Monthly Archives: September 2011

Negaduck (1991) — Darkwing Duck Cartoon Episode Guide

Negaduck (1991) - Darkwing Duck

Nega­duck (1991) — Dark­wing Duck

CotD: Any fans of Dis­ney TV’s Dark­wing Duck? “Nega­duck” released on this date in 1991…

Nega­duck (1991) — Dark­wing Duck Car­toon Episode Guide

Dark­wing gets zapped one time too many and gets split into his two sides: One evil and one good. The Evil Dark­wing locks every­one up in Dark­wing Tower and is off to make sure nobody puts him back together with his wimpy twin. But when he’s acci­den­tally zapped again, he becomes the Gal­va­nized Negaduck.

Watch “Nega­duck” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Disney’s “The Lion King” rules again at box office

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King (1994)

The Cir­cle of Life con­tin­ues as The Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios’ The Lion King 3D opened at #1 in the­aters this week­end with an esti­mated North Amer­i­can gross of $30.2 million.

Orig­i­nally released in 1994, The Lion King is now the third highest-grossing ani­mated film of all time at the domes­tic box office, hav­ing made a com­bined $358.6 mil­lion in all releases. This release of The Lion King marks the fifth-biggest Sep­tem­ber open­ing in indus­try his­tory, the second-biggest Sep­tem­ber open­ing in Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios Motion Pic­tures his­tory, and the first reis­sue to open at #1 in 14 years.

The Lion King is the highest-grossing tra­di­tional hand-drawn ani­mated film of all time, and the highest-grossing film from Walt Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion Studios.

The film will remain in the­aters for a lim­ited engage­ment ahead of its Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D pre­miere Octo­ber 4. The Lion King is the top-performing home enter­tain­ment release ever. The Blu-ray debut marks the first time that it has been avail­able in any form since 2004.

Mean­while, the Lon­don pro­duc­tion of the hugely pop­u­lar stage show cel­e­brated its 5,000th per­for­mance last Tues­day. The award-winning musi­cal is also prepar­ing to launch its Span­ish pre­miere in Madrid, mak­ing it the largest stage musi­cal ever pre­sented in Spain. Open­ing Octo­ber 21 at Lope de Vega The­atre, it is the first time the musi­cal has been per­formed in the Span­ish language.

Since open­ing in 1997, The Lion King has been per­form­ing to sold-out crowds on Broad­way with 5,757 shows thus far.

The Lion King has proven again and again the tran­scen­dent power of great sto­ries and char­ac­ters,” said Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios chair­man Rich Ross. “From the screen to the stage, this time­less clas­sic con­tin­ues to touch the hearts of audi­ences of all ages around the world.”

Tom Wilson Sr., creator of icon Ziggy, dead at 80

Tom Wilson Sr., creator of Ziggy

Tom Wil­son Sr., cre­ator of Ziggy

Tom Wil­son Sr., cre­ator of comics page and licens­ing icon Ziggy, died Fri­day in his sleep of pneu­mo­nia at a Cincin­nati hos­pi­tal. He was 80.

Spend­ing most of his career in Cleve­land, Wil­son moved to a nurs­ing home in Cincin­nati about eight years ago in order to be near family.

Wil­son made his mark in ani­ma­tion with the Christ­mas spe­cial Ziggy’s Gift, first released on ABC in 1982. Directed by Richard Williams and Eric Gold­berg at Wel­come Pro­duc­tions, Ziggy’s Gift won an Emmy Award the fol­low­ing year for Out­stand­ing Ani­mated Program.

Re-released in 2005, the half-hour car­toon — star­ring the bald, round-faced char­ac­ter — con­sisted of over 30,000 draw­ings. Unlike most other mod­ern ani­mated films, these were made directly onto cels, not photocopied.

Ziggy, which cel­e­brated 40 years in syn­di­ca­tion in June, con­tin­ues to be pro­duced by Wilson’s son, Tom Wil­son Jr., who has han­dled the day-to-day oper­a­tion of the panel since 1987. Ziggy is dis­trib­uted to news­pa­pers world­wide by Uni­ver­sal Uclick, an Andrews McMeel Uni­ver­sal company.

We are sad­dened at the pass­ing of Tom Wil­son, a vision­ary car­toon­ist and long­time friend,” said John McMeel, chair­man and pres­i­dent of Andrews McMeel Uni­ver­sal. “Tom leaves behind a won­der­ful legacy in Ziggy, a hard-luck comics page hero who serves as a reflec­tion of Tom’s endear­ing wit and opti­mism in the face of adver­sity. Our hearts are with the Wil­son fam­ily dur­ing this time of loss.”

