It’s official! Michael Eisner received a 72.5% no confidence vote from Disney employee 401K plan participants. Save Disney.com has come up with some new figures that don’t bode well for Michael.
Associated Press prints Disney’s rebuttal.
Two of the special themes at the upcoming 35th San Diego Comic Con International (July 22-25, 2004) are animation related: the 75th anniversary of Popeye and the 90th birthday of Bob Clampett (as well as the 20th anniversary of the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award which the Con awards each year in Bob’s memory). No word yet on what special events they’re planning for these anniversaries. Also worth noting, two of the special Con guests this year are legendary voice actress June Foray and independent filmmaker Bill Plympton. Speaking of Bill, here’s a great interview with him on AICN where he offers his thoughts on the best way to get your film accepted into The Animation Show and explains the backstory of his new short film PARKING. He also offers the following quote, which serves as an elegant rebuttal to Mike Lazzo’s inane comments from an earlier post.
Bill Plympton: “Animation, for me, is the truest art form because the fantasies I have in my head really would be very difficult to do in live action. Animation seems to be the purest art form to expressing those visuals. And I must say they mostly are *visual*. I’m not a very good writer in terms of dialogue and scripting. I’m a visual person, and, for me, the subconscious of the brain really hatches these incredibly surrealistic and bizarre images.”
I’m not quite sure who is behind this particular website, but someone has posted a Preston Blair Gif Gallery which presents a great set of animated gifs taken from drawings in Preston Blair’s esstential Walter Foster ANIMATION book.The site includes a rendering of Blair’s “dancing girl” (aka “Red”) in full motion.
Here’s a gem of a quote from Cartoon Network’s Mike Lazzo, who heads up the network’s “Adult Swim” block:
“We knew adults really didn’t care about the quality of animation. With children, if you had something brightly colored and moving, you could make it go. But with adults, they become bored pretty quickly with the dancing brooms unless it’s exceedingly well done. From the start, words were more important than pictures.”
It is utterly astonishing for one of the top executives at a TV channel called CARTOON Network, which specializes solely in ANIMATION, to have the audacity to say that the very reason for the network’s existence is not a concern of his and that audiences also don’t care about it. So if the pictures are mere afterthought, then somebody kindly explain why the hell does Cartoon Network even exist?
Here’s an entertaining little interview with John Kricfalusi done a few months back on a Chicago radio station. John talks about the new REN & STIMPY episodes, and other things like how he first met Bjork and his involvement on the Heathcliff animated series in the Eighties. Download it here: PART 1 and PART 2. (Thanks to the website ‘Tweening with Meaning for posting this interview. Visit the site HERE.)
Worth a listen: NPR’s “Day to Day” with guest Charles Solomon talking about the SIMPSONS voice cast demanding more money per episode. Reader Brock Gallagher says, “He makes some good points that people in the industry have been complaining about for years, mostly how when compared to the voice actors, the artists barely scrape by”.Also, on Sunday, a new episode of THE SIMPSONS, entitled “My Big Fat Geek Wedding,” features cartoonist/creator Matt Groening making his first guest appearance on the show. Groening appears as himself signing autographs for fans at a sci-fi convention.
Hartman’s MICKEY The New York Times has posted a teriffic article (to be printed in Sunday’s edition) asking if Disney can ever really revive Mickey Mouse.Along with the article is a slideshow sidebar Mickey Reimagined which has half a dozen notable artists updating Mickey in various ways. The artists include Pete De Seve, Bruce McCall, Butch Hartman, Gary Baseman and Milton Glaser, along with several others.
Mark Evanier posts that Warner Bros. animation artist and Western Publishing comic book mainstay Pete Alvarado had passed away January 30th.Alvarado also worked for Disney, MGM, UPA, Hanna-Barbera, DePatie-Freleng, Krantz, Sanrio, Ruby-Spears, Filmation, Marvel and Hyperion.
Manichi News reports that cartoonist Mitsuteru Yokoyama, best known as the creator of the animation series GIGANTOR (aka Tetsujin 28-Go), suffered serious burns and died after a fire broke out at his Tokyo home early Thursday.He was 69. Noting that there were numerous cigarette butts in an ashtray in his bedroom, investigators said they suspect that the fire started because the artist failed to extinguish one of his cigarettes.
Which one of these doesn’t belong? I can’t get over this publicity photo of Disney great Bill Tytla, with Isadore Sparber and Seymour Kneitel together in the same 1945 publicity shot for Famous Studios (pitching a background painting to Little Lulu!). Yes we all know they worked together in the mid-40s, I just never saw a photo of them standing together – an odd couple (triple?) indeed! This is one of several behind the scenes photos from Famous Studio I plan to post one day (when I have a spare moment) on a new page on my main site, CartoonResearch.com.
Continuing our Popeye news from a few days back, Fred Grandinetti (Popeye expert and author of the forthcoming book POPEYE: AN ILLUSTRATED CULTURAL HISTORY) is preparing a lecture on the subject: “How King Features Has Ruined Popeye.” The lecture will be given at a comic convention in Boston this summer and possibly at other venues. Here are the seven main points, based on his study of the audience’s perceptions over the years, of how the character has been ruined:
1 – Popeye switching from classic outfit to white sailor’s uniform
2 – The redesign of Olive Oyl
3 – The name change from Bluto to Brutus
4 – The poor quality of the TV cartoons produced by Al Brodax
5 – Popeye being used as mainly a product rather than as a character
6 – The decline in circulation of the comic strip
7 – Hearst Entertainment blocking the release of the Fleischer cartoons onto DVD/VHS.
If the still posted below of the CG Popeye is any indication, a number 8 can probably be added to this list too after the TV special airs later this year. Fred also writes that, “King has to realize that to ensure the on-going (not short-lived) success of their attempts to revive Popeye, they have to create good will among the fans. Corporate studios often forget this. I’m trying to use whatever influence I have on King to get them to give the fans what they want: classic Popeye on DVD (not more ’60s toons!)”
Here’s a link to an MP3 of the original recording of Dr. Seuss’ story GERALD MCBOING BOING, as narrated by The Great Gildersleeve (Harold Peary). The story was, of course, turned into a classic animated short by UPA in 1951. The site also has audio clips of vintage Bozo the Clown records, with the voice of Bozo provided by Pinto Colvig (Goofy). (Link via BoingBoing.net)
Mr. BasemanReminder: MOCA presents GARY BASEMAN, Lecture/Multimedia Show and Book Signing, Saturday, April 17th, 2:30pm. The Museum of Contemporary Art at California Plaza 250 S. Grand Ave., Downtown L.A.Meet the artist and celebrate the release of the first complete collection of his work, DUMB LUCK (Chronicle Books). Museum admission required for lecture attendance.
Another book signing at the MOCA Store the following day, SUNDAY, April 18, 3pm at 2447 Main St., in Santa Monica, CA.
Musician Morris Tepper and artist Brett Spivey have teamed up to create a music video for Tepper’s group Candlebone that combines footage from several Max Fleischer cartoons from the 1930s. The video, Old Tin Can, is fun – but I prefer the homage approach of the Squirrel Nut Zippers with The Ghost of Stephen Foster.