Monday, May 28, 2007

Service with a Guile

Sorry for the low-quality, but this clip is the best I can do.

Over at Mike Sporn's blog, there's a bit of an argument I'm having with him over Jim Tyer. Personally, I think it's ridiculous saying he was influenced by UPA. Tyer's style was completely original and rooted in classical animation which is easily proven just by looking at a single frame of his work.

For the record though, Tyer did indeed jump at the opportunity to do work in the UPA style when Gene Deitch came to Terrytoons. He saw it as something new and exciting. Connie Rasinski, by comparison, was fuming mad about the changes, but took a professional attitude about it and did the work anyway.

Anyway, here's some hilarious Tyer animation from Bill Tytla's Popeye cartoon for Famous, "Service with a Guile" (great title, huh?). There's similar animation by Tyer in "Shape Ahoy" and "Royal Floor Flusher". Does this count as distortion?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Carl Barks Model Sheets

When Western Publishing realized they had no official model sheets for the Disney characters, they called on Carl Barks to draw three of the ducks. Sez Barks...
[I] never could follow the model sheets anyway. I was asked to do a model sheet of Donald and Uncle Scrooge... This model was to be the Barks duck. Well, I couldn't even keep my ducks consistent with that sheet.
Barks drew these three in 1950 (during his Golden Age), and I photocopied them out of the Carl Barks Library (Set 8, Volume 3) for quick reference (and so I wouldn't get pencil or eraser smudges on the book). Sorry for the crookedness, it was the best I could get.

I think my favorite description of a person ever was what Milt Gray told me Carl Barks was: "The closest thing to a real-live Santa Claus you could find."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


One of my favorite Tex Avery shorts is an underrated gem called "Out-Foxed" (1949). I love the over-confident English fox in this one (does anyone know who did the voice?) Mike Kazaleh was great and sent over an animation breakdown for this short. I think Bobe Cannon does the best animation in this cartoon, as the timing and posing is superior to the other animators (though I love Grant Simmons' work here too).


Monday, May 21, 2007

When Mousehood Was in Flower

This Mighty Mouse cartoon from 1953 would be a rather subpar entry for me, had it not contained my favorite pieces of Jim Tyer animation ever (at 3:13 and at 5:40). This short looks like Tyer may have done the layouts for a lot of the other animators too.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More DVNR Crimes: Droopy

I hiked over to Target (I don't own a car and I hate Wal-Mart) to pick up the new Droopy set. It really is close to being perfect, but I have to point out that this set has some of the worst DVNR I've ever seen. The violated shorts are "Wags to Riches", "Daredevil Droopy", "Droopy's Good Deed", and "Three Little Pups".

It's so bad on these cartoons that it not only effects the wonderful wild takes Tex Avery was known for, but even subtle walks or head gestures!

This is my favorite one... Nothing going on but a deadpan walk...

And this mutilated version of "Three Little Pups" finally answers the question... Does DVNR effect live-action?

Nope... But is sure screws up great animation.

BTW, when I purchased the set, the cashier excitedly said how Droopy was her favorite cartoon character... Not sure if she was thinking of the right character, but it's nice to see non-aficionado appreciation.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

"The size's OK, but it don't fit!"

I'm not a huge Fred Moore fan, but I thought those of you who are would like to see the only time his girl designs/animation showed up in a non-Disney cartoon. It's Dick Lundy's "The Mad Hatter", a decent Woody Woodpecker cartoon from 1948. You'll see lots of slick cartoons like this on DVD in July.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sibley Enlightenment

Here's some hilarious animation done by John Sibley for "Californy Er' Bust" (1945). This one was banned from Disney Channel airwaves for years for being insensitive to Native Americans. Unless you're offended by humor itself (or Goofy Indians), there's nothing really offensive about this cartoon.



I'm Happy. Hooray.

The Droopy DVD collection is coming out next Tuesday, and by most accounts, it's a great set, despite some really bad DVNR. Despite this issue, "Droopy's Good Deed" is indeed uncensored on this collection, which I honestly didn't expect to happen.

If you are hoping to own an official DVD set of Tex Avery's MGM cartoon shorts, it's best that you buy this set. Decent sales of it will give Warner Home Video the clue that we all want animation's most original director's classics on DVD. (Though I suspect they are trying to push the sales by promoting screen-siren Red on the cover.)

My favorite cartoon on this 2-disc set is "The Shooting of Dan McGoo". A pity they couldn't get Mark Kausler's print with wartime smoking gags this time.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Hawkins at Disney

Here are two scenes from Emery's first tour at the Disney studio. The first scene, from Donald Duck's "Fire Chief" (1940), I am certain is primarily his work, because his timing is certainly there. I do know for certain that the second clip, from Pluto's "A Gentleman's Gentleman" (1941) is his, thanks to Hans Perk posting the draft.



The only 'gossip' I have on Hawkins is a story from Jackson King, about the famous Disney Stare. (Bracketed portions are corrections.)

During the infamous Disney strike, animator Emery Hawkins joined the picket line because he was disgruntled that despite Walt Disney's assurances it was clear he was not going to be moved into features. One day Hawkins was outside the studio when Walt drove up, got out of his car, and started to enter the studio when he saw Hawkins. He walked up to Hawkins and stood there, inches from his face, just glaring for what seemed like forever, and then wordlessly turned and walked in the building. Hawkins later claimed when talking to animator Nelson Rhodes that the impact was so great that he laid down his picket sign and left the Disney lot that day, going over to [the Columbia] studio for work. "I knew my days at Disney were over," stated Hawkins who died in 1989.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Let's Ring Doorbells

I don't know what Emery Hawkins was up to prior to his first tour at Columbia, but I do know that the shorts of 1935-37 contain the earliest known animation by him, at least by animation expert Mark Kausler. Mark tells me that Emery animated the footage of the drunk in this cartoon, showing that Hawkins understood the principle of delay even this early in his career.

As for the cartoon itself, it's pretty good, but damn, I hate that lil' Scrappy bastard. But these cartoons are worth watching for early work by other luminaries like Sid Marcus, Dick Huemer, and Art Davis.