It worked for THE LION KING. Who knows what cartoon treasures lie in studio vaults, awaiting 3D conversion? Perhaps Terrytoons Flebus?
Or maybe Clutch Cargo?
(Thanks, Reg Hart)
While I’m off enjoying a week of the finest animation in the world at the Ottawa Festival, I leave you today with this prime example of CG/hybrid commercial moviemaking at its finest. This trailer was released a few months ago, I think while I was at Comic Con – but I thought it was worth posting here for the record. It’s the trailer for the 3rd sequel to Alvin and The Chipmunks, opening in the US on December 16th: Chipwrecked. Enjoy!
I’m en route to Canada right now to attend the 2011 Ottawa International Animation Festival, which starts tomorrow. (Above image was part of their 2009 ad campaign, which I thought was worth repeating).
The programs and retrospectives look to be some of the finest ever assembled: Panels devoted to the Supinfocom Animation School, special guests Pen Ward and Thurop Van Orman, John Canemaker on Joe Grant and Joe Ranft, a spotlight on Aaron Augenblick, numerous competition screenings, not to mention my very own Cartoon Fight Club, a selection of the most violent Hollywood cartoons ever made. Too much for me to list here. Too much for me to see.
I’m not sure where I’ll be and when, but Friday morning I’ll be hanging out in the Arts Court Studio at 10:30am, available to sign books or just chat. Check the festival website for all the programming details. If you can make it to Ottawa this weekend, please do. It should be a blast!
That’s Earl Kress (above left) with me at the Van Eaton Galleries in May 2010.
My friend, animation writer and Hanna-Barbera historian par excellence, Earl Kress passed away early this morning, succumbing to liver cancer. He had just turned 60 years old.
Earl’s credits are so numerous – I don’t know where to begin. For theaters he worked on story for Disney’s The Fox and The Hound, and the great Looney Tunes short Little Go Beep. In comic books, Earl penned many stories for Hanna-Barbera as well as The Simpsons for Bongo Comics and Looney Tunes for DC. The list of his television credits is too large to recount here (check IMDB), but highlights include various episodes of Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Tom & Jerry Tales – not to mention a pilot I produced called Hornswiggle.
He was also a devoted animation historian, and he produced several DVD and CD compilations that are indispensable: His Rhino Records’ Pic-a-nic Basket of Cartoon Classics and Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Sound FX are important preservations of these classic television soundtracks. His expertise made Warner Home Video’s Hanna Barbera DVDs as great as they could be: The Flintstones – Seasons 2, 4, 5 and 6, Top Cat – The Complete Series, Wacky Races, Huckleberry Hound – Volume 1, Yogi Bear – The Complete Series and Magilla Gorilla – The Complete Series. Without Earl, The Flintstones laser disc that John K. organized would not have been half as good.
Earl also served as a Vice President of the Animation Guild and was a founding member of the Writers Guild Animation Caucus.
But of course, Earl was more than a great writer and historian – he was a true friend and a great lunch buddy. He really helped me out on more than one occasion, eagerly sharing his knowledge and film collection when I needed help on several of my books regarding Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera. His work on Hornswiggle and several other projects we did together was top notch, and thoroughly professional. That’s what he was – a top professional and one of the good guys – make that one of the best guys – in the business.
I’ll mourn his loss. This is a very sad day. He will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, my friend.
POST SCRIPT: Internet radio program Stu’s Show aired a tribute to Earl Kress on Monday with Mark Evanier and I sharing our memories. It is available to download at no cost for the next two weeks. Scroll down near the bottom of Stu’s main page to locate the link.
I snapped the photo above earlier this past week. I was on one side of a glass wall, inside the studio on the other side director Mark Evanier (back to camera) is rehearsing lines with actress June Foray prior to taping a new episode of Garfield.
There’s June, still vital and a giving a classic cartoon performance, still a legend and one of the greats in the business. No one can replace what she brings to a character.
Today is her birthday. Happy Birthday June. I look forward to posting this greeting to you for years to come!
Check out all the eye candy in this music video featuring Ukrainian pop singer Jamala (aka Susana Jamaladinova). “Smile” was directed by top Ukraine video maker Max Xenda, and combines live action with miniatures and stop-mo puppet animation, designed by art director Vlad Ryzhikov.
Click here for behind-the-scenes footage, and some nice photos of Jamala.
(Thanks, Eric Graff)
Animator/layout artist Kevyn Wallace passed away on September 14th, at 3am, succumbing to the injuries sustained after being hit by a drunk driver on August 9th, 2011. He was 48 years old.
Kevyn was an accomplished Feature Animation Layout Artist having quietly spent much of his career at Disney (Tarzan, Mulan), Universal (Land Before Time series) and Film Roman (The Simpsons Movie). At the time of his death, he was working on his own documentary chronicling the history of African-American Artists in Animation and their invaluable contributions to the industry. We received this information from his family:
Kevyn’s family would like to extend their gratitude for all of the love, the well-wishes, the cards and the positive thoughts sent to Kevyn – and to them – during this very difficult time.
We cordially invite you to join us in honoring Kevyn on his birthday…
A Life Celebration of Kevyn Wallace
Friday, September 23, 2011 at 7pm
Art Center College of Design
1700 Lida Street
Pasadena, CA 91103-1999
We also understand that donations to the LAC+USC Burn Center would be welcome in lieu of flowers.
Why do producers insist on remaking Tom & Jerry in CG? There is supposedly a feature in development at Warner Bros. – but as these foreign TV spots will attest it isn’t so easy to accomplish (the Israeli milk spot below – which we posted about in 2006 – is about as good as it gets):
NPR loves The Lion King, but calls the 3D release a “cash grab”.
You know what I think. How about you? Intrigued enough to see a classic Disney hand drawn feature converted to 3-D? If so, share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments below (Please respect our talkback rule and only post below if you’ve actually seen the 3D version).
UPDATE: The 3D Lion King was number one at the US box office this week.
All Simpsons, All The Time? News Corp. COO Chase Carey said earlier this week that Fox is considering starting an entire digital TV channel devoted to airing only The Simpsons. With over 500 episodes in the can (486 have aired to date) and no cancellation in sight, it seems like a very profitable idea. I love the concept – but why stop there? If successful, perhaps someday they’ll be channels devoted solely to South Park, or even Looney Tunes. Cowabunga – Count me in!
It may or may not win any Oscars, but the Disney Company has announced that Pixar’s Cars 2 is the highest earning animated feature of the year.
Cars 2 opened in June 24th and earned $189 million domestically. It’s made $548 million total to date when combined with all international box office figures. Disney claims the film is now the 16th highest-grossing animated film in “global cinematic history”.
This is, of course, before the release of some heavy hitters from Dreamworks, Aardman and Spielberg to come, not to mention Happy Feet 2. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out and who’ll come out on top at years end.
For those who must take note of everything (like me): inbetweener/inspirational artist Tyrus Wong (Bambi) was let go from Disney after three and a half years (1938-1941) and spent the next 25 years in the art department at Warner Bros. as a production illustrator, creating story boards and concept sketches for live action feature films.
Last night, I took a break to catch whatever movie happened to be playing on TCM. It turned out to be the star-studded wartime morale booster Thank Your Lucky Stars (Warner Bros. 1943) – and there I spotted, in one quick shot, on a wall behind actor Richard Lane (frame grab above), plaques for various businesses – including one that says “Tyrus Wong, Importer, Chinese Art“. Since Wong – who will be 101 next month – never got the proper credit he was due at Disney, I’d say this particular in-joke was poetic justice.
Who says print is dead? It’s been about a month since my last batch of book reviews and I’ve come up with four new books worthy of your attention – if not your hard-earned dollars…
The World History of Animation by UK animator Stephen Cavalier fills a void – it’s a perfectly suitable text book for those looking for a general international history of the artform and industry. As an animation history teacher myself, I find Giannalberto Bendazzi’s Cartoons a bit too dense for my students, and my own book, Animation Art, is long out-of-print. Cavalier’s book covers much of the same ground, so if you have the previous two you can skip this one – but if you are looking for a solid general history that covers the basics and then some, this fills the bill nicely. It covers the field right up through 2010′s Toy Story 3 and The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet provides the Foreword), and the Appendix is filled with useful information, including all the Oscar winners, animation books and important websites (nice to see Cartoon Brew among them). Recommended solely for students and novice historians.
UK based Ian Stevenson is a cartoonist disguised as an “artist”. Whatever he calls himself, I like what he does. Here’s one of his groovy music videos from a few years ago. This’ll put you in a good mood:
Written & Directed by Ian Stevenson & Luke Seomore.
Music by Graffiti 6.
Illustrator Ian Stevenson, Animator Alex Dobbin.
In the Gay Purr-ee production photo above is (left to right): Lee Orgel, Judy Garland, Henry G. Saperstein, Robert Goulet, Abe Levitow and Chuck Jones. Who was Lee Orgel you ask? Let Darrell Van Citters tell you.
Animator Van Citters is expanding on his great book about the history ofMr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol with an incredible blog containing additional information on the artists, writers, director and producers of this groundbreaking 1962 TV special.
Perhaps the most unsung of behind-the-scenes latter-day UPA personnel was Orgel – a talented, perhaps visionary, producer who had a successful career in 60s animation, as well as being a writer on the 1966 Batman TV show. Read all about him in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.