DAILY VARIETY posted its mixed review of Dreamworks’ FATHER OF THE PRIDE today. Quote:
The show remains a serious gamble with doubtful prospects, as its sporadically tawdry tone clearly isn’t meant for kids, and questions linger about how many adults will be motivated to tune in a CGI series on their own, the popularity of “Shrek” and its sequel notwithstanding.
You can read the whole review here.
One of the cleverest Saturday morning cartoons ever produced may never be seen again. LINUS THE LIONHEARTED (1964), produced by Ed Graham Productions for General Foods, lives on in bootleg videos and old comic books. But it was removed from all television broadcasts when the show came under fire by the FCC because it was perceived as a half hour commercial for Post cereals. Which, I guess, in some ways it was. It’s too bad a show with a voice cast which included Carl Reiner, Ruth Buzzi, Sheldon Leonard (as Linus), Jonathan Winters, Stiller & Meara, and other notable comedians — along with a troupe of appealing characters (of which, only Sugar Bear still remains active in TV spots for Post Golden Crisp) — is completely forgotten today. Luckily Scott Shaw has posted a tribute to Linus and the Crispy Critters over at his Oddball Comics website this week, with more information on the subject – and LINUS THE LIONHEARTED #1 from Gold Key Comics – than you thought humanly possible.
Mark Kausler and I will present a screening of rare Van Bueren TOM & JERRY cartoons next month at the AFI, as part of our on-going Asifa-Hollywood screening series, held the last Saturday of each month. For those who came in late, these are NOT the Hanna Barbera cat & mouse cartoons (although Joe Barbera DID work at Van Bueren around this time), these are the early 1930s pre-code, funky, black & white “Mutt & Jeff”-like rubber hose style duo in surreal cartoons which were re-titled “Dick & Larry” in the 1950s. Mark your calender and join us – it’s gonna be fun!Saturday September 25th, 2004 at 3:00pm. The American Film Institute – Ted Ashley Screening Room, 2021 N. Western Ave., Hollywood, California. ASIFA MEMBERS admitted FREE, Non-Members: $10.00
Okay, here’s your last two chances! If you live in L.A. (or plan to visit in the next two weeks) you have TWO opportunities to see the 35mm restored, pristine print (with original Paramount titles) of POPEYE MEETS SINDBAD, the Fleischer Oscar nominated two-reeler.Both screenings are at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The first is on Monday (Labor Day) September 6th at exactly 1:35pm. This screening is part of the marathon CINECON programming that weekend (a marathon of rare, restored classic movies that are never run anywhere else and not on dvd, most of the films shown at Cinecon are not on TV or have never been released on video). A complete schedule of Cinecon programming is here. The only other cartoons they are running this year are Mark Kausler’s IT’S THE CAT (Thursday September 2nd at 6:30pm) and a restored 35mm print of SCRAPPY’S TELEVISION (Friday September 3rd at 2:25pm).
Cinecon is where I met my wife in 2001, and proposed to her there in 2002. Needless to say, Marea and I will be there all weekend.POPEYE MEETS SINDBAD will also screen publicly two days later (September 8th at 8:00pm) in the same theatre as part of John Kricfalusi’s program of Classic Cartoon influences. This program will feature rare 35mm prints of Lantz, Terry (Tyer), Fleischer and Warner (Clampett & Jones) cartoons. I’ll post a complete list of cartoons screening that night as we get closer.
I’m hosting an Asifa-Hollywood screening / Q&A with Fred Ladd this Saturday, August 28th at the AFI. Fred has had an incredible career as an animation producer (PINOCCHIO IN OUTER SPACE, THE BIG WORLD OF LITTLE ADAM, etc.), U.S. anime pioneer (ASTRO BOY, KIMBA, GIGANTOR, SAILOR MOON) and as a notorious cartoon colorizer. He’s also a nice guy with a healthy sense of humor, and a lot of stories to tell. We will be showing clips from much of his work and we will also celebrate Gigantor’s anniversary with a surprise. Join us at 3pm on the American Film Institute campus, in the Ted Ashley/Warner Bros. Screening Room, 2021 N. Western Ave. in Hollywood, CA. Asifa Members admitted FREE, Non-Members pay $10.00
12 independent animators from the Australian state of Victoria have set up a nifty collective showcase of cool animated films at Strange Attractors. They are all quite good, but don’t miss my two favorites, ROBOT REPUBLIC and NOT MY TYPE.Thanks to Lisa Thomas for the link.
