Here’s a Rare Collectible. Advertisement in the Sunday Comic Section of the Los Angeles Times on October 20, 1935: “Van Boring, the Comics Sensation of the Daily Times, Now Comes to Life for You as the Roly-poliest Doll You’ve Ever Seen…He’s jiggled and joggled his way into the hearts of thousands of readers – and now at least boys and girls can put him through the same hilarious antics that make him the daily darling of the Times comics page. All dressed up and ready to perform, this doll which has been designed by Tish Tash, the original creator of Van Boring is being given away for securing only one new two-month subscription to The Times. Mail or phone your order to Los Angeles Times, Junior Sales Division, First and Spring Streets, Los Angeles – Madison 2345, Station 314”.
Yes, there is a nice black and white photo of the doll right next to the announcement. Has anyone ever seen the doll? Isn’t it about time for a book collection of all the Frank Tashlin Van Boring cartoons from 1934-1936? The character was inspired by Tashlin’s former animation boss, Amadee J. Van Beuren of the Van Beuren Studio. Tashlin was 19 years old in 1932.
The Psychological Chuck Jones. From the magazine Psychology Today (May 1969): “Chuck Jones is our friend. He speaks to children through his wild and wonderful animated films, and no one does so anywhere near as well. Because he is our friend, some of us know a little more about the marvelous mind of Charles Martin Jones. We know he also speaks for children, and maybe for all of us.”
This introduction prefaced the following Editorial by Jones. Here it is in its entirety:
“There is only me –and the rest of you. No one else looks out through these twin turrets…only me. All of you out there share this in common. You are out there and I alone am in her observing. Mother, teacher, head-hunter, whaler, daughter, lover, tramp, musician, all of you have this in common. You are not me. I alone. I lonely. I entirely. I exist within these walls. This is one truth, the great and stark and magnificent truth of the matter. The matter is that I matter. Beyond this there is no need. Beyond this all is trivial. Because, indeed if I matter than all else matters too. Charles Martin Smith.”
What Might Have Been. In the early 1970s several employees in the Disney 16mm home movie division put the animation for the “Claire De Lune” animated segment back with its originally recorded soundtrack. (It had been refitted with different music for “Blue Bayou” in Make Mine Music 1946.) They showed it to Ron Miller, then the head of the studio, to convince him that the segment should be included in a re-release of Fantasia (1940) and would be a great publicity angle. Miller was intrigued by the idea but was stopped when Woolie Reitherman insisted that Walt never meant for the film to be anything more than what was released. While others tried to show Miller documentation of Walt’s plan to continually refresh the film with new segments, Miller felt that “someone who knew” had spoken and that was it.
Where the Wild Things Are. From the Los Angeles Times April 3, 1983:
“Glen Keane and John Lasseter, two of Disney’s best young animators, combined drawn animation with computer-generated images in an even more unusual combination of techniques to produce a series of tests based on Maurice Sendak’s award-winning children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are. Lasseter designed a set of the bedroom, hallway and staircase where Max, the mischievous title character chases his dog. Keane laid out a path of action for them, noting their positions in each frame.
“This information was encoded into a computer by the artists and technicians at MAGI-Est (Mathematical Applications Group Inc.). Using a sophisticated graphics program, they created simple groups of geometric shapes that represented the basic forms of Max and his dog, and placed them within a computer-generated model of the set, according to Keane’s path of action. The resulting images were displayed on a video monitor and photographed with a still camera.
“Keane and Lasseter used these photographs as guides to keep the perspective accurate when they drew the animation of the characters. Their drawings were then scanned and digitized – electronically encoded back into the computer –which placed them in the correct positions within the set in each frame. The computer also colored the animation drawings, adding shadows and highlights according to the animator’s instructions and the light sources in the setting. These images were displayed on a high-resolution video monitor and photographed for the final film.”
Buffalo Crossing. John Tyler Brister was an award winning animator who passed away at the age of 38 in 1989. One of his notable accomplishments was in Salina, Kansas with a 360 long “Buffalo Crossing” using the zoetrope style of animation. When viewed from a moving car, a sequence of 72 life-size drawings merged into one image of a buffalo galloping alongside the road. One of his first films, Spanish Peanuts (1978) about live action peanuts dancing to a Latin beat, was shown on Saturday Night Live and on HBO and won the Silver Cup Award in Cannes.
On the Town. When Garfield on the Town (1983) a half hour animated television special about the lasagna loving cat aired, creator Jim Davis told the media: “Rather than recording each speech and then having to edit them together, as we did the last time and which was very time-consuming, we ran entire scenes. We ran several pages of dialogue with each of the actors either miked-up with ear mikes so the were allowed to move freely or with shot gun mikes so we could actually have them interact with one another. This time, the voice track, as opposed to being handled like a carton show, is treated as live action with people truly interacting. It was very natural and I think the results will be effective.” The show won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.
Colorful Hanna-Barbera. According to publicity for the Hanna-Barbera animated feature The Man Called Flintstone (1966), the women of the Ink and Paint Department numbered 114 and painted more than a half million cels, using 260 gallons of paint in 47 different colors, mixed into 241 different hues, all applied by hand with the one-inch brush. Ink and Paint Supervisor was Roberta Greutert.
I thought the “Clair de Lune” soundtrack was restored when it was shown on “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” in 1966.
There is a picture of the Van Boring doll in the Frank Tashlin book by Roger Garcia. I’d love to find one of those!
Chuck Jones was more interested in acting like an auteur than actually creating anything. He ruined the WB characters, and his formulaic, ironic, self-conscious, half-closed eyelid sidelong-glancing versions became the norm: he turned Bugs into a priss who could do no wrong, Daffy into a loudmouth who could do no right, and Elmer into the idiot in the middle – with no variation. Jones removed all range from the characters and reduced them to archetypes, and uninteresting ones. He transformed the cartoons into amateurish psychological studies instead of entertainment. Jones didn’t do this because he was a genius, but because he was in over his head after the older animators and directors left WB, and he simply didn’t have any creative ideas. On a visual level, Jones evolved from an Iwerks hack into an Avery hack, and his lasting influence on the franchise has been nothing more than an excuse for laziness and mediocrity. He never spoke to me through his films – he preached, and that wasn’t what I wanted to experience when I watched a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Thank you for saying what a lot of people may have been thinking but wouldn’t say out loud. Don’t get me wrong because Chuck made a substantial number of great, laugh-out-loud cartoons. However, there was a certain point in the 1950’s where the characters got way too “twitchy”, eye-brow arching and smirky. And how I hated the girly eye-lashes he inflicted on the characters during his later years. That being said, I wouldn’t trade his Three Bears cartoons like A BEAR FOR PUNISHMENT for all the money in Disneyland.
“Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin.”
The eyelash thing was pretty overused in his later years. It’s nice to see interest in him has shifted like this after his passing.
Yes, thank you. I never forgave him for what he did to Daffy Duck. Simply figuring out ways to have daffy say “You’re despicable” to someone breeds laziness.
That said his 1942 The Dover Boys at Pimento University/The Rivals of Roquefort Hall is still one of my favorites.
I just disagree with the late Robin Williams that Jones was animation’s version of Orson Welles.
I’m getting a little sick of these attacks of Jones’ version of Daffy. Besides, wasn’t the duck’s jealous streak origin hinted by Freleng in “You Ought to be in Pictures?”
Leave it to Woolie to spoil it for another 20 years.
The second special certainly was an improvement over the first sound-wise. That first special always felt kinda awkward the way you could audibly tell the edits made to the voice recordings as that track was terribly hissy. It took me out of the cartoon entirely.
Now, what I don’t get is why neither Miller nor Reitherman would sign off on the idea of restoring “Clair De Lune” because “Walt wanted it out,” but they would sign off on Irwin Kostal rerecording the soundtrack in 1982. I’m not surprised the former didn’t happen, considering how many Disney reissues during this period actually took stuff out (FOLLOW ME BOYS in 1976, THE THREE CABALLEROS in 1977, BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS in 1979, PETE’S DRAGON in 1984, coincidentally the same year they first tried to put THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE back together again).
The editorial from “Psychology Today” is signed “Charles Martin Smith,” the actor who played Terry the Toad” in “American Graffiti.”
A freshman in college at the time, I snapped up that issue of PSYCHOLOGY TODAY and practically consumed it upon publication. I read the interview with Ray Bradbury and thought, “What a cool guy!” Then I read the interview with Chuck Jones and thought, “What an asshole!”
Years later, I had the opportunity to be around Ray Bradbury and he WAS a cool guy. And I had the opportunity to be around Chuck Jones and he WAS an asshole.
There is nothing more pathetic than a cartoonist who starts taking himself too seriously.
Yeah, OK. Chuck Jones’s later work was lame and he was always pretentious. We get it. Come up with another point. Who the hell actually watches “Duck Dodgers” or “Hare Conditioned” and sees a “pretentious” or “condescending” artist at work? I’m more of a Tashlin and Freleng guy, but give me a break with the echo chamber. Talk about assholes and following “formula”. >yawn<
Spoken like a true Chuck Jones apologist: your analysis presents you as a prissy (Bugs), idiotic (Elmer) loudmouth (Daffy). And like a true Jones apologist, your comments really add nothing to the analysis. I suspect your sensitivity to echoing assholes runs slightly deeper than any criticism of the cartoon industry. Thad, no amount of orifice analogies is going to contribute to the conversation if your only motivation is to be a barnacle at the head of the class. But then, anyone who boasts of “..translating European Disney comic book stories into English and spicing them up in my own voice for American audiences” is probably naive enough to have the half-formed opinions you express. Of course I wouldn’t expect critical insight of any real depth from a cog in the My Little Pony/Transformers/Jem infinite-reboot machine that is IDW.
If you want the animation medium which represents the pinnacle of artistic achievement to progress in any way, there has to be an advancement of the form. Some change or evolution. WB cartoons in particular need to get out of their Chuck Jones rut. Look at the success the new Mickey Mouse cartoons are having, regardless of how you or I may feel about them.
That was just snark in response to the Jones bashing. You’re simply raving, as every single comment you’ve posted to this site (and responses) prove. I won’t waste any real energy on a lunatic like you.
I can’t find a single thing about the animator John Tyler Brister who is mentioned here. I would really like to see any of his work. I find only his obituary when I google his name. Anyone know where to find his work?