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