Monthly Archives: December 2011

Lonesome Ghosts (1937) – Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

Lonesome Ghosts (1937) - Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

Lonesome Ghosts (1937) - Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

CotD: Not exactly a Christmas cartoon, but “Lonesome Ghosts” is a wonderful and fun cartoon in it’s own right.

Lonesome Ghosts (1937) – Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

Four green phantoms want some fun, so they invite ghost busters Mickey, Donald, and Goofy over to their haunted home with the aim of driving them crazy.

Watch “Lonesome Ghosts” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Rooby-Roo robber on the roose in St. Petersburg

Scooby Doo robbery

Scooby Doo robbery

Instead of helping that quartet of kids fight villains, Scooby-Doo has joined the wrong side of the law in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Detectives say that a suspect wearing a distinctive brown Scooby-Doo ski mask robbed the Farm Store at 5511 Dr. MLK Street North on December 9. They hope that someone may recognize the mask and provide information on the suspect’s identity.

At about 3:22 p.m., the suspect entered the store and pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at the clerk, who allowed the suspect to take an unspecified amount of cash from the register. No suspect vehicle was seen.

The video doesn’t provide a clear view of the suspect’s face, but does show him disguised as the famed quasi-Great Dane.

The suspect is described as a black male from 18 to 25 years old, 5’8″ to 5’10” tall, 160 to 180 pounds, wearing a black short sleeve shirt over a white long sleeve shirt, beige knee-length shorts and black sneakers with white trim. He also wore gloves with a white design on the back and may have been wearing white ear buds for an MP3 player during the robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department at (727) 893-7780 or use the Tip Line at (727) 892-5000.

A surveillance video of the robbery has been released by the police department at www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1PLiWLYLAM.

Stingray actor, voice coach Robert Easton dies, 81

Robert Easton

Robert Easton

Character actor Robert Easton, known as the “Henry Higgins of Hollywood” for teaching dialects to such luminaries as Charlton Heston and Anne Hathaway, died Friday at his Toluca Lake, California home. He was 81.

While living in Britain, the Milwaukee-born Easton voiced Lieutenant George Lee “Phones” Sheridan and Surface Agent X-2-Zero in the 1964 Gerry Anderson Productions puppet-animated series Stingray. He had numerous other voice roles in the series, as well.

He was a member of the voice cast of Ralph Bakshi’s 1973 feature film Heavy Traffic. In addition, he had a live-action role as the store proprietor in Disney’s partly animated 1977 movie Pete’s Dragon.

Easton knew a huge range of foreign and American regional accents. He taught actor Robert Duvall a Virginian accent for his role as Confederate commander Robert E. Lee in the movie Gods and Generals several years ago.

“They said, ‘We want Virginia accents,'” Duvall remembered in an interview Wednesday. “Bob said, ‘Which one? There are 12 distinct accents, from the Piedmont to the ocean.’ He knew them all.

“He was a wonderful man, a very unique personality, and a master at his craft.”

He was born Robert Easton Burke on November 23, 1930. When he was 7, his parents split up. He and his mother moved to San Antonio.

At age 14, he toured the United States with the cast of young geniuses on the popular radio program Quiz Kids. The young 6’4″ performer was getting Hollywood roles by 18, usually playing country hicks due to his heavy Texas accent. He was on The Burns and Allen Show, Father Knows Best, The Jack Benny Show, The Red Skelton Show, Wagon Train, Rawhide and Gunsmoke.

Worried that he would be typecast, Easton widened his range of accents and learned various regional speech patterns.

After marrying June Bettine Grimstead in 1961, he moved with her to her native England and started studying phonetics at University College in London.

“He found a way to spell things,” said Forest Whitaker, whom he taught to speak like Idi Amin. “We established our own language.”

Between his coaching jobs, Easton taught at UCLA and USC. His movies included Paint Your Wagon, Pet Sematary II and Primary Colors. In 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, he portrayed a Klingon judge.

“I’m a great believer in the principle that there’s no wastage in the universe,” Easton told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. “So when I work with somebody who is foreign who’s trying to lose their accent, I can always give their old dialect to somebody else.”

Predeceased by his wife in 2005, Robert Easton is survived by his daughter, Heather Woodruff Perry, and a granddaughter.

A memorial service will be announced later.

San Bernardino police seek help identifying toon

Cartoon Snippet

Cartoon Snippet

Investigators for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department are seeking public assistance in identifying the cartoon shown on this TV screen, or the network or station “bug” on the bottom right.

Sheriff’s investigators want to identify the cartoon, which apparently depicts an Asian male.

There are six different colors to the symbol. Clockwise from the bottom segment, they are white, green, red, blue, orange and yellow.

Detectives are not asking for help identifying the TV make or model.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Tyson Niles by calling (909) 387-3622 or emailing tniles(at)sbcsd.org.

Good Will To Men (1955) – MGM Theatrical Cartoon

Good Will To Men (1955) - MGM Theatrical Cartoon

Good Will To Men (1955) - MGM Theatrical Cartoon

CotD: A remake of 1939’s Peace On Earth, “Good Will To Men” with mice instead of squirrels… and a bit more graphic point to the horrors of war.

Good Will To Men (1955) – MGM Theatrical Cartoon

A group of young mice is in the ruins of a church, practicing singing for an upcoming service. After singing an adulterated version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” the mice wonder about the last line, “Good will to men.” One of them asks the chorus master, an old mouse, “What are men?”

The old mouse explains that they all killed each other off by building bigger and more destructive weapons, first guns, then missiles, then bombs. At the end of the fighting, clouds are seen, implying that nuclear weapons were used by each side.

The old mouse shows the boys some rules to live by that men seem to have forgotten. He is reading from a Bible.

Watch “Good Will To Men” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Gulliver’s Travels (1939) – Fleischer Studios Feature Animated Film

Gulliver's Travels (1939) - Fleischer Studios

Gulliver's Travels (1939) - Fleischer Studios

CotD: Yesterday we had Snow White; two years and a day later, “Gulliver’s Travels” was released…. the second fully animated feature film.

Gulliver’s Travels (1939) – Fleischer Studios Feature Animated Film

Shipwrecked by a storm at sea, normal-sized Lemuel Gulliver washes up on the shore of Lilliput, where the citizens are no larger than Gulliver’s thumb.

Discovered by excitable town crier (and general fuss-budget) Gabby, Gulliver is roped to the ground by Lilliputians, only to escape with ease upon waking up. While longing to head home to England, Gulliver becomes involved in a feud between Lilliput’s King Little and Blefuscu’s King Bombo. On the eve of the wedding between Little’s daughter, Princess Glory, and Bombo’s son, Prince David, the two monarchs have a falling-out over which national anthem will be played at the ceremony.

Gulliver attempts to prevent war between Lilliput and equally minuscule rival Blefuscu, as well as smooth the way for the romance between David and Glory. In this, he is alternately aided and hampered by Gabby.

After a series of misunderstandings and intrigues, Gulliver solves everyone’s problems by suggesting that both anthems be played together, resulting in the song “Faithful Forever.”

Watch “Gulliver’s Travels” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Chicago critics name “Rango” Best Animated Feature

Rango

Rango

The Chicago Film Critics Association declared the trippy comedy Rango on Monday to be the best animated feature of 2011.

Rango won out over challengers The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Puss In Boots and Winnie the Pooh.

After years of speculation and delays, The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick’s long-awaited film that took viewers from the beginning of time to 1950s Texas, proved to be worth the wait, according to the association. The CFCA gave Tree of Life four awards, including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress for newcomer Jessica Chastain and Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki.

The violent neo-noir Drive won Supporting Actor for comedian Albert Brooks for his change-of-pace turn as a ruthless crime boss, and Original Score for composer Cliff Martinez. With two wins, Drive tied with Martha Marcy May Marlene, the moody indie drama about a young woman haunted by her experiences with a cult. Star Elizabeth Olsen won Most Promising Performer. Director Sean Durkin received the Most Promising Filmmaker award.

Michael Shannon was named Best Actor for his performance as a man tormented by visions of the possible apocalypse in the drama Take Shelter. Michelle Williams won the Best Actress award for her stunning turn as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.

The Artist, the black and white silent comedy from France about an actor unwilling to make the transition to talkies, won Original Screenplay for Michel Hazanavicius. Screenwriters Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin won the Adapted Screenplay prize for Moneyball. (This marks Sorkin’s second consecutive victory in his category. He won last year for The Social Network.)

The Iranian drama A Separation won Foreign-Language Film. The Interrupters, the powerful film following a group of people trying to stamp out violence in Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods, won Best Documentary.

The CFCA will hand out honorary awards to some well-known recipients to celebrate their contributions to cinema.

Legendary actress Shirley MacLaine will receive the Commitment to the Craft Award. James Earl Jones will be presented with the Oscar Michaeux Award. The Commitment to Chicago goes to beloved character actor Dennis Farina. The Big Shoulders Award will be given to Chicago’s comedy institution Second City. Finally, the newly created Commedia Extraordinaire Award, to acknowledge work in the often overlooked field of screen comedy, will be given to Jason Segel for his past achievements and for his efforts to bring the Muppets back to the big screen.

The awards ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, January 7 at Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse, 175 East Chestnut St. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com.

Animated tunes vie for Oscars’ 2011 playlist

Oscar Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Oscar Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Thirteen songs from six animated or partly animated films are among the 39 tunes from eligible feature-length motion pictures in contention for nominations in the Original Song category for the 84th Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday.

The original songs include “Collision of Worlds” from Cars 2; “Hello Hello” and “Love Builds a Garden” from Gnomeo & Juliet; “Bridge of Light” and “The Mighty Sven” from Happy Feet Two; “Life’s a Happy Song,” “Man or Muppet” and “Pictures in My Head” from The Muppets; “Hot Wings,” “Let Me Take You to Rio” and “Real in Rio” from Rio; and “The Backson Song” and “So Long” from Winnie the Pooh.

On Thursday, January 5, the Academy will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles. Following the screenings, members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system of voting.

If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees in the category. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees.

A DVD copy of the song clips will be made available to those branch members who are unable to attend the screening and who request it for home viewing. A mail-in ballot will be provided.

Under Academy rules, a maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film. If more than two songs from a film achieve a score of 8.25 or more, the two songs with the highest scores will be the nominees.

To be eligible, a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits.

The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 24 in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented Sunday, February 26 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by ABC. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) – Walt Disney Studios Feature Animated Film

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) - Walt Disney Studios Feature Animated Film

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) - Walt Disney Studios Feature Animated Film

CotD: They say it all started with a mouse; well then it was the seven little men in “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs” pushed it into high gear! Show us how much you love this classic Disney film- the one that started it all.

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) – Walt Disney Studios Feature Animated Film

In her effort to be “fairest in the land,” a jealous and evil queen attempts to be rid of her beautiful stepdaughter, Snow White. Frightened and scared, Snow takes refuge in the forest cottage of the seven dwarfs. The queen, disguised by magic as an old peddler woman, tempts Snow White with a poisoned apple, which puts her into an enchanted sleep until the spell can be broken by love’s first kiss.

Watch “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase