I mentioned in an earlier post that there is a nod to the late great Disney/Pixar storyman Joe Ranft (Lion King, Toy Story, Roger Rabbit, Cars, etc.) in Coraline. Thanks to the fine folks at Laika Entertainment, we can show you that acknowledgement.
The moving men who help the Jones family move into their new home are The Ranft Brothers, and the puppets are caricatures of real-life brothers and animation artists Joe and Jerome Ranft (Jerome, a sculptor at Pixar, provides the duo’s vocals). Joe Ranft worked with Henry Selick on both The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and The Giant Peach and was a valued member of the Pixar family. Selick’s tribute is a beautiful, fitting salute to a colleague and a friend.
Click on thumbnails below for large images.
Sculptor Damon Bard also posted photos of the Ranft model on his website:
“It’s really cool you posted about the Joe and Jerome movers. Tonight I will post my original designs of the Ranft Brothers on my blog. You can use them in this post if you would like, so you can have the complete progression. I would be honored.
It was an honor to have Henry ask me to design Joe and Jerome. Joe’s family and freinds sent us tons of photos and told lots of stories to get me inspired. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little teary eyed surrounded by photos of and watching video of Joe and really trying to capture what made him Joe. I was so nervouse that his family and friends would not like what I had done (including Henry). But they were all so gracious and happy about what I had done. It was a wonderful memory that I am very glad you posted about. It brought it all back. Thanks for your continued support for Coraline, Jerry. We all apreciate it.”
(Design above by Shane Prigmore. Ranft Bros. photos from Coraline, at the top of this post, courtesy of Fumi Kitahara, Jade Alex and Laika)
The Harvey Comics art exhibit, From Richie Rich to Wendy which began it’s tour last summer in San Francisco, is now in New York City at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. The exhibit will run through April 18th and is well worth a visit. The Villager just published a story (which quotes yours truly) about Harvey and the art show in this week’s edition. MoCCA is located at 594 Broadway at Houston St., in suite #401. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday, 12 noon through 5pm. Here is a video report on the exhibit from local New York News channel NY1.
Here’s something different – and a nice way to start the week: French pop star Gregoire’s music video for his new song Rue Des Etoiles. It was directed and created by the Le French Bulldog animation studio.
Howdy, Pardners! This is a plug, slighty OT, for a musical event happening on Monday night, February 9th, in Hollywood California – sorry for the short notice.
Will Ryan (voice actor in Land Before Time, The Gummi Bears, G.I. Joe, The Little Mermaid and creator of Elmo Aardvark) has created a new live musical revue at the Steve Allen Theatre featuring all original songs off his latest album, the western themed Rhythm Rides The Range. To connect this to cartoons I will mention his band features John Reynolds (an amazing guitarist who happens to have been a background painter at Klasky Csupo for many years, but even more importantly, is the grandson of Zazu Pitts!), musician Ian Whitcomb (who recently performed at Pixar and was a friend of Bob Clampett!), cartoon voice actress Diane Michelle (Superman, Invader Zim, etc.), and Anna Kasper (daughter of Fleischer historian Leslie Cabarga).
Ryan will also screen, as part of the show, a vintage black and white western cartoon, The Wild and Woozy West (1942) a Columbia/Screen Gems gag cartoon (see images above and below) somewhat influenced by Warner Bros. style. The fun starts at 8pm. For more information and tickets click here.
Last year we made note of the planned revamp of a classic Disneyland attraction, It’s A Small World. This week the new version has opened. Thanks to this L.A. Times podcast (above) we can see for ourselves some of the changes without having to hear the chrous 500 times. What do you think of the additions?
For your weekend pleasure, here’s a terrific interview with Walt Disney circa 1963, conducted by Fletcher Markle. Markle, who had just made The Incredible Journey for the studio, was a Canadian filmmaker and broadcaster. Clips from this interview have been seen in various specials and documentaries. Here’s the whole thing; it’s thirty minutes and delightful. It’s Walt just being himself, answering questions about his career, being candid about the failure of Fantasia, the success of Disneyland and his own Canadian roots.
A few years ago we posted about a musician applying a rock guitar soundtrack to a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Now a band from San Antonio called Spastic Ink wrote music to match directly with several animated sequences from Disney’s Bambi. It’s a pretty interesting experiment.
To experience all six videos in this suite click here, go to the middle of the page under the heading “A Wild Hare from ‘Spastic Ink -Ink Complete” to play the Bambi tracks.
Peter Rosenberg of Cartoon Crazys, the folks restoring Gulliver’s Travels, as I mentioned in this post, wrote this on our Comments thread:
…we are planning on doing all 17 Max Fleischer’s Superman episodes later this year as well as using Max Fleischer’s original notes to re assemble them into the full length movie he had originally wanted to do and had planned on doing at a later date when he did the cartoons for Paramount.
Huh?? I never heard this before… and I don’t buy it. You’re telling me Max wanted to assemble the 17 Paramount Superman cartoons “into the full length movie he had originally wanted to do”??? Can anyone not connected to Cartoon Crazy’s confirm this? Methinks this is major B.S. – but then again, what do I know about Superman?
On Thursday February 19th, in Beverly Hills, Tom Sito will moderate an Oscar Nominated Animated Feature Symposium celebrating the work of the 2008 Feature Film nominees. The nominees (subject to availability) will discuss their film’s development and their creative process as well as present clips illustrating their techniques. This is the first year the Academy is hosting this event as a part of its Oscar Week festivities. Admission is free, but advance tickets are required.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is also screening all the Oscar nominated shorts publicly in New York and Los Angeles. New Yorkers can take a look at the live action and animated nominees this Saturday at either 12 noon or 4pm at the Academy Theatre at Lighthouse International on 59th Street. Details on the NY show are posted here. The Los Angeles screening will be held on Tuesday February 17th, 7:30pm, at the Goldwyn Theatre on Wilshire Blvd. – L.A. details here. Admission price for the Academy screenings on both coasts is $5.
In case you feel left out, Magnolia Pictures is distributing a program of this years Oscar nominated shorts to movie theaters all over the U.S. (to over 100 cities) beginning this Friday. A complete list of playdates and locations is posted here.
P.S. Check out an audio podcast I did today with Dave Dubos, film critic for ABC in New Orleans, where I discuss the Oscar nominations.
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 it takes place this Saturday, February 7th, at 1pm. Tributes will be paid to:
John Ahern, Gus Arriola, Phyllis Barnhart, Gordon Bellamy, Harriet Burns, Greg Burson, John W. Burton, Jr., Vivian Byrne, Joyce Carlson, Bob Carr, Rose Di Bucci, Charlie Downs, Ray Ellis, Joni Jones Fitts, Etsuko Fujioka, Steve Gerber, Fernando Gonzalez, Yoo Sik Ham, Larry Harmon, Margie Hermanson, Ollie Johnston, Ted Key, Eartha Kitt, Andy Knight, Harvey Korman, Lyn Kroeger, Brice Mack, Bill Melendez, David Mitton, Gary Mooney, Jim Mueller, June Nam, Ethan Ormsby, Bill Perez, Richard Pimm, Oliver Postgate, Denis Rich, Dodie Roberts, Irma Rosien, Gerard Salvio, Gina Sheppherd, Robert Smith, Jim Snider, Al Stetter, Dave Stevens, Morris Sullivan, Emru Townsend, Pat Raine Webb, Chiyoko Wergles, Bob Winquist and Justin Wright.
The Afternoon of Remembrance is free of charge and is open to all. No RSVPs necessary. Food and refreshments, 1 pm * Memoriams, 2 pm
Hollywood Heritage Museum (Lasky-DeMille Barn)
2100 N. Highland (across from Hollywood Bowl), Hollywood, California.
In case you haven’t noticed, the classic Warner Bros. cartoons are nowhere to be seen on broadcast television or on cable. It’s been that way for a while (except for the New Years marathon on Cartoon Network). Folks (like us) on animation blogs and forums can bitch about it all day long — but does it mean anything to an average person? Has anyone in the “real world” noticed their absence?
