Tonight at 8pm is that tribute to UPA I told you about last week. Its the latest subject of my Animation Tuesday screenings, held each month at the former Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax (near Melrose Ave). Tonight we will be running gorgeous 35mm prints on the big screen direct from the studio vault (Thank you, Sony) of some the UPA’s true classics and oddities – including their acclaimed adaptation Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart, Oscar winner When Magoo Flew (in wide screen CinemaScope), and rarely shown The Jaywalker, Willie The Kid and Fudget’s Budget (pictured above) – and more (ever seen a Dick Tracy in 35mm?). Plus: a special surprise guest voice actress in-person (hint: she narrates one of UPA’s greatest shorts). Info and tickets: click here.
Here’s one for you Disney historians and cartoon musicologists. Brew reader Eric Graf has made a remarkable find which I hadn’t heard (literally!) before. I’ll let Eric, in his own words, share his research with you. Says Eric:
“Yesterday I found a 78 that I’d been searching for for years … the Victor Records soundtrack of the Dwarfs’ Yodel Song (aka “The Silly Song”) from Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.
“Here’s the story as I understand it: Snow White was banned in Boston (and a few other cities IIRC) because of a verse in the Yodel Song that was supposedly off-color. Disney removed it from the Boston prints, and at some point also removed it from all the other versions of the movie.
“Since then Disney’s gone out of their way to pretend it never happened. It’s not included, or even mentioned, on any home video release I’m aware of, and it also isn’t on the Disney Snow White soundtrack CDs. But it WAS included on side 5 of the soundtrack album released by Victor Records in early 1938.
“My copy hails from the mid-40s, but it’s pressed from the original 1938 metal parts. The deleted verse is the one Sneezy sings starting at 1:04. It’s not off-color by today’s standards. Maybe a little unsanitary though… (Click to play embed sound file below)
“But here’s something else interesting, that I discovered while syncing up the 78 with a YouTube video of the song (Feh, wrong aspect ratio): The 78 is missing the dwarf’s vocals on the choruses.
“The chorus at :52, which starts with Snow White giggling, doesn’t match the backing track that’s in the movie (YouTube 1:09), but it does match the animation WAY better than the current version – if you ignore the singing dwarfs in the background. Snow White is obviously giggling on-screen (a perfect match to the 78), and the drum thing fits beautifully with Happy’s dance. On the current soundtrack – no giggling, no drum thing. But they’re singing.
“Then you get to the second sung chorus (at 1:51 on both the record and YouTube) – and the dwarf’s mouths aren’t moving! The onscreen dwarfs start singing at 1:59 with the yodeling – which is where they start on the 78 as well.
“The mid-50s Disneyland LP issue of the Snow White soundtrack matches the current version. Therefore, my inner Sherlock maintains that the 78 is the original mix, and that the vocals were left out of the movie by accident. They fixed the mistake at some point, but then they made another mistake – which still stands today – when they added vocals to the other chorus as well.”
Tonight Fox unveiled its latest attempt to create a successful animated series that can fill the gap between its Sunday night superstars, The Simpsons and Family Guy. Actor/comedian Jonah Hill co-created the series (with Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul) and voices the lead character, Allen Gregory.
The press is beginning to report on the huge European opening box office figures for Steven Spielberg’s mo-cap adapatation of The Adventures of Tintin. The feature opened in many countries (including France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.) this past weekend. Have any our readers seen it? How does it work as a film? How fluent in Hergé do you need to be to enjoy it? Is the mo-cap at the high level of Avatar – or sink to the Mars Needs Moms depths?
First off: In case you haven’t bought your tickets yet – the CTN Expo is two and a half weeks away. What are you waiting for? This is our “Comic Con” and it is going to sell out. Anyone who’s attended the previous CTN shows know that this event is the closest thing we have to an animation artist and creators convention in the United States – and its a helluva lot of fun. (That’s Peter De Seve above, addressing the appreciative crowd in 2009).
This year’s CTNX is set for November 18-20, and organizer Tina Price is planning bigger and better panels, seminars and exhibits. Like what? Like this:
On stage interviews with Oscar Grillo, Bill Plympton, Eric Goldberg, Andreas Deja, Florian Satzinger, and Carlos Grangel; Panels and special events including a “one on one” with French graphic novel artist Régis Loisel moderated by Christophe Lautrette (Dreamwoks); sneak preview of Aardman’s latest feature Arthur Christmas; a creature creators panel with Terryl Whitlatch, William Stout, Greg Baldwin and David Thomas Guertin; and a seminar on DIY Self Publishing with David Colman, Sean “Cheeks” Galloway and Stephen Silver.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s over 150 planned sessions, a sold-out exhibit floor, book signings, gallery shows, live demonstrations, sneak peak screenings, networking at night …and, of course, The Cartoon Brew Over-Flow Lounge (a place to hang in case you can’t get into your favorite panel – or just wanna grab a drink!). I’ll be there. I’ll be in the exhibit room. I’ll be moderating panels.
