“To Sally, from one of her men – Norm”Norm who? Any ideas? Norm McCabe? Collector Gordon Reid found this still (click on it for larger image) and sent it to Leonard Maltin for identification. I took the liberty of posting it here, mainly because I love the cartoon he’s drawing (and his Mohair sweater – but I digress). If anyone knows who this is, we’d appreciate hearing from you.
This September, Fantagraphics is reprinting animation director Gene Deitch’s rarely seen mid-Fifties syndicated comic strip TERR’BLE THOMPSON. Here’s a bit more about the book from its press release:
In 1955, Gene Deitch embarked on a daily comic strip for King Features Syndicate that he hoped would become his life’s work. One of the most unusual strips of the decade, Terr’ble Thompson was about a very odd little boy who had his “Werld Hedd Quarters” in a tree house and was regarded far and wide as “the bravest, fiercest, most-best hero of all-time.” Less than a year into the strip, Deitch received an offer he couldn’t refuse: to become head supervisor for Paul Terry’s Terrytoons Studios, and Terr’ble Thompson was abandoned. Terr’ble Thompson collects the entirety of Deitch’s short-lived inspiration for Tom Terrific, and a new generation will discover what could have been one of the great comic strips of all-time had it continued. The strip is drawn in a simple, modernist style that served as an antidote to the ubiquitous Disney look that had spread into all facets of popular culture. Terr’ble Thompson was a visual and verbal feast of fun that blended time and space, with Terr’ble going on adventures with great historic figures like Columbus, George Washington, and Davy Crockett. This collection features annotations for the entire run of the strip by Deitch himself, as well as introductory essays by Deitch, his son Kim, and historian Dan Nadel (The Ganzfeld). The book collects both the dailies and Sundays, with many of the latter newly recolored by Deitch (who was always unhappy with the inferior color processing of 1950s newspaper technology) for this book.
(via The Beat)
Our favorite Oscar winning animation historian John Canemaker has quite a busy schedule this summer. John will appear at the Zagreb Animafest in Croatia on June 13 to accept the “Award for Special Achievement in the Theory of Animation.” He is the third animation historian to be chosen for the distinguished award, after Giannalberto Bendazzi and Donald Crafton.Next, his Academy Award-winning film THE MOON AND THE SON airs on Cinemax on Sun. June 18 at 8 P.M.Then Canemaker travels to Brazil in July for the Anima Mundi Festival in Rio and Sao Paulo to screen his films and lecture on Winsor McCay and Mary Blair.On August 26, he lectures on Winsor McCay at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, CA.;
and then is a guest of the 33rd Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, for which he designed this year’s poster.We highly recommend you catch John at one of his public appearences, whenever, where ever you can!
Regular Brew readers already know that once a month (the first Thursday of each month) Jerry Beck shows vintage 16mm musical shorts and cartoons at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood, as the opening act of for the live performance of Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys. Tomorrow night, Thursday June 1st, is our next show and if you are interested in attending, you might order your tickets in advance – the shows are now selling out on a regular basis. The show starts at 8pm, at 4773 Hollywood Blvd.
Don’t barf!A groovy new blog called Mondo Daddykin is posting the bubblegum soundtracks to 1960-70s series like Partridge Family 2200 A.D. and The Beagles. No, there was never an official release of Hanna-Barbera Partridge Family soundtrack tunes (by Hoyt Curtin no less), but that hasn’t stopped Daddykin from compiling one himself.
In honor of Memorial Day, we are happy to once again highlight this link to Sue Larkin’s tribute blog to her dad, Warner Bros. storyman Dave Monahan. Monahan, a valued member of the Leon Schlesinger story department, recieved story credit on such classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies as KATNIP KOLLEGE, THUGS WITH DIRTY MUGS, WABBIT TWOUBLE and ALL THIS AND RABBITS STEW.Sue’s blog is a personal memorial to her dad, updated on occasion with personal photographs and cherished memories. Did you know Dave began his show business career in the original OUR GANG comedies? After his years writing cartoons, he went on to become a top commercial and industrial film director (Chuck Jones later hired him to direct the live action scenes in THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH). Sue has just posted a brief audio clip of Dave discussing how he got hired at Termite Terrace (Bugs Hardaway asked him, “What’s funny about a chicken”? That was his entire interview!) – and a hilarious anecdote about his first meeting with Cal Howard.
Comic book artist and legend Alex Toth passed away on Saturday, May 27th, at age 78. Toth contributed significantly to animation – particularly to the look and feel of TV adventure cartoons at Hanna-Barbera in the 1960s and 70s, with his character designs for Space Ghost, Jonny Quest, The Herculoids, and Superfriends. His work for other studios, especially on Space Angel and Hot Wheels was particularly good – too good for the budgets those shows were produced under. He was outspoken and dedicated. He died at his drawing table. The San Diego Comic Con has plans to host a memorial for him.
I was asked to write an article for today’s Variety on the top ten “turning points” in animation history. The idea was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of animation by putting a spotlight on the ten films that got us to where we are today. Whittling down a list to ten pivotal films was certainly a challenge, and I admit it’s debatable – but I stand by my choices. Check out the article, and let me know if you think I made the right picks – or post your opinions – on this forum.
The last thing you need to read right now is another interview with John Lasseter. However this one, published today in Australia’s The Age, has a couple of great closing quotes:
“I don’t believe that an animation studio should be an executive-driven studio,” he says. “Our goal is really to help bring that studio around to be a director-driven studio like Pixar and help it become about the quality. Quality is about the most important thing to us.”Considering the dominance of computer- generated animation, including the Shrek movies from DreamWorks and the Ice Age movies from 20th Century Fox, it’s surprising to learn there’s still a place for conventional 2-D movies. “We’ll still definitely be doing some hand-drawn animated films at Disney, without question,” Lasseter says.
(Thanks, John Potter)
Below is the wraparound cover of the issue, which I’m pleased to report is currently being printed in Canada. The drawing is a personal sketch by story artist John Dunn. Dunn’s life and career is discussed in-depth in the upcoming issue. Click on the image for a larger view.
BLAST regulars may also notice that the ANIMATION BLAST logo has been redesigned. With all the other format changes in the issue, I thought it only appropriate to spice things up with an updated version of the BLAST logo. The new logo was designed by the mighty Brian Romero, who is also responsible for all the excellent lettering in the recent Chronicle book WEIRDO DELUXE. You can see more of his work at BrianRomero.com or check out his blog HERE.
If you are stuck in Southern California over the Memorial Day weekend, hop on over to the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica on Sunday to see John K. introduce his funniest animated cartoons. The program will feature uncut versions of his rudest Ren & Stimpy adventures, Boo Boo Runs Wild, the Bjork video, Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse episodes and (my personal favorite), the He-Hog pilot – among many other things. I (Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew) will moderate the Q&A following the films.P.S. Earlier, at 4pm, John K. will appear in person, across the street, at Every Picture Tells A Story (1311 Montana Ave in Santa Monica) to sign original art.
Sprite Animation Studios has set up shop over at the Howard Hughes Center in West Los Angeles. The image above is from their first absolutely cool short, MONSTER SAMURAI, which will premiere in competition a couple weeks from now at the Annecy Animation Festival. The short was directed by Moto Sakakibara, whose biggest credit to date has been as co-director of FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN (2000). Sakakibara is Sprite’s creative director and has no intention of making a photo-realistic film ever again. Based on this short and other tests I’ve seen, I believe him. In fact, the big news from Sprite is that they are looking to staff up in Los Angeles. They’ve got the greenlight to produce a feature based on the Masashi Tanaka’s manga classic, GON (pictured at right). Positions are open now for storyboard artists, 2D layout, 3D modelers and riggers, as well as systems administrator. Bill Perkins (art director of Disney’s ALADDIN) has been hired as the film’s art director, and Leslie Hough is producing. The feature is targeted for a 2008 release. To apply for a position, click here for more information.This studio is offering a refreshing change from the copy-cat CG styles that Hollywood thinks an animated feature should be. The future of feature animation will lie with independent studios, like Sprite, with their own storytelling voice and original vision. We wish them well – and from what I’ve seen, they’re off to a great start!
I have to admit that I didn’t quite “get” Ga”lle Denis’s film CITY PARADISE when I first saw it, but maybe that’s just me. The film, which was a co-production between Passion Pictures and Channel 4, has an undeniably fresh look and is worth checking out. It’s been well received at festivals (it won “Best First Professional Work” at last year’s Ottawa animation festival) and it was also nominated for a BAFTA in 2005. CITY PARADISE can be seen HERE, and there’s a video lecture by Ga”lle Denis HERE where she discusses how the film’s distinctive look was achieved.
(via Hydrocephalic Bunny)
If they post it, I will link it! Here’s an excerpt from the rare 1941 Chinese animated feature PRINCESS IRON FAN. It’s interesting for a number of reasons, especially for its heavy use of the rotoscope.(Thanks, Mike Crandol)
Way back in March 2005, I first posted about Brew reader Michael Brown’s contining efforts to identify the specific US Air Force squadron for this Bugs Bunny insignia (above left). Mr. Brown sent us a larger image and a slight update on his research:
I’ve found this other Bugs Bunny piece (pictured above right), which is from the 14th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron. But I have not been able to find any source to validate the identity of the other insignia in question. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
If anyone has any info about this Leon Schlesinger insignia, please contact Michael Brown at mdgrbrown(at)comcast(dot)net.