Monday, August 21, 2006

More Sugar Frosted Nuggets from the 60's

Now before school, a "Hoppity Hooper" adventure was in order. It was another Jay Ward gem that was barely merchandised or remembered by many. Uncle Waldo, as it was known in syndication, was a trippy snake oil saleswolf who lead around hapless Filmore the bear, and an innocent boy frog, Hoppity Hopper. And yes, you got the Jay Ward Fractured Fairy Tales and Peabody and Sherman in the mix.

"Dennis the Menace" was in syndication in the 60's and 70's but is rarely seen today. Jay North did a great job as the nemesis to "Good 'Ole Mr. Wilson", giving him heart palpetations in every episode. "Where's my nerve medicine?'

Just for the theme song alone, "Super Chicken" will be remembered as part of the "George of the Jungle" show. "Tom Slick", (no relation to Grace) was also memorable. I remember a guy in my jr. High, Kirk Bachman had an animator dad, Bob Bachman who actually animated on the show....too cool!

Can't forget those Quisp and Quake commercials! Great spots for a cereal I did'nt eat. Jerry Lewis as an alien?

No VCR, no DVD, no Tivo. If you missed it, that was it, until reruns.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hanging Ten with Corny Cole

As stated in earlier posts, it was Corny Cole who introduced me to professional animation. Corny and his brother Peter were one of the first surfers on the west coast starting in the 40's in Santa Monica and Malibu. Peter went on to surf giant waves in Hawaii, while Corny stayed in Hollywood to animate Looney Tunes and hang ten at Malibu.

After working at Warners in the 50's and 60's, Corny followed Friz Freleng to De-Patie Freleng to layout several Pink Panther cartoons.

Later in 1974 when I was 14, Corny brought that infamous Flip Wilson animated special to my mothers first grade class. That was it. I was hooked.

Later I ended up at Duck Soup working with his layouts of classic Looney tunes characters like Sylvester for the Nine Lives Dry catfood commercials. Duane Crowther directed, Amby Paliwoda and Jeff Howard animated, Toby Bluth did the BG's and I assisted, I was 19 years old.

I was going through my stuff the other day and stumbled upon these Corny Cole layouts for a Duck Soup Nine-Lives cat food commercial featuring Sylvester and Mark Anthony. Corny worked on the Looney Tunes with Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng until Warner Bros. closed the studio in 1963 (after a stint on production designing U.P.A.'s 1962 "Gay Purr-e" feature film). Shortly after production designing Richard Williams 1977 feature "Raggedy Ann and Andy", Corny brought his distinctive flair to a series of really classic spots in the late 70's. I had the pleasure of assisting animator Amby Paliwoda on a couple of these around 1979.

Later in 1983, I worked with Corny in bringing back Alvin and the Chipmunks. Corny directed the opening title sequence in one week working around the clock. We were pulling 20 hour days and finally ran the whole 60 second thing through the 120 person Hanna-Barbera ink and paint department in 48 hours to make it to air. Whew!

Corny now teaches Life Drawing at Cal Arts in Valencia, and was the proud recipient of the Windsor MC Kay Annie Award in 2006 for Lifetime achievement.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Retro cool

I don't know what it was about the 60's TV animation, but my earliest memories were that TV cartoons were just cooler back then. I don't know if it was the residual sugar rush of the glazed donut from the Helms Bakery home delivery truck that motored down my street daily back then, or what. You'd just hear that truck whistle promptly at 4pm, just in time for the Gigantor cartoon on channel 11, and bam, coolness.

Or maybe it was just the catchy theme songs, like Cool Mc Cool

Then there was Batfink, which any 6 year old at the time knew was hep. Of course, we'd discuss all this at recess.

And even your parents knew Top Cat was cool, since it ran in prime time.

Now the 60's Spiderman was all about the theme song. Ralph Bakshi directed a bunch of these.

And much later in the 80's, The Thundercats took opening title sequences to an extreme, as their opening was 500 percent better than the overall show.

Do you miss coolness in toons?