Here’s one for the hard-core cartoon historians: Recently, Brew reader Neil was replaying an old Paramount Popeye cartoon, and made a surprising audio find. On the soundtrack of Shuteye Popeye (1952), when the mouse’s audio is slowed down to about 40%, it’s clear that the track is actually a vocal outtake (perhaps director Isadore Sparber, or I suspect Seymour Kneitel) protesting that he doesn’t know what to say. Have a listen for yourself:
I was flipping through the paper today – the entertainment section – and came across a trio of the ugliest movie ads I’d ever seen. The fact that they were for animated features (or mostly animated features) didn’t help ease the pain. In fact, I found them downright embarrassing (Click thumbnails below to see larger images):
Regardless of these films entertainment value, or their effectiveness in generating box office bucks, the ads are atrocious. To the general public they represent the current, sad state of theatrical family fare and could (despite Pixar’s best efforts) perpetuate negative stereotypes on animated films. What happened to style? To appeal? To a sense of wonder? Call me old-fashioned, but the ugly anthropomorphic things staring at us in these ads are not cartoons – they are simply another bunch of freaky flickers.
The writer/director/animator of this mess, Cary Howe, posted the story of how his producing partners ripped him off. (The site died a week ago and Josh had to use Google to catch the links). Here’s the opening:
“This is the sad tale of how a landmark film was born and died. Late 2005 I began early tests for a possible TV series based on the Freaky Flickers toyline. By February 2009 the project had expanded to a 90 minute theatrical feature. We had a 2,800+ theater release with MGM and it seemed like nothing could stop us.
“On 6/9/09 I finished my night’s work at 12 noon. Exhausted I wished my “friend” David Kann good night/afternoon and went to bed leaving him editing in my living room. I put in ear plugs to drown out the noise of the render boxes in the next room and fell asleep. I awoke just before 8pm to a silent dark empty house. Mr. Kann and the equipment were gone as were the external hard drives with the project back ups. While I slept, my business associate Peter Gantner… took everything. What made the Freaky Flickers film so unique is that it was written, directed, modeled, animated and rendered by one person with a final budget of around 250K. A first for a major theatrical release. As I write this the film is in the hands of the lawyers but the odds of it ever seeing the light of day are near zero. I entered the business in 1979 and after my experience with Freaky Flickers I can’t see myself ever making another film. On 6/9/09 not only did a film die but a career and a hundred plus unmade films passed.”
MGM was going to release this crap? Good riddance to bad rubbish.
We’ve mentioned the new Ted Thomas documentary Walt and El Grupo several times on the Brew, but hadn’t posted the trailer. Here it is: