Monthly Archives: February 2012

Egyptian court tosses lawsuit over bearded Mickey

Bearded Mickey

Bearded Mickey

An Egypt­ian court has dis­missed one of two com­plaints over tweeted car­toons of a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Min­nie Mouse.

In June, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions mag­nate Naguib Sawiris, a bil­lion­aire Cop­tic Chris­t­ian, infu­ri­ated con­ser­v­a­tive Mus­lims with the satir­i­cal mes­sages. Both com­plaints accuse Sawiris of insult­ing Islam.

The judge at Qasr al-Nil court dis­missed the first case Tues­day, fin­ing the plain­tiff $8. The judge ruled that indi­vid­u­als who “lack legal stand­ing” made the ini­tial com­plaint, legal sources said.

How­ever, a dif­fer­ent court is slated to rule Sat­ur­day on the sec­ond case. That suit was filed by another group of lawyers, includ­ing mem­ber of par­lia­ment Mam­duh Ismail, a mem­ber of the ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive Salafist group of Islamists.

Sawiris tweeted images of Mickey with a full beard and wear­ing a tra­di­tional Islamic robe, and Min­nie wear­ing a niqab (full-face veil) with only her eyes show­ing. How­ever, her large ears and famed pink hair rib­bon were visible.

After an angry response from peo­ple who said they took off­snse, Sawiris removed the pic­tures. He tweeted: “I apol­o­gize for those who don’t take this as a joke, I just thought it was a funny pic­ture; no dis­re­spect meant. I am sorry.”

Nonethe­less, tens of thou­sands of peo­ple joined groups on Face­book and other social media con­demn­ing him. As well, con­ser­v­a­tive Mus­lim groups urged boy­cotts of the tycoon’s firms.

Boom Boom (1936) — Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Boom Boom (1936) - Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Boom Boom (1936) — Looney Tunes The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

CotD: Rarest of the rare, a leap year car­toon is hard to find. But we do have “Boom Boom” a Looney Tunes short from 1936.

Boom Boom (1936) — Looney Tunes The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Porky Pig and Beans, his friend, are in the army together. When a car­rier pigeon brings them news that Gen­eral Hard­tack is being held pris­oner, Beans motor­cy­cles to the res­cue, drag­ging a reluc­tant Porky beside him in his side­car. The two res­cue the gen­eral and make their escape in a con­ve­nient air­plane. After they land amidst an explo­sion, the three ban­daged char­ac­ters share a hos­pi­tal bed. The gen­eral passes along one of his medals to Beans, who gives half to Porky.

Come see “Boom Boom” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Louisiana governor salutes Moonbot on Oscar

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fan­tas­tic Fly­ing Books of Mr. Mor­ris Lessmore

Louisiana Gov­er­nor Bobby Jin­dal con­grat­u­lated Shreveport-based ani­ma­tion stu­dio Moon­bot Stu­dios on Sun­day night for win­ning an Oscar at the 84th Annual Acad­emy Awards in Hollywood.

Moon­bot reached the apex of the enter­tain­ment indus­try by win­ning the Oscar for Best Achieve­ment in Ani­mated Short Film for The Fan­tas­tic Fly­ing Books of Mr. Mor­ris Less­more.

Author-illustrator William Joyce and co-director Bran­don Old­en­burg accepted the Oscar for the acclaimed 14-minute film. The Fan­tas­tic Fly­ing Books of Mr. Mor­ris Less­more fea­tures the pro­tag­o­nist sur­viv­ing a storm and land­ing in a world where books come alive as char­ac­ters with cura­tive pow­ers as they impart heal­ing through dis­cov­ery. Joyce, Old­en­burg, man­ag­ing part­ner Lamp­ton Enochs and the Moon­bot staff employed a vari­ety of tech­niques in a hybrid ani­ma­tion style inspired by The Wiz­ard of Oz, Buster Keaton and the Hur­ri­cane Kat­rina experience.

Tonight, Louisiana cel­e­brates this Oscar win with the excep­tion­ally tal­ented and cre­ative staff of Moon­bot Stu­dios in Shreve­port,” Jin­dal said. “We’re proud that Louisiana res­i­dents and a Louisiana-based com­pany cre­ated this ground­break­ing work that pays homage to a love of books and per­se­ver­ance through a love of learning.

Moon­bot is an excep­tional exam­ple of the qual­ity work being pro­duced through­out Louisiana, every day, in the dig­i­tal and film indus­tries we’ve worked so hard to cul­ti­vate. Their suc­cess con­tin­ues to expand oppor­tu­ni­ties for our sons and daugh­ters, who can look for­ward to cre­ative and suc­cess­ful careers across our state.”

Mor­ris Less­more spawned a cel­e­brated iTunes app that became a best-seller and broke new ground in the cre­ative use of dig­i­tal, ani­ma­tion and illus­tra­tion media. In call­ing the work one of the Top 10 apps of 2011 and his favorite work of fic­tion in a book app last year, Bob Tedeschi of the New York Times wrote: “Mor­ris Less­more is a graph­i­cally stun­ning nar­ra­tive that’s part pic­ture book, part movie… in which the pic­tures ani­mate at your touch.”

The Oscar-winning film Mor­ris Less­more is the first world-class ani­mated pro­duc­tion to be made entirely in Louisiana. Shreveport-based Twin Engine Labs part­nered with Moon­bot to pro­duce the iTunes app, which fea­tures an inter­ac­tive game on every page. Louisiana’s film pro­duc­tion and dig­i­tal media tax cred­its and the state’s LED Fast­Start work­force solu­tions pro­gram sup­ported the com­pa­nies on the projects.

Moon­bot Stu­dios is a great exam­ple of the dig­i­tal enter­tain­ment and soft­ware devel­op­ment jobs that we want to cre­ate more of in Louisiana,” said Louisiana Sec­re­tary of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Stephen Moret. “We want to con­tinue to grow our home­grown tal­ent to fur­ther build this indus­try and attract addi­tional busi­ness invest­ment and cre­ative, knowledge-based jobs for our state.”

Joyce, a Shreve­port native, is one of the found­ing part­ners of Moon­bot and, among other ven­tures, worked for Disney/Pixar in devel­op­ing char­ac­ters for such ani­mated clas­sics as Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. Old­en­burg is a co-founder of Reel FX Cre­ative Stu­dios, where he spe­cial­ized in design and spe­cial effects for film and TV. Lamp­ton Enochs, who co-founded Louisiana Pro­duc­tion Con­sul­tants in Shreve­port, joined Joyce and Old­en­burg in open­ing Moon­bot Stu­dios in the fall of 2010.

Moon­bot Stu­dios recently released another cre­ative title. Num­berlys, an ani­mated sto­ry­book app with nods to King Kong, Flash Gor­don, Metrop­o­lis and the Marx Broth­ers, presents a fan­ci­ful depic­tion of the ori­gins of the alpha­bet in an expe­ri­ence that’s equal parts adven­ture, mys­tery, game and story.

Jan Berenstain, 88, co-created Berenstain Bears

Jan Berenstain, 88

Jan Beren­stain, 88

Philadel­phia native Jan Beren­stain, writer and illus­tra­tor with her hus­band Stan of the preschool Beren­stain Bears books and car­toons that have appealed to the young (and young at heart) for 50 years, died Fri­day. She was 88.

A long­time res­i­dent of Sole­bury in south­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia, she suf­fered a severe stroke Thurs­day and died with­out regain­ing con­scious­ness, son Mike said.

The Beren­stain Bears inspired sev­eral ani­mated pro­duc­tions, includ­ing TV spe­cials that she and her hus­band cre­ated and wrote. The first, the NBC spe­cial The Beren­stain Bears’ Christ­mas Tree, was pro­duced in 1979. Four other NBC sea­sonal spe­cials, pro­duced by Joseph Cates Pro­duc­tions, Per­pet­ual Motion Pic­tures and Buz­zco Pro­duc­tions, fol­lowed: The Beren­stain Bears Meet Big­paw (1980), The Beren­stain Bears’ Easter Sur­prise (1981), The Beren­stain Bears’ Comic Valen­tine (1982) and The Beren­stain Bears Play Ball (1983).

As well, the Bears gave birth to two Sat­ur­day morn­ing car­toon series on TV. The first, which Jan Beren­stain co-wrote, came from South­ern Star and Hanna Bar­bera Aus­tralia, run­ning for 28 episodes on CBS from 1984–85.

A sea­son of PBS daily shows was cre­ated in 2002, pro­duced by Canada’s Nel­vana Lim­ited and Agogo Enter­tain­ment. Jan Beren­stain was exec­u­tive pro­ducer of sev­eral episodes.

The human Beren­stain fam­ily inspired the tales of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sis­ter Bear, and dealt with children’s con­cerns. The sto­ries offered advice about deal­ing with vis­its to the den­tist, sum­mer camp, peer pres­sure, or a new brother or sister.

The Big Honey Hunt, the first Beren­stain Bears book, was pub­lished in 1962. Over 300 titles have been released in 23 lan­guages, most recently in Ara­bic and Icelandic.

Around 260 mil­lion copies of Beren­stain Bears books came out since Theodor Geisel (bet­ter known as Dr. Seuss), then a children’s books edi­tor at Ran­dom House, helped the ear­li­est books get published.

They say jokes don’t travel well, but fam­ily humor does. Fam­ily val­ues is what we’re all about.” Jan Beren­stain told the Asso­ci­ated Press last year.

Born on July 26, 1923, Jan­ice Mar­ian Grant met Stan — also 18, and also a native Philadel­phian — on their first day at art school in 1941. Five years later, they mar­ried; they had two sons.

Son Mike, an illus­tra­tor, worked with his mother on the Beren­stain Bears books in recent years. Writer Leo Beren­stain, his older brother, works with the busi­ness aspect of the franchise.

Until her death, Jan Beren­stain worked at her home stu­dio in Bucks County, north of Philadel­phia. The area helped inspire the books’ setting.

It’s won­der­ful to do some­thing you love for so many years,” she told AP in 2011. “Not every­one has that.”

Jan Beren­stain was pre­de­ceased by her hus­band in 2005. She is sur­vived by her sons and four grandchildren.

Duck Amuck (1949) — Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Duck Amuck (1949) - Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon

Duck Amuck (1949) — Mer­rie Melodies The­atri­cal Cartoon

CotD: Daffy Duck’s tour de force, “Duck Amuck” is one of his most mem­o­rable car­toons, and one of Chuck Jones’ great­est shorts.

Duck Amuck (1949) — Mer­rie Melodies The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Stand back, mus­ke­teers!” swords­man Daffy cries, sur­rounded by Dumasian scenery, cred­its and music. “They shall sam­ple my blade!” But within a few thrusts and touches, Daffy notices that the back­ground behind him has ended: “Hey, psst, whoever’s in charge here, the scenery, where’s the scenery?”

A paint­brush comes across the screen and puts down a farm­yard set­ting. Daffy leaps back in his mus­ke­teer garb, real­izes it’s inap­pro­pri­ate, and returns with over­alls and hoe, then notices that the scenery has changed into a North Pole set­ting: “Would it be to much to ask if we could make up our minds, hmmm?” And so it goes. After chang­ing from many clas­sic scenes and gags, Daffy yells, “All right! Enough is enough! This is the final, the very, very last straw! Who is respon­si­ble for this? I demand that you show your­self! Who are you?” Pull back to reveal Bugs Bunny, seated by a live-action animator’s light table, admit­ting to the audi­ence, “Gee, ain’t I a stinker?”-

Come see “Duck Amuck” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Tom and Jerry” programming turns pornographic

Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry

Did a cat and mouse ever do any­thing like this?

When an Arling­ton, Texas mom’s young sons were view­ing Tom and Jerry on The Car­toon Net­work, they sud­denly saw more than they bar­gained for.

Rebekah Woodruff says that the boys, ages 4 and 7, had their eyes glued to the screen at about 12:30 p.m. Wednes­day. The scene sud­denly shifted, she alleges, to a porno­graphic movie.

I heard the music change. And I heard my old­est say to his lit­tle brother, ‘Don’t watch this. I think it’s some­thing bad,’” she recounted.

Dash­ing back to the liv­ing room, Mom saw graphic images of two women on the screen.

We don’t have chan­nels like that.”

Imme­di­ately, the mom asked her boys to turn around. She muted the sound and then looked at the remote to ensure they hadn’t some­how bought a pay-per-view movie.

She pushed the “infor­ma­tion” but­ton on the remote, she said. “And it says we’re watch­ing Tom and Jerry, Car­toon Net­work, at 12:30.”

After push­ing the “chan­nel up” and “chan­nel down” but­tons, the chan­nel returned to Tom and Jerry, but with­out the porn, she said.

Most of the day, I’ve just held back tears,” she said. “I’m furious.”

Time Warner Cable, her cable com­pany, apologized.

We have our engi­neer­ing team still look­ing into it,” said spokesman Jon Her­rera said.

The prob­lem doesn’t appear to have occurred across the sys­tem, as Woodruff’s com­plaint was the only one received by TWC, he added.

But Woodruff said she wants to know what was behind the snafu.

I don’t need an ‘I’m sorry.’ I want them to be held account­able,” she said. “I can’t erase it from my kids’ minds. I can’t erase it from my mind.”

Picador Porky (1949) — Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Picador Porky

Pic­a­dor Porky

CotD: An early Porky short, “Pic­a­dor Porky” is Mel Blanc’s first appear­ance in a Warner Bros. short.

Pic­a­dor Porky (1949) — Looney Tunes The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Slum­ber­ing peace­fully ‘neath the warm caresses of the noon­day sun lies the sleepy lit­tle vil­lage of La Rosita.

It presents a scene of serene qui­etude and beauty as its inhab­i­tants enjoy a mid­day siesta pre­ced­ing the annual bullfight.

The soli­tude is bro­ken only by the occa­sional strains of a soft guitar.”

Stone broke, Porky and two gringo-dog bud­dies have hoboed to a Mex­i­can town, appar­ently on a drinking-binge vaca­tion. They stum­ble (and we do mean “stum­ble”) across a sign about the annual bull­fight­ing con­test; the win­ner will receive 1,000 pesos. Porky and his two pals decide to cheat their way to the money by rent­ing a bull cos­tume and a mata­dor out­fit in order to win the prize. The plan is to sub­sti­tute two of them in a bull cos­tume for the real thing, with Porky fight­ing off the phony bull and then split­ting the loot. But the old switcheroo takes place instead. In the bull­ring, it’s quite a while before Porky real­izes that it’s not his friends in dis­guise, but a real (and very mean) bull whom he’s been out there abus­ing for the audience!

Come see “Pic­a­dor Porky” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Oscar Goes to Rango, Flying Books

Oscar Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Oscar Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences

In a night of many sur­prises, the Acad­emy Awards have given the Oscar two sur­prise films for ani­mated films. In the com­pe­ti­tion for Best Ani­mated film, Rango pulled out the win over two for­eign films, and two from Dream­Works Ani­ma­tion. And for Best Ani­mated Short, The Fan­tas­tic Fly­ing Books of Mr. Mor­ris Less­more from Moon­bot Stu­dios took the lit­tle gold knight.

Rango was able to pull out from the pack, most notably from the pair of Dream­Works fea­tures (and sequels or spin-offs) Puss In Boots and Kung Fu Panda 2. Rango also beat out two for­eign fea­tures, Une Vie De Chat (A Cat In Paris) from France and  Chico & Rita from Spain. Gore Verbin­ski, the direc­tor of Rango, also directed the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, and Rango star Johnny Depp appeared in all four Pirates films. This is the first Fea­ture Ani­mated Film win for Nick­elodeon Movies and dis­trib­u­tor Para­mount Pictures.

Using a vari­ety of tech­niques (minia­tures, com­puter ani­ma­tion, 2D ani­ma­tion), award-winning author/illustrator William Joyce and co-director Bran­don Old­en­burg present a hybrid style of ani­ma­tion for their win­ner The Fan­tas­tic Fly­ing Books of Mr. Mor­ris Less­more. Pro­duced by Moon­bot Stu­dios, this short beat out a pair from the National Film Board of Canada like Sun­day and Wild Life. PIXAR has an entry with La Luna, and the final nom­i­nee was A Morn­ing Stroll from Stu­dio aka.

Man Or Mup­pet”, the song from The Mup­pets won for Best Orig­i­nal Song, in a field of only two orig­i­nal songs. This cat­e­gory was a sure thing for an ani­mated film; the only other orig­i­nal song “Real In Rio” was from Rio from Blue Sky Studios.

The Rabbi’s Cat” named best animation at Cesars

Le Chat du Rabbin

Le Chat du Rabbin

Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux’s The Rabbi’s Cat” (“Le Chat du rab­bin”) was named best ani­mated film Fri­day at the Césars, France’s equiv­a­lent of the Oscars.

Designer Joann Sfar had made a 3D adap­ta­tion of Le Chat du Rab­bin, a comic first released in 2002, which even­tu­ally grew to five books in at least eight languages.

Last year, Sfar won a César for the year’s best first film for bring­ing to the screen the “heroic” life of singer Serge Gainsbourg.

Delesvaux thanked his wife and grand­mother for “speak­ing all the time about Algeria.”

If it were the grand­moth­ers who taught about the Maghreb, it would be a lit­tle less dis­gust­ing,” he quipped.

Released in both 2D and 3D, the movie was based on three vol­umes about the adven­tures of the tit­u­lar cat. It recounted Algiers in the 1920s and the life of Rabbi Sfar through the eyes and ears of his cat, who acquired the power of speech.

Michel Hazanavicius’s black and white silent homage The Artist was named best pic­ture. It also won for best direc­tor (Haz­anavi­cius), actress (Berenice Bejo), orig­i­nal music (Ludovic Bource), pho­tog­ra­phy (Guil­laume Schiff­man) and back­grounds (Lau­rence Bennett).

Mississippi Hare (1949) — Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Mississipp Hare

Mis­sis­sipp Hare

CotD: While a pop­u­lar Bugs Bunny short, “Mis­sis­sippi Hare” was one of 12 pulled from rota­tion by the Car­toon Net­work for its 2001 “June Bugs” marathon.

Mis­sis­sippi Hare (1949) — Looney Tunes The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Bugs stows away on the river­boat “The South­ern Star.” He plays poker against river­boat gam­bler Colonel Shuf­fle. Bugs, with seven aces, beats Colonel Shuf­fle, who has only six.

Come see “Mis­sis­sippi Hare” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase