ANIMATION ANECDOTES
May 29, 2015 posted by

Animation Anecdotes #214

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Joe Barbera on Tom and Jerry. In PUNCH magazine November 29, 1972 Joe Barbera commented on Tom and Jerry: “When you see Tom and Jerry move, they move as if they were living, breathing characters. That’s why they are funny. Tom may have had the edge in size but little Jerry sure knew how to exasperate his perennial feline friend.

“Of course, a lot of work went into the production of Tom and Jerry. We used full animation and an average cartoon took nearly five thousand drawings for a single episode. That’s a drawing for every other frame of film that goes through a projector. It also takes time and money to produce. That’s where limited animation came in—with only two or three drawings per foot of film, it revolutionized the industry.”

The Big Difference. Producer Fred Seibert (From 1992 until 1996, he was the last president of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio) told the New York Post on October 23, 2006: “There’s a difference between animated sitcoms and cartoons. An animated sitcom might be something like The Smurfs whereas Tom and Jerry is a cartoon. Cartoons are shorter and punchier. There are fewer characters and plot is less important. I think what I’ve done in the last thirteen years is to bring back cartoons and make it the primary vocabulary again for the business.”

Mice Are Cute. In the November 16, 1986 issue of the Daily News newspaper, animation legend Don Bluth told writer Jay Maeder: “Mice are cute, aren’t they? They’re so defenseless. They’re so vulnerable. They’re so soft and cuddly and lovable. It’s not like they’re, oh, crocodiles, for example. I expect it’s safe to say that there will always be cartoon mice.”

When asked about his well publicized walkout from Disney seven years earlier, Bluth replied, “It was long ago. I’ve mellowed and none of the people who were the reasons for the walkout are there any more anyway. We get along well enough today that we actually did some of the recording for An American Tail (1986) at Disney.”

1948_GENERIC_LOONEY_TUNES_t387x600The Cartoon Character In Us All. In the February 1987 issue of Millimeter magazine, animation legend Chuck Jones said, “In looking back on a lifetime of discovering ideas, I can see that ideas do seem to have a few distinctive features in common: all ideas for me seem to be based on variations of observable human behavior.

“Within all of us dwells a Daffy Duck, an Elmer Fudd, a Coyote, a Sylvester, a Yosemite Sam. We try, and are usually able, to keep the more antisocial traits of those characters under control.

“If we want to live in reasonable peace with ourselves, we ruefully acknowledge them and do the best we can with the full knowledge that occasionally Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote or Daffy Duck will come piling to the surface and take over for a few seconds, a few minutes—or a few weeks. If two Yosemite Sams surface at the same time, divorce is almost certain.”

Jay Ward Said. In a 1987 interview for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspaper, Jay Ward said about his cartoons, “We wrote for ourselves. We tried to do as many funny things as we could think of that would amuse ourselves. We felt the animation and action would entertain children and we could do our own satire and humor based on our own adult feelings. Our main interest was doing funny humor.”

The Red Dragon Talks. Kevin Golsby was the only Australian actor to do a voice in the first Australian animated feature film The Red, Red Dragon in 1972. He played the main villain named the Red Dragon.

marco_polo_red_dragonThe film was produced by Eric Porter (Porter Animations) and was also known by a variety of other titles including “Marco Polo Junior Versus The Red Dragon”, “The Magic Medallion” and sometimes just “Marco Polo Junior”.

The storyline was that a descendant of Marco Polo (the seventh son of the seventh son) and his seagull companion go to Xanadu to rescue a princess from an evil magician called the Red Dragon. The story was the creation of cartoonist Sheldon Moldoff who ghosted Batman comic book stories for artist Bob Kane for many years. Moldoff was also the executive producer of the film.

As Golsby told the magazine The Australian Woman’s Weekly in January 1973: “My Red Dragon accent had to be evil with comic overtones. One minute he’s trying to convince everyone he’s really very nice to know—the next he’s calling on all his powers to destroy Marco Polo Junior so he can marry Princess Shining Moon and become emperor.

“I couldn’t talk for a couple of days afterwards.

“People don’t get tired of you if you’re not over-exposed visually. You don’t get type-cast either.

“I was the only Australian voice on the soundtrack. The rest of the cast, including pop singer Bobby Rydell, were American. In terms of time, (the film) took me only four sessions over a period of two weeks to record. The Australian animators took almost two years.” (Officially, it was 21 months to complete the film.)

Animation footage from this film was combined with new animation to create the 2001 film “Marco Polo: Return to Xanadu” that included an extended story with a new subplot.

Why There Was a Cars 2. Within the first two years of release of the Pixar animated feature Cars (2006), it generated $460 million in global ticket sales and sold 27 million DVD/Blu Rays.

carspixarDuring that same period, related retail products generated more than $5 billion in income. And this was before the ice-skating show themed to the film, the new land at Disney California Adventure and a host of other projects. By the time Cars 2 was released in 2011, the merchandising take on the original film was over $10 billion.

“This is not the movie that you would expect Pixar to make a sequel of — yet they are,” said Doug Creutz, a media analyst for Cowen and Co. “And the reason is it was a massive licensing success.”

