Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Cat Concerto (1947) – Tom and Jerry Theatrical Cartoon

The Cat Concerto

The Cat Concerto

CotD: Extremely similar to a WB cartoon staring Bugs Bunny, “The Cat Concerto” and Tom and Jerry ended up winning the Oscar that year- Bugs would wait another ten for his.

The Cat Concerto (1947) – Tom and Jerry Theatrical Cartoon

Tom is an acknowledged master pianist primed to give his greatest performance of Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody. As he prepares and finally settles down, ready to play, Jerry is determined to disrupt Tom’s concert. Jerry pulls on the strings inside the piano, slams the shutter on Tom’s hands, and generally runs amok. Tom fights him with the piano without missing a single note.

Come see “The Cat Concerto” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

The Stupidstitious Cat (1947) – Noveltoons Theatrical Cartoon

The Stupidstitious Cat

The Stupidstitious Cat

CotD: Buzzy’s debut film was in “The Stupidstitious Cat” an obvious parody of Jack Benny (as the cat) and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson.

The Stupidstitious Cat (1947) – Noveltoons Theatrical Cartoon

Buzzy uses superstitions against the cat that caught him.

Come see “The Stupidstitious Cat” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Scaredy Squirrel wins Canadian screenwriting award

Scaredy Squirrel

Scaredy Squirrel

Nothing But the Tooth,” an episode of Nelvana’s “Scaredy Squirrel” written by Darrin Rose, won a Canadian screenwriting award for animation Monday evening from the Writers’ Guild of Canada.

In “Nothing But the Tooth,” Scaredy loses a tooth and tries to dupe the Molar Owl. The episode aired in Canada and the United States last November 4.

Scaredy Squirrel is based on a series of books written and illustrated by Melanie Watt and published by Kids Can Press.

Other Writers’ Guild of Canada Award nominees for animation were the Sidekick episodes Henchman For A Day, by Richard Clark, and Ye Olde Sidekick Village, by Dan Williams and Lienne Sawatsky; the Franklin and Friends episode “Franklin and the Creepy Clock,” by Karen Moonah; and the Kid Vs Kat episode “Hit the Road,” by Shane Simmons.

Bruce M. Smith won the Canadian Screenwriting Award for movies and miniseries for John A: Birth of a Country, based on the first volume of Richard Gwyn’s biography of John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister.

The TV drama award was won by Larry Bambrick for the Flashpoint episode “Shockwave.” In it, Strategic Response Unit officers Sam, Spike and Raff are trapped in an office building with nine civilians and a bomb.

Former Kids in the Hall star Mark McKinney was given the WGC Showrunner Award to recognize his body of work and creative vision.

North of 60 writer Barbara Samuels received the Alex Barris Mentorship Award for working with up-and-coming writers through the Canadian Film Centre and Humber College.

Other Writers’ Guild of Canada Award winners:

Children and Youth: My Babysitter’s a Vampire, “Revamped,” by Alice Prodanou.
Documentary: Waking the Green Tiger, A Green Movement Rises in China, by Gary Marcuse.
TV Comedy: Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, “A Farewell to Curtis’ Arm,” by Craig David Wallace.
Shorts and Web series: Murdoch Mysteries: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs, “The Vanished Corpse,” by Patrick Tarr.
Writers Block Award: Chuck Lazer.

French Disney voice actor Jean Stout dead at 78

Jean Stout

Jean Stout

Singer Jean Stout, who lent his talents to many French dubs of Disney cartoon movies, died April 10 in his native France, just three days short of his 79th birthday.

Stout was a singer and regular soloist in almost all Disney soundtracks from The Jungle Book (1967) until the early 2000s. His last dubbing role was for a re-release of 1937′s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

In The Jungle Book, he provided the singing voice of Baloo. Stout also lent his beautiful, deep singing voice to the character of Shere Kahn, performing at the end of the sequence involving a quartet of vultures.

Stout was the singing voice of Little John in Robin Hood(1973); Owl, Piglet and Eeyore in 1980s Winnie The Pooh films; and the spoken and singing voice of Tony the cook in the second Italian dub, released in 1989, of Lady And The Tramp (1955).

His work for Disney began in the mid-1960s, when he did voiceover work for documentaries. Encouraged by Jean Cussac, he passed the auditions for the singing voice of Baloo in the French release of The Jungle Book, which came a year after the original English-language version.

He sang in two cartoon film adaptations of the popular Lucky Luke comic books: in 1971′s Daisy Town, performing “Dalton’s Theme,” and in 1978′s La Ballade des Dalton (The Ballad of the Daltons), as a member of the chorus in the title tune.

Born in Gironde, Aquitain on April 13, 1933, Stout moved in the 1950s to Paris, where his bass voice soon became a major success. He became the only bass during the “golden years” of French music in the 1960-70 period, performing on studio recordings, TV shows and tours.

Stout retired because gigs for film dubbing requiring low vocals were becoming scarcer.

The Boy And The Wolf (1943) – MGM Theatrical Cartoon

The Boy And The Wolf

The Boy And The Wolf

CotD: Rudolf Ising was at the end of his career at MGM when he directed “The Boy And The Wolf” as a one-shot cartoon.

The Boy And The Wolf (1943) – MGM Theatrical Cartoon

A little Mexican boy is herding sheep with his dog Perrito. The boy plays a prank on Perrito, pretending the wolf is attacking the flock. Later, when the wolf really comes, Perrito at first doesn’t respond. However loyalty wins out and Perrito saves the day.

Come see “The Boy And The Wolf ” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Alain Chabet’s Houba! stays at numero un in France

Sur la Piste du Marsupilami

Sur la Piste du Marsupilami

Combining live action with animation, Pathe’s release of the adventure story Houba! Sur la Piste du Marsupilami stayed at No. 1 spot in France for the third weekend in a row.

Created by Alain Chabet, the tale (known in English as HOUBA! On The Trail Of The Marsupilami) brought in $6.1 million from 750 venues this past weekend for a total in France of $29.8 million.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a Sony Pictures Animation-Aardman Animations co-production, made $7.8 million this weekend at 4,580 theaters in 46 countries, raising its overseas total to $55.9 million. It opens this coming Friday in the United States and Canada.

Universal Studios’ 3D Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax collected $5.1 million from 3,298 locations in 49 countries abroad, raising its total foreign gross to $83.3 million.

“Persepolis” trial resumes amid heavy security

Persepolis

Persepolis

Tight security marked Thursday’s resumption in the trial of a Tunisian TV station director charged with violating sacred values and disturbing public order for having screened the Franco-Iranian animated feature film Persepolis.

Islamists and supporters of Nessma TV chief Nabil Karoui held rival protests outside the court in the capital, Tunis. Police stood on heavy guard, screening anyone attempting to get into the trial chamber.

Acting like spoiled 5 year-olds who don’t get their way, dozens of young hardline Salafist Muslims set up a loudspeaker outside the courthouse, waving black flags inscribed with Islamic verses and placards calling for Karoui’s execution. They shouted “Get lost! Shameful media get lost!” On the other side of the courthouse, Nessma supporters sang the national anthem and chanted “Free media in Tunisia!”

“It’s a decisive day for freedom of speech and of the press,” Karoui told French news service Agence France-Presse. “The verdict will be historic and will have an effect on the region.”

“Free expression is on trial in Tunisia after the revolution, and this poses a danger to Tunisians who call for the right to express themselves without permission from religious leaders,” Karoui told reporters. “I hope that we can turn a page on this once and for all and return calmly to work at Nessma.”

Last October 7, Karoui’s station broadcast the Oscar-nominated Persepolis (2007), which, through a young girl, tells about the Iranian revolution and its effects. The film infuriated hardliners due to a scene depicting God, whose representation is banned in Islam.

Within two days of the broadcast, Islamic militants held violent demonstrations in Tunis, attacking the TV station’s offices and Karoui’s home.

The court said Thursday that verdict will be delivered May 3. Karoui’s trial opened November 16 and has been adjourned twice.

The trial resumed with Nessma television denouncing what it called an attempt to silence it and complaining that its right to operate freely had been taken away.

Amnesty International urged the country’s new Islamist-led government not to repeat the repression of former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the first leader overthrown in the Arab Spring.

“Prosecuting and convicting people on the basis of the peaceful expression of their views, even if some might find them offensive, is totally unacceptable and not what we would expect from the new Tunisia,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty’s regional deputy director. “It’s reminiscent of the violations of the ousted Ben Ali government and must stop.”

“The judiciary was used in Ben Ali’s day to attack freedom of expression, and we hope that it will not be used now to attack freedoms but to protect them,” said human rights lawyer Radhia Nasraoui, a member of the defense team for Nessma.

France’s International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) sent an observer. French lawyers were in court as well.

The trial “involves a fundamental principle, that of freedom of expression and freedom of creation,” said French magistrate Antoine Garapon of FIDH. He called the trial a test of Tunisia’s democracy.

