I love every song They Might Be Giants ever recorded… so I’m biased towards this new animation-and-puppet music video from their album, Cast Your Pod to the Wind. Directed by David Cowles and Liesje Kraai.
The Academy just posted (as a tribute to Tony Curtis) a clip from the 1959 Oscar telcast with Curtis (and wife Janet Leigh) presenting the Best Cartoon Short award to producer John Burton for the Bugs Bunny short, Knighty Knight Bugs. Click here to see the video. And I believe that’s James Algar accepting for Walt Disney (for live action short, Grand Canyon).
(Thanks, Ed Himel)
The first episode aired on ABC on September 30th 1960. Yup, The Flintstones turn the big five-o today. Everyone should sing Happy Anniversary to the tune of The William Tell Overture.
The image above was featured on Google all day. I really respect artist Mike Dutton but they should have gotten Scott Shaw, Pat Owsley, Marc Christiansen, John K… or quite frankly, anybody else to draw this tribute. Someone with some passion for the characters.
There have been many Flintstone articles posted on the web this week to commemorate this event – but the stupidest one I’ve seen was posted by The Christian Science Monitor: The Five Dumbest Moments on The Flintstones.
Here’s what they came up with:
5. The Flintstones Smoked – We know, we know. Everyone did back then.
4. The Great Gazoo – On the one hand I totally understand the hate for Gazoo, on the other hand he was a cool green space man who invented a doomsday machine!
3. Dinosaurs in The Flintstones – They are arguing science? It’s a cartoon!
2. The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show – I actually liked this spin-off. And Sally Struthers and Jay North seemed the right choice for the voices.
1. Sexism in The Flintstones – It was the 60s. The Madmen era. This show was portraying life in the Stone Age. Give me a break.
As usual, there’s the assumption on the writer’s part that cartoons are strictly kids stuff. What they really missed was the fact that The Flintstones was the first primetime animated sitcom, created to appeal adults and kids. And it’s done just that for exactly fifty years on the dot.
Congratulations, Fred and Barney… have a cold one on me:
(Thanks, Art Binninger)
Great animated films can be created anywhere. Case in point: this inventive 13-minute cut-out-style short, animated, illustrated and directed by Iranian Azadeh Moezzi. Azadeh, a professional animator, illustrator and painter, recently created her first film as director, co-producing in collaboration with Tehran’s Documentary and Experimental Film Center, DEFC). The full short is online on animacam.tv (on the “Watch Videos” page of their online animation festival). The trailer is posted the below.
2D is not dead – at least as far as the independent animated features are concerned. Opening in the UK this November is Chico and Rita from Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque). Six years in the making, the film follows a pianist who pursues his true love, a Hollywood-bound nightclub singer, from Havana to New York and beyond. 93-year-old pianist-composer-bandleader Bebo Valdés wrote and performs the music and the film features “musical cameos” from Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and other jazz greats. Here’s a brief trailer:
And you thought it couldn’t get worse…
I’m not sure how this 2D clip from the upcoming Disney game, Epic Mickey, fits with the rest of the game and clips we’ve seen, but it’s certainly intriguing. Here Mickey and Gremlin Gus explore Mean Street, and encounter the Phantom Blot and Walt himself (as a statue, with Oswald):
UPDATE: The 2D cut-scenes in the game were produced by Austin, Texas-based Powerhouse Animation Studios.
(Thanks, Matthew Gaastra)
Here’s another update from the folks at the upcoming CTN Expo: Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist is now set for an opening night advance screening, on Thursday November 18th. All advance pass holders will be admitted.
Also, it’s just been announced that Chris Wedge from BlueSky will be attending and speaking, as will Enrico Casarosa (story artist and illustrator at Pixar), Bobby Beck (no relation) from Animation Mentor, and HB Lewis (designer, illustrator, writer for Disney, BlueSky, DreamWorks). Pixar will host an animators panel again this year and yours truly, Jerry Beck, will moderate a discussion with the principals of Barcelona’s Headless Productions.
The CTN Expo II will be held November 19th-21st in Burbank. Word is the CTNX hotel (The Burbank Airport Marriott) is 93% sold out. Overflow rooms (at full rates) will open up, but if you are thinking of attending, book now and save. For more information, click here.
If you can’t find me in October, you aren’t trying hard enough. But before we discuss October, tonight Cartoon Dump (9/27) returns with its usual disreputable mix of sketches, songs, puppets, stand up comedy and the absolute worst cartoons ever made. Join Frank Conniff as Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl, Erica Doering as Compost Brite, J. Elvis Weinstein as Dumpster Diver Dan and Jerry Beck as “Jerry Beck”, along with special guests Dave “Gruber” Allen and Erik Charles Nielsen, 8pm at The Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. â€¢ Free Parking! â€¢ Advanced Tickets here â€¢ Phone: (323) 666-9797 â€¢ Map & Directions â€¢ And friend us on Facebook.
