On April 20th, Cartoon Network will be holding a silent auction to benefit Fyn Stec. Fyn is the young son of current Nickelodeon and former Cartoon Network animation art director Paul Stec (Fosters) 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. They are raising funds to help defray the astronomical medical expenses that won’t be covered by insurance. Craig Kellman, Chris Reccardi, Lynne Naylor, Tim Biskup, Craig McCracken, Seonna Hong, Miles Thompson, Don Shank and many other great artists are contributing art for this cause. The studio will be open next Thursday night from 5:30 to 9:00pm, and they’ll be live music. Here is a website with more info. Here is a blog with updates on Fyn’s progress. Please help!
Better watch where you step!As if there isn’t enough s–t in Hollywood already, now there’s permanent Pooh on the sidewalk. From the AP:
Johnny Grant, the honorary Mayor of Hollywood, poses for a photo with from left, Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger during a ceremony yesterday, celebrating Pooh’s 80th anniversary with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. Pooh, created in the 1920′s by British author A.A. Milne, debuted as a cartoon character in the 1966 Disney featurette “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree,” and went on to star in dozens of films, specials and several cartoon series.
An article in last week’s VARIETY reports that not only will Cartoon Network continue to air live-action films like ACE VENTURA and DUMB AND DUMBER, but that they’re also beginning to plan production of original live-action TV series and movies. Now I know a lot of people are probably going, What the hell? Why is Cartoon Network going to produce live action?
I, for one, however applaud this out-of-the-box thinking on the part of the CN execs. After all, just because a channel is called Cartoon Network doesn’t mean they actually need to air cartoons. That’s so obvious…so 20th century. By giving audience what they’re not expecting, Cartoon Network is showing it’s a risk-taker, and that they aren’t afraid to add an element of surprise to their programming.
The execs at Cartoon Net have stumbled upon a secret that will revolutionize the cable industry, and that’s if you ignore the name of your channel and just air whatever you feel like, the possibilities for programming are endless. If this catches on, I predict an exciting renaissance in cable TV. No longer will channels be limited to their tired routines. Seriously, how many weather reports does the Weather Channel really need? Imagine how much more interesting it’ll be to catch NBA games on The Weather Channel. And sports on ESPN? Been there, done that. What ESPN really needs to distinguish itself from the competition is a month-long film tribute to Edward G. Robinson. The idea could potentially even spread to individual shows. Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor? We all saw that coming a mile away. But the O’Reilly Factor hosted by Oprah – now that’s what I call some innovative television. It’s a wonder that nobody’s every thought of this before, and to think we owe it all to those geniuses at Cartoon Network.
Find out in a short film now playing on Disney.com.
URMEL AUS DEM EIS is a German CG animated feature slated for release in August 2006. You can suffer through the trailer HERE. I’m not sure what the translation of the title is, but I think it’s something along the lines of, “Our attempt at making an obnoxious, bland, charm-deprived, aesthetically repugnant, American-style CG film.” The film, produced by Ambient Entertainment, is based on a fondly remembered German marionette TV series from the late-1960s, though chances are it won’t be fondly remembered after this film is released. On a sidenote, is anybody keeping track of the number of animated features in recent years that have used Sister Sledge’s song “We are Family” in their trailer or in the final product? And has anybody considered, instead of having a song that spells out to audiences that the characters are like family, wouldn’t it be more impressive to create characters who exude warmth and personality, and communicate that feeling of family through their actions?
Dateline: Hollywood has a hilarious parody piece about what happens when pharmaceutical companies start producing CG features, like Mucinex’s MR. MUCUS and Lamisil’s THE ADVENTURES OF DIGGER NAIL FUNGUS INFECTION. Don’t laugh too hard though; the way the animation industry is headed, these films will become reality soon enough.
(Thanks, Steve Moore)
Peter Paltridge has posted a bunch of funny/strange pages on his website, such as this one devoted to the worst TV cartoons he’s seen, and another one devoted to weird Archie comics.However, his most obsessive rant is devoted to the last Looney Tunes cartoon INJUN TROUBLE (1969). This Cool Cat cartoon isn’t the worst cartoon Warner Bros. released, and it certainly wasn’t the last Looney Tunes (the series was revived several times in the 1980s, 90s and as recently as 2003). But the studio ended its regular theatrical distribution of cartoon shorts (dating back to 1930) with this film – and the cartoon has a surprising number of politically incorrect gags (which has kept it off television for years).
It looks like Nick Park’s Wallace and Gromit feature has spawned a real-life were-rabbit in England. The oversized rabbit is eating prize-winning leeks and turnips in the town of Felton. A BBC article has this quote from farmer Jeff Smith:
“This is no ordinary rabbit. We are dealing with a monster. It is absolutely massive. I have seen its prints and they are huge, bigger than a deer. It is a brute of a thing.”
A company called Collector’s Guide Publishing is making Max Fleischer’s 1923 feature film The Einstein Theory of Relativity available on DVD, along with a reprint of its original companion book.(Thanks, Mark Mayerson)
Here’s a DVD I’ve been waiting for, Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films. This is the first DVD release by the Center for Visual Music, and contains ten of Fischinger’s pioneering visual music films plus many special features – including 1931 home movies from Fischinger’s Berlin Studio, never-released early animation tests and fragments, a selection of paintings by Fischinger, photos and a complete biography. The DVD features high def digital transfers and digitally remastered audio, and includes his famed Allegretto, Radio Dynamics and Motion Painting No. 1. Pre-orders are accepted now. The release date is May 15, 2006 and the price is right, $30. For more info, visit the website.
Pop culture historian Michael J. Hayde has a great website Better Living Through Television where he waxes nostalgically about the good old days of network and syndicated programming. His most recent post, about the Ted Eshbaugh/Van Beuren cartoon THE SUNSHINE MAKERS, deserves a look. This bizarre cartoon, originally a thinly veiled commercial for Borden’s milk, was widely shown on TV in the 1950s and early 60s, then became a fixture of 60s head shows and rock concerts. I still get many e-mails asking the where-abouts of this cartoon. For the record, it’s available on DVD collection entitled, Cartoons That Time Forgot: Van Beuren.
(click for larger version)
The Ottawa International Animation Festival website has been updated with details on its 2006 edition, which will take place September 20-24. This year’s festival poster (above) was designed by Gary Baseman. The entry deadline for films is June 1, and for the first time, films can be entered via an online entry form. Also, the festival has unveiled its programming schedule for 2006. Fans of the funny will be rewarded with retrospectives of three comedy masters: American Bob Clampett, Italian Bruno Bozzetto and Russian Konstantin Bronzit.
A confirmed FAMILY GUY hater named Randy has started a blog to “document every instance of Seth MacFarlane stealing jokes, and finally ending his completely undeserved reputation as some kind of genius.” Click here to read Family Guy Steals.