Phineas and Ferb the next SpongeBob?

Phineas and Ferb

Rectangular sponges are out; triangles are in. Today’s NY Times writes about how Disney’s Phineas and Ferb is the next SpongeBob. I find that premise difficult to believe. Is Phineas and Ferb really as popular with college students and young adults as SpongeBob in its heyday? A successful kids show it may be, but Phineas and Ferb has a ways to go before turning into a pop culture phenomenon.

Merry Christmas from Harman-Ising

It’s the first day of Summer – and Mike Van Eaton has just shared with me another rare piece of animation history. Click the thumbnails below to enlarge: at left a beautiful company Christmas card (circa 1936) from Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising featuring an embedded strip of film. Below center is the strip of film, enlarged and backlit, featuring their stars Bosko and Honey, Little Cheeser and The Pups in original paintings with a Christmas motif. As a fan of MGM’s Happy Harmonies cartoons, this vintage Christmas card is a delightful discovery — with three great new paintings, never seen publicly before.

Below right, for good measure, is the original art from the end title of Peace On Earth (1939) from the cache of MGM title art Van Eaton unearthed a few weeks ago. The Christmas card is not for sale – and I thank Mike for allowing me to share it with our readers who will really appreciate it:

Get Well, Martha Sigall

Our friend Martha Sigall has been in Intensive Care for the last few days. According to her son, Lee:

She was in ICU for four days with septic shock. The origin of her infection is still unknown. She had some damage to major organs. Some of that has improved and some remains. She was transferred to a regular room Saturday, then she had a little setback after midnight with a fever which has since remitted. Sunday was a very tiring day for her. We still don’t know when she will be discharged, and when she does, she will have a long bit of recovery to do. If you don’t know her address, send a private message to me, and I will try to get to my messages from time to time. Spread the word if you know someone who knows Martha. To know her is to love her.

That’s for sure. Martha is one of our last living links to the golden age of animation. She started at Leon Schelesinger’s studio (Warner Bros.) in the 1930s, and later worked for the early UPA, MGM, and inked and painted cels for Bob Clampett, Bill Melendez, Chuck Jones and practically everyone in the business. Her life in animation was recounted in this 2005 book. Recently Martha started a series of You Tube videos recalling her career. Below is the one she posted last month. Get well, Martha – you are the greatest!

The Sunday Funnies (6/20/10)






This week: The Argyle Sweater (6/13) by Scott Hilburn; a Clay Bennett editorial cartoon (6/19); Mother Goose and Grimm (6/19) by Mike Peters; Lola (6/17) by Todd Clark; My Cage (6/15) by Ed Power and Melissa DeJusus; and Rubes (6/16) by Leigh Rubin.

(Special thanks to our crack team of comic strip monitors: Jim Lahue, Kurtis Findlay, Ed Austin, Charles Brunbaker and Uncle Wayne)

The Hulk Hands Theory by Nunub

Rotoscoped animation based on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory doesn’t sound like a particularly good recipe for entertainment, but French animator Nunub (aka Micaël Reynaud) has created a worthy experimental piece using those elements combined with a piece of music by Turkish rock pioneer Fikret Kızılok. In his video description, Nunub says that he doesn’t particularly care for the subject matter; it was only an excuse to animate something. While he doesn’t push the abstraction as far as something like Robert Breer’s A Man and His Dog Out for Air, it’s a lot of fun watching how the subject matter becomes progressively more abstract and painterly. Try freeze-framing it for some unexpected imagery.

Toy Story 3 / Day and Night talkback

Go see Toy Story 3 in 3D if only to see one of the best animated shorts ever created – Teddy Newton’s Day and Night. Both films are great – Newton’s short is a masterpiece. Post your thoughts in our comments section below (Comments are open only to those who have seen the films).

UPDATE: After garnering near unanimous rave reviews and generating good word-of-mouth among movie-goers, Toy Story 3 won the U.S. box office race this weekend, collecting a $109 million gross in its first three days of release.

THIS SUNDAY: Pres Romanillos Charity Auction

Pres Romanillos Auction

The live charity auction aiding animation veteran Pres Romanillos in his fight against leukemia will take place this Sunday. The event takes places at the Animation Guild (1105 N. Hollywood Way Burbank, CA 91505) with registration beginning at 1pm and bidding at 2pm. Over 160 items will be available, including the pieces pictured in this post. For more information, including absentee bidding info, visit Pres-Aid.com.

UPDATE: Pres Romanillos passed away on July 17, 2010 from leukemia. More information can be found here.

Pres Romanillos Auction

ZPFfffft!!!

Scion’s LA gallery is opening a group exhibition featuring classic and new works by Gary Panter, Bob Zoell and Devin Flynn. An opening reception for “ZPFfffft!!!” is Saturday night (June 19th) from 7 to 10 p.m.

Gary Panter was a featured artist in the touring exhibition, Masters of American Comics, and is well known for his Emmy Award winning set designs for Pee-wee’s Playhouse; Devin Flynn has exhibited at Deitch Projects and created the Adult Swim web series Y’all So Stupid; and Bob Zoell is a pioneer of Los Angeles street art, and is a regular contributor of cover art to The New Yorker.

Scion Installation Space, 3521 Helms Ave. (at National), Culver City, CA 90232. The reception is free with complimentary valet parking and an open bar. All artists will be present and the exhibit will run until July 10.

Glüko & Lennon Pilot

Here’s a funky CG kids’ show pilot from Buenos Aires, Argentina called Glüko & Lennon. Created by Federico Radero and Tomi Dieguez at L’Orange Gutan, the show contains a generous dose of the rainbow-colored vector-oriented design sensibility that can be found in spades at any Pictoplasma conference. They make the look work well, though I can’t imagine any US broadcasters would be hip enough to allow a show like this on the air.

For more about the show, visit GlukoAndLennon.blogspot.com.

(Thanks, David OReilly)

Cartoon Brew Parody…Again

Cartoon Brew parody

Bob “BobServo” Mackey, who parodied Cartoon Brew three years ago, is at it again. His latest comical stab at the Brew includes post titles like “50 Years of Turkmenistanimation” and “Cartoon Network? More Like FARToon NOTwork.” He sounds like a good candidate if we ever need a third Brewer! Check out Bob’s new Cartoon Brew parody at SomethingAwful.com.

(Thanks, Connor Sims)

“The Music Scene” by Anthony F. Schepperd

Blockhead’s “The Music Scene” by Anthony Francisco Schepperd will be one of the finest animated music videos you’ll see this year. You can’t fake this kind of animation–Schepperd is an animator’s animator whose drawings breathe and pulsate with energy surging from one subject matter to another. His surrealistic morphing visuals are rooted in solid drawing and his rough animation style complements his seemingly stream-of-conscious flow of visual ideas. The pencil mileage that went into making this is mind-boggling; the only credit on the Vimeo page is Schepperd, and if he animated the entire thing himself, all I can say is wow! Along with last year’s video for Ape School’s “Wail to God”, Schepperd has proven himself to be one of the most exciting traditional animators on the scene right now. Find out more about his work at TheManimator.com.

Something Left, Something Taken by Max Porter & Ru Kuwahata

Something Left, Something Taken is a charming and funny tale about paranoia in the Bay Area. It’s made by the Brooklyn-based husband-and-wife team of Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, who are better known as Tiny Inventions. They worked on the film for nearly two-and-a-half years in between commercial jobs like this “Davy Crockett” music video for They Might Be Giants.

Max and Ru used nearly every trick in the bag to make this including stop-motion, pixilation, drawn animation on paper, After Effects, Flash and live-action puppets. The film mixes together these elements in a seamless manner to create a whimsical hand-crafted world featuring lots of felt, fabric, rope, and cardboard. My favorite touch is the crocheted eyelids of the characters.

A comprehensive “making of” blog post with videos and images is available on their website.

CREDITS
Direction/Animation/Design/Writing:
Max Porter & Ru Kuwahata

Sound Design/ Mix: Greg Sextro (East West Audio)
Voice recording: Erin Kilkenny
Music:
Erin Kilkenny
Andrew Landry
Andy Kennedy
Panic Bomber
Alex & Alison
Peter Squires

Voice:
Ru Kuwahata as Ru
Max Porter as Max
Kyle McKeveny as Artie the driver
Mickey Ryan as Dr. Janno
Tatiana Gomberg as Leslie
Erin Kilkenny as Scientist
Mike DiBenedetto as Steward
Veronica Taylor as Extra
Marc Diraison as Extra

Friends who helped us:
Sean Mcbride for rigging characters
Will Krause for prop making
Jene Wallace for prop making
Mary Bakija for sewing
Susie Porter for knitting
Noella Borie for interning
Sara Maysles for voice recording