I like this clever little video on animation production from Cirkus Animation out of New Zealand. It’s obviously slanted towards their numerous, and clueless, clients and producers:
Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon got a little unintended publicity this weekend in Hollywood. A man alleged to have put up a large, “supergraphic” billboard in violation of Los Angeles city law was arrested and held on $1 million bail over the weekend.
The massive movie ad was draped over a 1927 building on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, property co-owned by Kayvan Setereh, the man arrested. The ad was strategically positioned to be seen by the throngs attending next week’s Academy Awards ceremony, both in person and on television. According to the L.A. Times, “the city outlawed such signs in August, arguing they are unsafe for pedestrians below and that they could prevent firefighters from entering buildings in an emergency. Critics also decry them as visual blight.”
From the top: Brewster Rockit (2/26/10) by Tim Rickard, and The Argyle Sweater (2/27/10) by Scott Hilburn.
(Thanks to our usual crew of comic strip mavens: Uncle Wayne, Jim Lahue, Charles Brubaker, John Hall and Jed Martinez)
Regular Brew readers are aware that I collect old Little Golden Books relating to animation and have frequently mentioned my admiration of the recent “retro-stylized” Golden Books for current Disney and Pixar films. Add Nickelodeon to the watch-list. I just discovered Mr. Fancypants, a Spongebob Squarepants tie-in, at my local Barnes and Noble last night. The book was published as a commemorative to celebrate the sponge’s tenth anniversary and features great artwork by animation artist Caleb Meurer. Take a look — Random House has posted the first few pages online:
Next Tuesday, at my usual monthly screening at The Silent Movie Theater, I’ll be running a great selection of 1950s cartoons in widescreen CinemaScope. I will be showing rare 35mm and 16mm prints – many in Technicolor. Among the titles being screened will be Ward Kimball’s Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom and the Donald Duck Grand CanyonScope from Disney, Tom & Jerry and Droopy cartoons from MGM, Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing from UPA, and a slew of rare Terrytoons, including Flebus, Dinky Duck in It’s A Living, and many others including R.O. Blechman’s Juggler Of Our Lady (narrated by Boris Karloff).
Variety is reporting that veteran Warner Bros. director Rudy Larriva passed away last Friday Feb. 19 in Irvine, Calif. He was 94.
Larriva, an animator for nearly six decades, worked primarily at Warner Bros. in the 1930s and 40s, recieving animation credit on several cartoons including the seminal Chuck Jones cartoon, Elmer’s Pet Rabbit (1941). He later joined Disney (Song of the South, Melody Time) and spent the 1950s at UPA (Mr. Magoo). He is credited as the animation director for the opening credits of The Twilight Zone in 1959-60. He spent much of his later years toiling on TV series for Ruby Spears and other studios. His greatest claim to fame, unfortunately, was his direction of several low budget Road Runner cartoons for DePatie Freleng in the mid-1960s. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. March 1 at Eternal Hills Cemetery, Oceanside, Calif.
(Thanks, Joe Apel)
The Animation Guild is hosting its second-ever art opening at its new Gallery 839, on Friday, March 5th, from 6 pm to 9 pm. The gallery is located in the new Guild building at 1105 N. Hollywood Way (between Magnolia and Chandler) in Burbank. The show is called Beyond Yellow and showcases the work of Simpsons animators doing what they do outside the realm of Springfield.
(The images above are not part of the show, but are the work of David Barton at limpfish.com.)
From the story in today’s Hollywood Reporter:
“We wanted to make sure that it was not the Speedy of the 1950s — the racist Speedy,” said the comedian’s wife Ann Lopez, who will serve alongside him as a producer. “Speedy’s going to be a misunderstood boy who comes from a family that works in a very meticulous setting, and he’s a little too fast for what they do. He makes a mess of that. So he has to go out in the world to find what he’s good at.” That path becomes clearer once Speedy befriends a gun-shy race-car driver.
“The racist Speedy”? Pardon me, but the Speedy I know from the 1950s cartoons was a hero, a champion. I would suggest the writers watch a few of the cartoons before inventing a scenario from whole cloth.
Eight years ago yesterday, Chuck Jones passed away. In 1998, Jones recorded a 3 hour interview with Tom Sito for the Archive of American Television. It’s a perfect way to mark the occasion:
(Thanks, Chuck Arnold)
There’s something special going on in Hollywood this weekend, especially if you love classic Disney music as much as I do. Disney’s Howard Green just informed me that songwriter Richard M. Sherman is doing a special show this Friday and Saturday at the El Capitan Theater. Sherman, the Oscar winning composer of Mary Poppins and more than 150 songs heard in Disney films and theme parks, will make a rare personal stage appearance, singing and telling the stories behind his songs, in what is being billed as A Supercalifragilistic Evening with Richard M. Sherman.
The second half of the program will include additional performers (“including wacky Joanne Worley”) joining in on songs from Richard’s latest show, Pazzazz, co-written with Magic Castle founder, Milt Larsen. The show will be performed on Friday, February 26 at 7 p.m., and Saturday February 27 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the El Capitan Theatre Box Office (6838 Hollywood Blvd.) or by calling 1-818-845-3110.
This time I’m not going to say a word:
Plumiferos premiered in Buenos Aires last Friday. It’s the first CG animated feature to come from Argentina, in addition to being the first feature length film animated in Blender. For more information, and a candid review by a production crew member, visit Blender Nation.
(Thanks, Chris Larkee)
Friday will mark Tex Avery’s 102st birthday. To commemorate, the students of North Dallas High School, Avery’s alma mater, the place where Avery picked up the “What’s Up, Doc?” tagline he later gave to Bugs Bunny, are decorating the halls of the school with a mural of characters he created.
In another tribute to Avery’s genius, I highly recommend the latest post by Chris Lopez on his ComicsCrazy blog. Chris has posted over 40 vinatge MGM model sheets from various Avery classics: Lucky Ducky, Little Tinker, Bad Luck Blackie etc. The one above is from Screwball Squirrel, drawn by Claude Smith.
(Thanks, Oliver Coombes, Kevin Kidney and Peter Kurilecz)
Long before Hanna Barbera’s Oscar-winning cat and mouse, a decade before Van Beuren’s rubber-hose human pair, a comical duo named Tom and Jerry created mischef on movie screens in animated theatrical short subjects that have long been forgotten – and are perhaps lost for all time.
In the image above, Tom is the man and Jerry is the mule. This was a stop-motion Tom and Jerry series, filmed in Los Angeles in the 1920′s, modeled and animated by Joseph Leeland Roop, a stop-motion pioneer who today is just as forgotten as the films themselves. Lee Roop, his grandson, is presently preparing a book about the animator and provided Cartoon Brew with tantalizing information about the original Tom & Jerry films.
Lee says J.L. Roop worked on twelve shorts for producer Lloyd C. Haynes, released between 1923-1924. All are (as of this writing) lost films. If anyone has any clues to their whereabouts, please contact us. The titles are:
The Incomparable Aerial Comedians in Fly-Time by H. C. Matthews
The Amiable Comedians in Throbs and Thrills (“A Snappy Railroad Comedy Drama”) by H. C. Matthews
Gasoline Trail by Bumps Adams
Tom’s First Fliver by Bumps Adams
Tom Turns Sleuth by Doris E. Kemper
Tom Turns Farmer by Doris E. Kemper
Tom’s Charm by Marshall Roop
Moonshine Frolic by Glen Lambert
Tom Turns Hero by Doris E. Kemper
The Jungle of Prehistoric Animals by G. E. Baily Ph. D.
Tom Goes on Vacation
Lee Roop provided this biographical information:
Joseph Leeland Roop was born in Kentucky on December 22, 1869 and died on December 22, 1932 in Glendale California. He was a sculptor most of his life and his work can be found in Indiana, Kentucky, and California.
When he died he was working for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and made most of the Early California History miniature dioramas which most are still on display. He also started and almost finished some of the statues at the Page Museum in Los Angeles (The La Brea Tar Pits) but died before he finished them and Herman Beck finished them and got the credit. You can find the picture of the saber tooth tiger on the internet.
He worked on the 1925 version of The Lost World making and animating some of the dinosaur scenes. His picture is on the Ray Harryhausen website as a early pioneer. He worked on the 1926 version The Gorilla Hunt, making the gorilla model and animating the scenes. He carved a fourteen foot wooden indian which is still in San Bernardino.
Lee sent three images (thumbnails below – click to see larger image). 1. a trade advertisement for the Tom & Jerry series, 2. An article from the May 1924 Popular Mechanics magazine, 3. Second page of P.M. article:
This is the kind of stuff I crave, new information on the unsung pioneers of animation history. Mr. Roop will keep me informed on the progress of his book – and I thank him for sending us this little preview.
Don Hahn’s documentary on the Disney Animation renaissance of the 1990s is opening on March 26th in LA, NY, San Francisco and Chicago. I’m looking forward to seeing it. Here’s the trailer:
Argyle Sweater (2/18/10) by Scott Hilburn, Lio (2/16/10) by Mark Tatulli and today’s (2/21/10) Fox Trot by Bill Amend.
