Our friends at the Van Eaton Galleries have just sold the complete storyboard to the classic 1949 Merrie Melodies cartoon BAD OL’ PUTTY TAT. This kind of material is extremely rare. The studio threw out the majority of its production materials decades ago. Thankfully, Van Eaton has posted the entire board on their website for all of us to enjoy.
David Gerstein at Gemstone Comics has a new Disney comics anthology in the works for August release, Disney Comics: 75 Years of Inspiration. This 160 page volume, cleverly designed as a print equivalent to the Disney Treasures DVD series (tin case not included) features rare, restored and, in some cases, never before seen stories by golden-age greats Carl Barks, Al Taliaferro, Floyd Gottfredson, Dick Kinney, Paul Murry and Gil Turner – as well as the best of the current generation: Don Rosa, Daan Jippes, Willian Van Horn and others.
Mystery solved! Rich LaPierre, at Hallmark Cards, is the artist/designer of the new Looney Tunes greeting cards I’ve been raving about. He saw my earlier posts and contacted Cartoon Brew to give us some insight as to what he is up to.
A number of people told me I should check out the Cartoon Brew web site because my cards were featured on it.Warner Bros. has recently given their licensees a wider latitude in how we depict their characters. Actually, they’ve been GREAT to work with! I’ve wanted to utilize the early versions of the characters for years so as soon as the gate was open, I took off.I’ve always liked the 1943 model sheet of Bugs Bunny and Bob Clampett’s 1944 model sheet of Tweety so those two characters were easy.Porky was a challenge because his early depictions were all over the place. He fluctuated from being a cute child to an unappealingly obese… well, pig. I was inspired by some pictures in your own COMPLETE GUIDE on pages 82 and 100 and the ALI BABA BOUND picture on page 142 of Steve Schneider’s THAT’S ALL FOLKS. I thought that version of Porky was the most endearing. Poor Porky! He was once WB’s top star and now very few people like him. I thought he needed to go back to his glory days. This must be the right version because several people commented that they were pleasantly surprised that Porky could be cute. They never liked the later versions.Daffy was the hardest of all. At first I was drawn to the DAFFY DOC version because it is truly funny. However, I quickly realized that that depiction was very limiting in both personality and design. Then I created a version that is a hybrid of Clampett’s Daffy in PORKY’S DUCK HUNT and some of the old posters. That was working pretty well until I settled on a version from the early 40′s as seen on the samples I sent. Please forgive my Daffy indecision.I’ve been trying to stick to the four core characters: Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and Porky (with occasional appearances by Sylvester, Elmer Fudd and Petunia). I hope I will not be asked to create “antique” versions of others such as the Road Runner and Coyote, Pepe LePew or Lola Bunny.I’ve taken some liberties in an attempt to make these styles cohesive with one another. I made their hands a bit more antique-ish and gave them all a “drip” highlight in their eyes (to be different from Disney’s “pie eye” wedge). I try to ink or paint the characters in an old style by taking a cue from some of the artists who created the antique merchandise. They didn’t try to make their art look like animation cels. When they rendered a character (whether in ink or paint), they added details and line qualities that were not possible on cels. My goal has been to capture the very best of the antique animation and render them in the very best styles of the old merchandise. I’m NOT trying to be totally, historically accurate. I’m trying to create an appealing style with some level of authenticity. I am also bound by the fact that most consumers are not diehard animation fans. They may like the vintage characters but they still want bright, fresh colors on their greeting cards. Its a difficult balancing act.My favorite piece so far is the TA TA TOODLES card (above, at top). The cover is a fictitious Broadway-style poster with the “real” cast inside (click here to see the inside spread). I had the rare opportunity to both write and illustrate this card.Your web site leads me to believe there’s a number of people who like this older style. Hallmark does not have an entire line of vintage Merrie Melodies. After the initial success of the one-shot cards I did, Hallmark is experimenting with a few more to determine whether the initial cards were flukes or something people really want. Write to Hallmark and let them know your thoughts.
