Friday, May 29, 2009
There were never any monsters lurking behind my bedroom
closet door. I knew this to be true.
There was, however, a monster lurking behind my
grandma's closet door, as I learned one day
when I was 6.
On that day, when I was visiting my grandma, she left me alone
in her house. "Be good," she said. "I'll be back in a few minutes."
When she was well gone, I heard a horrid raspy voice
from behind the door: "Little boy! Unlock the door
or I will eat you up!"
Seeing the flaw in the monster's strategy, I declined.
But the monster persisted: "I got BATMAN stickers for you!"
"I don't like BATMAN anymore" I said. "I like the GREEN
"Oh, yeah, me got them too! Let me out and me show you!"
I am ashamed to say I fell for this ruse. There were
no GREEN HORNET stickers to be had...
TO BE CONTINUED
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Seven o'clock P.M. on Thursday May 28, the award-winning and multi-talented producer Don Hahn (LION KING, BEAUTY & THE BEAST) will be at the Barnes & Noble at the new Glendale Americana Mall, signing DRAWN TO LIFE, the two-volume set of Walt Stanchfield drawing class notes. Don has carefully compiled and supervised the publication of these notes, which encapsulate the wisdom of Walt's long and distinguished career as a Disney animation artist. I attended many classes of Walt's and they were just like the man himself, inspiring, insightful and fun. If you live nearby, are visiting the area, or if you just can't resist vast open malls with "dancing water" fountains set to Frank Sinatra music at ear-piercing volume, mark your calendar, set your alarm and stroll over to the Americana to pick up the books and meet the "Don of Disney Feature Animation Producers". Call (818) 545-9146 for more information.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Believe it or not this blog celebrates its second anniversary today. Recently I read somewhere someone said: "Blogging is easy. Blogging for a long time is hard." Comparatively speaking, 2 years is a drop in the bucket but the temptation to quit is always there. Fortunately the whole format of blogging is conducive to my temperament: random, sporadic and eclectic. Also, the many individuals' blogs I read remain highly satisfying and enlightening, so staying in is my way of paying back. Traffic swells and wanes, (I don't use a counter so I never know exactly how much); I run out of ideas for posts or run out of time for scanning but sooner or later I seem to come up with something new roughly every 3-to-10 days. I can't quite seem to get more consistent than that, which is why I always knew I'd never be able to do a syndicated comic strip.
Lately there have been a spate of other internet forms of staying in touch, but somehow this one suits me best, old-fashioned as it is. If blogging isn't soon eclipsed by some sub-cutaneous nano-chip you can 'tweet' with your eyebrow, I will keep on posting. Many thanks to all the people who keep interested and otherwise encourage the perpetuation of this corner of the web.
NOTE: I recently turned off "Comment Moderation" because I was having trouble publishing visitor comments away from my home network. I fixed the glitch but innocently left it off...until a pretty relentless spammer from somewhere in East Asia bombarded a solid several months worth of posts. As a result "Comment Moderation" is back on, your patience is appreciated.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Sean Smith asked me to pass along these fine Sheilah Beckett images as examples of 8 x 10 prints available for sale at $40 (+ $7 for shipping). For more information, orders and samples of additional images available, contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org
or via his website.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I am sad to hear that comedy legend Dom DeLuise has died, at the age of 75. By the late 1960's he was already a ubiquitous presence in TV variety and talk shows, commercials, sitcoms and animated voices (he voiced the landlord 'Evictus' in Hanna-Barbera's short lived ersatz FLINTSTONE clone THE ROMAN HOLIDAYS).
By the 1970's he broke into movies, notably as a Mel Brooks stalwart and often as Burt Reynold's sidekick. In 1980, I got to meet and work with him when he was cast as 'Jeremy' the crow in Don Bluth's THE SECRET OF NIMH. As the least experienced member of a young but super talented crew, I was doing my best to fit in when John Pomeroy got the bright idea of casting Dom. John had seen him on a TV broadcast of the 1978 Burt Reynold's hit THE END and suggested him for the crow. I have to admit, I was surprised because Dom was a much bigger & broader persona (in every sense of the word) than the book seemed to call for. Don Bluth himself single-handedly storyboarded the whole film, but I was asked to suggest gags and at this point, to write dialog for Dom. I wrote out some stuff in what I thought would be a good voice for him and from that point on was involved in all the story and recording sessions for the film. Dom recorded several times over two years, and he was among the first to record.
In person he was wonderfully collaborative and down-to-earth. He was very happy to see in the model sheets that the character was not going to be drawn big and fat. During breaks he would talk about his favorite influences like Bert Lahr, Curly Howard, and especially Lou Costello. He never was unpleasant to anyone present other than himself--periodically if he flubbed a line several times he would spew hair-curling curses at himself that made a colorful counterpoint to our very G-rated script. He also made the material immediately funnier--suggesting he constantly excuse himself (even to inanimate objects) uttering "Excuse me-pardon me!" as he bumbled along. By the time he was done recording and animators Linda Miller and Skip Jones brought him to life, I felt like a very tiny part of a process, but one I was glad to be in on nonetheless.
I never worked with him again, although I scripted a shelved BANJO Halloween special in which he would have played a goblin. He continued to work in animation, often in subsequent Don Bluth movies and he even turned up as 'Fagin' in Disney's OLIVER & CO. (I animated on the picture but not on his character and though our paths never crossed, I doubt he would have recognized me anyway.) Although he seemed to taper off his appearances from the 1990's on, in his heyday he was one of the most in-demand performers around.
Around the time of NIMH Dom DeLuise turned to feature directing in a film called HOT STUFF, about a pawnbroker, I think. One actress I know who auditioned for the movie said that it was the nicest "turn-down" she ever got--Dom sent personal thank you notes to every one who auditioned, even if they didn't get the part. He will be missed.