Tom Wil­son had a unique gift for pro­duc­ing cre­ations that stirred imag­i­na­tions and touched people’s lives,” said Hugh Andrews, chief exec­u­tive offi­cer and pres­i­dent of Andrews McMeel Pub­lish­ing. “It speaks vol­umes about Tom that Ziggy, a char­ac­ter he held very dear to his heart, has been a main­stay on the comics page for more than 40 years and con­tin­ues to make new fans world­wide to this day. We join mil­lions of fans around the world in mourn­ing the loss of a truly excep­tional innovator.”

A coal miner’s son, Thomas Albert Wil­son was born on August 1, 1941 in Grant Town, West Vir­ginia and raised in Union­town, Penn­syl­va­nia. “He was born draw­ing,” said a daugh­ter, Ava Wilson-Stewart of Sebas­t­ian, Florida.

A grad­u­ate of the Art Insti­tute of Pitts­burgh, he came to Cleve­land with his artist wife, the for­mer Carol Sob­ble, to seek work.

For more than 35 years, he served as a cre­ative direc­tor at Amer­i­can Greet­ings, where he was respon­si­ble for the devel­op­ment of many break­through card lines.

A ver­sion of Ziggy first appeared in the 1969 car­toon col­lec­tion When You’re Not Around. The book of word­less car­toons fea­tured an anony­mous, Ziggy-like character.

Ziggy

Ziggy

The Ziggy comic panel, syn­di­cated by Uni­ver­sal Uclick (for­merly Uni­ver­sal Press Syn­di­cate), launched in 15 news­pa­pers in June 1971. It now appears in more than 500 daily and Sun­day news­pa­pers, and has been fea­tured in best-selling books, cal­en­dars and greet­ing cards.

Through­out his career, Wil­son demon­strated a remark­able abil­ity to antic­i­pate future trends in the mar­ket­place. A vet­eran of the licens­ing busi­ness, Wil­son headed up the cre­ative team that devel­oped such char­ac­ter licens­ing block­busters as Straw­berry Short­cake and Care Bears.

In 1987, Wil­son passed the Ziggy torch to his son, Tom Wil­son Jr., after the younger Wil­son had served as an assis­tant on the strip for many years.

He lived in Rocky River, Brook Park and Lake­wood, Ohio over the years, with sec­ondary homes in Hol­ly­wood and New York.
Wil­son was a tal­ented painter, with works appear­ing in exhi­bi­tions through­out the United States, includ­ing the Cleve­land Museum of Art and the Soci­ety of Illus­tra­tions annual show in New York.

Ziggy often stum­bled but never stopped, Wil­son once told the Cleve­land Plain Dealer: “He is never really done in by any­thing that hap­pens. He forges on.”

Tom Wil­son is sur­vived by his wife, the for­mer Carol Sob­ble; chil­dren Thomas M. Wil­son, of Love­land, Ohio, Ava Wilson-Stewart, of Sebas­t­ian, Florida, and Julianne Webb of Lan­den, Ohio; and five grandchildren.

Arrange­ments were made by Weil Funeral Home in Cincinnati.

Con­tri­bu­tions made be made to Leukemia and Lym­phoma Soci­ety, Donor Ser­vices, P.O. Box 4072, Pitts­field, MA 01202, lls.org.

Emmy-winning writer, artist Earl Kress dead at 60

Earl Kress

Earl Kress

Writer and sto­ry­board artist Earl Kress, the win­ner of two Day­time Emmy Awards for his work on ani­mated shows, died early Mon­day from the liver can­cer that he had been bat­tling since ear­lier this year, car­toon his­to­rian Mark Evanier wrote on his “News From ME” blog. He turned 60 last month.

Kress shared Emmy wins in 1999 for Out­stand­ing Spe­cial Class Ani­mated Pro­gram for Pinky and the Brain and in 2000 for Out­stand­ing Children’s Ani­mated Pro­gram for Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain.

In 1998, he shared an Annie for Out­stand­ing Indi­vid­ual Achieve­ment for Writ­ing in an Ani­mated Tele­vi­sion Pro­duc­tion for the Pinky and the Brain episode “The Fam­ily That Poits Together Narfs Together.”

