Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy is not only a great website, but also a wonderful quarterly 16 page hard copy newsletter. The latest issue (#12, Spring 2005) features a nice interview with both Betty Kimball (Ward’s wife) and Marie Johnston (Ollie’s spouse). Both ladies were ink & paint gals at Disney in the 1930s (Marie left Disney to paint cels at Warner Bros. in the 1940s). This issue, and the previous eleven, feature interviews, rare movie material and original research not available on the web (or anywhere else), and are highly recommended.
This saddens me. TV GUIDE announced yesterday that it will cease to be a digest sized publication as of the Oct. 17 issue and be a regular sized slick color magazine with 25 percent listings and 75 percent stories (versus the 75 percent listings and 25 percent stories it has now).I think I learned to read by studying issues of TV GUIDE (as well as Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, but I digress). I’ve come to use TV Guide as a valuable resource in researching classic TV cartoons. Like Loonatics and New Coke, this decision seems like a mistake to me. TV GUIDE has dropped the ball and I somehow believe someone else will start a new magazine to take its place. I hope so.
Speaking of fps magazine, they just did an interview with the director of MIND GAME, Masaaki Yuasa, who was in Montreal last week for the Canadian premiere of the film. I’m dying to see MIND GAME, and hopefully on the big screen, though I have no idea when or where that’ll happen. It’s surprising that none of the major animation festivals, including Annecy and Ottawa, have taken any interest in screening this film. (See Joshua Smith’s review of MIND GAME posted earlier on the Brew)
Just recieved this sad news from down under:
I am a regular reader of your “Cartoon Brew” website, and an animator at DisneyToon Studio’s Australia. I have some breaking news for you: At 3pm today (Monday 25 July) the entire studio was summoned for a staff meeting in which we told by the General Manager Phil Oakes that upon completion of our next production “Cinderella 3″, DisneyToon Studio’s Australia will be closing down after 17 years. They have cited current business needs and production schedules as the cause. So Disney hand drawn animation now ceases to exist.
Belated congratulations to our friend Linda Simensky who gave birth to Sara Buckborough Simensky on July 8th. She weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and is 19 and 3/4 inches long.Linda is the Senior Director, Programming for PBS Kids and a former animation big-shot at Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon – and one of the coolest people working in the industry.
I don’t get much excited over comics, but then again, comics like Frank Espinosa’s ROCKETO don’t come along every day. This is without doubt one of the most awesome books I’ve seen in a long while, and it’s one of my favorite discoveries from last weekend in San Diego. I was prepared for a letdown as soon as I saw ROCKETO’s cover because there’s no way the interior art could live up to such a masterful drawing, right? Well, what an incredible surprise to open it up and find an entire comic that looks like this. Every page of ROCKETO is a jaw-drop gorgeous work of cartoon art, with tight drawing, color and design throughout. The expressive use of color and rhythmical black inks give the book a distinctive feel that defies comparison to any other current American comic; you have to look at European comics to find anything that remotely resembles ROCKETO’s stylish cartoon sensibility.
I was equally surprised to find out Espinosa’s background: until recently, he’d been drawing Bugs, Daffy, Tweety, et al, at WB Consumer Products. Among other things he was responsible for the Looney Tunes USPS stamps and (get ready for this) the original designs for Baby Looney Tunes. Now, fortunately for us, he’s out of there and working on his own projects. In San Diego, Frank debuted ROCKETO #0, a short 16-page introduction to the series. ROCKETO #1 is out in August from Speakeasy Comics. Looks like I have a reason to start dropping by Meltdown again.
Anybody can start one blog. Been there, done that. But it takes some fortitude to launch thirty-nine blogs. That’s right, thirty-nine blogs. That’s exactly what animation producer Fred Seibert is doing for the fourth season of OH YEAH! CARTOONS, the series that he’s exec producing for Nickelodeon. Seibert is encouraging every creator to start their own blog and document the production of their animated short. The first couple blogs are already up and running, and can be accessed from the main Frederator blog HERE. Seibert has been experimenting with blogs for the past year, first with the Teenage Roblog, a blog by the crew of MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT, and more recently with The Wubblog, a journal by Bob Boyle documenting the production of his forthcoming Nick Jr. series WUBBY WIDGET AND WALDEN.
It’s great to have an enlightened animation producer who understands the grassroots value of connecting with audiences through blogs, and is now allowing the creators of all these shorts to share their creative experiences with the online community. Not only are blogs a common-sense way of creating and building a fanbase for tv shows, and distinguishing the series from the rest of the competition, but blogs can also help to demystify the animation process, allowing the average viewer an insight into how animated films are produced. That may not sound like a huge thing, but it seems like every other day that I meet a regular joe who is unable to distinguish between cg and hand-drawn animation and who doesn’t have the vaguest clue about how cartoons are produced. Educating audiences about the production process, and all the hard work and thought that goes into the making of an animated film, is perhaps the first step towards achieving the respect and recognition that this art form so very rarely receives.
I will be interviewed on American Public Media’s WEEKEND AMERICA – Topic: hidden gags in classic cartoons. I don’t know what time or what station this plays in your area (though it’s on Saturday afternoon 1pm -3pm on KPCC 89.3 in Los Angeles), but you can also listen to it on internet. You’ve been warned.
Wanted: Any information — personal or professional — about Disney Animator John Sibley. Also seeking Sibley artwork. Sibley worked at Disney as an animator from March 1937 to August 1965, most famously with Woolie Reitherman on the Goofy short films. Also animated the Siamese Cats in “Lady and theTramp.” Please contact Pete Docter at [email protected] or 510 752-3410.Thank you!
I didn’t get much response to my request for convention photos. At right is me with a guy dressed in his home made Kirk Alyn Superman costume (he told me I was the only person at the convention to recognize the costume was styled from the 1948 Sam Katzman Columbia serial – for some reason that made me feel good).Larry Loc has posted more pics from the WORST CARTOONS EVER panel on the Asifa-Hollywood blog.
A nice picture of me interviewing J.J. Sedelmaier at the 2005 San Diego Comic Con, last Friday, is posted on the Asifa-Hollywood blog.Being the ego-maniac I am, if anyone else posted pics (or took pics) of me hosting the Disney panel or Worst Cartoons screening (or reviewed those panels in a Con Report on their blog) I’d love to see ‘em.
My favorite book publisher — Chronicle Books — is having their semi-annual sale this week. Any book ordered from their site is 40% off. The sale lasts through Friday, July 22.
The main contents of LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION Volume 3 were revealed last week on various websites. Sixty classic Warner Bros. cartoons, lavishly restored, will make their dvd debut on October 25th. A list of the 60 cartoon titles are posted here.However, the set contains many bonus items just as coveted as the cartoons themselves. What follows below is a partial list of the extra materials you can expect: PHILBERT – a rare 1963 TV pilot (Theatrical version)Private Snafu in GAS
Private Snafu in RUMORS
Private Snafu in SPIESPOINT RATIONING OF FOODS (a rarely seen wartime short released 2/25/43) THE BEAR THAT WASN’T (the 1967 MGM Cartoon by Chuck Jones, based on the book by Frank Tashlin)THE BUGS BUNNY SHOW – “The Honeymousers” (Production #1822 telecast 7/24/62)STORYBOARDS (includes deleted scenes):
1. FALLING HARE
2. PORKY’S PARTY FROM THE VAULTS:
1. SINKIN’ IN THE BATHTUB (1930 – first Looney Tunes cartoon)
2. IT’S GOT ME AGAIN (1932 – pictured above, the first Warner Bros. cartoon nominated for an Academy Award) New Documentaries on:
1. Frank Tashlin
2. Black & White cartoons
3. Restoration of cartoons
4. Pepe Le Pew
5. The Bugs-Elmer-Daffy Trilogy
6. Looney Tunes Go To War
7. Birds Annonymous tributeAudio track commentaries by:
Joe Dante (Porky Pig’s Feat)
John Kricfalusi (Wakiki Wabbit, Porky’s Party, A Gruesome Twosome, An Itch In Time, Falling Hare)
Bill Melendez (An Itch In Time and Falling Hare with John K.)
Eric Goldberg (Robin Hood Daffy, Duck Rabbit Duck)
Daniel Goldmark (Pigs In A Polka, Swooner Crooner)
Paul Dini (Super Rabbit, Rocket Squad)
Greg Ford (Hare Remover, Hare Tonic, Hare Grows In Manhattan, Daffy Duck In Hollywood, She Was An Acrobat’s Daughter)
Mark Kausler (Porky’s Romance)
Milt Gray (A Gruesome Twosome)
Michael Barrier (Bowery Bugs, Hillbilly Hare, The Coo-Coo Nut Grove, Odorable Kitty and Walky Talky Hawky)
Eddie Fitzgerald (Wakiki Wabbit, Claws For Alarm)
June Foray (The Honeymousers)
Jerry Beck (Hollywood Capers (with Martha Sigall), The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (with Martha Sigall), Birds Anonymous (with Art Leonardi), Gonzales Tamales (with Art Leonardi), Philbert (with Art Leonardi and Trustin Howard) and I Haven’t Got A Hat)And more!