The posting of the January 1940 Popular Mechanics article on Disney’s PINOCCHIO last week has inspired me to dig out this September 1944 issue of Popular Science. The magazine’s 6 page article is focused around the innovations of The Three Caballeros, Disney’s first large scale attempt, in color, to combine live action and animation. Unlike the earlier piece however, Disney animator Ward Kimball, storyman Ernie Terrazas (pictured above), and background painter Art Riley are credited in captions.
This Russian website documents, with frame grabs, some of the many times Disney animators recycled animation from one film into another. I’d love to see an expanded version of this listing (in English). Missing from this Russian post are the numerous appearances of the whirlpool from the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequence in Fantasia and the windblown weed from The Old Mill.(Thanks, Bob Miller)
This magnificent painting appears in the current Illustration House “Illustration Art Auction” catalog. The title of the piece is “Gremlins and Fifinellas on an airplane.” It’s by Gustaf Tenggren, and it’s a watercolor illustration for “What Every Pilot Knows,” by Quentin Reynolds for Collier’s magazine (October 31, 1942). The caption for this image reads “It’s no joke to be sitting up at 20,000 feetïÂ¿Â½ and hear them chattering among themselves out on the wings.” Quite a different interpretation of these characters than the Walt Disney/Walt Kelly/Bob Clampett versions we know and love. (Read the Disney version here.)In case you are interested in bidding for it, the auction takes place in New York on Saturday, May 20th. The pre-auction estimate is $9,000 – $12,000.
(Thanks, Don Brockway)POSTSCRIPT: Disney historian Jim Korkis adds: “While I have great respect and appreciation for Gustaff Tenggren, somebody made an error labelling the artwork Gremlins and Fifinellas on an airplane. According to the mythology that Roald Dahl developed with the Disney artists, gremlins are male, fifinellas are female, widgets are baby gremlins/fifinellas, and spandules are high altitude gremlins. There are no female gremlins on this airplane.”
Many readers of this blog have written in to ask about getting a recording of the big UPA Event at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood last month. In response to the requests, Tee Bosustow (who taped the event for an upcoming documentary on his father’s studio) has decided to offer a DVD of the panels for $40. (This price is only good through the following week; thereafter he will charge a higher price for it.) In addition to the DVD, Tee will throw in the full-color program book that attendees received that night and pay all postage costs (U.S. only). Tee says:
The DVD includes the opening montage of UPA characters, especially created to open the event, Jerry Beck’s opening comments, the 1951 UPA behind-the-scenes clips, scenes from the work-in-progress UPA documentary, plus highlights of the two panels at the Egyptian, as well as the panel Asifa-Hollywood had at the AFI about two years ago. It runs about an hour, a tad under, and it has menu buttons to start at the top, or go directly to the film clips, or panel discussions.But, at this time it doesn’t include any of the UPA cartoons that were shown, since we don’t yet have the rights to include them. But, once we get the rights, we will send the updated DVD to everyone who bought an advanced copy.The First Panel at the Egyptian includes; Bill Melendez, Willis Pyle, Alan Zaslove, and Mark Kausler. The Second Panel at the Egyptian is; Fred Crippen, Sam Clayberger, Lou Romano, and Amid Amidi. And, the Panel at the AFI was Bob McIntosh, Joe Siracusa, Alan Zaslove, Eddie Friedman, Fred Crippen, and Mel Leven. All, of course, were moderated by some guy named Jerry Beck.
If anyone has questions, email Tee at bosumedia (at) yahoo.com. If you are ready to buy, make a check out to Artist in Me, LLC and mail it, postmarked on or before May 1st, to:Tee Bosustow
6633 Woodley Avenue, #9
Van Nuys, CA 91406Include your mailing address, of course. Tee is also selling the program for the event separately, without the DVD, while they last, at $10.
Next Saturday, April 29th, ASIFA-Hollywood is holding a special film program and lecture illustrating the world of music as seen through classic Hollywood cartoons. Animation historian Daniel Goldmark will be discussing the story behind the musicians who made our favorite cartoons sing. Vintage cartoons will be screened (several in 35mm). Bring along your copy of Daniel’s great new book, TUNES FOR ‘TOONS and get it autographed. This special event is happening next Saturday, April 29th, at 3:00pm, over at the American Film Institute, in the Steven Ross Screening Room (Warner Bros. Building). The address is 2021 N. Western Ave. in Hollywood, CA (a block north of Franklin Ave.). Directions to AFI campus HERE. ASIFA-HOLLYWOOD members admitted FREE, non-members pay $10 bucks.
