Jaime Weinman has just posted a rare — and significant — piece of cartoon research: an interview with Tex Avery, from 1933, published in the Dallas Morning News.
It’s a pretty good article in which Avery explains the inner workings of the Walter Lantz studio (where Tex was working at the time). My favorite quote (and there are many) involves his thoughts on what it takes to be an animator. Says Tex:
“The secret in animating is first to have an everlasting sense of humour, next to be able to see the commonplace in a funny way and most important of all, to be able to sketch your idea so that the other person will think it’s funny.”
The image above is from Five And Dime (1933) a picture Tex worked on around the time of the interview. It will be included in the forthcoming Woody Woodpecker and Friends Vol. 2.
Imagine curling up in your comfy recliner chair, snug in your smoking jacket, slippers and monocle, pipe in your mouth and brandy snifter at your side, perusing your personal leather bound copy of The Hanna Barbera Treasury.
Yes, The Easton Press has just published a limited edition leather-bound edition of my H-B book for royal sum of $147. (payable in three monthly installments of $49.00). I don’t have one myself – I didn’t even know they were publishing such an edition – but I’d certainly recommend it for the cartoon fan who has everything – and I do mean everything!Place your order here.
Here’s one for you night owls: Once again I’ll be discussing classic cartoons with Morgan White Jr. on Boston’s oldest and biggest radio station WBZ 1030AM Friday night (or early Saturday morning, depending on where you are). Tune in or listen live on the Internet, tomorrow night (3/28) at 11pm Pacific (3/29, 2am Eastern). Live phone calls will be taken, and questions will be answered. Join us!
Tied in to the release of the new book about his life, BlackBook magazine offers a no-holds-barred interview with Ralph Bakshi. I’m not a fan of the man, but I respect what he’s done for the art form. In a few sentences below, he explains quite well what separates him from the average joe who works in this industry:
“I never for a minute thought, Ralph, you’re broke, and you can’t compete with Disney. Go out and do a commercial film. Go out and do Mary Poppins 2, Bugs Bunny 3–you could make fortunes. But, not caring about money or merchandising allowed me to extend the medium. I mean, I did Heavy Traffic, and that’s not at all a commercial picture: a Jewish mother trying to chop the Italian father’s balls off and a kid who never got laid. So, what I’m saying is, success isn’t why I work. Money isn’t why I work.
“People throw away their lives today on that shit. I know guys in L.A. who have hundreds of millions of fucking dollars, and I think, when are you going to stop this shit? I mean, what are you doing here? Jeffrey Katzenberg still gets up at five in the morning to run this shit at DreamWorks, and gets 300 fucking million dollars for Shrek 5. What is that? He’s a billionaire, and he directs Shrek 5 and 6 and 7, like he’s trying to prove something.”
Starting this Saturday the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles (at Fairfax and Wilshire) will be hosting an Art of Cars Exhibition. It’s a great way to see some of the original watercolor paintings, pastel drawings, three-dimensional pieces, and pencil and marker sketches created in the process of developing the 2006 Pixar animated feature. Admission price is $10 for adults, $3 for children and the Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit runs through November 2nd.
Above is one of the menus, and at left (click to enlarge) is the back cover of the DVD package. Universal has also just refreshed the Woody Woodpecker.com website with info on Volume 2 including new clips, a photo gallery, complete cartoon and bonus listing and more. Check it out!
Our rules for how to submit news items for Cartoon Brew consideration are quite clear, but that doesn’t stop PR folks, who have clearly never read the website, from constantly sending us wildly inappropriate items to post on the Brew. We get dozens of these emails every week. For the most part, I junk them without even opening them, but this one from CBS was so bad that I couldn’t resist sharing with readers. I’ll spare readers the pain of linking to their awful Flash animation, though it’s online if you wish to torture yourself.
Wed, 26 Mar 2008 17:38:03 -0700 [05:38:03 PM PDT]
From: “Walworth, Cori” email@example.com
Subject: “Danny Bonaduce Life Coach”
Just wanted to run a fun idea by you, the Danny Bonaduce Life Coach show has a new mobile episode running tomorrow, it’s starring Pam Anderson.
