Dave Smith reports that Peter Ellenshaw passed away yesterday, in Santa Barbara.
Ellenshaw is best known for his incredible matte paintings in Disney live action films ranging from The Story of Robin Hood through 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Mary Poppins (above). His work can also be seen in Spartacus, Superman IV and The Black Hole. He is the father of Harrison Ellenshaw (Star Wars).
J. J. Sedelmaier (The Ambiguously Gay Duo, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, The Colbert Report’s Tek Jansen, etc.) will be back next week at the New York Comic-Con. This year, Sedelmaier will discuss interpreting the work of print cartoonists and illustrators into animation in a talk titled, Translating Art in Animation. Sedelmaier will show the work of such artists as Garry Trudeau, Barry Blitt and Al Hirshfeld, among others, and will demonstrate how he translates their work into animation. He’ll also screen a selection of his studioÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work for Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and other clients.
Translating Art Into Animation takes place on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007, from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, at the Jacob Javits Center.
Here is it. The whole thing, by one of the true pioneers of the industry. Terry was actually one of the field’s leading lights during the silent era. It’s been said Disney studied Terry’s Aesop’s Fables, back then, for their craftsmanship. His drawings accompanying the article are teriffic.
Caricatures of Hollywood celebrities have been common practice in animated cartoons since the silent era. And comedians authorizing their personas for animation go back just as far (Otto Messmer’s series of Charlie Chaplin cartoons may have been the first). Since then, the essence of Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges, et al.Ã¢â‚¬”all the way through Rodney (Rover) Dangerfield and coming up next fall, Jerry Seinfeld (Bee Movie)Ã¢â‚¬”live on in animated form. The cartoon counterpart for Mexican comedian Cantinflas continues today in animated shorts south of the border.
Comedy writer/actor/comedian Bill Dana created a Hispanic personality, Jose Jiminez, as a character for THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW in 1959. As Jiminez, Dana appeared on all the top variety shows, nightclubs, made record albums and even had his own TV series (although titled The Bill Dana Show, the 1963 NBC series starred Jose).
Mark Evanier has posted several times recently about Dana and what a fine comedian and writer he was. In the mid 1960s, Dana apparently explored the possibility of adapting Jose Jiminez to animation. Jose appeared briefly in the 1966 Hanna Barbera TV special (which he wrote) Alice in Wonderland or What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (which is being rerun on Boomerang Sunday Feb. 25). He also made a deal with Paramount to make an animated short, that was probably created as a pilot for a series.
But Jose Jiminez just didn’t cut it as an animated character. The Paramount short, posted below, is pretty darn poor. I WANT MY MUMMY was released in March 1966 and hasn’t been seen since. It wasn’t even shown on Nickelodeon when they had the package of Paramount theatricals they used to run on Cartoon Kablooey and Weinerville, perhaps not wanting to take a chance that Jose might offend Hispanic people. It was co-written by Dana and cartoonist Howard Post, who was running the studio at the time. Post started production on the film when he was abruptly replaced by veteran animator Shamus Culhane. That might explain some of the films crudeness. Or maybe not. This was Culhane’s first credit for Paramount as directorÃ¢â‚¬”not a good startÃ¢â‚¬”in a job he’d hold for a year and a half before being replaced himself by Ralph Bakshi. That’s Bob McFadden doing all the other character voices.
Submitted for you approval, Jose JiminezÃ¢â‚¬”Cartoon Brew’s Forgotten Cartoon Legend of the week.
Three years ago, I Ã¢â‚¬“ and twenty-three colleagues of mine Ã¢â‚¬“Ã‚Â put together an illustrated animation history timeline called Animation Art. The goal was to create a concise visual overview of animation history over the past hundred years. I’ve been delighted to hear, during the last year, from many college and high school teachers who have told me the tome makes a great text book and starting point for discussion of animation history.
Now, particularly for those who were afraid to get the book due to the strange, off-putting psychedelic eyeball on the cover (above left), I’ve got some good news. Our long international nightmare is over. My publisher has changed the cover image. Now it’s a mongtage of current (mostly CG) images. At least the forgotten 1930s inkblot “Foxy” rates a spot Ã¢â‚¬“ pointing a gun at my byline. If the cover kept you from getting a book before, now you have no excuse to pick it up and take a peek. It’s back in bookstores this month.
Ward Kimball made this film independently from the Disney Studio in 1968. It is the only independent short ever made by one of Disney’s Nine Old Men. He screened it at film festivals, college campuses and personally gave 16mm copies to friends and liberal-minded fans. The film below may be considered NSFW depending on where you work.
(Thanks to Ted Thomas, Steve Segal, John Canemaker)
On Monday, Turner Broadcasting and the advertising agency involved agreed to pay $2 million in compensation to Boston over the AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE publicity-stunt-turned-bomb-scare. Today Cartoon Network president Jim Samples resigned over the matter.
From: Jim Samples
I am sure you are aware of recent events in which a component of an Adult Swim marketing campaign made Turner Broadcasting the unintended focus of controversy in Boston and around the world. I deeply regret the negative publicity and expense caused to our company as a result of this campaign. As general manager of Cartoon Network, I feel compelled to step down, effective immediately, in recognition of the gravity of the situation that occurred under my watch. It’s my hope that my decision allows us to put this chapter behind us and get back to our mission of delivering unrivaled original animated entertainment for consumers of all ages. As for me, there will be new professional challenges ahead that will make the most of the experiences I’ve had as part of this remarkable company. Through my 13 years at the company I have found myself continuously in awe of the talented artists and business people surrounding me, from those who realize their vision in creating a cartoon to those who so brilliantly deliver the animation to viewers. I will always cherish the experience of having worked with you. I appreciate the support that you have shown me. As a friend and a fan, I also look forward to seeing your best and most personally fulfilling work yet. Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang and each of you deserve nothing less.
If they would just stick to making and showing cartoons…
If you couldn’t make it to last summer’s incredible Tokyo The Art Of Disney exhibition, or couldn’t get a copy of the fantastic exhibition catalog (pictured above), you still have one more chance at it. Disney Japan is releasing a DVD/Blu-Ray copy of the exhibition on April 25th. Click here to see a trailer for it. The question is: Will it be accessible outside of Japan?
ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Archive has posted a rare 1938 animators handbook, the Disney Studios Artist’s Tryout Book. It outlines what each department does and what is expected of each employee. This book is fascinating, especially in comparison to the way studios operate today. Story Men are required to draw. Inking and Painting is the only department open to women. Special note is made of Television, which shows the studio was thinking ahead, to how animation would adapt to a new medium.Speaking of new mediums, ASIFA-Hollywood’s annual event, The Annie Awards, are being bestowed this Sunday in a star-studded presentation at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. VIP tickets are sold out, but I’ve been told there are still a few general seats available. The pre-show reception starts at 3pm, the award ceremony begins at 5pm and the gala post-event party (this year in a tent behind the theatre) starts around 7:15pm. See you there.
“Hi! I’m Mr. Mo Cap! I’m the future of animation!”
I woke up this morning to the news that Disney is entering a partnership with Robert Zemeckis to create a new in-house studio to produce motion capture films.
Mo-Cap? Oh-Crap! In a parallel universe, (the one in my mind, anyway) Disney was supposed to make a deal with Aardman for clay films… not with Zemeckis and motion capture. There is a part of me that would like to think that Disney bought in with Zemeckis just to keep him and his future “performance capture” projects off the market… but I doubt it. The grosses (and Oscar prestige) of Happy Feet and Monster House are too great for Disney to ignore.
I’m guessing this is an Iger-led business decision, not a Lasseter-led creative one. Let’s not forget the studio’s mandate: Disney must dominate animated features. Number 1 – buy Pixar. Number 2 – buy any other technique or filmmaker encroaching on our dominance in the market. Teaming with Zemeckis is part of that plan.
