March 23, 2004

KIMBALL'S TRAINS

Posted by JERRY at 08:53 AM





ward kimball
I had a delightful time at Walt's Barn on Sunday. It's in Griffith Park, open one Sunday (the third Sunday) of each month - and I recommend you visit this piece of authentic Disney history. It gave me some new insight into Walt's railroading addiction.
If you are wondering what has happened to Ward's personal train collection, here's the scoop:
Noel Barrett Antiques and Auctions Ltd. has been awarded the contract to sell the collection of toys, trains and accessories from the estate of Ward Kimball, who died July 8, 2002 at age 88.
Kimball spent four decades amassing a premier collection of European and American trains and toys.

Two or three auctions will be held to disperse the collection estimated to bring more than $4 million. The approximately 2000 piece collection whose contents and quality are widely known could bring intense competition from bidders all over the world via the internet and drive prices even higher.

The first auction is slated for the weekend of Nov. 21, 2004 at the
Philadelphia Airport Ramada Inn. The second sale is scheduled for the
weekend of May 28, 2005.

Thanks to Steve Waller for locating these links


March 22, 2004

FLEISCHER MUSIC

Posted by JERRY at 09:53 AM





boop
I love the music in Fleischer cartoons. From Betty Boop, through the Color Classics, the Popeye cartoons and the original theme for Superman - It's all great stuff. Lou Fleischer and his assistants Llyod Von Heyden, Arthur Turkisher, and Winston Sharples set the tempo. Composer/song writer Sammy Timberg also wrote numerous melodies found in the Fleischer cartoons and was one of the few to recieve screen credit. While Carl Stalling and Scott Bradley, even Philip Scheib, have gotten kudos for the animation they scored, Timberg & crew have yet to be properly recognized.

Timberg's daughter Pat has been doing her part for the past decade. She's staged concerts of Sammy Timberg music and started a website, Timberg Alley. Now Pat has produced a CD of new recordings of classic Sammy Timberg cartoon music: Boop-Oop-A-Dooin' - The Songs of Sammy Timberg from Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman and Other Musical Classics. I've got it, and it's wonderful!

Here are the details from the liner notes: After 14 years in vaudeville and composing for Broadway musicals in the late 20's, Sammy produced a steady supply of spirited songs written for the classic Fleischer cartoons of the 1930's and 1940's. Although Sammy conducted a live, swinging band to accompany these timeless cartoons, much of the jazzy scores were lost behind the screen action, dialogue and sound effects. Boop-Oop-A-Doop compiles and recreates that music, with the help of some of today's most talented musicians and singers, so it can be heard on its own, for the first time and for its own sake!





sammy timberg music

Songs performed by Shannon Cullem (the great-grand-daughter of Sammy
Timberg), Richard Halpern and Mora's Modern Rhythmists.

Featuring 2 archival recordings, one of which has Sammy Timberg
singing and playing piano!

18 Tracks total:
1. Don't Take My Boop-Oop-A-Doop Away
2. It's A Hap-Hap-Happy Day
3. Got A Language Of My Own
4. Sweet Betty
5. I Wanna Be A Life Guard
6. Be Human
7. Brotherly Love
8. Keep A Little Song Handy
9. Hamburger Mine
10. I Want A Clean Shaven Man
11. Anytime At All
12. You Gotta Have Pep
13. Dizzy Debs
14. An Elephant Nevers Forgets
15. Little Lambkin
16. The Boopin' Stride
Archival Tracks:
17. The Superman March
18. I'm Glad We're Through (sung by Sammy Timberg!)

The CD can be purchased at FOOTLIGHT RECORDS in New York (113 East 12th St.), or through the store via mail order.

