Your worst nightmare comes true: Zartog Strikes Back!
Opens tomorrow in the UK.
Your worst nightmare comes true: Zartog Strikes Back!
Opens tomorrow in the UK.
When I heard the news that Art Linkletter had passed away, I didn’t think that was something to mention on Cartoon Brew. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was wrong. Mr. Linkletter was one of the most popular TV hosts of the 1950s and 60s. He was a personal friend of Walt Disney’s, and co-hosted the opening ceremonies of Disneyland on live TV in 1955. His celebrity was such that he was caricatured in Warner Bros. cartoons, and Universal Pictures used him to introduce the Russian animated feature The Snow Queen in a live action prologue for their 1959 U.S. theatrical release (btw, does this footage still exist?). Charles Schulz illustrated and Walt Disney contributed an introduction to his best-selling book, Kids Say The Darnest Things (click thumbnails below).
So here’s to you, Art Linkletter. Rest in peace. You entertained the public and made many (especially us baby-boomer kids) very happy with all you did.
I just received a copy of my latest book, The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes, directly from the printer and snapped the photo above for you to see (also a few sample spreads below, click thumbnails to enlarge. Forgive the blurriness of my cel phone camera). The pictures make the book look larger than it is. It’s actually a compact 7 inches tall and 9 1/2 inches wide, loaded with 216 pages of information and color images. It retails for $24.95, but amazon.com has it for $16.47.
Next Tuesday, June 1st at 8pm, I’m hosting a screening and book signing party at my usual monthly event at the CineFamily – Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Ave. in Hollywood, CA. I’ll be screening ten 35mm classic Looney Tunes (some in IB Technicolor) and clips from most (if not all) of the other 90 selected for the book. A limited number of books will be flown in from the printer, making this the first place on Earth you can purchase the book and get it with my autograph.
It will start appearing in bookstores and comics shops in the U.S. and Canada sometime during in June. I hope you like it. Buy two – it makes a great gift!
This is a new stop motion video that uses an old wood burning technique called pyrography. It was directed by Sverre Fredriksen, a young animator from Norway who has settled in Amsterdam, who soldered ten tons (or thereabouts) of timber to create the images — averaging five hours of work per second shown. Everything was done analog, nothing digital. You can watch a making-of video here. It was produced by Yellow Submarine, a sister company of SubmarineChannel. The song is by Dutch singer songwriter Tim Knol from his fist album.
(Thanks, Remco Vlaanderen)
I was searching for a Father’s Day card yesterday and although my dad isn’t particularly environmentally conscious, I had to buy this card (click thumbnails below to enlarge).
Apparently, the art staff at Hallmark, just like they did with Looney Tunes cards we reported about in 2006, now have the Hanna Barbera license and are creating cards in the style of Mel Crawford Golden Book art! Naturally, none of this card line is online, but there are some other attractive HB cards out there and several new retro-Looney Tunes that really appealed to me. And if any of the artists involved are reading this: please identify yourself! We love what you are doing!
Mark Evanier has reported the passing of Howard Post. Mark does a great job discussing Post’s prolific career in comics. I, too, was a huge fan of Howard Post’s work, not only in comics, but also of his brief stint as successor to Seymour Kneitel at the Paramount Animation Studio in 1964-1966. I got to interview him several times about that period (photo above is of me and Howard, at right, at the San Diego Comic Con in 2003).
Among the comic books Post drew, his work on Harvey’s Spooky and Hot Stuff in the 1950s and 60s is his most significant, and influential.
But Post did some unique little things during his brief time as the head of Paramount’s animation studio in the 1960s that are worthy of note. I like the Ronald Searle-esque The Itch, his adaptations of Jack Mendelsohn’s child p.o.v. comic strip Jacky’s Wacky World, and his ill-fated attempt to bring Bill Dana’s Jose Jimenez to the screen. He was required to fulfill a pre-existing order of Seymour Kneitel/Eddie Lawrence Swifty and Shorty series. With nothing to lose, in the last S&S cartoon, Post decided to do without Lawrence’s voice, painted the characters all in white and set them against impressionist background paintings. The end result, Les Boys (1965), is quite a treat – and a worthy tribute to a man who was always creative no matter the constraints.
Our weekly survey of selected comic strips that reference animated cartoons. From the top: Bound and Gagged (5/21) by Dana Summers; Nest Heads (5/20) by John Allen; a New Yorker cartoon (5/17) by Paul Noth; Pearls Before Swine (5/20) by Stephan Pastis; and Bizarro (5/23) by Dan Piraro.
(Thanks, Jim Lahue, Kurtis Findlay, Ed Austin and Harvey Deneroff)
It’s Hulk Hogan vs. The Flintstones – for real.
The “Hulkster” is suing Post Cereals, maker of Cocoa Pebbles, accusing the company of appropriating his image in an animated commercial for the cereal. According to Tampa Bay Online:
In the “Cocoa Smashdown” commercial, a character goes by the name “Hulk Boulder,” which Hogan’s lawsuit says is a name he used early in his career until wrestling promoter Vince McMahon decided he should have an Irish name. The wrestler also contends he has been harmed by, among other things, “the unauthorized and degrading depictions in the Cocoa Smashdown advertisements.”
Perhaps Hogan was offended by the shot where the character seemingly pulls a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles out of his trunks? You be the judge:
(Thanks, Jeaux Janovsky)
Fly versus couch potato. This cute little short was funded by Aardman Animation, part of a series to showcase it’s stable of directors.
(Thanks, Al Young)
Anyone see it? What did you think? Honest opinions welcome. Comments open to those who actually saw it.
Test clip for a feature film by Dave Weinstein.
In the recently released PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 video game Red Dead Redemption there appears this “silent movie” The Dangers of Doctors and Patent Medicines. In the game, it is seen projected on the wall of an old west theatre. Of course this kind of animation would not have existed until the 1910s – I’m not sure what time frame this western game takes place in, nor do we know who animated this fun little piece at Rockstar San Diego, but perhaps the animators will identify themselves in our comments section below.
(Thanks, John Karel)
Saturday, May 22nd: UPA Tribute and fundraiser – 5:00 to 9:30 pm at Woodbury University’s 250 seat Fletcher Jones Auditorium. A Ragtime Bear cel setup, above, donated by Van Eaton Galleries, to be auctioned.
Program: 5:00 – Reception; 6:00 – Two 40 minute film programs will include classics & rarities, remembered by a panel of UPA veterans, and moderated by Adam Abraham, author of an upcoming UPA history book. Panel will include animator Fred Crippen, Ervin Kaplan – a protégé of Bob McIntosh, Martha Sigall who worked every animation studio, and very first days of UPA, and Joe Siracusa – he created the UPA soundtracks.
Location: Woodbury University, 7500 Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California. More details on this event can be found at upapix.com.
Sunday, May 23 at 6:30 pm, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra will give the concert premiere of Alex Rannie’s original score for Walt Disney’s 1924 “Alice Comedy” Alice’s Wild West Show at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus. It will screen along with Buster Keaton’s feature The Cameraman. Rannie sent us these notes about the film:
Alice’s Wild West Show was released on May 1, 1924, as the fourth installment in Walt Disney’s 57-film series of Alice Comedies (1923-1927). Directed and animated by Disney (with additional animation by Rollin “Ham” Hamilton), it stars Virginia Davis as “Alice” and Tommy Hicks as “Tubby O’Brien.”
No original musical material exists for any of Walt Disney’s almost 100 silent movies. This score was commissioned in 1999 for a Disney Channel broadcast of Alice’s Wild West Show as part of a year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the October 16, 1923, founding of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio.
For more information on this event click here.
Monday May 24th at 8pm: Cartoon Dump, the unholy alliance of noted author, producer and animation scholar Jerry Beck and writer/ producer/ comedian Frank Conniff (“TV’s Frank” from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 and CINEMATIC TITANIC) is back for another depraved offering of sketches, songs, puppets, stand-up comedy, and the most God-awful Saturday Morning Cartoons from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
This month featuring:
Frank Conniff as Moodsy the Clinically Depressed Owl
Erica Doering as Compost Brite
J. Elvis Weinstein as Dumpster Diver Dan
Joe Keyes as Officer Pete the Paint Sniffing Patrolman with Sleep Apnea
Sharon Houston as Sharon the Social Worker
Kristin Ariggo as Cue Card Goddess
Dave “Gruber” Allen as Whatever Crazy Character Gruber Decides To Do
Jerry Beck as Jerry Beck
Plus, stand-up comedy from
J. Elvis Weinstein
and special guest star
Here’s our first look at Blue Sky’s next feature, Rio, due Easter 2011:
Brooks Barnes recounts the recent history – and uncertain future – of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes franchise in today’s New York Times. The article contains some interesting details, quotes from the execs (not to mention a plug for my forthcoming book), and this intriguing shot (below) from the new CGI Road Runner cartoons.
Here’s an animated trailer for The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe , a new book by Andrew O’Hagan. The book is being published this month by UK’s Faber and Faber, and they commissioned this stylish promotional spot. Set in 60s era New York and featuring Marilyn Monroe, the animation design follows the 50s/60s illustration tradition. Designed and animated by the super-talented Robin Davey.
Here’s a trailer from one of the rarest Looney Tunes of all: Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension. It’s never been on television, it’s not on DVD or the Internet. Directed by Douglas McCarthy and starring Joe Alaskey as both Daffy Duck and Marvin, the cartoon runs twelve minutes and was produced in wide screen 3-D. It was only screened–as far as I know–at the Warner Bros. Studio Store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and at the Warner Bros. Movie World Theme Park in Australia. Because it was commissioned and co-owned by Movie World, the video rights to the film are tied up with the theme park.
There were interactive bits in the film, parts when water would spritz the audience and the like. I also recall that the animation was some sort of experimental combination of CGI and hand-drawn that wasn’t completely satisfying… With the 3-D craze back in full-blast it would be a kick to see this again with a current movie release. At least, I think I would…
Here’s another one of those European animated features, from 2009, that was somehow unable to achieve a release in the United States. Submitted for your approval, The True Story of Puss In Boots:
Your daily dose of bad:
From the people who brought you The Sissy.
Tracy Mark Lee, through his studio Electric Tiki Design, has been working on a maquette based on one of Freddy Moore’s always-appealing girl sketches. Here’s the finished painted piece, above. It’s just under 10″ tall and was sculpted by Kent Melton. Electric Tiki be offering limited edition reproductions in a few months; the price is not set but Lee says it will probably be in the $124.99 range. Check this page for further updates – but in the meantime, we have this little beauty to stare at. Me like!
Directed by Courtland Lomax
Music by Brian Young
Compositing by Ethan Metzger
Backgrounds and Character Designs by Brigette Barrager
Animation: Jennifer Hager, Jules Soto, Destiny Wood, Matt Pugnetti, Philip Vose and Courtland Lomax.
This is an unabashed plug for one of my all-time favorite TV shows. Nickelodeon just released the complete Invader Zim on DVD in two volumes and they were kind enough to send me Season One to review.
I always thought highly of this series, but watching it again this weekend reminded how good it truly was. And in light of the last ten years of subsequent shows on Nick, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network, it now plays like a TV animation masterpiece. I laugh long and hard at incidents, situations and visuals on this show, and if there is any justice it should be ranked alongside the likes of South Park and The Simpsons. I mean it.
Invader Zim barely lasted two seasons and has been relegated to cult status among animation buffs and devotees of Jhonen Vazquez’s comic book work. The show was too dark and subversive for Nick’s core demographic — and much of the humor flew past the heads of their younger viewers — but in retrospect Vazquez and his director Steve Ressel did everything right. The episodes never play it safe, nor are predictable. It marches to its own drummer – and that’s as it should be. And I can’t let this review end without mentioning the contributions of two personal friends: Richard Horvitz, who is perfectly cast as the manic voice of Zim; and my Cartoon Dump partner, Frank Conniff, who served as Story Editor.
Invader Zim was one of the last of the era of truly creator driven series and deserves to sit beside The Ren & Stimpy Show and Spongebob Squarepants as one of Nickelodeon’s best. These new DVDs sets are presented raw – no frills, no bonus materials – but deserve a place on your DVD shelf. I highly recommend it. Amazon link: click here.