Thank you, Rich. I love what you are doing. Thank you for putting so much thought and care into your work.
BOOKMARK ALERT: Animator and cartoon historian (not to mention a friend of mine for over 30 years) Mark Mayerson has started a blog. And this is big news. Mark is one of the most intellegent writers on history of animation as well as the current state of industry – and he’s also an astute critic. First up, Mark discusses animators Fred Moore, Bill Tytla, Al Eugster and breaks down who-animated-what on Disney’s classic Mickey Mouse short, THE NIFTY NINETIES. His blog will be one of my first stops everyday.
You know it. You have it. You’ve studied it from cover to cover. Preston Blair’s ANIMATION is the book on character animation basics. First published at the height of Blair’s career in the late 1940s, this Walter Foster Art Book has become a classic, and a must-have, in every animator’s library.Now, Steve Worth at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has scanned a copy – my copy, obtained from the late Dave Tendlar – of the original 1947 edition of the book, titled ADVANCED ANIMATION. This legendary first edition is rarely seen because it was quickly pulled from the market. Blair illustrated the book with characters from films and studios (mainly MGM) he’d worked on, without bothering to get permission to use the trademarked characters. He had to redraw most of the book to keep it in print. That’s the version most of us have – until now. Go to the Archive to see the the book as it originally appeared, the first half here and the second half here. Enjoy!
If you are in Hollywood tonight – I highly recommend you spend an evening with Janet Klein And Her Parlor Boys. I’ll be there with my 16mm projector, showing several 1930s musical shorts and cartoons, followed by a wonderful evening of live 1920s/early 1930s jazz, rag-time, blues and novelty songs. The fun starts tonight at 8pm, at the Steve Allen Theatre in Los Feliz, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. (two blocks west of Vermont Ave.). We do this the first Thursday of every month. Please check Janet’s website (under “Showtime”) for more details.
Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck may be gone from the Cartoon Network, but we seem to be in the midst of a new “golden age” of Looney Tunes merchandising art. After yesterday’s post on the spotting of a Clampett-esque Hallmark greeting card, a reader sent me a scan of another in the series for Mother’s Day (above).
Another person directed me towards these new Looney Tunes designs (above) on Zazzle.com (an upscale cafepress), created for custom made t-shirts, mugs, etc. We are begining to suspect our friend at WB Merchandising (and former Spumco artist) Mike Fontanelli is the hand behind these cool new designs. I never thought I’d want a Tweety t-shirt – but that psycho-eyed Clampett Tweety design is a must-have!
I had a theory years ago… the greatest generator of modern Hollywood movie ideas must be the plot synopsis sections of Leonard Maltin’s 1972 book, THE GREAT MOVIE SHORTS. Throughout the years I noticed things like the plot of THREE MEN AND A BABY seemed to be taken directly from the Three Stooges short SOCK-A-BYE BABY (1942); THE GOONIES had the same story as Our Gang’s MAMA’S LITTLE PIRATES (1934); and NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION followed the same senario as the Hal Roach/Charlie Chase short ON THE WRONG TREK (1936).Now listen to the plot for the latest Wayans Brothers movie, LITTLE MAN:
A wannabe dad (Shawn Wayans) mistakes a vertically challenged criminal on the lam (Marlon Wayans) as his newly adopted son.
Wow, that sounds awfully familiar. I just hope they give credit to Michael Maltese and Chuck Jones. It’s the same plot of the 1954 Warner Bros. cartoon Baby Buggy Bunny.(Thanks, Gerson Koenig)
Brew reader Chris Jackson spotted this attractive greeting card at the drug store.
I saw this greeting card in Walgreens this weekend. It caught my eye because it appeared to be Bugs Bunny peeking out of the rack, but it wasn’t your standard year 2006 lame, watered-down Bugs, it was a very Bob Clampett-esque Bugs (which, like many, is my favorite one). To my surprise, the whole card featured early Clampett designs, many looking like they were lifted directly from his cartoons (like “Daffy Doc” and “Gruesome Twosome”).