One of the reasons for an international setting and a spy element in the sequel was to increase merchandise sales overseas and to be able to add cool gadgets to the vehicles that would be incorporated into the toys.

15 Comments

  • Can’t wait till Cars 3 come out ! I heard that storyline about Cars 3 is going to be centered around US Route 99 a highway which once ran from Caliexco California to Blaine Washington.

    • Cars 3 will take place in the future (where Lightning & Mater are transported for some reason or another) and will face off an alien invasion of their most fearsome foe yet –automobiles powered entirely by electric engines.

    • And the main villain will be called “Prius The Pious”! He will capture Lightning and Mater and is going to drop them into “The
      Melting Pot” to melt them down into slag. Mater screams “Please, Pious Prius, don’t fry us free us!” Try saying THAT fast five times!

    • God, I hate these sarcastic “Cartoon Brew” like comments.

  • Hanna-Barbera outsourced some animation for “Super Friends” and other shows to Eric Porter Studios. Alex Toth visited Australia to assist the Porter animators. Interesting that Shelly Moldoff produced the Marco Polo film.
    I recall in the ’70s, Blackhawk Films offered prints of an early Porter cartoon, “Bimbo’s Auto.”

    • More about Eric Porter’s life and career can be heard here…
      http://nla.gov.au/nla.oh-vn4610506

    • I remember seeing “Bimbo’s Auto”, where a sort of bear character gets a taxi from a sort of automotive maternity hospital and the two of them go into business. It was with some other British shorts, including one about a Don Quixote-like little animal who seeks out a fey Loch Ness monster. Are they on video anywhere?

    • If I recalled Hanna-Barbera opened a studio in Australia called Hanna-Barbera Pty. Ltd later known as Hanna-Barbera Australia and afterwards Southern Star Studios. I remembered they animated Black Beauty (which one of my favorites), Drak Pack and The Secret World of Og.

    • DBenson said…
      I remember seeing “Bimbo’s Auto”, where a sort of bear character gets a taxi from a sort of automotive maternity hospital and the two of them go into business. It was with some other British shorts, including one about a Don Quixote-like little animal who seeks out a fey Loch Ness monster. Are they on video anywhere?

      I think that second short is this…
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5gosaC07aA

      Technically, I wonder if you’re confusing the first short with George Moreno’s “Bubble & Squeek” series, as that had a very similar premise of a guy and a taxicab making the rounds. I see how that might be confusing but I just thought I’d ask.
      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLedflAfnnzWaHkFJ19mjB3x_RKIswmtcf

      BIGG3469 wrote:
      If I recalled Hanna-Barbera opened a studio in Australia called Hanna-Barbera Pty. Ltd later known as Hanna-Barbera Australia and afterwards Southern Star Studios. I remembered they animated Black Beauty (which one of my favorites), Drak Pack and The Secret World of Og.

      Yes they did, That came shortly after they used “Air Programs International” to work on a couple shows like “Funky Phantom”. It wouldn’t surprise me though if they were also using Eric Porter’s studio as well since even Eric mentions that in the audio interview I linked to previously.

    • I recall in the ’70s, Blackhawk Films offered prints of an early Porter cartoon, “Bimbo’s Auto.”

      I noticed another of Porter’s films was also released by Blackhawk, Rabbit Stew… Too bad the only full copy on YouTube has no sound while another is just an excerpt from a royalty-free stock library.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLu6e0oA5cU
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnxgn4Pekjk

      Ironically, these two cartoons made me think more of the Korean redrawn Porky Pig cartoons I watched as a kid (perhaps it’s the backgrounds and the loser timing), it’s hard getting that out of my mind while seeing something from another country ad it’s early infancy in animation.

    • H-B Australia/Southern Star was bought by Disney, wasn’t it?

      Air Programs International produced the “Around the World in 80 Days” cartoon, based on the Jules Verne book.

      Even then as a kid I noticed some wonky moments due to animation errors in “Super Friends” and “Chan Clan.” In an early episode of the former, Wendy is complaining to a factory owner about the pollution his factory is creating. Behind her, we see three smokestacks outside a window, billowing smoke. Cut to the owner, then back to Wendy – and the cels for the smoke are misaligned, I mean WAY off, so that the three smoke streams appear to coming out of thin air, yards away from the smokestacks!

    • Could be, or else simply whoever leftover in Sydney continued on with Disney when they set up show after Southern Star was ended, at least going by what Wiki said about the US division being sold to Turner.

  • Please note that Bimbo was not supposed to be a bear, but an Australian marsupial called a wombat. I doubt that anyone outside of Australia would have recognized that – – though I wonder, given his vague design, if the Aussies themselves would have.

    • Australians generally knew simply because bears are non-native and wombats are. Well, except for koalas which were assumed to be bears at the time…

  • The Eric Porter short subjects, aside from “Waste Not, Want Not,” had the problem of attempting to break into the short subject scene too late in the game

    Had he approached Columbia 10 years earlier, they might have been more likely to accept distribution of his cartoons, but well into their UPA years, they were far less likely to either assist in distribution or help animate his cartoons (especially UPA animators).

    The closest cousins to those Willie the Wombat cartoons by 1954 would have been the Famous Studios output, as the animation & character styles used would have otherwise been considered old fashioned.

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