Song of the South, the one film The Walt Disney Company will not release on DVD, lives on.
There hasn’t been much to report lately on the status of Walt’s 1946 Uncle Remus classic, but I just read Jim Korkis’ outstanding “making of” article in the latest issue Hogan’s Alley (a Comic Con purchase that I just got around to reading today) and am inspired to raise the issue again. Why isn’t this film on DVD? The studio has released much more “offending material” already, without a peep from special interest groups who might object. I appreciate all the fantastic wartime material the studio has already released, and am grateful to the company for making available all the 1930s and 40s shorts, despite some dated racial stereotypes contained therein.
“Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South?” – that’s the question I’m asking, and also it happens to be the name of Korkis’ piece in the 16th edition of Hogan’s Alley. The article is an absolute must-read and, at 19 pages, is thoroughly researched and possibly the last word on the subject. Korkis documents the complete story of the project, from pre-production to latter day reissues – with all the controversy inbetween. And if this edition of Hogan’s Alley only contained Korkis’ great article it would be well worth the cover price, but there are excellent articles on Little Lulu merchandising (and animation), an interview with Popeye artist Stephan DeStefano, rare Dan DeCarlo comic strips, and a dozen other great features. Buy this today.
On a related note, Mike Van Eaton just acquired a set of Ub Iwerks notes and production boards from SotS (see storyboards below, click thumbnails to see larger images). Note the deleted sequence on the boards second row, below right. Mike isn’t selling these – but graciously allowed me to post them for our readers enjoyment.
Just a quick heads-up that I’ll be introducing a double feature Max Fleischer’s two great animated features, Gulliver’s Travels (1939) and Mr. Bug Goes To Town (1941) at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California on Friday September 25th. Both will be presented in 35mm, with uncut IB Technicolor prints projected on the large screen, just as they were meant to be seen. Mark your calendar now! More details about this event will be posted when we get closer to the actual date.
Sam Henderson has uploaded a rare, heavily illustrated article about UPA on his Magic Whistle blog. The article, by Catherine Sullivan, appeared in the November 1955 issue of American Artist. The text is rather slim, but the images are from a variety of UPA works including commercials and industrials, as well as theatricals like The Jaywalker (pictured above). Worth a look.
Not sure how long this has been online, but I just discovered a Daily Motion page which has several excerpts from the Renegade AnimationFunny Face pilot. We first reported on Renegade’s plans to revive the animated characters back in March 2008. For more info on the folks who control the property today, click here.
I love this record. And I couldn’t resist showing off the label (above).
Marquis Howell (of Hobo Jazz.com and bass player for Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys) handed me this record at the show last night. He found it in a thrift shop for a buck and gave it to me as a gift. Thanks, man! I’d heard the track before, but I don’t recall ever seeing the label for it.
You can listen to the classic Daffy Duck’s Rhapsody on You Tube — as well as it’s flip side, I’m Glad That I’m Bugs Bunny, both written by Warren Foster and Michael Maltese, with incredible vocals by Mel Blanc. For more information on vintage Looney Tunes recordings, visit Golden Age Cartoons. Click thumbnails below see larger images of the labels and record sleeve.
Not animation, but an incredible exhibition of artistic talent from a broadcast of Ukraine’s Got Talent. It’s a stunning and touching artwork/performance about WWII from the Ukrainian point of view, eliciting not only applause but tears from the audience. It’s refreshing to watch an artist draw and perform — and win — instead of the many average singing acts. And it’s also captivating to watch the story develop as each scene is swept away to create a new one:
Here’s a film I’d pay good money to see. Megatron kicking Thomas in his Tank Engine caboose.
Until then, I’ll have to be content with this cheap Chinese toy (possibly a knock-off) currently being sold on ebay. If this is an officially licensed product, there is something so wrong about it — yet, I like it. Check out more pics on LikeCool.com.
Here’s one for the hard-core cartoon historians: Recently, Brew reader Neil was replaying an old Paramount Popeye cartoon, and made a surprising audio find. On the soundtrack of Shuteye Popeye (1952), when the mouse’s audio is slowed down to about 40%, it’s clear that the track is actually a vocal outtake (perhaps director Isadore Sparber, or I suspect Seymour Kneitel) protesting that he doesn’t know what to say. Have a listen for yourself:
I was flipping through the paper today – the entertainment section – and came across a trio of the ugliest movie ads I’d ever seen. The fact that they were for animated features (or mostly animated features) didn’t help ease the pain. In fact, I found them downright embarrassing (Click thumbnails below to see larger images):
Regardless of these films entertainment value, or their effectiveness in generating box office bucks, the ads are atrocious. To the general public they represent the current, sad state of theatrical family fare and could (despite Pixar’s best efforts) perpetuate negative stereotypes on animated films. What happened to style? To appeal? To a sense of wonder? Call me old-fashioned, but the ugly anthropomorphic things staring at us in these ads are not cartoons – they are simply another bunch of freaky flickers.
Last year we posted a link for a new animated film called Freaky Flickers. Recently, Brew reader Joshua Bell decided to check the site again for any updates. What he saw wasn’t pretty.
The writer/director/animator of this mess, Cary Howe, posted the story of how his producing partners ripped him off. (The site died a week ago and Josh had to use Google to catch the links). Here’s the opening:
“This is the sad tale of how a landmark film was born and died. Late 2005 I began early tests for a possible TV series based on the Freaky Flickers toyline. By February 2009 the project had expanded to a 90 minute theatrical feature. We had a 2,800+ theater release with MGM and it seemed like nothing could stop us.
“On 6/9/09 I finished my night’s work at 12 noon. Exhausted I wished my “friend” David Kann good night/afternoon and went to bed leaving him editing in my living room. I put in ear plugs to drown out the noise of the render boxes in the next room and fell asleep. I awoke just before 8pm to a silent dark empty house. Mr. Kann and the equipment were gone as were the external hard drives with the project back ups. While I slept, my business associate Peter Gantner… took everything. What made the Freaky Flickers film so unique is that it was written, directed, modeled, animated and rendered by one person with a final budget of around 250K. A first for a major theatrical release. As I write this the film is in the hands of the lawyers but the odds of it ever seeing the light of day are near zero. I entered the business in 1979 and after my experience with Freaky Flickers I can’t see myself ever making another film. On 6/9/09 not only did a film die but a career and a hundred plus unmade films passed.”
Cartoon Network seeks Teens (12-18) for new competition show! (Los Angeles)
CASTING TEENAGERS AGES 12-18 FOR HIGH ENERGY/POP CULTURE SHOW THAT CHALLENGES YOUR MIND AND YOUR BODY!!!!
THIS IS NOT ABOUT ANY ONE SKILL, BUT YOUR DESIRE TO WIN!!
Are you fast on your toes and quick on your trivia knowledge?
The Cartoon Network is looking for FUN & ENERGETIC teens to show us what they know in a fast paced competition show that’s big on thrills!!!
Shoot Dates (MUST BE AVAILABLE ALL 3 or 4 DAYS):
TBD MID SEPTEMBER
Contestants will be paid a participation fee + a chance for CASH PRIZES!!
Participants MUST have or obtain an entertainment work permits. If you do not have a work permit we can provide you with the paperwork, but your legal guardian and school will need to approve ASAP.
Parent or Legal Guardian must accompany teens under 18 to shoot.
MUST provide age verification at audition (Birth Certificate and School ID) and a copy of current work permit if available.
If interested, please email [email protected] with a recent PHOTO, your age/birthdate, and a quick couple lines to introduce yourself
Location: Los Angeles
Compensation: daily participation fee + cash prizes
We haven’t plugged any podcasts in a while. Here’s one that’s worth your time: Todd Dolce runs an animation/cartooning webcast that should be of interest to many Brew readers. Recently, Dolce has done terrific interviews with Gene Deitch (Tom Terrific), Don Bluth (Secret of Nimh), Dan Thompson (Rip Haywire), Joe Harris (Underdog), cartoonist Bob Scott, and illustrator Lowell Hess. All deserve a listen. It’s officially called the Boing Podcast and here is the link.
