When Brando died, he left behind an embarassing voice track for an awful looking animated film. Apparently Kal-El is following in Jor-El’s footsteps… According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger:
Christopher Reeve’s last legacy to film will be an animated children’s feature by IDT that is expected to hit theaters in 2006. The 52-year-old actor was in the midst of directing an animated feature tentatively called “Yankee Irving” about a poor boy in the Depression who befriends Babe Ruth and delivers a game-winning hit for the Yankees. Animation was a perfect fit for Reeve because there was no need to go on location. IDT rigged up two large computer screens in Reeve’s home in Connecticut so he could monitor work done in the company’s studios in Newark, Canada and Israel.
Played a superhero on the screen, became a superhero in real life.
Rest in Peace.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
What grim and violent ancestors these nice Icelandic natives must have had! The landscape is littered with statues recounting their forbidding exploits. It’s quite a contrast from the cheerful and friendly locals I’ve encountered so far, but maybe I’ll meet a dragon-slaying, mad-eyed marauder at some point. Probably in a bar.
I’ll tell you one thing about these guys, though. They must have instilled their progeny with a doctrine of cleanliness that’s been passed down through generations. This is the cleanest place I’ve ever been. The vehicle below is a spray-truck that circles the pond, its only mission to eradicate the omnipresent piles of goose-shit with a high-pressure water stream.
I spend the day writing scripts and shooting movies of my amused co-workers. This really helps me remember their names. I study the pronunciation every night, but certain sounds I’ll never master.
I’m glad these people are all so nice. It makes the separation from all of my friends and loved ones a little more bearable. I’ve only been gone a week and I miss everybody.
Crying in my beer,
Just came back from the comic book shop, where I found this new item: a Heckle & Jeckle Christmas Tree Ornament Set!Dark Horse Comics produced this set, which was sculpted by Yoe Studios. Along with their Mighty Mouse ornament, you can have quite a lovely Terrytoon Christmas Tree! And the perfect gift, under that tree? Why this Harvey/Famous Studios Casper statue, of course!
Speaking of ebay, here’s a toy you’ll never see marketed again: Smoking Popeye!This item recently sold on ebay for $2,551. The box says “See his pipe light up as he smokes!”. This was a battery operated tin toy from Marx, that had Popeye waving his right hand, turning his head, raising his lighted pipe with his left hand, and smoke coming out of his mouth! Well, blow me down!Popeye toys are great because the licensees found him so hard to draw, and many of them feature wonderfully grotesque versions of the character. This toy is also interesting because Popeye is wearing his Famous Studios’ white uniform!
This maybe the coolest thing I’ve ever found on ebay (and didn’t win).
A key cel & drawing from the original, rarely seen opening titles from Paramount’s Noveltoon cartoons – Wow! Click on each image to see a larger version.
“Toonhounds and Teabags” – it sounds dirty, but it’s the name of a BBC Radio report about the history of British animation. IMDB’s Jon Reeves sent me the link for the 30 minute broadcast which went out today and will available online for a week.Fifty years ago, Halas and Batchelor released Animal Farm, Britain’s first full length feature film. To celebrate this anniversary, BBC’s Phill Jupitus interviews animators Bob Godfrey, Aardman’s Peter Lord and Oliver Postgate. Find Toonhounds and Teabags under “T” on this page and click to hear it via streaming RealPlayer.
DAWS BUTLER: CHARACTERS ACTOR, the official biography of the voice of Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound, by Joe Bevilacqua and Ben Ohmart will be released on Daws 89th birthday, November 16th from Bear Mountain Media.Daws Butler was of course the voice of an astounding number of the cartoon characters, including Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey, Snagglepuss, Augie Doggy, Mr. Jinks, Peter Potamus, Elroy Jetson, Cap’n Crunch and hundreds of others. He worked with nearly every major animation director, including Messrs. Hanna-Barbera, Jay Ward, Walter Lantz, Chuck Jones, and Tex Avery. He worked puppets for Bob Clampett (Beany and Cecil).The book features personal reminisces by Daws’s colleagues, including Joe Barbera, Bill Hanna, Doug Young (Doggy Daddy), Don Messick (Boo Boo, Ranger Smith), June Foray (Rocky the Flying Squirrel) and Stan Freberg, as well as Daws’s friends and family. Best of all, the biography includes the words of Daws Butler himself telling his own story, through never-before-published interviews, letters and personal phone conversations. Nancy Cartwright wrote the book’s foreword.Need I say more? You can order it now through www.dawsbutler.com
11 Films by Dan McLaughlin is a new DVD compilation featuring eleven short films by filmmaker Dan McLaughlin, head of the world-renowned UCLA Animation Workshop.Dan is an old friend, former ASIFA-Hollywood board member and is a huge influence on animation and animators in Southern California. Dan has been making personal films, mostly experimental, for over forty years, and is a winner of the Winsor McCay Award for outstanding contribution to animation.This collection features two of my all-time favorite independent films: CLAUDE (1963) a UPA-ish cartoon about clever boy and his clueless parents, and RED/GREEN (1985) an experimental piece featuring the world’s longest dissolve from a red screen to a green screen. Dan’s filmmaking skills, imagination and wide variety of techniques make this dvd a pleasure to watch. The DVD also includes 48 minutes of commentary. You can order the disc through Pyramid Films.
