Benny and Rafi Fine (The Fine Brothers) ruin fifty Disney animated features in 3 minutes:
(Thanks, Kelly Aarons)
Benny and Rafi Fine (The Fine Brothers) ruin fifty Disney animated features in 3 minutes:
(Thanks, Kelly Aarons)
Lio (11/14) by Mark Tatulli
(Thanks, Jim Lahue)
How’s this for a merchandising ploy? This came in today’s email:
“Warner Archives is offering the first 400 pre-orders for Hanna Barbera’s The Dukes: The Complete Animated Series, autographed by actor James Best (who played Sheriff Coltrane). Limit 1 per customer. The DVD set will be released on December 7th.”
I wonder how many people were on the fence about buying this DVD set, but changed their mind and immediately ordered it once they heard the fifth-billed actor on the series was going to sign the box?
(Thanks, Bob Miller)
Today the American Composers Forum is commemorating the birth of a “quintessential American form of 20th century music: cartoons”.
Actually, there is a lot to celebrate today. November 18, 1928 was the day Steamboat Willie, Disney’s first cartoon with a synchronized soundtrack, premiered at the Colony Theater in New York City. This is also the official birthday of its star, Mickey Mouse.
Because of this, Carl Stalling is being featured today with a tribute on Composers Datebook despite the fact that Stalling didn’t create the musical track for Steamboat Willie (Willfred Jackson and Carl Edouarde did that). There’s no doubt, however, that Stalling is a seminal figure in both Disney music and Warner Bros. cartoons and his influence is still being felt today.
So “Happy Birthday” to Mickey, Willie and the soundtrack of all of our lives – Cartoon Music!
(Thanks, Uncle Wayne)
It’s rare when they are showing cartoons at L.A.’s CineFamily/Silent Movie Theatre without me, but that’s what’s planned on Wednesday December 1st. Animator Tom Sito will host a program of Pioneering Silent Animation at 8pm, featuring rare 35mm prints restored by the George Eastman House. Koko the Clown, Oswald the Rabbit, Mutt and Jeff and Felix The Cat will be represented in films by legendary animation directors Friz Freleng, Dave Fleischer, Paul Terry, Otto Messmer and a certain obscure fellow named Walt Disney. The evening’s program includes:
Domestic Difficulties (1916, Mutt and Jeff)
Trapped (1923, Koko the Clown)
Felix Gets Revenge (1922, Felix The Cat)
Felix Trips Through Toyland (1925, Felix The Cat)
Felix Flirts With Fate (1926, Felix The Cat)
Felix Trifles With Time (1925, Felix The Cat)
Felix Kept On Walking (1926, Felix The Cat)
Scaling The Alps (1928, Aesop’s Film Fables)
Weary Willies (1929, Oswald the Rabbit)
Sky Scrappers (1928, Oswald the Rabbit)
For more information and tickets: click here.
Nick Cross and Troy Little directed this funny half hour pilot for Teletoon At Night, based on Little’s graphic novel Angora Napkin. It’s packed with everything I like: Zombies, girls, rock and roll, Sea Monkeys, Lorne Greene jokes and meat. The pilot was finally broadcast on Halloween night in Canada and posted online today. It’s also now available for download on iTunes (for free!).
Calling all animation historians and Disney geeks! Our friends at the Modern Mechanix blog have dug up another animation related article from their stash of long lost popular science/mechanics publications of the 1930s. This time it’s Making Mickey Mouse Act For the Talkies from the March 1931 issue of Modern Mechanix magazine. The article, by Gordon S. Mitchell of Universal’s sound department – who includes ample references to Lantz’s Oswald Rabbit – is a pretty poorly written explanation of how cartoons are produced. However, it does feature several unique behind-the-scenes photos and drawings, and well worth a look for how animation production was explained to the public in those long ago days before DVD bonus features. Check it out here.
(Thanks, C. Peklenk)
This Sunday, November 21st, the Israel Philatelic Service will issue a set of postage stamps to commemorate ASIFA International’s anniversary and ASIFA Israel’s 25th birthday. The set contains 15 stamps, each slightly different, creating a movement cycle (pictured below, poor image to discourage counterfeiters). They will also release a flip-book of the stamps (above) marking “250 years since the first flip-book”. If you’re interested in ordering/buying these stamps, or the flip-book, you can use the online Israel Post website. Both the flip-book and the stamps page cost approximately $6 (six dollars) US each.
(Thanks, Maureen Furniss)
The Vault of Walt by my old friend Jim Korkis is a great read and must have for anyone interested in the history of Walt Disney. Korkis has collected over 35 untold tales about Disney and his company – “Unofficial, Unauthorized, Uncensored Disney Stories Never Told” is the sub-title. I love the little details, the nooks and crannies of both Disney films and Disney the man – and that is what Korkis supplies, the fascinating stories behind the little things left out of all the big biographies of Disney’s life and legacy. And true to its source, it’s as much fun to read as any vintage Disney movie – you really sense Jim’s enthusiasm on every page. You’ll read about Chuck Jones four months at Disney Animation (in 1953), the short-lived radio series Mickey Mouse Theatre of the Air, Disney involvement with his last film, Blackbeard’s Ghost (1967), and what happened when he returned to his home town, Marceline, in 1956 — and much much more. This is stuff I always wanted to know about and I’m delighted its all been committed to print. An absolute joy and highly recommended!
