Tag Archives: Short

Cartoon of the Day: Hurdy-Gurdy Hare

Hurdy-Gurdy Hare

Hurdy-Gurdy Hare

Robert McKimson paired Bugs Bunny with Gruesome Gorilla in 1950 for Hurdy-Gurdy Hare. Anytime Bugs got to play against the Gorilla it was fun, and this film was no exception. Seen it? Watch it today if it has been a while, or you need a good laugh or three!

Bugs buys a hurdy-gurdy and a monkey so that he can enter the music business, but the monkey rips him off.

Cartoon of the Day: Bewitched Bear

Bewitched Bear

Bewitched Bear

The episode Bewitched Bear is from the The Huckleberry Hound Show, the first successful animated television series by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. After making the transition from theatrical to television, Hanna-Barbera became synonymous with TV animation, and were the pioneers in the field.

 

Yogi and Boo Boo use a flying broom from a witch to steal picnic baskets.

First aired the week of January 18, 1960.

Yogi Bear began his long-lived cartoon career in his self-titled segment on “The Huckleberry Hound Show.” Later, this episode was repeated in Yogi’s spin-off show “The Yogi Bear Show” and shown with “Yakky Doodle“, and “Snagglepuss.”

Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts Come to Theatres February 1

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar

Oscar Time!

ShortsHD The Short Movie Channel, working with Magnolia Pictures, will release The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013 in over 260 theatres across the United States, Canada and Europe on Friday, February 1.

This is the eighth year of the Oscar Nominated Short Film Theatrical Release.

The announcement comes on the heels of last year’s record-breaking release, which was one of the top 50 grossing independent film releases in North America, earning over $1.7 million. Since its debut in 2005, the Oscar Nominated Short Films theatrical release program has grown 800%.

A key fixture of the awards season, the theatrical release featuring animation, live action and documentary short films is the only opportunity for audiences to watch the nominated shorts prior to the 85th Academy Awards ceremony on February 24.

This year’s release breaks new ground: a past Oscar winner in that category will host each film. Hosting the animated shorts program are Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, who won the Academy Award for their animated short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011).

This year’s release includes the following Oscar-nominated animated short films:

Adam & Dog (dir. Minkyu Lee, U.S.A.)
The story about the dog of Eden. What happened in those first days of Creation that made Man and Dog so inseparable? The dog, as he lives through this curious world, encounters a strange creature; a human being named Adam — and with that discovers a new-found connection to the world.

Fresh Guacamole (dir. PES, U.S.A.)
Learn how to transform familiar objects into Fresh Guacamole!

Head Over Heels (dir. Timothy Reckart, United Kingdom)
After many years of marriage, Walter and Madge have grown apart: he lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling. When Walter discovers a long-lost memento of their wedding day, he tries to reignite their old romance. But it brings their equilibrium crashing down, and the couple that can’t agree which way is up must find a way to put their marriage back
together.

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” (dir. David Silverman, U.S.A.)
Maggie Simpson spends a day at the Ayn Rand Daycare Center, where she is diagnosed at an average intelligence level. Longing to be grouped with the gifted children, Maggie finds her destiny by rescuing a lonely cocoon from Baby Gerald, who is busy smooshing butterflies.

Paperman (dir. John Kahrs, U.S.A.)
Paperman follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced that the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.

Cartoon of the Day: Somewhere In Dreamland

Somewhere In Dreamland

Somewhere In Dreamland

From the Fleischer Color Classics series, today we celebrate Somewhere In Dreamland. While this was not the first cartoon in the Color Classics series, it does have the unique distinction of being the first from the series produced in three-strip Technicolor. The prior shorts were all done in the inferior two-strip process.

A poignant story of two poor children who are out collecting firewood when they pass by a toy store, market and finally a bakery. They drool over the wares in the bakery window but walk away before the owner can come out and present them with two cupcakes. The kids go home and eat a meager supper before going to bed. They both dream they are in dreamland, where everything is free-cookies, candy, cakes, popcorn and toys. When they wake up, it’s all gone, but the three merchants have stopped by to lay out a huge feast for them. Lovely story with timeless music.

Carton of the Day: Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs

Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs

Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs

Easily the most controversial of all Bob Clampett’s films, Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs was never intended to offend, but rather to entertain. What Clampett had intended as a celebration of Black music and culture of his time has turned into a touchstone of racist film making at Warner Bros. Additionally, being a War film, there are some very disparaging comments about the Japanese in the film. So what do you think- is this cartoon historically significant enough to rise above it’s racial overtones, or is this more of the man keeping prejudice alive?

A blackface parody of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with a strong swing backbeat… and no apologies!

Mammy (who resembles Aunt Jemima) tells her “Honey Child” the story of “So White” and the wicked Queen who “was as rich as she was mean.” “She had everything,” including sugar, coffee, auto tires, scrap metal, Chattanooga choo-choos, and a family coat of arms consisting of dice and switchblades. So White is a lascivious sexpot forced to wash miles and miles of laundry as she sings “Blues in the Night.” “Magic Mirror on the wall, send me a prince about six feet tall,” intones the Queen. When zoot-suited, thick-lipped hipster Prince Chawmin’ (who has dice for teeth!) finds So White “dynamite,” the Queen calls in Murder Inc. to “black out So White.” Prince Chawmin’ and the dwarfs are all miniature caricatures of Fats Waller, except for one who resembles Stepin Fetchit. The prince kisses and tries to revive the heroine.

According to Beck and Friedwald, Coal Black is a Bob Clampett masterpiece, and certainly one of the greatest Warner Bros. cartoons ever made. Sure to offend, but not to be ignored.

In 1968, United Artists (then owners of the A.A.P. library of pre-1948 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons) compiled the cartoons they considered too potentially offensive to be shown on television, and withheld those cartoons from distribution. AT that time, UA felt that these eleven cartoons should be withheld from broadcast because the depictions of black people in the cartoons were deemed too offensive for contemporary audiences.

This cartoon is one of those withheld from distribution, one of the so-called “Censored 11.” (The “Eleven” are: Hittin’ the Trail for Hallelujah Land (MM,1931), Sunday Go to Meetin’ Time (MM, 1936), Clean Pastures (MM, 1937), Uncle Tom’s Bungalow (MM, 1937), Jungle Jitters (1938), The Isle of Pingo Pongo (MM, 1938), All This and Rabbit Stew (MM, 1941), Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (MM, 1943), Tin Pan Alley Cats (MM, 1943), Angel Puss (LT, 1944), and Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (MM, 1944)). More recently, when Ted Turner became owner of the library, he continued the ban, and refused to allow any of these cartoons to be shown or released on video. To date, these shorts have not been officially broadcast on television since 1968. However, according to a recent e-mail, a woman in Phoenix claims that she has seen this on television there recently.

Along with black stereotypes, this cartoon features savagely anti-Japanese jokes (the film was made a year after Pearl Harbor).

Vivian Dandridge (the voice of So White) and Ruby Dandridge (the voice of Queenie) were the sister and mother, respectively, of actress-singer Dorothy Dandridge.

Jimmy Durante is caricatured.

A unique “That’s All, Folks!” card features an animated shot of Mammy and a little girl rocking in an armchair.

Working title: “So White And De Sebben Dwarfs.” It was changed at the last minute because someone in film marketing at Warner Bros. pointed out that in those days the theaters sometimes included the name of the cartoon short on the marquee, and was concerned that some people would think that the Disney feature was being shown, and be angry about the “false advertising.” So the name was changed and became “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs”.

Clampett wanted an all-black band to score the cartoon, much like how the Fleischers had Cab Calloway score the Betty Boop cartoons they were featured in. Producer and noted tight wad Schlesinger refused to fund the endeavor, and the black band Clampett had hired, Eddie Beals and His Orchestra, only recorded the music for the final kiss sequence. The rest of the film was scored, as was standard for Warner cartoons at the time, by Carl W. Stalling.

In the late seventies, Bob Clampett defended this cartoon. He said:

In 1942, during the height of anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II, I was approached in Hollywood by the cast of an all-black musical off-broadway production called Jump For Joy while they were doing some special performances in Los Angeles. They asked me why there weren’t any Warner’s cartoons with black characters and I didn’t have any good answer for that question. So we sat down together and came up with a parody of Disney’s “Snow White” and “Coal Black” was the result. They did all the voices for that cartoon, even though Mel Blanc’s contract with Warners gave him sole voice credit for all Warners cartoons by then. There was nothing racist or disrespectful toward blacks intended in that film at all, nor in Tin Pan Alley Cats which is just a parody of jazz piano great Fats Waller, who was always hamming into the camera during his musical films. Everybody, including blacks had a good time when these cartoons first came out. All the controversy about these two cartoons has developed in later years merely because of changing attitudes toward black civil rights that have happened since then.

Alternate Title: “So White And De Sebben Dwarfs” (Working Title).
 

Cartoon of the Day: Hare Do

Hare Do

Hare Do

From 1949, Hare Do is one of the great Bugs Bunny-Elmer Fudd meetings. Directed by Isadore Freleng, the short was animated by Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, Gerry Chiniquy and Manuel Perez, this short has a surprise character in addition to the two stars.

Another classic episode as Elmer chases Bugs into a theater and ends up being the main attraction and the main course for a lion.

A painting in the theater is apparently of a nude lady! (However, there’s not much detail.)

The last cartoon where Bugs is seen sitting on The Warner Bros. Shield and then he pulls it down.

