About a month ago, I posted a stylish promo for Brazil’s Telecine movie channel. Here is a gorgeous second one (of 2); both promote the channel by recalling the magic of classic movies. This one is by the incredible Rodrigo Leme.
Here’s a treat for Fleischer Studio aficionados. In 1935, animator Myron Waldman went to the hospital to have his appendix out. The artists at the studio created a giant hand made “get well” card packed with gag cartoons. Animation art dealer Ken Storms acquired this piece (yes, it’s for sale) and has allowed us to share. A terrific find – It’s great to see the animators behind Popeye and Betty Boop do some off-color gags. There are four pieces, sized 23″ by 13.5″. Click the image above to see the “cover” piece. The other three pieces are below.
Click the thumbnails below to see the art full size. Panel 2 (below left) contains cartoons by Graham Place, Jim Miele, Joe Stultz, Jack Quban, Bill Bird, Tom Antisell and Sam Buchwald (!); Panel 3 (center) has Dave Tendlar, Herman Cohen, Nick Tafuri, Georgew Germanetti, Lillian Friedman, Ed Nolan, Bill Sturm, Ted Vosk, Izzy Sparber and I think, Orestes Calpini; Panel 4 (below right) Max Fleischer, Willard Bowsky, Doc Crandall, Abner Kneitel, William Henning, Harold Walker, Seymour Kneitel, Jim Claboy, Dave Hoffman and Eli Brucker.
Allow me to go off topic (or slightly off topic) for a moment to pay tribute to an old friend, Bingham Ray (he’s at left in the photo above, with a younger, thinner version of me circa 1991 – that’s animator Gavrilo Gnatovich behind us). His unexpected passing yesterday at the Sundance Film Festival has generated a lot a press. The New York Times notes, “He started his formal career in 1981 in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s New York office, where he sold library titles to hospitals, colleges and ships at sea”. Yep, that’s where I met him, where we worked side-by-side in MGM/UA’s nontheatrical department, renting 16mm prints to various venues.
Bing was a hilarious guy and it was absolutely true that everyone loved him. He left MGM/UA and ultimately became the head of several movie companies including Samuel Goldwyn and United Artists. He started his own film distribution company, October Films, in 1991 and one of his first acquisitions was Bill Plympton’s The Tune. He was always there for advice, a joke, or to simply share his enthusiasm for film. He will be missed.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Bing.
Okay, here is an unabashed plug for a video project near and dear to my heart. Animation archeologist/film-restoration hero Steve Stanchfield is ready to unveil his latest DVD masterpiece: Noveltoons Original Classics, a special DVD collection featuring twenty restored “Hollywood” cartoons produced by Paramount from 1943-1950.
Paramount’s in-house cartoon unit, Famous Studios (actually based in New York City), was staffed by a core group of artists from the former Fleischer Studio – in fact, just about everyone minus Max and Dave was still involved. The Noveltoons series became the launching pad for many well known (and not-so-well known) characters: Little Audrey, Baby Huey, Herman the Mouse, Raggedy Ann, Blackie Sheep, Spunky Donkey and others. Unlike other collections featuring some of this material, Stanchfield’s set features these cartoons digitally restored and mastered from original 35mm and 16mm film materials. For the specific cartoon titles, see Menu’s below (click thumbnails to enlarge).
You may have seen some of these cartoons before – but you haven’t seen them look like this. Pristine, colorful, with their original Paramount movie titles. Believe me, this library has been sadly neglected for decades. Previous available copies of these cartoons are usually faded 16mm TV prints with replaced titles, film splices and dirt lines. Your jaw will drop when you see the quality Steve has managed to achieve (check the two frame grabs above, center and right; click thumbnails to enlarge).
Bonus features include commentaries from animators (Bob Jaques, Mike Kazaleh, etc.) and animation historians (including me), Still galleries featuring original model sheets, publicity materials, animation art and comic strips, plus a unique Baby Huey storyboard/final film comparison reel (image below):
Noveltoons Original Classics. Buy it now. I highly recommend it. Help support this kind of film restoration – by a dedicated animation historian, doing the work the major studios do not feel worthy of its time. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, here are a few excerpts from the disc (You Tube does not do this justice):
Stop Hurting by Gareth Axford for group Nova’s Basement.
Set Loose Black Sail by Dave Brodsky
Music Video for NY based rock band “The Smashup” uses charcoal animation mixed with live action. Directed by David Brodsky, animation by Tim Kellen
The Shrine / An Argument by Sean Pecknold
Created by Sean Pecknold in Portland Oregon, for the group Fleet Foxes. Animators: Sean Pecknold & Britta Johnson; Character Illustrations: Stacey Rozich.
Just for fun – and thanks to Chuck Howell, the Archivist at University of Maryland’s Special Collections in Mass Media & Culture – we are happy to show off these cool 1957 Bert and Harry Piel bar coasters. The characters were created in 1953 for a TV ad campaign by UPA New York, under Gene Deitch’s supervision. Jack Sidebotham designed the characters for the Cunningham and Walsh agency – and of, course Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding provided the voices. For more about this (and to see one more of these coasters), read Gene Deitch’s account on his blog.
Pink Panther FAIL!
I have no idea what they are selling, what they are doing or who made this insanity – and maybe its better not to know. This spot for what methinks is a Russian casino is so strange I had to share. Perhaps a reader can translate and explain. Oh, and is that the co-star of Cow and Chicken at the 13-second mark?
Way back in 1992, Ted Turner paid to colorized a batch of black and white Merrie Melodies from 1931-33. This was back before computers were employed to add colors, so the cartoons were shipped to South Korea, traced frame-by-frame (well, almost), new cels were inked and painted and shot under the camera – creating a “color” cartoon from a “worthless” black & white print. For more information on 1967-1992 colorized cartoons, click here. To see how well they did (or just to enjoy the tune Smile Darn Ya, Smile), check out the comparison below:
(via Golden Age Cartoons)
Stop-mo animator Joel Fletcher just posted the behind the scenes tale of a long forgotten Mickey’s Parade frozen treats commercial from 1991. The advertisement was one of the most complex stop-motion spots of the era, due to the sheer number of animated puppets and props. It is also a nostalgic flashback to a Disney licensed food product that is no more. Read all about it and see the commercial on Joel Fletcher’s blog.
As many of you know, every month (on the fourth Monday evening) I co-produce a live comedy/cartoon show, Cartoon Dump, at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. If you are in the area next Monday (1/23), this will be a great one to drop in on. In addition to our regulars, Frank Conniff (MST3K) and Erica Doering, our special comedy guest is once again Patton Oswalt. I’ll be there, showing an extra helping of really horrible cartoons. Showtime is 8pm. Ticket info is posted here. Check out the new FaceBook page for more information and updates.
Unlike the United States, the French considered Tex Avery a genius in his time. When he passed away (8/26/80), the French mourned – and here’s a small example: a TV news broadcast featuring actress/screenwriter and critic France Roche discussing the passing of Tex Avery from August 29th, 1980. I don’t recall such attention being paid on U.S. TV at the time.
(Thanks, Valentin Moretto)
Threadless has teamed with Disney to create a contest to design a Donald Duck T-shirt. Normally I wouldn’t plug such a commercial venture, but I have to admit some of the entries are incredibly cool. One day left to score the designs – the winner will have his design printed on a limited edition shirt. A few of my favorites are posted above (Top: Zinkete; Center: TVSKyle; Botton: Rodgepodge). Check out the complete list of design submissions here.
(Thanks, Trevour Meyer)
Animator Rob Yulfo edited this collection of Peanuts clips set to Vega Choir’s cover of Radiohead’s Creep. This sums it all up.