Hatsune Miku is the latest J-Pop star – with a twist: she’s not real. In fact, she’s an anime “holograph” (Actually, she’s projected onto a mesh screen so it’s technically flat). Finally a use for motion capture I approve of. At least, I think its mo-cap… the company behind this, Crypton Future Media, won’t admit that either. Here’s a sample performance – and the song is catchy too:
(Thanks, Paul Dini)
A Chinese hand drawn animated film Xiong Mao Zong Dong Yuan (“Panda Story”) is scheduled to be released in January 2011, supposedly in 3D, according to the website CRI-English.com. They are reporting that the film is a co-production by the China Film Group and a German company ORB Filmproduktion GmbH, has been six years in the making, with an investment of $52 million (US $).
The article also states:
Following “Xiong Mao Zong Dong Yuan,” the Hollywood film “Kung Fu Panda 2″ will be released in mid-2011. The two panda stories will compete for audiences. Chen said the production period for his film would be longer than that of “Kung Fu Panda,” which required four years for its animation effects and six years for its total production.
“Audiences will see the competition of the two panda stories and see which panda is better,” Chen was quoted as saying. “They will see more Chinese features and Chinese spirit in the character in my film. Even the background will be specially created according to Chinese painting style.” The panda character in “Xiong Mao Zong Dong Yuan” leads his villagers in a fight against their enemies and successfully survives the attackers.
Each week, just for fun, we post several syndicated comic strips that make reference to animated cartoon characters. We are not claiming these to be the greatest comics of the week, or even particularly well-drawn or funny. It’s simply a reflection of how animation is perceived in a related media, and our record of it. Personally, for historical purposes, I find these fascinating.
You may comment on these below if you wish, but this weekly post will, from now on, be heavily moderated for thoughtful opinions (if these strips warrant any).
This week The Argyle Sweater (11/9) by Scott Hilburn; and Brevity (11/11) by Guy and Rod.
(Thanks to Jim Lahue and Ed Austin)
I had a chance to see Tangled a few weeks ago and I’ve been biding my time and collecting my thoughts about it. The arrival (in my mailbox) of Jeff Kurtti’s terrific new Chronicle “Art of” book permits me the opportunity to discuss my feelings about the film in a context that doesn’t allow me to be a total downer.
The Film: Tangled has everything you’d expect in an Disney animated musical – and that’s my big problem with it.
Let me be clear: The artwork, the character animation, the settings, the visuals are all absolutely first rate. The artists did great work and it shows. Kurtti’s book is a testament to their achievements. They’ve achieved the effect of a three dimensional classic Disney animated feature here. However, the story itself is a major letdown. I found it trite, cliche, generic. The poster could just simply read “Generic Disney Animated Musical” and that would sum it up. There is nothing in this film you haven’t seen or felt before. For example, when Rapunzel sings her “I want” song, it’s to go “down there”, out of her tower – the flipside of Ariel’s “up there”, Part of Your World.
One thing struck me as new – the film seemed heavily skewed towards a younger, teenage girl audience (the Hannah Montana crowd?). I don’t recall a single Disney feature (save for Winnie The Pooh or the Disneytoon releases) that wasn’t aimed at a general (children and adult) audience. In fact, most modern animated films (Dreamworks, Pixar, Blue Sky, Sony, even Nickelodeon) are aimed as much towards adults as the kids. Not this.
The songs are unmemorable. Even The Princess and the Frog had memorable, innovative song sequences. Say what you will about P&TF, I couldn’t get some of the musical numbers out of my head after seeing the film the first time. Remember the animated opening sequence in Enchanted, which was a spoof of a generic Disney Princess film? This is that film – feature length. I truly enjoyed the visuals in Tangled, but I kept expecting the story to lift me to another place – as most great Disney and Pixar films do – but that “lift’ never came.
Did I like anything in the film? I liked the horse, Maximus. He had more personality than any of the humans and was extremely well animated. He’s the only thing I took home with me. Will you like the film? If you love all-things-Disney, you probably will. Perhaps I’m out of touch… perhaps others will explain what I’m missing. I hate being the party-pooper. I admire the craft, I can see the achievement of replicating the classic Disney “look” to dimensional CGI – but the story, the songs, the humor all seemed safe, familiar and flat. Will it make money? Yes. Because parents and young ones will enjoy a generic Disney musical, no matter how many times they’ve seen it before. Will I see it again? Yes, both to give it a second chance and to enjoy the bounty of rich visuals.
If anything, Tangled underlines the aesthetic differences between Disney Feature Animation and Pixar. The Pixar “braintrust” has a strong point of view, with a progressive approach to storytelling – and this has made Pixar the modern day leader in mass market/mainstream entertainment. The studio is floundering with its Disney choices and there seems to be no easy answer. What’s best to release under the Disney label? Classic fairy tales? Princesses? Brand franchises? CG or hand-drawn? Each new film brings answers and raises new questions.
This has probably popped up on all the Disney fan pages, but I thought it worthy of posting here for Brew readers who (like me) avoid those sites. It’s the first episode of Disney’s D23 webcast, Armchair Archivists, hosted by Disney buffs Steve Czarnecki and Josh Turchetta. It’s worth watching for the bittersweet vault footage of Walt, his last appearance before the cameras, in a special clip introducing a screening of Follow Me, Boys!. They also introduce Disney Archives head Becky Cline who shows off a few nifty items, such as Walt’s Laugh-O-Grams directors megaphone and some original 1917 drawings. Enjoy!