Tuesday October 5th is my 3rd annual Halloween animation screening at the CineFamily/Silent Movie Theatre. This year I’m sharing the stage with Seamus and Mark from Screen Novelties, who have curated a special spooktastic show featuring several monster movies of their own along with clips and shorts of their most dearly beloved creepy creations. The second half of the evening we’ll screen a very rare 35mm print of Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, featuring of course, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Join us – it should be a howl!
I’ll be showing vintage 16mm cartoons to open the Janet Klein show on Thursday October 7th at the Steve Allen Theatre. This month we are celebrating both Janet’s new album, Whoopee Hey! Hey! and my book The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons. I’ll be signing books and Janet promises to sing several songs from classic cartoons. It starts at 8pm. Tickets: here.
I’ll be attending the Ottawa International Animation Festival October 20th-24th where I’ll be doing a book signing (Thursday October 21st at 6pm), and screening a program of vintage cartoons now deemed “Inappropriate For Children” (check the website or program book for times and places).
On Thursday October 28th I’ll be doing a book signing (at 6pm) and screening (at 7pm) to celebrate The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons at the Wexner Center For the Arts at Ohio State University in Columbus. We’ll be screening 35mm prints of several classic cartoons on the big screen. Check the WexArts website for more information.
Oh, and we’ll have our annual Cartoon Dump Halloween show on Monday October 25th! More about that next month.
This week, from the top, a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial cartoon (9/3) by Steve Breen; Mother Goose and Grimm (9/24) by Mike Peters; Nancy (9/21) by Guy and Brad Gilchrist; Chuckle Bros. (9/23) by Brian and Ron Boychuck; Hari Kiwi (9/20) by Steven Degryse (aka “Lectrr”) and The Argyle Sweater (9/23) by Scott Hilburn.
(Thanks to Jim Lahue, John Hall, Ed Austin, Kurtis Findlay, Jed Martinez and Uncle Wayne)
Imagine a cross between Team America and A Town Called Panic set during World War II. Ewan McGregor, Timothy Spall, Tom Wilkinson and Alan Cumming provide voices for directors Edward McHenry & Rory McHenry’s Barbie-doll epic, Jackboots on Whitehall. Sony Home Entertainment has picked up the film, but a U.S. theatrical release is uncertain, though the film will play several festivals in the next few months (The San Francisco International Animation Festival will screen it on November 11th). Jackboots on Whitehall will open October 8th in London.
Zack Snyder’s adaptation Kathryn Lasky’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole opens today. The critics opinions are mixed, the LA Times says it looks great but is too dark for youngsters; the NY Times considered this a minor release and let a C-string reviewer cover it. I’m seeing it at an ASIFA-Hollywood member’s screening next Thursday. If you’ve seen it, or are seeing it this weekend, let us what you think.
When the Warner Bros. Animation Department was located in Burbank in the 1980s (the period when they were producing the Greg Ford/Terry Lennon movies, shorts and TV specials), veteran animation artist Richard Thomas and background painter Alan Bodner created several murals to decorate the hallways at the studio. The murals were eventually removed by Warner’s Chuck Seaman in December 1992 when the animators were moved to new offices in Sherman Oaks (at the start-up of Tiny Toon Adventures).
Mr. Seaman has held onto them for the past 18 years and now needs to find them a new home. Either separately or all together, Seaman is looking for a buyer. They are on drywall and steel studs. Click the photos above to see enlarged images. If interested, contact Chuck Seaman wcsthink-at-yahoo.com
Not letting anything go to waste, stop motion animator Jessica Bayliss made this stop-motion pixilation documenting the last moments of her friend Lindsay Nack’s lovely 5-year-old dreadlocks.
Eliran Bichman’s final project made at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem is a powerful, personal, self-portrait on being a Jewish bi-sexual in modern Jerusalem.
I don’t know about where you live, but popping up all over L.A. are these scary billboards (see above) promoting The Hub, Hasbro and Discovery’s new cable channel. The Good News: it looks to be another 24-hour cartoon channel (remember those?). The Bad News: the cartoons seem to be based mainly on Hasbro branded toy lines (Pound Puppies, My Little Pony, The Transformers, etc.). Apparently, upon further research, there will be live action shows on the schedule (like Fraggle Rock) and several originals (Dan Vs.), but they aren’t advertising those yet… just these creepy looking bug-eyed buggers.
Nick and Disney have nothing to fear… but Cartoon Network better watch its back. The Hub begins broadcasting October 10th.
