After the stress of judging the Ottawa International Animation Festival (more about that soon), I decided to unwind for a few days in the much more lively Canadian city of Montreal. Even there, I couldn’t escape cartoons. I stumbled upon this large and unconventional graffiti mural that incorporates vintage cartoon characters like Bosko, Honey, Betty Boop, Buddy, and Krazy Kat.The mural, which is a good eighty feet long, gives more visibility to these characters than anything their parent studios have done with them in a long time.
If you want to see the piece in person, it’s off of rue St. Catherine, a few blocks east of rue St. Denis. Otherwise, click on the image below to see my quick-and-dirty stitch job of the mural.
Worth checking out: a hi-res version of the Cartoonstitute short 3 Dog Band directed by Paul Rudish (Dexter’s Lab, Star Wars: Clone Wars). I wanted to like this short because there’s a lot to appreciate about it, including funny character movement, moments of visual inventiveness (the dj who flips his turntables into a bike), and a solid track at the end that is probably the best piece of music to ever accompany a Cartoon Network product.
At the same time, the characters have vague unappealing personalities, there’s little chemistry between the leads, and the attempts at humor fall flat (was the ending even supposed to be a joke?). It’s also a shame they couldn’t figure out what to do with the music. The last couple minutes come across as a fetishistic exercise in design and art direction that offers little in the way of entertainment value. By comparison, this is an example of how to properly end a cartoon with a musical sequence that rewards its audience.
In a shorts program, not every cartoon is going to be a homerun, especially when they’re produced in the completely nonsensical manner of allowing each director to only make one short. But when all is said and done, even the weaker shorts that I’ve seen so far from the Cartoonstitute program have their moments, and few appear to be offensively bad as so many TV animation pilots tend to be nowadays.
The funniest thing I saw in Ottawa last week wasn’t on screen, in a theatre or even cartoons. They were the festival posters plastered on buses, mounted on walls and bannered all over intersections in downtown Ottawa.
Jennifer: It is hard to sit down and work after you have worked a full day, but I always remembered something Bert would say, “Even if you just get one drawing done you are one drawing ahead.” So I’d try and get one scene’s worth of layouts done a night, or read a track, or just something, and we’d inch forward until we were done.
The Venture Bros. creator Jackson Publick and voice actor James Urbaniak recently appeared on “The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling.” The interview lasts a couple hours and there’s a lot of goofiness, but there’s also a lot of good discussion because the host, Scharpling, is a TV writer and producer (Monk, Tom Goes to the Mayor). The interview begins a little after an hour into the September 29 program, which can be listened to at the WFMU website.
Wolf collaborated with Harry Nilsson to create The Point!, with Frank Zappa to produce 200 Motels, and with Peter Yarrow to make Puff The Magic Dragon. He’s the man behind the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series, Marlo Thomas’ TV special Free To Be You And Me, the animated feature The Mouse And His Child, the classic “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” commercial (see below) and won an Oscar for his short The Box. He even animated the iconic opening sequence to The Flintstones! Yours truly (Jerry Beck) will present rare clips from his movies, TV shows, vintage TV commercials, his award winning shorts and will conduct a live on-stage interview with Wolf himself, discussing his career in film and his relationships with his world famous collaborators.
Join me on Tuesday November 3rd at 8pm. Advance tickets available now… the first 100 admissions will receive a free DVD of The Point!, and every admission will receive a free Tootsie Pop! Buy Tickets Here!
This trailer has been out for a while, but I just have to ask: Does anyone in Hollywood have the cajones to tell Zemeckis to just STOP?
Robert Zemeckis has made several of my all-time favorite films, but this motion-capture madness must end. He’s doing Yellow Submarine next. Are any of our readers looking forward to this Christmas Carol? Does anyone think it looks good?
Now, a limited number of additional tickets are available for the reunion, because the event has been moved from Woodbury University to the Stephen J. Ross Theater on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank – a much larger venue.
Here’s what you do if you want to attend: send an email to [email protected] with the number of guests and your guests’ names. You will then be given further instructions via email on purchasing tickets. Tickets are $10 for ASIFA-Hollywood members and $15 for non-members. Tickets are non-refundable.
The Iron Giant reunion is this Friday, October 23rd, at 7:30pm. Among the many artists expected is writer and director Brad Bird, background artist Anne Guenther, art director Alan Bodner, lead animator Steve Markowski, and artistic coordinator Scott Johnston. The panel will be moderated by animator Tom Sito.
Ticket holders are required to park in the Franklin parking structure, located at 4301 W. Olive Ave, Burbank, which is across the street from the Warner Bros. Studio Lot. At the parking structure, guests will be given an entrance pass, then directed across the street to Gate 2 for entrance onto the studio lot, and then to the theater. You must purchase tickets ahead of time to be included on the guest list, as Warner Bros. studio security requires a list of every person attending. In addition, all guests are required to show a valid government photo ID, in order to be admitted into the parking structure and onto the studio lot.
Due to the large turnout to this event, guests are advised you to arrive no later than 7:00 p.m., to insure that they have enough time to park and get to the theater before the program begins. Seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, visit asifa-hollywood.org.
Disney buys Marvel, so it only stands to reason that Nickelodeon would pick up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
But Nick didn’t just buy the old TV shows and movies, they bought the property in its entirety, including the merchandising rights and the ability to make new series and TV shows.
MTV Networks acquired the global rights to the Turtles from The Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment for roughly $60 million dollars. Nickelodeon plans to develop a new CG-animated TMNT television series to premiere in 2012 and, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, a new Ninja Turtles feature film for 2012.
One of the most popular kids’ television programs of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird as an independent comic book. Note, the current network TMNT animated series now running on CW4Kids Saturday morning will continue to air through Aug. 31, 2010.
Shhhh…. We are having a top secret performance of Cartoon Dump this month. Why top secret? Because the date was shifted around with little to no publicity. So we expect a small turn out this month.
We used to be every fourth Tuesday of each month, but starting in 2010 we are moving to fourth Mondays. As for our remaining dates in 2009: In October, we are on this Wednesday (10/21) at 8pm; In November we perform the fourth Monday (11/23); and in December (our Xmas party) we’ll party on the third Monday, Dec. 21st.
This month, Cartoon Dump stars MST3K’s Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank) and J. Elvis Weinstein (Dr. Erhardt & the original Tom Servo), Erica Doering and special guest star comedian Jay London. It’s Wednesday night 8pm at The Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood. Comedy! Songs! Puppets! Magic! And God-awful cartoons from the wasteland of 50s and 60s Saturday morning television! Advanced tickets click here.
I’m not going to post on every oddball piece of merchandising Disney is doing these days – and this one isn’t particularly oddball – but I thought it was worth a note.
The premise of The Princess and the Frog lends itself to new merchandising opportunities within the black community and the company has now reached out to the black-owned Carol’s Daughter to create a new line of limited edition grooming merchandise aimed directly at black consumers. The Magical Beauty Collection, features Princess Tiana Hair Detangler, Bubble Bath, Shampoo and Conditioner products. For more information, the Afrobella blog has posted an interview with Carol’s Daughter president Lisa Price.
I admit it, this one has me stumped. Don Martin, Antonio Prohias, Al Jafee, Mort Drucker and Dave Berg – adapted to animation! How did I miss this? Did it ever air? If so, what network?
It was co-directed by Chris Ishii, Jimmy Murakami and Gordon Bellamy. You can hear Allan Swift and Len Maxwell on the soundtrack. There are some New York animation veterans, such as Johnny Gent and Cosmo Anzilotti, as well as many Hollywood freelancers, including Gerard Baldwin and Bud Luckey, listed in the end credits. Perhaps my friends Mark Kausler and David Brain (who are also credited) can send us some info on this in the comments section below.
It’s been uploaded in three parts. Start here:
UPDATE: MAD’s Maddest Writer, Dick DeBartolo wrote to JJ Sedelmaier about the special. Quote: “We had a copy of that show up in the office, but I haven’t seen it in years. It never aired. That was the pilot. Nobody wanted to sponsor a show that made fun of products that were advertised on TV, like car manufacturers.”
The Three Caballeros will always hold a place in my heart. As a child of the 1960s and early 70s, at a time when my class mates were experimenting with mind-altering drugs, I was getting my high off screenings of early 30s Fleischer cartoons and Disney’s South American psychedelics. Is there anything trippier than the last 45 minutes of The Three Caballeros or the Blame It On The Samba sequence in Melody Time? I’ve always wondered what the thinking was behind these films and now, finally, I have all the answers.
J.B. Kaufman’s new book, South of the Border with Disney should be a permanent addition to your Disney or animation history bookshelf. It goes way beyond the basic information of Disney’s South American tour, as outlined in Ted Thomas’ recent film Walt and El Grupo. Thomas’ film was concerned with the trip, Kaufman’s focus is on the films. J.B. covers El Grupo’s tour more throughly and, more importantly, follows through to discuss each film that resulted from that initial trip, a complete examination from development to end product – from Saludos Amigos (1943) to Destino (2003).
The book explains things I had always wondered about (for example, why Saludos Amigos was also released under the title Saludos; or why Panchito was never used on screen again), and reveals new facts I had no idea of (such as definitive information on all the unfinished shorts and aborted feature concepts; and that half of the live action footage used in Saludos Amigos was actually shot in Burbank, months after the trip to South America). Kaufman (who has emerged alongside Canemaker and Barrier as a leading Disney historian) discusses in depth and in detail, not only the well known features and shorts, but the more obscure nontheatrical health films and rarely seen documentaries Disney made primarily for the Latin America markets. You will not find this information anywhere else.
The appendix includes a complete filmography, a discography and information on related South America themed Disney comic books. It’s not an “art book” per se, but there are ample color illustrations from the Disney Archive to illustrate the text, and overall a high quality job in all printing aspects. For me, this is the animation book of the year. A great read, and I highly recommend it.
Above, that’s an actual pencil from the Fleischer studio in Miami. It’s one of the many marvelous fun artifacts animator J.J. Sedelmaier is beginning to post on his Facebook page. Below is a pegbar and J.J. has been challenging his friends to guess what studio it’s from (Click on the image for the answer).