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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Warner Bros, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Rupert Murdoch wants to team up the Simpsons and Bat-Mite, and here’s why that’s bad

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I heard about the Rupert Murdoch putting in a bid for Tim Warner a little while ago and thought it was too astounding to be true, but it is. Why would Mr Burns like to own even more of the known media world? Isn’t ruining the Fantastic Four for comic enough for him? David Carr at the NYT puts it all into perspective — the bigger you are, the bigger you need to be, because someone else might be bigger yet.

The giant market capitalizations and market power residing in Silicon Valley have rippled into the rest of the economy. The people behind this sudden surge of proposed media mergers say they are only going on steroids to avoid getting sand kicked in their face by even bigger bullies in the technology world. Comcast will contend that it is not just competing with Cablevision and Charter Communications, but also with Google, Amazon and Apple. And people who make programming will assert that they are trying to grow just so they do not get pushed around by Comcast.

Like the dragons in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” big new digital players are hovering over the media landscape. You don’t want to be wandering around with a tiny sword if your adversaries are airborne and fire-breathing. Many suggest that the only hedge in a consolidating world is high-quality content.

Content is king again yo!

“Rupert did not try to buy Time Warner because he wants to get to own a bunch of cable networks,” Richard Greenfield of BTIG Research said. “He clearly feels that as other players try to enter the media business, content will be more valuable and he wants to get his hands on as much content as possible.”


Nikki Finke, an iconoclastic moody doomsayer after my own heart, has what they really means for the rest of us—i.e. the 99.9999% who can’t buy giant multi-national conglomerates: Here We Go Again: How Rupert Murdoch/Time Warner Merger Would Fuck You In Hollywood. It’s simple: less competition for that content means it’s easier for the content exploiters to exploit that content, although everyone is excited by the idea of EVEN BIGGER CONGLOMERATES.

For the past 25 years I’ve written story after story warning about the downsides of Big Media mergers. But it’s been like pissing in the wind. Neither the FCC nor the FTC nor the DOJ no matter who’s been in the White House have stopped them because of anti-trust or anti-access concerns.

Put 21st Century Fox and Time Warner together, and they make up 25%-to-30% of the market share for movies being made. The Fox and Warner Brothers TV studios are the #1 and #2 film and TV studios in the entire industry. Merging their significant distribution infrastructures — for international box office, home video distribution, and/or digital distribution — would create both revenue and cost synergies for their outsized businesses. That’s good for the companies. Merge their movie and TV production studios who are now bitter rivals looking to sign the best talent, and suddenly directors and writers and actors and showrunners can’t play off the two companies against each other for bigger deals. That’s bad for you.


Nikki also references the 90s, when “synergy” meant ever bigger horizontals and acquistions, a disastrous era then ended when Time Warner merged with AOL, one of the worst mergers in corporate history. That ended the Bigger is Better era of the 90s, especially as smaller internet start-ups began their disruptive drive to steal the eggs of brick-and-morter dinosaurs.

And now? We have even bigger conglomerates, united by the internet and the Big Five —Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft (not quite as big anymore though).

While I’d like to think thence nimble disrupters are now bloated Jabba the Hutts and equally vulnerable to a new disruption from NEW innovators, older more cynical me looks at this new Gilded Age of income inequality and sees little to stop “even bigger is even better” from continuing for quite some time.

As Finke points out, WB has left itself vulnerable exactly BY spinning off its assets from the 90s: publishing, Time Inc, Time Warner and more. I think a Fox Warner would be a disaster for content producers. But that’s just me. I’m a confirmed rather rule in hell than serve in heaven type. Other people would rather sit in the castle, eating table scraps secure in the knowledge that their liege lord owns all he surveys, as the heavily plated Knights stumble around under their splendidly cumbersome hauberks and caparisons.

PS: there have been a lot of stories imagining Fox’s Marvel superhero team-ups with WB’s DC superheroes and while it’s funny, different licenses. That would be like Harry Potter showing up in a DC movie. I’m sure WB’s movie slate has some direct appeal for Murdoch, but I doubt he has much interest in owning a comics company so that is but a blip on this radar screen.

6 Comments on Rupert Murdoch wants to team up the Simpsons and Bat-Mite, and here’s why that’s bad, last added: 7/18/2014
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2. The Akira Project Crowdfunds Fanboy-Approved ‘Akira’ Trailer

Hell hath no fury like a fanboy spurned, but that usually doesn’t occur until after the film in question has been released to theaters. Tired of having their expectations dashed by disappointing news of the long anticipated live-action "Akira" adaptation, fans completed their own live version of a trailer for the popular manga-turned-anime, one that attempts to “do 'Akira' justice” by following the source material as closely as possible.

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3. Bob Clampett Centennial Screening in Zurich

On Thursday, May 30, the Filmpodium Zurich in Switzerland will present a screening of nine Warner Bros. shorts directed by the legendary Bob Clampett. The show is being presented in honor of his centennial, which was earlier this month. Clampett’s work isn’t well known in Switzerland and the film lineup is a solid primer to his work:

  • Porky in Wackyland (1938)
  • A Tale of Two Kitties (1942)
  • A Corny Concerto (1943)
  • Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943)
  • Draftee Daffy (1945)
  • Book Revue (1946)
  • Baby Bottleneck (1946)
  • Kitty Kornered (1946)
  • The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946)

Better yet, each film will be introduced by Swiss animator and historian Oswald Iten, who will discuss different facets of Clampett’s visual style. Iten runs one of my favorite animation blogs Colorful Animation Expressions, where he has recently been writing some fantastically informative posts about Clampett’s art. Ticket and screening details are available on the Filmpodium Zurich website.

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4. Book Review: “The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and the Zen of Animation Design”

The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and
The Zen of Animation Design

By Tod Polson, based on the notes of Maurice Noble
(Chronicle Books, 176 pages, $40, pre-order for $26.50 on Amazon)

By the modest standards of celebrity in the animation world, Maurice Noble is already a rockstar. Few Golden Age layout artists and background designers, with the exception of Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, and possibly Jules Engel, command Noble’s name recognition. Maurice’s fame is primarily attributable to his long-term association with Warner Bros. director Chuck Jones.

Noble’s collaborations with Jones include such classics as Robin Hood Daffy, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, What’s Opera, Doc?, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Dot and the Line and the long-running Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner series. Thanks to that beloved resume, Noble has been spared the ignoble anonymity of so many other classic animation artists.

With such standing in the animation world, and even an entire book-length biography already devoted to his life, one could reasonably expect that everything that could be said about Noble has already been said. Tod Polson’s The Noble Approach proves that that’s not the case. Polson has put together an irresistible package that fuses biography and art instruction, each of its page filled with invaluable insights and incredible artwork, much of it never-before-published.

Polson is one of the Noble Boys, the informal name given to a group of men (and women) whom Noble trained throughout the 1990s at studios like Chuck Jones Film Productions, Turner Feature Animation and his own company, Noble Tales. The Noble Boys have gone on to big things in the animation industry: Ricky Nierva was the production designer of Pixar’s Up and Monsters University; Don Hall directed Disney’s Winnie the Pooh and is writing and directing the upcoming Big Hero 6; Jorge Gutierrez co-created the Nick series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera and is directing Reel FX’s 2014 feature Book of Life.

Some of the Noble Boys encouraged Maurice to write down his thoughts about design and layout for an eventual book. Polson has adeptly compiled and edited those notes for this book, and has combined them with the remembrances of the other Noble Boys about their interactions with Maurice and lessons learned from him, as well as archival interviews with Noble and original commentary from artists like Susan Goldberg and Michael Giaimo.

Polson devotes thirty-four pages of the book to providing a biography of Noble that follows his path which began professionally at Disney on films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi. In spite of its brevity, this biographical section manages to be more revealing and historically well-rounded than the disappointing 2008 book Stepping into the Picture: Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble by Robert J. McKinnon. That well-intentioned book missed the mark—badly. It was understandable that McKinnon’s layperson understanding of the animation process prevented him from providing the kind of process detail that is in Polson’s new book, but his sins of omission made it a letdown as personal biography, too.

Basic and vital details about Noble’s personal and professional relationships that were omitted in that earlier biography are thankfully included in Polson’s book. For example, we learn hat Mary Blair and Maurice Noble were not only classmates at Chouinard Art Institute, but also a romantic couple. That’s a revealing historical tidbit considering that Noble’s giddy use of color is second in animation only to Mary Blair. Polson clearly expresses Noble’s unflattering thoughts about Sleeping Beauty production designer Eyvind Earle, with whom he worked during the production of the industrial film Rhapsody of Steel, whereas the earlier biography only vaguely acknowledged that Noble “may have had some difficulty working with Earle.” Polson also discusses Noble’s more-important-than-acknowledged role on Chuck Jones’ Oscar-winning short The Dot and the Line, an issue that was left untouched in the earlier book.

For all its historical value, the real meat of the Noble Approach follows the biography. In these subsequent sections, we learn Noble’s artistic process step-by-step from the start of a film to its completion. Chapters are devoted to starting a film, story, breaking down the elements, research, design, color, layout, and an oddly ineffectual and anticlimatic two-page chapter devoted to the finished film.

The material covered in these chapters will undoubtedly be familiar to anyone with an art background—values, contrast, simplifying elements, visual hierarchy, compositional grids—but the examples of Maurice’s own work gives us a fresh entry point into these topics. The section on color is particularly fantastic. Color is one of the hardest elements to get right in animated film, and Maurice knew how to walk the thin line between playful and tacky. Polson does a superb job of explaining how Maurice managed to do this by doing a deep analysis of his color palettes.

The section on color, for all its strengths, also represents one of the parts of the book that I wish the author had expanded his scope. Polson makes clear from the outset that this is “Maurice’s book,” but I can’t help but think our appreciation for Noble would have been enhanced further by offering some discussion of his contemporaries at Warner Bros., like layout artist Hawley Pratt and background painter Paul Julian. Contrasting the color theories of Julian, who was the studio’s true master of color in my opinion, would have been an enlightening sidetrip.

A lot of the best information the book isn’t technical, but rather practical advice and the wisdom of experience. This is true of Noble’s thoughts on selling an idea:

To be a successful designer, being able to sell a good idea is just as important as coming up with the idea itself. It’s hard to sell something simply because you think it feels right. You have to be able to logically discuss why it feels right.

—and his thoughts on why the production methods of yesteryear produced better cartoons:

There is more talent working in the industry now than ever before, but sadly the vast majority won’t have the opportunity to work on really good creative stories. The problem isn’t always the type of stories being told; it’s more in the way these stories are being told and developed. There is no room for visual exploration. There is no time for thought and craftsmanship. There isn’t the chance for crews to build trust and synergy.

The production design tips that he offers are applicable to artists today, even if the tools of the trade have changed:

I suggest putting all your research materials away once you start designing and never refer to them again. This may prove difficult at first. But I’ve found that if you are tied too closely to your reference, your designs will tend to look stiff. You will miss out on many fun design opportunities.

or…

Starting rough and not getting specific too early will allow you to keep your design ideas flexible…The more ideas and work you have, the more design possibilities you will have to choose from.

The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and the Zen of Animation Design ranks among the most unique and delightful animation books in recent memory. It goes without saying that the book’s mix of technical tips and advice makes it a must-buy title for professional artists and students, but it should also appeal to fans of classic of animation who will surely gain a renewed appreciation for the Chuck Jones canon. The book will be released on October 1st. For those who are still in need of convincing, the book’s official blog gives a nice sense of the book’s content.

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5. WonderCon ’14: Warner Bros. Presentation

Into the Storm(Some minor spoiler ahead)

Located in the Arena of this year’s Anaheim Wondercon, Warner Bros. treated us to a sneak peak of three upcoming movies that will be hitting the big screen in the next few months. On June 6th, the 70th anniversary of “D-Day,” Edge of Tomorrow will hit theatres nationwide. Starring Tom Cruise and Bill Paxton, this futuristic world on the edge of ruin has Tom Cruise’s character waking up in handcuffs on what appears to be an army training base. He is then approached by Bill Paxton’s character, an army official. It is explained that Tom Cruises character was charged with impersonating an army officer, and is told he is going to have to join the fray for his punishment. As a surprise guest, Bill Paxton himself emerges on stage of the Anaheim Convention Center’s Arena to outcries of cheers. “My character decides that [Tom Cruise] will be reborn again through battle,” says a grinning Paxton. “It’s his nuts and his life on the line.”

Through the trailer, we are led to believe that Earth has come under an attack from a mechanical alien threat, and that this army base is one of the units brought together to fight them back. “I head a unit called J unit, a rag tag collection of men and women,” says Paxton. Along with some heavy duty weapons, J unit comes complete with exoskeleton like armor suits that the characters run around in for what I imagine is for increased strength. “I had just arrived on set, my first day, and Tom was running around in a prototype of the suit. He yells at me, ‘Hey Bill! Have you been working out? Cause these things are heavy.’” Paxton said that the suits needed to be aided by chains because of how heavy they were for the actors. “It was Brutal.”

But what is the ringer for this movie is that Tom Cruise’s character dies in this movie. A lot. Every time he does, he wakes back up in the past, finding himself again in handcuffs. This Groundhog’s Dayish loop adds an interesting twist to this Sci-Fi flick.

Next up for Warner Bros. they have Into the Storm. Directed by Steven Quale, this New Line Cinema collaboration puts the audience in the middle of a fictitious small town as it is relentlessly hit by what seems like wave after wave of tornados. The film style switches between the use of traditional filming and handheld cameras, creating a more authentic like experience. Some of the actors which were present here at Wondercon were Max Deacon, Jeremy Sumpter, Arlen Escarpeta, and (brace yourselves) Richard Armitage. Yes, Thorin Oakenshield of The Hobbit movies.

After the crowd recovered from their near fainting spells, the director and cast discussed how it was to be on set. “We were in the middle of one hundred-a-mile fans, not to mention strewn debris and falling water,” says Richard. “The water was freezing,” added fellow cast member Max Deacon. Into the Storm will be out this August 8th.

And lastly for this presentation Warner Bros. showed what is undoubtedly one of this year’s most anticipated movies. Ever since the teaser at last year’s San Diego Comic-con, fans of Godzilla have been waiting patiently for its release. As it was announced to the audience, the name elicited cheers from everybody, including this reporter. Director Gareth Edwards was also greeted by equal praise. After showing us about five minutes from the movie where Godzilla meets with an almost equally tall but winged creature, Gareth talked about the overall experience of working on the film.

“I thought that out of everything, designing Godzilla was going to be the easiest part. Cause everyone has an idea of what Godzilla looks like. But it actually was the hardest part, because everyone has an idea of what Godzilla looks like. It took almost a year for his design.” Gareth had the idea to do the designing from silhouette. “Silhouettes are all easily recognizable for what they are supposed to be. I thought we should start with that. We started with a Rubik’s Cube like shape, black on white background. We prodded and pulled each piece, rotating as we went, till we felt we got it.”

Though all three movies do look quite promising, by sheer gauging of the crowd’s reaction I would have to say Godzilla is the most anticipated. The Warner Bros. and Legendary collaboration will be out May 16th of this year. I have faith that director Gareth Edwards with his love of monsters will do it justice, and wash from our collective mouths the bad taste left by its predecessor.

