What are you doing on Pearl Harbor Day?This Thursday (tomorrow, Dec. 7th) John Canemaker will be in Hollywood, hosting a program to celebrate the DVD debut of DISNEY TRUE-LIFE ADVENTURES 1949 -1960. He’ll be screening highlights from the pioneering live action Disney film series, and lead a discussion with a panel of filmmakers, including Roy E. Disney. Paul Kenworthy, Bruce Reitherman, and David Bossert. At 7:30 p.m. in the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA.I myself will be half a mile away, running a fine selection of vintage animated cartoons at the Janet Klein concert at The Steve Allen Theatre. I do this every month, the first Thursday of each. It’s a great evening of fun which starts at 8:00pm. For more info go here.
The nominees for the 34th Annual Annie Awards have been announced. The complete list is posted here. Here’s a sampling of some of the nominees:Best Animated Feature
Cars – Pixar Animation Studios
Happy Feet – Warner Bros.
Monster House – Columbia Pictures/ImageMovers/Amblin Production
Open Season – Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
Over The Hedge – DreamWorks AnimationBest Animated Short Subject
Adventure Time – Nickelodeon
Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot – Thunderbean Animation
No Time For Nuts – Blue Sky Studios
Weird Al Yankovic “Don’t Download This Song” – Acme FilmworksThe Awards will be presented Sunday February 11th at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA. For more information click here. Congratulations to all the nominees.
Mark Evanier is the first to note the passing of my friend Sid Raymond. Raymond was best known as the voice of Baby Huey and Katnip for Famous Studios during the 1950s. He also did voices for Terrytoons and radio, and appeared in many classic TV shows (including The Honeymooners) and movies. He made a fortune playing a bartender in a series of commercials for Schlitz Beer in the early 1960s.That’s a picture of Sid and I, above, taken in Vancouver during the voice recording sessions for the new Baby Huey cartoons produced by Carbunkle Cartoons for Harvey Entertainment in 1994. If you want to see a larger version of the photo click here. I not only spent a whole week with Sid that year, but subsequently met up with him in New York (where he took me to breakfast at the Friars Club, and to a party at Jackson Beck’s apartment!). If that weren’t enough, I visited with Sid and his lovely wife in Miami where he showed me several pieces of Famous Studios memorabilia. We kept in touch throughout the years – and Sid never stopped working! He was on The O.C. last year – that was his last appearence on screen. Say what you will about the Famous Studios cartoons, the voice work is teriffic. Stang, Mercer, Beck, Questel and Raymond are hilarious, and give classic vocal characterizations.Howard Weinberg made a documentary about Sid a few years ago, Sid At 90 which is well worth buying. Below is a brief clip from the film where Sid discusses voicing Baby Huey, his small part in The Prize (1963) and excerpts from his Schlitz Beer commercials.His niece wrote about him on my My Space. He will be missed.
Not my favorite decade for animation, but James Eatock of Busta Toons Productions (the folks behind the He Man/She Ra blog) is starting cereal:geek, a new magazine that focuses strictly on animation from the eighties and, he says, “challenges the perceptions of the reader”.Eatock envisions a glossy publication, published on a quarterly basis, with articles, illustrations, scripts, storyboards, “a wealth of unseen production materials from your favorite shows, and interviews with those individuals that helped shape this particular decade of animation history”. Visit the website and register your interest and you will receive updates about the magazine in preparation for its January 2007 debut.
Here is everything you ever wanted to know about BEWITCHED – the 1964-1972 ABC TV comedy series about a regular guy who marries to a immortal magical witch. This page has more than you ever thought possible about the show’s Hanna Barbera opening titles: frame grabs, audio, alternate titles, etc.(Thanks, Mike Owens)
Hmmm… the trade papers usually don’t post new stories over the weekend. Here’s one that popped up this morning in The Hollywood Reporter about Disney laying off 160 people in Feature Animation. It’s never a good sign when a company announces news late Friday so it appears in print Saturday (traditionally less people watch or read news on Saturday). The L.A. Times also has the report today:
“The management team at Walt Disney Animation has determined that each film will dictate its own appropriate production schedule,” Disney Studios spokeswoman Heidi Trotta said. “The result of this necessitated a reduction of staff.”
Brewster Rockit is a very funny sci-fi parody comic strip running in the L.A. Times and many other papers accross the country (via Tribune Media Services). Today’s strip was right up our alley. Perhaps Brewster’s fictional outer space Cartoon Network is starting to show live action? Now that would be science fiction – wouldn’t it?
The third in a series of holiday gift-giving suggestions from your pals at Cartoon Brew.
