Here’s a fun website to browse: Radio Use Only is a new site devoted to collecting and making accessible downloads of rare radio station promo discs. One highlight is this rare Hanna Barbera recording especially made for Los Angeles radio station KFWB, featuring the song (with special lyrics) “Open Up Your Heart and Let The Sunshine In” (famously featured on the 1965 Flintstones episode “No Biz Like Show Biz”).
John Kricfalusi’s visual analysis of Bob Clampett’s The Hep Cat offers interesting ideas about why this particular cartoon works so well:
“It’s not Clampett’s funniest cartoon, although it is pretty funny. It doesn’t have any star characters in it. What makes it stand out, then? This cartoon is a mood piece. It’s an experiment in atmosphere and emotion…I think the best cartoons revel in goofiness and achieve a kind of gorgeous beauty not attainable in any other medium. Clampett takes the wacky surrealism natural to cartoons and places it in a lush atmosphere.”
This post got deleted during our troublesome server upgrade last week so I’ll try it again. As a followup to a post earlier this month, above are two more photos which have appeared on eBay of actress Hattie Noel from her posing sessions as the model for Hyacinth Hippo in Disney’s Fantasia.
Alex Rannie writes that Hattie Noel’s live-action work can also be found on YouTube. This clip is a cameo in The Women (Hattie appears as the maid on the train at 00:24). Even more interesting is the clip posted below about which Rannie writes:
This is a specialty dance sequence, “Alice Blue Gown,” from Irene (1940) which features Hattie Noel dancing up a storm (Hattie enters at 03:47 and jitterbugs at 04:32). Hattie’s part is all too brief, but if you keep an eye peeled you can get a sense of how she helped to inspire the animators to great heights in Fantasia’s “Dance of the Hours.”
One more note: Disney Editions will be publishing a book later this year by dance historian Mindy Aloff entitled Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation. This would be the ideal platform to officially acknowledge Noel’s heretofore unacknowledged contributions to the Disney canon. Alex Rannie, who has been helping out with the research for that book, says that because of our post earlier this month, there is indeed a chance that Noel’s work on the film will be included in the book, which is wonderful news to hear.
I had the pleasure of meeting animator Jakob Jensen over this past weekend. Jensen has worked in the animation industry since the age of 17 with stints at A Film in Copenhagen and Amblimation in London, before settling down at Dreamworks Animation in Los Angeles in 1995 (as animator on The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Madagascar and all the others. He is currently the Animation Director on Warner Bros. Astro Boy at Imagi Animation Studios).
Jensen gave me a copy of his recently self-published book My First Imperial ABC, a beautifully illustrated spoof of American media and politics disguised as a children’s primer. Jensen “juxtaposes over-used, politically charged words with drawings expressing the author’s dismay with our current state of affairs.” Jensen edited together a video preview (with a bit of animation) of the books cartoon content and posted it on You Tube. I’d love to see a fully animated film based on these ABC’s – till then, this delightful book will have to do.
Get ready for the Oscars tonight by watching Oscar-winning animated shorts from past years. A handy list of all the Oscar-winning shorts on YouTube can be found on this blog. Many of the years are obviously missing but it’s still a lot more shorts than I expected to be online.
David Gerstein and Cole Johnson found this delightfully primitive 1934 Japanese cartoon about a war in 1936(?). Clearly inspired by Hollywood cartoons of the era, one can read plenty into the fact that the brave Japanese warriors are doing battle with a “mickey mouse” army. Says Gerstein:
Maybe it’s a “Nutcracker Suite”-inspired thing? Dunno if the “Nutcracker” was known in Japan in the 1930s, and this uses pre-”Nutcracker” classical themes, but it does have a mouse kingdom trying to take over a toyland-like world. What’s great, though, is that the mice are obvious Mickey clones, and at about 1:45 a cat lead briefly mutates into Felix. The music over the main and end titles sounds like it belongs with a 1930 Terrytoon or Van Beuren, doesn’t it?
If anyone can translate the title or tell us more about the film’s plot, we are eager to learn.
Courtesy of Marc Schirmeister, The Asifa Hollywood Animation Archive has posted the complete 18-page Crimebuster story from a 1942 issue of Boy Comics. The story, written by Charles Biro and drawn by future stooge-in-law Norman Maurer, uses the fictional Acme Animation Studio as a backdrop. There are references to animators with some familiar sounding names (Gordon, Tyre (sic), Lovey (sic), Foster). Read it here.
Over ten years ago I was given two drawings. I guess youd call them pin-up cartoon girls. They’re signed JENKINS. On the back of one says, ROY JENKINS, 12625 Welby Way, N. Hollywood. Could it be the same animator who’s name appears on several Columbia Screen Gems cartoons (Cat-tastrophy, Big House Blues and Boston Beanie). Any information would be much appreciated.
Jenkins also did a stint at Walter Lantz in the 1960s. I’ll throw it open to our readers. Does anyone know anymore about the life and career of Roy Jenkins? These drawings (which seem to be inspired by the Bill Ward school) are pretty hot. (click on thumbnails below for larger image)
It was officially announced today that Popeye the Sailor Vol. 2 from Warner Home Video will be released on June 17th 2008. Bonus materials will include a documentary on the Fleischer Studios, an interview with Jack Mercer, and the complete Fleischer feature film Gulliver’s Travels (1939). I’ll reveal more information on the bonus features in a future post, closer to the release date. In the meantime, enjoy this rare title card (below), snapped with my notoriously funky cel phone camera, off a glare-filled TV screen. It’s the original opening title card to Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp, not seen since it’s initial release in 1939. This film, the third Technicolor two-reel Popeye special, and thirty other Popeye black & white classics will presented complete, uncut and beautifully restored on this landmark volume.
After some record-breaking days of traffic last week, we’ve decided to take the next big step and upgrade Cartoon Brew to its own dedicated server. We hope that this will speed up everybody’s site load times as well as prepare us for future traffic spikes. The transition to a new server has not been especially smooth, hence the downtimes during the past couple days, but everything should be back to normal after this weekend. Thanks to all the Brew readers for your patience and support!
If you’ve ever wondered why Disney story artist Bill Peet is often referred to as a master draftsman, look no further than these never-before-published drawings by Peet for a planned storybook about Susie the Blue Coupe. They’re posted in two parts on Michael Sporn’s blog: Part I and Part II.
The story was turned into a Disney theatrical short in 1952. It can be viewed on YouTube. An interesting note about the film: Hans Perk, a reliable Disney authority, says in the comments of Sporn’s post that Susie the Blue Coupe is one of a handful of Disney shorts that has lapsed into the public domain. So remix away folks!
Steve Stanchfield (Thunderbean Animation) — forever on the outlook for Preston Blair swipes as he travels across the nation — spotted this architectural curiosity (above).
Mary and I were travelling recently through Lexington, KY and saw this. Doesn’t this building scream “Drinking is FUN!”??? It seems as if they either really liked a certain newer animation building in Burbank (at left), or were making fun of the fact that so many animators loved the sauce. Maybe if Disney ever decides to scrap animation all together they can sell the building to these folks!
I’d like to make a reference to “Pink Elephants On Parade”… but I think I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
The new blog Market Saw keeps readers updated about the latest 3D craze sweeping the feature animation biz (and movie industry as a whole). The site also has a list of upcoming 3D features including major studio films like Bolt, Coraline, Monsters vs. Aliens, Frankenweenie and Ice Age 3, as well as some animated features I hadn’t heard of such as Gaumont’s Boat and New Line’s Planet 51. This Wall Street Journal piece gives more background on the growth of 3D movies, and this page offers the perspective of Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is one of the technology’s biggest proponents and has announced that all of DreamWorks’s animated features from 2009 onward will be produced in 3D.
Ric Scozzari, the sculptor who supervised the resoration of the beloved Rocky and Bullwinkle statue on Sunset Blvd. sent in these photos (below) and recollections:
I worked exclusively for Tiffany Ward (his daughter) and Ramona Ward (Jay’s wife). I was the carpenter, sculptor, coordinator, engineer, plasterer, painter, draftsman/artist for both the statue and the final restoration of the store (before it closed, and was renovated, yet again, by a new tenant). I have a before (above) and after (below) of Jay Ward’s, “Animation Dream Machine” mural that I totally redid myself (after 50 years of oxidation,..that might be interesting for your readers to see also).
I was the “total package” for Tiffany regarding the construction and consultation and she loved having a “one stop shop” guy look out for her and her families precious 2-dimensional jewels.
The Bullwinkle and Rocky statue was originally done in steel and fiberglass (back in the late 1950′s),..then years later, someone thought to cover it in “paper mache” (wrong!… on so many levels) I stripped that off, wrapped Bullwinkle and Rocky in surgical plaster bandages and then put a slurry of outdoor industrial plaster for a final coat,..just like the old days in Coney Island figures on the boardwalk. Then I primed and painted with industrial paint with a high UV content (’cause of all that California weather, non fading). Now they are ready for their close-up after getting really, really plastered! Hoky Smoke!
Anyone know who designed the original Animation Dream Machine mural (above)? Bill Hurtz? Click on images below for a closer look.