So much for keeping it a secret! Sheesh!President William Henry Harrison, Carmen Miranda, Ronald Colman, Mia Farrow, King Vidor, Mamie Van Doren, Mena Suvari, Joe Pesci, Roger Mudd, Alberto Vargas, Carole King, Fred Harman, Frank Frazetta and I thank you for today’s birthday wishes!Jerry Beck
Readers of Cartoon Brew may have noticed that in the past week we have introduced Google text ads on this website. We want to stress that this will in no way affect the editorial content on this website and none of our writing will ever be influenced by the advertisers. Also, we have no control over which advertisers Google’s automated system chooses to place on our site, and we do not endorse any of these advertisers. Both of us have been reluctant to pursue advertising opportunities for the Brew because we enjoy being poor, but the reality is that we want the site to pay for itself and perhaps give us a few nickels and dimes on top of that. Google ads are a good solution because they allow us to remain objective while creating a steady revenue stream. To that end, if you enjoy and read Cartoon Brew regularly, please take the time to click on the Google ads in the right hand column. You don’t have to click today or tomorrow, but if every reader clicks on one of those ads every so often, we can continue to keep this site free without having to ask our readers for money. It’s a win-win situation for everybody…we hope.
Whoa! Stop the presses! This may be the biggest news of the year. Forget The Incredibles… Here comes CLUTCH CARGO!!!Giving new meaning to the term “limited animation”, Clutch Cargo innovated TV animation in a way Hanna-Barbera never dreamed – they used live action lips super-imposed over the cartoon drawings (drawings that hardly moved). Actually Clutch did pioneer the TV adventure cartoon genre, years before H-B’s Jonny Quest. And now all the episodes, the entire collection of 52 Clutch Cargo episodes (each one a 5 minute serial chapter), over seventeen hours, is coming to DVD on March 22nd in two volumes – and each volume is priced under $12.00! A steal!For more information go to TV Shows On DVD.com.
Brew correspondent B. Baker pointed out to me this morning this gorgeous 1927 OSWALD THE RABBIT poster being auctioned off by Heritage Galleries.I love cartoon movie posters – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular color Disney-era stock one-sheet before. It looks to be introducing the character to theatre patrons, despite the fact that the white rabbit in the center is not the “lucky rabbit” we know – the real Oswald is running all over the sides. It’s also interesting to note Walter Lantz would go with a cuter “white rabbit” design in the later 1930s. Check it out at larger size here.
Starting this summer, the Pink Panther is going to be back in our lives in a variety of ways. In addition to a new book I’m writing (for DK Publishing), there will be new merchandise, a kids book (pictured at right) by Hope & Sybil Freleng (Friz’s daughters), the U.S. release of a complete DVD cartoon collection – and of course, a new Inspector Clouseau movie starring Steve Martin.One thing I like about all this new hoopla, is the fact that they are also merchandising Ant & Aardvark action figures – and dolls of Panther adversary The Little Man. Can a Hoot Kloot maquette be far behind?
To get yourself in the mood, Download this.
Animator Don Hertzfeldt wrote in with this update on his projects:
There’s an exhibit of Bitter Films animation production “art” going up in a Pasadena gallery called Nucleus starting this weekend (February 12 through February 20), with about 150 pieces from all of our films up on the walls. It’s the first time any of this stuff has been displayed in public before, so I don’t really know what to expect but I’m told there will be free drinks and live music so maybe it will be a moot point after a couple of hours and we can retreat to someplace more interesting. I’ll be milling around hiding from people for the gallery’s opening night – awkward, clammy handshakes will be enjoyed by all.Also, year 2 of The Animation Show premieres at the Nuart Theatre on the 18th. There are a bunch of good films in the program, which are listed over here. Then it’s off on tour with the show to Seattle and Vancouver and etc..
Another nice shot of Oswald merchandise in Japan – this time with Oswald shopping bags.
Cartoon Network sent me a screener tape of their new Adult Swim series, ROBOT CHICKEN. Our buddies at Screen Novelties had a hand in it so I gave it a look – and I’m glad I did.ROBOT CHICKEN is very funny. It’s sort of an SCTV-MR. SHOW skitcom with stop-motion action figures. It gets points from me for being hand animated, – heck, it gets extra points for doing a take-off on the 1948 Superman serial, but I digress. The writing is very good, the animation (considering it’s funky stop-mo with store-bought dolls) is as it should be. I laughed several times during the 12 minute first episode, and that’s as it should be too. I intend to keep watching, and advise you to check it out when it premieres Sunday Feb. 20th at 11:30pm.Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Seineich will join Tom Goes To The Mayor’s Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim and Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro on March 4th (at 7:30pm) at the Director’s Guild Theatre in Hollywood, at an Adult Swim tribute, as part of The Museum of Television & Radio’s annual William Paley Festival. This program will be hosted by Adult Swim’s Keith Crofford. More information on this event is available on the MT&R website.
Everyone seems to be laughing at James Dobson’s attack against SPONGEBOB. Here’s an editorial in today’s L.A. Times.
Excerpts from a satire now posted on Salon.com:
Crazed right-wing moralists, take note: Before SpongeBob, there was Snagglepuss … and Huckleberry Hound … and even Popeye.By Liz Larocca
Recent events in the world of animated children’s shows have caused people to question whether the cartoon industry is promoting a homosexual agenda. Allegations have been directed at SpongeBob SquarePants for participating in a pro-gay video, and at Buster the Bunny for his fraternization with a lesbian couple and their children. While some have dismissed these allegations as the rantings of ultraconservative Christians, gay cartoon characters do in fact exist, and some of them are even politically active. I recently asked some of them to share their stories.Sitting in the living room of his well-appointed Cape Cod-style home, a cultural icon recalls his heyday with sadness and regret. “I was in constant fear of being found out,” says Popeye, sipping herbal tea. “I thought once I cast Olive Oyl, everyone would know. She was so tall and lanky, with that boyish figure …”Three days later, I’m in the parlor of a lovely San Francisco townhouse, being entertained by a self-described “proud queer, an old queen, ev-en!” “I can’t believe America didn’t know,” says Snagglepuss. “I mean, the cuff links, the flamboyance, the theater jargon — plus, I’m pink, for heaven’s sake!”"I think it’s terrific what SpongeBob is doing,” he declares as he accepts a white wine spritzer from longtime companion Huckleberry Hound. “I’ve heard rumors about Squidward, too.” Snagglepuss looks at his partner. “Two out and proud gays on one show, wouldn’t that be fabulous?!” “I had a much different Hollywood experience than Puss,” he continues. “The producers were looking for someone to host a show, to be a major player. They didn’t care that I was gay, but this was 1959, and they didn’t want any speculation about me.” He sits down on the end of the chaise longue and puts his hand on Snagglepuss’ leg. “They liked my look, but I sounded very effeminate.”"The ironic thing is, they were wrong about one of the first gay icons,” he adds. “There was always a lot of talk about Velma, but she’s strictly hetero.” “Even we believed it,” Snagglepuss admits. “But then Daphne, who’s actually bi, told me that she’d tried to get Velma to ‘experiment’ a couple times, but she wasn’t interested. Velma’s always been supportive of our cause.” Asked which characters are members of the LGBT Cartoon Alliance, Snagglepuss runs off some names: Jabberjaw, Auggie Doggie, Mr. Slate of “The Flintstones,” Elmer Fudd, Pepé Le Pew (“He’s what’s now called pan-sexual,” says Snagglepuss), everyone in “Josie and the Pussycats,” all three members of “The Hair Bear Bunch,” several Smurfs, and Gargamel, and Foghorn Leghorn.”That last one surprised even us,” Huckleberry says. “And Bugs Bunny hasn’t officially joined, but he has been to a few meetings.” He divulges, “He had to dress up as a woman a lot on the show, and then found himself doing it
Alexandre Alexeieff, the Russian-born French filmmaker who invented the pinscreen method of animation – with his wife/collaborator Claire Parker – is the subject of a comprehensive DVD being released this month in France.ALEXANDRE ALEXEÃEFF: Animation Works contains 30 short films, a booklet with liner notes, and numerous bonus materials including a Picture gallery (of photos, portraits, engraving, tools, etc.), Alexeieff’s commercials and several documentaries – including Noman McLaren’s 1972 film on the technique. Also included is Jacques Drouin’s Mindscapes, his 1976 film using pinboard techniques. The DVD is in English & French, and only available in PAL. For more information, visit www.cinedoc.org
Tee Bosustow, son of Stephen Bosustow, has launched a new website devoted to the animation studio his father owned and operated for 14 years – United Productions of America.Tee has been (and still is) filming interviews with veteran UPA personnel, historians, and current animators-under-the-UPA-influence for a documentary he is producing, “UPA: Mavericks, Magic and Magoo”. He is actively seeking investors to bring the project to completion. The companion website, UPApix.com, is still a work-in-progress – so if you have material to contribute to the site or to documentary, Tee would love to hear from you.UPA is beloved by animation historians and knowledgable animators. It’s influence and importance to animation history is undeniable. Tee is trying his best to make sure the studio is recognized by today’s younger generation, and not forgotten by the film community at large. We certainly wish him luck.
We here at Cartoon Brew have no interest in sports, and especially the Super Bowl. But we admit that the advertising created for the event is good for our animator friends. For one, our buddy Xeth Feinberg (Bulbo) recently created this fine Jib-Jab-like parody of the Eagles.During the Super Bowl itself, I am most anxious to see the new
MasterCard commercial featuring vintage advertising icons Mr. Peanut, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Count Chocula, Charlie Tuna, The Jolly Green Giant and Mr. Clean. Another great use of classic characters – score one for our team.
U.S. controversies over such matters as gay Spongebob and Postcards From Buster seen silly compared to Britain’s latest scandal: An animated toad with his private parts exposed. Crazy Frog, an animated wallpaper for your cell phone, has gotten approval from Britain’s advertising regulators to flash his genitals in TV spots – despite over 60 complaints from home viewers.Great horny toads! What’s next? Someone better hide The Reluctant Dragon fast!
Thursday night I’m once again showing several musical shorts (and cartoons) at the Steve Allen Theatre in Los Feliz. This is my monthly 16mm film program, as opening act, for the fantastic Janet Klein and her Parlour Boys who perform the first Thursday of each month at this location, at 8pm. Janet sings and plays authentic 1920s jazz, while I open the show with several 16mm shorts from the 1930s. This month I’m showing YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOIN’ (1931), MERRY MANNEQUINS (1937) and a wild Fleischer Screen Song, SONG SHOPPING (1933, with Ethel Merman). It’s musical madness! Join us!