Cartoon of the Day: Bosko In Dutch

Bosko In Dutch

Bosko In Dutch

An early Looney Tune, Bosko In Dutch is generally unremarkable in its story telling, animation or direction. However, the short is important because this was the first cartoon that one of the greatest cartoon directors ever supervised- albeit uncredited.

Bosko and Honey get in and out of trouble. Just like usual, only thins time in Holland. You can tell because every building has a windmill.

The last appearance of Goopy Geer (seen here in a cameo).

The first cartoon directed by Isador “Friz” Freleng (who was uncredited).

The song “Ach du lieber Augustine,” better known to school kids as “Hail to the Bus Driver Man,” is on the soundtrack.

Cartoon of the Day: Herr Meets Hare

Herr Meets Hare

Herr Meets Hare

Back to World War II with Herr Meets Hare, an Isadore Freleng propaganda film from 1945. And who wouldn’t want to see Adolf and Herman face off against…. Bugs Bunny!

Hermann Goering heads to the Black Forest for rest and relaxation; because of a wrong turn in Albuquerque, so does Bugs, who encounters “Fatso” while trying to get to Las Vegas. Bugs taunts the Nazi, who captures him and takes him to Adolf Hitler, but Bugs gets the last laugh- disguised as Stalin.

Great parodies of Goering and Hitler. Lew Lehr is also caricatured.

The first short in which Bugs takes that wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Cartoon of the Day: The Sunshine Makers

The Sunshine Makers

The Sunshine Makers

Not a whole lot to choose from today, so I decided to go for unusual. The Sunshine Makers is from Van Beuren Studios Rainbow Parade Theatrical Cartoon Series, and while it may not be the most obscure choice I could make, it is certainly not a series many are knowledgeable of.

This is the story of a community of happy, identical little gnomes who have the ability to distill sunshine into a bottled elixir. Anyone consuming this liquid immediately begins singing and capering about in perfect happiness (despite the obviously radioactive nature of the stuff; it causes an x-ray effect on anyone who drinks it or bathes in it).

In a gloomy forest nearby lives a bunch of misery-loving goblins who only feel good when they feel bad. Seeing the sunshine gnomes as a threat to their way of life, they mount a lame attack on the gnome village. The gnomes fight back by bombarding the goblins with bottles of the sunshine elixir. Soon, the goblins are thoroughly assimilated and everyone is happy.

Originally released as a promotional film for Borden’s Milk, thus the “Borden” script on the title card.

So if you are in the mood to see some early (1935) and unusual animation, pop over to BCDB today and give this one a look… and let us know what you think!

Blue Umbrella serves as cover for Monsters U.

The Blue Umbrella

The Blue Umbrella

To be released just before the new feature film Monsters University on June 21, the six-minute short Blue Umbrella will be the first Pixar film to be made by one of its technical artists.

Camera and staging artist Saschka Unseld is the director. Amidst the rain in a singing city, two umbrellas -– one blue, one red -– fall eternally in love.

The blue umbrella notices and takes a shine to the red umbrella. Distance and natural forces halt their attraction, but objects on the street — such as construction signs and a mailbox — come to life to help bring them together again.

Unseld, 36, is a German native who began working with Pixar in 2008. He got the idea when walking in San Francisco and spotting an umbrella lying in the gutter on a rainy day.

“It was the saddest thing. I stood there and wondered what had happened to him. I think that was when I got the idea of giving him a story,” he recalled.

At first, Unseld got ideas for characters by taking iPhone pictures on San Francisco and New York streets. He asked colleagues to do likewise when they went to such places as Chicago and Paris. One character in the film was inspired by his photo of a manhole cover just two from his San Francisco home.

Meanwhile, he was listening to singer Sarah Jaffe’s music. While shooting an animation test on his iPhone, he timed it to her voice.

Jaffe can be heard in the final film: “She’s been there for me since the inception.”

A photorealistic look was needed, according to Unseld: “If we made it stylized and cartoony, the magic of those things coming to life would be completely gone.”

This entailed techniques not previously used by Pixar: global illumination, in which light is simulated as being emitted and reflected off surfaces, and deep compositing, where images holding three-dimensional data are layered. This results in deeper plays between light and shadow, and greater depth of field.

As well, Unseld slowed filming to 12 frames per second — half the usual rate for movies — at some points. He also varied exposure times, thus resulting in different rhythms of rain.

Unusually, Unseld was directing some of his earlier camera and staging co-workers. Often, he said, he felt guilty when he would send them back with many notes for revisions after they had show him their work.

“If you give someone all that feedback to do all that work, I was used to doing part of that work. Here, I just had someone go off and do all that work by himself. That was a very new experience for me,” he said.

At the same time, however, he considered his background advantageous for good communication with them. “If you work in one of those technical departments, it’s really nice if you have a director who really understands you because you can talk the same language,” he said.

A clip from The Blue Umbrella can be seen on our website now.