Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Birthday Ollie Johnston

Just to let you know that today is Ollie Johnston's birthday which is Halloween and if he was still alive - he'd had turned 98.

Ollie was such a brilliant animator and he and Frank himself, learnt the basics on making animated characters real instead of just tracing them and making them move. Ollie's characters were believeable and he worked very hard to make the audiences believe it.
Johnston was the last animator of the Nine Old Men to die and passed away on April 14, 2008 at the age of 95.

Woooh - It's Halloween!

Hey folks,
As today is Halloween and I'd wish I was out celebrating - but I already had some sort dress-up party around last-week.
However, as it's Halloween today: I do feel like I shall tell a spooky story - it's not a story I made up - I heard that story while I was at Hindleap Warren (an activity centre) and they have an interesting creepy tree known as The Witch's Tree and I'll tell you what became the origin of the Witch's Tree:
"Long, long time ago when Oliver Cromwell was in charge of England - and years ago in Ashdown Forest, the canoe shop (that's now in Hindleap) used to be a cottage and it belonged to an older, ugly woman named Harriet Elton.
She lived a quiet life in her cottage and she used to make poisons for example: bad poisons if people wanted to commit suicide, or love poisons if a male wanted a girlfriend, and other various poisons.
At that time, a people of people believed in witchcraft and they all hunted down the forest, because they believed that a witch was living there - and they all rushed into Harriet's door and grabbed her, she was arrested and accusing her of witchcraft, but Harriet said "I was only trying to help people". She was then taken to court - and then the judge proclaimed her as guilty for witchcraft and was sentenced to death by being burnt alive!
As, she was tied to a pole and about to be burnt, they put the fire on, and the flames wouldn't spread - it didn't work! She proclaimed, "I'm innocent" - but the people didn't believe her! The only way the people thought about killing her was stabbing her with a stake in her sleep, and so they did.
She was stabbed and buried underground in the middle of the woods of Ashdown Forest and then she says "I'm still innocent, you'll be sorry!". So, then as the days went by, the stake that was still in her chest just grew and grew and then it became the witch's tree.
The people who were involved in the killing had been cursed and met a tragic end: The man who stabbed her with a stake was carrying a cart of barrels and then one of the wheels went off and the barrels crushed him to death. The man who tried to burn her and buried her in a coffin met a tragic end and one night in his house, there was a terrible storm and then a lightning bolt struck his house, killing him and leaving his wife as a survivor. The third man who proclaimed her as guilty has later killed when he was hunting for food and later got poisoned by eating mushrooms.
BUT, what is probably the most spookiest thing to happen to visitors who do see the Witch's Tree see the most spooky thing and whenever they look behind, they'd see a horrible, ugly-looking woman in black clothing who is known to be Harriet Elton."
Well, that's all I have for my story - if it didn't scare ya, well it's the only known scary story I seem to know that I do find spooky.
I'd just like to say: MERRY HALLOWEEN - more like: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Basil Fawlty Beats His Car

As, it was John Cleese's 71st birthday a few days ago on October 27th, I hope it isn't too late for me to post this video and it's one of Fawlty Towers' funniest moments in the episode Gourmet Night.
Though only 12 episodes (6 hours) ever produced and broadcast - Fawlty Towers will remain to be one of the most popular British television-shows of ALL time, and they're jokes and hilarious gags will always be remembered.
This scene is hilarious when Basil Fawlty is trying to order a take away and something goes wrong with his car and he goes completely over his mind and once his car stops working - he goes furious with range and grabs and runs out of the car and gets out a tree branch and blows out a tantrum by thrashing his car - one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen on the show and television.
Hope you enjoy.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Alice in Wonderland Mosaic: Part 1

I said that I was going to get around doing an Alice in Wonderland mosaic - and now I have! Here is the first sequence of the film:
Now, Alice in Wonderland has been a film that Walt Disney has been attempting to produce for years, even in the EARLY DAYS when Walt Disney and his brother Roy opened the Studio and produced his first ALICE shorts; although at the time he was hoping to do an Alice feature combined with live-action and animation, but Walt couldn't produced and instead it was made into his usual animated-feature canon.
To me, Alice in Wonderland has got some great sequences and there's so many tunes in there that are so memorable and even some folks sing the tunes in it and don't realise it's from the film. Alice in Wonderland has been known for not being much of a favourite to the public - but the animation is one of the finest the Studio's ever done, and it's layouts are great and it's strongly done by Mary Blair - since Michael Sporn's post some extraordinary artwork for the film.
The film doesn't follow TOO MUCH to the books (I've read Lewis Carroll's books - and there's elements in there that haven't been used) but Alice is a thousand times better than the recent Tim Burton film that came earlier this year. However, the characters mainly stick to the original novels and the designs, although the only character that was a Disney creation is the Doorknob animated by Frank Thomas, and I'll talk about that later when we get to the stage.
The animation of Alice is nice and the effects animation is fine and believable although the "Pool of Tears" water just puts me off for some reason! There are only four animators in this film and they are George Rowley, Josh Meador, Dan MacManus and Blaine Gibson - we see quite a bit of Rowley and Meador doing fine effects, but once you see more on Meador - it may become a quite a surprise to those whose never seen the Alice in Wonderland draft.
I'll begin with the first segment:
The first sequence, directed by Wilfred Jackson does a fine sequence and it's a fresh and this sequence all fits well into the story, and most of it follows the original story, because the first words in the book in the first chapter were "Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank..." and it shows a lot of Alice being bored of her sister, and it fits so well!
Eric Larson handles most of the Alice animation and also her cat, Dinah; and Dinah is like another creation of Figaro the cat in Pinocchio and they look alike. Bill Justice, animated her sister and it works well, and it looks like one of the princesses like Cinderella.
The song in the segment In a World Of My Own is beautifully written and it shows a lot of mood in Alice's emotions and George Rowley does great flower effects moving, the song makes me feel that I'm in a world of my own and after Alice sings the song, it suddenly turns into a dream after she touches the pond and then that's when her adventure BEGINS.
Another song in there is the famous tune I'm Late and it's probably sung a lot to the public and the White Rabbit animation by Hal King is probably most remembered in this segment and a lot of the public's favourite animation in this segment is probably the White Rabbit. You'll go to learn that my favourite animation in this segment is actually Eric Larson, not Hal King, who's an underrated animator who's done a lot of fine animation in the films.
Eric Larson handles both Alice and Dinah (Hal King does some shots of Dinah the cat, I believe) and Larson's animation on the characters are brilliant - probably the best shots he did is Shot 13 - when Dinah is listening to Alice talking about her interest and while she talks completely nonsense, Dinah gets puzzled and it's a great acting of showing her personality and the fact that she's a cat and also thinks Alice is out of her mind.
Hal King does the White Rabbit well and it's probably most remembered and I most like the shot in scene 35 when he looks at the time and becomes determined and panic shouting "Oh my dear and whiskers! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!" - and it's great acting and it's timing is fine. Although, the sequence has most animation by Eric Larson (including Alice) with Hal King animating The White Rabbit and a few of Dinah shots, along with Judge Whitaker. Alice has a few scenes by Hal Ambro and Harvey Toombs.
Bill Justice who handles Alice's sister well and it's so careful, and look at Shot 7 and she warns Alice "Will you kindly pay attention to your History lesson?" and she takes off the crown of flowers and as she takes it off - Bill would have to be careful at moving the character with her arm and slowly putting it down and it's timing had to be accurate.
The layouts by Mac Stewart are fine and he doesn't follow the Mary Blair artwork and I think the Mary Blair work had to be used when Alice was down under in Wonderland and it's layouts were brilliant to show what a strange place Wonderland is and how The Riverbank layouts are just as real as our trees and pond - while Mary Blair has a MUCH unique style and it was heavily used for the Wonderland sequences! Brilliant artwork in there.
Some reason, the sequence reminds me a little bit of Bambi, probably because the blue bird flying in shot 26 reminds me of the birds flying in Bambi and it's layouts and flowers are a bit like the film - although it's directed by Wilfred Jackson who didn't work on Bambi but probably worked simalar to it - or maybe Jaxon and the staff weren't trying to make this sequence look like Bambi and make is as they were going to make it.
I'll leave the talking here for you -- feel free to comment on your other opinions about the film or this sequence, and I'll post more and I'm hoping to complete Alice in Wonderland before Christmas.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Happy Birthday Don Lusk...

Today - Joe Campana has sent me some more info on an animator that most of you people may have heard of named Don Lusk - perhaps I should say a bit about him...
Don Lusk is an animator that worked for Disney for many years: best known for his work on the "Arabian Fish Dance" in The Nutcracker Suite in Fantasia, Cleo the goldfish in Fantasia, The title character in Alice in Wonderland, worked on multiple segments in Melody Time (inc Johnny Appleseed), later worked on Wendy in Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians.

Don Lusk in later years of his life
The reason why I'm talking about him is because today (I only found out today) is his 97th birthday, and he's one of the fewer artists of the Golden Age of Animation, who is still with us. According to Joe Campana, he told me that he heard that he was still in good shape and he currently lives in the Los Angeles County.
Donald R. Lusk was born on 28th October 1913, in the Los Angeles Country by his parents Percival "Percy" Knox Lusk (1881-1918) and Louise O. Ross (Parish) (1888-1948), I believe that he had an older brother named William P. Lusk who is four years older than Don and I believe that he is still alive.
Don's father Percy (I believe was an organist or rancher) died when he was only four years in 1918 (MAYBE in the First World War, I haven't a clue!). During Lusk's childhood, he lived with his brother and mother in their grandparents' home.
In 1933, he first came to the Walt Disney Studios as an in-betweener - and then later became an assistant animator to become the assistant to Eric Larson, Milt Kahl and James Algar on the animals in Snow White along with Jack Bradbury and Ken Hultgren cleaning up the animator's drawings, according to Jack Bradbury. Don and Jack Bradbury did some animation tests to become an animator - and eventually showed it to Ham Luske, and Don Lusk was promoted to animator in about 1938. One of Don's first assignments was animating a few scenes on the Academy Award winning short Ferdinand the Bull and animated some of the scenes with Ferdinand at the arena and smelling the Matador's flowers until he goes mad! Don went on to become busy animating Cleo the goldfish in Pinocchio as well as animating the pesky boys in Pleasure Island and some of the fish creatures under water.
Perhaps, Don Lusk's most well-known comes from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite segment in Fantasia and the section is the Arabian fish dance with all that beautiful animation and it shines, it moves so well, and it was Lusk at his best:According to an article on Vanity Fair about Disney Ink & Painters, Don Lusk mentioned about his work that the Ink and Painters put a practical joke on him "They put a fish underneath my board-it had a horrible smell"!

(Such a beautiful, glossy effect and Don Lusk successfully achieved it!)
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston mentioned in their book "The Illusion of Life": The scenes of the glowing white fish in the Arabian Dance section of "Nutcracker" Suite" amazed the whole Studio. No one had ever seen such a gossamer effect and very few knew how it had been achieved." They also added "The stack of drawings was far more than one man to could carry--the scene was over 100 feet long-and it looked like a small mountain, for it included not only separate drawings for the fish but for all of the sparkles, the effects, the shading on the tails and the fins. Each level added another group of drawings. In fact, the scene had been so unusually large that the animator, Don Lusk, and his assistants had been the subject of several gag drawings showing them dwarfed by the scene of buried under layers of paper. The action everntually was broken into three scenes, which made it easier to carry, but it still took just long to shoot."

