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.