Looney Tunes fans rejoice! Jon Cooke and Matthew Hunter have joined forces to start a new blog to collect and showcase Warner Bros. cartoon odds and ends, trivia and minutia. Initial offerings include a rare Mel Blanc Tweety and Sylvester test recording, an ABC promo for The Bugs Bunny Show, a Bugs Bunny Kool-Aid commercial and a comic book page that explains what the “E” in Wile E. Coyote stands for. If you love Warner cartoons, you’ll love this stuff! Visit Misce-Looney-ous!
The Wizzard of Krudd is a Nick pilot created last year by Greg Miller (Whatever Happened To Robot Jones?) and Mike Stern. Nick recently passed on the idea so this weekend they posted the pilot onto YouTube. Looking at the credits, it looks like Miller and Stern had a creative hand in every aspect of the cartoon. (Dan Krall also provided some layout design.) I’m not entirely convinced of the concept, but they’ve set up an idea with plenty of visual potential, and their strong vision and execution helps Krudd stand out from the majority of pilots I’ve seen recently. Check it out below and see what you think.
It turns out that John Kricfalusi isn’t the only TV animation creator who is vocal about his dislike of contemporary animation execs. Doug TenNapel, the creator of three animated seriesÃ¢â‚¬”Earthworm Jim, Project G.E.E.K.E.R. and Catscratch, offered this amusing insight on how to become an animation executive in this interview from a couple years ago:
Executives usually get in through “development.” They can be receptionists, P.A.’s lawyers, Literature majors and they end up being good at anything but writing, directing, acting or drawing. They have excellent social skills and could use a business background.
I’m still waiting for PES to produce a piece of animation that disappoints me. Hasn’t happened yet. PES has the uncanny ability to take simple why-didn’t-I-think-of-that concepts and execute them flawlessly. His newest spot for Sneaux Shoes is called “Human Skateboard” and it’s an inspired bit of fun. Watch it here.
Well, we’ve wrapped up our first week of the new comments-enabled Brew. We were both surprised by the sheer number (as well as consistently high quality) of commentsÃ¢â‚¬”over 350 in the first seven days, or an average of more than fifty a day. We love to hear from so many people, but since comments are moderated, please make our lives easier by reading the “ground rules for posting” before posting comments on the Brew. One of the most common problems we encountered was folks who sign their posts at the bottom. Your name (and website address, if you have one) are already included at the top of the post so please don’t repeat that information a second time.
Please take note that there are plenty of reasons your post might not get approved for the site. Here are some of the reasons from the past week: the comment includes factually incorrect information, posting a one-word comment, too many grammatical/spelling errors, making a point that is unclear or difficult to understand, and repeating info that is already included in the post. Also, keep in mind that your contributions will be most valued by the Brew community if you have something unique to add to the discussion. Posting for posting’s sake benefits nobody.
Calling all Krusty Krab fans. Amoeba Music in Hollywood will host a rare in-store performance by SpongeBob & The Hi-Seas, a rock band featuring Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants. This is to promote Nick Records latest CD The Best Day Ever, which includes songs written by Kenny along with producer and fellow band member, Andy Paley. It’s actually a really cool album, with guest artists including Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and Tommy Ramone.
The in-store appearance will take place at Amoeba Records, 6400 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood on Saturday, March 3 at 2 PM. It’s a free show, and Kenny will autograph copies of the CD for all customers. For more information click here.
Ahhh, The things that turn up on eBay. For a measly $146,242.50 you can own the car created essentialy for the opening sequence of The Pink Panther Show (NBC, 1970). Place your bids here. And good luck.
Forget the fact that Glenn Barr did backgrounds for Ren & Stimpy, or The New Woody Woodpecker Show, or has contributed to Mad Magazine and DC Comics. Barr has emerged as a fine artist and painter in his own right and one of stars of the low brow art movement. He’s got a new book, Haunted Paradise, and he’ll be in L.A. tonight and in Palm Springs tomorrow to do book signings.
