Obama Releases His Animated Birth Video

Tonight at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, President Barack Obama released his birth video, which turned out to be an animation-related joke. He then followed it by saying, “I want to make clear to the Fox News table — that was a joke. That was not my real birth video. That was a children’s cartoon. Call Disney if you don’t believe me. They have the original long-form version.”

DreamWorks Artist Accused of Shooting Puppy, Hammering it to Death

Young Song, a surfacer who has worked at DreamWorks Animation since 2003, is being accused of climbing into a neighbor’s yard and shooting a German Shepherd puppy with a pellet gun. Then he returned and hammered the dog into a “bloody, motionless pulp.” The dog is still missing but a surveillance video exists. “It’s one of the worst cases we’ve ever seen,” Hillary Gatlin of the the Pasadena Humane Society told the NY Daily News. Song is being held on bail, and faces up to four years in prison if convicted. Though his actions are unjustifiable, a neighbor has described Song in terms that make one wonder if there’s more to the story: “He’s a very nice and kind person. He has three dogs of his own and chickens in the backyard. It’s a total surprise.”

Here’s a news story about the incident:


(Thanks, Rob)

“Hoodwinked Too!” talkback

Hoodwinked Too: Hood Versus Evil opened yesterday. I’ll check it out myself at a matinee later this week. In the meantime, The Hollywood Reporter said in its review:

“Six years after the original, of Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil, one of the most obnoxious and least necessary animated films of the century thus far; obnoxious because of the relentlessness with which it slams witless gags in the viewer’s face and unnecessary because the 2005 original didn’t exactly demand an encore.”

The New York Times added this:

“The letdown with “Hoodwinked Too!” is the animation. The images don’t remotely approach the nuance of, say, “Ice Age,” let alone anything from the mack daddy, Pixar. And while it seems there’s no getting away from this marketing aesthetic, the resemblance at times to a video game is far, far too acute.”

The L.A. Times had at least one good thing to say about the supporting characters:

“Hansel and Gretel are this movie’s breakout stars, but it’s not enough to make “Hoodwinked Too” feel like anything but a storybook hurled straight at your head.”

Did anyone in our readership check it out? If so, the comments section is open exclusively to you! (That means that if you didn’t see the film your comments will not be posted)

Disney’s “Understanding Stresses and Strains” (1968)

Disney-nerds like me want to see everything the studio ever made, particularly all the animated films done while the nine old men were still active. Here’s an oddball 60s era sponsored educational film featuring Eric Larson’s work; part of Disney’s Triangle of Health series, sponsored by the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company, Understanding Stresses and Strains:

(Thanks, Ira Gallen)

Chuck Jones “Crawford”

About a year ago animator Kurtis Findlay asked if Brew readers would be interested in a book collecting Chuck Jones’ short-lived Crawford comic strip. Well, that book is now well under way and will be published by the Library of American Comics!

Kurtis is currently looking for the best available copies of every strip for this complete collection and is about 98% there. He’s gotten the cooperation of the Chuck Jones estate and family blessing to complete his research. Findlay is now reaching out to our community for help:

“Due to the obscurity of the strip, I’m having difficulty tracking down papers that actually carried it. Here’s where I need the help of you Brew readers: Do you know of any paper that carried Crawford dailies, Sundays or both? Please leave a comment! If you have any other information or material that relates to Crawford, please send me an email: kurtis-at-coveringthemouse(dot)com

I strongly second what Findlay is trying to accomplish. If you can help him with any further information on this obscure comic strip, please do. Above, one of the rare daily strips from the run (click to enlarge).

Worst. Disney. Pin. Ever!

Lookit what I found at the Disney Store at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard: The one and only piece of Disney merchandise for Mars Needs Moms, the biggest bomb of the year and the film that saved us from a Zemeckis’ Yellow Submarine.

I had to buy it. It’s an instant collectible; the souvenir of the year as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to wear it proudly to the Annies. The package says “Limited Edition” but let me tell you, they had tons of them. The girl at the counter said they couldn’t give them away. I for one, will always cherish mine.

Jerry Events: The Next Few Days

Here’s a massive plug/checklist for my numerous public activities during the next week. If you live in L.A. come one, come all!

Friday NightVan Eaton Auction Preview 6:30pm. Unbelievable animation rareties on display – AND food! From 6:30pm onward, tonight at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks. All are welcome – Free!

Saturday Afternoon – CineFamily Special screening, The History of the Super Hero Cartoon 1pm – Everything from Fleischer Superman to Super President (above), with Roger Ramjet, Bat Fink and The Mighty Heroes in between!

Sunday AfternoonLos Angeles Times Festival of Books, I will be there Sunday at 2:30pm signing books at the Insight Editions/Palace Press booth (#912) on the campus of USC. Free admission!

Tuesday NightFleischer Cartoons in 35mm 8pm – UCLA Restoration prints including Koko’s Earth Control, Snow White, Somewhere In Dreamland and many others as you haven’t seen them before… At the CineFamily/Silent Movie Theater May 3rd at 8pm.

Wednesday NightAdobe First Frame will showcase works from students in USC’s John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts on Wednesday May 4th. It begins at 7:00pm and includes a 90-minute screening program of 24 participating student films. For more info: Click Here!

Thursday Night – As usual, the first Thursday of every month, Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys play 20s, 30s jazz and pop tunes, preceeded by me and my 16mm projector with rare musical shorts and cartoons of the 1930s. 8pm at the Steve Allen Theater.

Six Point Harness Exec John Andrews Launches 6 Point Media

Led by CEO Brendan Burch, Six Point Harness announced today that Executive Producer John Andrews has joined them to form a new venture called 6 Point Media. Andrews, the former EP of ka-chew!, has combined that roster with the talent pool of Six Point Harness and several new signings.

To view the new directorial line-up for 6 Point Media and their recent projects, go here: www.6pointmedia.com/work.php

“Together, in this new venture, we hope to take on projects that allow us to display our understanding of the interconnectivity of content, media and brands on a level beyond a typical production entity,” explains Burch. “As we produce a wider array of media, utilizing an ever-growing range of production techniques, we want to be thought of as the ‘go-to’ studio for anything having to do with leading-edge animation, design and digital content. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be building this new company with John.”

Chinese Animated Series “The Bosco and Zoe Show” Coming To America via Pacific Dragon Holdings

Bosco and Zoe are quickly moving from the toy fair to the TV: Pacific Dragon Holdings, Inc. has recently acquired the rights to the animated characters, and is developing a children’s show in both English and Spanish.

Pacific Dragon Holdings will enter into a joint venture with Brothers Victory Cartoon Animation Fabrication Co., Ltd., the company that created the characters, to manage global licensing for the show. There are currently 130 completed episodes of The Bosco and Zoe Show, with 40 more in production.

The company plans to air the show for two years, at which time they will begin work on a film. Jeff Myers, president of Pacific Dragon Holdings, said he is already writing an outline for the script.

The sophisticated animation has been done by four studios in the Huai’an City area, part of mainland China. Myers is in talks with larger animation houses about collaborating on the Bosco and Zoe project.

“Bosco and Zoe are destined to become major characters in the preschool market,” Myers said. “The sweet, innocent wisdom that each of these characters possess is something that is not very often seen.”

Myers first encountered the characters while at the International Hong Kong Toy Fair in January 2011, where he found a small booth that was displaying a poster of a character called Alafa. The company representatives running the booth explained that Alafa was popular in one province in China, and they wanted to introduce the show to the Western market.

Myers was intrigued, and in February began meeting with Brothers Victory Cartoon Animation Fabrication Company. Despite significant language barriers, the two companies agreed on a contract. Pacific Dragon Holdings obtained the North American, South American and Japanese rights to the character. The company had the rights to re-name the characters, redub the show and produce new western version of the television show.

For Myers, this experience has been one full of pleasant surprises.

“It all started with a casual glance, a change meeting in a foreign country and two foreign groups coming together in unity, creating a new international joint venture,” he said. So get ready to welcome this wonderful new children’s animation, The Bosco and Zoe Show as it gains exposure worldwide.

DreamWorks Animation Partners with Gaylord Hotels For Unique Branded Rooms

Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET) and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today unveiled a strategic alliance to expand Gaylord Hotels’ family-friendly leisure offerings to feature the DreamWorks Experience, the next generation of family vacation programming and world class entertainment.

As part of this strategic alliance, Gaylord plans to offer unique leisure experiences for its guests featuring DreamWorks Animation’s iconic characters at all Gaylord properties. The live interactive experiences will include character breakfasts, newly themed Christmastime events, poolside activities in the summer, imaginative food-and-beverage offerings, private birthday parties, festive parades, merchandise and various themed entertainment. Gaylord Hotels plans to feature live appearances by characters from current DreamWorks Animation franchises, including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar, as well as other future films and characters from the studio.

This program furthers Gaylord’s focus on growing the leisure side of its business and continuing to drive revenue through its top-notch entertainment attractions throughout the year. DreamWorks Animation characters will be integrated into existing Gaylord Hotels’ holiday and summer offerings, which Gaylord believes will further increase the popularity of these highly successful, award-winning family offerings in addition to augmenting the experience of Gaylord Hotels’ convention guests.

“We are honored to form such an exciting alliance with one of the most visionary entertainment companies in the world to bring the iconic DreamWorks Animation characters to life for our leisure hotel guests,” said Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of Gaylord Entertainment. “We have been looking for a significant way to expand our leisure offerings for some time, and this program with DreamWorks Animation will allow us to offer unique experiences that will enthrall our customers. Importantly, today’s announcement should allow us to meaningfully enhance occupancy and revenue on the leisure side of our business, particularly during the summer and holiday periods, when group business is traditionally slower and lower-rated.”

“Gaylord Entertainment has displayed an incredible commitment to creativity and high-quality family entertainment, making each of their world-class U.S. resorts an ideal destination for the DreamWorks Animation brand,” commented Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation. “We look forward to bringing to life the characters, stories and worlds featured in our film franchises in new and innovative ways throughout the Gaylord Hotel guest experience starting this year.”

Vacation packages featuring the “DreamWorks Experience at Gaylord Hotels” go on sale in July 2011. The experiences will go live in all four resorts beginning in November 2011, as part of Gaylord’s award-winning Christmastime programs.

“Don’t Scare The Hare” titles

You don’t see animated opening titles on live action TV series these days, much less on a game show. With that in mind we present the title sequence of a new BBC quiz show, Don’t Scare The Hare. The show began airing last week and co-stars a three-foot animatronic robot rabbit. The titles were animated by Rob Findlay at Glasgow’s Once Were Farmers.

“El Clasico” by Richard Swarbrick

Despite my distain for Robert Zemeckis’ mo-cap monstrosities – I believe live action can be effectively used to create great animated films. Here’s a good example. Commissioned by Sky Sports this rotoscoped piece, by Richard Swarbrick of London’s Hotspur and Argyle, beautifully transforms soccer footage (from Barcelona’s 5-0 drubbing of Real Madrid earlier this year) into fine art.

Directed by Richard Swarbrick
Produced by Luke Arthur.
Music: Lady Labyrinth by Ludovico Einaudi

(Thanks, Andy Reingold)

Anime “No Longer Human” Wins Platinum Grand Prize at 2011 Future Film Festival

No Longer Human won the Platinum Grand Prize at the 2011 Future Film Festival! The jury made up of the comic and fantasy film expert Alberto Corradi, journalist and writer Stefano Masi and historic illustration and essayist Paola Pallottino chose Morio Asaka Japanese film with this statement: “For the high quality of the review of the traditional themes through a graphical functional poignant. Directed dosing times attigendo dramatic and visual culture by blending the Western and Japan. “ The jury awarded a special mention to Paul, by Greg Mottola (USA 2011), exhilarating trip on the road where the protagonist is an alien with the two demented movie star Simon Pegg and Nick Frost English. The motivation of the special prize: “For the ability to integrate a digital character in the drama of the play. For the balance that keeps the film from the position of independent and mainstream, ripping applause. “

Among the short films in competition for the Future Short Film, the jury composed of journalist Marco Consoli, author and television animator Guido De Maria and author Stefano Disegni gave the prize of the Province of Bologna for the best short to Bottle of Kirsten Lepore (USA 2010) with the following motivation: “For the ability to warm the heart of the viewer with an unusual and original love story, full of poetry, through the use of poor materials and techniques.” The jury has given a mention to Rubik by Claire Baudean, Ludovid Habas, Mickael Krebs, Julien Legay, Chao But Florent Rousseau, Caroline Roux, Vaxelaire Margaux (France 2010) to “the insight to turn a game popular in a narrative trick that creates a gravitational surprising thriller. “

The short of Groupama Future Film Short voted by the public is Le Royaume / The King and the Beaver by Nuno Alves Rodrigues, Oussama Bouacheria, Julien Cheng, Sébastien Hary, Aymeric Kevin Ulysse Malassagne and Franck Monier (France 2010). Mobile by Verena Fels (Germany 2010) and Rubik by Claire Baudean, Ludovid Habas, Mickael Krebs, Julien Legay, Chao But Florent Rousseau, Caroline Roux, Vaxelaire Margaux (France, 2010) shared the second place.

Walt Disney Animation Studios to Participate in Annecy Festival

After the great success of the first edition, Annecy 2011 and YouTube are proud to announce the participation of the Walt Disney Animation Studios in this animated film competition.

The lucky winner will not only be able to spend the week at the Annecy Festival with an accreditation to see films in the official selection of shorts and features, graduation films and TV and commissioned films, Work in Progress and making of sessions with the film crews, a daily film in the open air, go to signing sessions… but also be treated to a 5-night stay in Los Angeles to include a guided tour of the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank. Regular partner Autodesk will also be offering a software package to the winner and other 2 finalists.

The winner will be presented with a Cristal trophy on Friday 10th June at a special reception.

Reminder: the animated film of less than 5 minutes on the subject of Animation, land of freedom should be posted no later than midnight 10th May 2011 on the following site: www.youtube.com/annecyfestival.

This original creation should also make references to the “International Animation Film Festival” and “Annecy 2011” using the events as keywords to appear on the film.

From 11th May, users can start voting for the 10 best films. A jury of professionals, including a representative from the Walt Disney Animation Studios, will then select the three most outstanding films and choose the winner.

Call For Entries: Cortopotere Shortfilmfestival (Italy)

Cortopotere ShortFilmFestival — a festival entirely dedicated to short films (competition, retrospectives and events) — returns for its 11th edition: a significant achievement, marking the growing importance of a cultural event more and more determined to establish itself as a major film festival, on both the national and the international scene. The competition announcement, addressed to both national and international authors, producers and distribution companies, can now be found on the festival’s official website www.cortopotere.it.
The announcement is divided into two main sections:
- National short film competition
- International short film competition

- 1 – Submission to the festival is open to fiction, experimental, animation short films (max 20 min.) and documentaries (max 30 min.). We accept Italian and international short films completed in 2009 or later, in any screening format.

- 2 – Submissions must be sent to the following address by June 6th, 2011 at the latest:
Cortopotere ShortFilmFestival XI edition
c/o Università degli Studi di Bergamo Via Pignolo, 123 – 24121 Bergamo – Italia

- 3 – Films will be selected by the Artistic Direction, whose decision is final. A selected jury, whose members are professionals either in the film or the entertainment industry, will assign the following awards: International Competition: Best international short film, Best Animation, Best Documentary, Best Fiction, Best Experimental; National Competition: Best national short film. For both the national and the international competition, Audience Award and Artistic Direction Award will be assigned.

For any further information, details and regulations, please visit our website: www.cortopotere.it

3net Picks Up Tiny Island’s 3D series “Dream Defenders” For U.S. Broadcasting

Tiny Island Productions, Singapore’s leading Stereoscopic-3D CG animation production company and 3net, the 24/7 3D Network from Sony, Discovery and Imax announced today a deal which grants 3net 3D broadcast, home video, publishing and merchandising rights in the United States to Tiny Island’s Dream Defenders.

David Kwok, CEO, Tiny Island Productions, commented: “We are honored to have the opportunity to work with 3net to launch the stereoscopic version of our series in the US.”

Tom Cosgrove, President & CEO of 3net, commented: “This marks an important step in furthering our commitment to bring ground-breaking, family-friendly 3D content to our audience.”

Zane and Zoey, twins and rivals are the Dream Defenders (26x30min eps) – the last line of defense between the Real World and the nightmare creatures of the Dreamworlds. Controlled by the evil Icela, ruler of Dreamworld, the nightmares have come to life and are threatening to break through and take control. Only Zane and Zoey, and their supercomputer Zeus, stand in Icela’s way.

The series is based on original concepts by Tiny Island Productions and produced at the Singapore – based studio. The writing team is supervised by industry veterans Eric and Julia Lewald, who have been showrunners together or individually on 14 series, including X-Men: The Animated Series and Young Hercules. The series will debut on 3net in October 2011.

“Rippled” by Darcy Prendergast

Over 6 months in the making and almost 3 years after Lucky, their first light painting collaboration, Darcy Prendergast and the creatives at Australia’s Oh Yeah Wow have again teamed with Melbourne-based musicians All India Radio to create their latest music video, Rippled. Painstakingly animated frame by frame, the piece is “all shot in camera, by real people, in the real world, using long exposure techniques”.

Nice hand-drawn animation on Norwegian TV

Animator/Director Hans Jørgen Sandnes, via his studio Sandnes Media, is producing a new mini-series of children’s animated music videos for NRK:

“They’re based on the songs of famed Norwegian singer/songwriter Alf Prøysen (1914 – 1970). The series is hand-drawn, made in-house by me and my five collegues. The episodes are short “music-videos” following Prøysens original recordings. We’re very passionate about our work, trying to master the medium of traditional 2D animation.”

That passion really shows. The first episode (of four) premieres tonight. Here’s a sample of the series:

European Cartoon Network Pilots

Back in 2009, Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe in London created six 3-minute pilots under the creative direction of Timothy Björklund, who had previously directed American shows like Teacher’s Pet and Brandy & Mr. Whiskers. The studio finally posted them on-line yesterday. The nicest thing one can say is that there’s a lot of talent in that studio and the graphics are fun, but the uniformly obnoxious and aggressive tone of the shorts is an unpleasant reminder of the early-2000s US TV animation industry when nobody seemed able to shake off the combined Spumco/Spongebob influence.

The London studio recently produced its first original series The Amazing World of Gumball, and from the previews I’ve seen, it suffers from the same retrograde tone of these pilots. In a post-Adventure Time world that emphasizes individuality and personal style, generic wackiness doesn’t cut it anymore.

Judge the pilots for yourself:

Elliot’s Zoo by David Needham

The Furry Pals by Rikke Asbjorn

Verne on Vacation by Sylvain Marc

Pinky Malinky by Chris Garbutt

Mutant Moments by Alan Kerswell

Hamshanks and the Himalolly Mountain Railway by Tom Parkinson

(Thanks to everybody who emailed about these.)

How 3-D Animation Was Made Seventy Years Ago

Dave Fleischer

In 1941, the Fleischer Studio constructed this elaborate three-dimensional distorted perspective set for the feature Mr. Bug Goes to Town:

Built of balsa wood and plastics, it required architect-artists four months to construct. The entire set rests on a steel turntable which can both revolve and move up and down. Drawings will be photographed a full six feet in front of the set and the combination of the “set-back” photography and the “distorted perspective” of the set will provide the illusion of third dimension, according to director Dave Fleischer, who is seen moving the set.

Here is how the set appeared in the finished film:

(via Ryan and Stephanie’s Fleischer art collection)

Two new books you MUST buy!

If I can make each and every one of you buy a book this week, it would be one or both of these – Simply put, these are two of the best animation books of the year. Each completely different from the other, both are absolute must-haves for anyone, everyone who loves animation.

I’ve personally been a fan of Bill Plympton’s since I first saw his print cartoons in the Soho Weekly News (an NYC alternative newspaper in the 1980s). I actually met Bill at a comic con back then, but he wouldn’t remember that. However, I was lucky enough to become a personal friend of his since the time of his first short Your Face, which I helped distribute through the Tournee of Animation.

That said, I had no expectations for this large coffee-table art book, except to see lots of artwork from Bill’s films and comic strips. Boy, was I in for a surprise. First off, Bill got David Levy to co-write the book with him. Readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of Levy’s writings and previous books. Chris McDonnell (Meathaus; Bakshi’s Unfiltered) did the layout, so the book is gorgeous. What I didn’t expect was how moved, dazzled and entertained I was by Bill’s story and the abundance of varied art and images.

This is Bill’s journey, told through his voice, and every page of this 264 page book is pure joy to read or to look at. Your Face (1987) was the film that introduced us to Plympton and was a breakthrough for him as an artist. It’s fascinating to see his early work fill the first 75 pages, as you can see his many influences (Yellow Submarine, Milton Glaser, David Levine) in his drawings. Your Face really nails what we are to know as Bill’s style – and from there on, in this book, we are able to see how he’s grown as an animator through storyboards, rough comics, production cels and pencil drawings. The text recounts his entire professional career. As “the king of the independent animators”, aspiring artists will find lots of inspiration in his story.

Terry Gilliam contributes a hilarious Foreword in the front, and Bill provides a detailed Filmography in the back, along with a list of his personal inspirations (it’s a great list and includes Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Rod Scribner, Hayao Miyazaki and R. Crumb among many many others) as well as his all time favorite and worst films (where Bill counts The Chipmunk Adventure as one of the worst – even though he animated on it!).

Independently Animated: Bill Plympton is available now on Amazon.com and at whichever book retailer still exists in your city. Also, New Yorkers can pick up the book directly from Bill on Monday May 2nd. Plympton is opening the doors of his New York City studio (153 W. 27th St. #1005) Monday from 4pm to 8pm to have a gala Starving Animator’s Sale of discounted artwork from all his classics: Your Face, How to Kiss, Guard Dog, The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger, Idiots and Angels. Refreshments will be served!

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: “Race to Death Valley” (Vol. 1) is a brand new hard-cover comic strip compilation from Fantagraphics (Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, etc.). However unlike the others, this should be of particular interest to animators and Disney fans. The book reprints several early continuities (more than 200 pages of comics, all unedited) of the Mickey Mouse comic strip by Floyd Gottfredson (whose occasional collaborators included Win Smith, Jack King, Earl Duvall, Al Taliaferro and Walt Disney himself). The strips themselves are great. In fact, it’s a crime these aren’t more well known. These daily strips are part of why Mickey Mouse became a popular character and world famous icon. The serialized adventures are exciting and fun, establishing a real personality for Mickey beyond what was possible in the animated shorts. The book has lovingly restored these strips from the original negatives and proof sheets – each one crystal clear and absolutely beautiful.

If that were all there was to this book, I’d recommend it highly. But that’s not all. Co-Editor David Gerstein has, as he did with his previous Mickey and the Gang volume, loaded this book with over 60 pages of supplementary articles and features that are a MUST for all Disney history buffs. Gerstein has packed the pages with all manner of extremely rare promotional material, newspaper clippings, artwork, rare strips, publicity art, merchandising, still photos, etc. none of which I’ve ever seen published anywhere before. These “sidebar” pieces include an appreciation by Floyd Norman, an introduction by Warren Spector and a Foreword by Thomas Andrae. Gerstein himself writes over 10 articles filling in the backstories of the cast of characters, as well as bios of Gottfredson and his collaborators.

I cannot praise this volume highly enough. I want to thank Fantagraphics for sending me an advance copy hot off the press. It will be available next month in book stores and comic shops, as well as Amazon and other online retailers. Order it NOW! You will not regret it.

Charles Schulz unpublished pre-Peanuts late-1940s try-out comic strip art readies for public auction

The unpublished, never-before-seen pre-Peanuts daily try-out comic strip original art — bridging the gap between Charles Schulz’s Li’l Folks and the appearance of Peanuts in 1950 — is expected to bring more than $20,000 when it comes across the auction block at Heritage Auctions, Thursday, May 5. It will be part of an auction of vintage comics and original comic art at the Fletcher Sinclair Mansion.

The original artwork is being offered by the family of the late Frieda Rich, a lifelong friend of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and the inspiration for the character of Frieda, with the famous “naturally curly hair.” Also being offered by the family is the original art to three of the first four “Frieda” strips, dated March 6, 1961 (est: $10,000+), March 8, 1961 (est: $10,000+) and March 9, 1961 (est. $10,000+).

“Frieda Rich was an art instructor who Schulz met while working at the Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis,” said Aaron White, Consignment Director for Heritage Auctions. “Schulz autographed and inscribed the first of the ‘Frieda’ strips, ‘To Frieda with every best wish and fond memories of all the good ol’ days — Sparky.’ He then gifted her with the other two strips, as well as the try-out strip.”

The unprecedented pre-Peanuts art provides a rare early peek at an incredibly important, previously unpublished three panel strip featuring characters who bear more than a passing resemblance to Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Schulz’s early L’il Folks strips ran from 1947 to early 1950 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and always in a rectangular format with separate panel cartoons contained within — Li’l Folks was never a daily format comic strip.

“In 1948, Schulz tried to get his feature syndicated, incredibly with no luck,” said White, “The first Peanuts strip is dated Oct. 2, 1950. From the first, Peanuts dailies were always in a four-panel format, and stylistically this three-panel example seems solidly from late 1949-50, placing it squarely towards the end of L’il Folks and the beginning of Peanuts.”

Judging from how very similar Snoopy and Charlie Brown are in comparison to the unnamed characters in this strip, it’s not hard to make the logical connection that this newly unearthed comics treasure is indeed a long unknown try-out strip for Peanuts.

Portland Museum To Host Mel Blanc Exhibition

Many of us know Mel Blanc as the voice of Bugs Bunny, Pepe Le Pew, Barney Rubble, and countless other cartoon characters. But who is he really? Did you know that he grew up in Portland? Did you know the original spelling of his name was Blank? Did you know that Mel Blanc was the youngest conductor ever to lead the RKO Orpheum Orchestra? Did you know that he was the first voice artist in Hollywood to receive screen credit?

Many say that Mel Blanc was the first and best voice actor. He made it an art. His career spanned vaudeville, radio, movies and television starting in the late 1920s and continuing to this day, more than 20 years after his death. The Oregon Jewish Museum presents a loving tribute to this homegrown and gifted comedian.

The exhibit follows the trajectory of Mel Blanc’s life from his youthful years in Portland to his remarkable Hollywood career as the voice behind more than 400 animated characters in over three thousand cartoons. Film, sound, photographs and memorabilia will entertain adults and children alike. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the person behind the voices. Most of all come prepared to laugh long and loud!


Oregon Jewish Museum
1953 NW Kearney Street, Portland, OR 97209
Ph: 503-226-3600 www.ojm.org

Exhibition Hours beginning June 2011:
Tuesday-Thursday 10:3am — 4:00pm
Friday: 10:30am — 3:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12:00pm — 4:00pm

Museum Admission:
General Public: $6
Students and Seniors 62+: $4
Children under 12: Free
OJM Members: Free

“South Park”‘s 15th Season Premieres with “HUMANCENTiPAD” Episode




“South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season Uncensored” DVD And Blu-Ray

Arrives In Stores On Tuesday, April 26


All-New Season 15 Episodes Available In HD Exclusively On xBox LIVE, iTunes, Sony

PlayStation Network, Amazon Video On Demand

New Episodes Also Available On SouthParkStudios.com

The latest Apple product to hit the market is revealed in the 15th season premiere of South Park titled, “HUMANCENTiPAD,” premiering on Wednesday, April 27 at 10:00 p.m. on Comedy Central.

Kyle is intimately involved in the development of a revolutionary new product that is about to be launched by Apple.  Meanwhile, Cartman doesn’t even have a regular iPad yet.  He blames his mother.