Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The sort of 75th Anniversary of Bugs Bunny

75 years ago today a wisecracking white rabbit appeared in the Warner Bros. cartoon "Porky's Hare Hunt."   The studio liked the rabbit enough that they kept using him and developing the character. Mel Blanc provided the voice, almost the same voice he would use for Woody Woodpecker several years later.  On the original character model sheet for the short, the designer Charlie Thorson wrote Bug's Bunny on it because the original short was directed by Ben "Bugs" Hardaway. On July 27th 1940, a rabbit with the same personality, yet completely redesigned and with a different voice (still provided by Mel Blanc), showed up with the official name of Bugs Bunny. Happy unofficial birthday Bugs, we'll celebrate it for real on July 27th.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy 75th Anniversary Superman

On April 18th 1938, Action Comics #1 arrived in stores. This comic, by Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster, marked the first appearance of the worlds first and greatest superhero, Superman! Since that first issue, Superman has gone on to conquer not only the world of comics, but radio, television, Broadway, movies...and just about anything else you can think of. It would be hard to find a person on this planet that hasn't at least heard of him. It was the popularity of Superman that led to the creation of the superhero genre with literally thousands of characters created over the last 75 years. So...Happy Birthday Superman!!! Actually, Happy Birthday to the entire Superhero genre!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Model Sheet Monday: Eleanor

In honor of New Years Eve I bring you Eleanor from the 1980's version of Alvin and the Chipmunks....yeah I know that doesn't make any sense....Happy New Year Everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Model Sheet Monday: The Grinch

Since it's Christmas Eve, todays model sheet is from the Dr. Suess and Chuck Jones Christmas classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Artist Spotlight: Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast (September 27, 1840 – December 7, 1902) was an editorial cartoonist who is considered to be the "Father of the American Cartoon". He's credited with creating the Republican Elephant, popularizing the Democratic Donkey and Uncle Sam, and most importantly creating the modern image of Santa Claus. From 1863 to 1886, Nast drew Santa annually for Harper's Weekly, basing his design on Clement Moore's description of the jolly old elf from his poem "A Visit From Saint Nicholas," which would later be known as "The Night Before Christmas." Nast's Santa was a supporter of Lincoln and the Union armies during the Civil War and was often depicted wearing the colors of the American Flag. Beyond the wartime appearances, Nast is credited for some very well know attributes of the Santa lore including his North Pole home, children writing to Santa, the naughty and nice list, and his red and white suit.


Friday, December 21, 2012

The 75th Anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

In 1933, there was a letter written that stated that as far as animation is concerned, it should be limited to short subjects with funny animal characters because animating humans properly was beyond understanding. A year later Walt Disney accepted the challenge and began work on the first ever full length animated feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." No one thought it should be done, even Walt's brother Roy and wife Lilian did not think that anyone would sit and watch a full length animated film. But Walt soldiered on insisting he could do it for $250,000. As time passed that number sky rocketed to $1,488,422.74, a massive sum for a feature film in 1937. The news media called it  "Disney's Folly" while it was in production. Walt fought to get it made, mortgaging his house in the process to help finance the film. Walt hired a total of 750 artists to work on the film. Over 2 million sketches were made and the final film featured a whopping 250,000 pictures. The animators most of which had a background in newspaper cartooning were given grueling anatomy courses to be able to animate the human form and live models and dancers were brought in to be studied. All of this resulted in the creation of whats been called the greatest animated film of all time by the American Film Institute.
The film premiered on December 21st, 1937 at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood to a wildly receptive audience, many of whom that had dubbed the film "Disney's Folly", and received a standing ovation from the audience comprised of the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Temple, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, and Jack Benny to name just a few. The film became the highest grossing film ever but became displaced by Gone With the Wind in 1940. Walt received an honorary Oscar featuring a full sized statuette and seven tiny ones presented to him by Shirley Temple. So today we honor possibly the greatest achievement in the history of animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Happy 75th Anniversary.