Monthly Archives: March 2012

“Lorax” statue goes missing from Dr. Seuss’ home

"Lorax" statue goes missing from Dr. Seuss' home

Lorax

From there to here, from here to there, things are stolen everywhere.

This time, it’s a 300-pound, three-foot-high bronze statue of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, star of the recent animated film of the same name.

It’s been swiped from the late author’s hillside estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, police said Tuesday. It was reported missing Monday morning, said Lt. Andra Brown.

Police are trying to ascertain if the theft was related to the movie — starring the voices of Zac Efron and Taylor Swift — that’s still playing in theaters.

“We don’t know if it’s just a prank because of the recent release of the movie, or if someone thinks it’s going to be worth a buck or two because it’s a lot of (metal),” Brown said.

“We’re just hoping that the suspects return it,” she added. “The Geisel family is just asking that it be returned, and they don’t want to pursue the matter any further. Which is not to say the police won’t.”

The statue displayed the Lorax standing on a tree stump with his arms outstretched.

Property manager Carl Romero told the U-T San Diego newspaper Tuesday that he found footprints indicating the thieves had dragged the statue to an access road and hoisted it over a fence. Although he had seen the statue Saturday afternoon, Audrey Geisel — Dr. Seuss’ widow — noticed that it was missing Monday morning.

Audrey Geisel still lives on the estate in the San Diego community of La Jolla, California. Theodor Geisel, author of The Lorax and other best-selling kids’ books as Dr. Seuss, died in 1991 at 87.

The statue was one of two cast by Geisel’s stepdaughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cate, said Brown. The other was donated to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial in Springfield, Massachusetts, the author’s hometown.

Evidence at the scene indicates that the thieves may have rolled the statue down the hill to a neighboring property, then loaded it onto a waiting vehicle, said Brown.

“I want very badly to get our little Lorax back home where he belongs,” said Dimond-Cate. “Wherever he is, he’s scared, lonely and hungry. He’s not just a hunk of metal to us. He was a family pet.”

She hopes that the Lorax’s recently revived fame is the reason for the theft. Otherwide, Dimond-Cate said, the Lorax may have been stolen for the bronze.

“I hope he hasn’t been taken across the border into Tijuana for scrap,” she said. “Worst-case scenario, I’ll get the foundry to create another one, but he won’t be the same.”

The statue was stolen just before security cameras were installed, and few knew of its location, said Romero.

Audrey Geisel just wants the Lorax returned and doesn’t feel like punishing anyone, Romero added.

“You can’t sell it on eBay.”

Theatre owners convention to honor Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron, the “Our Friends” narrator in the computer-animated 2009 movie Astro Boy, will receive the CinemaCon Distinguished Decade of Achievement in Film Award, the convention’s managing director, Mitch Neuhauser, announced Thursday.

CinemaCon, the official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners, the largest and most important gathering of cinema owners and operators from around the world, will be held from April 23 to 26 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Theron will be presented with this special honor at the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards ceremony, to take place Thursday evening, April 26 in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The Coca-Cola Company, the official presenting sponsor of CinemaCon, will host the final night gala awards program.

“Over the past decade, Charlize Theron has proven that as an actor, she can do it all. Whether her role be comedic or dramatic, she never ceases to entertain audiences with her unique ability to capture the essence of any character,” noted Neuhauser. “Her thought-provoking, engaging and riveting performances have garnered her critical acclaim and multiple awards and nominations. We’re looking forward to joining the company of those honoring such an inspiring and talented actress.”

Theron will be seen this summer starring as the evil queen out to destroy Snow White (Kristen Stewart) in the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, to be released June 1 by Universal Pictures. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin also joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White’s beauty and power.

Theron can also be seen this summer in 20th Century Fox’s Prometheus, set to be released June 8. With Prometheus, director Ridley Scott creates a groundbreaking mythology in which a team of explorers journey to the darkest corners of the earth to fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

Theron made her feature film debut in 1996 alongside James Spader, Eric Stolz and Jeff Daniels in MGM’s 2 Days in the Valley. She went on to land roles in a diverse array of films, including Celebrity, Cider House Rules, Sweet November, Italian Job, Monster, North Country, Hancock and The Road.

Her portrayal of female serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the independent release Monster earned her an Independent Spirit Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and Academy Award, among many other honors. She also received an Academy Award nomination for her role in North County; an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for The Life and Death of Peter Sellers; and a Golden Globe nomination for her most recent film, Young Adult.

Quackodile Tears (1962) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Quackodile Tears

Quackodile Tears

CotD: Art Davis’ last Warner Bros. cartoon as a director, “Quackodile Tears” is sometimes erroneously credited to Friz Freleng.

Quackodile Tears (1962) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Daffy’s wife tells him to watch their egg while she goes out. Daffy gets his egg mixed up with a crocodile egg. He and the crocodile fight over the egg. Daffy cannot win against wife nor beast.

Come see “Quackodile Tears” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

In China, “John Carter” isn’t a disaster movie

John Carter

John Carter

Disney’s expensive and critically panned 3D epic “John Carter” has found favor in — of all places — China.

There, the partly animated film opened in first place, bringing in 188 million yuan ($29.8 million U.S.) over its first 10 days. According to Film Business Asia, this amounts to 10% of John Carter‘s worldwide revenues and almost half of its total North American grosses.

In Japan, yet another franchise of blue robotic cat Doraemon has made it to the top, holding No. 1 spot for four weeks in a row.

The anime film Doraemon: Nobita and the Island of Miracles – Animal Adventure brought in an estimated $3 million this past week, according to Tokyo Hive. The film has now taken in almost $25 million.

In second place is romance We Were There, a film based on a comic that was also turned into an ani­mated TV series which grossing $2.6 million this past week for a two-week total of $12 million.

“A Letter to Momo” wins at NY children’s festival

Momo E No Tegami (A Letter To Momo)

Momo E No Tegami (A Letter To Momo)

The animated “A Letter to Momo,” a beautifully hand-drawn tale combinining bursts of whimsy, kinetic humor and deep-felt emotion (and goblins!), won the Grand Prize Feature award at Sunday’s conclusion of the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

Directed by Hiroyuki Okiura, A Letter to Momo had its United States premiere at the fest. Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, executive producer and CEO of Japan’s Production I.G. studio, accepted the award.

Director Nandita Jain attended to accept both the Special Jury Award for Best Animated Short and the Parents Award for her film The Storyteller, an Indian-British co-production. The film already won Best Animation at the LA Shorts Festival and Best School Animation at Córdoba International Animation Festival (ANIMA) in Argentina.

Based on a myth from Southern India, the short tells the poignant story of a grandfather who struggles to remember Nirmala, his granddaughter’s, favorite story. However, she takes up the storyteller role in the hope of ridding it of the demons within her grandfather’s version.

The Audience Award (Ages 3-6) went to The Gruffalo’s Child, directed by Uwe Heidschötter and Johannes Weiland of the United Kingdom.

Combining computer animation with live footage with computer animation, Extinction of the Sabertooth House Cat, by Damon Wong of the United States, won the Audience Award (Ages 5-10). A parody of earth-plunging asteroid documentaries typically seen on Discovery Channel, this short film reveals the last remaining minute of the prehistoric Sabertooth House-Cat existence in evolutionary history.

Jury members included Oscar-winning animator John Canemaker (The Moon and the Son) and award-winning writer-director-animator Michel Ocelot (Kirikou and the Sorceress, Tales of the Night).

Established in 1997, NYICFF is an Oscar-qualifying event and North America’s largest film festival for children and teens. This year’s edition attracted a sold-out-in-advance audience of 25,000.

Meet The Robinsons (2007) – Walt Disney Pictures

Meet The Robinsons

Meet The Robinsons

CotD: Based On A book by William Joyce “Meet The Robinsons was the first feature under the supervision of Walt Disney Animation president David Stainton.

Meet The Robinsons (2007) – Walt Disney Pictures

Meet the Robinsons follows the adventures of Lewis, a boy genius with a love of gizmos and gadgets, and an undying hope of finding the family he never knew. But Lewis’ journey takes him to a place even he couldn’t have imagined, a place where the impossible no longer exists: the future. When he encounters a mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson, he’s in for the time-travel of his life as he is whisked off to meet a family unlike any other- the sublimely fun and futuristic Robinsons- who will help him discover a series of amazing and heartfelt secrets about his own limitless potential.

Come see “Meet The Robinsons” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Hare-Way To The Stars (1958) – Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Hare-Way To The Stars

Hare-Way To The Stars

CotD: Marvin the Martian takes on Bugs Bunny in “Hare-Way To The Stars, and the universe will never be quite the same again.

Hare-Way To The Stars (1958) – Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Bugs Bunny, groggy from a rabbit hangover, climbs out of his hole and into a rocket ship parked directly above. He thinks that he’s still in his rabbit hole. Reaching the top, he unwittingly stows away aboard the rocket to Mars and is carried off by a satellite onto a futuristic landscape of panels suspended in outer space.

Bugs tries to rent a U-Drive flying saucer from a local character wearing a spittoon: Commander X-2 in his Roman hairbrush helmet. Marvin advises him not to bother, as “the Earth will be gone in just a few seconds. I’m going to blow it up- it obstructs my view of Venus.”

To save the planet from destruction, Bugs makes off with the Aludium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator that the Martian has built.

Come see “Hare-Way To The Stars” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Dr. Devil And Mr. Hare (1964) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Dr. Devil And Mr. Hare

Dr. Devil And Mr. Hare

CotD: Taz’s final appearance in a classic Warner Bros. cartoon short was in 1964′s “Dr. Devil And Mr. Hare.

Dr. Devil And Mr. Hare (1964) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Bugs and the Tasmanian Devil battle it out in a jungle hospital, with Bugs convincing Taz that he’s sicker than he thinks.

Come see “Dr. Devil And Mr. Hare” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

“Rugrats” director, producer Jim Duffy dead at 75

Jim Duffy

Jim Duffy

Multiple Emmy-winning animator, director and producer James “Jim” Duffy, a 20-year Klasky Csupo veteran, died Friday after a long battle with cancer. He was 75.

He died peacefully at home in his sleep surrounded by his family.

Duffy supervised many Klasky Csupo shows, particularly Rugrats, directing more episodes of that series than any other artist. During his career, he was involved in over 400 half-hours of animated TV series, commercials and National Coal Board Safety Films as a director, animator, producer, writer, tracer/painter, storyboard artist and/or designer.

“Jim Duffy will be greatly missed,” said animation producer Mary Harrington, a colleague on Rugrats and Aaahh! Real Monsters. “I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to work closely with this talented director for several years. I learned so much working with him as did many of the greatest artists in our industry who also had the opportunity to work with Jim. He was a kind and quiet leader who leaves an extraordinary legacy of great films that we his friends and fans may enjoy forever.”

Said Jerry Hibbert, another former co-worker: “You didn’t really work with Jim. You could work at the next desk to Jim, as I did for several years. Jim liked to work solo. He wrote his own scripts, did his own keys, his own in-betweens, his own trace and paint. But he also liked people around him. He was the gentlest, kindest, most generous man you could imagine, and completely absorbed in his family, his friends — and animation.”

“Jim Duffy was an unusual talent, as he never told anyone how good he was,” said animation director Jimmy Murakami of When the Wind Blows and The Snowman fame.

Besides Murakami, Duffy worked with such major animators as Steve Bosustow, Fred Crippen, George Dunning, Charles Eames, John Halas, Stan Lee, Bill Melendez, Bill Sewell, Charles Swenson and Fred Wolf.

In 1994 and 2003, Duffy shared Daytime Emmy wins for Outstanding Animated Children’s Program for Rugrats. The series earned him a shared Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Animation in 1995.

He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program for Rugrats in 2000, 2001 and 2002. In 2004, he shared a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program for the series.

Duffy was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Rugrats in 1993. And in 1995, he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) for the TV special A Rugrats Passover.

In 2002 and 2003, As Told by Ginger brought him Emmy nominations for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour). He was nominated in 1991 for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and in 1995 for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Animation for Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.

He was creative producer and director of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocket PowerAs Told by Ginger and All Grown Up. Before that, he worked at Murakami-Wolf, Hanna-Barbera and Marvel on various shows, including Captain Planet, Smurfs, G.I. Joe and Jem.

Duffy produced the mini-series G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra (1984), the 1987 series Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light and the TV-movie Solarman (1986). Senior executive producer of the 2001 TV documentary Rugrats: Still Babies After All These Years, he was creative producer of the video shorts The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: Scared Silly (1998) and The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: The Legend of Grimace Island (1999).

Director of the 2006 TV series The Adventures of Chico and Guapo and the 1975 documentary short Safety Senses, he was assistant director of the 1975 TV-movie The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

Duffy was an animation supervisor for the TV series The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Super Friends and Laverne & Shirley in the Army (all 1981). He was an animation director of the 2008 cartoon movie Immigrants (L.A. Dolce Vita).

He animated the 1983 TV series The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, as well as that year’s TV-movies My Smurfy Valentine, Peter and the Magic Egg and The Great Bear Scare. Duffy animated the TV shorts Puff and the Incredible Mr. Nobody (1982) and What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? (1983), in addition to the 1977 movie The Mouse and His Child, the 1976 theatrical short Sooper Goop, and the “Hotbook” animation sequence in the 1990 movie Book of Love.

A sheet timer for the 1995 TV series Dino Babies, Duffy also was an animation timer for Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man (1994-96). Duffy was a storyboard artist for the 1990 series Captain N & the Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.

His own personal short projects were screened at festivals in Bilbao, Lucca, Nancy, Nyon, Oberhausen, Tours and Zagreb.

Although born in the United States, Duffy divided his career between London and Los Angeles.

Jim Duffy’s marriage to the former Cella Nichols ended in divorce. He is survived by three children, who all hold positions at Klasky-Csupo: Vera, a freelance writer; James, a props designer; and Barbara Duffy, who is in production.

Services are set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31 at the Old North Church at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) – DreamWorks Animation

Monsters vs. Aliens

Monsters vs. Aliens

CotD: Based on the horror comic book “Rex Havoc,” “Monsters vs. Aliens was the first DreamWorks Animation film produced in stereoscopic 3D.

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) – DreamWorks Animation

When California girl Susan Murphy is unwittingly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49 feet, 11 inches tall.

The military jumps into action, and Susan is captured and secreted away to a covert government compound. There, she is renamed Ginormica and placed in confinement with a ragtag group of monsters: the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D.; the macho half-ape, half-fish The Missing Link; the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B.; and the 350-foot grub called Insectosaurus.

Their confinement is cut short, however, when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and begins storming the country. In a moment of desperation, the President is persuaded to enlist the motley crew of monsters to combat the Alien Robot and save the world from imminent destruction.

Come see “Monsters vs. Aliens” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase