An incredible exhibit of vintage animation movie posters will go on display at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences starting Friday May 13th. Spanning more than 90 years, the exhibit will be featured in the Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor Galleries at the Academy on Wilshire Blvd. “Toon In: Animated Movie Posters from the Cudequest Family Collection” will be free and open to the public, Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. Rare posters, including one-sheets featuring Toby The Pup, Cubby Bear, Willie Whopper, Fox & Crow, Puppetoons, Mighty Mouse and Donald Duck, will be included. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The posters will displayed through August 21st. For more information check the oscars.org website.
I’ve always had a hard time deciding which of Hayao Miyazaki’s films I like best. Between Castle of Cagliostro, My Neighbor Totoro, Laputa: Castle In The Sky, Naussicaa, Kiki and his more recent works, it’s always been a tough decision. But now, ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner.HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is a masterpiece – and maybe his best work. It’s certainly my favorite. I was invited to special screening several weeks ago and was planning to hold my comments till closer to the film’s release. However, I just saw the trailer and got excited all over again – and feel compelled to spread the word.This film is totally in a class by itself. It’s an incredible, romantic adventure – with a storyline even more bizzarre (and yet more accessible) to western audiences than Spirited Away. It concerns a young girl being placed under a magic spell causing her to literally become an old woman. The spell also prevents her from telling anyone about her predicament – so she packs up her things and goes off to seek help, moving in with a handsome wizard and his unusual companions, who live in an enchanted castle that travels between several war-torn dimensions. As you might already suspect, this is not your average Disney fairy tale.Miyazaki has a way of pulling you into his world within the first few seconds of a story; taking you on a wild ride and dropping you off at the end, leaving anxious to experience it all over again. This trip is no exception.Though filled with echos of past Miyazaki pet themes, Howl’s storyline feels fresh and exciting. There’s a new compelling idea or breathtaking visual in practically every minute of the film. The images, a combination of traditional anime, full character animation and dazzling CGI are lush and magical. I screened the Japanese language version, however I look forward to the U.S. release English dub being supervised by Pixar (Pete Docter is directing the voices – which includes Lauren Bacall (!) as the Witch).Clearly an early contender for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, Howl’s Moving Castle is not to be missed. It opens June 10th.
Giuseppe Pantaleo, an eagle-eyed Brew reader from Melbourne, Australia spotted the following Preston Blair rip-off from down under. He writes:
I came across this shoddy looking flyer for a pasta & ribs restaurant near where I live. This time the image being ripped off is a drawing of Goose Gander. However, on the flyer the image has been flipped and traced
horribly, and quite frankly it looks worse than the public domain video covers for WB cartoons.
If you happen to be in Bucks County Pennsylvania sometime in the next two months, It would be well worth the effort to get over to James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown to catch Steve Schneider’s exhibition of original art – That’s All Folks! The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons.Steve has amassed perhaps the largest and finest collection of original Looney Tunes animation art, including model sheets, cels, backgrounds, layouts, exposure sheets… heck, everything! The exhibit includes incredible pieces from WHAT’S OPERA DOC, PORKY IN WACKYLAND and COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS. In addition, there will be several panels, lectures and workshops and of course, screenings of classic Looney Tunes. I’ve seen Steve’s exhibit in New York and in Los Angeles – it’s a must-see. It’s on display from this Saturday April 23rd until July 3rd.
The great Jim Smith (REN & STIMPY, SAMURAI JACK) is coming out with a new sketchbook, DEADLY ARE THE NAKED, a follow-up to his first sketchbook LONELY ARE THE NAKED. The 64-page book from Asylum Press ships in July. It wll include a 16-page color section with a preview of Jim’s new comic character Chestaclese. Preview is at JimSmithCartoons.com.
Why we love ebay: MGM Studio resturant menu from 1958. Note how MGM was still using its cartoon characters on the menu even a year after they’d fired the entire cartoon staff!(Thanks Leonard)
I was re-reading the Ward Kimball section in John Canemaker’s masterful WALT DISNEY’S NINE OLD MEN AND THE ART OF ANIMATION and ran across these tips from Ward. They were taken from his notes for an Action Analysis class that he taught at Art Center during the 1960s. Man, it would have been something to live in LA back when master animators like Kimball and Benny Washam were teaching around town. Nothing revelatory in these notes, but I’d wager it’s still more insightful than anything they’re teaching in animation schools nowadays.
> Elimination makes your drawing better.
> A cartoon character who is funny to look at before he is animated is going to be made funnier by the movement.
> The young filmmaker should draw what he or she pleases, not what any adult tells him or her to do.
Politics don’t usually make an appearance on the Brew, except when despicable politicians are compared to Warner Bros. cartoon characters. Be sure to click on the images for the appropriate audio clips.
Monday mornings don’t get much more inspiring than this. Photocopies of a bunch of rare Freddy Moore sketches are posted at the Cartoon Retro message board. Thanks to Marco for the post.
Erik Knutson writes in about yesterday’s item:
Over the years, those Preston Blair bulldog drawings have become the generic bulldog of school sports teams. My own high school (Tracy High), used just about every version of that bulldog in a variety of ways. Here’s a link with a real poor version of one of the drawings (If you look close, you can see it’s initialled by the artist and it’s not “PB”). And I can remember at least two other high schools in the area that were “Bulldogs” and used those Preston Blair dogs for their logos.
It seems that the fine folks in Ohio really enjoy the work of animator Preston Blair, and moreso, they love plagiarizing drawings from his ANIMATION how-to book to suit their own needs. The last time we pointed out a Blair swipe, it was the Ohio Lottery Commission. This time, it’s the Edgerton Ohio School District which has decided to appropriate Blair’s bulldog as their mascot. Adding insult to injury, they’ve lost the subtlety of shape and solid construction that made Blair’s original drawing so good.
Join me on Sunday afternoon – from 2pm onward – for a book signing and birthday party for Martha Sigall at the Van Eaton Gallery in Sherman Oaks, CA.We are celebrating Martha with family and friends in honor of the publication of her memoir Living Life Inside The Lines. It’s just come out – I saw the book last night at my local Barnes & Noble bookstore, and it’s available on amazon.com. I highly recommend it – a unique look at the golden age of animation, not by a star director or animation historian, but by a member of the ink & paint crew. It’s filled with great stories, photos and wonderful memories. Come by on Sunday, get a piece of cake and an autograph – and meet one of the few surviving members of Termite Terrace.