Anima Studios (Kung Fu Magoo) and Illusion Studios have been producing a hand drawn movie adaptation of Hanna Barbera’s Top Cat (we first reported about it here in June 2010), primarily aimed at the South American market where the character is still incredibly popular. Warner Bros will release the movie – in 3D – to Mexican theaters this September and here’s our first look at the posters (click to see enlarged versions):
A surprising number of cool visual ideas in this one-shot stop-motion short by Guy Verge Wallace. The floor that turns into a door around the :20 second mark and the neon firearms are my favorite parts.
And while we’re on the subject, a shout-out to the heroic and courageous people of Libya, who are not only fighting the good fight to topple a dictatorship, but are also using the time-honored tradition of caricature to humiliate their crackpot leader. Below are some of the best examples I’ve seen so far from Libya. If you have your own Qaddafi caricatures, share them in the comments.
UPDATE: Some fantastic contributions from Brew readers. Share yours in the comments.
Something we are not showing at the Rankin-Bass tribute on Tuesday is Thundercats, the studio’s 1985 response to Filmation’s He-Man. As you may know, Warner Bros. (who now own the property) is preparing an update for Cartoon Network. And from the look of things, they may have improved upon the premise:
Winnie The Pooh
WALT DISNEY PICTURES
U.S. Release Date: July 15, 2011
Narrator: John Cleese
Voice Cast: Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny, Travis Oates, Bud Luckey, Jack
Boulter, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Wyatt Hall, Huell Howser
Directors: Stephen Anderson, Don Hall
Producer: Peter Del Vecho
Executive Producer: John Lasseter
Original score by: Henry Jackman
Original songs by: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Bobby Lopez
Walt Disney Animation Studios returns to the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh. Featuring the timeless charm, wit and whimsy of the original featurettes, this all-new movie reunites audiences with the philosophical “bear of very little brain” and friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo–and last, but certainly not least, Eeyore, who has lost his tail. “Ever have one of those days where you just can’t win, Eeyore?” asks Pooh. Owl sends the whole gang on a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit. It turns out to be a very busy day for a bear who simply set out to find some honey. Inspired by three stories from A.A. Milne’s books in Disney’s classic, hand-drawn art style, Winnie the Pooh hits theaters in Europe and Latin America in Spring 2011; the U.S. release date is July 15, 2011.
Veteran Disney animator/storyman/director Burny Mattinson (a key animator on the 1974 featurette Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!) serves as senior story artist, with a dynamic young directing duo–Stephen Anderson and Don Hall–at the helm.
Director Stephen Anderson helmed animated films Meet the Robinsons and Journey Beneath the Sea, among others; he worked as a story supervisor on Brother Bear and The Emperor’s New Groove, and as an additional story artist on 2008’s award-winning Bolt. Director Don Hall is a veteran story artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios with credits including The Princess and the Frog, Meet the Robinsons, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, The Emperor’s New Groove and Tarzan.
Winnie the Pooh welcomes a few new voices to the Hundred Acre Wood: Craig Ferguson (The Late Show with Craig Ferguson), Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) and Bud Luckey (director of the Pixar short Boundin’).
Actress/musician/singer/songwriter Zooey Deschanel (Indie folk band,“She & Him) provides the vocals for a special rendition of the beloved Winnie the Pooh theme song.
London-born A.A. Milne (1882-1956), a noted writer and playwright, penned two books and several poems about the beloved Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin (named after Milne’s son). His books are actually collections of stories, three of which inspired the film.
A.A. Milne’s son’s teddy bear inspired the beloved character. The child named his bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear from London Zoo. Pooh was the name of a swan they encountered together.
Filmmakers visited Ashdown Forest where Milne wrote the books and the real Christopher Robin spent his summer vacations.
TonyÂ® Award-winning songwriter Bobby Lopez, and his wife Kristen, wrote the six spirited new songs for Pooh and his pals, including “The Tummy Song,” “A Very Important Thing To Do,” “Everything Is Honey,” “The Winner Song,” “The Backson Song” and “It’s Gonna Be Great.” Lopez is composer on several episodes of The Wonder Pets, which earned a Daytime EmmyÂ® in 2006 for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition.
Inspired by three stories from A.A. Milne’s books in Disney’s classic, hand-drawn art style, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Winnie the Pooh” reunites audiences with the honey-loving, philosophical bear and friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore in a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit.
Forget the Governor’s Ball and the Vanity Fair bash – I’m having two Post-Oscar parties next week in L.A. and mine feature cartoons!
CARTOON DUMP – Monday February 28th at 8pm
Our monthly live comedy/cartoon revue, Cartoon Dump, goes on as usual Monday evening at 8pm! Instead of honoring the Best Animation of the year, we take pride in ripping the Worst Cartoons Ever Made! Join me, Frank Conniff (MST3K), Erica Doering, J. Elvis Weinstein, Mighty Mr. Titan and special character guest Emo Philips (as our resident Cartoon Musicology Professor) and stand-up comedy guest Kyle Kinane at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. â€¢ Free Parking! â€¢ Advanced Tickets here â€¢ Phone: (323) 666-9797 â€¢ Map & Directions. Tell us you’re coming on Facebook!
ANIMATION TUESDAYS – Tuesday March 1st at 8pm
This month we welcome guest curators Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh of Screen Novelties as they spotlight rare Rankin-Bass goodies from their collections, as well as highlight work from the studio’s unsung heroes: the Japanese animators who were responsible for much of their aesthetic. Capping off the evening is an incredibly rare screening of the studio’s first AniMagic feature Willy McBean and his Magic Machine (1965), which follows the rollicking adventures through time of a boy and his monkey pal. Join us as we pay much-due tribute to these godfathers of pop-culture!
Walt Peregoy is best known as the color stylist of 101 Dalmatians and headed the background department at Hanna-Barbera in the late-1960s. The Animation Guild‘s business rep and intrepid interviewer Steve Hulett spoke recently with the 85-year-old Peregoy and their conversation can be heard below. If you’ve ever heard Walt speak before, then you know what to expect, but if you haven’t, be forewarned that there’s a lot of swearing and everyone he talks about is either a son of a bitch, a buttboy, a white supremacist or a motherf**r. Unlike Charlie Sheen though, Walt’s rants are actually pretty entertaining.
TV Ontario, a public broadcaster in Canada, has an amazing archive online and here’s one for us. It’s an episode of Talking Film (1980) which compiles two interviews, one with Chuck Jones, another with Friz Freleng, with interviewer Elwy Yost originally conducted for a series called Saturday Night at the Movies. Much of it we’ve heard before, but there are a few new nuggets of information and opinion – and its certainly worth a view to spend a few more minutes with Chuck and Friz:
There aren’t all that many animated films in the immaculately curated Criterion Collection. In fact, of the 556 DVDs that have been released under the Criterion banner, approximately 556 of them have been not been animated.
That’s Cinematical writer David Ehrlich asking why the discerning cinema buffs at Criterion have never released an animated film. He suggests that they begin looking in the direction of animation and offers a list of ten animated films they should consider releasing. What’s your wishlist of animated films that Criterion should release? Perhaps someone at the company will take notice of the possibilities.
FOR THE RECORD: A few commenters have pointed out that Criterion has released animation in the past–they put out Akira on laserdisc in 1995, and have released a few DVD anthologies of work by experimental animator Stan Brakhage.
Signaling a major effort to exploit its rich library of already well established properties and continuously seeking to expand its property base for young readers across all available publishing platforms, Atlantyca Entertainment is significantly increasing its publishing and entertainment business with the acquisition of Dreamfarm, a prominent Milan-based packager of children’s books. The announcement was made today by Atlantyca Entertainment President Pietro Marietti, a descendant of the Marietti publishing family, publishers since 1820, and Dreamfarm CEO, Marcella Drago, whose distinguished family owns De Agostini Editore since 1919. The deal establishes the new business entity called Atlantyca Dreamfarm.
The formation of Atlantyca Dreamfarm unites the creative genius that created such internationally renowned children’s book series as Geronimo Stilton, Ulysses Moore, Milla & Sugar and Klinkus Bart, among many others, and brings to the new organization Dreamfarm’s demonstrated expertise in taking advantage of the many new and emerging media platforms that have become so important in today’s publishing marketplace.
“This evolution brings together the heirs of two of Italy’s most important publishing dynasties of the publishing industry in the 21st century dictates that we adapt our publishing model to extend beyond traditional print media with a transmedia model that accommodates electronic media platforms such as the Internet, e-readers, gaming devices, television and emerging new technologies,” said Marietti. “It is with enourmous anticipation and enthusiasm that we look foward to reuniting our team at Atlantyca with my former colleague, Marcella Drago, in a collaboration that is destined to bring even greater children’s properties to the marketplace.”
The new team, which includes celebrated author Pierdomenico Baccalario, who serves as Publisher in Chief at Atlantyca, will be charged with developing concepts for children’s book series to be exploited by Atlantyca, along with foreign publishers through Atlantyca’s Foreign Rights Sales Department, in every available media platform.
“I am extremely proud to be working together with my companions Pietro and Pierdomenico, two publishing industry luminaries who have achieved incredible success in bringing entertaining stories and endearing characters to young readers. I am eager to create the next wave of successful new book series as part of this valuable team and deliver them to an even wider audience of enthusiastic young readers though today’s exciting new media platforms,” said Drago.
The “Walt Disney hated Jews and blacks” accusation is one of the most vile mistruths tossed around about the old man, yet a quick browse on-line suggests that more young people believe it today than ever before. How did this happen? Why is the single fact that kids know about this 20th century entertainment giant a shopworn charge, long ago disproven, that he was anti-Semitic and/or racist?
I began to understand the situation more clearly after spending some time exploring Yahoo! Answers, which contains dozens of questions about Walt’s beliefs. The questions don’t stem from Marc Eliot’s notorious hack job Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince–remember, nobody reads anymore–but rather from pop culture references, particularly animated shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken.
Writers of these shows, who can rarely be relied upon to come up with clever or original humor, recycle a playbook of dated pop culture references, among them that Walt hated Jews and that he’s frozen. Family Guy writers are so enamored of the anti-Semitic charges, that they’ve made the accusation multiple times, including this instance:
Combine the endemic laziness of animation writers with an every-child-left-behind educational system that has created a legion of TV viewers who can’t recognize that they’re being duped by old hearsay instead of being revealed new truths, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
I dropped by the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco last year and it was one of the most well curated and delightful museums I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. The museum achieves its aims of documenting Disney’s vast achievements and then some. The reality though is that most teenagers will never visit the museum. To address the rampant distortions about Walt, the Disney family and company must expand their on-line presence and make an effort to combat the inaccuracies with relevant information about Walt Disney’s life, history and legacy.
I’m sure the Walt Disney Company has plenty of employees already who manage their brand on-line and actively communicate with fans on the Internet. But seeing as how their company’s success is so indelibly tied to a single name, it would behoove them to also have a full-time employee or two dedicated to managing their founder’s reputation lest these lies are repeated often enough to be accepted as truth.
The problem of TV writers spreading disinformation about Walt is so widespread that even former Disney stars are perpetuating the stories. For example, take this appearance by Zac Efron on Saturday Night Live. Walt Disney appears in the skit, and along with him, the two stock Walt gags: he’s anti-Semitic and he’s frozen.
I’ve collected some of the most representative questions and answers from Yahoo! Answers that show the scope of the perception problem for Disney.
After analyzing all of the related Walt Disney questions on Yahoo, the most common sources of Walt’s contemporary character assassination can be traced to jokes on Family Guy and Robot Chicken, resulting in questions like this one:
Or this one:
Walt has defenders but the reasons are often as misinformed as the questions.
Here’s a defense from a “Disney historian, sort of!”
This Jewish girl is disappointed to learn that Walt, in fact, hated her.
Of course, he wasn’t just an anti-Semite, he was also “pro-white and hated people who weren’t.”
Thankfully, watching Disney cartoons is ok since “It’s not like you’re funding some Jew-killing operation.”
Oh, Family Guy writers, what clever comedy material will you come up with next? Perhaps a timely Hitler joke.
Saturday Night Live writers aren’t much better.
According to this person, supporting Walt Disney’s work is equivalent to supporting a media empire run by Osama bin Laden.
Walt won’t even leave Jews alone when they’re in the bathroom. This Yahoo commenter has a bright future ahead of him as a TV animation writer.
Frankly, Google’s Autofill isn’t much help in the matter either.
And yes, finally, some sanity.
UPDATE: A shameful example of misinformation can be found in this recent piece about Roald Dahl. In it, the misinformed author Alex Carnevale repeats the old canard about Walt’s feelings towards Jews:
[Dahl's] interest in writing, combined with his ludicrous tales of his wartime experience, quickly led him to Hollywood, where he immediately had much in common (appetite for clandestine inappropriate sex, hatred of Jews) with the Disney brothers. Walt Disney gave him the use of a car and put him up at the Beverly Hills Hotel!
Ryan Mauskopf (aka “Professor Soap”) is an illustrator, animator and musician living and working in New York City, currently the lead Graphic Designer for The Onion News Network‘s online videos. Not much happens in his film, Spirit Quest Journey, but I think that’s the point. Just a bunch of aliens walking on the moon. It makes me smile without doing a thing.