Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues

If you follow animation blogs you've probably heard of Nina Paley's "Sita Sings the Blues". Well, the film is available to watch on the internet, thanks to Reel 13.

Well worth watching. Love these indy animations.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fish Head

For sometime now I've been following the journey of animator Joe Murray's independent short film Fish Head.

Some of you may be familiar with Joe. He was a creator of a funniest show to ever air on Nickelodeon, Rocko's Modern Life (he was also behind the Cartoon Network series Camp Lazlo, although the less said the better). Joe's roots is in independent animation, and this would be his first one in years.

Joe is writing about his inspiration to the film, as well as some other stuff, on his blog. Check it out here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Roland and Rattfink

Roland and Rattfink was a very obscure DePatie-Freleng theatrical series that was made for United Artists from 1968 to '71. It never got the level of fame that the Pink Panther, The Inspector, and The Ant & Aardvark got.

Which is a shame. The series' first two shorts (Hawks & Doves and Hurts & Flowers) are probably the best work the studio ever did.

Hawks and Doves was a satire on the Vietnam War situation, which was a big news at the time.

Hurts and Flowers was interesting in that there's no dialogue (except one towards the end). The short relies entirely on action to tell the story.

The series, unfortunately, didn't hold up after these two shorts. They wern't ALL bad, but it wasn't amazing or anything.

Here's one of the better later enteries, though.

Recently the entire series was put out on DVD as part of the 9-disc "Pink Panther and Friends" collection. In addition to this and the Panther, the set also contains the entire run of The Inspector and The Ant and the Aardvark. Get it from Amazon below. It's pretty cheap, considering how many discs are there.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Clint Clobber

Clint Clobber was a character Deitch created for Terrytoons. The character was a superintendent of a rundown apartment in New York, having to deal with annoying tenants without losing his temper. He lasted seven shorts; that's more than what "Gaston Le Crayon" or "John Doormat" ever got (Sidney the Elephant only lasted two cartoons under Deitch's watch; however the character was continued without his involvement, appearing in theaters until the mid-sixties).

Here's one of my favorites: Camp Clobber. Dave Tendlar directed it, his only direction work for Clobber (the six others in the series was directed by Connie Rasinski)

Jim Tyer didn't animate in this one, so don't bother looking for his animation.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nothing to say... nothing much to post on my blog. Hopefully I'll get back postin' real soon.

So until then, I'll leave you with SIX MONTHS (June to December) OF NEW CHOWDER!!!

You better not let me down, Cartoon Network.

Oh, and happy birthday, dad.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Artistic evolution: Ralph Bakshi

Average animation fans may be familiar with Ralph Bakshi. After all, he was the first to make adult animation more accepted when he directed the film adaptation of Fritz the Cat.

Bakshi's career, however, began at Terrytoons. He was initially hired as a cel painter, but eventually rose up to being an animator, and then finally became a director.

So what was his earliest films like? Well, here's one of his efforts at the studio: Dr. Ha-Ha (1966). The star is James Hound, who would go on to appear in 16 more shorts.

Bakshi not only directed this, he also animated the entire film. Terry directors at the time now had the added duty of animating their films in order to save money and Bakshi was no exception.

About 30 years later, in 1996, he made two shorts for Cartoon Network featuring Malcolm and Melvin. He animated on both of them (along with Doug Compton).

Here's one of the shorts.

Notice how the style is different? If I removed the credits on both of them, would you believe that both cartoons were done by the same person?

Granted, the comparison is unfair. After all, Terrytoons budget really, REALLY decreased at this time, and massive amounts of corners had to be cut in order to make ends meet. The budget for "Malcolm" shorts, meanwhile, were more modest in comparison.

However, the change in style is still there. It's bound to happen if you work in animation non-stop for over 30 years.

Anyone have any more big examples?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Annie Awards rigged?

So the winners of this year's Annie Awards (an animation equivalent of the Oscars) was announced and Kung-Fu Panda won in every single category it was nominated in. Wall-E, alas, came home empty handed.

Combining that with Dreamworks being one of the primary sponsers of the Annie, many animation fans have come to a conclusion that the award was rigged.

I believe this is the case. What do you think? Discuss!