Talk about “below the radar”. Has anyone heard of this upcoming 2-D feature film? Does anyone care?THE EASTER EGG ESCAPADE is supposedly scheduled for release next Easter, but it’s having it’s west coast premiere on Sunday, October 17th at 5:00 p.m., at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. Actress/author/comedian/singer Sandra Bernhard (“King of Comedy) will attend the screening at the 8th Annual Hollywood Film Festival. Bernhard voices one of the main characters and will help Director John Michael Williams introduce the movie.According to the press release:
“Guests will be greeted by the film’s seven-foot mascot, Good Gracious Grasshopper. A 30-minute Q&A with Bernhard and Williams immediately follows the screening. The film tells the tale of Egg Town; an idyllic village where neighboring chickens and rabbits live together in harmony. However, beyond the borders of this humble burg lurk the mysterious and thieving Take-Its, who constantly conspire to steal anything they can from the quiet and industrious town — including its optimistic spirit.The film features a host of heart-warming characters such as Good Gracious Grasshopper, Terrible Timothy Take-It, Big Boring Benedict Bunny, Claralyne Cluck and Horrible Harriet Hare. The impressive celebrity voice cast features Bernhard, Brooke Shields, Joe Pantoliano, James Woods, Nancy Kerrigan and Eli Wallach.After a limited run late this year, the film is set to go into general release in April 2005, just in time for the spring and Easter Holiday season.”
Nancy Kerrigan? The skater?You’ve been warned! Click here to see the film’s trailer.
Tuesday, July 19, 2004
The day is a blur of work, my efforts obscured from memory by a fog of exhaustion. All for the best; the LazyTown Secrecy Oaths I’ve taken would preclude me from disclosing any details even if I could remember them. After work I grab a bite with Steve Blevins, the lead storyboard artist and a fellow ex-pat.
Steve and I enjoy a typically delicious Icelandic meal served by an obliging blond goddess. Later, as we walk down the street, we see a sign for a local brand of ice cream called “emmessis.” This is noteworthy because, in English, “emesis” means “vomit.” My nurse wife finds this very amusing, but nevertheless the ice cream is delicious.
Barfing up ice cream,
Long time readers of my Cartoon Research website know that I’m absolutely fanatic over original titles. In fact I have a whole section of my website devoted to it.When I discovered how much better my favorite classic cartoons played in their original form, before being butched by TV syndicators (and in many cases, the studios themselves), it was a revelation. Thus I began a campaign to locate and restore the original openings and closes – and raise people’s consciousness about it. Some of the results of this work were seen on Cartoon Network’s late POPEYE SHOW and on dvds like SOMEWHERE IN DREAMLAND.Fellow film collector Jim Tucker just came into some films, saved for over 60 years, that were part of a World War II film collection. In this collection was a 1942 Terrytoon with it’s original titles intact. It struck me immediately that I’d never seen the black & white titles to Terrytoons produced during this era – all the prints I’ve ever seen have replaced TV titles. Thanks to Jim, I’ve added these frame grabs to my Terrytoon Original Titles page – and this gives me a good excuse to remind you I have several of these pages, here, where you can see what we’ve been missing all these years.
Monday, July 19, 2004
I was enjoying a pleasant morning walk around the pond, minding my own business, when some noisy, nasty bird tried to shit on me. It hovered over my head, shrieking, while it sprayed out a stream of excreta. I jumped out of the way, and was struck by only the tiny spot shown below on my shoulder. In no way do I blame the fine people of Iceland for the inhospitable attitude of their wildlife.
After rinsing my shirt off I go to the office, where I acquaint the lovely Script Supervisor, Thora Clausen, with my hideous hillbilly alter ego Clem. Clem appears when I put a pair of dentures in my mouth that disfigure my face and shut off my brain I’m sure he’ll cause an international incident while I’m in Iceland.
I can hardly wait.
Breathing through my mouth,
Check out these Quicktime trailers for Blue Sky’s ROBOTS and Nickelodeon’s THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE.