Must-read article for today: The New York Times on animator Shamus Culhane’s secret art, hidden in Walter Lantz Cartoons of the 1940s.
The article examines the theory – discussed by Tom Klein in an article in the acedemic publication Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal – that Culhane worked experimental art into his Woody Woodpecker and Swing Symphony cartoons, produced by Walter Lantz, in the 1940s.
Be sure to click the video to see the slowed-down track Klein made of the “hidden images” in Culhane’s The Loose Nut (1945).
(Thanks to Tom Klein for the two images, above, from The Greatest Man in Siam (1944) with not-so-subtle suggested imagery, courtesy of Culhane and background designer Art Heinemann)
After seeing the remake of True Grit a few months ago, Leonard Maltin decided to re-read the original Charles Portis novel and the rest of authors work. Imagine his surprise when, while reading Portis’ first book Norwood, he found a reference to both Warner Bros. Road Runner and Coyote AND Paramount’s Noveltoons!
Paramount Cartoons noted in great literature? Seymour Kneitel recognized for his directorial genius? I’m afraid not. It more likely reflects the general public’s attitude towards Chuck Jones mini masterpieces versus all other comers. And most Noveltoons are not very good (though a guilty pleasure of mine!).
Norwood was written in 1966 and has recently been reprinted along with True Grit and Portis’ other novels by Tusk, a division of The Overlook Press. I’ve posted the page from the book below, the relevant text in bold. The set-up is that good ol’ boy Norwood has just hitched a ride with a guy driving a bread-delivery truck, who turns out to be a talkative fellow.
We’ve been meaning to post this for a long time: Energetically Yours (1957). An industrial film about the history of mankind’s use of energy, it was produced for the Standard Oil Company and directed by UPA co-founder Dave Hilberman – with animation production supervised at both Playhouse Pictures (by Bill Melendez) and Quartet Films (under Art Babbitt).
The film stands apart due to its design by British illustrator Ronald Searle, perfectly translating his unique style of drawing to animation. Sorry this copy of the film is so faded… to see some behind the scenes photos, artwork (with the correct color) and to read more information on the film, I highly recommend this post at Matt Jones’ Searle tribute blog, Perpetua.
And yes, that’s Marvin Miller doing the narration.
I’m excited about this: Coming in September is a new book containing previously unpublished stories by Dr. Seuss, The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories. It contains seven rarely-seen illustrated tales by Theodor Geisel, compiled by Suess-ologist Charles Cohen, that originally appeared in magazines between 1948 and 1959. This news report below explains more:
“JOT was just a basic circle that changed shape and color depending on his relationship with God”.
All hail Jot, the syndicated cartoon series from 1965 with strikingly modern design – graphics perhaps MORE inspirational than the religious messages crammed into each episode. Amid has written about Keitz & Herndon, Jot’s Texas-based production studio, in his book Cartoon Modern and previously on the Brew. Now, several rare cels from the show have turned up and are being offered at auction next month, on May 5, in Heritage’s New York City Comics Auction.
The visual storytelling on Jot was certainly ahead of anything being done at the time for television – especially interesting as it was produced by a small firm in Dallas. Check out this sample episode, below:
I just finished my second music video using that same program. You posted the first on Cartoon Brew and because of that I received a lot of positive feedback. Nintendo even got wind of it and filmed a segment about the video (see first 2 minutes of video below), that was totally due to you being awesome enough to post it here. I plugged your site but they cut it out. Jerks!
Filmmaker, photographer and cartoonist for hire Nico Colaleo created this affectionate homage to 1930s cartoon super stars, titled Swing You Sinners, and posted it on his website a few weeks ago. By popular demand – including this Brewmaster’s personal begging and pleading – Nico decided to make prints and offer them for sale. I can now live happily-ever-after knowing my favorite cartoon stars will be staring at me for years to come! You can too – order yours here.
This month my monthly screening at the Cinefamily (at the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood) is a tribute to the Phantasmagoric Films of Piotr Kamler. Amid has previously posted about Kamler on the Brew; his films contain a surreal assortment of sci-fi imagery, combining stop-motion techniques (puppets, clay, cut-out), early CG and even pinboard animation.
Tonight, in addition to a selection of his best shorts, we’ll be screening a rare 35mm print of Kamler’s 52-minute opus, Chronopolis (his only feature film) – an Egyptian-flavored cybernetic opus that sucks you into a alternate universe with its own M.C. Escher-like laws of physics, space, time, and dream-logic. Fans of surrealist animators like the Brothers Quay will see similarities to their earlier films, which were likely influenced by this incredible work. The show starts at 8pm. Tickets and more info here.
It’s rare when a series revival is an improvement over the original… but that seems to be the case with Thundercats. In case you couldn’t make it to Wondercon this past weekend, here’s the “sizzle reel” they ran there:
Iuri AraÃºjo, an illustrator/animator in Brazil, has put his student short on the web and its worth a look. Do Outro Lado (“On The Other Side”) was AraÃºjo’s graduation film from Graphic Design High School in 2009. Here is his production blog for the film.