Wednesday, September 17, 2008

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST "TOP TEN" LISTS part two

Here's more of my spontaneous smart-assity during production on Disney's BEAUTY & THE BEAST. This one seems utterly preposterous in retrospect, because it ridicules the very notion of casting Robby Benson as the voice of "The Beast", an idea that seemed outlandish to many on the crew...that is, until we heard him. Robby Benson turned out to be spectacular as the character and his performance was packed with emotion, intensity and humor.

The main reason the news of this choice at first struck us so odd is because by 1990, (when this was written), Robby Benson hadn't been seen or heard on screen in about ten years. Somewhere around his 20th birthday he moved into a behind the scenes job as a successful director. Prior to that he had been the teen heart-throb of millions of kid sisters in the 1970's, the original "emo" teen actor with a puppy-dog face and a sleepy, whispering voice. We had all been expecting an older actor for 'Beast' and the idea of a soft-spoken former teen star seemed nuts at first blush. I think I speak for all dissenters when I say we were happy to be proven wrong.(If you're under 30 most of the names in these jokes were child stars at one time or another. Except #5, who was playing "The Beast" in a BEAUTY & THE BEAST prime time TV soap opera around then. And Max Baer Jr., who produced Robby Benson's breakout film is better known as "Jethro" on TV's THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.)

WTF is up with Blogger?

Some days I hate this effing app. I had to strike a new post just now because of insane uploading glitches. I will have to re-post again at a later date. 40 minutes wasted for nothing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bacher's back...

...and wordpress has got him!
Extraordinary artist, designer, and teacher Hans Bacher returns to the blogisphere with a new blog. He also has a new follow up book to his DREAM WORLDS in the works. Both the blog and the book will be well worth checking out... Welcome back Hans!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More nonsense

Because I haven't used up enough bandwidth, I've decided to start another blog. This one, "BLUNDER BUS" is going to consist solely of story chapters and drawings based on a series of nonsense fiction I used to write with my brothers Jim and Matt when we were kids. I think we were vaguely inspired by the surreal comic book supplement of the Beatles MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR album, but our stories were populated by our sister Melinda's imaginary friends and a number of characters of our own invention. The object was to see who could write the most inane drivel and though none of the original stories survived, I always remember them as good time killers. I can't promise a post per day, but it seems like a good outlet for low-pressure creativity. Maybe I can even draft one or both my brothers into the fray with me...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bear of Mystery...

Questions continue to surround that elusive classic character YOGI BEAR. Who drew his Sunday comics? Who did the artwork for his movie-tie in comic book? And now a nagging question from yours truly...

"Is there a 'lost' original episode?"

I remember owning a short on a VHS tape (which we watched until it broke) in which Yogi determines to tick off Ranger Smith by attempting to stay awake all winter. To keep from falling asleep, he takes up various winter sports including ice skating and skiing, with diminishing success. It's a simple, economical and beautifully done short, but I couldn't locate it on either of the DVD sets released a few years back. Am I just not navigating the menus right or did this classic cartoon actually fall thru the cracks...? 

MYSTERY SOLVED: (see comments) thanks thad and joe.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

HEY THERE!

Smarter than the average ursine goof-off.

Bill Perkins asks in a comments section below if anyone knows who may have done the artwork for the HEY THERE IT'S YOGI BEAR comic book, a tie-in that must have come out with the 1964 feature movie. I don't know and haven't seen the comic, but as I cross-commented, I too was obsessed by the movie in question and still love the character. I also see on Amazon that the film is due for a long-overdue DVD release this December, which I will definitely want.

I think I saw bits of it some years ago and admit it wasn't quite as wonderful as I remembered, but it still packs a nostalgic wallop. Nothing quite compares to the original first season of YOGI shorts, which have a kind of raw simplicity. Unfortunately things got slicker as time went on and by the time the movie was made the slickness had pretty much set in. Still, there's a kind of jerky innocence to the character that shines through. I can't wait to see it again.

Anyone who can answer Bill's questions please feel free to jump in...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

BEHIND THE BEAUTY -- THE "BEAUTY & THE BEAST" TOP 10 LISTS

Disney's 'BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" is one of the most satisfying projects I was ever lucky enough to animate on. Directors Kirk Wise & Gary Trousedale and producer Don Hahn not only made a fine film that was embraced by audiences in record numbers, they also kept staff morale high during a backstage production process that had it's share of ups and downs.

My small contribution to the levity came in the form of David Letterman-style "Top Ten" Lists, which I wrote to poke fun at the studio and even the production itself. I found a couple of these in a drawer recently--this first one deals with the heroine's lament in the opening number: "There must be more to this provincial life..."

I think I probably only did this about a dozen times or so, and looking back, some of the humor seems in questionable taste. But everyone who read them when I posted them outside the office that I shared with fellow animator Larry White seemed to appreciate a little irreverence now and then. Office behavior guidelines were looser in those days and I probably wouldn't do it (or advise doing it) today, at any studio.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Hul'lo Brian..."


Thanks to a recent Region 1 DVD release, I finally got to see SPACED, the BBC comedy series from some of the people involved in the recent movies SHAUN OF THE DEAD & HOT FUZZ. Very funny and highly recommended if you haven't seen it already. Actress Julia Deakin has become one of my favorites, playing a stone-faced, chain-smoking landlady.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Comic Crazys & Irv Spector

ComicCrazys does it again, with another great post featuring inking tips from the old "FAMOUS ARTISTS" Cartoon Correspondence School. Highly worth checking out.

The prior COMICCRAZYS post features a number of YOGI BEAR Sunday comic strips from the Gene Hazelton era, although much of it has the feel of a different artist. My guess was either Ed Nofziger and or Jerry Eisneberg, but it's just a guess. Anyone who knows for sure should feel free to jump in with the straight dope.

Michael Sporn has posted part deux of a two part post on Irv Spector, who storyboarded and designed some of the last of the Paramount shorts. I haven't seen these films in many years and I have to admit my opinion of them has always been low. But this preliminary artwork is fan-friggin-tastic. Maybe they should have just filmed that (or let Spector do the whole thing himself!).

(Thanks CC & Michael!)