(Thanks Jed Martinez, Jim Lahue and Charles Brubaker)
Megan Lynch is a singer/songwriter who, like many of us, learned classic American popular songs via watching Warner Bros. cartoons. Lynch has been active in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 20 years or so and on her debut album, Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me, she is accompanied by Tony Marcus and Robert Armstrong of The Cheap Suit Serenaders (Armstrong himself is a well-known animation fan and underground cartoonist. He created Mickey Rat back in the day).
Songs on the album include Hello Ma Baby, I Love To Singa, Someone’s Rockin’ My Dreamboat, The Latin Quarter and eight more you’ll surely recognize. I found it a total joy to listen to. You can purchase a cd or download an mp3 via cdbaby, though Lynch has graciously allowed Cartoon Brew readers to enjoy the entire album free, via the embed below:
Attention! If you are hungry for a new Bill Plympton cartoon – or some great barbeque steak – New York’s Hill Country Barbecue Market will present the world premiere of Plympton’s latest, The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger on Tuesday March 2nd. Plympton will be there to introduce his brand-new cartoon short, along with live performances by his musical collaborators Nicole Renaud and Maureen McElheron. Everyone who comes receives a free Bill Plympton cow drawing.
When: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010, 6-8pm
Location: Hill Country Barbecue Market is located at 30 West 26th St., NY.
Each year I’m dismayed at the lack of U.S. distribution for several high quality theatrical animated features, out of the dozens of really good ones, produced around the world.
However, I recognize that not all non-U.S. features are of the quality of The Secret of Kells, Persepolis, Waltz With Bashir or The Triplettes of Belleville. Here are two examples of recent Euro-features that will probably never see the light of day at an American multi-plex (though I wouldn’t rule them out from the $1 dollar bin at Target):
The first, a
Germany Danish film, Sunshine Barry and the Disco Worms
The next, a Belgium-Luxembourg co-production, is based on the graphic novel by Willy Vandersteen, Bob and Bobbette and the Devils of Texas:
Once each year at the DeMille Barn in Hollywood, the Animation Guild, ASIFA-Hollywood and Women In Animation present An Afternoon of Remembrance, “a non-denominational celebration of departed friends from our animation community”.
This year the event takes place on Saturday, March 13th, at 1pm (A reception precedes the memorial at 12 noon). Tributes will be paid to many, including:
Wayne Allwine, Ray Aragon, Dina Babbitt, Bob Broughton, Art Clokey, Vincent Davis, Virginia Davis, Jaime Diaz, Roy E. Disney, Bob Dranko, Heinz Edelmann, Ric Estrada, Victor Haboush, Dallas McKennon, Marty Murphy, Tony Peters, Arnold Stang and others.
The Afternoon of Remembrance is free of charge and is open to all. No RSVPs necessary. Food and refreshments, 12 noon, Memoriams, 1 pm. The Hollywood Heritage Museum (Lasky-DeMille Barn) is located at 2100 N. Highland Ave. (across from Hollywood Bowl) in Hollywood, California.
Here’s a heads up on Quantum Quest – the Movie, a 50 minute 3-D Large Format film with an amazing ensemble cast of recognizable voice actors, a lame story and cliche characters & dialogue. It has Delgo written all over it. It opens in museums and Imax Theatres starting this month.
(Thanks, Al Young)
This is an animated short using audio of David Lynch recounting the time he met George Lucas about possibly directing Return of The Jedi. Animator Sascha Ciezata says, “This was shot entirely with my iPhone 3G using the iMotion app. I take credit for the crude illustrations. Enjoy…”
The animated music videos above and below weren’t created to be seen this way. They are the creations of a “motion design” company called Naked. They are used as backdrop light shows for concerts and special musical events. The one above is synced to a track by Canadian pop singer Coeur De Pirate (Beatrice Martin). Directly below is a visual to accompany French DJ David Guetta; below that, a video backdrop for Mika (Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr.) followed by a video of his performance in concert, with the animation in use behind him.
Until Asifa-Hollywood posts the official videos of this year’s Annie Awards (2/5/10 at UCLA’s Royce Hall), we’ll have to do with hand-held shakey cam videos popping up on You Tube. This one was shot from the nose-bleed seats, and the center screen is too bright to be properly photographed, but it does give you a sense of the event – It’s the first seven minutes of the ceremony, which includes a gag video of Tom Kenny battling William Shatner ala a sequence from Star Trek (“Arena“); Shatner’s opening remarks; and Seth Green presenting the Home Entertainment Award to Futurama’s creators.