Reviews
July 3, 2013 posted by Jerry Beck

Book Review: “Nudnik Revealed!”

nudnik_book550

What’s Nudnik?

Nudnik was animator Gene Deitch’s favorite creation, the star of a series of twelve Paramount theatrical cartoons in the 1960s – and a character pretty much forgotten today. Thanks to the fine folks (including the late great Kim Thompson) at Fantagraphics Books, Deitch (the creator of Tom Terrific among many others) has been re-discovered through a series of books reprinting his great print cartoons – including the jazzy record-collecting The Cat and his short-lived 1950s comic strip Terrible Thompson.

Admittedly, the Nudnik cartoons are an acquired taste (and I acquired it), but regardless of your take on these films, this book Nudnik Revealed!, is a must-have for anyone interested in animation, cartooning or Gene Deitch. I especially recommend it to those currently doing storyboards. The bulk of this book is full storyboards, in color, to three of the Nudnik shorts. Since the character was mute, and animated in pantomime, these storyboards can be read as masterful, hilarious comic strips drawn by Deitch himself.

Nudnik_flipbook550

These boards are preceded by essays from Deitch explaining the origin of the character (based on himself, an outgrowth of Terrytoons’ Foofle), illustrated with rare promotional art, early character designs, cel set-ups, model sheets… everything you ever wanted to know about Nudnik, but were afraid to ask. Check out a preview of the book here.

Leonard Maltin and I will be doing a live interview with Gene Deitch at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, July 18th at 12:30 in Room 8. Deitch will be signing copies of the book there – and a brand new DVD collecting all 12 Nudnik cartoons will be released that day, and be on sale at the con. Be there – or buy this book. Nudnik has arrived!

nudnik_modelsheet nudnik_boards nudnik1 nudnik2

20 Comments

  • Count me in as a fan of “Nudnik”

    I’m glad this will be available, and am looking forward to it. Thanks, Fantagraphics!

  • Gene Deitch is one of the greats. And he has more of his animation history here:
    http://genedeitchcredits.com/

    Jerry, I’m surprised you didn’t mention it, you’re figured prominently on the intro page.

  • Anybody else think Bill Plympton watched Nudnik a lot?

  • Will the DVD collecting all the Nudnik cartoons be available as a general release? I tried googling it, but can’t find any information about it online.

    • Rembrandt Films has just released the DVD, NUDNIK Revealed! which has all the NUDNIK cartoons ever produced, plus fabulous introductions to each one by Gene. You can purchase it at http://www.rembrandtfilms.com/nudnik.htm. Plus tell your friends!! You will love them (and Gene)!

  • I would love to own a DVD ser of Nudnik. But questions:

    -Who’s releasing it?
    -Are they remastered?
    -Will it be available in stores/Amazon?

    • Rembrandt Films is releasing it
      The cartoons will be remastered.
      I’m not sure if it will be on Amazon. It will definitely be available through Rembrandt’s website beginning July 18th. Here’s the box art:

      nudnik cartoons

    • Yes, they are fabulous and remastered and have introductions by Gene. You can purchase it at http://www.rembrandtfilms.com/nudnik.htm. They make great gifts for “kids” all ages!

  • How did I miss this character? Man, I’d love to get a copy of the DVD, and someday, I’m hoping that we can see a full release of all the Gene Deitch TOM & JERRY toons, even though these are not favorites of the artist or fans of TOM & JERRY. They’re so unusual and, over the years, I’ve grown to like ‘em.

    • If it helps Jerry stated on Stu’s Show they (as well as the Chuck Jones entries) will be on a future Golden Collection set.

    • I’m guessing it might take a while until we see the Deitch shorts in that series, considering that the Golden Collection Volume 2 has been postponed indefinitely.

      Meanwhile, the best option for American fans is probably to import this European release: http://www.dvd-covers.org/d/266332-2/Tom_And_Jerry_Classic_Collection_-_Volume_10_-_Custom.jpg All Tom and Jerry cartoons by Deitch collected on one disc!

    • They are wonderful and are on a newly released DVD by Rembrandt Films. All cartoons are there, plus introductions to each one of them by Gene. Here’s where it can be purchased: http://www.rembrandtfilms.com/nudnik.htm.

  • I like Foofle better.

  • I remember encountering Nudnik only once in my childhood.

    It was one of those special-event kiddie matinees; I think there was a movie about a horse, preceded by a bunch of late-period Paramounts. Somewhere between the familiar Shorty & Swiftys and Sir Blur came two or three Nudniks in a row, looking and sounding welcomely different. One, totally wordless, had him putting up a TV antenna. Another had a sardonic narrator commenting on Nudnik’s attempts to do laundry. He felt like a woebegone Pink Panther, frayed and persuasively clumsy where all the other toons were hard-edged and stiff

    Never saw Nudnik anywhere again. Did he ever make it into a TV package?

    • It’s weird if such a TV package with those Nudnik shorts never materialized in the 70′s when it might seem worth putting together if they could find something else to stick in there to make it worthwhile to stations at the time.

    • A DVD with all the NUDNIK cartoons plus fabulous introductions to each one was just released by Rembrandt Films for Comic-Con. You can purchase it at http://www.rembrandtfilms.com/nudnik.htm.

  • Where were these shown? I never saw this, or a ‘Foofle’ cartoon at the theater, drive-in, or on TV in the early 60s.

    • I get the impression these never came on television domestically at all. The earliest I ever saw of them was in the 90′s when Cartoon Network did a “Toon Heads” special featuring them.

    • 12 of them were shown in US movie theaters (they were distributed by Paramount) back in the day. The NUDNIK Show, a 13-part show featuring the animation produced by Rembrandt Films and animation studios (Zagreb, Bulgaria) were released internationally in the 1990′s. Gene directed a 13th cartoon for the series. All the NUDNUK cartoons are in a newly released DVD also called NUDNIK Revealed! By Rembrandt Films. It can be purchased: http://www.rembrandtfilms.com/nudnik.htm.

  • It is great to see that these will be available. I only saw a few as a kid, but still have my official, original Nudnik flip book of The Cut Finger Fumble. Very lovable character that I will look forward to getting better acquainted with.

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