Producer Todd Polson wrote in with an update on his film, the last animated film with contributions by Maurice Noble, THE PUMPKIN OF NYEFAR:
We are finishing up the film website now… www.pumpkinlove.com There I will include all the details, images, story behind production… etc. At the moment I only have the open page… The links are not yet working. But should be up in the next week or so.I wasn’t’ sure if your readers were interested in how “Pumpkin” came to be… In 1994 Maurice began training a group of young designers at Chuck Jones film productions. A lot of us were working on our own personal short projects, several of them based on ethnic folktales. Maurice thought it would be a great idea if the group of us could develop a series of shorts inspired by stories from around the world. We called this series “Noble Tales”, and we, his trainees, became known as the “Noble Boys” (which also included a few girls).Many of us traveled around the world and developed and together designed several dozen ideas… “The Pumpkin Of Nyefar” was one short idea Maurice and I wrote while visiting Turkey. Our first morning in Istanbul we came downstairs to the dining room… and around the table were 20 belly dancers… and a lot of pumpkin dishes. All the girls of course were smitten by Mr. Nobles charm. Ha ha… I can still see him grinning from ear to ear. Afterwords we talked things over, and decided to write a story about a prince who could marry any beauty in his kingdom… but instead chooses to wait for true love. As fate would have it… The prince finds true love in the form of a pumpkin.While I was supervising a TV show in Thailand, James Wang (Wang film) invited Maurice and I to use his Thai studio to make our short. Maurice underwent surgery so that he could make the flight to Bangkok… unfortunately he died a few weeks later. I came to Thailand a few months later to work on the short myself… But my friends didn’t leave me to do the film alone…
For soon after, my pal Mark Oftedal, came to town for a visit. His short vacation, turned into a several year working holiday, He became so involved with the project, that I just made him pumpkin Co-director. Other friends from America helped out too… June Foray donated her voice to the film, Ben Jones, and Lawrence Marvit both did short stints in Bangkok to help get things going. Sue Kroyer did a lot of inspirational character design… as did Roman Laney. Jules Engel looked over a lot of the early design and color.Aaron Sorenson, Dave Marshall, Dave Thomas, and Mike Polvani all donated time to the project. It was really a great collaboration of friends, Just the way Maurice had dreamed about… doing a short film together… everything donated… just because they wanted to do it.
The film will screen in L.A. later this week for Academy qualification. I look forward to seeing it!
You gotta read this e-mail exchange between Mike Barrier and John K. on Barrier’s website. Great stuff!
There’s a website (tobaccodocuments.org) dedicated to information related to the tobacco company litigation of the past several years. Oddly enough, one of the documents on the site is a radio script of the Al Pearce Show from April 11, 1941, with Leon Schlesinger as guest! Since the show had Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan as regulars, they also presented “the first radio showing of ‘The Wild Hare’”(sic). Check out image scans of the script here.
Thanks to Eric Wilson for the link.
Famed Popeye fanatic Fred Grandinetti has updated and expanded his McFarland book POPEYE: An Illustrated Cultural History into a slightly larger, 337 page revised edition. It’s a true improvement over his previous effort, with more illustrations, more details on each film (all Paramount cartoons, King and Hanna-Barbera TV incarnations are covered), more on the people behind the comic strip, the comic books, the voice actors, the merchandise, the commercials, censored scenes, the Robin Williams feature, the Fried Chicken chain, why the classic cartoons aren’t on video… everything you wanted to know about Popeye but were afraid to ask.My favorite part of the book is a chart of Popeye heads drawn in the style of each TV animator (now I can tell the difference between Rudy Larriva’s Popeye, Ed Friedman’s Popeye and Harvey Toombs Popeye!). A labor of love by a true Popeye maniac, Grandinetti’s new Popeye volume may not be the last word on Segar’s cartoon creation, but it’s certainly a thorough overview and worth having.
If you are an anime fan, and an Asifa-Hollywood member, you can attend a free screening of GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE on the Dreamworks lot, with the director Mamoru Oshii in person next Tuesday, August 24th. You must RSVP, bring your Asifa membership card and photo I.D.
Check the Asifa-Hollywood website for more details.
“Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie” came in 4th place this weekend with $9.4 million in three days. That’s more than TEACHER’S PET made during it’s entire run… heck, it’s more than TRIPLETTES OF BELLEVILLE made in it’s entire release, and that was nominated for an Oscar!Very scary indeed!
Seven dedicated classic cartoon historians have banded their websites together under a new central banner Golden Age Cartoons.GAC is run by Jon Cooke (Unofficial Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Page), Matthew Hunter (Looney Tunes Page), Jack Tatay (Classic Cartoon Records), Thad Komorowski (who updates a terrific Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia), Pietro Shakarian (webmaster behind the Columbia Crow’s Nest), Dan Porceddu and David Gerstein (The Felix The Cat Page).There is a wealth of cartoon knowledge posted on these pages – I highly recommend you spend a few hours checking this out. Good luck guys!
I caught an advance screening of SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW last night and enjoyed it immensely.
As a fan of cliffhanger serials & classic movies, It was fun to see someone try to recapture the magic of movies like King Kong, Lost Horizon, The Wizard Of Oz, pulps like Doc Savage and G-8, as well as chapterplays like Captain Midnight, Spy Smasher, The Lost Jungle, etc. And I think writer/director Kerry Conran succeeds. I was worried that his approach – to emulate that style of filmmaking, not be inspired by it (as Lucas & Spielberg were) – might not work with a general audience. For example, I’m a fan of Guy Maddin’s films – they are shot in the the style of late 20s/early 30s early talkies – which seem limited to cult audiences and midnight shows. I think there is enough action and visual wonder in SKY CAPTAIN for a modern audience to enjoy.Despite a lot of explosions and destruction, one element of classic serials was sorely missing – the fist fight. Yes, there are one or two punches here and there, and an abbreviated battle against a mysterious woman in the climax, but not enough Dave Sharpe, if you ask me. In fact, I noticed a reliance on close ups and spectacular establishing master-shots. The story itself was on the level of a B-film (but that’s the point, right?). The bottom line: I loved it – but I don’t expect many converts from the Spider-Man/Indiana Jones crowd.A major dose of the plot is suggested by the Max Fleischer Superman cartoon Mechanical Monsters – and, except for the live actors, the film was entirely computer generated. It is quite an achievement – and a lock for some art direction and special effects Oscars. It opens September 17th – I plan to see it again that day.
Sue Larkin has been updating an ongoing blog about her dad, lengendary Looney Tunes writer Dave Monahan, since his passing away in May 2003. Check it out for some great insight and facts about one of the less celebrated members of Termite Terrace.