Archive | August, 2008

Animated Mix Tapes In The Age Of Digital

29 Aug

By Kevin Wollenweber

Well, actually, that title is rather misleading.  The format I now use, when I can, for “mixing” favorite cartoons from all studios together is DVD, but as some of you collectors and swappers know, this is extremely limited because each and every professional release made today is copy protected.  While I totally understand why this has to be so, it is disheartening, because there are so many great matches I’d like to make, being a kind of “toonhead” of sorts, but I cannot do so because the copy police are watching at all times!

I treat cartoons in much the same way as I treat music.  In fact, when the station was truly thriving or trying to be something more than what it has become (in other words, when it truly had a focus), Cartoon Network had inspired me to start mixing and matching favorite cartoons with a running theme that would morph and twist into sub-themes as the compilation continued.  In fact, I sent the station one or two such compilations, perhaps in mild support of them just being around with programs like Late Night Black and White or Toon Heads.

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The Best Thing Since Trash Day: The Flintstones and “The Hot Piano” (1961)

29 Aug

Review by Rachel Newstead

The Flintstones: “The Hot Piano”

Season 1, Episode 19

Original Airdate Feb. 3, 1961

Directors: Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera

Writer: Mike Maltese

In Short: Stuck for an anniversary present for Wilma, Fred learns a valuable lesson in economics–don’t buy a piano out of the back of a van. Especially if the seller is a guy named “88 Fingers Louie…”

(Minor edit, to correct a phrase that annoyed me. Changed the phrase  “one of the things that endeared this cartoon to me” to “one of the things that made this cartoon endearing. “8/22/12–Rachel)

With any great TV show–even some that weren’t so great–one episode is often enough to make a viewer into a fan forever.

For Trekkies, it’s “City On The Edge Of Forever”–or perhaps “Space Seed” (the episode that introduced us to Khan, Captain Kirk’s greatest nemesis.) For “I Love Lucy” fans, it might be the “Vitameatavegamin” episode, or the one in which she finds herself submerged in a vat of grapes.

For fans of Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones, however, it’s usually this episode: “The Hot Piano,” from the show’s often brilliant (though critically panned) first season. It certainly was for me.

Looking at the show’s 166 episodes today can seem a bit like watching two different series. There’s the caustic adult sitcom of its first couple of seasons, “inspired” by The Honeymooners but more a sendup of every TV comedy ever known–I Love Lucy, Donna Reed and Ozzie and Harriet turned sideways and transported to the Stone Age.

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My Travels With Chuck

14 Aug

Foreword from Rachel:

Welcome, one and all, to our new “sister site” to the Orphan Toons blog, the title of which comes from Kevin. (And inspired by that coolest of cool “cats”, Cecil The Sea Sick Serpent’s beatnik friend Go Man Van Gogh). We’ll be launching this new venture, however, with a look at a cat of the more literal kind, the unnamed feline of Chuck Jones’ Fin ‘N’ Catty (1943). My editorial comments will be interspersed throughout.

By Kevin Wollenweber

Well, while sitting back and checking out a VHS sampler of favorite cartoons I had created from my laserdisk collection, I was reminded of how much I liked some of the earliest Chuck Jones directions at Warner Brothers, when his “style” started to take hold and his inspiration began to be felt by other animators in his unit–especially the one shots that did not feature any specific characters.

Chuck Jones’ cats are especially funny, as evidenced by the inclusion of “THE ARISTO-CAT” on the fourth LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION set on DVD. A title that was omitted, no doubt, for inclusion in a later volume of LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES under a different banner in later years, is a toon called “FIN ‘N’ CATTY”.

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"Makes A Guy Sore!": Confirmation from Classic Media

13 Aug
"What the hyeck?!" No Cecil on THIS set, folks...

"What the hyeck?" No "Beany and Cecil" here (image from TVAcres.com)

Kevin mentioned it the other day, but now we hear it from the source: the upcoming DVD set from Classic Media will not contain any of the Matty’s Funday Funnies segments featuring Bob Clampett’s Beany and Cecil. Just this morning we received the following e-mail from  John Ruzich at Classic Media:

Dear Sir or Madame:

I am contacting you on behalf of Classic Media, an Entertainment Rights group company. Recently, your website reported on Classic Media’s upcoming August 26th DVD releases of Casper Classic Collection Vol. 1: Trick or Treat and Casper Classic Collection Vol. 2: Casper & Wendy Scare Up Some Fun. Although both releases will contain Casper cartoons that originally aired on television as part of the Matty’s Funday Funnies program, we wanted to clarify that Classic Media does not have any trademark or copyright ownership of Matty’s Funday Funnies including the characters associated with the show such as Beany Boy, Cecil the Sea Sick Sea Serpent, Uncle Captain Huffenpuff and Dishonest John. For the avoidance of doubt, Classic Media is the sole trademark and copyright owner of Casper the Friendly Ghost and Wendy the Witch. If you have any questions and/or require any further clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John Ruzich
Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs
Classic Media, Inc.

Thank you, Mr. Ruzich–we, along with countless other Beany and Cecil fans, are crushed. But at least we know.