He shared Day­time Emmy nom­i­na­tions for Out­stand­ing Children’s Ani­mated Pro­gram in 1997 and 1998 for Pinky and the Brain, and in 1999 for Animaniacs.

A story writer for the 1981 Dis­ney fea­ture film The Fox and the Hound, Kress wrote the last Road Run­ner short, 2000’s Lit­tle Go Beep.

Besides Dis­ney and Warner Bros., he worked for DePatie-Freleng, Hanna-Barbera, Mar­vel, Fil­ma­tion and Universal.

Kress wrote for a huge range of TV series, start­ing with 1975’s The Odd­ball Cou­ple. “At 24, Kress found him­self work­ing along­side writ­ers and ani­ma­tors who were at least 25 years his senior, if not more,” observed blog­ger Dave Mackey.

Other series included Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and The Flint­stone Com­edy Show (both 1980), Space Stars (1981), The Lit­tle Ras­cals (1982), Trans­form­ers (1984–86), The Beren­stain Bears (1985), Yogi’s Trea­sure Hunt (1985–87), Ghost­busters and Ewoks (both 1986), Pound Pup­pies (1986–87), Duck­Tales (1987), The New Yogi Bear Show (1988), Wake, Rat­tle & Roll (1990), Tiny Toon Adven­tures (1990–91), Mother Goose and Grimm and Yo Yogi! (both 1991), The Addams Fam­ily (1992), Taz-Mania (1994), Road Rovers (1996), Baby Looney Tunes (2002), Kim Pos­si­ble (2003), Krypto the Super­dog and Brandy & Mr. Whiskers (both 2005), Mon­ster Allergy and The X’s (both 2006), and Ran­dom! Car­toons (2008).

In addi­tion, he wrote the direct-to-video pro­duc­tions Wakko’s Wish (1999) and Tom and Jerry Meet Sher­lock Holmes (2010) — the lat­ter being his final project to be released.

Kress was a story edi­tor for The Kwicky Koala Show (1981). Accord­ing to Evanier, he had the occa­sional voice act­ing jobs, such as on the Dis­ney movie The Res­cuers Down Under. (He had stud­ied as a voice actor with Daws Butler.)

He was a pro­ducer, direc­tor, writer and researcher for many cartoon-related albums and DVD col­lec­tions. These included The Flint­stones Story, Hanna-Barbera Car­toon Sound FX, Pic-a-nic Bas­ket of Car­toon Clas­sics: H-B Clas­sics Vol. 1 & 2, Mod­ern Stone-Age Melodies, The Flint­stones — Sea­sons 2, 4, 5 and 6, Top Cat — The Com­plete Series, Wacky Races, Tom and Jerry — Spot­light Col­lec­tions Vol­ume 1 and 2, Huck­le­berry Hound — Vol­ume 1, Yogi Bear — The Com­plete Series and Mag­illa Gorilla — The Com­plete Series. He spoke on many DVD com­men­taries as well.

The author of the book Life Is a Pic-a-nic: Yogi Bear’s Tips and Tricks For the Smarter Than the Av-er-age Bear, Kress co-wrote Did You Grow Up With Me, Too? The Auto­bi­og­ra­phy of June Foray. He was a con­tribut­ing writer for 100 Great­est Looney Tunes and Looney Tunes: The Ulti­mate Visual Guide.

Kress came from Philadel­phia, where he worked in broad­cast­ing before mov­ing to Los Ange­les in the mid-1970s to widen his cre­ative potential.

He joined the exec­u­tive board of The Ani­ma­tion Guild in 1995 and was elected vice-president in 2004.

As a union offi­cer he was known as a tire­less cham­pion of ani­ma­tion writ­ers’ rights,” recalled Steve Hulett, the guild’s busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tive. “In the 2006 con­tract nego­ti­a­tions, Earl cham­pi­oned a pro­posal to guar­an­tee health ben­e­fits for any writer who wrote at least one half-hour script in a cov­er­age period, thus greatly increas­ing ben­e­fit cov­er­age for free­lance ani­ma­tion writers.”

At age 38, Kress had a heart trans­plant. Sur­geons installed one that had belonged to a teenage girl. He made a strong recov­ery after a rough time.

He was diag­nosed with can­cer sev­eral months ago after com­plain­ing of aches in one hip and else­where. One of his kid­neys was removed at the end of March. By early June, a test had shown that the can­cer had reached his brain; later, it spread to his liver.

