I’m still recovering from yesterday’s Annie Awards ceremony – and post-show party last night. As a member of the Board of Directors of Asifa-Hollywood, I’m very proud of this event. It really is a great moment for our industry to celebrate the artform and Asifa is the only organized group who champions the craft – and has done so for over 40 years.The Incredibles swept the awards. Brad Bird, Don Bluth and the woman accepting the award for historian Bill Moritz gave great, inspiring speeches. Stan Lee was a guest presenter for Best Animated Feature. Tom Kenny was hilarious as the M.C. and Virginia Davis (Disney’s Alice Comedies) was charming. The whole presentation was superb. You can read the details of the winners here and see some candid photos at Asifa’s Blog.
Frank Tashlin was great.His live action films were hilarious – but, as we know, his print cartoons and animated films were even funnier. If you haven’t yet, please read Mike Barrier’s 1971 interview with Tash and Ethan de Seife’s biographical profile. One of Tashlin’s last live action films, THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT (1966), will be released on DVD in April with several behind-the-sceenes bonus pieces – including the oft-requested Chuck Jones MGM Oscar winning cartoon THE DOT AND THE LINE (1965).Another DVD of note (unrelated to Tashlin or Jones): Barnes & Noble is selling an exclusive DVD, Academy Award-Winning Classic Cartoons, a new collection boasting 7 Oscar winners for Best Short Subject Cartoon. Included are: Rudolf Ising’s “The Milky Way” (1941); Joseph Barbera and William Hanna’s “Quiet Please!” (’46); Barbera and Hanna’s “The Cat Concerto” (’47); Friz Freleng’s “Tweety Pie” (’48); Barbera and Hanna’s “Johann Mouse” (’53); Freleng’s “Birds Anonymous”(’58); and Freleng’s “Knighty Knight Bugs” (’59). This collection will only be sold through Barnes and Noble bookstores, or available for free with the purchase of two Warner Home Video Academy award winning features.
According to this FOX NEWS story, Disney is having a hard time getting its post-Pixar Toy Story sequel together.
That’s the word in Hollywood’s animation world, where the third installment of the incredibly successful Pixar series has no director, writer or, possibly, stars. “Every single animator of note has turned down the director’s job. They don’t want to cross Pixar. They’ve become the only deal in town.”
While I doubt Disney will halt it’s plans or have trouble finding a production crew, the fate of our favorite Pixar characters solely in Disney hands gives us reason to pause. Just seeing Buzz, Woody and Jessie on ice is scary enough, especially when we consider the possible fate of Mr. Incredible and Frozone.
I got an email from Brew reader Linda Drury today asking if I had a photo of Dave Barry – the comedian and cartoon voice actor who passed away on August 16th, 2001. Barry briefly voiced Bluto (for Famous Studios), Elmer Fudd (for Warner Bros. in Pre-Hysterical Hare), was a regular in Columbia Screen Gems cartoons and the Speaking Of Animals series. He’s best remembered for his Bogart vocal imitation in the Bugs Bunny cartoons Slick Hare(1947) and 8-Ball Bunny (1950). I had never seen a good photo of Barry myself, so I did a little research and found these two images (above) from the 1962 Academy Players Directory (an annual performer reference put out by the Academy of Motion Pictue Arts and Sciences). I thought it was worth posting here for future reference.For more information about this Dave Barry, go to Mark Evanier’s POVonline.com
Tracy Mark Lee at Electric Tiki is doing it right – once again!He’s gotten me excited about these classic cartoon maquettes – Get a look at the rough sculpt of this sexy Betty Boop maquette. As Bert Lahr (and various cartoon wolves) used to say: “Gnong, Gnong!”And here’s a sneak peek at the Famous Studios Popeye maquette. Note the base, designed to look like the Paramount star opening.Both these statues will be ready to purchase later this year. They’ve got at least one sale from me.
Here’s the raw list:Best animated feature film of the yearThe Incredibles
Shrek 2Best animated short filmBirthday Boy (An Australian Film, TV and Radio School Production) Sejong Park and Andrew Gregory
Gopher Broke (A Blur Studio Production) Jeff Fowler and Tim Miller
Guard Dog Bill Plympton
Lorenzo (Walt Disney Pictures) Mike Gabriel and Baker Bloodworth
Ryan (A Copper Heart Entertainment & National Film Board of Canada Production) Chris LandrethAlso in these catagories: Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song): “Accidentally In Love” from Shrek 2 and “Believe” from The Polar ExpressAchievement in sound editing: The Incredibles Michael Silvers and Randy Thom; The Polar Express Randy Thom and Dennis Leonard.Achievement in sound mixing: The Incredibles Randy Thom, Gary A. Rizzo and Doc Kane; The Polar Express Randy Thom, Tom Johnson, Dennis Sands and William B. KaplanOriginal screenplay: The Incredibles Written by Brad Bird.Congratulations to the nominees!
In response to the conservative charges about Spongebob Squarepants promoting homosexuality, John Martz at Robot Johnny.com presents a gallery of beautiful frame grabs (off the Looney Tunes Golden Collection dvds) that illustrate the questionable status of Bugs Bunny’s sexual preferences.(via Boing Boing)
A few Brew readers wrote in today to tell me of Ralph Bakshi’s announced plans to start a graphic novel sequel to WIZARDS. Interesting… but the bigger news is the fact that Ralph has added a blog to his established website.It’s always worth a visit to www.ralphbakshi.com Recent updates include video of a cut scene from his LORD OF THE RINGS, and it’s a place to view rare personal photographs, and buy Bakshi animation cels — and it’s the only place I know selling an official COONSKIN T-Shirt!
These little plastic Japanese statues are GRRR-REAT! Megahouse is making a whole series of these collectible Kellogg’s cereal character statues – including long-forgotten favorites like Sugar Pops Pete (in center, above) – in their original, most appealing designs. First Oswald the Rabbit, now this. I’m glad someone, somewhere is preserving – and celebrating – our classic cartoon hertitage!(via Scrubbles.net)
Highly recommended is the latest issue of SIMPSONS COMICS (#102, now on sale) featuring a tribute/spoof of Western Publishing Carl Barks classic Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge adventures. Mr. Burns, in a the Scrooge-like role, enlists Homer (as a pants-less Donald-like companion) for his annual summer treasure hunt. Bart, Lisa and Maggie (in the nephew roles) join in as they sail to the Island of Donrosa where they scale Mount Van Horn, seeking the floating key of “Strobl” (“where the ancient tribes of Taliaferro placed it years ago!”), through Gottfredson trench, to ultimately find the “Barks Billions”. All of those italicized names are, of course, references to popular Disney comic book artists. The Bongo Comics line is consistantly good (the Radioactive Man issues are my particular favorites). This story, from Ian Boothby and editor Bill Morrison, deserves our special notice.
Okay, this isn’t animation – but it was an intergral part of early television (and my personal childhood): KUKLA, FRAN & OLLIE.Fran Allison, puppeteer Burr Tillstrom and their puppet pals are fondly remembered on a wonderful website: The Unofficial KUKLAPOLITAN Web Page. It’s loaded with info about the creators and stars of this pioneering TV puppet program – with vintage photos, magazine articles, interviews with the cameraman and director, merchandising, celebrity endorsements, audio (from vinatge records), and video downloads. Even if you have no interest in puppets, this website is a whole lot of fun. It’s my reccommendation of the day!
(Thanks To Anne D. Bernstein for the link)
Speaking of Mickey Mouse (as we were below), Diamond Galleries Scoop.com have posted parts of a 1932 Mickey Mouse Silly Symphonies pressbook – “Not Shorts, but single reel Features!” – highlighting information on the original in-theatre Mickey Mouse Clubs. I really like the Mickey Mouse Fez (right) they were offering to club members back then, long before they came up with the Mouseke-Ears used in the 1950s TV show.
Brew New York galpal Anne D. Bernstein went to see the new Kenneth Anger film tribute to Disney. Here’s her report from MoMA:
The event was sold out. Kenneth Anger wore a bright red sweater and was absolutely loving the applause and recognition. He was upbeat and psyched–even raising his hands over his head like a little kid who just got a basketball in the basket. They showed some early works: EAUX D’ARTIFICE, where a midget dressed in an elaborate robe walks and runs around the Tivoli Gardens in Italy as dramatic classical music blares; INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER, chock full of occult ritual, drugs, shots of a creepy-looking albino guy, and various young, buff, naked men relaxing on a couch (set to a repetitive jarring soundtrack by Mick Jagger); THE MAN WE WANT TO HANG, which consisted of shots of an art exhibit about satanic superstar Aleister Crowley. And then… MOUSE HEAVEN, which is the CUTEST film Kenneth Anger ever made or ever will.I was expecting Mickey to start whipping MINNIE at some point, but the film was peppy and fun. I mean, occasionally the unrelenting parade of hundreds of cartoon mouse toys and other objects (including a Mickey carpet sweeper sweeping a Mickey rug–which got the loudest laugh) is a bit uncanny. Yet it felt like a positive tribute to a powerful icon. Imagine my surprise! The
film was basically a series of montage vignettes set to an eclectic score of tunes from such artists as The Boswell Sisters and The Proclaimers. The Disneyana would often rotate or move in whatever way it was designed to (blinking eyes, dancing, etc.) There was a lot of layering and simple video tricks. It ended with some shiny metallic Mickeys which seemed to evoke Jeff Koons.Anger did speak a bit and had a few animation-related comments: he considers his first films to be little flipbooks that he made when he was a kid; he also noted that the original Mickey design was made up of circles and is therefore “a magical design”.I’m still wondering if his intentions with this project were really as straightforward as they seemed to be — considering his approach to film as a form of occult magick and his notorious fascination with evil–but anyone could enjoy MOUSE HEAVEN with or without exploring some complex and disturbing underlying take on Mickey. But I suppose the idea of Mickey as fetish is hard to escape! PS: He edited it on an Avid at his cameraman’s home. Sir Paul Getty and the Rockefeller Foundation provided the funds.
The new TIM BURTON stop-motion feature is coming and it looks good: see the trailer HERE.