Illustrators David Cowles and Jeremy Galante collaborated on this snazzy promo, titled “Don’t Miss It,” for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. It kind of feels like these Vic Haboush concept paintings come to life…and that’s not a bad thing.
Didn’t take long.
Jason Peltz, who has worked for Marvel Comics, Disney Consumer Products and Disney Feature Animation in Orlando, sent in this drawing he made on the occasion of the announcement of the Disney’s Marvel takeover.
If you’ve drawn a clever image or cartoon reflecting this merger, send a link into our comments section below.
Move over Uncle Scrooge!
Disney will now compete with Hollywood (and in particular, Warner Bros. the owner of DC Comics) buy purchasing Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion dollars, according to Variety.
What will this mean for our favorite comics characters – and the animation studios Disney controls? Will Donald meet Howard The Duck? Will The Incredibles cross over to fight The Fantastic Four? Will Disney Feature Animation do an Inhumans movie? Will Disney character comics be published by Marvel? How will this affect the theme parks? Disney XD?
Due to prior deals (for example, Iron Man is sown up at Paramount for years to come) nothing will happen right away, but lots to think about, and lots of exciting possibilities.
Join me at the Silent Movie Theatre on Tuesday (September 1st) for an entire orgy of 35mm Technicolor cartoons from the 30s, 40s and 50s. We’ve dug up a whole program of diverse classic cartoons with only one thing in common – each is a vintage film print struck in the original three strip Tech process.
Not to go all film geek on you, but this is going to be one helluva show, with Color Rhapsodies, Terrytoons and Noveltoons galore – projected as they were originally intended on the big screen. Forget digital, Technicolor was the cream-of-the-crop chemical film process which required three separate negatives to create its vivid images – and unlike other film stocks, the color never faded. Sadly, Technicolor’s dye-transfer process, used during the golden age of Hollywood, stopped due to costs in 1974.
Luckily, prints still exist – but they are getting scarce. Our big show starts at 8pm and advance tickets are on sale now. Check the CineFamily website for more information. Click the thumbnails below to see frame enlargements from a few of the actual prints we will be showing.
Walt and El Grupo is the new feature length documentary about the two month tour of South America that Walt and his staff (which included Lee and Mary Blair, Frank Thomas and Norm Ferguson) took – by arrangement of the U.S. Government – in 1941. I had a chance to see it last week – and I enjoyed it very much.
Using previously unseen 16mm color home movies, rare newsreel footage and photographs, as well as interviews with relatives, historians (John Canemaker, J.B. Kaufman) and witnesses (several people who interacted with Walt and the group during the trip were located and interviewed!) the filmmakers (Franks son, Theodore with Kuniko Okubo) retrace the entire tour and take us along for the ride.
If you are a fan of the history of Walt Disney, the Disney studio in general, the Latin America themed shorts (and features) – or, if like me, you just like watching candid footage of Walt – you will love this film. In fact, if you fall into those categories, it’s a must-see. This is a whole chapter in the life of Disney we hadn’t seen before, told in depth, bringing us much closer the man behind the mouse.
This was a troubling time for Walt, personally. The animators strike was in full swing at the studio, Fantasia was in the red, and if that wasn’t enough, his father passed away while he was on the trip. This period marked a true turning point in Walt’s career as a filmmaker and producer. But, as this documentary shows, the experience from this tour influenced not just Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros but films and ride attractions in the decades to come.
If I had to nitpick, I’d say Walt and El Grupo doesn’t show enough clips from the cartoons which resulted from the tour. But rest assured, this is no simple DVD “bonus piece” – it’s a well made, well researched film that will add to your knowledge of Disney history. It opens on September 11th in New York and L.A. (with additional cities to follow) and its well worth your time.
Ehhh, What if…
(Thanks, Tim Lawrence via Facebook)
This year, Popeye celebrated his 80th birthday (his first comic strip appearance was on January 17th, 1929). This painting, from 2007 by monster-movie make-up guru Rick Baker, shows what the sailor-man would actually look like at this age.
(Thanks, Doran Gaston)
I am not sure if this French production, Baidir, is a proposed TV series or a feature film – but it’s damn nice looking:
Following the contentious Ottawa poster debate that spanned across eight or so blogs, I think we all need something soothing and magical in our lives. We could use a little Whale Magic.
The Olde English Blog does a nice job of explaining why this is the BEST THING EVER.
A “One Night Only” theatrical screening of The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is set for September 12th in about 50 movie theaters across the country. In LA it’s playing at the Mann Chinese 6. In New York, it’ll be at the Chelsea Cinemas. Most theatres are running the animated feature as a midnight show.
Theatre locations, film information and tickets are available online here.
Calling George Lucas!
Forget the fight between Avatar and Delgo – this Brazilian feature, currently in production at Cacomotion, looks like knock-off of The Clone Wars.
For the sake of film history, I’ll occasionally seek out odd bits of animation contained in obscure Hollywood movies and post them here – so you don’t have to. Previous postings in this series included Dave Fleischer in Trocadero (1944), and the Leon Schlesinger animation sequences in When’s Your Birthday? (1937) and She Married A Cop (1939).
Today’s clip (below) is three sequences bunched together from United Artists 1943 screwball comedy, Hi Diddle Diddle. Leon Schlesinger provided a bit of animation at the beginning of the film (looks like McKimson animation to me, but I’ll defer to the more knowledgeable experts in our readership) and a cartoon bit in the last scene. The clip in the middle, coming in the middle of the film, sets up the end gag: An egotistical opera singer (silent screen actress Pola Negri, in a comeback role) has wall paper depicting a cartoon Richard Wagner and his family. In the final sequence, Adolphe Menjou, who’s been drinking, imagines the cartoon images (looks like from Freleng’s unit) on the wall paper coming to life and running away from the awful singing of his family (including “good witch” Billie Burke, seated at the piano bench). You don’t want to know what leads up to this; you don’t want to see this movie. It’s pretty bad. Even the animation stuff is rather lackluster. But here it is, for those of you who were ever wondering about this relatively rare sequence:
The entire flick can be seen on 50 Movie Pack: Classic Musicals, a DVD boxed set from Mill Creek Entertainment, which I recently snagged for $9. at Big Lots. The aforementioned Trocadero is on the set, as well as King Kelly of the USA (1934) which has a really odd animation sequence – which I will posting very soon.
In my mind, the worst quality a teacher can have is to be close-minded because that narrow interpretation of good and bad is passed on to an entire generation of young artists at a critical time when they should be learning, growing, and exploring. That’s why I shuddered when I read this post on Sheridan instructor Pete Emslie’s blog in which he trashes this year’s poster for the Ottawa International Animation Festival (pictured above). The poster was drawn by Theo Ushev, who in addition to being an accomplished fine artist, is the director of amazing animated shorts like Drux Flux and Tower Bawher. In his post, Emslie he describes it as “blecchh!,” a “cat vomiting,” and writes that it’s proper place would be “taped to a fridge door by some loving mom.” It’s downright embarrassing to think that this guy represents the quality of instruction and critical thinking at a school that purports itself to be one of the top animation institutions in the world.
Emslie’s criticisms, if describing something as “blecchh” can be regarded as a valid criticism, drew a response from Ottawa festival director Chris Robinson who wrote on his blog:
What annoys me is the infantile hostility coming from a man who claims to have 30 years experience in animation as an animator and, egad, a teacher (I thought teachers are supposed to be guides. They introduce students to a diversity of possibilities and then let them go off and develop their own thoughts.). This guy doesnt even try. It’s just outright reaction. The work is ugly and pretentious and that’s that. There’s no processing, no attempt to contemplate and consider. He doesnt even encourage dialogue (isn’t that one of the primary functions of being a teacher?).
Animation director Michael Sporn also weighed in on the issue (and a lengthy comments thread follows his thoughts), while the artist himself, Theo Ushev, wrote on his blog, “I had much more daring posters in my life. But it seems that the animation community is a little special. And this conversation happens in 2009?!!! Not in 1909.”
Not sure what any of this means except that I was bothered enough to write about it. At the end of the day, life goes on. Sheridan students who are too young to know any better will continue accepting instruction from a guy who draws cartoon characters on a par with Chris Hart and throws in some tired Hirschfeld impersonations to boot. Theo Ushev will continue making beautiful films and drawings. The Ottawa International Animation Festival will be a great time for everybody who attends. And animation will continue to advance as an art in spite of those who wish to impose primitive rules and restrictions about what a piece of animation can and can’t be. If something good came out of all this, it’s that Marco de Blois, the animation curator at the CinémathÃ¨que québécoise, started a new blog devoted to the art of the animation festival poster.
UPDATE: NY animator Elliot Cowan has redesigned Theo Ushev’s Ottawa poster to appease those who feel that the artwork should be more “animationy.”