The self proclaimed “most obscure strip of the 1950s”, Gene Deitch’s daily and Sunday Real Great Adventures of TERR’BLE THOMPSON, Hero of Hist’ry has been collected in a wonderful trade paperback by Fantagraphics Books.I love Gene Deitch’s animated cartoons (especially his Terrytoons), and his print cartoons like The Cat are stylish, funny and – in the case of Terr’ble Thompson – Terrific! That’s because Thompson is the forerunner and template for Gene’s most popular cartoon creation, Tom Terrific. The obscure strip ran less than a year (from October 1955 through April 1956, while Dietch was running UPA New York, until he got the call to head Terrytoons) in no more than 14 papers. Gene himself didn’t save any of the original art. The book masterfully reprints all the original strips from digitally retouched newspaper clippings (you’d never know) and Gene recounts the entire experience in his introduction and footnotes (among the various tidbits, details of Jules Feffier’s failed attempt to become Gene’s assistant – with an example of Feffier’s try out strip; the villian, Mean Morgan, is a charicature of John Hubley; and information on the aborted Golden Record and animated pilot).Deitch’s modernist artwork and bold color design were way ahead of the curve for most comic strips of the era. The stories are great fun, and the art is eye-candy cool. Deitch’s son, Kim, and comics historian Dan Nadel contribute an informed foreword and afterword, respectively. Put it on your holiday list. For comics fans or animation fans, I think this is an absolute must.
I came across this commercial for BLIP, the digital game, while I was transfering to DVD some cartoon shows I taped in 1980. It’s not animation, but I thought it was worth sharing on You Tube. My, how far we’ve come in 30 years (the toy was first released in 1977).
Here’s an oddity I just had to share. If you thought a live-action Flintstones was a bad idea, check this out. A live action Japanese ASTRO BOY movie (or TV show?) from the early 1960s, followed by a few seconds of a live action GIGANTOR film from the same period. Anyone know what year these clips are from? There are other clips from the GIGANTOR movie scattered on YouTube (here’s one and here’s another). But this Astro Boy footage is unique and hilarious. Maybe Cartoon Network ought to dig this up for their live-action Adult Swim block.UPDATE: Reader Charles Brubaker writes:
Regarding the live-action “Astro Boy” clip you posted on Cartoon Brew. That was from the live-action TV show that came out BEFORE the anime version. It ran March 7, 1959 to May 28, 1960 on Fuji Television. 65 episodes were made.
Our buddy Tee Bosustow has just started broadcasting a new radio show dedicated to classic animated cartoons. Toon In! … to the Masters of Animation airs weekly on Southern California’s KCLA 99.3 FM Sunday nights, 7:30pm -8pm. Tee writes in to tell us:
We are having a little technical trouble with the radio shows themselves, so there is no way to listen to them yet on the web, but we should start getting them up on the site in the next week or so, then one a week for who knows how long.There is plenty of material on the website to explain the show in much more detail than this email. But, the main idea is to interview a different guest each week, who has something to do with animation, not just animators, but all sorts of people in the business. Since animation is largely a visual art, the companion site is there to show the listeners some of the guests’ art work, find out more about them, and enable visitors to contact them, either through our email address, or in some cases, directly with the guest themselves. We have also started a campaign to bring some sponsors aboard, who are in the animation field, schools, producers, festivals, and the like, and we have a page just for them, because presumably they will be as interesting as some of the guests, to our listeners.
The first five shows are:Show #1: Tom Roth – Air Date: Nov 26.
Roth was a hand-drawn and computer animator for Ralph Bakshi, Richard Williams, Disney, and many others.Show #2: Mark Kausler – Air Date: Dec 03.
Artist, animator, collector, and historian, on Yellow Submarine, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and much more. Show #3: David Evans – Air Date: Dec 10.
Screenwriter and gag man, specializing in animation, for Jay Ward, Bill Hurtz, and many others.Show #4: Joe Siracusa – Air Date: Dec 17
Former gag man/musician for Spike Jones, animation sound effects career began at UPA Pictures.Show #5: Cathy Karol – Air Date: Dec 24
Fine artist, animator, independent animation filmmaker, and teacher, knows all facets of the animation industry.
Here’s a new item that needs to be on every Brew readers’ X-mas wish list. Screen Archives Entertainment/Film Score Monthly has just released a limited edition Scott Bradley CD soundtrack Tom and Jerry, and Tex Avery Too! Vol. 1: the 1950s. This goes on the shelf next to the classic Carl Stalling Project CDs – as the same loving care went into this long overdue package. You get two CDs filled with some of Bradley’s greatest scores (just the music – no dialogue or sound effects) from MGM cartoons of the 1950s. These particular scores were recorded on magnetic film and have been restored with a clarity you’ve never heard before. Nine (of the twenty-five scores) were originally recorded in stereo and, to quote the liner notes, “the sound quality of these shorts is breathtaking”. Even if you know these films by heart, you’ll be particularly amazed by the scores for lesser cartoons like DOWNBEAT BEAR, BARBEQUE BRAWL and TOT WATCHERS. His Avery tracks (like CELLBOUND, BILLY BOY and DEPUTY DROOPY) are revelations. And the Tom & Jerrys are pure genius.Speaking of the liner notes, Daniel Goldmark (who produced the CD with Lukas Kendall) wrote the 24-page illustrated booklet giving a thorough history of MGM music, Scott Bradley and his relationship with Hanna, Barbera and Avery, notes on the guest musicians, singers and the musical choices – as well as specific production notes for all 25 tracks. This booklet – and Shug Fisher’s vocal track for Pecos Pest – are worth the price of the CD alone!This is a must-have. Bradley was one of the greats, but his work has been overshadowed in recent years by Carl Stalling’s memorable and pioneering scores for Disney, Iwerks and Warner Bros. This CD set will help put things in perspective.You have been warned: Only 3000 copies of this incredible CD have been pressed. I highly recommend you order it right now!
In the 1950s it was comic books and rock & roll, in the 1990s it was video games and the internet. Now Steven Benen on The Carpetbagger Report.com recounts the numerous warnings against Dreamworks’ Shrek 2 and Shark Tale, Nick’s Spongebob Squarepants and PBS’ Postcards From Buster. And now Happy Feet joins the legion of Hollywood films apparently brainwashing our youth. Not only that, the Parents Television Council, a watchdog group, is preparing to boycott Comedy Central’s Drawn Together (according to this article on adult animation in Multichannel News). We agree with Steve Benen’s conclusion: “They’re just cartoons. It’s probably time for a priority check.”
RIT’s character animators took all but one of the top prizes for student films at the 2D or Not 2D Animation Festival. Tony White originated the idea of giving awards to animation in a film as well as for the film itself, so that good animation could be judged independently of the story.The festival featured screenings of restored prints of ANIMAL FARM, retrospectives of Tony White’s work, a tribute to Halas and Batchelor, and many other surprises. Keynote speaker Roy Disney (pictured above with Steamboat Willie)stated that he wished to “refute that ridiculous statement of Michael Eisner’s that 2D was dead. It is not dead, and the statement is not true.” Mr. Disney presented a wonderful series of Disney short films inlcuding LORENZO and the Salvador Dali-Walt Disney coproduction DESTINO, and generously donated the use of the audiovisual equipment used for the rest of the festival entries. Eric Goldberg’s latest animation for a Buddhist theme park, featuring greedy monkeys, was another high point of the festival.Films in competition were sent from as far afield as Germany and Wales, with East and West Coast animation schools well represented (though Cal Arts and Ringling were surprisingly absent–we’ll get them to participate next year!)”Golden Pencils” were won by RIT seniors Brittney Lee, Joseph Daniels, and Jedidiah Mitchell, with Merit Awards given to graduate student Adam Fisher and sophomore Wesley Storhoff. Some of their prizewinning RIT films from the 2D or not 2D festival are available online.You can view Brittney Lee’s THE MUSICAL GENIUS OF MOZART MCFIDDLE (Winner, Best Animation in a Student Film with Special Merit for Art direction). Merit Award winner THE BALLAD OF THE PURPLE CLAM, is (partly) here: Adam Fisher’s advisor was Tom Gasek (of Aardman, now of RIT). Joe Daniels and Jed Mitchell won the Best Student Film award for THE WAY OF THE MANTIS, tied with A MANO (from VanArts) Even though MANTIS appears to be hand drawn, it is in fact a CGI film that is rendered to look like paintbrush work–the students designed the plug-in for Maya themselves. Merit Award winner Wes Storhoff’s THE INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM is not online, but it’s hilarious–the young man produced it in Nancy Beiman’s ‘one quarter project’ class, which lasted ten weeks. One of my students, Nathaniel Hubbell, sadly did not enter his film, Pygmalion Dreams, but it’s gorgeous. He also made a strange little film called DINNER (both made under my supervision).All of these students save Adam Fisher were my advisees and most have allowed me to use their preproduction artwork to illustrate sections of my book, which is now available for preorder on amazon.com. A special Golden Pencil Award was also awarded to their teacher. I was certainly not expecting that! The festival was well attended and we hope that it will be even ‘bigger’ next year.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Gittman)