A few years ago, Ray Pointer (aka Inkwell Images) put together a superb DVD collection of seven Alice Comedies, Disney’s 1920s silent-era series combining live action and animation. About a year ago, Disney Home Entertainment put out vital set of Disney Rarities as part of their Disney Treasures DVD series, which contained six restored Alice Comedies from their archives. What we really need is a “complete collection” of these Alice films, but alas, several of the titles are lost, and many surviving prints are in poor shape.
What we don’t need is another incomplete DVD set of Alice comedies, especially one that repeats three cartoons available on the aforementioned two collections out there (and repeats two others that Ray also released). However, I’m here to tell you that VCI’s new collection, Alice In Cartoonland: 35mm Collector’s Set is worth buying. There are at least five Alice films here that don’t appear elsewhere – and all ten are spectacular 35mm restorations from nitrate negatives, and I have to say they look really great. These are 35mm negs of Alfred Weiss TV versions (with their wacky added sound tracks), and there are a few edits from the era (in particular, the drinking scenes in Alice Solves The Puzzle are out). But I’m delighted to have such great looking versions of these films, I’ll take them any way I can.
There is some additional bonus material here, including essays by JB Kaufman and Russell Merritt culled from their outstanding Walt In Wonderland book. There are three bonus “Life” cartoons by John McCrorry (silent shorts from 1927), also transfered from nitrate negs (retitled Krazy Kids Cartoons from their 1931 reissue in sound). These little rareties feel like Terrytoons of the era – bizzarre, cartoony and a lot of fun. All in all, I recommend the DVD. It’s great to see silent era animation that doesn’t look like “old movies.” And any effort to restore these cartoons deserves our support.
Canadian animation legend Ryan Larkin passed away on February 14 from brain cancer. Larkin directed and animated the 1969 Oscar-nominated short Walking, as well as Syrinx (1965), Cityscape (1966) and Street Musique (1972). The news of Larkin’s passing comes from Ottawa International Animation Festival artistic director Chris Robinson who heard the news from Chris Landreth, director of the Oscar-winning short Ryan (2004), which documented Larkin’s amazing art and troubled life. Larkin had recently been making a comeback into the animation world; his most recent piecesÃ¢â‚¬”a series of three interstitialsÃ¢â‚¬”had appeared on MTV Canada in December 2006. Ryan’s official website is RyanBango.com.
Here are a few more details about Larkin’s passing from an email written by his longtime friend, Felicity Fanjoy:
Ryan departed this life on Valentine’s Day around eleven o’clock in the evening. He died in the palliative care unit of the Hotel Dieu Hospital in St. Hyacinthe QC of lung cancer that had spread to the brain.
Before slipping into unconsciousness at the beginning of this week, his last words to Laurie Gordon (his guardian angel who, along with her family, have encouraged, supported and helped Ryan in every way possible in the last couple of years) were: ‘I’m happy. I’m okay. I like it here.’ A few days earlier he also said, ‘I just want to rest and rest and rest and rest and rest until the end of my days.’ And that is what he did.
Pixar animators Adam Burke and Andrew Gordon of the Spline Doctors blog have posted a terrific 53-minute podcast interview with Brad Bird. Bird covers a lot of his personal history (not many who can lay claim to being mentored by Milt Kahl as a teen) and offers sound advice throughout (story! story! story!). Makes for inspiring weekend listening. Here’s a few choice thoughts from Brad:
So we often hear about the comeback of 2d animation. Do you think 2D has to change in order to be successful again?
Brad Bird: Yeah, I think they have to tell good stories. I think that’s a radical change.
Can you give any advice to aspiring students and animators about staying fresh and original?
Brad Bird: Don’t just look at animation. Look at everything else. Look at your own life. Feed other things into the medium of animation. Observe plays, paintings, TV shows that you like, poems, the girl that broke your heart two years ago, the car accident you almost had. Bring it all into the medium and the medium will stay as alive as it needs to be. To animate means to give the appearance of life, and you can’t create the illusion of life if you haven’t lived one.
And when Brad talks about quality television, he cites The Wire as an example. Perfect!
Kevin Langley found this vintage clip online in which Walter Lantz describes the duties of a cartoon director at his studio. It’s nice to hear Lantz stress one of the fundamental concepts of how cartoon animation is properly produced: “Both the writer and the director have to be artists because we draw stories instead of writing them.”