You’ve been warned… Register Now (Cartoon Brew discount code: CBREWX11). For even more info on the CTN Expo, click here. See you there.
Here’s a teaser for Laika’s next 3D stop-motion feature film, being directed by Sam Fell (Flushed Away, The Tale of Despereaux) and Chris Butler (storyboard supervisor, Coraline, Corpse Bride). Love the use of Donovan’s Season Of The Witch for this. ParaNorman will be released by Focus Features on August 17, 2012.
Dreamworks’ Puss In Boots (directed by Chris Miller) opens today and I really liked it. Michael O’Sullivan says it best in his review in The Washington Post: “Almost shockingly good. And not just because a lot of you will approach it with lowered expectations.”
It’s visually beautiful, the 3D is actually great and the story was fun and exciting. There is always something going on, every moment seems to be either a funny gag or an action sequence; the whole film mixes fantasy, adventure and humor in a very pleasing way. The only flaw is the carry-over of ugly human character design, already established in the Dreamworks’ Shrek universe. I’ll give them a pass on this, as the film is supposed to connect as a prequel to Shrek. All the new anthropomorphic characters, including Humpty Alexander Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws, are terrific – and picture, on the whole, is absolutely worth a view.
What did you think? Here’s our talkback post and we welcome your point of view. (The comments thread is open only to those who have seen the film – all other comments will be deleted)
MTV revives its commitment to animation with the much ballyhooed revival of Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-head and the premiere of David Gordon Green’s Good Vibes.
Can Beavis survive in MTV’s post-Snooky universe? Does Good Vibes hold its own against the animated shows from Fox, Adult Swim and Comedy Central? It’s your turn to let everyone know what you think. (Please only post below if you’ve watched tonight’s shows – we will delete those who haven’t).
Jens Blank’s imaginative new film Don’t Swim After Lunch was created for a traveling art exhibition that started in London and went on to Shanghai and Beijing. Says Blank:
“It’s my take on daydreaming and changing everyday environments into something exciting. It was done over the stretch of 6 weeks grinding away in my room. Live action, Maya, AE, and pfTrack. You can find info on crew, concept art, behind the scenes on my webpage.“
Direction & Design – Jens Blank
Cinematography – David Liddell
Sound Design – Jussi Honka
Music – David Pringle
Additional animation – Bence Varga & Balogh Zsolt
2011 is not quite done, but that doesn’t stop the studios from promoting its upcoming 2012 fare. Here’s the clever one-sheet (and a new name) for Disney’s latest Studio Ghibli release, The Secret World Of Arriety.
The team at Dallas based Element X Creative animated this 5-minute long sponsor reel for last week’s Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) Southwest Awards show. If one has to sit through dozens of company logos, this is the way to go – weaving the sponsors names into a haunting and beautiful Twilight Zone-like story about a little boy who stops time and sees his home town in a whole new way. It stands on its own as one of the best CG shorts I’ve seen this year.
Creators of Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing, United Productions of America (UPA) was the most significant animation studio of the 1950s. Ushering in a whole new way of making cartoons, combining modern art with slapstick comedy, UPA challenged the way Disney made toons and dominated the Academy Awards during that decade. There’s no doubt of their inspiration on international and independent animators for decades to come.
Charles Solomon (who did a great job hosting the Mary Blair tribute last night at the Academy) recorded an audio editorial championing UPA that will run on L.A.’s public radio station KPCC (89.3 FM), Off Ramp, Saturday at noon and Sunday at 7pm. Solomon points out that a current local art show cooperative – Pacific Standard Time, which celebrates southern California’s contributions to pop culture – omits the UPA studio’s significant influence on art and animation. KPCC has just posted his piece online, in advance of its broadcast: Download or listen to stream here.
Meanwhile, I will be doing my part by mounting a tribute to UPA at my next Animation Tuesday screening, on Tuesday November 1st at 8pm. I will be introducing rare 35mm prints of the studio’s undeniable classics on the big screen – including their acclaimed adaptation Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart, Oscar winner When Magoo Flew (in wide screen CinemaScope), and rarely shown The Jaywalker, Willie The Kid and Fudget’s Budget and more – along with a selection of rare commercials, industrial films and TV films not seen in public for over 50 years. More info and tickets: click here.
AWESOME+modest, the small Brooklyn-based animation studio who did all the animation for Waiting For Superman, the new U2 doc From the Sky Down, and the animated music video for The Mountain Goats posted here a few months ago. Their latest music video is for the very talented Dan Wholey. Amateur Rocketry is probably NSFW:
Take a look at WindMills, a beautifully stylish graduation film from France’s Georges MéliÃ¨s school, directed by Guillaume BergÃ¨re, Guillaume Coudert, Maria Glinyanova, Bruno Guerra and Charlotte Jammet.
Synopsis: It is a dead, lightless world, where a little girl, despite her father’s renunciation and despair facing the death of his wife, maintains their dream of building a machine powered by magic winds to fly and reach the sun.
Talk about your “adult swim”: this anime-inspired music video for DyE, directed by French animator Jérémie Périn, is clearly Not Safe For Work (NSFW). A group of teens break into the local pool for an innocent nighttime swim, or so they think…
Directed by Jérémie Périn
Written by Laurent Sarfati & Jérémie Périn
Artistic Direction by Mikael Robert
Produced by Excuse My French / PH & Tigersushi
Executive Producer : Constance Guillou
Production Coordinator : Perrine Schwartz
I have never seen a bad piece of merchandise from Bob Clampett’s Beany & Cecil. All of it looks incredibly appealing to me. These pieces (above and thumbnails below – click to enlarge) are currently available via the latest auction at Hakes. The current bids are a bit rich for my blood, but at least we can live vicariously through the photos.
On Monday October 24th Cartoon Brewmaster Jerry Beck will once again be hosting Cartoon Dump, his monthly live comedy and worst cartoons showcase, in Hollywood. Join him, Frank Conniff (MST3K), Erica Doering and special guest comedian Andy Kindler for their our annual Halloween special. There’s nothing spookier than Mighty Mr. Titan… except maybe Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl, Compost Brite, and Dumpster Diver Dan.
Here’s another clever stop motion music video for Jesse & Joy, directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada (Chocolate). Cameron Clark was the director of animation and Charles Pieper was lead animator on the piece, made with 3500 individual photographic paper cut outs, animated all in one month. Go behind the scenes here.
Midnight in Paris: a stop motion Book Revue? Embroidered handbag designs by Olympia Le-Tan inspired director Spike Jonze to make this animated short, Mourir AuprÃ¨s de Toi (To Die By Your Side). The film, co-directed by Simon Cahn and animated by Sylvain Derosne, made its debut out of competition at Annecy last spring.
Never judge a book by its cover – especially the one pictured at left. The artwork inside is more like the fantastic painting above. I haven’t seen the new Puss In Boots movie yet, but two books in particular are being released this month, tying into the Dreamworks feature, that are seriously worthy of your bookshelf space. Puss In Boots: The Cat. The Boots. The Legend, adapted by Tina Gallo and illustrated by character designer/story artist Ovi Nedelcu, is a delightful children’s book made moreso by Nedelcu’s appealing images. This 24-page book is part of Simon & Shuster’s Spotlight line (their equivalent of Little Golden Books) and it only costs $3.99. Wanna see more? Check out all the cool art on Ovi’s blog.
Never judge a movie spin-off by its preceding Shrek connections, nor how good its “Art-of” book looks – but once again the concept art connected to a new Dreamworks film looks amazing. My friend Ramin Zahed has penned an informative text to accompany the gorgeous inspirational pieces (Richard Daskas, Ronald A. Kurniawan, Guillaume Aretos, etc.), character designs (Patrick Maté), storyboards (Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, Bob Persichetti), color script (Nate Wragg), and all the paintings, paintings, paintings (by Nathan Fowkes, Dominique Louis, Kirsten Kawamura and so many others) collected in the new The Art of Puss In Boots. I just got a copy and highly recommend it – a worthy addition to the collection. Now, let’s hope the film lives up to all this great visual material.
The Baby Peas were created by musician/voice actor will.i.am to immortalize his hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas (featuring younger versions of will.i.am, Fergie, Taboo, and Apl.De.Ap). According to their press release:
“The Baby Peas are a fusion of the “Little Rascals” mixed with the “Peanuts Gang”, with the edge of “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons.” Then add some Black Eyed Peas music vibe with the classical approach of the W.B’s Looney Toons and that’s The Baby Peas!
Well, I’m not sure they can live up to that hype – but the initial videos are certainly well made. They were produced at Dipdive, Inc., will.i.am’s digital creative agency. Key members of the animation team include executive creative director Pasha Shapiro, creative directors Ernst Weber and Huan Ngheim, and executive producer Julia Pistor (Lemony Snicket, Jimmy Neutron, The Rugrats Movie). Here’s the latest music video: