Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marty Taras - Poop Goes the Weasel

Despite its mediocrity, I thought I'd post this 1955 Famous Studios cartoon seeing as Marty Taras directed this one (and animated much of it). It's notable for having a fairly gross title too, and for the hilarious "Featuring" card, where they tried to sell off the characters here as new 'stars'.

Disney Treasures 2007

Scheduled for release on December 11th are two more collections we should all be adding to our classical animation home video libraries, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and The Chronological Donald Vol. 3.

The Oswald cartoons featured on this set have long been considered lost and have previously only existed scattered in pieces amongst collectors. Thanks in part to the research of David Gerstein and Pietro Shakarian, a nice collection of these historic films has been pieced together. I believe this set will contain thirteen Oswalds, and a few of them are even taken from decent studio negatives. The animation in many of these is even wilder than in the shorts found on the recent Woody Woodpecker set. This collection is a must for anyone who wants to see some of the earliest work of luminaries like Friz Freleng, Rudy Ising, and Hugh Harman.

I cannot say I am too fond of the Donald Duck cartoons featured on the third collection, which are all of the films with the character released from 1947-1950. While Jack King had some clever staging in a few of his films (his short, "Donald's Dilemma", is possibly the best short on this set), few of them are funny. Jack Hannah's tend to be even worse, with inane stories, artless animation, and obnoxious characters like Chip an' Dale, Spike the Bee, and the Bootle Beetle. This set does feature animation by the likes of Emery Hawkins, Art Babbitt, and Bob Carlson, so it's at least worth a look for that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Links

Bob Camp has a blog now and has been displaying his own artwork as well as art by Jack Davis and other favorites. Bob is an amazing draftsman and I recommend checking his work out.

Larry Tremblay has posted the incredibly unfunny Lantz cartoon "Fair Today", one I hadn't seen before, and identifies most of the animators. It's good evidence of why the studio needed someone like Shamus Culhane to put some integrity into the place.

Phil Rynda shares a comic book story drawn by Rod Scribner featuring a non-Warner roadrunner.

The Beach Nut

Here's another excellent Shamus Culhane Lantz cartoon breakdown, courtesy of Mark Mayerson. This may be the perfect Woody Woodpecker cartoon, gaining many points for its strong story and characterization (this short was the first appearance of Wally Walrus, and the Swedish accent is a stroke of genius) and a lacking of sloppy animation that was typical of early 40s Lantz.

Dick Lundy seems to have a cartoony style in his Lantz animation, which I find surprising, considering he just came from Disney's, and that his own films are revered for their slickness. Emery Hawkins' scenes show his usual sense of action phrasing and great subtlety, with Woody shaking involuntarily as Wally pounds on the table. Don Williams' animation of Wally walking into the tent is absolutely hilarious. Verne Harding's scene of Woody appearing in Wally's trunks is also a very well-timed piece.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mouse Warming

Claude Cat is one of my favorite Chuck Jones characters. Even when he is mean-spirited asshole (rather than the funnier neurotic persona), like in "Mouse Warming", he is still an interesting character. This one always stood out to me (besides for being hilarious) because of the beautiful design for the teenage boy mouse. My other favorite Jones short for character design alone is "Much Ado About Nutting".

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Out Again, In Again

Nothing much to post, but this was the first Terrytoon with Jim Tyer animation I ever saw, on a Heckle & Jeckle tape I found at the flea market. Obviously, I was floored.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pixie Picnic

Here's the infamous Lantz cartoon with Fred Moore animation and characters that look awfully similar to the Seven Dwarfs. "Pixie Picnic" isn't available on the recent Woody collection, but hopefully it'll be on volume two, as it's a really slick and well-timed short.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Inside Look of a Genius

Is this legit? Allegedly a different kind of look at Mel Blanc's many voices...

Popout

(Thanks, Craig)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Leghorn-Swoggled

I don't have many topics of interest to post lately... The fifth Golden Collection looks to be pretty good (I'm looking forward to the Clampett disc most), but why the lack of Foghorn Leghorn cartoons? I'll admit, when I read Internet forum posts by people exclaiming "Still no Hippety Hopper/Sniffles", I'm pretty elated, but Foggy was the only thing McKimson was doing with any merit for years, and is one of my favorite cartoon characters. I also love the dawg and Henery.

The early ones, like this one, had lots of beautiful animation by Manny Gould, Emery Hawkins, Bill Melendez, and Rod Scribner.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Breakdown: Abou Ben Boogie

Mark Mayerson sent me a few more animators' drafts for fodder for my blog, so I thought I'd start off with this one. I'm really amazed this one got released to DVD, as it was one of the 'verboten' titles when the Lantz cartoons were actually around on television.

The high quality Culhane got out of the animators on this cartoon is incredible. Even guys like Grim Natwick and Les Kline (whose work I normally don't care for) did some great scenes in this one. Pat Matthews of course stands out above the rest, animating most of Miss X, and the camel's dance solo. The coloring of the Abou is really unique here too.

Sexy gal animation seems to be a lost art (I don't know why, it's giving the public what they want), and a cartoon like this is a good one to point to and get those creative juices flowing (double entendre intended).


Popeye

I'm really enjoying all of the Fleischer Popeye shorts on the new DVD set. I can't wait for the early Famous shorts to be released, but what I really want released is this... Don't you?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Marty Taras-Rags Rabbit art

Marty Taras is one of my favorite animators and cartoonists. Here is some beautiful artwork that was typical of Taras' 1950s Rags Rabbit comics. His artwork is so lively that the characters seem to be jumping off the page! (This is typical of his and Jim Davis' Fox & Crow/Flippity & Flop work.)

Update: Jerry Beck writes in: "Lee Donahue (a Famous Studios inker, a man) inked those pages. He did most of the Harvey comic pages in the 1952-1956 era." Thanks Jerry!







Monday, August 6, 2007

Maltese Comicwork - Flippity & Flop

In addition to writing several dozen of the best cartoons ever made at Warners (and a few hundred inane ones at Hanna-Barbera), Mike Maltese also wrote for funny animal comics. He's actually credited on a few non-film character titles (Barnyard Comics), but for the most part, his comic work is uncredited.

Here's a story I believe to be written by Maltese from Real Screen Comics #7 (1946). The Flippity & Flop stories always tended to be based on psychological warfare, and these earliest stories play almost like a Jones Hubie & Bertie cartoon (there is one in RS #10 which is just "Roughly Squeaking"). Flippity, Flop, and Sam (the dog, not in this story) all seem to be obligately filling in their roles as canary, cat, and dog too, reminiscent of Jones' Ralph Wolf and Sam (!) Sheepdog cartoons.

I'd love to know who the artist here is, he has a nice style (it's definitely not Bob Wickersham).








Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tyer - How does it work?

Bob Jaques was going on at Comic-Con about how he's been still-framing Jim Tyer's animation lately... Frame by frame, his stuff really shouldn't work, but at normal speed, it's perfect. How did Tyer do it? Maybe we'll never know...

Here's a hilarious piece from "The Cat's Tale" (1952). Let's look at this all frame-by-frame...
























Those are some hilarious drawings, but geez, it's all over the place... Now let's see the whole thing in action...




Wow, that is some awesome work! How did Tyer manage to pull that off? Maybe he was a descendant of Merlin or something. I'd love to do a new animated short in the Tyer fashion. Heck, maybe even a whole animated feature!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Comic-Con '07

I'm back from my first San Diego Comic-Con. Boy, what a week!

Lots of highlights on this trip, among them...

* Meeting Bob Jaques and Chris Suave (animators of some of the best Ren & Stimpys)
* Heckling Jerry Beck at the Popeye DVD forum over DVNR. (He let Bob and I see the DVD early - coolies!)
* The annual Apatoons Breakfast with Jerry, Bob Miller, Milt Gray, Harry McCracken, Tom Knott, and Craig Yoe.
* Getting a genuine Mike Kazaleh drawing from the man himself (thanks again, Mike!). He, Scott Shaw, and Sergio Aragon├ęs were the subjects of a hilarious Quick Draw panel (hosted by Mark Evanier).
* Gossiping and trolling for women with the world-famous J.J. Hunsecker (ladies, if you want to make him happy, dress as Snow White!)
* Shaking Don Rosa's hand
* Purchasing about 60 funny animal comic books from the 40s/50s. There was some weird stuff in them, I'll scan them later.

Unlike just about everyone else, I wish I went all four days. I spent Sunday with my family on the worst L.A. tour ever, 'guided' by a hung-over Hispanic guy who totaled the side of the bus.


Animation historian Jerry Beck signing Popeye hats, Bob Jaques to the left in sunglasses

Corporate America

Some finds from the dealer's floor

Everyone's favorite children's character!

Left to right: Sergio Aragon├ęs, Scott Shaw, and Mike Kazaleh at the Quick Draw panel

Popeye giveaway hat (should've been giving away those DVDs instead!)

Harry McCracken's favorite video game

My purchase at the Van Eaton Galleries booth

Maybe more photos later! Leave a comment- it was great meeting all of you!