So, in thinking about Thanksgiving related to animation and art, I went back to look at my article from last year. I’m still thankful for ALL those folks, but I was remiss in thanking perhaps the most influential person, my Mother. She always made sure I had a good shot at following my dreams, often supporting my whims even when they seemed more flight of fancy that anything else. Losing her this year has taught me to treasure smaller things as I get older, and that the moments we have with family are not forever; perhaps as humans we take too many things for granted. More than anything I’d love to have her over for Thanksgiving dinner as she did for the better part of the last quarter century, bringing with her lots of containers to snag up as many leftovers as possible. Sometimes I think she’ll show up; I’ll keep looking.
I’m sure many of you have lost someone close, someone you loved; in the bigger picture, people are the most important thing, your friends, your family. No ones life is perfect, but I know that these days I pause a little sooner, enjoy things as people as much as possible. I’ll continue to attempt to accomplish unusual things, like the DVD and Blu-ray collections. Those will hopefully be around past my own life, and I hope perhaps that someone will watch some of those films someday and be grateful the people in the 20s through the 60s made them, and perhaps even a nudge grateful that we made the collective effort to keep them around for another generation.
I ended last years with the thought of being thankful for this period in history and that we’re lucky to be able to have such access to so many of these films. For so many years it was so much harder to see so many things, and while there’s still ones that are not as available, there is hope that they may be at some point.
I thought it might be fun to make a list of things I’m thankful exist about cartoons and the creators. So, here’s my list- far from complete really, but a good start.
List of Top Ten cartoony things Steve is thankful for this year:
1) Joe De Nat’s scores on the Scrappy Cartoons from the early 30s.
2) That 16mm film isn’t made of Nitrate
3) That Bill Nolan worked on so many series of cartoons, and even though he doesn’t get as much recognition, innovated so many timing ideas in his work, especially on the early Felixes. A true hero.
4) That Blu-ray and video projection technology has improved the accessibility of older films, and that film, still the best archival format, held out long enough to use digital technology to restore films, and to digitize BACK to film.
5) That the newer generations of animators and filmmakers includes members that love the older animated films, and seek them out. They’ll carry these into the coming century as we older folks let go of them….
6) That the animation community has a Jerry Beck to help move so many projects forward, a David Gerstein to continually unearth some of the rarest of the films, a Mark Kausler to save more films and help preserve history more that anyone has a right to, a community that is helpful and friendly, good friends like Chris Buchman and Rex Schneider to help with all sorts of details on the Thunderbean sets, and a Tom Stathes to save those smelly 28mm prints and so many more things….
7) That Technicolor existed. ‘Nuff said.
8) The 3D setbacks in the Fleischer Cartoons. has anyone EVER been grateful for those in on Thanksgiving?
9) That somehow MGM, Celebrity Pictures and Blackhawk Films managed to keep intact pristine 35mm Lavenders on so many of the Flip the Frog cartoons
10) All the wonderful years that my mother supported my efforts, and even though she wouldn’t allow a copy of ‘Snafu’ in her own collection (“It has a dirty word in it!”). I’m grateful she was always proud that I was doing them.
So, now it’s your turn- what are your favorite cartoony things you’re thankful for?
Since it’s Thanksgiving, we of course DO need a Thanksgiving cartoon. Here is one of my favorites- MGM’s classic Oscar-winning short, ‘The Little Orphan’ from 1949. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!