The third in a series of holiday gift-giving suggestions from your pals at Cartoon Brew.
The self proclaimed “most obscure strip of the 1950s”, Gene Deitch’s daily and Sunday Real Great Adventures of TERR’BLE THOMPSON, Hero of Hist’ry has been collected in a wonderful trade paperback by Fantagraphics Books.I love Gene Deitch’s animated cartoons (especially his Terrytoons), and his print cartoons like The Cat are stylish, funny and – in the case of Terr’ble Thompson – Terrific! That’s because Thompson is the forerunner and template for Gene’s most popular cartoon creation, Tom Terrific. The obscure strip ran less than a year (from October 1955 through April 1956, while Dietch was running UPA New York, until he got the call to head Terrytoons) in no more than 14 papers. Gene himself didn’t save any of the original art. The book masterfully reprints all the original strips from digitally retouched newspaper clippings (you’d never know) and Gene recounts the entire experience in his introduction and footnotes (among the various tidbits, details of Jules Feffier’s failed attempt to become Gene’s assistant – with an example of Feffier’s try out strip; the villian, Mean Morgan, is a charicature of John Hubley; and information on the aborted Golden Record and animated pilot).Deitch’s modernist artwork and bold color design were way ahead of the curve for most comic strips of the era. The stories are great fun, and the art is eye-candy cool. Deitch’s son, Kim, and comics historian Dan Nadel contribute an informed foreword and afterword, respectively. Put it on your holiday list. For comics fans or animation fans, I think this is an absolute must.
I came across this commercial for BLIP, the digital game, while I was transfering to DVD some cartoon shows I taped in 1980. It’s not animation, but I thought it was worth sharing on You Tube. My, how far we’ve come in 30 years (the toy was first released in 1977).
Have you ever wondered what Chuck Jones’s HIGH NOTE (1960) would look like if it was remade in CG? Well, neither have I, but somebody went ahead and made it anyway. “One Bad Note” is a 50-second TV commercial directed by Craig Wessels of the South African studio Wicked Pixels. The results are pretty decent. Watch it below:
While Eyvind Earle is the best known of the Disney artists who illustrated Christmas cards, a number of other Disney artists had successful careers as card designers including BAMBI background stylist Tyrus Wong and longtime background painter Ralph Hulett. Hulett’s son, Steve, who is the business rep of the Animation Guild Local 839, is posting thirty-six of his father’s Christmas cards on the Animation Guild blog. There’ll be one a day between now and New Year’s Day. The first three cards are already posted:
In the second part of Ward Jenkins’s terrific John Canemaker interview, Canemaker reveals a project he recently contributed to which should be of interest to Disney fans. It’s an upcoming documentary by Frank Thomas’s son, Ted Thomas, about the 1941 South America trip by Walt Disney and some of his top artists, including Frank Thomas, Mary Blair and Ken Anderson. Ted Thomas was also the director of the 1995 doc FRANK AND OLLIE.
A couple talented animation folk have redesigned their websites to incorporate journal/blogs:
Indie filmmaker Chris Harding (of LEARN SELF DEFENSE fame) has just unveiled the new ChrisHarding.net, which features a production log for his next animated short as well as a CafePress store.
Dice Tsutsumi, color stylist and visual development artist at Blue Sky, has added a journal which he plans to updated regularly, and has also posted many new beautiful paintings to his site. Check him out at SimpleStroke.com.
Animation festivals are fine nowadays, but I can’t think of any event that could possibly compare to the Montreal Expo’s World Exhibition of Animation Cinema which took place in 1967. Michael Sporn has some info and photos from the event posted on his blog.
The guest list is a jaw-dropping who’s who of animation legends from around the world: Chuck Jones, Peter Foldes, John Halas, Ward Kimball, Ub Iwerks, Ion Popescu-Gopo, Carmen d’Avino, Len Lye, Bill Hurtz, Dave Hilberman, Robert Breer, Art Babbitt, Feodor Khitruk, Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Paul Terry, J.R. Bray, Walter Lantz, Otto Messmer, Dave Fleischer, Norman McLaren, Bruno Bozzetto, Bill Tytla, Bob Clampett, Karel Zeman, Dusan Vukotic, Bretislav Pojar, Jean Image, Grim Natwick, and John Whitney, to name but a few. If I had a time travel machine, I know the first place I’d be headed.
Here’s an oddity I just had to share. If you thought a live-action Flintstones was a bad idea, check this out. A live action Japanese ASTRO BOY movie (or TV show?) from the early 1960s, followed by a few seconds of a live action GIGANTOR film from the same period. Anyone know what year these clips are from? There are other clips from the GIGANTOR movie scattered on YouTube (here’s one and here’s another). But this Astro Boy footage is unique and hilarious. Maybe Cartoon Network ought to dig this up for their live-action Adult Swim block.UPDATE: Reader Charles Brubaker writes:
Regarding the live-action “Astro Boy” clip you posted on Cartoon Brew. That was from the live-action TV show that came out BEFORE the anime version. It ran March 7, 1959 to May 28, 1960 on Fuji Television. 65 episodes were made.
My good friend, Miles Thompson, a full-time painter and sometimes animation artist, is currently working on his next solo art show, which will debut at La Luz de Jesus in September 2007. The theme of the show is “California” and he’s set up a blog HERE to share his research for the paintings and to post finished work for the show. Unlike many tributes to the Golden State, Miles seems to be digging beyond the superficial aspects of California and exploring the rich heritage and character of the state. It’s shaping up to be an excellent art show.
Our buddy Tee Bosustow has just started broadcasting a new radio show dedicated to classic animated cartoons. Toon In! … to the Masters of Animation airs weekly on Southern California’s KCLA 99.3 FM Sunday nights, 7:30pm -8pm. Tee writes in to tell us:
We are having a little technical trouble with the radio shows themselves, so there is no way to listen to them yet on the web, but we should start getting them up on the site in the next week or so, then one a week for who knows how long.There is plenty of material on the website to explain the show in much more detail than this email. But, the main idea is to interview a different guest each week, who has something to do with animation, not just animators, but all sorts of people in the business. Since animation is largely a visual art, the companion site is there to show the listeners some of the guests’ art work, find out more about them, and enable visitors to contact them, either through our email address, or in some cases, directly with the guest themselves. We have also started a campaign to bring some sponsors aboard, who are in the animation field, schools, producers, festivals, and the like, and we have a page just for them, because presumably they will be as interesting as some of the guests, to our listeners.
The first five shows are:Show #1: Tom Roth – Air Date: Nov 26. Roth was a hand-drawn and computer animator for Ralph Bakshi, Richard Williams, Disney, and many others.Show #2: Mark Kausler – Air Date: Dec 03. Artist, animator, collector, and historian, on Yellow Submarine, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and much more. Show #3: David Evans – Air Date: Dec 10. Screenwriter and gag man, specializing in animation, for Jay Ward, Bill Hurtz, and many others.Show #4: Joe Siracusa – Air Date: Dec 17 Former gag man/musician for Spike Jones, animation sound effects career began at UPA Pictures.Show #5: Cathy Karol – Air Date: Dec 24 Fine artist, animator, independent animation filmmaker, and teacher, knows all facets of the animation industry.
Here’s a new item that needs to be on every Brew readers’ X-mas wish list. Screen Archives Entertainment/Film Score Monthly has just released a limited edition Scott Bradley CD soundtrack Tom and Jerry, and Tex Avery Too! Vol. 1: the 1950s. This goes on the shelf next to the classic Carl Stalling Project CDs – as the same loving care went into this long overdue package. You get two CDs filled with some of Bradley’s greatest scores (just the music – no dialogue or sound effects) from MGM cartoons of the 1950s. These particular scores were recorded on magnetic film and have been restored with a clarity you’ve never heard before. Nine (of the twenty-five scores) were originally recorded in stereo and, to quote the liner notes, “the sound quality of these shorts is breathtaking”. Even if you know these films by heart, you’ll be particularly amazed by the scores for lesser cartoons like DOWNBEAT BEAR, BARBEQUE BRAWL and TOT WATCHERS. His Avery tracks (like CELLBOUND, BILLY BOY and DEPUTY DROOPY) are revelations. And the Tom & Jerrys are pure genius.Speaking of the liner notes, Daniel Goldmark (who produced the CD with Lukas Kendall) wrote the 24-page illustrated booklet giving a thorough history of MGM music, Scott Bradley and his relationship with Hanna, Barbera and Avery, notes on the guest musicians, singers and the musical choices – as well as specific production notes for all 25 tracks. This booklet – and Shug Fisher’s vocal track for Pecos Pest – are worth the price of the CD alone!This is a must-have. Bradley was one of the greats, but his work has been overshadowed in recent years by Carl Stalling’s memorable and pioneering scores for Disney, Iwerks and Warner Bros. This CD set will help put things in perspective.You have been warned: Only 3000 copies of this incredible CD have been pressed. I highly recommend you order it right now!
Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt have announced the line-up for the third edition of the ANIMATION SHOW. Having seen all the films in the line-up with the exception of one, let me just say that this is a superb program. It’s a perfect sampling of the indie animation scene and includes a bit of everything: hand-drawn, CG, stop-motion, abstract, it’s all here. Films include Run Wrake’s RABBIT, Joanna Quinn’s DREAMS AND DESIRES, Don Hertzfeldt’s EVERYTHING WILL BE OK, Shane Acker’s NINE and Ga”lle Denis’s CITY PARADISE.
The touring schedule of the upcoming ANIMATION SHOW is different as well. They’re switching from conventional art house runs to a “music concert”-style schedule in which they’ll play limited one or two-night engagements throughout the US. LA folks will get the show for two nights: February 7, 2007 at Royce Hall in UCLA and February 15 at the Rialto in Pasadena. The complete tour schedule can be found HERE. If it hits your area, I highly recommend checking it out.
In the 1950s it was comic books and rock & roll, in the 1990s it was video games and the internet. Now Steven Benen on The Carpetbagger Report.com recounts the numerous warnings against Dreamworks’ Shrek 2 and Shark Tale, Nick’s Spongebob Squarepants and PBS’ Postcards From Buster. And now Happy Feet joins the legion of Hollywood films apparently brainwashing our youth. Not only that, the Parents Television Council, a watchdog group, is preparing to boycott Comedy Central’s Drawn Together (according to this article on adult animation in Multichannel News). We agree with Steve Benen’s conclusion: “They’re just cartoons. It’s probably time for a priority check.”
What does it feel like to be nominated for an animated short Oscar? Atlanta animation director Ward Jenkins was curious to find out so he interviewed the distinguished John Canemaker, who was not only nominated but also won the Oscar this year for his short THE MOON AND THE SON: AN IMAGINED CONVERSATION. John describes in detail the whirlwind activities leading up to the ceremony and it’s a fun read. Part one is posted HERE and Ward promises that part two of the interview will be posted on his blog next week.