Brew Shopping Tip: Hallmark Hanna Barbera cards

I was searching for a Father’s Day card yesterday and although my dad isn’t particularly environmentally conscious, I had to buy this card (click thumbnails below to enlarge).

Apparently, the art staff at Hallmark, just like they did with Looney Tunes cards we reported about in 2006, now have the Hanna Barbera license and are creating cards in the style of Mel Crawford Golden Book art! Naturally, none of this card line is online, but there are some other attractive HB cards out there and several new retro-Looney Tunes that really appealed to me. And if any of the artists involved are reading this: please identify yourself! We love what you are doing!

Howard Post (1926-2010)

Mark Evanier has reported the passing of Howard Post. Mark does a great job discussing Post’s prolific career in comics. I, too, was a huge fan of Howard Post’s work, not only in comics, but also of his brief stint as successor to Seymour Kneitel at the Paramount Animation Studio in 1964-1966. I got to interview him several times about that period (photo above is of me and Howard, at right, at the San Diego Comic Con in 2003).

Among the comic books Post drew, his work on Harvey’s Spooky and Hot Stuff in the 1950s and 60s is his most significant, and influential.

But Post did some unique little things during his brief time as the head of Paramount’s animation studio in the 1960s that are worthy of note. I like the Ronald Searle-esque The Itch, his adaptations of Jack Mendelsohn’s child p.o.v. comic strip Jacky’s Wacky World, and his ill-fated attempt to bring Bill Dana’s Jose Jimenez to the screen. He was required to fulfill a pre-existing order of Seymour Kneitel/Eddie Lawrence Swifty and Shorty series. With nothing to lose, in the last S&S cartoon, Post decided to do without Lawrence’s voice, painted the characters all in white and set them against impressionist background paintings. The end result, Les Boys (1965), is quite a treat – and a worthy tribute to a man who was always creative no matter the constraints.

Shrek Fail

Shrek Forever After

How could Shrek Forever After debut with an actual take of $70.8 million over the weekend, and still be considered a flop? An analysis of its performance can be found at Box Office Guru. According to that site, if the latest Shrek continues at its current trajectory, it may end up grossing less than How to Train Your Dragon.

UPDATE: DreamWorks’ head of worldwide marketing, Anne Globe, said the film’s North American debut “was on the low end for a Shrek film. But we’re very optimistic that it’s on its way to becoming a worldwide hit.” According to the LA Times, the more expensive ticket prices of 3-D and IMAX mask the real story: the audience for Shrek Forever After was less than half of its predecessor.

UPDATE #2: Following Shrek’s weaker-than-expected opening, DreamWorks stock took a pounding on Monday and lost 11% of its value to close at $31.05. Since the opening of How to Train Your Dragon in March, DreamWorks stock has plunged 27.5%. Read more about the company’s recent financial performance at MarketWatch.

The Sunday Funnies (5/23/10)





Our weekly survey of selected comic strips that reference animated cartoons. From the top: Bound and Gagged (5/21) by Dana Summers; Nest Heads (5/20) by John Allen; a New Yorker cartoon (5/17) by Paul Noth; Pearls Before Swine (5/20) by Stephan Pastis; and Bizarro (5/23) by Dan Piraro.

(Thanks, Jim Lahue, Kurtis Findlay, Ed Austin and Harvey Deneroff)

Hulk Hogan sues Cocoa Pebbles

It’s Hulk Hogan vs. The Flintstones – for real.

The “Hulkster” is suing Post Cereals, maker of Cocoa Pebbles, accusing the company of appropriating his image in an animated commercial for the cereal. According to Tampa Bay Online:

In the “Cocoa Smashdown” commercial, a character goes by the name “Hulk Boulder,” which Hogan’s lawsuit says is a name he used early in his career until wrestling promoter Vince McMahon decided he should have an Irish name. The wrestler also contends he has been harmed by, among other things, “the unauthorized and degrading depictions in the Cocoa Smashdown advertisements.”

Perhaps Hogan was offended by the shot where the character seemingly pulls a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles out of his trunks? You be the judge:

(Thanks, Jeaux Janovsky)

Silent animation in Red Dead Redemption

In the recently released PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 video game Red Dead Redemption there appears this “silent movie” The Dangers of Doctors and Patent Medicines. In the game, it is seen projected on the wall of an old west theatre. Of course this kind of animation would not have existed until the 1910s – I’m not sure what time frame this western game takes place in, nor do we know who animated this fun little piece at Rockstar San Diego, but perhaps the animators will identify themselves in our comments section below.

(Thanks, John Karel)

The $20 Movie Ticket Has Arrived

Shrek Forever After

The Wall Street Journal reports that this weekend, for the first time ever, a movie theater will charge $20 for a regular admission adult movie ticket. The theater: AMC in Manhattans’s Kips Bay neighborhood. The film they’re charging you twenty dollars to see: Shrek Forever After.

UPDATE: The New York Times has a follow-up story that says theaters have backtracked on the $20 ticket and reduced prices. They claim the prices listed were a mistake. The same Kips Bay AMC charged $19.50 per ticket for IMAX showings of DreamWorks’ previous film How to Train Your Dragon.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday in LA: UPA, Silent Disney and Cartoon Dump

Saturday, May 22nd: UPA Tribute and fundraiser – 5:00 to 9:30 pm at Woodbury University’s 250 seat Fletcher Jones Auditorium. A Ragtime Bear cel setup, above, donated by Van Eaton Galleries, to be auctioned.

Program: 5:00 – Reception; 6:00 – Two 40 minute film programs will include classics & rarities, remembered by a panel of UPA veterans, and moderated by Adam Abraham, author of an upcoming UPA history book. Panel will include animator Fred Crippen, Ervin Kaplan – a protégé of Bob McIntosh, Martha Sigall who worked every animation studio, and very first days of UPA, and Joe Siracusa – he created the UPA soundtracks.

Location: Woodbury University, 7500 Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California. More details on this event can be found at upapix.com.


Sunday, May 23 at 6:30 pm, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra will give the concert premiere of Alex Rannie’s original score for Walt Disney’s 1924 “Alice Comedy” Alice’s Wild West Show at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus. It will screen along with Buster Keaton’s feature The Cameraman. Rannie sent us these notes about the film:

Alice’s Wild West Show was released on May 1, 1924, as the fourth installment in Walt Disney’s 57-film series of Alice Comedies (1923-1927). Directed and animated by Disney (with additional animation by Rollin “Ham” Hamilton), it stars Virginia Davis as “Alice” and Tommy Hicks as “Tubby O’Brien.”

No original musical material exists for any of Walt Disney’s almost 100 silent movies. This score was commissioned in 1999 for a Disney Channel broadcast of Alice’s Wild West Show as part of a year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the October 16, 1923, founding of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio.

For more information on this event click here.


Monday May 24th at 8pm: Cartoon Dump, the unholy alliance of noted author, producer and animation scholar Jerry Beck and writer/ producer/ comedian Frank Conniff (“TV’s Frank” from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 and CINEMATIC TITANIC) is back for another depraved offering of sketches, songs, puppets, stand-up comedy, and the most God-awful Saturday Morning Cartoons from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

This month featuring:
Frank Conniff as Moodsy the Clinically Depressed Owl
Erica Doering as Compost Brite
J. Elvis Weinstein as Dumpster Diver Dan
Joe Keyes as Officer Pete the Paint Sniffing Patrolman with Sleep Apnea
Sharon Houston as Sharon the Social Worker
Kristin Ariggo as Cue Card Goddess
Dave “Gruber” Allen as Whatever Crazy Character Gruber Decides To Do
and
Jerry Beck as Jerry Beck

Plus, stand-up comedy from
J. Elvis Weinstein
and special guest star
Andy Kindler!

Monday 5/24 at 8pm, Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. • Free Parking! • Advanced Tickets here • Phone: (323) 666-9797 • Map & Directions

John Kricfalusi on Contemporary Animated Features

If I owned a printer, I’d print out this quote, and if I owned a bulletin board, I’d stick it onto that board:

“Modern animated movies are the products not of anyone’s individual vision, but rather a scattered accumulation of compromises made out of fear by members of large committees.” – John Kricfalusi

It doesn’t describe every mainstream studio feature, but it surely applies to a fair percentage of them.

London 2012 Olympics Short

The recently unveiled 2012 London Olympic mascots, which are somehow supposed to evoke the spirit of the games, now have their very own animated short. Frankly, the cartoon isn’t as bad as it should be, but to understand why the Olympics chose to represent itself with hideously phallic blobs, listen to what this Olympic official has to say: “The one thing that came out of our research with children is they weren’t looking for a cuddly toy or something human, but for something rooted in a very good story.” If ever there was proof needed that focus-testing and researching cartoon characters is a fool’s errand, look no further.

UPDATE: Received word that the director of the animated short was Mario Cavalli and the backgrounds are by Neil Campbell Ross.

37th Student Academy Award Winners

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the winners of the 37th Annual Student Academy Awards competition, and three shorts shared the prize in the animation category. I’ve linked to two of them which have already been posted online. Congrats to all!

• Departure of Love
Jennifer Bors, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida


• Dried Up
Isaiah Powers and Jeremy Casper, Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri


• Lifeline
Andres Salaff, California Institute of the Arts

“Giddy Up” Music Video by Leah Morgan

I haven’t worked in an office for many years so I have no idea if this video for Tahuna Breaks’ “Giddy Up” qualifies as NSFW, but the video thumbnail offers a good clue about whether you should click or not. It’s a dirty and clever nod to the Pointer Sisters’ Sesame Street classic. There’s a smart lesson within: if you’re going to do a parody, don’t settle for middle-of-the-road references–go all out and own it.

CREDITS
Directed and Illustrated by Leah Morgan
Edited and Animated by Morten Leirkjaer
Produced by Fish N Clips, Auckland, New Zealand

(Thanks, Mike Johnson)

JUNE 10: Midsummer Night Toons in NYC

Mike Carlo
President of the Universe by Mike Carlo

The second edition of Midsummer Night Toons will take place on Thursday, June 10 at the M1-5 Lounge (52 Walker Street, NY, NY 10013). Started by filmmaker Matt Lee, the event is designed to give New York animators a venue to premiere new animated shorts. Six filmmakers will present five new animated shorts at this year’s show–Matt Burnett and Ben Levin, Mike Carlo, Joe Cappabianca, Gary Doodles, and Matt Lee. There will also be an original animated intro by Kat Morris and outro by Al Pardo.

Admission is FREE. Doors open 7pm, screening starts at 8:30pm. DJ Pensatore will be spinning music before and after the screening. More details at MidsummerNightToons.com.

Maf the Dog book trailer

Here’s an animated trailer for The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe , a new book by Andrew O’Hagan. The book is being published this month by UK’s Faber and Faber, and they commissioned this stylish promotional spot. Set in 60s era New York and featuring Marilyn Monroe, the animation design follows the 50s/60s illustration tradition. Designed and animated by the super-talented Robin Davey.

Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension (1996) trailer

Here’s a trailer from one of the rarest Looney Tunes of all: Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension. It’s never been on television, it’s not on DVD or the Internet. Directed by Douglas McCarthy and starring Joe Alaskey as both Daffy Duck and Marvin, the cartoon runs twelve minutes and was produced in wide screen 3-D. It was only screened–as far as I know–at the Warner Bros. Studio Store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and at the Warner Bros. Movie World Theme Park in Australia. Because it was commissioned and co-owned by Movie World, the video rights to the film are tied up with the theme park.

There were interactive bits in the film, parts when water would spritz the audience and the like. I also recall that the animation was some sort of experimental combination of CGI and hand-drawn that wasn’t completely satisfying… With the 3-D craze back in full-blast it would be a kick to see this again with a current movie release. At least, I think I would…