Monday Morning Plugs

Posted by AMID at 04:55 AM

There was a nice (albeit depressing) piece in yesterday's LA TIMES looking at how Los Angeles animation artists are struggling to stay financially afloat nowadays and how some of them who can't secure any cartoon-related work are finding employment elsewhere (like working at Trader Joe's or opening their own retail stores). The article isn't available on the TIMES website, but it's been posted on this ANIMATION NATION thread. Next, BREW reader Brock Gallagher sends over a link to a terrific website that showcases Dr. Seuss' early political cartoons, many of which were not published in the recent book DR. SEUSS GOES TO WAR. Last but not least, here's a plug for artist Steven Wintle's Flat Earth! blog, which offers insightful commentary on both animation and comics. In the past, Steve has been quite complimentary towards both Animation Blast and Cartoon Research, and now he seems to like the Brew as well, so needless to say, he has impeccable taste in cartoons.

March 21, 2004

Eisner's Book About Leadership Delayed

Posted by AMID at 12:31 AM

Following the stunning 43% "no confidence" vote against his leadership at the annual Disney shareholder's meeting earlier this month, Warner Books has delayed the June release of a book written by Disney CEO Michael Eisner. The book, CAMP, an account of life lessons that a young Eisner learned while attending a swanky summer camp for rich kids, was to have covered topics like teamwork, showing initiative and listening well. Insert your own ironic comment here.


March 20, 2004

The Disney Strike

Posted by AMID at 04:39 AM

Disney Strike

Shane Glines has posted an interesting historical artifact on his CartoonRetro.com message board - a comic strip from the publication FRIDAY drawn by striking artists during the infamous Disney Studios strike of 1941. I wonder if that's master animator Bill Tytla in the photo at right?




Rhapsody in Obscurity

Posted by AMID at 03:29 AM

If they gave Clios for pretentiousness, then United Airlines' new animated ad campaign would be a shoo-in. I just saw their second of four one-minute TV spots, and this one makes almost as little sense as the first ad that's been playing all over TV these past few weeks.





popeye
The new spot, which has lots of light bulbs in it, is by British animator Joanna Quinn who has also recently created more straightforward animated spots for Charmin toilet paper (with the bears) and Whiskas cat food. All four of the United Airlines ads are set to George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and are produced through Acme Filmworks. Like Quinn, the directors of the other spots - Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis (image at right), Michael Dudok De Wit and Aleksandr Petrov - have all been either nominated or won an Oscar for animated short. Now I'm all in favor of distinctive quality animation in TV commercials and the two United ads I've seen so far are pleasing to look at, but the storytelling is unnecessarily confusing, and I still haven't figured out what message, if any, United is trying to communicate through these spots.


March 19, 2004

Sunday In The Park with Disney

Posted by JERRY at 08:19 PM

Book Cover

Where will I be on Sunday?
I've been asked to join a number of authors who have written books on the subject of Disney (I guess a few entries in THE 50 GREATEST CARTOONS qualifies me) on "Disney Author Day" at Walt Disney’s Barn in Griffith Park on Sunday, March 21.
Scheduled to appear and sign are:
Michael Broggie, author of “Walt Disney’s Railroad Story”.
Peggy VanPelt, co-author (with the late John Hench) of “Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show”
Buzz Price, author of “Walt’s Revolution by the Numbers”
Kendra Trahan, author of the newly published “Disneyland Detective”.
Jeff Kurtti, author of "The Art of Mulan" and "The Art and Making of A Bug's Life"
Bill Cotter, author of "The Wonderful World of Disney Television"
And me.
It's at Walt’s Barn on Sunday, March 21, from 11:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
For more details follow this link.


March 18, 2004

QUISP

Posted by JERRY at 08:44 PM




quisp
I can't help it. I'm a sucker for QUISP.
One of Jay Ward's last great characters, and one of the most memorable in his stable of commercial stars (CAP'N CRUNCH is perhaps his most enduring).
I never really liked the cereal (I was a QUAKE man myself), but somehow the character just won't die (and neither will the cereal). And that's ok because I think Quisp is a great character.
Following a recent Spumco commercial, and a Funko bobblehead figure, now comes an action figure (or doll), which I just spotted at a comic shop here in Dallas (The store was called Zeus, and it's quite good).
Majestic Studios are the producers of this fine product (and check out their DAVEY & GOLIATH line while you're at it).


March 17, 2004

DAD, CAN I BORROW THE CAR?

Posted by AMID at 08:19 PM

Ward Kimball

Ward Kimball (1914-2002) was a great animator, but the reason he's my personal favorite of Disney's Nine Old Men reaches far beyond his animation work. Peter Adamakos nails it when he writes in this REMEMBRANCE of Kimball, "In a way, it seemed there were Eight Old Men and then there was Ward Kimball." Ward, like his Old Men counterparts, was a fine draftsman and animator, but it's his singular sense of humor and subversive imagination that distinguishes him from the pack and for which I appreciate him most. These elements are evident not only in his animation, but throughout his career in the arts. I was reminded of this yesterday when a friend gave me a videotape copy of a Kimball film I'd never seen before, DAD, CAN I BORROW THE CAR?, a 47-minute live-action episode of THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY from the early-Seventies. The special does not by any stretch of the imagination qualify as a masterpiece of 20th century American cinema, but it is enjoyable to watch and filled with delightfully silly and inventive bits as only Kimball could conjure.


DAD, CAN I BORROW THE CAR? takes a hackneyed concept: our fascination with cars from the time we're born through our teen years, and uses it as an excuse for a variety of absurd montages and sequences: a breakneck-paced spoof of used car TV commercials, a musical segment that involves driving an open-top convertible through a car wash, and a sequence about the incredible frustrations of going to the DMV (the California Department of Motor Vehicles is thanked in the credits for their cooperation, although it's hard to imagine they'd have agreed to participate in this had they been aware of Ward's intentions). There are also bits and pieces of animation interspersed throughout - a bit of pixellation here, some cut-out there, and an abstract cel animated sequence that follows two speeding paint stripes around a car. There is nothing particularly ambitious animation-wise, probably due to the budgets, but the cartoon pieces are effective and work nicely within the context of the film. The animation is credited to Art Stevens, who was an animator at Disney since the early-Forties and one of Ward's main animators beginning in the early-Fifties with MELODY and TOOT WHISTLE PLUNK & BOOM. I'm pleased to report that Stevens is among the few legendary Disney animators who is still with us today.

It's hard to describe the appeal of this film. There are plenty of wry little touches throughout, like when the live-action kid requires his father's signature on a driving form, a clawed monster hand comes into frame and marks the paper with an "X" or when a newborn baby is slapped at birth by a doctor, the accompanying sound effect is a car horn. Perhaps in the mundaneness of everyday routine, it's simply inspiring to see a film by somebody whose outlook on life was so drastically different from the vast majority of the populace. Or maybe it's the brief shot of Ward Kimball eating a toy car. Cartoonists eating cars is not something you see everday.


MORE ABOUT VOOM

Posted by JERRY at 01:58 PM





the egg yegg
Ward Jenkins, animation director at Primal Screen, has buzzed in with some more details on Voom's ANIMANIA HD network:
"The kicker is that they have a Classics show, a one hour
daily block (1 and 1/2 hours on weekends) showcasing old cartoons. And
here's the committed programming thus far: Felix the Cat, Roger Ramjet, original theatrical shorts of Mr. Magoo, Gerald McBoing Boing and other UPA
classics. In June, Pink Panther theatrical shorts, Fleischer
Superman shorts, Archie, Fat Albert, etc.
I'm surprised to see the UPA classics involved. I've never seen anything done about those shorts for DVD, let alone TV.
They are converting these shorts and shows into high-def, so i'm sure all the scratches and flaws will be easily noticeable. I really don't know about that stuff. If you go to our website (www.primalscreen.com) you can check out the ID's and various other items we've created for this HD network. Just go to The Work button on the main page, then click on Block Packaging.
There are several Animania elements there, all done in the 16x9 format
for HD."
David Gerstein also did some investigating and found out that they are indeed running the color Screen Gems cartoons (including the FOX & CROW).
Very exciting! We shall keep our eyes on ANIMANIA - the new, true classic cartoon channel.

March 16, 2004

COLUMBIA CARTOONS on VOOM

Posted by JERRY at 01:20 PM





Voom
I've been informed by several BREW readers that classic Columbia (Screen Gems & UPA) cartoons are now running, restored and uncut, on ANIMANIA HD, a digital network exclusively part of a High Def suite of channels in a package called VOOM.
If anyone has schedule information, we'd love to hear about it. I understand ANIMANIA HD also runs Felix The Cat (the color Oriolo ones) and the British CG series DAN DARE: PILOT OF THE FUTURE. But what else?
Enquiring minds want to know.

JERRY IN HARVEY-LAND

Posted by JERRY at 08:54 AM





art by kremer
I am away from my home base of Los Angeles this week, visiting the beautiful city of Dallas, where I am lending my expertise to the fine folks at HERITAGE COMICS AUCTIONS.
If I lived in Dallas, this is where I'd want to work. Heritage has obtained the complete library of original art from Harvey Comics - all of it from 1942 to 1988 - Harvey didn't throw any of it out.
Heritage has begun auctioning off select pieces - from the early Green Hornet, to the later "Thriller" line of oddball superheroes - and of course, the famous kids characters Casper, Richie Rich, Baby Huey, Little Dot, etc.
I'm here to help sort the material and identify artists.
Sounds grueling, but it's a blast to see this incredible art and hold it in my hands - comics by the like of Famous Studios animators Dave Tendlar, Steve Muffatti, Bill Hudson, Marty Taras - not to mention comics greats Warren Kremer, Howie Post, Ernie Colon and others.
For example, check out the original art to this terrific Tendlar Herman & Katnip cover currently up for bid.
Good stuff - or should I say "Hot Stuff"!

March 15, 2004

SANITIZED SOUTH PARK

Posted by JERRY at 02:52 PM

They're finally washing Cartman's mouth out with soap. Just as Congress is slamming broadcasters over foul language, producers are squeezing more money out of cable's most risqué shows by selling them in syndication to broadcast stations and tamer cable networks. A sanitized version of Comedy Central's South Park, slated to bow on broadcast TV stations in fall 2005, has been created by a syndicator who is taking it to stations to demonstrate they'll work on broadcast TV.
Here's a link to an article which explains all the editing they have to do (Warning: Article contains naughty words).

Welcome to the Brew

Posted by AMID at 03:15 AM

On behalf of Jerry Beck and myself, Amid Amidi, I'd like to welcome everybody to our new home on the Web, CartoonBrew.com. The news and commentary that was found previously on our own websites, CartoonResearch.com and AnimationBlast.com respectively, will now be housed exclusively at CartoonBrew.com. Our old sites will both remain active and will serve other purposes, but CartoonBrew.com is the page to bookmark for your daily dose of intelligent animation commentary.

Our plans for CartoonBrew do not end with what you see here today. Over the coming months, we're going to be introducing a number of other features to this site including the addition of guest bloggers. We look forward to having artists and historians from around the industry join us on the Brew to share their own thoughts on the art form of animation.

Please be patient with us as we try to work out the various technical kinks of this site over the coming weeks. If the site is showing up oddly on your browser, please drop me a line at amid(at)animationblast(dot)com with details of what's wrong. And if anybody is proficient with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), please feel free to offer solutions to any problems that you encounter. Jerry and I welcome and appreciate any such help. Finally, a shout-out to Leslie Cabarga who designed the various Cartoon Brew logos that we're using on this site. Thanks Leslie!



March 14, 2004

DUCK & COVER

Posted by JERRY at 08:44 PM





Watch out Bert! Bert the Turtle knows how to DUCK AND COVER!
On March 1st CONELRAD, the website devoted to Cold War popular culture, launched a campaign to get the 1951 Civil Defense film “Duck and Cover”into the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. The deadline is March 30th. “Duck and Cover” features animator Lars Calonius’s (now deceased) cartoon creation “Bert the Turtle,” a character that has become synonymous with the Atomic Age.
In this time of "Homeland Security", what could be more appropriate?
So check out this website for more information - and learn why Mia Farrow is the "Duck & Cover Girl"!