Game site 1Up.com is reporting on an ambitious new “steampunk” Mickey Mouse game in development, codenamed Epic Mickey. Warren Spector (video game superstar behind System Shock, Deus Ex) and Disney’s Junction Point Studios are working on this secret project, in development for Nintendo’s Wii. Artists Tony Pulham, Gary Glover and Fred Gambino are said to be doing development art (click thumbnails above for larger images). For more art and info, click here.
The folks at the John Basmajian Collection have just unearthed – and posted – a reel of rare 8mm film footage of the infamous 1941 Disney animators strike. This is new stuff and incredibly rare. They even did a nice job of adding sound effects to bring it to life. Tom Sito points out, when watching the footage, to look for these highlights:
â€¢ The first man shown speaking on a microphone is Animator Art Babbitt.
â€¢We see a shot of Walt Disney standing in the guard shack, hat on head and white shirt open at the neck, watching the strikers outside his gate.
â€¢ The second closeup of a man using a microphone is actor John Garfield, a matinee idol of the 1940s.
â€¢ The next shot is Walt Disney going through the picketline in his fashionable Packard.
â€¢ The next person driving his car through the disapproving pickets is director Ham Luske.
â€¢ The group carrying the Guillotine is the Warner Bros unit, led by picket captain Chuck Jones- the young man to the left in the black shirt. The effigy in the Guillotine was supposed to be of Disney’s attorney Gunther Lessing.
Thanks to its huge opening weekend box office gross, Paramount is fighting back with the Rats of Nimh. Neil Burger, who wrote The Illusionist and is currently working on The Bride of Frankenstein for Universal, is turning his attention to a CG re-do of Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH, according to Variety.
Meanwhile, Variety is also reporting that Universal Pictures and their animation division, Illumination Entertainment, are joining forces to turn the Dr. Seuss book The Lorax into a 3-D CG animated feature. The project will be co-directed by Chris Renaud and Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, with Paul & Daurio writing the script. The picture is targeted for a March 2, 2012, release, which falls on the birthday of Theodor Geisel, who died in 1991.
I’ve nothing against adapting great children’s literature, or remaking cartoons based on great children’s literature, but why hasn’t the success of UP (U.S. gross $284,239,283. to date) inspired Hollywood to create something original? Oh, yeah… it’s Hollywood.
I had an opportunity to join selected journalists at a Hayao Miyazaki-John Lasseter press conference held yesterday (7/28) before their appearence at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last night. I also shot some video (sorry for the shakey hand held camera work, and the low audio) and thought it was worth sharing with our readers. In this first part below Miyazaki talks about using (or not using) CG and his chances of making a film in 3-D. Lasseter discusses the process of dubbing a Miyazaki’s films. Interesting to note they’ve already dubbed Tales From Earthsea.
In the second part, Lasseter discusses 3-D animated films; Miyazaki talks about what’s happening with his son:
In the third part, John Lasseter discusses his admiration of Miyazaki’s films, his reaction to the first one he saw, Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki’s influence in Pixar films, and why he wants to bring Miyazaki’s films to the US:
Next Tuesdsay night at 8pm, I’ll be presenting a program of animation reflecting the styles, language and music of the Beat Generation. The screening will take place at the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood (on Fairfax and Melrose), continuing my series of first-Tuesday-of-each-month animation spectaculars there. Rare film prints and video will be screened and the program will include independent films, TV cartoons (though not any Dick Tracy cartoons with Heap O’Calorie and Nick, as pictured above). We will screen works by Ernest Pintoff, Bob Clampett, Jay Ward and others. Grab an Espresso and join me next week. It’ll be cool, Daddy-o! More info here.