Is there a whole line of cards using designs like this? If anyone spots others, let us know.
Get ready, cartoon fans. Your eyeballs have ONE MORE CHANCE:The 3-D Film Festival is returning to Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood this September — and this time, the animated cartoons will be presented all in one program – hosted by yours truly, Jerry Beck – Saturday September 16th at 3:30pm. I urge you to buy your tickets now! This show will sell out.The animated shorts program will include all the 3-D Hollywood cartoons released in 1953 and 1954, including Casper in BOO MOON, Disney’s MELODY, Bugs Bunny in LUMBERJACK RABBIT, Woody Woodpecker in HYPNOTIC HICK, Donald Duck in WORKING FOR PEANUTS and — the world premiere of a restored POPEYE, THE ACE OF SPACE (courtesy of Warner Bros.). The program will also feature other animated films, including experimental shorts by Norman McLaren, and stop motion puppet films. DO NOT MISS THIS ANIMATION EVENT. Fly in from around the world, if you have to, for this once in a lifetime gathering of rare 3-D animation.SabuCat Productions is presenting the World 3-D Film Expo II from September 8th through September 17th, 2006, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The 10 day festival will not only be highlighting the sold out shows of 2003, but will also be showing EIGHT new “Golden Era” feature films, most of which have never been seen in over 50 years in 3-D. (In fact, two of the titles have never been shown in 3-D even in the 1950′s!) 35 features and over 20 short subjects (including the two THREE STOOGES shorts and Bob Clampett’s TIME FOR BEANY) will unspool at the Expo. Please go directly to the 3-D Expo website for more information. This event is Highly Recommended.
This archive photo shows producer Charles Mintz (at left) and animation directors Ben Harrision and Manny Gould (on the right) standing with “Miss Krazy Kat” in 1928. One year later, this group would move from New York to Hollywood, switch distributors from Paramount to Columbia and start a series of lively musical KRAZY KAT cartoons which have drifted into complete obscurity.On May 20th, I will be hosting another ASIFA-Hollywood screening of 35mm restored KRAZY KAT cartoons from the 1930s – a new program of shorts containing several cartoons unseen in over 70 years! Mark your calendar now – Saturday May 20th at 3:00pm in the Ted Ashley Screening Room on the AFI Los Angeles campus. Our first screening of KRAZY KAT shorts, last fall, was completely packed. Admission is free for Asifa Hollywood members ($10. for non-members). And we will crown a new “Miss Krazy Kat” at the start of the show! (If anyone can identify the gent standing next to Mintz in the photo above, we’d love to know who he is)
Calling all filmmakers: The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival is accepting animated shorts (up to 10 minutes in length), between now and May 31, 2006 for its 3rd annual competition. This year Frederator Studios is partnering with both Nicktoons and Kidscreen Magazine to select the shorts for the fest.The festival will kick off with a two-day live event at the Nicktoons Studios in Burbank, Calif. on Saturday, Aug. 12 and Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006. Selected entries will air on the Nicktoons channel during August and one will be selected to win a $10,000 Grand Prize. Rita Sreet and Eric Homan are co-producing and judges (to be announced) will include Seth (Family Guy) MacFarlane. Any animation technique is acceptable: Flash, traditional cel, stop motion or CG. For more info go the Nicktoons Fest website or check out their blog.
Tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, April 29th, ASIFA-Hollywood is holding a special film program focusing on the music in classic Hollywood cartoons. Animation historian Daniel Goldmark will be there to discuss the music and musicians behind our favorite cartoons. Bring along your copy of Daniel’s great new book, TUNES FOR ‘TOONS and get it autographed. Meet us at 3:00pm, over at the American Film Institute, in the Steven Ross Screening Room (Warner Bros. Building). The address is 2021 N. Western Ave. in Hollywood, CA (a block north of Franklin Ave.). Directions to AFI campus HERE. ASIFA-HOLLYWOOD members admitted FREE, non-members gotta pay $10 bucks.