Don Lusk left Disney in 1942 (probably to join the military - unknown??), but returned to Disney Burbank in 1945 and went on to work on Melody Time, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians. In 1946, he married a Marjorie G. who'd become "Marjorie G. Lusk", and they are still alive, I believe. The couple are not known to have had any children.
After 101 Dalmatians, he left Disney and worked on the UPA film Gay Purr-ee as an animator. He later worked for Hanna-Barbera where he had a new career and he was directing new series for Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, The Smorks and The Tom and Jerry Kids Show.
Don retired in 1990 after a 57 year in animation - and he is still alive and currently living in the Los Angeles County with his wife.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Walt Disney Animated Film Rotten Tomatoes Ratings

Hello all,
As over the last two posts, since I have not had any comments and I thought that I hadn't been talking much about animation as I've been talking about films other than animation, although: hopefully I'll find my audience back and I've decided to talk about (bascially the Walt Disney films), and as I did yesterday talked about film critics; I'm going to list "Best to Worst" the Walt Disney Animation Countdown from Rotten Tomatoes, and they've already made a list (I know), but I've decided to choose the updated list, (my one): To those who don't know, let me say: Rotten Tomatoes is a website with film ratings, from 0% which is a terrible, pants rating and up to 100% which is a perfect rating - although, the score all come from reviews, and the amount of reviews (if it's good or bad) and lead to the total, final score: It's updated a lot, so I'll a list of what I saw!
So, here it goes:
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) - 97%
  • Pinocchio (1940) 100%
  • Fantasia (1940) - 98%
  • Dumbo (1941) - 97%
  • Bambi (1942) 89%
  • Saludos Amigos (1942)
  • The Three Caballeros (1944) 87%
  • Make Mine Music (1946) 67%
  • Fun and Fancy Free (1947) 67%
  • Melody Time (1948) 88%
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) 90%
  • Cinderella (1950) 92%
  • Alice in Wonderland (1951) 82%
  • Peter Pan (1953) 83%
  • Lady and the Tramp (1955) 87%
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959) 91%
  • 101 Dalmatians (1961) 97%
  • The Sword in the Stone (1963) 73%
  • The Jungle Book (1967) 89%
  • The Aristocats (1970) 65%
  • Robin Hood (1973) 55%
  • The Rescuers (1977) 84%
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) 91%
  • The Fox and the Hound (1981) 68%
  • The Black Cauldron (1985) 59%
  • The Great Mouse Detective (1986) 80%
  • Oliver & Company (1988) 42%
  • The Little Mermaid (1989) 90%
  • The Rescuers Down Under (1990) 64%
  • Beauty & the Beast (1991) 92%
  • Aladdin (1992) 92%
  • The Lion King (1994) 92%
  • Pocahontas (1995) 55%
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dambe (1996) 73%
  • Hercules (1997) 84%
  • Mulan (1998) 86%
  • Tarzan (1999) 88%
  • Fantasia 2000 (1999) 82%
  • Dinosaur (2000) 65%
  • The Emperor's New Groove (2000) 85%
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) 46%
  • Lilo & Stitch (2002) 85%
  • Treasure Planet (2002) 69%
  • Brother Bear (2003) 38%
  • Home on the Range (2004) 55%
  • Chicken Little (2005) 36%
  • Meet the Robinsons (2007) 66%
  • Bolt (2008) 85%
  • The Princess and the Frog (2009) 84%
That's all from Snow White up to The Princess and the Frog - it seems that Pinocchio is the highest rated film on Rotten Tomatoes, and I can see why: it's just a gorgeous animated film with great characters, incredible animation, and some brilliant dark elements in the film! "Chicken Little" seems to be the least favorite of the critics - now, if the rating's low doesn't mean it's the worst of ALL time, that's just what the critics think, your opinion might be different!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A Bit on "Paranormal 2" And Sequels

Just a few notes...
The new Paranormal Activity sequel titled Paranormal Activity 2 - seems to be going well currently in the cinemas worldwide and the budget is $3 million, is which significially over budger from the first film which was only $15,000 - but it seems to be doing well at the moment, it's made more than $60 million which would be a big $57 million profit (it's better than nothing!).

The reviews seem to be kind and warm, even though most sequels like the Rocky sequels, Jaws sequels, Rambo II, etc. turned out terribly by film critics, although that's their opinion I guess - I can be a BIG critic myself! Paranormal Activity (the first film) got a 82% on Rotten Tomatoes which is a very high score - while Paranormal Activity 2 got a good score of 68% and most sequels don't get a score that high! Although, I haven't seen the film - I hope to, soon.
One of the reasons why I'm maknig a note about is - because most sequels are never really that great, I mean - look at the Disney "straight-to-video" sequels; they're terrible, it's just pointless - because it's just never the same and they completely lose their charms and they don't realise how bad it is - I guess the only reason why they make it is for the money and only to entertain young Disney fans who don't realise how bad the sequels are.
However, when the movie Jaws first came out - Universal Studios demanded a sequel which became Jaws 2 and it turned out "ok" with audiences, although when it came to Jaws 3-D and Jaws the Revenge when it got silly and "what's the point of making a film that the audience wouldn't like?"
Other acclaimed films that turned out with bad sequels were Rocky, Rambo, The Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.
Although some sequels turn out to be great: Look at Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 - they're both as acclaimed as the first Toy Story - The Godfather 2 turned out to be as good as the first film, Star Wars sequels were pretty good although the prequels were "alright".
BUT, and a BIG but - don't try and be influenced by film critics and always agreeing with them because it just spoils it leaving you with no opinion, I was just trying to get some hints - sometimes the film critics like I don't like and sometimes there's a film that the critics hates that I like. So, you should feel free to express your own opinion.
There's many film critics out there: famous ones like Roger Ebert, Jonathan Ross, etc.
There is an American online film critic, known as The Nostalgia Critic by Douglas Walker who basically reviews films that turn out to be horrible and those horrible films are usually "nostalgic" and around when he was a kid 1980's/early 1990's. Although, he uses his film reviews for entertainment and when he reviews a film on what doesn't even make sense - it's like he's brainwashing you and making you think it's a terrible movie, although I notice that in some of his videos: he only really reviewed the films as entertainment. The Nostalgia Critic has done over 150 reviews and he's also known for his "5 Seconds Movies" which he shows clips of a film and thinks of clever tricks of making it funny, some of them are very funny, I might post one or two of his 5 Seconds videos. The Critic has reviewed mainly children's films like The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (considered it as his WORST film), Bebe's Kids, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Star Wars Christmas Special, Super Mario Bros: The Movie, TMNT, The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, and many, many MORE!
The Critic sometimes does a list known as a "Top 11" list like "Top 11 TV Shows", "Top 11 Saddest Moments", "Top 11 F*ckups," and at one stage he reviewed a Top 11 review on mistakes he put on his videos in the past!
That's all, folks!!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Blair Witch Project Review

In October of 1994
three student filmmakers disappeared
in the woods near Burkettsville, Maryland
while shooting a documentary...
A year later their footage was found.
Yep, this is the famous tagline on the famous 1999 horror film, The Blair Witch Project. In today's post, This is me blabbing on on my review on the film.

The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 horror film (as I've said) - and it's made and presented with the camera as "found footage" which is meant to be filmed in real time. The film was directed and written by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez.
The film mainly focuses in 1994 - with three student filmmakers who are all set on filming a documentary and their names are Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams. They were researching on the "Blair witch" who lived in the woods of Burkettsville and used to take away children in the woods and kill them. They ask several residents in the tiny town of Burkettsville and say that there was this hermit named Rustin Parr, who YEARS ago - took seven children in his house and in the basements and tortured them to death. The filmmakers all went into the woods to find out a little more about this "Blair witch" - day after day and night after night; they hear strange cracking sounds in the dark including children's voices and Heather, Joshua and Michael panic day after day - and eventually they lost the map and they have nowhere to go since they were in the middle of nowhere!
I'll leave the plot here since I don't want to spoil the ending and it would leave SO much information and once you watch it by knowing the plot off by heart - you'll already know what's going to happen!
My thoughts on the film - and I thought it was pretty creepy and I certainly felt sorry for the students who were lost in the woods and having nowhere else to go, although when I watched it the first time (a few days ago), I didn't think it was as scary as I thought it would be. The cracking sounds at night time wasn't so loud and the filmmaker's fear didn't frighten me much - and even the sound of children's voices wasn't so scary and you could hardly hear what they were saying - but I don't think it's meant to concentrate on "gore" or "sudden frights" - it's scary because imagine you were in the woods and that's what you heard and the woods got creepier and haunted every day, then you would panic!
One of my dislikes on the film was the camera settings - yes it's like Paranormal Activity with "found footage" (even though Paranormal was before it's time) and at times the camera in Blair Witch was an awful lot blurry and at times you hear the students talking and you see nothing on the screen except pitch black! Although, it did put me off a bit; but I don't think the students were supposed to be professional camera people (even though they were filming a documentary) but it shows that they are frightened and they would be shaking the camera and it does make a great effect!
The very ending was pretty scary, and that was when they entered some abandoned, creepy house but I don't go in the details but I can show a picture of what the house looked like:

The house looks pretty creepy!
I'll end my review - it was a pretty good film and it was probably the first big film to use "found footage" and it was a good attempt - and when Paranormal Activity came out some ten years later, it looked really real and there wasn't an awful lot of blur (although technology is great these days, better than 10 years ago).
It was a good film - I wouldn't say great; I'd like a 7 out of 10, the most. The film is in the list of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - although I wouldn't say it's THAT great, but I think it's a film that's worth the watch. It's only 78 minutes (according to my DVD), but it all fits in well in those short 78 minutes length.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love (Live)

I don't really have much time for one of my long articles and as there's something with the scanner - but I'd like to show a rare video that was posted on YouTube almost four years ago, and it's one of my favourite live performances on The Beatles' song Can't Buy Me Love.
The Beatles, to me; are just some of the greatest musicians who's ever lived - I think the songs are just inspiring and some of my favourite songs they've ever done are in their album A Hard Day's Night - I just love that so many songs they've written are just so appealing and even so many of their lesser known songs are just brilliant!
I don't like music nowadays with all nowadays it's Justin Bieber, or Dizee Racsal or even Britney Spears (I think they are talentless). This video I'm showing of a live concert of the great song Can't Buy Me Love is just brilliant and I've seen it so many times and I'd like to share you.

P.S. Remember to check out my Pecos Bill mosaic and remember, I like comments.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Pecos Bill Mosaic: Part 2

Well, I was supposed to post this on Monday - but I'm ready to post this two days early: Here is the second and final entry of my Pecos Bill mosaic.
In this second part, Pecos Bill and Widowmaker are still enjoying their fun antics and being a "western Superman", until Pecos Bill develops another interest with a cowgirl named Slue-Foot Sue and Bill appears to be with Sue more than Widowmaker; which makes Widowmaker heartbroken; because of Widowmaker's emotions - he goes berserk and on Sue and Bill's wedding day - Widowmaker goes mad on Sue and buckles her off and she does hitting the ground and up high in the air - until Pecos attempted to save her but failed because of Widowmaker (look at shot 135) - Pecos, devastated - leaves his clothes, cigarette and Widowmaker's saddle and boots and lives with the coyotes and howling at the moon hoping for Sue to return - which is said that's how the coyotes howl at the mountains at night.
In my first part of the Pecos Bill mosaic: Ward Kimball was the main star of the segment and most of Part One concentrated on most of the gags and jokes with Kimball's fun animation - and it was just part of fun, and in the second part of my mosaic it's enough fun, more story. So, Part 2 concentrated on the highlight of the story and Milt Kahl takes over the segment.
Milt Kahl mainly works on the scenes which are highlights of the story - Milt was long credited for his animation on Slue-Foot Sue, and of course Kahl was always stuck on those prince and princesses stuff - but Milt Kahl manage to get some comedy Pecos Bill scenes, and take a look at Shot 95 - when Pecos Bill's heart pound and immediately has a love interest in Sue and Kahl does some great exaggeration and animates the scene just like a Kimball scene, it's brilliant stuff! I bet Kahl must have enjoyed working on those scenes - I mean, no wonder why he was stuck with tedious characters in the 1950's - he was stuck with the princes on Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty - and Milt Kahl did have some rivalry with Ward Kimball on how Ward was always lucky enough to have wild assignments while Milt was always stuck with those careful Princes stuff, they're so hard to animate and musclar characters, but Milt Kahl was probably the only animator who was good enough to do these assignments. I think the scenes with Pecos Bill that Milt got is one of the rare privileges for him to do some comedy scenes.
John Sibley appears more this time - and he does some great climax action scenes of Sue and Widowmaker having a wild ride; I must admit I'm not really a fan of the horse and Sue scenes because it just felt rushed and some of the scenes that Sibley animated the character Sue were just terribly shaped and didn't look like one of Kahl's excellent Slue-Foot Sue. Probably, why it wasn't good was because John Sibley was a master of comedy scenes and that was what he got assigned to do: he did a good chunk of Casey in Casey at the Bat segment in Make Mine Music, did some of the comedy scenes of the "Lackey" drinking wine in Sleeping Beauty, the Wolf in The Sword in the Stone, and did some great later Goofy animation in some of the Goofy shorts. Although, shot 123 with Sue animated by John Sibley is a great attempt of animating a woman (good posture and acting). Shot 130 with Bill calmy walking by John Lounsbery is a great sign of acting (Bill looked confident in that scene) and it's a shame that we don't see any more of Lounsbery in that segment - I wonder why he was only credited for animating that one scene?
Now I've counted the number of scenes of which animator did:
  • Ward Kimball - 30 scenes
  • Milt Kahl - 18 scenes
  • Cliff Nordberg - 13 scenes
  • John Sibley - 13 scenes
  • Ed Aardal - 21 scenes
  • Ken O'Brien - 12 scenes
  • George Rowley - 3 scenes
  • Marvin Woodward - 5 scenes
  • Josh Meador - 8 scenes
  • John Lounsbery - 1 scene
  • Les Clark - 1 scene
  • Harvey Toombs - 1 scene
The draft is interesting - the animators don't animate as much as I thought they did: John Sibley doesn't seem to do that much but he did some great climax action scenes - Ken O'Brien does some long footage scenes of the coyotes and baby Bill - Cliff Nordberg did some Bill and horse scenes long-shot scenes. Ed Aardal is credited as CHARACTER ANIMATOR on Melody Time and in Pecos Bill reissues he's credited as 'effects animator' - so Aardal is probably the star effects artist (he animates more than Milt Kahl) - but Kahl is still the co-star (along with Kimball) on this segment because both of them are Supervising Animators.
Josh Meador (throughout this segment) animates the opening and closing scenes mainly the tedious and beautifully animated scenes of the animals and tumble wheel scenes with the ballard by the Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers. Now, The Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers do some beautiful ballards with effects scenes George Rowley and it's good to hear some beautiful music instead of those funny puns. Notice that longtime Disney effects animator George Rowley is credited for animating a character scene in shot 108.1. with Widowmaker sad and sobbing - but he probably did mainly the horse's tears and it's interesting that Rowley does one character scene, he probably did both character and effects.
The segment has got many types of mood and the backgrounds show a lot of the character's mood and emotions and it's great layouts and wasn't layout artist Hugh Hennesy supposed to be credited on the draft? "Pecos Bill" has a combination of comedy, touching scenes, romance, mood, action and tragic.
I think the film's many combination's fits so well in this segment and it makes the production possible to produce - and it justs fits so perfectly and that's why I choose this as my favourite segment of Melody Time. It's just very entertaining and I wish that it was just more looked at the public - and Walt Disney never seems to mention it, probably because he wasn't happy with his films between Bambi and Cinderella.
I'd like to thank the bloggers for the kind comments and feedback and also to thank Hans Perk for posting the draft - and it's been fun making the mosaic.
Next up...what shall I do next? Probably Alice in Wonderland is my lineup.

Friday, 22 October 2010

All Thing's Well...

Hello all,
I'd just like to say that for my school that it's half-term and I'll be able to post some stuff during the week and hopefully I'll post the second half of the Pecos Bill mosaic.
I've had quite a good week at school - even though, I have been in heated arguments with a certain person who shall remain nameless, but what was good that in my school: if your a senior boy (like me) every half term whoever achieves good beahaviour in class by: handing in homework on time, improving effort in lessons and being on time, etc. would get a "Senior Award" there's three stages: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Luckily, I got Bronze to start with and I was the first in my school year to get it and I feel proud ;).
All's well, just busy...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Pecos Bill Mosaic: Part 1

I often quite like mosaics; like the Studio drafts; the mosaics are just like the draft except it has a frame from that scene that goes with it - and that's what I do like about them. Now, we all know that Mark Mayerson is known for his mosaics and has done some on some of the Mickey shorts, and features like Pinocchio and 101 Dalmatians, and is nearing completion of Dumbo.
This here, is my first ever attempt of making a mosaic; and the mosaic I've produced is a segment of Walt Disney's Melody Time, and you guessed it: Pecos Bill. Now, I remember when Hans Perk had scanned the entire Melody Time draft and at the time; I hardly knew Melody very well at all - and then I started to watch the film on YouTube and then I looked at one of their's and that was "Pecos Bill", and I immediately chose it as my favourite segment of the picture. Why? Because I find it very entertaining, funny, and the animation is just very fun - and it's just the type of gags I would enjoy from a cartoon.
So, I've learnt how to make a mosaic and I've produced the first part of Pecos Bill:
Ofcourse, the star of the segment is Ward Kimball and in the second part is Milt Kahl; but the first part mainly shows a lot of animation from Ward Kimball - along with other animators like Cliff Nordberg, Ken O'Brien and Ed Aardal, and a scene by John Sibley. However, Ward Kimball mainly animates the scenes of Pecos Bill and his horse Widowmaker about their adventures; while in the second part Milt Kahl animates the parts with Pecos Bill and Sweet Sue.
You have to admit - that the songs by the Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers are just fun, humerous and they're great! I think the Pecos Bill song is one of the great cowboy songs ever - I love those dry humour they put into the scenes like the Gulf of Mexico, Them Thar Hills or the Painted Desert in Arizona. Brilliant.
Animator Ken O'Brien does some good communication scenes of Bill as a child and the coyotes; which is touching; Cliff Nordberg does some multiple scenes of Widowmaker as a baby stuck in a desert while vultures are surrounding him, and Nordberg also animates some Pecos and horse closeups. Ed Aardal, is probably the main effects animator in this segment. Aardal handles a lot of the effects animation of certain scenes like (The golden teeth in THEM THAR HILLS, or the scenes with Bill taking the rain from California to Texas which forms the Gulf of Mexico); Aardal also does some character animation scenes in a couple of shots.
My favourite animation in this film is probably Ward Kimball's because it's so Kimball's style in there - and if you are a Kimball fan or an animation historian, it's pretty obvious that you would see Kimball in there, because's he's all over the comedy scenes.
Ward Kimball's animation on the early scenes with Bill as a young lad eating a bone while the young coyotes tried to take a nibble of the bone - also with Bill "out-hissing" the snake, or "outjumed" the rabbit - are probably my favourite Kimball scenes in this picture - even though it probably doesn't make sense, not just because it's funny because I love it when Kimball put a huge amount of weight on Bill and the snake, and it's just great stuff. I think Ward must have enjoyed working on it.
Shot 64 with the line "and that's the reason why there's gold in Them Thar Hills" is very funny because it's an old saying that in "Them FAR hills, there would be a lots of gold there - and what I find funny is that the rustler's who tried to steal Bill's herd of cow - and Bill knocked out all their golden teeth with gold in "Them far hills".
At the beginning of the film, we see that Josh Meador and Marvin Woodward handle the animals walking at a cold desert at night - and the tumble weeds are moving; beautiful animation - but I thought that at the beginning it just felt slow and tedious, but I thought it didn't need to go in there, but beautifully animated and set up.
Although, the segment did have some controversial on the smoking scenes - and when Pecos Bill was available on VHS or on DVD, the censors tried to edit most of the smoking scenes with Bill, and I'm guessing that they took off shot 54 - and almost taking off most of the cyclone stuff, and I don't know why they had to edit it - although I knew that smoking stuff could maybe encourage children to smoke and damage their lungs - but it's just entertainment!
I think I'll leave it here for Part 1 of Pecos Bill; I will hopefully get around and do Part Two next Monday, not tomorrow on Monday; but the Monday following...
This is my first mosaic and I think it's a great attempt, and I feel proud of it. :)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Banksy Simpsons Intro

A couple of days ago - whilst at school, a teacher showed us a video of an opening intro of The Simpsons, and it was created by famous graffiti artist, Banksy, and it was used for the intro on the Season 22 episode MoneyBART - it shows some of the graffiti in it, with Banksy's name on it. When the Simpsons' family reach to the couch; underground are some group of Asians who are making Simpsons merchandise and I thought it was pretty funny but also controversial. Who could like to share their thoughts on this video.
You would see that some of the main introductions of Bart leaving school after his chalkboard gag actually saying in this intro, "I MUST NOT WRITE ALL OVER THE WALLS." With some of Springfield Elementary School gratified with "Banksy"'s name on it.
Executive Producer of the show, Al Jean said, "The concept in my mind was 'What if this graffiti artist came in and tagged our main titles?'". Jean said Banksy, "sent back boards for much what you saw". According to Wikipedia, Fox's sandards and practices department demanded a handful of change, but, according to Jean [again], "95 percent of it is just the way he [Banksy] wanted."
The Simpsons has already begun airing new episodes for the new Season 22 - and the cast is signed through its 23rd season - Matt Groening, the show's creator says that the show would stop unless people stop watching our show - it looks like that The Simpsons is going to go on for a little while longer.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Public Don't Admire Fantasia...

What I seem to know and I realised that just today is that most of my friends who are fans of the Walt Disney films seem to consider Disney's masterpiece Fantasia as their least favourite Disney production and choosing their favourite Disney films like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin or The Lion King - of course, I don't mind the later films - but sometimes I just don't understand why the public just don't appreciate the film and I have to be honest, but I have to consider Fantasiaas my favourite all time Disney productions even though every Disney film I think have their selection of merits, though.

I should take a look at why some of the public might not like the film: I asked my sister (who isn't much of a Disney fan) and she thought that the film is just "boring", and my oldest cousin who loved a lot of the Disney films wasn't impressed by it and was pretty disappointed when she saw it at a cinema once (probably reissue) - I know some of my friends who go to my special needs school just don't understand why the film has no talking or dialog and I don't think that's meant to be the whole point at all!
Some people I know look at me strangely that I consider the 1940 film Fantasia as my favourite of all the Disney productions - and I think that because its just gorgeous and very artistic and I think in that occasion, animation was just pure "art" instead of just cartoons. According to John Canemaker, he said that when Walt Disney was doing storyboards for the Ave Maria segment (the final piece) one storyman thought that "we're not using the cartoon median as we should be", and Walt immediately turned to him and replied, "we're not supposed to use it, we've got worlds to conquer here!" and I think Walt Disney had a reasonable point there, and if I made this film in the past, I would be proud; man.
Although, when Fantasia made its first theatrical run in 1940 - it was indeed a box-office bomb as well as roadshow and very few people went to see it and the public weren't interested in watching it, and the critics weren't enthusiastic about the picture and probably one of the reasons why it failed was because the audience "didn't want it", and they would expecting something like fairy tales, Snow White or a typical happy Disney story - but Walt Disney was wanting something different, and no wonder why he was disappointed that the film failed to profit and that year, he already had a box-office failure on Pinocchio earlier that year, and he had two bombs in a row - and sadly, Walt Disney didn't its proper audience until some 30 years later after its first release to cinemas and it's a shame that Walt wasn't alive to see it!
So, could that be one of the reasons that even the public TODAY still might not like the film because it's such a unique Disney film and that there is no dialog except with the music that goes with the animation. I just think it is one of the most inspiring films I've ever seen and it's completely influenced me - with just excellent animation and artwork! It's just a painting of artwork done by artists like Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, etc. except its animated!!
I'll show my favourite segment in the film:
It's the Ave Maria - it is the final segment in the film which is after the Night on Bald Mountain part by Modest Mussorgsky, and after that dark and violence in the Bald Mountain and then it shows the calm and Schubert's Ave Maria. Although, there's many versions to the song, but this has to be my favourite version and I just think its beautiful setup and the final shot of entering the cathedral and then the sun rises was actually the longest continuous shot roughly about 1'000 feet of animation and it was one of the hardest shots to film and the final shot had to be filmed three times: one was when something wrong with the wrong tools were used, and another one was a minor earthquake and the cameramen had worked their brains and sweats to finish this scene and it was filmed, completed, perfect; and it was completed the day the film premiered in New York City.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sam Cobean Artist

Today, I'm going to talk about an American artist who was famous at its time who worked in New York and was known for his comics called, The Naked Eye - yes, I'm going to take a look at Samuel Cobean.
Sam Cobean (1913-1951) was a comic artist known for his work on the book series, The Naked Eye and it features a group of drawings of certain men who have an inappropriate mind about women - I think that's what its about!
Sam Cobean was born on 28 December, 1913 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His mother died when he was only 8 years ago and by the time he was aged 15, he was an orphan. He later went to work for magazines and then went to work for Disney for a short time as an in-betweener on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio and Sam said it was a boring, painstaking and repetitive job. His work as an animator was on Honest John and Gideon with scenes of Jiminy Cricket jumping on Foulfellow's hat or Honest John hypnotizing Pinocchio to go to Pleasure Island, and for an unknown reason, Cobean did not receive screen credit. Like most artists, he left Disney after the strike and went to work in the Navy for a short time, and that same year in 1941 - he married Anne McCool. During the 1940's and until his death, he worked as a cartoonist on the New York newspapers and most of them were about inappropriate minds about men which could be a bit sexist even though Cobean is the same gender, and in 1949; his first cartoon book The Naked Eye was published. On July 2, 1951; Sam Cobean drove in his red Jaguar car to send his e-mails, but on the way he died on a car accident which hit a tree and killed him instantly, he was only 37 years of age.
That's a small bio of him, although there's LOTS more on his website and I like his interesting style he has to his drawings - and its interesting which inks he uses and I like his style and it appeals to me - and like what I've done on my Norman Thelwell article, I'll show some of my favorite Cobean drawings:

"All right, go! But don't think you can come crawling back." Good layout and styling.
Sam Cobean's first ever drawing published in The New Yorker, April 8, 1944.
One of Sam Cobean's first "bubble" drawings.

Cobean's done quite a bit of series of drawings - I'll show an example of one!
Picture 2.

Picture 3.

Picture 4.

Picture 5.

Picture 6.

Picture 7.

Picture 8.
Here is an unpublished Cobean drawing.

That's an example of Cobean's distinct style of his drawings and I think they're pretty great - although I don't own any Cobean drawings but I just think they're funny and entertaining and his drawings appeal to me - I'm not saying that I have an inappropriate mind - but I think its just fun to look at.
Its a shame that he died from a fatal car accident - but I'm afraid that its just part of life.
If you want to see more of his great drawings - then go to his website - there is lots about Sam Cobean which is about his life and lots more of his drawings, I think its worth the watch.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Real Story to the Rite of Spring

I've decided to talk about something that was related to music:
One of these talks will be about one of Igor Stravinsky's favorite pieces of music, The Rite of Spring. The truth is, I'm a fan of Igor Stravinsky's music - I think they're unique and I love it of its strong force he uses in his music and how sometimes it can be beautiful. Earlier this year, I went to the Royal Opera House in London and I saw one of Stravinsky's music named The Rake's Progress and I thought it was great although it was a little bit repetitive with just singing all the way through - but its an opera and that's the whole point.
But, one of my main talks is about the REAL story to the piece of music on Stravinsky's 1913 production, The Rite of Spring - some of you animation fans may be familiar with the music from the Walt Disney film Fantasia in which Walt adapted the piece into a musical story with the evolution and growth of Earth, with the dinosaurs and its extinction which I think is a great adaptation but that was not Stravinsky's original story idea.
I'll tell the original storyline and there are some of the original Rite of Spring paintings by Nicholas Roerich, and it was originally split into two parts:
The story was originally about a village and it was Harvest season I think and then I think a girl brought in the wrong harvest food and then all the villagers sent her to meet the The Oldest and Wisest One. So the Oldest and Wisest One wanted to sacrifice her and she was sentenced to death - and the death penalty was that she had to dance to her death - and she had to dance furiously until she finally collapsed and died, that was her sacrifice.

(One of the original scenarios and dances in it - not taken in 1913!!)
Stravinsky originally wrote it as a ballet - and its had quite a bit of history: On the Rite of Spring's original premiere on 29 May 1913 in Paris, France - and everyone who attended came in their smart uniforms and with their fruit and they thought they were going to see a lovely ballet with pretty music and angels dancing - and when it begun and then the curtains rose with its original costumes and the audience didn't like it and when the music was played - it actually caused a riot and everyone was booing and leaving the audience and they had to close the curtains to finish it and even the French police had to arrive to stop it because at the time it was so bad. The scenario and its music shocked the audiences and its one of the most famous music riots in history.
Although, at the time nobody had heard this type of music before and it was all so different at the time - and nowadays its considered as one of the greatest classical pieces of music of all time - although it took a while to find its audience and there's a great video of it in Part One, Part Two and Part Three in YouTube and in it was the original scenario and original costumes and its great! Before that they used to perform it but they performed it in the nude!
Anyway, that's my talks done - I know it sort of feels rushed but I was trying...

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Annoying Orange 2: Plumpkin

Before I leave to go back to boarding school, I'd like to show a bit of video and its based on a series called,The Annoying Orange and yes - he is very annoying!! Just a quick post, I have no time for a longer one, sorry.
The Annoying Orange is bascially about one orange that's very annoying and bascially whenever like a fruit arrives - the Orange would just bore them to death by annoying them and telling very corny jokes (they're the type of jokes I like) - he uses a lot of puns and they're so groan-worthy and I wouldn't say he's pure Vaudeville I say he's pure revolting!
There's about 43 episodes of the The Annoying Orange series and there's tons to see on YouTube and I'm only going to show Episode 2 when he encounters a pumpkin and mistakingly referred it as an orange because I find it pretty funny and hopefully when I'm not busy I'll post some more!! Just going to them of you find it amusing - and if you don't like and find it HORRIBLE AND ANNOYING!!! I see your point ;).

Saturday, 2 October 2010

My Collection of Drawings and Influences

Its been a while since I scanned stuff and quite recently I've been posting articles along with YouTube videos and now I'll scan some of my many drawings that I have done and most most of them are from today...
Drawing is my talent, some people in my school or friends just are amazed at looking at my drawings because some can draw but they can't get over at how funny and well I do my cartoon drawings and even in my Art GCSE class when I'm doing Still Life drawings right now, my art teacher is amazed at my work. Although I must say: I'm more of a cartoonist than an artist who does fine art (even though I'm quite good at it) and I'm pretty useless at model making and I hate getting dirty with mod roc.
Yes, most people are amazed at my drawings and that I draw very fast - but when I was first started drawing cartoons I had no training and I learnt it myself and I think how it all began was when I saw a picture of the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants and I copied it and then I looked at it and it seemed pretty fine. So I practised a lot of my drawings and I was using the style of the cartoon artists for the comics The Beano and The Dandy - and although the way I used to draw people's shows were just scribbles - now I can draw them fine but I don't tend to give shoes fashion. It was really the Beano that inspired me to become a cartoonist and I remember doing some drawings for a local school newspaper and it was published almost two years ago and I still have the copy and I would like to scan it but unfortunately its TOO big. I later got inspired by Walt Disney, Warner Bros' animation and Tom and Jerry cartoons and at first Tom and Jerry inspired me to draw the old fashioned cartoon way and then Disney inspired me to draw character's emotions but Tom and Jerry inspired me BIG to become interested in animation - and then I studied some Disney artists and then the first of all the Disney animators that got me inspired was Ward Kimball the man. His work was so unique and fun and that got me to learn about his style and I started to draw the Kimball-way.
Although at aged 14, sometimes my drawings are too small and I try to enlarge it and I sometimes have struggles with it on my Art GCSE's that I draw too small and I'm getting better at enlarging. When I got Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston's book The Illusion of Life on my birthday I got to learn more and more about animation and this blog was my influence on animation and I learnt a lot about Disney and its animators from early-2009 to now and even I'm still trying to find out more!!
Anyway, enough with the chit-chat, here are my drawings:

This drawings was based on Ward Kimball's square-dance sequence in Disney's Melody Time segment "Johnny Appleseed".

Another drawing that I based on "Johnny Appleseed", I must have forgot to signature that!

The Witch in 'Snow White'.

A caricature of my Uncle Robert who co-wrote the 'The Play What We Wrote" which I scanned the entire play in August.
Just a random drawing of a tough man and an old cartoon-style animal queuing up to beat up a certain person.
Well, that's all I'll show for some of my drawings - feel free to leave a comment and comment on what you thought of my it - opinions are fine and even if you want to make some remarks on what I could have improved - I won't bite ya!