He wasn’t anyone’s enemy,” Evanier said of him. “In an indus­try where jeal­ousy and resent­ment some­times seem as preva­lent as nitro­gen, Earl was utterly unde­spised. I don’t know any­one who didn’t like the guy. He was smart. He was funny. He had good, hon­or­able motives for every sin­gle thing he did.”

Earl Kress is sur­vived by his wife Denise.

Ser­vices are pending.

Rabbit Seasoning (1952) — Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Rabbit Seasoning (1952) - Merrie Melodies

Rab­bit Sea­son­ing (1952) — Mer­rie Melodies

CotD: The sec­ond of three in the series, “Rab­bit Sea­son­ing” Bugs and Daffy still can’t decide if it’s rab­bit or duck season…

Rab­bit Sea­son­ing (1952) — Mer­rie Melodies The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Daffy tries to match wits with Bugs as they debate whether it’s rab­bit sea­son or duck sea­son (Daffy uses his own ver­sion of Burma-Shave signs at the out­set). Elmer is totally wit­less in the exchange. .

Watch “Rab­bit Sea­son­ing” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

The Dover Boys At Pimento University Or The Rivals Of Roquefort Hall (1942) — Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

The Dover Boys At Pimento University Or The Rivals Of Roquefort Hall (1942) - Merrie Melodies

The Dover Boys At Pimento Uni­ver­sity Or The Rivals Of Roque­fort Hall (1942) — Mer­rie Melodies

CotD: One of Chguck Jones’ most pop­u­lar one-off car­toons, “The Dover Boys At Pimento Uni­ver­sity Or The Rivals Of Roque­fort Hall” was also one of the longest Mer­rie Melody car­toons made…

The Dover Boys At Pimento Uni­ver­sity Or The Rivals Of Roque­fort Hall (1942) — Mer­rie Melodies The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

A clas­sic melo­drama fea­tur­ing Pimento U. stu­dents Tom, Dick and Larry (a.k.a. The Dover Boys) must res­cue their girl Dora from the evil Dan Back­slide. The Dover Boys are three upstand­ing but stu­pid “big men on cam­pus” at turn-of-the-century Pimento Uni­ver­sity (“good old P.U.”). Dur­ing a fate­ful game of hide-and-seek, the broth­ers’ favorite date, Dainty Dora Stand­pipe, is kid­napped by the blue-skinned vil­lain, Dan Back­slide. The Dover Boys (heroes that they are) must come to her res­cue. Well, sort of.

Watch “The Dover Boys At Pimento Uni­ver­sity Or The Rivals Of Roque­fort Hall” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

The Farm Of Tomorrow (1954) — MGM Theatrical Cartoon

The Farm Of Tomorrow (1954) - MGM Theatrical Cartoon

The Farm Of Tomor­row (1954) — MGM The­atri­cal Cartoon

CotD: One of four from Tex Avery’s “Of Tomor­row” series, “The Farm Of Tomor­row” was als the last in the series…

The Farm Of Tomor­row (1954) — MGM The­atri­cal Cartoon

A series of gags show­ing how much more pro­duc­tive farms would be if farm­ers started cross­breed­ing their ani­mals to cre­ate weird (but very use­ful) hybrids. In a polit­i­cally incor­rect scene, eggs are put in a toaster, and out pops yel­low chicks… except that when you turn it up too high, out pop black chicks.

Watch “The Farm Of Tomor­row” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Vampire Bats And Scaredy Cats (1977) — Scooby-Doo Cartoon Episode Guide

Vampire Bats And Scaredy Cats (1977) - Scooby-Doo

Vam­pire Bats And Scaredy Cats (1977) — Scooby-Doo

CotD: From the Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics series, we have “Vam­pire Bats And Scaredy Cats”, an episode that fea­tured Scooby-Dum…

Vam­pire Bats And Scaredy Cats (1977) — Scooby-Doo Car­toon Episode Guide

Lisa Banoh must be good friend of the Gang’s see­ing they decided to visit her on an island called ‘Great Skull Island’. It is her 18th birth­day after all, but still, did she have to have it on an island inhab­ited by vam­pire bats!

Watch “Vam­pire Bats And Scaredy Cats” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

The Little Boy and the Beast” wins Cartoon d’Or

The Little Boy and the Beast

The Lit­tle Boy and the Beast

Der Kleine Und Das Biest” (The Lit­tle Boy and the Beast) by Johannes Wei­land and Uwe Hei­d­schöt­ter of Ger­many, won this year’s Car­toon d’Or, the award for the year’s best Euro­pean short cartoon.

The award cer­e­mony took place Thurs­day in Sopot, Poland in front of all ani­ma­tion pro­fes­sion­als attend­ing Car­toon Forum Polska.

Pro­duced with 3D com­puter ani­ma­tion, The Lit­tle Boy and the Beast (orig­i­nally titled Der Kleine und das Biest) was released by Stu­dio Soi. In the car­toon, when your mother has turned into a beast, a lot of things change.

When we began read­ing the script by Mar­cus Sauer­mann, we thought it was a lit­tle funny car­toon story about a boy and a mon­ster. Then, when we reached the end of it, we under­stood it was a seri­ous and truth­ful story about divorce,” the direc­tors said in a statement.

This expe­ri­ence of ‘read­ing the script for the first time’ was an essen­tial key for direc­tion. Ani­ma­tion seemed to be the per­fect medium to tell this story. In terms of sto­ry­telling, char­ac­ter act­ing, artis­tic and visual choices, we always tried to find a good bal­ance of show­ing car­toon ele­ments and authen­tic ele­ments of every­day life.”

The five other Car­toon d’Or nom­i­nees were Mobile, by Ver­ena Fels of Ger­many; Paths of Hate, by Damian Nenow of Poland; Pivot, by André Bergs of the Nether­lands; The Exter­nal World, by David O’Reilly of Ire­land; and The Gruffalo, by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang of the United Kingdom.

The 2011 jury was com­posed of directors/producers Stéphane Bernasconi of France, Tony Loeser of Ger­many, and Vic­tor Mal­don­ado of Spain.

Pokemon: White–Victini and Zekrom comes to U.S.

Pokemon: White--Victini and Zekrom

Poke­mon: White–Victini and Zekrom

Poke­mon fans across Amer­ica will be mark­ing their cal­en­dars for a spe­cial lim­ited engage­ment the­atri­cal event this hol­i­day season.

The newest full-length Poké­mon fea­ture film, Poké­mon the Movie: White–Victini and Zekrom, is com­ing to movie the­ater screens across the United States for one week­end only: Decem­ber 3 and 4. As a spe­cial treat, fans can catch the debut of the movie’s trailer this week­end — Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, Sep­tem­ber 17 and 18th — on www.Pokemon.com imme­di­ately fol­low­ing an on-demand, online screen­ing of the most recent feature-length movie, Pokémon–Zoroark: Mas­ter of Illu­sions.

The Poké­mon Com­pany Inter­na­tional has part­nered with inno­v­a­tive dig­i­tal the­atri­cal dis­tri­b­u­tion com­pany Cinedigm to share Poké­mon the Movie: White–Victini and Zekrom with its devoted fans for this lim­ited, one-weekend-only screen­ing event in more than 300 dig­i­tal the­aters across the U.S. Poké­mon fans will catch all the action and find out whether Ash can awaken the Leg­endary Poké­mon Zekrom to help him stop the mis­guided Damon and save the Vic­tory Poké­mon Vic­tini! A com­plete list of par­tic­i­pat­ing the­aters will be announced shortly.

We are thrilled to pro­vide fans an oppor­tu­nity to see this excit­ing new Poké­mon fea­ture film on the big screen,” said Jill New­house Cal­caterra, chief mar­ket­ing offi­cer at Cinedigm. “Poké­mon fans are a pas­sion­ate group and will truly rel­ish see­ing this film together.”

It’s going to be a lot of fun for the entire Poké­mon com­mu­nity to get together and watch Poké­mon the Movie: White–Victini and Zekrom,” said J.C. Smith, direc­tor of con­sumer mar­ket­ing for The Poké­mon Com­pany Inter­na­tional. “We’re excited to be work­ing with Cinedigm to make this spe­cial engage­ment pos­si­ble across the country.”

As part of a Poké­mon first, Poké­mon the Movie: White–Victini and Zekrom is one of two feature-length films debut­ing in Decem­ber. Launch details about the sec­ond movie, Poké­mon the Movie: Black–Victini and Reshi­ram, will be com­ing soon.

For more infor­ma­tion about Poké­mon the Movie: White–Victini and Zekrom, visit www.Pokemon.com/MovieWhite.