This Saturday, March 26th at 3pm, Asifa-Hollywood is presenting a program of the coolest animated television commercials from the golden age of TV. We will be screening rare 16mm prints and will include a selection of Ford spots created by Playhouse Pictures (above), including some of the earliest animation of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. It’s two hours of cartoon fun – and much of the material being screened on Saturday is not on video or viewable in any other format.Join us! Uber cool designs, commercials for cigarettes & beer… from the greatest animators in the business.Saturday March 26th 3:00pm
The American Film Institute
TED ASHLEY/WARNER BROS. SCREENING ROOM
2021 N. Western Ave.
After the recent post about Ward Kimball paintings, somebody emailed to ask whether I had a color version of Kimball’s painting of Disney colleagues Tom Oreb and Jesse Marsh, which was printed in ANIMATION BLAST #6. Indeed I do. Click on it for the full image.
The only thing I enjoy more than plugging the work of animation artists is plugging my own work, so with that in mind, let me direct you to a positive review of THE ART OF ROBOTS posted at FanboyPlanet.com. Derek McCaw writes:
Sure, it’s a given that these coffee table books will show up as tie-ins, but this effort by Amid Amidi (with a preface by Joyce and foreword by Wedge) does a better job than earlier efforts from Chronicle at really taking us into the process of designing an animated film…One of the advantages that this book has over previous efforts lies in a greater access to detail. The layout on some pages draws clear lines between inspiration and final product, highlighting specific elements on a character or a building. A few illustrations also have detailed color “callouts,” guides for the animators that provide another way in to the creative process.
In the end, The Art of Robots makes a satisfying book to flip through, and stands firmly with Chronicle’s growing library of movie art books. Whether you end up liking the movie or not is almost beside the point.
Thorsten Hasenkamm is an illustrator/painter working out of Germany who is influenced by all facets of pop culture: lucha, tiki, 60s-mod, blaxploitation. His paintings have a solid sense of design, color and cartooniness, and his work has been showing a lot of growth recently, particularly with efforts like “The Lucha Libre Bar” and the one above, “Don the Owner.” Check out his work at Hasenkamm.de.
The 25th annual Genie Awards, the Canadian film industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, announced their winners yesterday, and the winner for Best Motion Picture of 2004 was THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE. The film was competing against four live-action features and still managed to come out on top. It’s nice to hear that Canadian filmmakers still have the good sense to judge each individual film on its own merits, and don’t automatically relegate their animated films to a separate, lesser award category. (Thanks, Karl)
The April 2005 issue of NICKELODEON magazine features an article/game on Oddball Comics, titled “Odd Comic Out” (on pages 42 and 43), co-written by FOCB (Friends of Cartoon Brew) Scott Shaw! and former NICKELODEON “Comics Section” editor and DARIA writer (and future guest Brewer) Anne D. Bernstein.
It features classic Oddball issues of CRIMINALS ON THE RUN (fish-in-the-face), THE OWL (the Terror Twins kidnap Abe Lincoln’s head), STRANGE ADVENTURES (“The Hand From Beyond!”), SPACE WESTERN (pictured above, with a sex-changed space cowgirl/boy), RICKY AND DEBBIE IN SARDINELAND and a nonexistent comic, UPSIDE-DOWN ROMANCE (conceived by Anne and drawn by the magazine’s staff of artists). That’s where the “game” comes in; young readers are encouraged to determine which of the six funnybooks is a fake. The NICKELODEON editor and Anne selected the comics from my column’s archives; Jolly Jim MacQuarrie scanned ‘em and Anne and I co-wrote the copy and funnybook captions.(Unfortunately, there’s no mention of my ODDBALL COMICS column, the NICKELODEON editors deemed that the website just wasn’t “parent friendly”. They DID spell my name with the exclamation point, though!)This issue of NICKELODEON — the “2005 Kids’ Choice Award” special — is on newsstands right now, and also features original material by Roger Langridge, William Van Horn, Gary Fields, Mike Mignola, Henry Scarpelli, Klaus Janson, Johnny Ryan and many other big-name funnybook types!
We’ve just learned that animator Hal Seeger passed away on March 13th at age 87.Seeger got his start as an assistant animator at the Fleischer Studios and was a ghostwriter of Bud Counihan’s Betty Boop comic strip. In the late 1950s, Hal Seeger Productions opened in New York City, specialising in television commercials. In the early 1960s, they produced cartoons for syndication and Saturday morning television, including a KoKo The Clown revival “Out Of The Inkwell,” ABC’s “The Milton The Monster Show,” and “Batfink.” Seeger’s studio also produced the main and end titles for “The Porky Pig Show” for Warner Bros. Television.Hal Seeger Productions hosted a virtual Who’s Who of classic New York animators, designers and voice talent. Those who were prominent at the studio included Myron Waldman, Jim Tyer, Johnny Gentilella, Shamus Culhane, Morey Reden, Izzy Klein, Robert Owen, Jack Mercer, and Dayton Allen.Animator Michael Sporn shared with us some his memories of Seeger:
He gave me my start in the film business in 1970.I worked for him for a bit more than a year after coming out of the Navy. I learned how to edit film and make sound effects and sweep the floor. I also go t to meet a number of visiting animators like Myron Waldman, who came by frequently. There was even a short period where Hal was regularly visiting Max Fleischer in a nursing home. We had made arrangements for me to go with him for a short meeting, when Max died. It was a vitally important year in my film education and memory, and I couldn’t have replaced it. I stayed on friendly terms with Hal and Beverly over the years and often did my tape transfers at Today video where they and a number of his original employees continued to work. I’m really sorry to hear of his death.
For more information on Seeger we highly recommend you visit Dave Mackey’s The Unofficial Hal Seeger Website.
After posts about Flora, Blair and Kimball, how could I resist posting about another cartoon design genius, John Hubley (1914-1977), the director of ROOTY TOOT TOOT, MOONBIRD and the main creator of Mr. Magoo. These are model drawings he drew for a 1945 UPA training film for the US Navy called INSIDE MORGAN’S HEAD (click on images for larger versions). I’ve never seen the film and have no idea whether it even exists anymore, but I love the fluid, loose quality of these drawings: the character’s pursed lips, his ridiculous frantic wing-like hands, the foot wrapping itself around the other foot – pure, crazy, inventive drawing that looks deceptively simple.
Hubley was involved with well over a dozen Navy training films during the mid-’40s (as both designer and director) and he made the most of this opportunity, experimenting liberally with styles and techniques. The model sheets for another Navy film he directed, IDLING MIXTURE CHECK, have very Robert Osborn-ish characters. And FLAT HATTING is a classic of stylized animation – a film that was conceived as something of an “animated lithograph” according to Hubley’s co-director on the film, Bill Hurtz. A handful of the films – like FLAT HATTING – still exist, but sadly, most of them were probably lost long ago.
Here are a couple beautiful paintings by one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, Ward Kimball (1914-2002). He was, of course, a genius animator and director, but what few people know is that he was also a terrific painter who worked in a wide variety of styles. These two pieces are a couple of his more stylized efforts. The top one is from the 1940s and documents the day that Kimball took his son flying. Last October, I blogged “Ladies’ Hat Contest ” (ca. early-1950s), the Kimball painting below, but now if you click on it, there’s a much bigger version available. (Thanks for the bigger pic, Thorsten)
During his recent Orlando trip, Harry McCracken took some photos of the Mary Blair murals inside of the Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World. His final analysis: “I can’t say this is great art, great Disney art, or even great Mary Blair art. But I’m glad it’s been there all these years, and I’m not sure if I saw anything during this Disney trip that put me in a cheerier mood.” See the rest of Harry’s photos HERE.
This rare Jim Flora spot illustration is courtesy of Irwin Chusid, author of THE MISCHIEVOUS ART OF JIM FLORA, a terrific book which I can’t recommend highly enough. The above image wasn’t printed in that book and is being seen on the Brew for the first time in many years. It’s from an April 1943 issue of Columbia Records’ CODA magazine. Flora is also online at JimFlora.com.
The animation blogging community is growing in leaps and bounds, and we’ve updated our “Brew Recommends” links section (in the right-hand column) with six new sites that we recommend. They are:
Cold, Hard Flash
News and opinions about the rise of Flash-animated TV production from animation producer Aaron Simpson.
A collaborative weblog devoted to illustration, art, animation and cartooning.
Nancy Beiman’s Blog We Must
A blog by veteran animator Nancy Beiman.
Nick Cross’ Plog
Documenting the production of the hand-drawn animated short THE WAIF OF PERSEPHONE.
The Private Dick Plog
Documenting the production of Tennessee Reid Norton’s stop-motion short RICHARD PRIVATE: THE PRIVATE DICK.
Documenting the production of the Nick Jr. tv series WUBBY, WIDGET & WALDEN created by Bob Boyle.
This year’s edition of THE ANIMATION SHOW has a great opening sequence produced by a new German animation collective called studio soi. The 20-second ANIMATION SHOW spot, named BUNNIES, was a commercial originally produced for MTV. Check out studiosoi.de to see BUNNIES and lots of other recent work by soi.
From McSweeney’s: “If Only They Kept Diaries: Roadrunner.”(Thanks, Gary Meyer)
I just stumbled upon animator Nancy Beiman’s new blog. Beiman, a very talented cartoonist, director & teacher – and former neighbor of mine – has posted a great quote from Greg Ford on his reaction to LOONATICS:
“They are the perfect models for the current era,” Greg told me. “Bugs Bunny was created during a populist era in the second Roosevelt administration, and a few years later, he fought the Fascists.
These characters are the Fascists.”