Doug Post of Woodbury University saves everything and recently found this article in a newsletter he used to get as a child. It’s a section of the November 1973 issue of General Motors American Youth magazine. It features an article on teenage filmmakers – and highlights future animator/director Eric Goldberg discussing how he got interested in animation and his afternoon visiting the Disney studio. Eric gave us permission to post the pages below (click thumbnails to enlarge), with this comment:
Okay, you can post it, complete with my use of top pegs (the horror!) and my somewhat less than modest credit crawl (not untrue, however!). Just as a side note, two years after that article appeared, I won the Grand Prize in that contest, and my roommate at the Plaza Hotel in New York (where the ceremonies were held) won First Prize. His name was David Silverman, of later Simpsons fame. We’ve been good friends ever since. We fondly recall the days when he had a “Jew-fro” and I had hair.
(Thanks, Doug Post, Dori Littell-Herrick and Eric Goldberg)
Animation storyman Phil Eastman (1909-1986) worked for Disney, Warner Bros., UPA, even Terrytoons during his career in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. But his biggest claim to fame has to be the series of Beginner Books he wrote and drew beginning in the late 1950s. Sam and The Firefly, Are You My Mother? A Fish Out of Water, and of course Go, Dog, Go! were certainly on my reading list at age 5. They influenced a lot of folks who later went into animation and comic art. I loved those books and still have my original battered copies.
Its purpose is to entertain/inform, and at the same time sell books. There really wasn’t a place where you could see all of his books together, plus we thought a short biography (appropriate for children) and a way to get in touch with his family would be useful. I put together the P.D. caricature on the home page from two self portraits he had done.
Unfortunately we couldn’t include The Cat in The Hat Beginner Book Dictionary “by the Cat himself and P. D. Eastman” on the site because the Dr. Seuss Estate (DSE) – as the owner of the copyright in the forward and owner of trademark rights in the character, would not grant permission for inclusion of this book on the website dedicated to the work of P. D. Eastman.
Also, we couldn’t include A Fish Out Of Water because The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego says it is the copyright holder of Helen Palmer Geisel’s 50% interest and insists that the website show them as such, however, my mother and Geisel are listed as the copyright holders on the US Copyright website and on the copyright page of a recently purchased book. We can’t list the Museum without proof of assignment of the copyright to them.
This website is dedicated to P.D. but, since my books (Fred and Ted Go Camping and Fred and Ted Like To Fly) are sequels to Big Dog… Little Dog, we decided to make them available via a “BD… LD” page. Next summer I will have a new book out, and at that time we will launch a site devoted to my books!
This week Beetle Bailey (8/11) by Mort Walker; Mallard Fillmore (8/9) by Bruce Tinsley; My Cage (8/8) by Ed Powers and Melissa DeJesus; Rubes (8/8) by Leigh Rubin; Strange Brew (8/11) by John Deering; and Reality Check (8/9) by Dave Whammond.
As we mourn the seemingly non-stop multilation of the beloved cartoon characters of our youth, let’s stop to applaud the decision by the fine folks at Quaker Oats, who have just started selling a line of Cap’n Crunch cereals with the original appealing Jay Ward box designs (pictured above right). It’s a limited edition set of Retro Crunch that come with collector cards in each box. They’re out now, I just saw them at the supermarket today. I’m not one to push sugared cereal on anyone, but I admire the guts it took to reverse course and finally do something right. Coincidentally, Mark Evanier just recently posted about the first Cap’n Crunch commercial from 1963.
Yesterday, I had a chance to once again plow into Stuart Shostak’s extensive archive of TV Guide back issues. This time I found two parts of a 1961 interview with Walt Disney, (The Latter Day Aesop), mainly discussing moving his programs from ABC to NBC. Walt wasn’t too happy with ABC back then. Of course, today the studio owns the network. To read the stories, click the image above to see the first part, then click the thumbnails below to read the rest.
Animation fans should be aware of the upcoming compilation CD, The Music of DC Comics: 75th Anniversary Collection. Why? Because most of the music (not all) comes from the animated cartoon legacy of DC characters. The compilation begins with Sammy Timberg’s 1941 theme from Max Fleischer’s Superman cartoons, then moves through the decades. Theme songs from the Filmation cartoons of the 1960s, including The Flash and Green Lantern, plus the most recent Justice League themes, Batman Beyond, Plastic Man, Swamp Thing, various Teen Titans cartoons and Super Friends. Other highlights include music from John Williams, Danny Elfman, and Neil Hefti’s 1966 Batman TV show theme. The CD will be available on September 28th, 2010. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting it.
The Holy Grail for many of us cartoon historian-types are the lost RKO Toby The Pup cartoons. Originally released in 1930 and 1931, twelve cartoons were produced by Charles Mintz and directed by Dick Huemer concurrently with Mintz Krazy Kat cartoons for Columbia. Poor Toby’s films were never released as home movies, nor sold to television, and have been considered lost (and forgotten) for decades. The good news: in recent years several rare prints have resurfaced. Historian David Gerstein has just “restored” a large fragment from The Showman (originally released November 22, 1930) and posted it on You Tube. It was missing a few shots and its front title cards, and the original soundtrack is lost. However, David has reconstructed the opening credits, and synched the cartoon to other period musical scores, most from Mintz composer Joe DeNat. He did a great job with it – and here it is, six minutes of pure 1930s cartoon fun:
As mentioned here last week, this past weekend the fine folks of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, held an event to dedicate a Historical Marker honoring veteran animator and native son Grim Natwick, who passed away twenty years ago at the age of 100. The event was attended by Natwick relatives still living in Wisconsin Rapids. Our friend Maggie Thompson took this picture of the Marker:
I will again be the featured guest on Shokus Internet Radio’s Stu’s Show, broadcasting live on Tuesday August 10th. The show starts at 4:00 p.m. PDT (7:00 p.m. EDT) and runs for two hours. Topics this time will include the just released Looney Tunes Super Stars DVDs, The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes book, the upcoming Looney Tunes TV Show, the Yogi Bear movie and whatever else the listeners want to talk about. You are encouraged to call in with your questions and comments on the station’s toll-free telephone number.
This episode of Stu’s Show will rebroadcast at the same time each day for the next week. Access to the station’s feed is free, with no registration required, and is available either by clicking on the Enter Site button on the home page (www.shokusradio.com), by choosing one of the audio player links on the site’s main page, via iTunes by selecting Radio/Eclectic and then locating the station’s name alphabetically in the list, and now via iPhone by installing the WunderRadio program available from the iTunes online store. Cell phones with Windows Mobile and Internet access can also listen to the station via the new Live 365 Mobile software available at the station’s broadcast facility, www.live365.com .
Animation historian and Oscar winning animator John Canemaker is making several public appearances in San Francisco and Los Angeles to promote his latest (and one of his greatest) book, Two Guys Named Joe: Master Animation Storytellers Joe Grant and Joe Ranft. If you are anywhere near these locations, GO!
First up, Canemaker will present an illustrated lecture at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco on Friday, August 13, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 14, at 3 p.m., each lecture followed by a book signing. Seating is limited, so please click here to reserve online now.
Next, John will travel south to sign his book at the Barnes & Noble at the Americana in Glendale, Tuesday, August 17, 7:00 pm. There’s a good chance I’ll be in line myself to get his autograph at this event.
And last, but not least, Canemaker will be at the Happiest Place on Earth – Disneyland in Anaheim (where else?) – on Wednesday, August 18, from 9:00am to 11:00 am in the Disney Gallery on Main Street USA. This should be fun!
This week we start with the final strip of a two week Boris & Natasha storyline in Over the Hedge. It wrapped up on Friday (8/6) with this appearance by Mr. Peabody & Sherman (you can read the whole thing starting here). Following that, we have Cul De Sac (7/31) by Richard Thompson; Ink Pen (8/1) by Phil Dunlap; and Strange Brew (8/7) by John Deering.
(Thank you Jim Lahue, Charles Brubaker, Michael Tuttle and Mark Kausler)
This has already had over 2 million views on You Tube, but I couldn’t ignore it for the Brew. Inspired by Taijin Takeuchi, Olympus Corp. created this viral for the 50th anniversary of their Pen Camera. They shot 60.000 pictures, developed 9,600 prints and shot over 1,800 pictures again. No post production. Cool.
I had the pleasure to meet several Brew readers at my Dirty Duck screening, earlier this week in Hollywood. One of them, Jay Sabicer, gave me a reel of 16mm as a gift (note to others, 16mm film gifts always gratefully accepted!). On the reel was this curious animatic for an unproduced 60s-era commercial for Post Pink Panther Food (did this become Pink Panther Flakes?). Could this be the artwork of storyman John Dunn?
Anything Michel Gagné does is worth a post on Cartoon Brew, but a whole new film by him is cause for celebration. His new short, Sensology, visualizes in abstract form an improvised musical session by two leaders of the avant-guarde jazz movement, Paul Plimley (piano) and Barry Guy (bass). The music was recorded on November 9th, 1995, at the Western Front in Vancouver, Canada. A 9-second teaser of Sensology, posted online in the Fall of 2006, resulted in Pixar contacting Michel to do the abstract taste visualization for the film Ratatouille. Gagné tells us:
“The film was started in August 2006 and completed in July 2010. Many months of experimentation with various animation techniques lead to a grant from Art Partners in Creative Development and the creation of the live show Fixed Fragmented Fluid which will also make its way as a film at a later date.
“I’ve been refining the animation over a four year period and finally wrapped it up three weeks ago. The completed 6-minute film premiered in Los Angeles last week, to qualify for an Academy Award, at the Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 in West Hills, CA.”
Was the plot of Christopher Nolan’s Inception inspired by a Don Rosa Uncle Scrooge comic book story? In the story, created for the European market in 2002 and published in the US in the May 2004 issue of Uncle Scrooge (#329), Scrooge’s totem is a 25-pound bar of solid gold. His “limbo” is an endless desert where each grain of sand is actually a microscopic gold coin. Both stories have characters use a machine to enter someone’s dream – and entering someone’s dream to steal a secret. The similarities don’t end there. You can read the full comic here.
This weekend in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rapids Betty Boop Festival will celebrate its native son: Myron “Grim” Natwick, the designer and original animator of Betty Boop at Fleischer Studios in 1930. The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive will be there with an exhibit and screenings featuring Natwick’s greatest work. Nina Paley will also be there screening Sita Sings The Blues, and there will be parties, dances, motorcycle rallys, and live music. The whole event culminates in the unveiling of a historical marker in honor of Grim Natwick at their museum. For more information, check the Boop Festival website.
A couple of bits of news from the stable of The Brothers McLeod. They’ve uploaded a trailer for their new short film The Moon Bird (a 15 minute dark fairytale) and, below that, they just finished their latest run of Fuggy Fuggy shorts:
Here’s something I’d like to have: this cleverly designed limited edition Mickey Mouse remote control from Japan, with a stand shaped like Mickey’s shoes. In addition to controlling the TV (and which Disney Channel you’ll watch) it has a voice button with which to hear 9 Mickey Mouse lines. It also has a “B.S.” button (which hopefully filters out all Disney B.S.). If only it could restore all cable programming to pre-1970 Disney films and cartoons.
Each week we highlight several of the print cartoons, comic strips and panels that reflect the world of animation. This week we’ve got three examples: Doonesbury (7/28) by Garry Trudeau, Brevity (7/30) by Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry – both referencing Pixar – and Scott Hilburn’s Argyle Sweater (7/28), taking on a breakfast cereal icon.
(Thanks to Jim Lahue, Kurtis Findlay and Charles Brubaker)
Animation viz-dev artist Goro Fujita tells us that he and 44 other artists from Dreamworks are having a gallery show at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, from August 14th through September 6th. The artists include Fujita (art pictured above), Nate Wragg, Christophe Lautrette and Devin Crane. The exhibit will feature personal works of art to be featured in an upcoming group book, Moonshine. There’s an opening reception on Saturday, August 14th, from 7 pm – 11 pm and a closing reception/book signing on Friday, September 3rd, at 7 pm. The group has also started a blog. For more info on the exhibit click here.
I was hanging out with my friends Will Ryan and Tom Knott this morning and we dropped into one of my favorite places on Melrose Avenue, Off The Wall Antiques. Amongst the coolness on display there was this large object hanging from the ceiling, a Popeye Painted Wood Carousel Figure. Kids were meant to ride on his back. The proprietor told us this was part of a set with Felix The Cat and a Mickey Mouse-like figure. It’s a very cool piece, though it’s priced way above my station… Check the Off The Wall Antiques site for more photos taken at other angles. May the right Popeye collector buy it!
Next Tuesday, the CineFamily will present a rare 35mm screening of Chuck Swenson’s Dirty Duck (aka Down And Dirty Duck, 1974). Long before Bill Plympton and Nina Paley, Swenson convinced producer Roger Corman to give him the money to make a one-man hand drawn animated feature. The money he got was so little, the film was originally titled “Cheap” (it was also test marketed under that name). However, like Ralph Bakshi’s Fritz The Cat, the finished film is surprisingly smart, funny and original. Featuring the voices and songs of Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of The Turtles and the Mothers of Invention), Dirty Duck is a strikingly stylized psychedelic odyssey that perfectly embodies the raunchy American underside of the 1970s. Animation director Charles Swenson will appear in person for a Q&A after the screening.
This will be preceeded by a selection of Turned-On Toons, a pre-show of titillating short cartoons from across the ages, from raunchy XXX-rated revelries of the ’60s and ’70s, up to the perversions of now. All hosted by yours truly, Jerry Beck. The show starts at 8pm, at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave. in Hollywood, California. Advance tickets available now.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be hosting two back-to-back animation events in August. The first, on Thursday night August 19th, will be a panel on the art of animation voice acting. Panelists will include June Foray, Susan Egan, Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh), Yuri Lowenthal (Ben 10 and anime) and Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), animation directors Bob Peterson (Dug) and James Baxter, and casting director Rick Dempsey. Voices of Character will be moderated by animation historian Charles Solomon.
The second program, the next night Friday August 20th, will be a screening of all nine Oscar nominated and winning Chuck Jones cartoons in 35mm. The program will include For Scent-imental Reasons (1949), So Much For So Little (1949), Mouse Wreckers (1948), From A To Z-Z-Z-Z (1953), High Note (1960), Beep Prepared (1961), Nelly’s Folly (1961), Now Hear This (1962) and The Dot and The Line (1962, pictured above).
Tickets for these events go on sale August 2nd, general admission is $5 (students with a valid ID $3). Both programs will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, California.