Spumco cartoons, the way they were meant to be seen: on the big theatre screen!Jot this down: John Kricfalusi will be making an appearence to introduce a screening of his best cartoons (uncut!) at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, on Sunday night May 28th at 6:30pm. Earlier that same day, across the street at 4pm, John will be making an appearence at Every Picture Tells A Story, the bookstore/gallery, which is hosting a month long exhibit “The Art of John Kricfalusi”. John will be on hand to personally sign original art and prints which will be for sale.
If anybody has ever wondered why the 1930s-1950s are referred to as the Golden Age of animation, these four shorts below should provide the answer to that question. The theme is jazz, the cartoons are beautifully animated and effortlessly entertaining, and they’re all courtesy of individual users who posted them on YouTube.
MINNIE THE MOOCHER (1932, Fleischer)
Director: Dave Fleischer
Music: Cab Calloway
PIED PIPER OF BASIN STREET (1945, Lantz)
Director: James “Shamus” Culhane
Music: Jack Teagarden
Thanks to Kevin Langley for posting this on YouTube.
“All the Cats Join In” from MAKE MINE MUSIC (1946, Disney)
Director: Jack Kinney
Music: Benny Goodman
DIXIELAND DROOPY (1954, MGM)
Director: Tex Avery
Music: Scott Bradley
I received this email from a former Cartoon Network artist, who prefers to remain anonymous but has worked on a number of their projects and speaks frequently to people working there today (both execs and artists). He offers some perceptive thoughts about the network’s “swindling of the viewership” and why CN is adding more and more live-action to its schedule.
I would like to start by thanking you for your dogged coverage of Cartoon Network’s baffling new programming slate. This issue demands the exposure you are giving it. Bravo.
I’ve worked on and off for Cartoon Network for many years in Atlanta, New York, and LA, and I keep in touch with many friends at the Williams Street compound in Atlanta. Friends who have a front row seat of this swindling of the viewership. The troubling thing to me, at this point, is that I have not yet read the real logic fueling this hackneyed shift in programming.
It’s about money.
Cartoon Network is showing properties that they buy CHEAP and then broadcast sandwiched between original programming. Then they charge the same advertising rates. Buying cheap and selling at a premium is something that started on the Toonami program years ago. DragonBall Z and the other anime series they slotted were all purchased for next to nothing and yet still pulled in the highest ratings of their entire schedule when shown during the afterschool slot.
I do not know what residuals are due to the creators of shows from their past that are not being shown (Courage The Cowardly Dog, Cow & Chicken, Johnny Bravo, etc), but the price of broadcasting Saved By The Bell repeats is less of a bill for them.
When everyone seems to be completely flummoxed at these changes at the network, I feel compelled to impart what I am quite sure is the real inspiration behind this programming boondoggle: Cartoon Network is simply not bringing in any real money at their channel. There is no merchandise on the market for their shows, there are no fast food toy promos, and there is not any national advertising. (Cartoon Network advertises in LA and NYC only with hopes that the advertising traffic agencies located in those two cities will assume it is nationwide.)
I don’t think it is mere conjecture to state that this newest move by the network is a grim sign of the state of affairs there. Expect a major shake up in the near future. They have been reeling since Betty Cohen stepped down.
UPDATE: Below is a comment from an artist currently working there. He counters that Cartoon Network is not trying to do things on the cheap, and that they are in fact spending a lot of money to develop original live-action shows.
The motivation is definitely money, but not for the reasons your previous source has stated. They’ve always licensed Cartoon shows and now they’re doing live-action, as an “introduction” to more live-action content. They are aggressively seeking original live-action content and have some in development. They are trying to compete with Disney and Nick, who own ratings with shows like Raven and Lizzie McGuire. But they don’t wish to copy the same type of shows, they are looking for something different.
As far as merchandising goes, Warners was in control of it and did little or nothing for the shows as far as toys go. Batman was more important. And now licensing has just recently gone back to Cartoon Network. They are making big strides with top licensing companies and had a good showing at the Licensing Show this year. Also there will be Burger King promos for Foster’s coming soon. I’m not defending their decisions, just trying to clarify what their motivation is, as someone who still works here and has heard it first hand.
