Saturday, June 30, 2007

Favorite Marty Taras Scenes

Marty Taras has become one of my very favorite animators. His work is really slick and well-timed, and was great at doing Tex Avery style takes. He adds what I call 'jazz' to his work, that extra spark that separates him from his contemporaries.

This is a long post, be sure you scroll down to view all of them!

Rodeo Romeo (1946)

Much Ado About Mutton (1947)

The Old Shell Game (1948)

Mice Meeting You (1950)

Mice Paradise (1951)

(The spring gag isn't Marty's, just so gross, I wanted to include it.. Is it Morey Reden?)

Cat-Choo (1951)

Better Bait Than Never (1953)

Git Along Little Duckie (1955)


Watching these DailyMotion clips alone shows how lively and wonderful animated cartoons used to be. Why don't we have guys animating like Marty today?

BTW, I've launched a new blog where I'll post all of my non-animation related commie-bitch views. More posts to come on both blogs!

Friday, June 29, 2007

"Only a married man could take it like that!"

It's difficult for me to pick a favorite cartoon from Famous Studios, as, contrary to popular belief, many of the ones from the 1940s to early 1950s are very funny. If I have to pick one though, it's probably "Sudden Fried Chicken" (1946).

I really wish I knew who animated what in this one, as the animation and timing is first-rate in this one. I love how Hector (called 'Henry' in the opening credits) was redesigned to look more wimpy looking by whoever laid out the picture. I always loved how if a man harms his wife, it's cruel and abusive, but when a wife does it to her hubby, it's comedy. What a great country!

Walt Kelly did a few comic book stories based on these characters in 1944 when Western briefly had the license to use the non-Popeye Famous stable. I wish I had scans of them (Gerstein, please send them to me again).


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Island in the Sky Pt. 6

Dailies from 3-15-37 to 4-3-37.

The end!

Hopefully everyone who's still reading enjoyed that. I have other serials I'd like to post but I'd like to hear from you all first.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Island in the Sky Pt. 5

I really hope you folks are readin' these... Otherwise I won't post anymore after this serial! Dailies from 2-22-37 to 3-13-37.

Non-Gottfredson related news wise, the official new Woody Woodpecker site is up, which is basically a shill for the new DVD release set, which I had somewhat of a hand in. I really can't wait to view this thing.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Island in the Sky Pt. 3

Hope everyone's enjoying the serial so far.

Dailies from 1-11-37 to 1-30-37.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Island in the Sky Pt. 1 (Gottfredson)

I'm way too damn lazy to write about the history of Floyd Gottfredson was and what an important figure he was in the field of cartooning, so here's a small piece David Gerstein wrote years ago.

The Mickey Mouse cartoons were always really, really boring to me. Except for a handful of the shorts Iwerks animated on and some of the weirder color ones, I had always, and still do find them to be really corny. I'd rather watch Goofy, and the Disney Channel rarely played those. So many of those Disney cartoons were devoid of any actual characterization that it was embarrassing to watch them.

I didn't read Disney comics until I was in high school so I was devoid of knowing that a Mickey Mouse who made up for his lack of humor with courageousness, spunk, and cockiness existed. It was a bit of a revelation.

Here's a favorite story of mine, I'm going to post it all over the next week or so. They had a lot of trouble getting this one run in the comic books in the early 90s, even though it's considered one of Gottfredson's best continuities (because of Dr. Einmug's German accent). Stupid, huh? Wait till we get to the 50s strips, and how the editors hated them because of all the sexy girls in them!

Anyway, here's the dailies from 11-30-36 to 12-19-36.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Magical Maestro

I don't have regular computer access for awhile so posting will be less often than I'd like. Anyway, enjoy Tex Avery's greatest cartoon of the 1950s. Mike Lah animates the notorious scene of Spike imitating the Ink Spots, which is one of the few times in an MGM cartoon a blackface gag's punchline wasn't that the character looks black. I believe Grant Simmons animates the absolutely hilarious Carmen Miranda animation.

I've been watching this one on 16MM a lot lately - it's one of those films you think the projector is going to blow up from having so much energy run through it. (Seeing it on film is also the only way the hair gag really works.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Little Lulu

I am a huge fan of the Little Lulu stories by John Stanley (story) and Irving Tripp (art). I feel the best of the Stanley/Tripp stories are just as great as anything Carl Barks did (I also feel the same way about a lot of Jim Davis' Fox & Crow).

If you haven't read these books, you're missing out on a lot. If you like stuff in the vein of Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" or Bill Watterson's "Calvin & Hobbes", you'll like these too. They're pretty cynical and clever. Dark Horse has been doing a fine job reprinting them affordably over the past two years, which is great if you can't afford the original Dell issues or the Little Lulu Library Gladstone put out.

The real point of this post is to ask a question that nobody has been able to answer for me... Do we know how many of the Stanley/Tripp Lulu issues Dark Horse is reprinting? The library sets stopped at issue #87, and they are almost at that point now.

I think a lot of the Famous Lulus are very well-animated and entertaining, but most don't hold up as well as the Stanley/Tripp stories. This one, "Bargain Counter Attack", is one of them though, and one of the best Famous cartoons.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Why Do MGM Cartoons Hate Black People?

Okay, that title was a joke, but the subject of this post has been on my mind for years.

The MGM cartoons use black-ethnic jokes far more than any other studio did during the Golden Age. When a black caricature showed up in a Warner, Lantz, Disney, or Famous cartoon, at least from the late 30s onward, it usually doubled as a celebrity caricature (Eddie Anderson, Cab Calloway, "Stepin' Fetchit", etc.). They also only seemed to show up in those studios' films if it was an all black-cast or a literature parody (Robinson Crusoe, Uncle Tom's Cabin).

The MGM black caricatures were always just there, with those magical pigtails that come out of nowhere. They say, "Laugh at me because I look like a stupid negro!" I have a feeling somebody in the MGM story department loved those kinds of sight gags, because Avery rarely used them in his cartoons at Warners. The Tom & Jerry series probably holds the record for most black gags in classical animation history (which is why they are the most heavily censored).

Holy shit, these framegrabs make me cringe. These sight gags really detract from those cartoons when screening them with an audience, which is a shame, because a lot of them are usually hilarious otherwise. Cartoons like Coal Black or Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears really don't bother me because the energy behind them and the celebration of black culture makes up for the racial imagery, though I was accused of being racist for admitting to love those cartoons when classmates managed to see them on YouTube.

So does anyone have any idea who at MGM encouraged the black jokes to be inserted so heavily into the cartoons? I'm sure nobody knows, but I thought it'd make good fodder for conversation.