Once again John McElwee, over at his Greenbriar Picture Shows blog, is waxing nostalgic about classic theatrical cartoons. McElwee also posts several vintage Looney Tunes cartoon posters, trade ads and publicity stills to illustrate how these shorts were once marketed.
If nothing else, Animation Magazine serves as an entertaining repository of all the awful ideas that animation studios try to produce nowadays. In the latest issue one of the properties being pimped by this studio is called Donkey Ollie.
It probably wouldn’t be so disturbing if the same company hadn’t taken out a full-page ad on the facing page honoring a certain animator named Ollie (see below). What’s sadder perhaps is that having a crappily animated CG ass named after one’s self is a higher honor than many animation legends have received.
Ryan, Jeremy, Alex and Tim – The Muks of Mukpuddy Animation in New Zealand – have taken a break from their day to day animation work to work produce this:
According to the creators:
It’s an idea we’ve had for sometime now and has always been something we’ve discussed while doing other jobs. Finally, we put everything aside and put all our effort into making a short. It was created in 3 weeks by the four of us here at Mukpuddy.
Our Flash animated 3 minute pilot is called It’s the Pughs and is the story of a man so desperate for a son that after the birth of his daughter, decides to bring up the poo that follows as “his boy”. The idea is based on our observations of the “typical” New Zealand bloke. The dad who wants nothing more that his boy to be the Rugby player he always wanted to be. As kiwi as this is, it seems to us this is a fairly universal trait.
As disgusting as the idea of raising a poo as a child is, we’ve tried to focus on the relationship between Rudy (the dad) and Peter (his poo son). As much as we embrace that the show will be a lot of gross poo jokes, we like to use the phrase “heartwarming toilet humour”.
Clearly, poop characters (Mr. Hankey, Stinky, Doodie.com, etc.) are here to stay – whether we like it or not. The Muks also have a bunch of production sketches posted on their blog.
This preview clip ran on Saturday night after Monsters, Inc.
(Thanks, Aldon Spears)
Steve Worth posts many worthwhile things on the Asifa Hollywood Animation Archive website, including Mary Blair paintings and Ren & Stimpy storyboards just in the past week. But when he posts a picture of me and Ralph Bakshi, that really gets my attention. Actually, he didn’t post this photo above, yet, he just sent it to me (that’s me on the right of Ralph, with Mighty Mouse producer Tom Klein on the left) – but he did post a bunch of others from the Ralph book party at Meltdown on Saturday night. Bakshi veterans Conrad Vernon, Tom McGrath, Kent Butterworth, John K., Eddie Fitzgerald, Steve Gordon, Tom Minton and Dave Spafford are pictured. The event was a blast, and others who attended (but not captured in a photo) included animators Milt Gray, Mike Kazaleh, George Maestri, Amanda Visell and Michelle Valigura. Go here and enjoy!
I’ve mentioned the amazing work of London’s VooDooDog studio before. Between commercial assignments, the company supports and encourages its animators to create short films. Among the showreels and illustrations on their elaborate website are several of these works: Paul Donnellon’s Figment (above center), a violent battle between man versus toon; Scribble (pictured above left), a burst of pure energy with stick figures; and Maki Yashikuras’ The Girl Who Did Things She Didn’t Like First (aboove right), a charming fable.
The prizes for the 2008 Annecy Animation Festival were announced last Saturday. The top prize for short film, The Annecy Cristal, went to La maison en petits cubes by Kunio Kato. He is only the second Japanese filmmaker to win the Cristal, following Koji Yamamura who received it in 2003 for Mt. Head. The top Cristal prize for animated feature was awarded to Nina Paley‘s wonderful Sita Sings the Blues. It’s interesting to note that the major winners in both short and feature categories are 2-D works of animation. A complete list of winners can be found on the Annecy website.
Mark your calendars, clear the date… the all-new, craptacular 2008 edition of The Worst Cartoons Ever! – my annual report on the worst animated films in history – will take place on Friday night, July 25th at 9:30pm.
It will take place in Room CDEF in the San Diego Convention Center, as part of the packed-to-the-gills, almost-sold-out San Diego Comic Con. (Preceeding my program is a can’t-miss MST3K cast renuion at 7:15pm).
Just spotted on ebay: a vintage publicity photo showing the producer of the Felix The Cat cartoons, Pat Sullivan, and his wife Marjorie, in Sullivan’s office with an avalanche of Felix drawings. They are apparently judging a “Draw Felix” contest, but of greater interest to me is the rare one-sheet poster (Gym Gems, 1926) tacked to the wall, the Felix doll in the corner, and the many framed, autographed photos of stars of the day. Nice find!
The latest issue of Arthur Magazine has an article by illustrator Arik Roper who recounts his personal memories of discovering the animation of Ralph Bakshi during his teenage years. Despite the personal nature of the piece, there are some incisive thoughts on Bakshi’s work, like this discussion of Coonskin:
“I had read that it was considered offensive, so I was expecting shock value, but Coonskin was more than shock, it was from some dark place that I hadn’t visited before. It was relentlessly raw and visceral, the violence was staggering, and presented in the goriest of detail. I had some understanding of the laborious task of creating an animated film, and was amazed that anyone had put this much time and effort into making something so willfully disturbing. Where did this movie come from, who was it for? I didn’t quite get it at the time. I wasn’t really sure if the racism was being parodied or promoted, although the fact that no race, religion or sexual orientation was left unscathed was a clue that this was some form of harsh social satire. But there was much more to the movie than shock value…”
I’ve scanned the two-page article below. Click on it for a readable version. Or just order the entire issue (#29) at ArthurMag.com.
Mark Kausler blogged about the Pre-Code Cartoon show I presented at the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles last Tuesday. It was a smash hit and many people had to be turned away. The theatre has about 160 seats (not 100 as Mark notes) and, by popular demand, a second show was hastily arranged two hours after the first one. I guess running cartoons at the Silent Movie Theatre will be regular thing from now on. Thanks to everyone who attended (or tried to attend). Mark, who loaned me several film prints for the show, also has some photos from the evening, and a list of what we ran, on his blog.
A fun week of strips at Mike Peter’s Mother Goose and Grimm.
The fourth edition of The Animation Show opens tomorrow in Los Angeles (The Nuart), Boston (Kendall Square), Washington DC (E Street Cinema) and San Diego (Ken Cinema). But today we have two copies of The Animation Show Vol. 3 to give away.
The first two people who submit the correct answer via the comments link below will win the prize. CONTEST CLOSED! We have our winners!
What were the names of the two live action feature films directed by Mike Judge?
Don’t miss The Animation Show 4 coming soon to a theatre near you.