French press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders sent an observer to the trial. Olive Gre said that she hoped for an acquittal. The trial “never should have taken place,” she told AFP.

“A trial over a film damages the image of Tunisia abroad,” said longtime secular politician Nejib Chebbi.

Disney movie studio chairman Rich Ross resigns

Rich Ross

Rich Ross

Blame it all on an embarrassment of Rich’s.

After less than three years in the job, Rich Ross has quit as chairman of the Walt Disney Company’s movie studio.

Under his watch, the Mouse House released this spring’s partly animated John Carter, one of Hollywood’s biggest bombs in recent years. The big-budget science-fiction saga had been years in the development, with costs zooming to over $250 million.

In March, Disney announced that it anticipated about $200 million in losses for John Carter, causing the studio to have $80 million to $120 million in operating losses overall for the movie division.

Last year, another Mars-set movie, the animated Mars Needs Moms, lost $70 million.

Disney will not name a new studio head immediately, said a source familiar with the circumstances.

“The best people need to be in the right jobs, in roles they are passionate about, doing work that leverages the full range of their abilities,” Ross — named as chairman in October 2009 — told his staff in an e-mailed memo Friday. “I no longer believe the Chairman role is the right professional fit for me.”

“For more than a decade, Rich Ross’ creative instincts, business acumen and personal integrity have driven results in key businesses for Disney,” Bob Iger, CEO of the entertainment giant, said in a statement. “I appreciate his countless contributions throughout his entire career at Disney and expect he will have tremendous success in whatever he chooses to do next.”

Ross, 50, “was a superstar at the Disney Channel, and the results at the studio have not been exceptional,” said Evercore Partners analyst Alan Gould. Nonetheless, he expressed surprise that Ross was leaving. Gould noted his success when president of the Disney Channel, where he created such blockbuster franchises as High School Musical and Hannah Montana.

One analyst blamed his exit on his inability to forestall major writedowns.

“At some level, he takes responsibility for not fixing them or shutting them down,” said Needham & Co. equity analyst Laura Martin. “They need to lower the risk of entry and build franchise films from that base. Not go all-in, hoping it works out.”

Ross joined Disney in 1996 as Disney Channel’s senior vice-president for programming and production. He was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility before being named Disney Channel president in April 2004. Due to his success at the Disney Channel, Iger chose him to succeed longtime chairman Dick Cook, whom Iger forced out, as head of the Disney Company’s film division.

Prior to his tenure at Disney, Ross was a member of the executive team that launched FX Networks. Ross also held several senior positions from 1986 to 1993 at Nickelodeon, where he oversaw talent booking, casting and program development, and was involved in the launch of the channel’s first successful syndicated show and its first international network.

Ross is a member of the board of directors for Hollywood Radio Television Society and Cable in the Classroom — an organization that represents the cable telecommunication industry’s commitment to education. A native of New York and a 1983 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International and English, Ross received his J.D. degree from New York’s Fordham University in 1986.

Analyst Gould expects that investors will be affected little by Ross quitting, as Disney’s much-larger theme-park and cable network businesses are much bigger influences on the company’s financial results.

Disney shares rose 34 cents (0.8%) to $42.42 in Friday afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Frog Jog (1972) – Tijuana Toads Cartoon Series

Frog Jog

Frog Jog

CotD: Poncho and Toro, the Tijuana Toads in “Frog Jog” were renamed Fatso and Banjo when the theatrical series made it’s way to TV.

Frog Jog (1972) – Tijuana Toads Cartoon Series

Toro’s girlfriend finds Toro too fat, so he starts working out. When his girlfriend goes out with Pancho, Toro desperately asks an animator to draw Toro skinny, but instead, the animator draws Toro small, and Pancho and his girlfriend tries to step on him. Then Toro wakes up. It turns out that he had a nightmare.

Come see “Frog Jog” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips (1944) – Merrie Melodies Cartoon Series

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips

CotD: Despite the strong racial overtones of the film, “Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips” has been released to home video, and was not even included in WB’s “Censored Eleven” cartoons.

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips (1944) – Merrie Melodies Cartoon Series

Somewhere in the South Pacific, Bugs, floating in a crate, lands on an island filled with Japanese soldiers. His peace and quiet come to a halt when bombs start hitting the island. Bugs tangles with an angry soldier, then a sumo wrestler, and finally, hundreds more Japanese, whom he outwits in disguise as the “Good Rumor Man.” All finally ends up happy when Bugs finally runs into- of all things- a girl rabbit in a sarong.

Come see “Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase