From now on all my latest animation commentary, which I previously wrote & posted on this website, will be uploaded to a new weblog I've begun with Amid Amidi (of Animation Blast).
Please check CARTOON BREW regularly. We plan to have guest bloggers, and are percolating some exciting features in the months to come.
Cartoon Research will continue on, mainly as an archive and data base which I will continue to update regularly.
So remember: to find out what's new, go to the Brew!
3/9/04 - Superman On The Couch!
My pal Danny Fingeroth (comic book writer extroaordinaire) has a new book on a favorite subject of mine: Superheroes. You should check it out here. "Superman On The Couch" explores reasons why superheroes are the myth for our times and our culture.
Says Danny, "My book, Superman On The Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us About Ourselves and Our Society is finally going on sale the beginning of April. There's a publication party at the new MOCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) Soho headquarters on Thursday, March 25th, 6-8 pm - if you're by any chance in NYC, please come on by."
The Invite is open to all. Check the MOCCA website for further details.
2/17/04 - Take this BOOP sheet music away!
This is just TOO cool!
Peter Mintun sent in this recent ebay find - or so he says. Click here or image above to see larger version!
UPDATE: Mr. Mintun, a respected musician-historian now living in the New York City area, just informed me that this piece of sheet music was a gag - he made it in Photoshop.
Anyone else wanna Photoshop any non-existant sheet music from 1930s cartoons? How about I LOVE TO SINGA (1936)? CONFIDENCE (1933)? SCRAPPY'S THEME SONG (1934)?
2/14/04 - SPONGEBOB'S offensive Valentine's Day card!
Quick! Run out to Wal-Mart and get the "Nickelodeon 34 Foil Valentine" card set - It's about to become an instant collectors item.
The PC police have spotted a printers error (or was Spongebob simply squirted on by a squid?) that depicts him smiling, his pearly white teeth offset by a jet black face.
American Greetings is blaming the racially offensive image on the printers in China.
"Culturally, the guys on press in China wouldn't have the faintest idea of who a SpongeBob was or who a black SpongeBob was," card spokesperson David Blinderman said.
Read the full report here!
2/3/04 - Two tid-bits!
First, let me plug the opening of a hilarious B-Movie spoof, The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra this Friday in San Francisco & Boston and in later weeks around the country. The movie is worth seeing - you will laugh - but the main reason I'm plugging it is for the short subject: a restored print of Ub Iwerks 1937 Columbia Color Rhapsody, SKELETON FROLIC. This cartoon was Iwerks own color remake of SKELETON DANCE - but has some new twists and great animation.
Next, I gotta second what Amid Amidi said about the King Crab Space Toy (pictured above) from Bill Wray. It was a great Cartoon Network pilot - and this is a fun maquette. It's limited edition - so rush right out and pre-order it from Bill himself!
1/14/04 - BOYS NIGHT OUT
I want to second what Amid Amidi has said (posted at his ANIMATION BLAST website) about the funny new independent short film, BOYS NIGHT OUT.
With traditional drawn cartooning dead at the corporate big studios, character animators are forced to take things into their own hands and go underground. Ultimately, many great things will result of this - and here's one shining example.
BOYS NIGHT OUT is the creation of director/animator Bert Klein (Looney Tunes:BIA) and cartoonist storyman Teddy Newton (Pixar). It's a perverse little story about a boy and his dad on a night out on the town without Mom (she's at "bible study" or so she says). So Dad decides to take junior to strip club. And wackiness ensues from there.
The art direction/character design/animation is a beautiful mixture of "Gerald McBoing Boing" with Jack Cole, Fred Moore, Gene Deitch and Tex Avery influences. BOYS NIGHT OUT is a delightful, naughty and very entertaining cartoon filled with full funny animation art.
It'll probably play around later this year on the festival curcuit - In Hollywood, the short was just nominated for an ANNIE AWARD and will be screened Monday January 26th at 7pm at Dreamworks studios (open to all Asifa-Hollywood members - click for details).
"Here's to family!"
P.S. Bert Klein's animator wife, Jennifer (who co-produced BOYS NIGHT OUT) has a nifty children's book TURTLE SOUP and website too.
12/29/03 - New BETTY BOOP collectors guide!
Hobby House Press just sent me an actual copy of the The Definitive Guide To BETTY BOOP Memoribilia by Leonard Ellis, which I plugged in this space a few days ago.
And the book is as good as its cover. It's loaded with color photos of rare 1930s Betty Boop merchandise - and it catalogs the recent Boop-a-mobilia as well. It rates things as "Common" or "Uncommon" and lists prices (values).
There are some really neat things in here: 8mm home movie boxes, bath soap, wooden dolls, big little books -- I want it all!
There are some Koko and Bimbo items, the Mexican rip-off Lulu and Mae Questel merchandise listed as well!
Leslie Cabarga designed the nifty cover - all in all a fun package.
12/27/03 - MORE NEW BOOKS!
A couple of new book recommendations from our special literary correspondent -- animation director Tom Sito:
"Former Marvel Animation director Mike Joens (My Little Pony The Movie 1984) has written a cool murder mystery set in an Animation Studio. It is called "An Animated Death in Burbank" (orignally titled Draw Blood). It is put out by St. Martin's Press.
If you want to order a copy check out Amazon.com; Barnes & Noble.com; or Walmart.com and look it up by name or author. Mike will be doing some book signings around LA and the Bay Area in the coming weeks.
"The irrepressible Floyd Norman had come out with his second volume of gag cartoons commenting on animation life in our times. Son of Faster Cheaper published by Vignette Multimedia; 2003. His cartoons make fun of work as an animator at Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Pixar.
Very fun read and very relevant to our times. You can order it on his website www.Afro-Kids.com
(I also recommend the original "Faster! Cheaper!", still available from publisher John Cawley at www.cataroo.com - Cawley even has a handful of the numbered editions which feature original Floyd cartoons and signatures on the first page!)
10/2/03 - Two Books Now on Sale!
This doesn't happen to me often... in fact, this never happens to me, ever... but now on sale at your local bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Borders and probably your neighborhood comics shop, are two (count 'em two!) new books on sale - written by yours truly.
So here is my one and only official plug for them (at least on this page):
Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide (from DK Publishing) is a big picture book detailing every known character in the Warner Bros. cartoon universe!
For those of you who thought there were too many words and not enough pictures in LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES: A COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO THE WARNER BROS. CARTOONS, here is the answer to your prayers!
The other book, Outlaw Animation, (from Harry N. Abrams Publishing) is the story behind the cool cartoons from the Spike & Mike Animation Festivals - and the festivals themselves. Lavishly illustrated and fun...
Buy them on Amazon through the links above and this website gets a cut... or buy them at your local bookshop and read them in the coffee bar - you'll look so cool!
8/13/03 - Will Ryan, Man of Many "Firsts"!
The first new friend I made when I moved to Los Angeles in 1986 was Will Ryan. Little did I know that Will was a "man of many firsts"!
So when I told Will Ryan I had a screening of Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR movie (the best live action movie I've seen this year) at the San Diego Comic Con last month, he mentioned that he was the very first person to actually buy a copy of American Splendor (the comic book) direct from Harvey, right out of the box fresh from the printer.
And this week, that fact is immortalized in the pages of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY (Aug. 15th issue), where Pekar and Gary Dumm recount AMERICAN SPLENDOR history - and there's a reference to "Bill Ryan" (see panel above).
Will Ryan hails from the streets of Cleveland Ohio, where at one time he had R. Crumb's old job at American Greetings. He later formed a popular local muscial comedy act Willio & Phillio (with Phil Baron).
Moving to L.A. Will's done everything from animation voice over (he's Digit in AN AMERICAN TAIL, the seahorse in THE LITTLE MERMAID, Grubby on TEDDY RUXPIN and numerous voices in GUMMI BEARS, amongst many other roles), to song writing, acting and was even president of ASIFA-Hollywood.
Here are some other little known "firsts" in Will Ryan's life:
1. He had a letter in the first Fantastic Four letter column.
2. He had a letter of comment in Spiderman #3 - Spidey's 1st letter column.
3. He had a letter in the first Incredible Hulk letter column.
4. Voiced Goofy, Tigger and Rabbit in the audio-only on-air countdown of the Disney Channel's first day broadcast (April 23, 1983) (So he was on the Disney Channel before it even existed!)
5. Was the first actor to voice Carl Barks' characters Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander (cut from some edits) and the Beagle Boys in "Sport Goofy in Soccer-Mania" (where he was the 3rd actor - after Bill Thompson and Alan Young - to voice Scrooge McDuck).
6. On the first Duck Tales episode (playing a Peg-Leg Pete type), Will had executives change all scripted mentions of "the Junior Woodchuck Manual" to "the Junior Woodchuck Guide Book".
And as creator of "Elmo Aardvark: Outer Space Detective!", considered by many the Internet's first weekly animated series, Will was first to release classic Elmo Aardvark songs and music on CD.
Check out these cool cartoony discs at CD Baby.com.
Will Ryan or Bill Ryan or Terwilliger Ryan - or whatever he calls himself next - they are all the same guy and he's usually first to admit it!
8/6/03 - ROCKY & BULLWINKLE DVD
I've been getting mixed reactions from friends who have already picked up the ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE Season 1 boxed set.
Over at Harry McCracken's Harry-Go-Round, McCracken reports: "One might assume that the "first season" in question would be either the first season of "Rocky and His Friends" or "The Bullwinkle Show". And "complete" suggests that the shows would be presented as they originally aired.
"But this Sony box set presents a season that's neither squirrel nor moose. All of the various opening sequences have been clumsily edited to use the title "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends," which, as far as I know, the program was never called. They've also messed around with the music and sound effects in the credits and bridging sequences."
Thad Komorowski wrote it in to say: "As a friend, I feel it's up to me to tell you...
"GET THIS DVD NOW!"
"You won't be disappointed! They look like they're brand new, they've NEVER looked and sounded this good!
"The supporting segments are a little jumbled, but this was done to attract more casual fans. It's worth any price alone to get Dudley's STOKEY THE BEAR..."
"Plus, there's a TEENY logo in the bottom right corner for like 10 seconds in each segment, but it was done to prevent bootlegs of these pristine copies."
There you have it - two opinions on the same DVD presentation.
What do you think? Post your own comments on my new Cartoon Research Animation History Discussion Board.
8/9/03 Update: I just bought the DVD set, and I think it's terrific.
Yes, the openings are changed from "ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS" to "THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY & BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS" (and I believe my pal Keith Scott expertly re-dubbed Bill Conrad's voice over the new title) and one could nit-pick the other changes, but essentially the cartoons are here, complete, restored and hilarious.
The rare promo's and Bullwinkle puppet sequences are great. I've never seen the Savings Stamp bumpers before. All in all, well worth your time and money.
8/13/03 Update: Keith Scott adds these comments for your edification:
"Some general information: the cartoons on the DVDs are from Universal Television's restored masters, used for their overseas sales package. (Unfortunately General Mills, who contractually still have the domestic US TV rights into perpetuity, couldn't get together with Universal, so any semblance to exact copies of the old shows was averted in order to avoid potential legal action).
The music rights were also in dispute, ever since the old Buena Vista video release in 1991, so the only music used are the tracks composed by Fred Steiner for "The Bullwinkle Show" in 1961 (Frank Comstock's music, heard in the original 1959-60 "Rocky and His Friends" shows on ABC, can't be used, as there is a fee involved. Lawyers strike again!).
Yes, when this package was beginning to be assembled in 1995, I had to go in and try to match Bill Conrad for the new title "ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE AND FRIENDS." So I guess they're using that track, but no-one attempted to match the equaliaztion from old Glen Glenn analog to modern Sydney digital.
The one good thing is that the actual cartoons finally look and sound excellent. I assisted with the restoration which took three years (1995-98) at the old Chace Audio in Burbank."
Thanks Keith, you did good work!
7/22/03 - SAN DIEGO COMIC CON!
I had a great time at the San Diego Comic Con despite getting a sprained ankle a week before. I thought having a cold during the Con five years ago was the worst experience I could have - No, getting a sprained ankle the week before, knowing you have three miles of Dealers Room to walk around, was far worse. But I managed to hide it and carry on.
I came back Sunday night to find my computer had completely crashed and I have to reinstall all my programs (which I'm still doing).
So this Con report will be brief...
Jerry Beck interviews Howard Post
Photo by Harry McCracken
Interview with Howard Post! Oh man, Howie Post is cool.
The hour sped by. Post is a fascinating guy. I tried my best to ask him questions about his Paramount, Famous and King Features animation career - but his stories about comics were so interesting. There just wasn't enough time!
WORST CARTOONS EVER: The special Comic Con edition, was screened Friday July 18th at 9:00pm. We followed Mark Hamill and his panel for COMIC BOOK: THE MOVIE which included Billy West, Rob Paulson, Jim Cummings and a dozen other top voice actors - and I preceeded the sold out SPIKE & MIKE SICK & TWISTED CARTOON show.
We were opposite the Eisner Awards, but we had a huge crowd and they seemed to love every horrifying moment of MIGHTY MR. TITAN, SUPER PRESIDENT, DO-DO THE KID FROM OUTER SPACE, JOHNNY CYPHER IN DIMENSION ZERO, TOM OF T.H.U.M.B. and THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS I threw at them.
They even stampeded the stage when I offered them a stack of 16mm prints of King Features 1960s POPEYE cartoons!
I showed a few rareties (stuff I like) including QT HUSH and SUPER SIX, and am convinced this could be a regular attraction at the con. If so, next year BUCKY & PEPITO will reign!
3/13/03 - All about SAMMY TIMBERG!
I am the biggest fan of Fleischer/Famous cartoon music. From BROTHERLY LOVE to the SUPERMAN THEME; IT'S A HAP-HAP-HAPPY DAY to the NOVELTOON theme; YA GOTTA HAVE PEP to A LANGUAGE ALL MY OWN... ahhh!
And what do they all have in common?
Pat Timberg, Sammy's daughter, has been toiling on a tribute website for a few months. It isn't ready to launch, it's still in the production - and she'll probably get mad at me for telling you about it - but hey, it's really cool!
Check out TIMBERG ALLEY or go directly to his bio or check out this page where you can catch an embarassing video of me (with bad hair) and Richard Fleischer introducing a Timberg/Fleischer tribute at the World Animation Celebration in 1997.
Explore the site - it's incomplete - but loaded with images, clippings and information of interest.
Good luck with it Pat - keep going! It's great!
Sid Raymond & Jerry Beck, 1994
UPDATE 12/11/02 - The SID RAYMOND Documentary!
This is an update of a story I posted back in April.
New York filmmaker Howard Weinberg has completed his documentary on the life of Sid Raymond.
"SID AT 90" screened on New York's Channel 21 (PBS) WLIW, in January.
Sid Raymond was the voice of Baby Huey and Katnip in the classic Famous Studios cartoons, and one of a troop of New York based actors to voice the Paramount cartoons for about 12 years or so (roughly 1947-1959). He's in 90% of the 1950s Famous cartoons, either as star or in support of Jack Mercer and Arnold Stang.
||Sid with his|
One of the greatest experiences I ever had, was my honor to meet and get to know Mr. Raymond.
We met in Vancouver in 1994 and spent five full days recording the new Baby Huey cartoons and hanging out with him (I was a producer for Harvey Entertainment at the time). I later met up with him in New York where he took me to breakfast at the Friars Club and invited me to a party at Jackson Beck's place!
I also visited him in Miami where he showed me his only souvenier of working for Famous Studios (close-up at right). It's a framed piece of original art (It looks like Dave Tendlar drew it to me) with Baby Huey and Katnip. Huey says "Duh-h - Hey Katnip! You talk just like Sid Raymond!". Katnip replies "Duh-h - So do you, Huey!!" It's signed "To Sid, Best Wishes from the Famous Studios gang."
Sid is still alive, and still working at age 93 - he was most recently seen in the movie BIG TROUBLE (as RETIREE #2 in the climactic airplane scene). Sid had an amazing career - he appeared on classic episodes of THE HONEYMOONERS, and in such films as THE HUSTLER, dozens of commercials, in Vaudeville and on Broadway, and of course, in cartoons.
And now, filmmaker Weinberg has made a wonderful documentary about Sid Raymond. You can check out the details at his SID AT 90 website - and click here for a small work-in-progress trailer for the film.
Feinberg is still looking for donations to relieve debt incurred in making this independent production.
Cartoon Research sincerely thanks him for completing this important project.
As Katnip oft times said, "That sounds logical!"
10/29/02 - BOB CLAMPETT GRAFFITI!
God Bless Bob Clampett!
He was my favorite cartoon director, and when he made personal appearences during the 1970s and 80s, he was especially gracious (and grateful) to all his fans.
During a visit to Mort Walker's Cartoon Museum in Port Chester New York, over 20 years ago, Bob leaped at the opportunity to join his cartooning cohorts by contributing to the wall of graffiti in the men's bathroom there.
That bathroom is gone now, but photos of the lengedary john still exist. My friend Alan Kaplan snapped these pictures (below) of Bob drawing Porky Pig, freehand, on that wall. I still remember standing there in awe as he drew this without any reference, in less than a minute.
Matt Hasson has posted a few other shots he took of this great lost "art gallery". Click here to see a larger image of the Clampett wall, and what Chuck Jones & Jack Davis did, (and in the ladies room Lynn Johnston & Wendy Pini among others, drew).