Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2000 years ago today...

video

I saw an e-blurb on Sunday promoting the re-mastered re-release of Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner's 2000 Year-Old Man routines on CD available as of today. In honor of that release, I give you a clip from the most recent album, which I used to animate to as a test for a project Eric and Susan Goldberg were cooking up exactly ten years ago. Not exactly 2000 years, but close...

This was just about the last really long piece of full animation I've done--the project itself was (alas) shelved. Eric's idea was to cast Mel as a certain elf with an unpronouncable name and I got to make up this animation as I went along. Eric designed the character and provided me with a custom made model sheet. It's kind of grainy and it doesn't really make much sense, but it was fun to do. I got to take my sweet time doing it and instead of thumbnailing it out or even posing it, I just went thru the dialog one chunk at a time, working more or less straight ahead. I would finish one chunk completely and then move on to the next, contemplating what to do as I went along.

Somewhere I have xeroxes of this I can post a few scans from. The copyright of the audio belongs to the holders.

13 comments:

Sandro Cleuzo said...

Hey Will,

This is great animation, very cartooning which I love.
I wish some studios could go back doing this kind of animation. Everything today has to be so subtle and I am always amazed when I see characters moving like this.

Best.

Sandro

rad sechrist said...

Wow, That's really cool.

Eric Noble said...

Ah, Mel Brooks. One of my heros. Cool animation. Too bad the project was shelved. I would have seen it. What was the project exactly?

warren said...

I would watch that over your typical standup ANY day! Great phrasing, Will. Got any more?

Eric Scales said...

Awesome Will! Thanks for sharing. 2000 year old Man is really a great act- and it's nice that it gets rediscovered by a new generation every couple of years.

So why was the character an elf?

John S. said...

This is great stuff, Will. I'd love to see the "2000 year old man" stuff animated like this.

Will Finn said...

Thanks for the encouragement, it makes me itch to animate again. I am kind of amazed to think it has been a whole decade.

As for the nature of the shelved project, that's not for me to go into detail. No great mystery tho, a lot of fun projects get shelved as the winds and whims of whoever's in charge change.

John, I don't know if it's still available but the great Leo Salkin directed a 2000 Year Old Man TV special in the 1970's, bringing the best of the routines to life in a very vivid style. His design for both Reiner and for "the man" were pretty brilliant and it was hard not to have that in my head when I did this, but Eric's design helped.

Looks like Salkin's special is on YouTube, just search 2000 YEAR OLD MAN and it comes right up.

Pete Emslie said...

Wow!!
Will, I really love this spirited piece of unabashedly cartoony animation! I agree with Sandro - this is what studios should get back to doing. (I love Sandro's art too, by the way - he's brilliant!)

Just for your info, that animated TV special of "The 2000 Year Old Man" is one of the extras on the new set of CDs just now released. I remember when that special originally aired, as I was quite enchanted by those simple but spot on caricatures of Brooks and Reiner, so I'm awfully tempted to purchase the CD set for that great little bonus.

David Nethery said...

So nice ! I agree with Sandro: so great to see this wonderful cartoony animation. Thanks for posting this, Will. It is tantalizing to imagine what this shelved project would have turned out like .

I think the only other 'historical' piece that would be as much fun to animate as Reiner's and Brooks's "2000 Year Old Man" would be Stan Freberg's "History of the United States Of America - Part 1" .

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Mike Caracappa said...

That was great animation.

"A E I OY VEY!" :)

RooniMan said...

Great animation by a great animator!

sdestefano said...

WHOA! Cartoons! CARTOONY Cartoons! This looks wonderful, Will!

Amir Avni said...

Hi Will, This is one brilliant piece of animation, So energetic and Pleasing to look at!

Sorry I didn't comment sooner, haven't surfed blogs much for a while :)