I hated the look of Polar Express, but could see some potential for the technique in Monster House. However, neither film can be compared to the true art of hand-drawn Disney animation. John Lasseter is commited to reviving traditional hand drawn character animation at the studio and this new business deal does nothing to slow those plans. While this new arrangement doesn’t bode well for Disney’s own (non-Pixar) CG feature projects, it does keep Disney at the forefront of digital filmmaking – with a new twist on an old technology. I can’t help but think that Max Fleischer is looking down on all this and having the last laugh.
I can’t explain MUGGY-DOO BOY CAT, but I feel compelled to acknowledge its existence.Animator Hal Seegar (1917-2005) had a prolific career, as a Fleischer animator (Mr. Bug), a Hollywood screenwriter (several forgetable B pictures in the 1940s) and a latter day producer of TV cartoons (Milton The Monster, Batfink, Out Of The Inkwell, etc.). In the 1950s he wrote comic books (Leave it to Binky and A Date With Judy for DC) and briefly partnered with publisher Stanley Estrow to start Stanhall Comics (G.I. Jane, The Farmer’s Daughter, et al). Seeger apparently created all the humor comics for this line. The one “funny animal” entry was Muggy-Doo Boy Cat. The character had a strange combination of inspirations – not the least was his “Yellow Kid” sweat shirt which would have a different zany slogan in each panel. Cartoonist (and animation storyman) Irv Spector drew these books in a funny Milt Gross meets Walt Kelly style.Apparently Seeger had big plans for the Boy Cat. Ten years after the comics made their debut, Seeger, having hit it big producing low budget animation for TV, made a pilot with Muggy Doo in 1963. It failed to sell, but he did however sell it to Paramount Pictures who, strangely enough, released it as a theatrical short subject! Seeger revived Muggy Doo one more time – this time as a Boy Fox – as a back up feature on The Milton The Monster Show (ABC, 1965).Muggy-Doo Boy Cat, we salute you. The public never did catch on to your comic genius despite your creator’s persistence. Below is the first three minutes of the 1963 pilot, animated by Myron Waldman. The film credits Seeger’s wife, Beverly Arnold, as creator – but don’t you believe it. This is Seeger’s masterpiece. He deserves all the credit. UPDATE: Kiddie Record expert Greg Ehrbar adds this additional tidbit: “Muggy Doo sounds like New York actor Herb Duncan, a stage actor who did lots of commercials, some TV, some animation (The Ballad of Smokey the Bear) and records (he was George and Elroy on the Jetsons on Golden Records and Mike on MAD’s “Gall in the Family Fare” flexi-disc.” Previous Forgotten Cartoon Legend – SUPERKATT
Tomorrow afternoon, Saturday February 3rd, the Animation Guild, ASIFA-Hollywood and Women In Animation will present an AFTERNOON OF REMEMBRANCE, the annual memorial to honor those in the animation community who passed away in 2006. This year tributes will be paid to Joe Barbera, Ed Benedict, Brad Case, Chris Hayward, Norm McCabe, Sid Raymond, Joe Simon, Alex Toth, Myron Waldman, Robert “Tiger” West and Berny Wolf, among many others. This event happens at the Hollywood Heritage Museum (Lasky-DeMille Barn) at 2100 N. Highland Ave., across from the Hollywood Bowl. Doors open for food and refreshments at 1 pm, Memorials begin at 2 pm. The Afternoon is free of charge and is open to all; no RSVP necessary.
The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has done it again. They’ve just posted an amazing scrapbook of farewell messages, drawings and signatures from the Disney animation staff in 1952, given to assistant animator Clair Weeks on the occasion of his departure from the studio. It’s pretty much a who’s who of Disney – everyone, from Walt Disney himself to Ward Kimball (above), Fred Moore, Marc Davis, Don DaGradi, Joe Rinaldi, Norm Ferguson, John Sibley and John Dunn. Click here to see the pages. And Steve Worth tells me he’s got more killer Disney items to post next week.