Betty Boop: Latino Icon

Up

Apparently lots of Latino people think they look like Betty Boop. This article in Swindle Magazine discusses the popularity of the character in East LA, from wall murals to look-alike contests:

During the competition each age group is given a different challenge, other than the babies, who just look cute. The 2-year-olds must blow a kiss. Three-year-olds say “boop-oop-be-doop.” Girls aged 4 and 5 must sing a song. Every child gets a trophy for participating. The contestants have ranged from 20-days old to the cut off age of 5. She’s had over 1,000 children in the contest over the years, 90 percent of whom are Latino. And for 15 years Denise has been able to place the winners in the annual Montebello parade, for the crowds to marvel at tiny Betty Boops on procession through town in sparkles and strollers.

The Ultimate Spumco Location!

A friend of mine, who happens to be a huge Spumco fan, was looking for a new home in California and came accross this listing on a street just off the Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach: John K Drive.

Here’s what I want to know: I wonder what time the Rubber Nipple salesman come around? And is the George Liquor store open 24 hours? For those who are curious, here’s the location on Google Maps.

George Pal Centennial

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills has scheduled yet another program of particular interest to Cartoon Brew readers. Joe Dante is hosting George Pal: Discovering the Fantastic, a centennial celebration of the pioneer stop motion animator and fantasy film producer. The program will include the screening of two newly restored Puppetoons, Rhythm In The Ranks (1941) and John Henry and The Inky Poo (1946). Dante will moderate a panel of Pal collaborators, including actors Barbara Eden, Russ Tamblyn, Alan Young, puppetoon animator Bob Baker and special effects producer Jim Danforth. The evening concludes with a screening of Pal’s 1953 sci-fi classic The War Of The Worlds.

Tickets are $5.00 ($3. for students). Doors open at 6:30pm. For more information click here.

Harvey Art Show Reception Friday


If I were in San Francisco this Friday, I’d attend this. The Harvey Comics Art Show, which began June 28th at the Cartoon Art Museum, will host an opening reception on Friday, August 1, from 7-9pm. Lots of original artwork (including pages by Kremer, Post, Muffatti, Taras and others) tracing the history of the comics company are on display and Harvey scholars Mark Arnold and Dave Holt will be on hand Friday to answer questions.

I hope to make it out there in October to sign copies of the Baby Huey book. Details to come. The Harvey art will be on display in San Francisco through November 30th. A New York show is in the planning stage.

Looney Tunes Vol. 6 Bonus Materials

A few weeks ago it was announced that Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 6 (on sale October 21st) would be the last Golden Collection. It is true, this will be the last – but let me be very clear: Warner Bros. will continue to release new Looney Tunes on DVD on an annual basis for the foreseeable future. There will be more classic cartoon restoration and collectible DVD sets to come (and No “double dipping” is planned). More about that later.

For now, we have an incredible collection of material to savor in Volume 6. Details about the main content of 60 classic Looney Tunes is listed here. Bonus materials will include:

Disc One: Looney Tunes All Stars

Commentaries
Hare Trigger Commentary by Greg Ford
Birth of a Notion Commentary by Mark Kausler
My Favorite Duck Commentary by Jerry Beck

Music Only Tracks
Raw! Raw! Rooster
Jumpin’ Jupiter
Rabbit Rampage
Boyhood Daze

The Looney Tunes Television Specials
Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court [1978 WBTV special]
Daffy Duck’s Easter Eggcitement [1980 WBTV special]

Bonus Cartoons
Sniffles Takes a Trip [1940 WB cartoon]
Hippety Hopper [1949 WB cartoon]
Rabbit Rampage [1955 WB cartoon]
Boyhood Daze [1957 WB cartoon]

Disc Two: Patriotic Pals
Commentaries
Herr Meets Herr Commentary by Greg Ford
Russian Rhapsody Commentary by Mark Kausler
The Draft Horse Commentary by Greg Ford
Fifth Column Mouse Commentary by Jerry Beck

Music Only Track
Yankee Dood It

Friz Freleng at MGM
Poultry Pirates [1938 MGM cartoon]
A Day at the Beach [1938 MGM cartoon]
The Captain’s Christmas [1938 MGM cartoon]
Seal Skinners [1939 MGM cartoon]
Mama’s New Hat [1939 MGM cartoon]

Bonus Cartoons
The Fighting 69 1/2th [1941 WB cartoon]
Hop and Go [1943 WB cartoon]
Confusions of a Nutsy Spy [1943 WB cartoon]

Disc Three: Bosko, Buddy and Merrie Melodies

Commentaries
Shuffle Off to Buffalo Commentary by Historian Jerry Beck
A Cartoonist’s Nightmare Commentary by Historian Jerry Beck

The World of Leon Schlesinger
Introduction by Martha Sigall and Jerry Beck
Crying for the Carolines [1930 WB short]
Haunted Gold Title Sequence
Schlesinger Productions Christmas Party with Optional Commentary by Martha Sigall and Jerry Beck

Bonus Cartoons
I Love a Parade [1932 WB cartoon]
I Like Mountain Music [1933 WB cartoon]
Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence [1933 WB cartoon]
How Do I Know It’s Sunday [1934 WB cartoon]

Disc Four: Most Requested Assorted Nuts (One-Shots)

Commentaries
Fresh Airedale Commentary by historian Greg Ford
The Hole Idea Commentary by animator Mark Kausler

Alternate Audio Programs
The Hole Idea Music Only Track
Martian Through Georgia Music Only Track
Punch Trunk Music and Effects Track
Wild Wild World Music Only Track

Bonus Documentary
Mel Blanc: The Man of a Thousand Voices (70 mins.)

Bonus Cartoons
Sleepy Time Possum [1951 WB Cartoon]
Punch Trunk [1953 WB Cartoon]
Wild Wild World [1960 WB Cartoon]
Bartholomew versus the Wheel [1964 WB Cartoon]

I urge you to buy the set the day it comes out (or Pre Order the set on Amazon.com). Your purchase of this collection will help keep the cartoons coming, and will strengthen the message to Warner Bros. that the public wish to continue to buying Looney Tunes on DVD.

Comic Con Followup: Looney Tunes Buttons

These mysterious Looney Tunes promotional buttons were handed out, one per day, at the DC Comics booth during the San Diego Comic Con. I say “mysterious” because (a) they were handed out at an obscure corner of the booth by (b) people who weren’t sure they had them (I had to request one each day) and (c) no one seemed to know what exactly these buttons were promoting. DC certainly has no new plans for expanding its Looney Tunes comic book – so why were these produced? The images chosen for these buttons were certainly an odd lot. Number 1 and 5 are nice shots of Bugs and the Road Runner. But number 2 and 3 show characters in peril and button 4 is an indecipherable image of the Tazmanian Devil in mid-spin. As I said, a mystery – but I was happy to snag them.

The Comic Con was, as it has been for the last several years, an overwhelming, overbearing sensory overload. The original convention (i.e. mainly Mark Evanier’s panels, the Harvey and Inkpot awards , the masquerade and the parties) is still there – buried under the Hollywood machine which has moved in and pretty much taken over. Personally, I had a relatively good time, despite almost losing my voice (due to talking) on Friday.

One reason I lost my voice was due to the two book signings and three on-camera intereviews I did during the show. You can see one of these here on MSN (better yet, try here). I was promoting my WORST CARTOONS EVER presentation which is now available for sale as legal DVD (If you are interested in a limited DVD of the actual cartoons I showed at the 2008 Comic Con show write to me at jbeck6540-at-aol.com). I’ll be posting about some more of the stuff I found as I unpack and unwind over the next few days.

Color in 101 Dalmatians

101 Dalmatians

To this day, Walt Peregoy’s color styling in 101 Dalmatians remains a fine example of how color can be used creatively in animation while serving more than a merely decorative function. On his blog Colorful Animation Expressions, artist Oswald Iten is exploring the use of color as a storytelling device in that film. So far he has written two thoughtful and in-depth posts about the topic with more to come–Color in 101 Dalmatians: An Introduction and Color in 101 Dalmatians: 1. Home Sweet Home.

Teaser Trailer for Pixar’s Up

Up

This weekend at Comic-Con, Pixar previewed footage from their next film, Up, directed by Pete Docter. They’ve also just released the first teaser trailer for the film:

FirstShowing.net offers this description of the plot:

Our hero is the 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner), a short and square little man who walks with a cane. When he was young he met a girl and fell in love with her. Her dream was always to explore Paradise Falls in Venezuela, but unfortunately life got in the way and it never came true. Now Carl is an old widower and he sets off on his own to head down to South America to live out that dream before his life ends. Most of the movie takes place in the wonderfully envisioned mountains of Venezuela, where Carl eventually lands after his house sails south…Along the way, Carl meets numerous other characters and creatures. One of them that Docter showed us was a young, chubby 9-year-old boy named Russell. He’s collected all the merit badges (for the Wilderness Club) except one – assisting the elderly. So he stows away in Carl’s house and floats with him down to Venezuela as well.

Footage from the film was premiered in San Diego alongside clips from Disney’s Bolt. While Bolt went over well, Up made “fanboys run for the exits,” according to this report on the Spout blog. Some people enjoyed it however. Entertainment Weekly says that there was no contest between which of the two films looked better: “Bolt proved suitably entertaining…then immediately lackluster, once director Pete Docter (Monsters Inc.) came out and debuted a few scenes from Pixar’s Up.”

Personally, all I can say is that I’m excited. In fact, I’m looking more forward to this film than any Pixar effort since The Incredibles. As much as the risk-taking and experimentation in Wall-E were commendable, the film taxed my patience with what I found to be unrelatable and largely uninvolving metallic leads. Up, on the other hand, is already in the plus column by having introduced a main character with a compelling and human story that I want to learn more about. My interest is piqued.

UPDATE: Harry McCracken gives in-depth and interesting perspectives of the Comic-Con footage he saw from Bolt and Up.

2008 Winsor McCay Award Winners

judgerparklasseter.jpg

This just in: ASIFA-Hollywood announced its 2008 Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award recipients during their Comic-Con party last night at the Gaslight Marriott in San Diego. This year’s Winsor McCay recipients are: Mike Judge, John Lasseter and Nick Park. The award recipients will claim their trophies at the 36th Annual Annie Awards, Friday, January 30, 2009, at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California.

Ottawa ’08 Film Selections

Ottawa 2008

Selections were announced this week for the 2008 Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 17-21). Four features and 101 short films are in competition this year, and as usual, I think it’s one of the stronger film line-ups of any animated film festival. The features screening in Ottawa are the French anthology Fear(s) of the Dark, Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues, Bill Plympton’s Idiots and Angels and Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir. The short film category offers recent works by Bruce Bickford, Theodore Ushev, Run Wrake, Smith & Foulkes, Koji Yamamura and Don Hertzfeldt. The TV portion of Ottawa’s competition includes Superjail, the Upstate Four pilot by the Krause brothers, and lots of Yo Gabba Gabba! shorts. Solid choices all around.

San Diego: Jerry book signing

jerrycomiccon2008.jpg

I’ll be signing copies of my book The Hanna Barbera Treasury today, Friday 7/25, from 11am till noon, at the Insight Editions/Palace Publishing booth #2913-J (located in the Lucas Pavilion).

The picture above was from today’s signing event (thanks to Jay West for the photo). We had a great bunch of people come by and say hello, and I’ve really appreciated all the kind words from our readers whom I met during the show.

“Davy Crockett in Outer Space”

Davy Crockett

Tiny Inventions, a Brooklyn-based animation studio run by husband-and-wife team Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, recently created a fun and charming music video for Playhouse Disney called “Davy Crockett in Outer Space.” The song is by They Might Be Giants, and they co-directed the piece with designer/illustrator David Cowles. Max and Ru have also created a detailed “making of” blog post that shows all the hand-crafted effort that went into the production.

“I don’t have SpongeBob. I have SquishyGuy.”

Bill Presing

There was a funny story in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (link to article on another site) about how companies that provide costumed characters for birthday parties are finding creative ways of bypassing trademark laws and creating new characters that look almost like their famous counterparts. So SpongeBob is now “SquishyGuy” and Elmo is “Big Red Tickle Monster.” According to the article, the results aren’t always entirely successful:

Miriam Sorkin, an office manager in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., threw a fourth-birthday party for her daughter in May and arranged for a costumed impersonator of Dora the Explorer. Though the walk-about “Dora” had the expected pageboy haircut and backpack, her expression was blank and her legs appeared out of proportion to the rest of her body. “When Dora came out,” Mrs. Sorkin says, “none of the kids would go to Dora, including my daughter, and a few of the kids started crying.”

Jamie Hewlett’s Olympics Short

Jamie Hewlett

Jamie Hewlett’s new BBC promo for the Olympics is damn impressive. Watch it on the BBC website. Also, there’s a new interview with Hewlett in the Guardian in which he talks a bit about working on this Olympics piece:

‘It looks wonderful and I’m really thrilled by it,’ says Hewlett. ‘It’s gone through so many changes because there are so many departments at the BBC, and the Olympics is their biggest gig of the year. Damon [Albarn] and I are used to having the luxury of doing exactly what we want, and we understand that this whole idea of using animated ancient Chinese characters is quite a wild-card for them. But somebody at the BBC had seen the Monkey opera and they put our name into the mix. And I think we’ve managed to keep the BBC happy, to tick every box, without ruining the original idea. I mean, the characters aren’t wearing running vests!’

