Saturday, 25 September 2010

Ugo D'Orsi - Animator

Like I did with my article on Cy Young which I did some time ago, this time I'll post about another animator who worked at Disney in the Golden Years (1930's-early 1940's), and this time its on effects animator Ugo D'Orsi who opened up the Effects Department and was partnered with Cy Young - most of the info was from Joe Campana who sent me this via e-mail. To those who are unfamiliar let me say a bit about him: Ugo D'Orsi was an effects animator best known for his work at Disney and worked on features like Snow White, Fantasia and Bambi.
(Here is a picture of Ugo D'Orsi taken at his time at the
Fleischer Studios which was part of a group picture)
Ugo D'Orsi was born on July 28 (a day before my birthday) in 1897 in the city of Rio de Janeiro which is the largest city in Brazil and Ugo was born by Italian parents - although I don't know much about his early life but at some point in his 20's, he moved to Italy and residing in Naples and later.
In 1925, he married a woman with a long name called Lavinia Olimpia Maria Julia Falci - and they married until Lavinia's death in 1958 - although I have no record if the couple had any children or not. He immigrated to the United States in 1928 a year before the Wall Street Crash and he boarded the liner SS Saturina with 2'500 passenger (mostly Italians). His wife Lavinia reunited with him later that year.
He lived in New York and in 1932 he found himself working at the Fleischer Studios and he was animating on some of the Betty Boop cartoons - I have a picture of him which was part of a group photo at his time in Fleischer.
Ugo D'Orsi stayed at Fleischer for roughly a year or two and then in the Spring of 1933 he came to work for Walt Disney and started animating on some of the cartoons and created some of the greatest effects animation in history; Michael Barrier writes in his book Hollywood Cartoons about his involvement in his involvement in the cartoon The Wise Little Hen which was the first appearance of Donald Duck and Barrier writes that Ugo D'Orsi animated the chickens farming the corn and then it showed a scene of the corn just growing and growing until its a fully developed plant.
Soon, Ugo D'Orsi was teamed up with animator Cy Young on the effects animation department in 1934 - in the Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston book The Illusion of Life they described Ugo as a straightforward, stubborn and dedicated Italian; while I mentioned a bit about them on my Cy Young article, and in the book Frank and Ollie write about Ugo and Cy working on a scene in Snow White:
One day they were discussing a scene involving a witch's kettle bubbling over a fire. As drawn on the layout it was an old pot, rusty and partially covered with soot from years of cooking. Cy felt that light from the flames would be reflected evenly over the whole pot; Ugo claimed that the light would be only on the portions not covered by the soot, since soot has no reflective power. Each man was adamant, and, since there was only one way of proving who was right, a fire was built in an empty film can in the middle of the floor, with the shade from a goose-neck lamp inverted over it as the pot. Soon the flames were dancing merrily...
Although, I'm not too sure what it exactly means but it seems like a science experimental thing - and I heard that Ugo D'Orsi and Cy Young's arguments have been legendary.
Cy Young showed some beautiful and careful work in his animation and animating the blossoms falling into a waterfall in the Nutcracker Suite in Fantasia; Frank and Ollie wrote in their book: while Ugo showed more intensity and force in his work, but was equally sensitive to the total design. Typical of his drawings were the crashing waves that heeded Mickey's commands in the dream sequence of "The Soceror's Apprentice". The director of the picture commented on "the amazing patience and tenacity [Ugo] displayed in doing the filigree waves and foam...he 'pioneered' those...patterns practically out of his imagination, long before the help of the research photography.
So yes, Ugo D'Orsi did many of the great water-effects in Mickey Mouse Soceror's Apprentice section in Fantasia - and that is believed to be Ugo D'Orsi at his best and he certainly showed some strong force into his work.
(In Mickey's Sorceror's Apprentice - Ugo did many of the great
water effects - such force and weight into the animation he did)
In 1941 - Ugo left Disney and I'm unknown if it was due to the Disney animation strike or the war I do not know and another thing I'm not sure about is what he did after Disney's because he doesn't seem to have been heard again afterwards and there is no record if he ever worked in a different studio and I'm not sure what he did.
He died in February 12, 1964 in Los Angeles at the age of 66.
Yes, that's all, not a very interesting article but that was all the info I have on Ugo D'Orsi and I don't think its one of my better articles and I'm not as proud of it as I was with my Cy Young article but I'll still publish my Ugo D'Orsi article anyway. To those, who may be confused, I suggest read my Cy Young article first...

Friday, 24 September 2010

Paranormal Activity Sequel Demanding Your Way!

Here's a trailer that I've seen quite numerous times, and I find it pretty mysterious and creepy...
To those who may be unfamiliar let me say a bit: Yes, this is the trailer to the sequel of Paranormal Activity and clearly called Paranormal Activity 2, and when you look at it its not very long like most trailers and its only about a minute while usually a trailer is 2 or 3 minutes but it could catch your attention.
I've seen the first Paranormal Activity film and its about a couple who live in a house and they film footage during the night of strange things happening in the house by some invisible demon, usually at night time they would hear loud footsteps on stairs, or thuds on the floor, and at one time they put powder of the floor to prove if there was any hallucination and actual handprints are shown which is freaky and scary stuff like the door just SLAMS shut.
The first time I saw the movie Paranormal Activity was at a party in March earlier this year and it was sort of a slumber party and we were watching some 15-rated films at night and the first of them we watched was Paranormal Activity and I looked at the reviews from the DVD we rented from Blockbuster and it said like: 'One of the scariest movies of all times' or 'Don't watch it alone!' and it seemed that the critics were pretty creeped by it and we were all pretty excited about watching it...So, as we watched the first few minutes it starts off pretty slow and the film cameras were filmed like The Blair Witch Project and I thought the camera and filmmaking was great and it was such a low budget film with no stars, little number of crew and some amazing effects which were amazing like the scary footprints entering the bedroom or the bedroom door moving slowly with no crew people doing it which is just amazing! The film just scared me out of my wits, I was just so frightened and so were my mates and I thought it was arguably the scariest movie I've ever seen. That film really scared me and there was certain scenes that frightened me and I ended up getting nightmares at some nights and sometimes I'm not looking forward to turn my light off because I'm sometimes scared of the dark and my mind plays tricks on me because sometimes I think I hear footsteps but its just my mind!
Although, when I heard about a sequel coming I wasn't too excited but when I saw the trailer I was pretty amazed and interested and I needed more information becuase there was very little information but so many clues to come in and a mysterious trailer which involves around a baby and a dog instead of humans in their beds trying to sleep.
Now we're wasting precious time, onto the trailer!
Now, on the website, I noticed that if you click to rewind the trailer who may notice some very strange things of some random footage which shows some extra information that's needed to know; it shows more of a baby, and it shows a picture of the baby crying and it looks like the mother is trying to comfort the baby and you notice a hand with a green thumb-nail, now it definitely looks really creepy, and what is it: nail varnish, goo?? Who knows? and here's a picture:
Here is a crying baby and a mysterious hand and I do not know who the couple - it can't be the same from the first film because they were already killed by the ghost/demon and I really wonder who could that be?
Also, look at these strange pictures from the rewinded footage:

Another interesting secret scene - this one I find probably the creepiest and I can't quite make-out what's happening there, it looks like some human (probably a demon) jumping into scene in front of a camera and if you look really closely you could see the baby crawling on the floor. Spooky.

Also, you may notice some note in the trailer upside down (I couldn't notice it - I found this picture on the internet), and its so creepy because there's the baby's crib and the baby is not in the crib but the baby is in the mirror reflection of the crib and there's a note upside down saying 'what is happening to hunter?' Hunter? Who's Hunter? I'm guessing its probably the dog that was in the trailer. Although I hate the feeling of a dog in the film that's going to be killed because I am a dog person. Weird, the baby in the mirror reminds me of a part in Roald Dahl's book The Witches and there is a boy that got captured by a witch and ended up in a painting of a farm and at different times of the day the boy would be at different positions and its pretty spooky reading it and I'm guessing maybe a demon placed the baby in the mirror, I'm not sure!
Although, I'll leave it here, it shall remain a mystery and we don't find out the evidence until it reaches the theatres in October 22nd less than a month's time - aww I want to see it now!! Although I may not be able to see it at a theatre and I'm only 14 and its probably going to be a 15-rated film and in cinemas, workers are very strict about people's age and sometimes if there was a 15-year old who wanted to see a film one of the cinema workers sometimes wouldn't let them in because they don't look like 15, Odd. I'll probably wait until its out on DVD.
Demand it!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

PK Motion - Winter Training 2010

I don't have time for a long arcticle to post because I've got a party to attend and just this now I'll show you another another one of the free-running videos with my friends in it - although I'm not in this video and this video was released shortly before I joined the PK Motion.
Although, in some of the stuff may some word balloons popping up and random stuff but try and ignore that and enjoy the video...

Friday, 17 September 2010

Parkour Stuff

I just realised that during the week that when I was looking at my blog title Blabbing on Arts and Culture, I realised that I've been talking far, far too much Arts, and I've been lacking on a bit of culture, and I felt what's the point of calling Blabbing on Arts and Culture and call it Blabbing on Arts instead, but I was thinking of something linked with culture and I thought it in a millisecond and that was the activity that I do, free-running.
For some of you people are not familiar and may be thinking "What on earth is 'free-running'?" well let me tell you some of the key stuff stuff:
Well, Free-running (proper name "Parkour") is an unusual activity which is quite popular in the town I live in which is named Horsham; and its an activity you'd see that many of the people would be jumping through buildings but we don't do that always, but what we mostly do are a lot of vaulting through fences, walls or doing front-
flips and land them and all sorts, and its quite fun but it can lead to injuries...
This video I'm currently going to show is a video are my friends from home and they do the activity and its actually a fun activity and they're my age (I'm 14) and truth is I'm in this video and I do a free-running trick and I climb through this wall and I jump through - no joke I'm actually in this video (try and look at my profile pic and identify that its actually me)!!
Yes, I do free-running as an activity and I joined at February this year (the same month when I created my Blogger profile), and I'm learning some of the main basics still and I can't really do front-flips and I can do vaults and jumps and climbing and all that, but I'm just a learner and I'm a member of their group PK Motion, although I only appear at one shot at this video and I should appear at 0:52 of the video, the 52nd second of the 5 minute video - yes nothing special and exciting in what I do but this was my video debut and I'd like to show you some of what my friends have done.

Oh I should point out that about the last 2 or 1:30 minutes of the video that there are some goofy outtakes which I find quite entertaining - it was really just added there for a laugh - we all like a laugh.
If you'd like to see more, there's more videos of us PK Motion on videos there's a bit more to see although I'm not really in much of their videos and I don't really appear a lot in there, just like cameos, and there's another free-running group that's older than I am myself and they're very-well trained and very good group called Horsham Movement and they've got quite a bit of videos and they're available on YouTube.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Tribute to Norman Thelwell

Sorry for no posting yesterday because I was at someone's house and I was remembering the tragic deaths to the innocent victims of those who were killed in the planes of 9/11; shame two planes crashed the Twin Towers, and one hit the Pentagon and one in a field in Pennsylvania. Tragic, and apparently I heard that 800 children were sent to an orphanage. Sad.
This tribute is about Norman Thelwell (3 May 1923 - 7 February 2004), and I'll explain some of the drawings and here are some parts in a small biography in his website Thelwell's:
Norman Thelwell was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, on 3 May 1923. His earliest surviving drawing is a pencil self-portrait done at the age of 10, on which his teacher has written in red ink: 'V. good indeed'. He remembers always wanting to draw as a child and recalls finding drawing and painting much easier than other subjects - 'with drawing, the answer was always there in front of you - you only had to look'. His love of the countryside was fostered by childhood visits to a North Wales farm and was strengthened throughout his life.
His first cartoon for Punch was published in 1952 and led to a relationship which lasted for 25 years and over 1,500 cartoons, including 60 front covers. His first pony cartoon was published in 1953 and, by accident, led to a lifetime of association with the image of the little girl and the fat hairy pony. As he says: 'I was a sort of unofficial country cartoonist, doing funny drawings that involved birds, cattle, pigs and poultry. One day I did a pony drawing and it was like striking a sensitive nerve. The response was instantaneous. People telephoned the editor and asked for more. Suddenly I had a fan mail. So the editor told me to do a two-page spread on ponies. I was appalled. I thought I'd already squeezed the subject dry. I looked at the white drawing block and wondered what on earth to do. In the end I dreamed up some more horsey ideas and people went into raptures.' The 'Thelwell pony' was born.

There's more about him on his website - and one of the reasons that makes Norman Thelwell memorable are his fabulous drawings of fat girls and stubby ponies - and he was a great watercolourist and I'd like to show you some of his works that he was responsible for...

"She loves that pony - she's never out of the saddle!"

Flower & Vegetable Show

Over the sticks

"...A good all rounder..."

Beware of the Bull
Riding School
"When did you start feeling that people were ignoring you?"

"They are all irresistible when very young..."

Thelwell's Magnificat
There are many reasons why men go fishing
That's all I'm showing for Thelwell - if you want to see some stuff by Norman Thelwell you'll see most of his stuff in the Thelwell website and he's got lots and lots of books in print with many of his great illustrations. This is the famous 'Thelwell' signature, although not well known as the 'Disney' signature or the 'Matt Groening' signature but that's still famous - its used in a lot of his drawings - he was a great draughtsman and a gifted artist.

(Norman Thelwell working on a cartoon at his office)
One of the reasons why I'm posting this is because well I'm telling the truth and this is certainly no lie at all...he's sort of related to me! Yes, this is true he is sort-of a relative of mine but not much of one really; Its a long story; my Dad was actually adopted when he was young and he does know his real mum and her name is Betty Thelwell (whom I saw at Easter), and several years ago when I was a baby she married Ron Thelwell who is actually the cousin of Norman Thelwell and I only found that out a few months ago and my step-grandfather Ron passed away in April 14, 2010 when he was 94 (Ron was born on April 30, 1915) and it was a shame since I was visiting my grandmother then and me and my family visited her the day after Ron died. I found out that Norman Thelwell was Ron's nephew and I'm not sure if Ron was a cousin or uncle to Norman - but this is how it works and now my grandmother Betty is a widow and is still named Betty Thelwell - so to put it this way, Norman Thelwell is my step great-uncle, although he isn't related but there must be some level of being related here.
My step-grandfather Ron had a career himself, what we did know about him was that the truth was he designed the Dove shampoo-logo although I don't know if he designed the bird or the logo or even both, but this is true and its a shame that he didn't get recognition for this beautiful design and this is just the way a logo should be. I always described Ron as my grandfather because all my real grandfathers died before I was born, and now I have no grandfathers left and my great-step grandmother died about three weeks after Ron Thelwell did and Betty is my only grandparent still alive.
Although, I've never met Norman Thelwell neither has my Dad or Mum but my grandmother has met him and I wish I could have met him - he was a great watercolourist and draughtsman himself - I'd like to know this to the world...

Friday, 10 September 2010

Alice in Wonderland Casting

Hi all - I'm back from school and Iive entered Key Stage 4 and I'm stage where I'll be doing many exams and coursework so my posting schedules could change slightly but I don't know when...
As a treat, remember when I've counted the scenes of Pinocchio and Dumbo of how many scenes each animator did based on the drafts collection by Hans Perk - well I've already prepared the scenes and counted them some while ago for postings for the future and as a treat I'll show you the number of scenes of animators in the draft in the film Alice in Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland I think is a good Disney feature, and I know many of the Disney fans and public are not much of a fan of the film and there may be some dark elements like some people I know of find the Mad Hatter quite scary and a weird design (well no wonder why he was animated by Ward Kimball) - and what I do find slightly dark about the film are those weird Tulgey Wood creatures.
From Animation Supervisors, Character Animators and Effects Animators: here's what came in the final draft...
  • Milt Kahl - 60 scenes (Dodo, Alice in Croquet Game)
  • Ward Kimball - 56 scenes (Mad Hatter and March Hare, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Walrus and Carpenter)
  • Frank Thomas - 116 scenes (Doorknob, Tulgey Wood creatures, Queen of Hearts)
  • Eric Larson - 86 scenes (Alice, Dinah the cat, Caterpillar, Queen of Hearts)
  • John Lounsbery - 96 scenes (Chesire Cat, Flowers, Mad Hatter, Tulgey Wood creatures, Caterpillar)
  • Ollie Johnston - 90 scenes (Alice, King of Hearts)
  • Wolfgang Reitherman - 78 scenes (White Rabbit, Dodo, Hatter and Hare, Walrus and Carpenter, Bill the Lizard)
  • Marc Davis - 75 scenes (Alice)
  • Les Clark - 68 scenes (Alice)
  • Norm Ferguson - 8 scenes (Walrus and Carpenter)
  • Hal King - 96 scenes (White Rabbit, Bird in a Tree, Croquet flamingo and mole, Tulgey Wood creatures, King of Hearts)
  • Don Lusk - 76 scenes (Alice)
  • Hal Ambro - 77 scenes (Alice)
  • Judge Whitaker - 72 scenes (Flowers, Cards)
  • Cliff Nordberg - 94 scenes (Dum and Dee, Hatter and Hare, Tulgey Wood creatures)
  • Harvey Toombs - 54 scenes (Alice, Queen of Hearts)
  • Bill Justice - 21 scenes (White Rabbit, Alice's sister)
  • Fred Moore - 22 scenes (Oysters, White Rabbit)
  • Marvin Woodward - 42 scenes (White Rabbit, Garden Flowers, Teapots and Dormouse)
  • Phil Duncan - 38 scenes (Caterpillar, White Rabbit, Cards)
  • Bob Carlson - 32 scenes (Caucus racers, White Rabbit and Dodo)
  • Hugh Fraser - 22 scenes (Walrus and Carpenter, Cards)
  • Charles Nichols - 9 scenes (Walrus and Carpenter)
  • Josh Meador - 56 scenes (Tears and Bottle, Garden Flowers)
  • George Rowley - 40 scenes (VARIOUS EFFECTS, Cards)
  • Dan MacManus - 3 scenes (BUTTERFLIES)
  • Blaine Gibson - 1 scene (HAND)
Its very interesting since I counted all this stuff from the draft of Hans Perk which is available here - and its all very interesting once you see it today. Ward Kimball as we know animated the Mad Hatter and March Hare and he doesn't appear in such scenes of the Hatter and Hare and his animation of the Mad Hatter in the sequence "Mad Tea Party" and his animation mainly appears earlier in the sequence and comes back later on, and its suprising because you'd expect to see so much of Kimball in this sequence and it only ends up with 56 scenes while the other lesser known animators get more scenes than him, the rest of the Mad Tea Party was animated mainly by Woolie Reitherman, John Lounsbery, Marvin Woodward and Cliff Nordberg with Marc Davis, Les Clark and Don Lusk animating Alice.

The Walrus and the Carpenter sequence is possibly the most interesting draft and because it features a lot of animators who really only work on this sequence and you find Norm Ferguson doing good animation in this sequence and he only does 8 scenes in this sequene and we never see him in the rest of the draft which I find annoying because he's a great animator, another animator who only works on this sequence is Charles Nichols and we've seen him animate the Coachman in Pinocchio, and directing some Pluto shorts in his Disney career and only works on some 9 scenes of the Walrus sequence, mainly the scenes of the Walrus playing the flute and leading the oysters out of the sea. You'll see that Tweedledum and Tweedledee is animated by Ward Kimball as you people should know and he animates about half those stuff but about the other half of Dum and Dee is animated by Cliff Nordberg and Cliff seemed to have worked very close with Ward Kimball.
Milt Kahl's work in this film is rarely ever spoken about and to tell you I never really mention much about Kahl on Alice because I think that he doesn't do one of the best scenes really - its pretty dull but the animation is ok, not one of Milt's best performances but probably didn't enjoy working on it. About the Alice animators, to tell you one of my favourite Alice animation comes from Les Clark and Harvey Toombs. Toombs does a great Alice and it really appeals me and Milt Kahl does it quite appealing and Les Clark does a great job at some of the important Alice scenes that hardly anyone ever talks about.
Fred Moore does some of the great jobs of the Oyster shells (I have the Oysters as a background layout on my laptop) and its a shame that his animation and some White Rabbit stuff is hardly seen from the film again - I like the Walrus and the Carpenter and with Fred, Fergy and Ward animating on it and many other animators; I must say that my favourite animation on this sequence is Woolie Reitherman's Walrus and the Carpenter, and favourite animation in the film is actually Woolie Reitherman's stuff, I think its great but what's really favourite because Woolie Reitherman animates most of my favourite scenes in the film and my favourite Hatter and Hare stuff and along with him and Cliff Nordberg both animators animate some of my favourite March Hare stuff and its great.

Its a shame really, Ward Kimball is a lot known for his work on the film and its a shame that we don't see much of it and he seems to do the acting scenes of the Mad Hatter while Woolie, Lounsbery or Nordberg do my favourite Hatter stuff and but Ward Kimball does the best Tweedledum and Tweedledee and I like his Walrus and Carpenter stuff more than his Mad Hatter and March Hare (did you know that the name March Hare Lewis Carroll used in his book that it was an old idiom meaning "mad as a march hare" idioms mean sayings like "as old as the hills" or "as white as snow", etc. We know that Ward Kimball is long-credited for the Chesire Cat animation and its very suprising because he is only credited for one scene of the Cat and most of the animation went to John Lounsbery and later stuff with Eric Larson (in Queen of Hearts scenes). Oh, my favourite Cliff Nordberg animation in the film is the Mad Watch scenes after the Mad Hatter attempted to fix the White Rabbit's watch and it all goes wrong!

Yes, how could I forget that Lewis Carroll wrote the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking Glass, and I've read the books before and I've seen the recent Tim Burton film adaptation and I don't like the recent Burton version because he completely changed the plot and I was very disappointed to see it - they made Alice an adult and about to be engaged and she seems to be friends with the Mad Hatter and the White Queen (book character), and she seemed to Wonderland well and except Wonderland is called "Underland" for some reason, and its not good at all and its completely different because Alice, the White Queen and Mad Hatter fights a battle with the Queen of Hearts which is similar to the chess chapter in the book Through the Looking-Glass, and the Hearts of course is defeated and the Hatter randomly does some break-dance after the victory and Gee, I didn't know they had break-dancing in 1865 wouldn't that have been invented in decades and decades to come?? They seemed to have not used a lot from the film and they didn't show the Walrus and the Carpenter, or even the Pool of Tears, The Doorknob (well, it was just a Disney creation not a Lewis Carroll creation), and you only see about 10 seconds of the Croquet game. However, to anyone who hasn't seen it, you're not missing much.
Blimey, that's a lot I've explained in this post and I think I'm at the conclusion on this talk on the draft and I must have made it an interesting one (hopefully to people who know the Alice draft it won't be too boring) and my teacher told me that my talks and that would be interesting for animation fans and for non-animation fans they'd be like What on earth is he talking about?? Anyway, that's all for today!!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Beano Collection

Some of you might know that I have a lot of Beano comics at home or I written a post on the Beano some time ago - mostly from 1980's and 1990's comics and I loved reading them and collecting them - as much as I had lots of comics, I remember about almost two years ago in winter there was a second-hand bookshop in Oxted, Surrey and the man who owned it had lots and lots of old Beano and Dandy comics from the 1980's and 1990's and I managed to buy quite a bit of comics and the Beano's I've just scanned are some from the secondhand bookshop. The comics were very hard to scan so I'll only use two Dennis the Menace comic strips.

I've scanned from comic from November 7th 1987 (My oldest Beano comic that I own) and the other from March 5th 1988, back in the Beano days before it was colourised in 1993 - Dennis had his comic strips on the front page and it continued on the back page, and when the comic became all-coloured Dennis had a three-page strip Starting on the front page and then inside the comic continues with two pages. Usually the comic strips usually last two pages or one page, sometimes half a page. Yes, back in those days comics weren't very expensive at all to get and you could buy one for only 20 pence (Mind you the comics I bought at the secondhand bookshop only cost 20 pence a comic) - nowadays it costs like £1.99 or something...
Please note: I won't be posting again until Friday 10th September because tomorrow I head back to school and I board there and of course all blog sites are blocked including mine, so I'll be logged off for a while...

Happy Belated Birthday to Frank Thomas...

I know that his birthday has already passed, but I'm writing this small belated article to remember the great animator who taught us many things and that's Frank Thomas.

(Frank Thomas working on a scene in Robin Hood)
Died in 2004 at the age of 92 three days after his birthday, if he was still alive he would have been 98 and if Ollie Johnston was still alive, he wouldn't turn 98 until October 31 (Halloween). Both Disney animators are great and they taught many animators and animation fans many new things, and some animators like Ward Kimball or John Lounsbery could do many slapstick stuff - or some would do those heavy stuff like Bill Tytla and Woolie Reitherman - some had to draw those stiff careful humans stuff like Marc Davis or Milt Kahl - and of course; some could do it in the heart like Frank and Ollie could.
Both animators can made their characters very real instead in the old Disney days when animators just drew Mickey and made it move - but Frank and Ollie taught the Studios of how believable the characters are and how they communicate.
Frank Thomas was the second last to die of the Nine Old Men, Ollie Johnston was the last to die in 2008. We'll miss you...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Rare Walter Lantz Cartoon

I came across with cartoon short Boy Meets Dog which was produced by Walter Lantz in 1938 and it was actually sponsored by some toothpaste commercial and I remembered it when I re-watched it again, and its very rare and not many Lantz fans have probably heard of it or not - but one of the reasons why I know this cartoon well because I remember when my Dad used to live in Hong Kong about 30 years ago and VHS tapes were new at the time and I remember my Dad purchased three Tom & Jerry tapes (although unfortunately only two of those tapes still work today) and he brought two VHS tapes with Looney Tunes and we only have one in the house, and the one we still have contained the early Bugs Bunny cartoon shorts and Merrie Melodies stuff from roughly 1941 and 1942, but they actually showed one Walter Lantz cartoon and it was this one, and that one was Boy Meets Dog!
I do like this cartoon short and its got a funny story although the short is quite weird - its about a boy named Bobby who has a strict father who wouldn't allow him to have sundaes or go fishing and while walking home from school depressed he comes across a homeless dog and takes it home; his father finds out and sends Bobby to his room with no supper (that's what parents did in those days) and when he enters his room Bobby's bedroom appears to have gnomes as a wallpaper and one of the gnomes come to life and take his father on a cheesy trial and proclaim him as guilty for being too hard on his father. After being it was only a hallucination, Bobby's father learns that he's been hard on his son and starts taking him to sundaes and fishing.
Yeah, its not one of the greatest stories you know and the trial thing does sound ridiculous, but I quite like its music in it and the animation is okay I can't complain about it - but what can me a complaint is that the graphics and the background paintings are too bright and they don't quite match! Wasn't this cartoon colorised or something.
Yes, the cartoon short was distributed by Castle Films - and the story was based on the Comic Strips by Gene Byrnes on his series Reg'lar Fellers, and the only known voice actor in this short is the famous Billy Bletcher who voices the father and when you listen to the voice - you can tell it was Bletcher, the rest of the cast like the gnomes or Bobby and whoever voiced them is unknown - probably too shy because they don't want to be recognised or maybe that the cartoon is so rare the voices have been a mystery! I'd be very interested on who voiced Bobby the boy. Don't those gnomes and trial gnomes look like one of the Seven Dwarfs in Snow White?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Comedy Greats

Probably one of my favourite television show is the British sitom, Fawlty Towers.
To those who haven't seen it - I'll give you the facts...
Fawlty Towers is a television show which only ran for two series, the first series which was broadcasted in 1975 and the second series broadcasted in 1979, yes each episode lasted 30-minutes and its truly one of the funniest shows that has ever been made. Although the total series has only lasted 12 episodes and altogether the show only lasts 6 hours but its always worth the watch.
All 12 episodes were written by the comic genius John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth and we all know John Cleese for his role in many stuff: Monty Python, Clockwise, etc. you name it! Both Cleese and Booth play roles in this...John Cleese plays the main character named Basil Faulty who is a hotel owner of 'FAWLTY TOWERS', and he is rather rude person, snobbish and always ends up humiliates himself.
Basil Fawlty also had a Spanish waiter named Manuel who did not understand English and his communication was always impossible and it often caused Basil's temper to flare. All the characters in it are very funny, and about every single episode of the series is very memorable and funny.
The origins of the show actually started when the Monty Python team were in a hotel in Devon and they came across this hotel owner and they all thought he was so rude and snobbish that they left before booking, but John Cleese decided to stay because it obviously gave him a show to develop. Its a funny story of how it happened.
Although, what's strange about me is that I do like the show - but sometimes I just can't watch too many in one sitting, I usually might be able to watch one or two episodes and then I had enough of it, I don't have any harm in the show, but I can't watch too much.
One of the my favourite ones is probably an episode called The Germans and it had quite a bit of controversial I think, because John Cleese has some German guests coming to his hotel and he tries to communicate with them and ends up walking like Hitler and embarrasses himself and leaving the Germans upset and offended. Of course this is hilarious, but doing something like that again on TV would leave up to many complaints, but here it doesn't need controversial because the show just proves of how much of an idiot he is.
Here is a scene from Fawlty Towers from YouTube which I think - in my opinion; is probably the funniest part of Fawlty Towers - and I think you should take a look at it.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Crew vs. Actors

What is it that we think looks great on the films and how it was possibly made - no, it doesn't all have much to do with actors, but it really has much to do with are the crew!
Sometimes, I feel cheesed of because some of us people know some crew but that's basically the key people which are directors, producers and screenwriters - but what about the other people who were involved in the productions, they helped make a film possible. Usually when you see a film trailer or a movie poster out all the public and audiences are mostly interested are the actors in it or maybe directors because its always the actors who are the highlight. Why? Looks, good acting, the money, about MOST stuff!
I sometimes find it unfair for the crew because the actors and actresses are the most paid people and all the public know about him, and they say, Oh, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are in this film I'm going to watch it, or for the ladies: Leonardo DiCaprio is such a 'hottie', I must watch a film with him in it, and usually the boys would want to see a film with people like Megan Fox or Jennifer Aniston in it, of course I do like some of the actors like Leonardo or Cruise are good actors (I'm not keen on Aniston much), and its always like the actors get the most credit.
True to say, that the actors/actresses have one of the most important duties in a film, but I think the crew deserve more credit because I know some strikes happeneed including a writers strike some years ago, and I think the crew deserve recognition. Why, because the actors and actresses don't really make the film look good, the crew does: the screenwriters make the story and film look good, and the special effects team make the effects really good or the Art directors make the settings really good, why not credit them for once, although usually I'm not always interested in the actors, and usually more interested at how the crew made this and its just amazing - I would like to work in the film business, not an acting career, a crew person.
Sometimes, the crew and workers are paid peanuts for their really hard work and the actors who are sometimes just terrible at their jobs and yet they get the most paid. I usually notice that some actors and actresses are very unenthusiastic at their jobs and probably only do it for the money, yeah they mostly care about the money and profits for the film.
So - the crew need more deserving for their very hard work like a good salary, although like me - I'm very interested in the animation business like mostly the crew and the animators team, and I find them more interesting than the voice actors. Like, animators like Ward Kimball or Woolie Reitherman are two animators that interest me!
Oh - look at the book: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - yes its a series of other products like (1001 Music Albums, 1001 Books, 1001 Paintings, etc.) and its a very interesting book about some of the great films in there and they review its style, story and including many stuff - its released every year with a new edition and you can order it!

Here's the latest edition of the 1001 Movies series - and yes Avatar is in it obviously, although don't try and buy an edition every year because it could be wasting money when they only add about 5 or 6 films in there and take off some of the films in there, and I only have two editions of the 1001 Movies.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Sterotypes on Cartoons (cont'd)

Sorry if the first video won't work on my site, but here's the video on this quick post:

Sterotypes on Cartoons

I have seen cartoons with black sterotypes and racism, but probably the cartoon with the most black sterotypes I've seen was the early Merrie Melodies from the 1930's and 1940's, but I'll show you two of the cartoons in the MM series that I consider very politically
Yes, I've seen some black stereotypes on cartoons and sometimes you get some on big films, and I know that most of the public consider them as 'racist', well in some of the cartoons I find racist; but I admit I don't think the crows sequence in Dumbo, is racist I think its just a joke, and plus this was 1941 at the time and there wasn't much civil rights to black people, so we must learn. I'll show you the Bugs Bunny 1941 cartoon All This and Rabbit Stew, and I do find it not politically correct today but remember this is almost 70 years ago and this was what its like back then.
There's another Merrie Melodies cartoon which I find quite weird is the 1938 cartoon Jungle Jitters and it seems that most people don't know the cartoon - while I've known it for quite a few years, since its been on YouTube for a long time!
Yes, I do find them a bit racist, but watching it can be quite interesting because this was at a time when blacks had fewer rights than white people, now I'm not going to go there; but back then black people could only go to cinemas with the same race, and they weren't allowed to go to parks with white people as well as schools, etc. But...take a look today, Barack Obama is black and he's currently the President of America, now History's changed and now we're all equal! That's how it should be!
I'm not writing this to offend anyone I'm only looking back at how it was back then, and its pretty shocking looking at it I know, and no I'm not a racist person.