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Archive for the ‘Commentary’

Tex does Tex: Remakes of cartoons

November 26th, 2008

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.

Tex returned to MGM in 1951,  where he took back his animation unit. He went on to direct eleven more cartoons. Most of these had a similar look to the UPA cartoons that were gaining popularity at the time. In March 1953, MGM closed down Tex’s unit, believing that 3D films that were quickly taking theaters by storm would end the [Read more…]

The 7 Most Terrifying Disney Movie Deaths

November 21st, 2008


Cracked has posted their list of the 7 most terrifying Disney movie deaths. The list does not include their live action films. If it did, Old Yeller should be somewhere near the top.

I would move Clayton from Tarzan up to the #1 spot from #4. I half expect to see him hanging from the Tarzan Treehouse (formerly the Swiss Family Robinson tree house) at Disneyland each time I go.

I also wouldn’t have listed Syndrome, and instead filled that spot with the witch/queen from Snow White. That was pretty terrifying. The storm is building, the lightning is crashing all around, and then the cliff edge crumbles, sending the witch down… then the rock falls after her. The scene ends with her two vultures smiling as they descend and the shot dissolves away. Very creepy stuff.

What’s your favorite?

-Floyd Bishop

New study finds cartoon mayhem “not bad for kids”

October 19th, 2008

When Bishop Animation did the pilot episode of “Kung Fu Jimmy Chow” for Camp Chaos, I was a bit worried that it was too over the top in the violence area. According to a new study, I may have been worried for nothing.

From the article:

Professor Alison Schwartz, a co-author of the paper, published in next month’s edition of Early Childhood Education, said: ‘The current belief is that violence depicted in television programmes, particularly cartoons, has a negative impact on young children’s behaviour. We found that not to be true.’

She went on: ‘Most pre-schoolers recognise cartoon programmes as make-believe and understand these characters inhabit fictional worlds.’

But Schwartz’s conclusions have been criticised by Professor John Murray, who told the US Senate recently that his research showed that real-life aggression among children may be activated by aggressive acts on television.

‘I found that the brain treats entertainment violence as something real and stores this violence as [Read more…]

Can Pixar do no wrong?

July 31st, 2008


Ever since the release of “Toy Story” back in 1995, movie audiences seem to have been in love with all things Pixar. This goes for many animation fans as well, sometimes to the point of fanaticism. Is this a healthy thing? In this post, I’ll be asking some questions that challenge that fanaticism, and I hope that Pixar fans will try to provide some answers in the comments section.

When Dreamworks released “Shark Tale”, many people implied that Dreamworks was trying to follow in the footsteps of Pixar’s “Finding Nemo”. They are both films that are primarily based underwater. The similarities end there for me. When Pixar released “WALL-E” this year, no one seemed to remember either Blue Sky’s “Robots” from 2005, nor the design of Johnny 5 from “Short Circuit” (another robot who becomes self aware and gains a personality). Granted, the Pixar films were stronger films in both cases, but the similarities are there [Read more…]

Cross-Cultural Traffic

May 30th, 2008

This past Wednesday I attended a panel discussion entitled, Cross Cultural Traffic: Toying with Brands, Borders and Bootlegs.

It was hosted by The Korea Society and was a lively talk on and about Korean Toys, their origins, how they interrelate with Japanese, American, and their own Korean Pop Cultures.

The panel consisted of Eric Nakamura (publisher of Giant Robot Magazine), Joshua Bernard (editor of, and The Korea Society’s Seho Kim (creative director).

I think Eric summed it up best on his GR blog:

“The robots and such brought out a generation of creatives. Imagine a filmmaker like Joon Ho Bong, who made the Host. Did he watch monster films as a kid? Did he play with toys? Of course he must have. The geeks who collected toys are now in power at creative places, and look at what they’ve brought forward? A new world of creative minds.”

Of course, I eagerly took down notes and snapped a few pics. Enjoy!

[Read more…]

An animated look at Mother’s Day

May 10th, 2008

Mother’s Day is tomorrow, Sunday, May 11th here in the United States. I thought I’d do a post that shows off two examples of great animated Moms.

In “Dumbo”, Mrs. Jumbo (we never see Mr Jumbo) gets put into solitary confinement for defending her son at the circus (and destroying the circus tent in the process). Dumbo is sad because of his mother’s situation, so Timothy the Mouse takes him to see her. It’s a very powerful sequence, even without the music, but the soundtrack really drives home the mood of the piece.

That’s not the best Mom in animation though. That accolade would have to go to Elastic Girl/Mrs Incredible/Helen Parr from “The Incredibles”. Have a look at this sequence:

The set up of Helen Parr going from normal Mom stuff (like talking with Dash and Violet, and then dealing with the baby sitter on phone) to crisis management is very well [Read more…]