On this episode, called “Pam Anderson: Mammiforous Matrimony”, Danny and his sidekick Catchphrase are summoned to save Pam from a failing career and failing marriages by becoming match makers. Will Danny’s skills save her from another divorce?
If interested I can send you the episode for you to review and post on your site. Be one of the firstsâ€¦
Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.
CBS Media Relations
I’m currently fascinated with the work of avant-garde filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984). There seems to be a dearth of information available about him online or in print which is a shame as he was a genius and innovator in so many respects.
In the mid-1950s, he began creating experimental collage animated films with a quick-cutting approach that prefigures the “MTV style” by decades. I’ve posted two of his shorts below–A la Mode (1959) and Science Friction (1960). The moment I saw these, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Terry Gilliam’s animation work, so it’s little surprise that in this interview, Gilliam cites Vanderbeek’s film Breathdeath (1964) as the inspiration for the animation style in Monty Python.
Another fascinating experiment of his was Violence Sonata, a public television special which mixed a prerecorded video work combined with a live studio audience’s response and interaction from viewers at home. When the show first aired in 1969, it was presented on two different channels, requring viewers to place two TV sets side-by-side to appreciate the full effect. More info and a short clip from the film can be seen here.
He collaborated frequently with avant-garde artists from other artistic discplines, such as filming the Happenings of Allen Kaprow and Claes Oldenburg, or working with John Cage and Merce Cunningham on the multimedia piece below (additional info about this project on its YouTube page):
VanDerBeek was also an early pioneer of computer animation, and worked to find ways of marrying art and technology. Here’s a 1972 video that shows him at work at MIT, followed by a CG short he made using the computer.
Speaking of Fleischer Studios (as I did in the post below), I love these Paramount publicity shots. Here’s a great photo from 1938 featuring Popeye with one of Paramount’s top box office draws at the time, Dorothy Lamour. Click here for full length, larger image.
Animator, filmmaker, and cartoon historian Ray Pointer will be dispensing his wealth of knowledge for two full hours on Stu’s Show all this week (March 26th through April 2nd) from 7pm to 9pm Eastern, 4pm to 6pm Pacific on Shokus Internet Radio. Ray will discuss his career, including meeting his idol Max Fleischer and eventually becoming a top authority of the Fleischer Studios. Click here and listen!
Super*market LA is a quarterly independent comics event based in Los Angeles. The next one, this Sunday March 30th, will spotlight comic book creators working in the animation industry. The show will also include comic book and indie artists from the local area and as far as New York bringing their books, mini-comics, zines, and original art. Our friend Stuart Ng will have a special booth there showing off comics and sketchbooks by French and European animators.
Publishers/creators wanting to sign up for the event can follow the link above or email exhibitors-at-supermarketla.com. More info about Super*market LA can be found on its website.
They say animation warps impressionable minds. Here is a piece of propaganda that was created to scare people from becoming Mormon, produced on the level of a 1970s Filmation cartoon.
Let me apologize in advance. This may be one of the all-time worst things I’ve ever posted on the Brew. It’s not a TV Funhouse parody, it’s for real; it includes some scary, racist propaganda. I do not condone the message or beliefs presented in this film, it is posted as part of my ongoing research for the Worst Cartoons Ever Made.
This nine-minute excerpt from Monster Road, the documentary about the life and times of stop-motion genius Bruce Bickford, really makes me want to see the rest of the film. Also, a dvd of Bickford’s 28-minute tour de force Prometheus’ Garden, complete with a newly produced making-of documentary, is nearing completion, according to this blog.
Sad news from our favorite touring cartoon festival, The Animation Show. Don Hertzfeldt, who co-founded the Show with Mike Judge, announced in his online journal on March 16 that he will no longer be involved with the Show. The reasons for his departure are vague; the text of his online post reads:
last week i decided it was time for me to part ways with the animation show. it’s been five years and three tours and some good memories. they have a new tour rolling through theaters this summer and i don’t know what will be in it but i encourage you to go check it out
The Animation Show is still being run by a competent group of folks and I have no reason to believe that they won’t continue to grow and prosper. Still, Hertzfeldt was a huge part of the Show’s personality and it’s sad to see him leave.