When the Pink Panther theatrical shorts were first broadcast on NBC’s Saturday Morning in 1969, DePatie Freleng created a live-action opening title segment (see below) using a customized “Panthermobile“, designed by Jay Ohrberg. Now, the original car is now being offered for sale via an online auction from September 4th through October 14th. I was never sure what they thought creating such a vehicle would do for the Pink Panther – other than create publicity at car shows around the world – but it’s a pretty cool car. If you got the green (and the pink) for it, a once in a lifetime opportunity could be yours.
Produced by Luc Besson, Bibo Bergeron’s A Monster In Paris looks gorgeous… but the story, about a giant singing flea, seems a bit slight. Hope I’m wrong. It opens in France in October. No U.S. distributor or release date yet, but here’s the English language trailer:
John K. has several new pieces of animation coming up – bumpers for Adult Swim – that explore a more abstract style. I have no idea if these have aired yet, but John is posting clips and discussing them on his John K. Stuff blog.
As we head into this heatwave (west coast)/hurricane (east coast) weekend, we pause to take note of the passing of Tex Avery 31 years ago today. (Click on obituary above to read how Variety reported it).
I never met Avery, but by sheer coincidence I attended his funeral and memorial service. I was living in New York at the time, but came into L.A. that fateful week to attend Cinecon (where I’ll be hanging out once again next weekend). Everybody who was anybody – from Hanna and Barbera, to Chuck, Friz and Bob Clampett, Bill Melendez, Virgil Ross and probably the whole Termite Terrace crew – was there. I don’t remember much of the details, except that the tone was serious and somber. I was personally thrilled to see so many veteran animator luminaries in one place – but it was obviously not a place to network…
But enough about me. Let’s take a moment to remember Avery today. Click the images below to enjoy some of Avery’s work, starting with his first directorial credit, Gold Diggers of ’49.
Tex Avery was a superb cartoonist, animator and filmmaker; a timing genius, a brilliant gagman and above all, an innovator. Chronologically, after Fleischer and Disney, Avery changed the face of popular animation. His influence over Warner Bros. cartoons, and later at MGM, defined what the Hollywood cartoon would be world famous for – and his influence still felt today in the biggest TV series and feature films.
“Fe, Fi, Fo Fat – I tawt I taw a puddy tat!” (a direct quote from Tweety and the Beanstalk, 1957). Yes, that’s what it looks like. It’s a bronze statue by artist Daniel Edwards called “Allegory of a Teen Sex Symbol (Justin Bieber)”, now showing at the Cory Allen Contemporary Art gallery. From their website:
“Daniel wanted to create a work that opens a dialogue about the inevitable exploitation of teen sex symbols as they grow from child stars to adults, like we’ve seen with past celebutantes Lindsay, Miley, and Britney,” said the artist’s representative Cory Allen.
“It would be naïve and hypocritical for anyone to be offended by this simple sculpture, yet be apathetic towards the plethora of images to which they subject themselves on a daily basis,” said Daniel Edwards, “I stand by the work.”
Long before the Firehouse Five Plus Two (not to mention Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), Pinto Colvig (storyman, voice of Goofy) apparently organized a Disney Studio in-house “Cartoon Band”. I know nothing about the story behind this June 29th, 1936 mystery photo (click to enlarge) beyond the clues in the picture itself: It’s on the Hyperion street lot; there’s Ward Kimball on the far right with the trombone; and is that Pinto with the white beard, center, behind the drummer? And heck, is that Walt center right, standing with the trumpet, fourth from the right?
This photo comes from that cache of rare Disney material for sale from our friend Mary Rose.
UPDATE: Amid shares another image of the band below from the 1936 United Artists Convention. Click on the image for a bigger version with identifications.
This funny new Duck Brand tape spot recreates the light cycle scene from the original Tron using duct tape, and features internet “Tron Guy” (Jay Maynard). The concept was generated via crowdsourcing through Tongal.
Here’s something I’ve never seen before – and you won’t be seeing it on DVD (or in color) anytime soon yourself. Cartoon historian David Gerstein is one of several animation archaeologists (along with colleagues Steve Stanchfield, Tom Stathes and Thad Komorowski) determined to hunt down lost Hollywood cartoons the major studios have long abandoned or forgotten. This includes missing bits and pieces – like title sequences and cut footage – and all have succeeded in recent years by locating such footage, both important and obscure, found collecting dust in private collections or neglected at major archives.
Gerstein’s latest find is the original opening titles and credits (albeit in black and white) to Warner Bros. Oscar winning 1947 short, Tweetie Pie. Even Warners doesn’t have this opening – having been cut from the original negative long ago, for a 1955 Blue Ribbon reissue. Let David tell you about it (and see it and hear it) on his blog. And keep his page book marked – David’s found several more which he’ll post in later weeks.
Inspired by black and white cartoons from the 1920s and 1930s, Paris-based web designer Tracey Polyflavor has been creating decorative millefori jewelry and fashion accessories using polymer clay. Here’s how she does it. Some of her designs are based on imagery from Ub Iwerks’ 1929 Silly Symphony, Hell’s Bells (see below). A perfect gift for that early-talkie cartoon girl in your life… Check out her whole line at polyflavour.com.
Here’s something I haven’t seen before (pardon me if I skipped the Special Edition DVD): an early pencil test sequence from Disney’s The Aristocats (1970) posted on Andreas Deja’s blog. Andreas has (as usual) some interesting observations about the animation by Milt Kahl and Ollie Johnston. Apparently Milt wanted O’Malley to be thinner, while Ollie drew him heavier. Note Milt’s animation at the beginning, which recalls Shere Kahn, followed by Ollie’s slightly chubbier version. Neat stuff:
The folks at New York public radio station WNYC 93.9 are doing a whole week of shows on cartoon music. Today’s show – Soundcheck airing at 2pm Eastern – will feature my old friends, two of the most expert cartoon musicologists I know, Daniel Goldmark (Tunes For Toons) and Will Friedwald (Jazz Singing). They will be discussing the music of Fleischer Studios, specifically Sammy Timberg and Winston Sharples no doubt. Downloads will be available after the live broadcasts. Listen live here.
Artists use a color wheel for inspiration; to help select colors and mix pigments. Last month, a group of writers at Slate.com created this clever cartoon color wheel, which is both useful and a lot of fun. Check out the larger version at Slate where you can select each character and enlarge each image.