The stock market is in the crapper, so it’s time to watch cartoons! Just like in the Great Depression! So mosey on over to one of my favorite blogs, Uncle John’s Crazy Town. Uncle John is gaga over the bouncy noodly style of 1930s animation, so it’s no wonder that he’s unearthed a timely gem called “Prosperity Blues” (Columbia/Mintz 1932). According to this visual tale, the key to economic recovery starts with obligatory smiling and synchronized dancing.
Click here to watch the cartoon in its entirety. Then click your heel twice and hope for the best.
PS: According to a New York Times article, “Prosperity Blues” was part of the 1992 “Cartoon Soup Kitchen” program, screened at Lincoln Center and curated by Greg Ford. The more things change…
Disney has announced their 2009 release slate of films. These include Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition (March 10) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Platinum Edition in October. Pixar will be releasing Monsters Inc. and A Bug’s Life.
Hopefully these Blu-Ray releases will be a better release than that of Sleeping Beauty last year, which received mixed reviews, mostly due to picture quality issues such as DVNR, oversaturated colors, and color timing. There was a post about these issues and the release back in November on Cartoon Brew.
I don’t know if Walt Disney Home Entertainment has learned anything (or changed anything) since their last classic on BluRay release, but I hope they did. The issues listed here are what kept me from buying the Blu Ray release of Sleeping Beauty.
Imagi has posted their trailer for the upcoming film “T28″. In the US, the series was better known as Gigantor.
Usually, I’m not a big fan of reimagining or updating old shows or films. For every “TMNT” there are five “Underdog” type films. It looks like Imagi has got a great film going here. Let’s hope that their other update film, “Astroboy”, does well enough to keep the great movies coming!
This week The Film Forum is completing a run of the flighty Fleischer feature Hoppity Goes to Town (also known as Mr. Bug Goes to Town); screenings are Monday through Thursday (New Year’s Day) at 1 PM.
Such a fine occasion gave The Villager website an opportunity to post this great article about Sammy Timberg, a musical director for Fleischer Studios in the 1930s and early ‘40s, who quite famously penned “Don’t Take My Boop-Oop-A-Doop Away” for Betty Boop.
For more on Timberg, go to the Timbergalley Website. The site is run by Sammy’s daughter and granddaughter. The pair are currently trying to get a Timberg Broadway musical off the ground. This idea really should take flight. Ahem.
Here’s the opening sequence of Hoppity, for your approximately-5-inches-across viewing pleasure. Just think how much better it would look on a real movie screen!
The best things about Hanukkah is latkes. The second is arguing about how to spell “Hanukkah” and “latkes” (not to mention “dreydl”). Third is re-watching Kyle Broflovski from South Park sing “A Lonely Jew on Christmas” (from the classic “Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo” episode of 1997—has it been that long?) The South Park Studios site has kindly posted the song here. See a full collection of South Park Hanukkah clips here.
After the jump, a rootin’ tootin’ intro to “Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo” featuring Trey and Matt in full cowboy gear:
In 1952, the Tex Avery directed a short Rock-A-Bye Bear premiered. The short, written by Heck Allen and Rich Hogan featured a simple premise: Spike has a job running a house for a hibernating bear, who insists on quiet. Tex was strained by the amount of work, so he left MGM shortly after completing the piece (the film was actually completed in 1950, but not released until two years later due to the backlog of cartoon shorts). In Tex’s absence, his unit was directed by former Walter Lantz director, Dick Lundy.
Mark Mayerson has posted a great news clip he found from a CBC news story from 1961. In the clip, we see Joe Barbera and William Hanna walk the reporter through the stages of production from the initial layout to the final audio mix. One interesting note is that even though the news clip (and the cartoons at the time) were broadcast in black & white, the cartoons were all produced in color. Joe mentions that when everyone gets to see the cartoons in color, it will be really exciting. I would have to agree.
In Disney’s 1929 Silly Symphony “The Skeleton Dance”, we see several skeletons dancing around in a graveyard. This cartoon was quite popular, and was the first cartoon to use non-post-sync sound.
The cartoon was so well received that ten years later, Mickey Mouse was trapped in a haunted house, playing music for a group of dancing skeletons. This cartoon was “Haunted House”. It reused many bits from “The Skeleton Dance”, many of which were the exact same drawings, frame for frame.
You may not think of the Alliance Française as a place to go watch cartoons, but on November 1st, the New York branch will present Serge Bromberg’s 100 Years of Animation: Treasures from a Chest.
“A collector of more than 20,000 early movies and the artistic force behind Lobster Films, Bromberg has become one of the great champions of silent films and a master at recreating the initial rush audiences felt when first entering the cinema house.
Throughout this exceptional event, Bromberg will present animated shorts that he has discovered and restored, accompanying them with anecdotes and piano music…”
The program will include Fantasmagorie (Emil Cohl), Cartoon Factory (Fleischer Brothers), The Sinking of the Lusitania (Windsor McKay), Egged On (Charley Bower and H.L. Muller), and George Pal’s Tulips Shall Grow.
Tickets are $10 ($7 for students). Go to this page for ticket information.
By the way, 2008 is the 100th anniversary of Fantasmagorie, one of the earliest examples of a fully-animated film. If you’ve never seen it, do so immediately!
After the jump, a low-res recording of Serge Bromberg’s live performance with Windsor McKay’s Gertie the Dinosaur (at Annecy 2008)…with tuba score! [Read more…]