UPDATE #2: Another reliable artist who currently works for Cartoon Network wrote in the following:
Your second insider is closer to the point regarding CN and their foray into the live action world. They’ve been getting their butt kicked in the ratings by Disney’s live action-shows like “That’s So Raven” and specials like “High School Musical.” It is all about money but rather than finding and making better animated shows, they continue to make the same old animated product or when they do stumble across new product, they don’t support it once it gets on air. So, much like the 2D vs. CG battle, it’s much easier to blame the medium rather than the management’s choices of content.
If you were like me and unable to attend the I AM 8-BIT opening earlier this week, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s many photos of the paintings floating around online. Vinyl Pulse has lots of paintings HERE. And there’s plenty of event photos already posted on Flickr. The caliber of this year’s paintings, both technically and thematically, is quite impressive. Be sure to check out the paintings by animation artists like Steve Purcell, Michel Gagné, Craig Kellman, Sean Szeles, Tony Mora, Scott Morse and Dave Wasson.
Here’s a chance to see what Pixar artists draw in their off hours. San Francisco’s Canvas Gallery will host Combined Weight, a collection of work by artists from Pixar Animation Studios, “produced in their spare time to show the world through their eyes”. Artists include Daniel Arriaga, Enrico Casarosa, Janet Lucroy, Jennifer Chang, Liz Holmes, Lori Klocek, Mark Holmes, Nate Stanton, Noah Klocek, Paul Topolos, Rich Quade, Robert Kondo, Robin Cooper, Ronnie Del Carmen, Simon Dunsdon, Steve Pilcher, and Steve Purcell. Opening reception is next Thursday April 27th, from 7pm – 12am. The exhibition runs from April 27 throuh May 22nd at The Canvas Gallery, 1200 9th Ave. at Lincoln, San Francisco.
Fox News is reporting that veteran Harvey Comics editor Sid Jacobson and long time Richie Rich artist Ernie Colon are teaming up on a serious re-telling of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. Illustrating simultaneous events side by side on the page, using the timelines of the hijacked planes as laid out in the 9/11 commission’s findings, The 9/11 Report: The Graphic Novel is said to use the comic medium “to chilling effect”.
“I think we have taken a terribly important document, which I wish every American would read, and done it in a way that makes it far easier for people to grasp,” said publisher Thomas LeBien of Hill and Wang, a division of the prestigious Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
From yesterday’s entry on the blog of animation writer Earl Kress:
But getting back to “Song of the South,” there are two things I do know. It was definitely on the schedule to be released as one of the “Treasures” series, and Bob Iger, new head of The Walt Disney Company, recently sat down and watched it. It’s definitely not on the schedule any more.
UPDATE: Mark Evanier has more details about Iger’s specific reasons for not releasing the film. Iger said at the Disney shareholder’s meeting last month, “Owing to the sensitivity that exists in our culture, balancing it with the desire to maybe increase our earnings a bit but never putting that in front of what we thought were our ethics and our integrity, we’ve made the decision not to re-release it.”
The new edition of I AM 8-BIT (“an art show inspired by videogames from the ’80s”) opens tonight at Gallery 1988 (7020 Melrose Ave, LA, CA 90038) from 6-11pm. There’s way too many artists to name here, but a list of exhibiting artists, including loads of animation folk, can be found HERE. For those that can’t make it, be sure to pick up a copy of Jon Gibson’s just-released book I AM 8-BIT, which includes artwork from both last year’s show and the new show.
(Artwork above by Rex Hackelberg)
We mentioned this last week: this Thursday, April 20th, there will be an auction at Cartoon Network benefitting Fyn Stec. Fyn is the young son of current Nickelodeon and former Cartoon Network art director Paul Stec (FOSTER’S) and his wife Dayla Corcoran (production coordinator on DEXTER’S LAB and SHREK). Fyn has recently been hospitalized with a rare form of liver cancer and the auction is raising funds to help defray medical expenses not covered by their insurance.
Lots of artwork by lots of terrific artists has been posted online and anybody can bid on them through midnight of Wednesday, April 19. You can also bid at the auction at Cartoon Network Studios (300 N. 3rd St, Burbank 91502) on Thursday, April 20th, from 5:30-8pm. Below are a couple of the pieces by Craig Kellman (top) and Genndy Tartakovsky (bottom).