(Thanks, Will Kane)

San Diego: Bill Presing

Bill Presing

Pixar storyboard artist and Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher co-creator Bill Presing will debut his new “cute cartoon girl” book Bookplate Betties at the Red Window booth (#4800). A preview of the book can be found on Bill’s blog. He’ll be sharing the booth with a couple other talented artists down from Emeryville: Scott Morse and Jeff Pidgeon. Click Pidgeon’s link to find a crazily detailed diary of his San Diego experience. If Jeff figures out how to add some funky-smelling odors to his blog, it’d be just like the real thing.

San Diego: JJ Villard

JJ Villard

JJ Villard, who set the animation world ablaze a few years back with his amazing student films and then somehow ended up working at DreamWorks for a while, will be offering his wares for the first time in San Diego. At booth A-04, Villard will debut a full-color book of his artwork titled “Someones Getn Fucked Tonight” as well as a DVD (that I highly recommend) of seven of his animated shorts including Son of Satan and Chestnuts Icelolly.

His work is also included in Scrambled Ink, a promising comic anthology put together by DreamWorks story artists. Scambled Ink, premiering in San Diego, is published by Dark Horse, and all of the artists (including JJ) will be doing a signing at the Dark Horse booth on Friday, July 25 from 1-2pm. Also, keep an eye out for JJVillard.com which will be launching soon.

JJ Villard

San Diego: The Art of Andy

Andy Suriano

The Art of Andy is a 120-page book of artwork by longtime character designer Andy Suriano (Samurai Jack, Powerpuff Girls and Star Wars: Clone Wars). He describes it on his blog as a “hardcover, full color smorgasbord of designs and sketches ranging from development ideas, Samurai Jack models and Clone Wars layouts…to comic book pages and paintings, many never before seen!” The book is $25 and debuts in San Diego this week at the Art of Fiction Booth (#523). More details about where Andy will be signing the book in San Diego, as well as where to get the book if you’re not attending the Con, can be found on Suriano’s blog.

San Diego: Depth Charge

Donnachada Daly

It looks like Katzenberg’s mania for 3-D is rubbing off on his artists. DreamWorks animator Donnachada Daly has created a new art book called Depth Charge: 3D Illusions in which all of his lovely line drawings are presented in stereoscopic 3D. It will debut in San Diego at table B-8. For additional details, as well as instructions on how to view the 3D images without glasses, head over to Donnachada’s blog.

Zurich29

Amnesty commercial

Zurich29 is a Paris-based motion graphics studio founded in 2005 by Philippe Constantinesco and Dorian Gourg. They caught my attention with their latest piece, a visually striking three-minute spot for Amnesty International that encourages people to make their voices heard by signing petitions. The highest quality version of the commercial, titled “Ink”, can be found on Zurich29′s blog (be patient, it takes a moment to load). They’ve also been doing a lot of animated visual identity work for MTV France. The work can be viewed on their site Zurich29.com. It’s standard contemporary-looking mo-graph work, but tasteful and well done. There’s also an interview with the studio founders on Partfaliaz.

Eric Goldberg book signing

ericbook9.jpg

If you miss Eric Goldberg’s signing at the San Diego Comic Con Thursday Friday – at Stuart Ng’s booth (Booths #5012 and #5022) between 2-4 (and again Saturday 11-12 noon) – he’ll be signing his book one more time in Los Angeles. On Wednesday night, August 6th, between 7-9pm at the Samuel French Bookshop in Studio City, Eric will be autographing copies of his Character Animation Crash Course at an event hosted by the Creative Talent Network. Buy the book, meet Eric and shmooze with hotshot animation folk. Now you have two opportunities.

San Diego: PictureBox

PictureBox

If you haven’t heard, Brooklyn-based publisher PictureBox is putting out some of the most innovative and interesting comic and art books nowadays, including the gorgeous two-volume retrospective of Gary Panter’s work. Next year, they’re releasing what is shaping up to be one of the must-have animation books of the year. And I’m not just saying this because I’m the editor of the project. This book is about one of the most influential figures in contemporary animation, and everybody involved is working hard to ensure that it turns out properly. If you want to hear more about the project, drop by the PictureBox booth (#1630) in San Diego and chat with publisher Dan Nadel. He’ll be glad to fill you in, and he may even have a few pieces of artwork from the book on display.