian author Marjane SatrapiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comic book autobiography.
We’ve posted about it before, Persepolis is a coming-of-age story of a young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution and follows her to Austria as a teenager at school, where she struggles to overcome stereotypes and predjudices. What it lacks in Hollywood visual pyrotechnics, it more than makes up for it with an intelligent story and realistic characters. It looks to be one of the most refreshing films of the year.
Check out the blog with many behind-the-scenes podcasts, the trailer (embedded below) and these clips (in French): Clip 1, Clip 2, Clip 3.
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud co-wrote and are co-directing the film, which is coproduced by 2.4.7. Films and the Kennedy/Marshall Company.
Here is one of the best MySpace pages I have seen devoted to a classic cartoon series.
Forgotten Flintstones contains a lot of fun images, facts, sound bites, and video devoted to offbeat Flintstonia (is that even a word?). Classic toys, commercials, and in-depth profiles of supporting playersÃ¢â‚¬”including Jay Bondrock, Ann-Margrock, Gary Granite, Rock Quarry, Hot Lips Hannigan, Professor Rockimoto, The Wayouts and Ed Sullystone.
Not to be overlooked in this year of great classic cartoon DVD releases (the Droopy collection goes on sale today) are these programs from our friends at Thunderbean Animation and Inkwell Images.
Steve Stanchfield from Thunderbean has been rescuing obscure cartoons for years and his previous compilations are text book examples of How-To restore and present this vintage material on DVD. His latest videos, The Little King and Cultoons, Part Two are vital additions to the collection.
The Little King is a collection of all ten uber-rare Van Beuren cartoons based on the classic comic strip by Otto Soglow. These films were produced in 1933-34 and, in addition to being animated by Jim Tyer, they are as surreal as anything the Fleischers were doing at the same time. As a bonus Steve includes the one Fleischer attempt to animate the Little King (co-starring Betty Boop) in 1936. And, Steve includes two rare Sentinel Louie cartoons from 1933 (this character was the “topper strip” on The Little King’s Sunday pages). If it can be imagined, these are even more off beat than the Little King.
Thunderbean’s second Cultoons collection is subtitled “Animated Education” as it contains 13 educational, industrial and commercial films from such diverse talents as Fleischer Studios, Terrytoons, Hugh Harman and UPA. These are the rarest of the rare and this set includes some informative – and hilarious – audio commentary by the likes of Mark Kausler, Milton Knight, Steve Worth, Mike Kazaleh and that little old winemaker… me.
We’ve plugged Ray Pointer’s program of rare uncut Alice Comedies before. But if you haven’t picked this up yet, now is the time. Ray has recently revised the collection (adding Alice Gets Stage Struck) and restored many cut scenes with rare footage only available here. These DVDs are highly recommended.
As an addendum to our posts on Ward Kimball (can we ever post enough about Kimball?), our pal Don Brockway (Psst, check out his webpage devoted to Disney voice actress Kathryn Beaumont) is posting on YouTube a rare 1978 broadcast of Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow Show, shot on location at Grizzly Flats!
Like many of your readers, I was saddened to hear that Grizzly Flats is no more. Something IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve held onto, since the beginning of time, is a tape of this broadcast. I recorded it on Ã‚Â¾Ã¢â‚¬? video at the time, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of my favorite shows. When I took my old Ã‚Â¾Ã¢â‚¬? U-matic in to be serviced, my buddy behind the counter said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Who gave you this, Fred Flintstone?Ã¢â‚¬? But he managed to get it working again, and I was able to salvage the program.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m posting the entire 45 minute show (editing out commercials) a piece at a time. It may take a couple of days. But I want to share this great show with everybody; itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an excellent tribute to Ward and to Grizzly Flats.
We agree. Below are all seven videos of the program that Don has graciously posted onto YouTube.
In the photo above, the guy on the left is yours truly, Jerry Beck, blathering on about the fine points of American animation to the guy on the right: the father of anime, the Disney of Japan, Osamu Tezuka.
This fateful meeting took place in 1978, at a screening of Bander’s Book at the Japan Society in New York City. And obviously, it was one of the greatest days of my life.
Tezuka San had somehow obtained a copy of Mindrot, the fanzine, in which I wrote about my love of his comics and Astro Boy, and was as delighted to meet me as I was to meet him. He even invited me out to have sushi after the screening. I’ll never forget it. He was a great artist and a great human being.
The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco will be presenting an exhibit, Tezuka: The Marvel of Manga, June 2nd through September 9th, which is shaping up to be an absolute must-see event. The official website is loaded with essays, information, podcasts and even a blog worth reading.
And in case you don’t know who Tezuka is, here’s a 30 second refresher course: