Steve Milman was a checker at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the 1930s and 40s. (Courtesy the collection of Tim Walker)
Lady Ice is a Disney epic in seven minutes. Liron Pe’er began the film in 2004 as her final performance piece for the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. After graduating, Pe’er continued to work on it and in 2010, 5-and-a-half years later, she completed it. Pe’er is currently a freelance animator in Israel.
(Thanks to Maja MajkiÄ‡)
I wanted to find out what was the most viewed Tom and Jerry short on YouTube tonight, and it turned out to be Salt Water Tabby with 24.4 million views. But this is no ordinary copy of the short; it has a completely new dialogue track in a Moroccan Arabic dialect by Bouchana Abdelilah. By comparison, the non-Arabic version (i.e. the boring original) of Salt Water Tabby has a mere 346,000 views. Why does a remixed version of a classic short have seventy (yes, 70!) times more viewers than the original? And will an Arabic voice-over make any cartoon funny and popular? In that case, Allen Gregory could’ve used a whole lot of Arabic. I don’t claim to have the answers to such questions, but I’m intrigued by this YouTube anomaly.
Veteran effects animator Dorse Lanpher passed away this past Friday (12/16). His presence will be sorely missed.
I first met Dorse in the period after the Disney rebellion, during the making of The Secret Of Nimh (the United Artists publicity photo above is from 1981) and though I can’t say I knew him well on a personal level, he was always a friendly face to run into a various animation events. I just had a nice conversation with him at last month’s CTN Expo.
Lanpher was one of the industry’s best, having honed his craft at Disney on Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians. He left the studio during production of The Sword In The Stone to work on industrial films. He directed a handful of religious TV specials in the 1970s (Christmas Is, Easter Is, etc.) then returned to Disney to do effects animation on The Rescuers, Pete’s Dragon and The Black Hole. Joining the Bluth renegades he contributed to Nimh, American Tail, Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. Lanpher rejoined the Disney fold with Roger Rabbit, then toiled on every significant Disney animated feature, from The Little Mermaid (1989) all the way through to Home on The Range (2004). Last year Lanpher self-published a memoir called Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck: Memoirs of a Life Spent Doodling for Dollars. The book, and his blog, are well worth reading.
His artist granddaughter, Holly Conrad, sent in this tribute:
“Dorse Lanpher was my hero. He made my artistic career possible with his encouragement and talent, he was like a father to me and his only complaint was that I couldn’t get more famous than him (that would never happen, Grandpa). His animation will live on and so will all that he taught me, even how to play the ukulele. He was proud of me enough to write about me on his blog and in his book and I’m never going to forget to live my life as art, as he always wanted and encouraged me to. And neither should any of us. He lives on in his art and in his words.
He liked like Cherry Pie from Marie Callender’s and Greyhounds. I recommend we all have one in his name, and in the name of those amazing effects that were animated by hand by so many talented artists, my grandpa included, and may they inspire generations of creative people with their magic. They inspired me.”
Another nice one from the Selzer family: making his characters work over the holidays, to clean the studio (at 1351 N. Van Ness, still on the Warner Sunset lot in this pre-1955 card) so the artists will have a clean office when they return in the New Year.
(Courtesy the collection of Tim Walker)
Linnea Sterte is an artist living in Stockholm Sweden. Lonely Little Teacup is her first film, a poignant little film that’s as soothing as a cup of… tea.
We interrupt this animation blog with a discovery of tremendous historical signifigance. Or at least, I think so. Warner Bros. cartoon art super-collector Eric Calande just found this postcard (from the 1950s?) depicting Harman & Ising Bosko and Honey dolls which we’ve never seen before. It’s known Harman and Ising continued to license Bosko (in comic books and coloring books, and home movies) into the 1950s. But postcards? With plush dolls? Anyone with further information on what this “series” is part of, please let us know.
In the meantime, cool image, huh?
This was another in the series of Bugs Bunny Christmas cards commercially released in the 1940s – this particular one sent by WB cartoon producer Edward Selzer to musical director Carl Stalling. The front is above, click to see the interior image (below) at a larger, readable size:
(Courtesy the collection of Tim Walker)
Here’s a real treat to start the weekend: Aaron Springer (SpongeBob SquarePants, Korgoth of Barbaria) created this series of Periwinkle shorts in the mid-2000s for Cartoon Network. Originally intended as a pilot, the network asked him to instead transform it into a series of two-minute vignettes that it wanted to use as cell phone content. They eventually aired them on a short-lived CN series called Sunday Pants and they’ve been out of sight since then. That’s a shame because they are among the most inspired, laugh-out-loud pieces of animation that Cartoon Network has ever produced. If I had to make a list of the necessary ingredients for a funny animated short, I couldn’t do better than what’s contained in Periwinkle: appealing characters who are fun to watch, simple set-ups that allow for visual storytelling, gags that build in intensity, and inventive animation.
Best. Batman/Lego Film. Ever!
(Thanks, Jay West)
Earlier this week, I traveled to the Bahamas for the wedding of my pal Rob Kohr (seen above in his self-designed cake topper). Rob is not only a friend, but also the webhost and tech guru for Cartoon Brew. He’s the unsung hero who keeps us up and running, and without his attentive daily management and skillful problem solving, there’s a very good chance you wouldn’t be reading this site right now.
Of course, it’s only fitting that Cartoon Brew’s tech genius would also be an animator. Rob’s day job is at Viacom where he works in their on-air promo department, animating Nick Jr. projects in both Maya and Flash, like this:
But having a full-time job and running a webhosting company isn’t nearly enough for Rob, who gives new meaning to the term workaholic. He also recently completed his first independent animated production, the anime-flavored The Lift, which has screened in nearly fifty festivals and won multiple awards. Take a look:
So here’s three cheers for Rob–for finding a great lady AND for keeping Cartoon Brew pumping!
Ward Kimball and family show you the proper way to do a Christmas card family photo:
The holidays are upon us – but that’s no excuse to stop watching cartoons on the big screen in Los Angeles! Ye olde Brewmaster (Jerry Beck) is involved in two theatrical animation events – one this weekend, the other next weekend – that will be a lot of fun to see and participate in.
Next weekend, the day after Christmas (Monday December 26th) the Alex Film Society will present the 2nd annual Greatest Cartoons Ever. Frank Gladstone and I will host this big screen event that presents some of the most acclaimed, beautifully realized and funniest animated films from Hollywood’s Golden Age on the huge screen of the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA.
All films screened will be 35mm vault prints (several in Technicolor) direct from the studios, and will feature Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, Gerald McBoing Boing, Woody Woodpecker and Mighty Mouse among others (I’ll announce the specific titles in my reminder post next week – or you can sneak a peek here). If you love these films or characters you’ll really enjoy this experience. On-line tickets are available now for two shows, at 2pm and 7pm, and will also be available at the door — at the historic Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Blvd. in Glendale. If you happen to be in Southern California for the holidays, join us there!
As you know, I run an animation night each month at The Cinefamily (at the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax). The Cinefamily is a non-profit organization of extreme film fanatics that run the greatest repertory cinema in Los Angeles. This weekend they are staging what they’re calling “The Craziest Thing We’ve Ever Done!”, Cinefamily’s Fantastic Elastic 24-hour Fundraiser Telethon.
This marathon event – which is FREE to attend and will be live streaming on the internet – will feature film screenings hosted by filmmaker Spike Jonze, actors Michael Cera and Benicio Del Toro, as well as on-stage interviews with actors Elliot Gould and Robert Forster. I will be screening semi-obscure Saturday Morning Cartoons on Sunday Morning sometime between 8am-11am (Pacific Time) on Sunday Dec. 18th, sharing the time with DJ Lance Rock (from Yo Gabba Gabba) and my hero, actor/puppeteer and classic kiddie show host, Chuck McCann! For more information, visit Cinefamily.org – and join me Sunday morning live or online.
This was one of a series of mass produced Bugs Bunny Christmas cards commercially released in the 1940s – this particular one sent by WB cartoon producer Edward Selzer himself. Click to see the interior image (below) at a larger size:
(Courtesy the collection of Tim Walker)