Animation voice actor Richard Beals (aka Dick Beals) passed away this week at age 85. Nobody has a better obit online than Mark Evanier, but I couldn’t let him pass without a remembrance here on the Brew. Beals had essentially one voice – that of a cheerfully optimistic little boy – but it was used often and well by just about everyone in Hollywood. Most famously, Beals voiced Ralph Phillips in Chuck Jones’ theatrical cartoons (above) and was Speedy Alka-Seltzer in numerous TV commercials (below).
In addition, Beals was Davey in Davey and Goliath, Buzz Conroy on Frankenstein Jr. and Birdboy on the Birdman series. Hanna Barbera used him to re-dub live action boy actors in (or more likely, they pre-recorded the tracks for) Gene Kelly’s Jack And The Banstalk and in commercials like this:
Beals had a long career on radio and on early live television before settling into voice-over roles. Perhaps my favorite was this one – in support of Gary Owens as two members of the American Eagle Squadron, as both Dan and Yank on Roger Ramjet (below). There is no better way to pay tribute to Beals today than to rewatch and listen to his work – and to thank him for all the memories. Rest in peace.
Less than one month to go before the release of the next Pixar “original” and the publicity is certainly heating up. Billboards are up all over Los Angeles and tie-in merchandise is hitting the stores. Two traditional indicators of the film’s quality have now shown up on my desk – and the good news is they do not disappoint. Chronicle’s The Art of Brave, written by Dreamworks’ story artist Jenny Lerew, is as usual a visual feast. I’ve become a real fan of these Art-Of books – even more so as the digital age threatens to do away with print. The artwork preserved here, perfectly printed on sumptuous glossy paper, is glorious to behold. The book presents hand drawn pre-vis by such notable talents as Tony Fucile, Matt Nolte, Peter Sohn, Steve Pilcher, Carter Goodrich and others – as well as Brenda Chapman (who contributes a Foreword, along with a separate one by co-director Mark Andrews). No controversies here – this is gorgeous stuff. Plentiful story sketch and color keys, sculpts and character designs. I can spend 20 minutes on each page. If the movie is half as good the art in here, it’ll be another classic.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Brave Little Golden Book is out. I bought one today at Ralph’s supermarket. For $3.99. Long time readers know I love the Pixar Little Golden Books, as they are executed in the lush, classic tradition of the series – which dates back to the 1940s. They usually choose one of the best artists – either from Pixar itself, or the Disney Publishing pool of talent – and this time Disney’s Lori Tyminski got the opportunity to show off her delightful style on this material. Bright and lively – and oh so appealing. Highly recommended! Now bring on the movie – I’m ready to see it all in action.
First, director Simon Robson of Australia’s Engine recently created this beautiful “relief collage” styled spot for Mt. Franklin Bottled Water (below):
Afterward, the team decided to make a fun little “Making Of” film to go with it. Incorporating a combination of Photoshop, After Effects, Maya and a little bit of live action, the crew worked on it in-house in their down time, taking a total of 4 weeks to put it together. I like it better than the commercial that inspired it.
Morgan King had dreamed of making a Ralph Bakshi-ish rotoscoped fantasy animation all his life. This is the result of those dreams: a six-month project, teaching himself as he went along – Mongrel & The Wrath of the Ape King (you’ll note a bit of He-Man and Heavy Metal influence, thrown in for good measure). Says King, “while I didn’t even get close to the breadth of my 22-min script, as a stylistic attempt it gets pretty close to what I was shooting for.”
Here’s a curio from the early 1970s. In the days before computer colorization, after Fred Ladd found success re-painting and refilming the old black and white Porky Pig cartoons in color, another enterprising producer – Charles King of King-World (the syndicator of the Little Rascals shorts) – decided to re-film the live action Our Gang shorts – in color, using stop-motion clay models and miniature sets. Hal Roach historian Richard Bann tells me that ten (!!) of these were produced by a studio in England. Clearly this idea didn’t work… in fact, its a train wreck. Can you imagine if this had succeeded and someone had the idea to do this to Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin? Here’s a faded copy of one of Rascal re-do’s, Our Gang Follies of 1936 (1935):
For comparison, here is the original short (ironically, a colorized version is all I could find online):
“No one goes to Milt Kahl – or Marc Davis or Ollie Johnston or Frank Thomas – ‘Wow’ what pencil did you use?” That’s my favorite quote from last Monday’s Marc Davis Lecture, The Development of the Digital Animator, moderated by Tom Sito. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has posted online the ten most significant moments from the event. Panelists included Lasseter, Bill Kroyer, Tim Johnson and Phil Tippett. You can watch all ten segments here: on Oscar’s You Tube channel.
…it might look like these incredible designs by Matthew Humphreys, an artist currently at Hasbro Studios. Click on image above to seen the full line up. Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d be developing at least one Marvel property as a Disney hand drawn film… Dr. Strange, Sub Mariner, The Silver Surfer…
…actually, the makers of Life’s A Jungle are desperately trying to trick consumers to pick up this low budget travesty. People say the DVD market is dying – if it puts an end to crap like this I’m all for it. And if you think the box art is bad… wait’ll you check out the trailer:
This year’s intro video to Dreamworks “Animation Day” (a day long acting workshop for their animators) is a hoot. Look closely and you’ll spot several Dreamworks animators (James Baxter, Simon Otto, etc.) and Jeffery Katzenberg as well as some live action reference footage shot for their features. Can you imagine if the Disney staff made films like this in 1952?
It’s apparently a Japanese take on American cable cartoons. According to Amazon.com:
The Anarchy sisters, Panty and Stocking, are angels who were kicked out of Heaven due to bad behavior. They are sent to Daten City, a place located on the edge of Heaven and Hell, where creatures called “Ghosts” have run wild — feeding on human desire. Under the watchful eye of Reverend Garterbelt, it’s up to Panty and Stocking to destroy these Ghosts, in order to collect enough Heaven Coins to return to paradise. Only the Anarchy sisters can save humanity from these monsters and when they’re not bickering with each other, they’re unstoppable.
13 episodes come out on DVD July 10th. For those curious about seeing the actual show before it comes out on DVD, you can watch a few episodes on FUNimation’s official site.
Director Steve Moore has finally posted one of my favorite (and rarely seen) Disney shorts of recent (or semi-recent) vintage. Moore recounts the making of the film – a product of Disney’s Television Animation unit, that went on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1997 – on his Flip Animation blog. Written by Dan O’Shannon (now of Modern Family), narrated by Garrison Keillor, and voiced by Mia Farrow, Michael Richards, June Foray and Adam West, here at last is Redux Riding Hood:
It was announced on last night’s Season Finale of The Simpsons that Maggie will star in her own stand-alone 3D animated theatrical short. The Longest Daycare will debut before Ice Age: Continental Drift opening in theaters on July 13th, 2012.