Over at Parc Asterix, the French theme park based on René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s Asterix comic books, there’s an innocent kid’s merry-go-round that just doesn’t look quite right. Asterix’ pal Obelix is used as a model for a merry-go-round seat with, I think, unfortunate results. (Click thumbnails below to enlarge)
(Thanks, Bill Sauder)
When is a Disney feature NOT a Disney feature… when it’s a Touchstone release of an Elton John production. Gnomeo & Juliet is being directed by Kelly Asbury, with a voice cast including Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Ozzy Osbourne, Patrick Stewart and Emily Blunt. It opens February 11th, 2011.
Last November we reported on a new 14 minute Imax film from director Ben Stassen (Fly Me to The Moon) and Belgium based nWave Pictures called Around the World In 50 Years. Since then, the film was apparently expanded to feature length (85 minutes), populated with an English language voice cast (Stacy Keach, Yuri Lowenthal, Melanie Griffith, Kathy Griffin, Ed Begley Jr., Pat Carroll, Tim Curry, etc.) and released in Europe. In fact, the film was just nominated for a Euro Film Award.
Will it be released in the U.S. and be qualified for Academy consideration this year? Is it any good? Does it remind you of another Oscar winner from 2003?
To support the second printing of his self-published book on the making of Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, Darrell Van Citters has begun a blog. It will be updated at least weekly, probably more, and will include info that wouldn’t fit in the book, trivia, info on ancillary Magoo material (like the upcoming Blu-Ray DVD) and more in-depth profiles of UPA crew members. You can also pre-order the second edition of the book through the blog or the website. If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend this superb volume.
First up at the blog, Darrell discusses the career of Phil Norman, the unsung title card artist and lettering genius of UPA in the early 1960s. (That’s one of his creepiest, above) Bookmark this and visit it regularly.
Someone posted a rare 1998 cgi test film for an unmade Roger Rabbit 2. If anyone has any background info on this piece, I’d like to hear about it:
UPDATE: Eric Goldberg, who directed this piece, writes in the comments:
Okay, time to put some things to rest.
Rob, Dave, Tom Bancroft, and Eric Guaglione are all correct. It is indeed CGI, from 1998. I directed both pieces, the 2-D and the 3-D, with a view toward directing the animation in the sequel, being developed by Pocahontas producer Jim Pentecost. While time-consuming in 1998 to get this effect, it was, and still is, ground-breaking in my opinion. As we were completing the 2-D with CG props test, I said to Kathleen Gavin, who was heading up offbeat” projects at the time, “Well, everyone already knows the Roger gimmick of tone mattes. Why don’t we see if we can do Roger himself in CG? If we can animate something as fluid and eminently squashy-stretchy as Roger Rabbit, then we can animate anything in CG.” I was also interested in pursuing it to solve the dreaded “foot-float” problem you get when when roto-ing planted feet to an incrementally moving camera. In this case, Roger was tracked perfectly, the same way the dinos in Jurassic Park were tracked perfectly. Whether we would use the technique or not in the sequel, it was to prove that we could do Disney quality animation in CG, which no one had ever attempted before. The Florida team proved me right, in spades, and major kudos to them all.
The next logical step for the studio was to see if we could achieve that kind of animation without pre-animating it as 2-D first. The result was Magic Lamp Theater, now a popular 3-D stereo attraction at Tokyo DisneySea. Again, expensive to do at the time, but this time I did detailed poses, while the CG guys really did the animation, supervised by Jason Ryan. Flash-forward 12 years later, and the tools to do this kind of work are most certainly available, without the need for special expense.
While the Roger sequel never got made, there were plenty of other reasons for that decision as well, involving then-current studio politics. Also, the too-expensive budget that was being considered was based on the original techniques.
Anyway, that’s the way I heared it, Johnny.
(Thanks, Matthew Gaastra)
This week we welcome Loose Parts (9/18) by Bave Blazek; Tundra (9/17) by Chad Carpenter; Mother Goose and Grimm (9/17) by Mike Peters; Brewster Rockit (9/14) by Tim Rickard; Rhymes With Orange (9/15) by Hilary Price.
(Thanks to our whole comics clipping crew: Jim Lahue, Jed Martinez, Kurtis Findley, Ed Austin, John Hall and Uncle Wayne)
Is anyone reading the Brew going to see this?
No, I didn’t think so… and I don’t recommend it, but if you do, we’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below.
I saw the film at a press screening last Monday. It’s strictly grade-B fare and NOT up to current standards (those being the standards practiced these days at Dreamworks, Illumination, Blue Sky, Sony Imageworks, Lucasfilm, etc.). It’s filled with cliche characters, in an unoriginal, cobbled together storyline (think BOLT meets BALTO crossed with LADY AND THE TRAMP). The only saving grace: the last bittersweet vocal performance by Dennis Hopper.
C’mon Furries, I’m counting on you. This one’s right up your alley… let us know what you think.