This article, written by the local movie reviewer in Great Falls, Montana, provides an answer. Listen up, network execs: People still want their Looney Tunes back on TV where they belong.
Friday night the Annie Awards were presented at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The complete list of winners are posted here.
It was quite an evening, with Kung Fu Panda winning almost everything it was nominated for – including Best Animated Feature. Robot Chicken and Avatar: The Last Airbender were also big winners. Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs won for best direct-to-video. There were several memorable moments, including Billy Crystal giving John Lasseter his Winsor McCay award and likewise Henry Selick (pictured, above left) handing Nick Park (above right) his lifetime achievement statue. Tom Kenny was hilarious as our M.C. and other great presenters included Fred Willard, Brad Garrett, Seth Green, James Hong and Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks).
It’ll be interesting to see if an Annie sweep for Panda will have any affect on Academy voters.
Though Max Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels in public domain and widely available on several home video formats, the film has never been digitally restored to its full potential. Unfortunetly, the company with access to the original negative and soundtrack elements is not interested in restoring it and making it available on DVD.
However, a company called KOCH Vision is releasing a “digitally restored, re-mastered and enhanced” edition on both Blu-ray and standard DVD versions on March 10th. According to their press release, the DVD will include:
…the complete 77 minute feature film, two “Gabby” cartoons edited from the film’s outtakes and a Fleischer Studios “Making of a Cartoon” documentary.
KOCH Vision attained the original 35mm film and not only restored and re-mastered the film using a state-of-the-art digital process, but also enhanced the picture to a 16×9 aspect ratio. In addition, the DVD allows for three audio options: the restored original soundtrack, enhanced stereo, and 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. Both bonus cartoons and documentary have also been restored, making the KOCH Vision version of Gulliver’s Travels a must-own for fans of classic animation and children of all ages.
I’ll withhold judgement on whether this release is a good thing or not till I see this dvd myself… but “enhancing” the picture to a wide 16×9 screen ratio, and remixing the track for surround sound, are not my ideas of restoration. To some, this might be a desecration. And the box art, designed to resemble a Disney Platinum Edition, looks like a scam. Someone needs to revive Fleischer’s Gulliver and Mr. Bug, but until the corporation with the ability to do it correctly realizes what they own, this is all we can expect. I applaud KOCH for making an effort. Let’s hope they do justice to this long neglected classic.
Clutch Cargo’s success is one of those things that defies all ordinary rational standards. Artistically speaking, it is hardly in a class with UPA’s Mr. Magoo, or Hanna Barbera’s Huckleberry Hound or with any of the creations of the master, Walt Disney…
The show’s creator claims they are creating “motorized movement” — to which the writer points out “is really no movement at all”.
Yesterday I appeared on Stu Shostack’s internet radio show. While waiting for our broadcast to begin, I was rummaging through several copies of Stu’s collection of vintage TV Guide back issues. In one 1960 edition, I found two cartoon items of interest. The first was this full page ad for Sylvania television picture tubes featuring radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey interacting with Hanna Barbera TV stars Ruff and Reddy.
I love it when cartoon stars were used to sell products to adults. This was the same year The Flintstones were sponsored by Winston cigarettes and Mr. Magoo was hawking Stag Beer. And what a great sketch of the characters! An very appealing pose of Ruff — and check out the attitude on Reddy.
As for the second animation item I found in that TV Guide — check back tomorrow.
Once upon a time, long before home video, the internet, and 24 hour cartoon channels – Saturday mornings were an oasis of animation. Most of it wasn’t very good, but like junk food, it was addicting. For those jonesing for another fix, Warner Home Video will be releasing two double-disc DVD sets on May 19th that collects many of classic Saturday Morning Cartoons we grew up with.
These sets feature the first DVD appearence of many well known characters – including Hanna Barbera’s Quick Draw McGraw, 60s anime Marine Boy and Filmation’s Tarzan.
The 1960s disc features:
TOP CAT – The Tycoon
ATOM ANT/PRECIOUS PUP/HILLBILLY BEARS
THE PETER POTAMUS SHOW (with Breezly & Sneezly, Yippee, Yappee and Yahooney)
SECRET SQUIRREL/SQUIDDLEY DIDDLY/WINSOME WITCH
THE FLINTSTONES – The Happy Household
THE PORKY PIG SHOW – Often An Orphan/Mice Follies/The Super Snooper)
THE QUICK DRAW McGRAW SHOW (with SNOOPER AND BLABBER and AUGIE DOGIE) – Dynamite Fright/Outer Space Case/Growing Growing Gone
THE JETSONS – Rosey The Robot
MARINE BOY – Battle To Save The World
SPACE GHOST/DINO BOY
HERCLULOIDS – The Beaked People / The Raider Apes
FRANKENSTEIN JR. AND THE IMPOSSIBLES – The Shocking Electric Monster / The Bibbler / The Spinner
THE MAGILLA GORILLA SHOW (with PUNKIN PUSS and RICOCHET RABBIT)
THE QUCK DRAW McGRAW SHOW (with SNOOPER AND BLABBER and AUGIE DOGIE) – Dough Nutty / El Kabong Was Wrong / Gem Jam
Bonus Documentaries on QUICK DRAW McGRAW, MAGILLA GORILLA, FRANKENSTEIN JR. and THE IMPOSSIBLES.
Courtesy of the Life Magazine photo library, now online as part of Google Images, comes a treasure trove of behind the scenes publicity photos from Time For Beany. There are ten pages of incredible pictures, several featuring creator Bob Clampett and even more with performers Stan Freberg (above) and Daws Butler. Go here NOW and enjoy!
I will be the featured guest today on Shokus Internet Radio’s Stu’s Show. This will be my ninth visit to discuss all things animation with Stu and his listeners, live beginning at 4:00 p.m. PDT (7:00 p.m. EDT). Topics this time will include the upcoming Saturday Morning DVD box set from Warner Home Video, the 100 Greatest Looney Tunes book and as always, whatever the listeners want to talk about. You are encouraged to call in with your questions and comments on the station’s toll-free telephone number.
Stu’s Show airs live each Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. PST, with rebroadcasts at the same time daily. Access to the station’s feed is free, with no registration required, and is available either by clicking on the Enter Site button on the home page (www.shokusradio.com), by choosing one of the audio player links on the site’s main page, via iTunes by selecting Radio/Eclectic and then locating the station’s name alphabetically in the list, and now via iPhone by installing the WunderRadio program available from the iTunes online store. Cell phones with Windows Mobile and Internet access can also listen to the station via the new Live 365 Mobile software available at the station’s broadcast facility, www.live365.com .
I’ve always been fascinated by TV shows with animated titles. I was planning to compile some of these off You Tube, but my ol’ pal Michael Pinto got there ahead of me. He’s posted on his Fanboy blog a mini-history of the genre, collecting several well known ones from the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s.
I’m not an expert on which studio did what – oh, it’s well known Hanna-Barbera did Bewitched, UPA The Twilight Zone, DePatie Freleng animated I Dream Of Jeannie, Ken Mundie The Wild Wild West, et al. – but if any experts out there want to chime in with their knowledge on the subject (such as who drew this terrific animatic-style Mr. Terrific open above), I welcome it.
The Oscar nominations were announced this morning. Nominated for BEST ANIMATED FEATURE were:
Bolt – Walt Disney Kung Fu Panda – Dreamworks Wallâ€¢E – Pixar
WALLâ€¢E was nominated for six Academy Awards. The Pixar hit was also nominated for Best Screenplay (congrats to Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Jim Reardon), sound mixing (Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt), sound editing (Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood), music (Thomas Newman) and Original Song.
WALTZ WITH BASHIR was nominated for Best Foreign Film.
Nominated for BEST ANIMATED SHORT are:
La Maison en Petits Cubes – Kunio Kato Lavatory – A Love Story – Konstantin Bronzit Oktapodi – A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production Presto – Pixar, Doug Sweetland This Way Up – Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes
The winners will be announced Feb. 22 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.