~Nicholas Eskey

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6. Constantine, iZombie and The Flash have all been picked up for series

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Wow what a week for DC’s tv properties! iZombie, The Flash and Constantine have ALL been picked up for series commitments! The Flash, which is a spinoff of Arrow, will air on The CW, as will iZombie, based on the Chris Roberson/Mike Allred Vertigo book of the same name. And NBC has ordered Constantine, based on the famed Vertigo comics. Score another one for The Original Writer!

iZombie will be helmed by Veronica Mars Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero. Arrow’s Greg Berlanti is running The Flash as well while Geoff JOhns wrote the pilot, which I’m sure made him very very happy. David Goyer is running Constantine, which stars Matt Ryan as the rumpled demon fighter.

NBC’s also passed along the first still from Constantine which features Ryan and Lucy Griffiths, and doesn’t look stilted or posed at all. Also: trenchcoat rumbledness is wayyyyyy too low. Work on that, Smithers.

Harold Perrineau and Charles Halford are also in the cast.

This is a pretty stunning sweep for Warner’s TV unit, and reinforces why investing in the Vertigo imprint is still a good idea from a development viewpoint. It’s also a nice riposte to Marvel’s dominance in the movie sphere.

This week, everything isn’t coming up MIlhouse, but it is coming up Warner Bros./DC TV.

9 Comments on Constantine, iZombie and The Flash have all been picked up for series, last added: 5/9/2014
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7. “90 Day Wondering” By Chuck Jones

The post about the 1955 Chuck Jones short A Hitch in Time was well received, so let’s complete the story. Jones made at least two more military propaganda films following that one—90 Day Wondering in 1956 and Drafty, Isn’t It? in 1957.

The gem of the bunch may be 90 Day Wondering. I’d seen some of Maurice Noble’s layout concepts for this short when researching the book Cartoon Modern, but regretfully, hadn’t seen the short. It is an absolutely fantastic example of the ‘cartoon modern’ aesthetic, with an astounding level of craft that is far beyond the needs of the plebeian ideas expressed in the film.

The first minute of the film has an expert piece of temporal and spatial compression. We follow the main character’s ecstatic journey out of the military and back to his hometown while he runs around in a whirlwind a la the Tasmanian Devil. It’s also a great use of animated movement to illustrate the inner emotions of a character.

When the main character is finally revealed to the audience, he has arrived at his hometown of Spooner, which also happens to be Maurice Noble’s birthplace (Spooner Township, Minnesota). Noble is at his peak of layout powers in this short. He plays liberally with exaggeration of shapes in the background, perspective, pattern and color, and thinks nothing of it to key some of the backgrounds in full color while using stark white backdrops for other scenes in the film.

The main character, Ralphie, is designed with more realism than one might expect of a Warner Bros. cartoon, but that is a direct consequence of the cartoon’s purpose, which was first and foremost to convince military personnel to re-enlist. Ralphie’s realistic design also plays a nice contrast to the cartoonier characters Pete and Re-Pete, who play the role of his conscience.

It’s a thrill at this late date to discover new Chuck Jones cartoons from the Fifties. It’s also educational. Looking at Jones films that I’ve never seen allows me to be objective about their quality in a way that I can’t be about the classic Jones shorts that I’ve seen dozens of times.

This trio of military-propaganda shorts that Jones made is phenomenally impressive. Jones’s crew brings a level of expertise and professionalism to the table that is woefully lacking (dare I say, completely absent) in much of today’s cartoon animation. If anything, the films should serve as a reminder that almost any idea or concept can be enhanced by animation if the animation is entrusted to filmmakers who are passionate about the craft of visual storytelling.

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8. First Look: Looney Tunes Platinum Vol. 2

Unabashed Plug: Out next week is Vol. 2 of Warner Home Video’s Blu-ray cartoon collection, Looney Tunes Platinum Collection. I’m a little biased because I helped put together the set which includes fifty Warner Bros. cartoon classics, restored to pristine condition, now in glorious 1080p Blu-ray format – containing such masterpieces as A Wild Hare, Book Revue, You Ought To Be In Pictures, the complete Cecil Turtle trilogy, The Nasty Canasta collection, the Chuck Jones’ Bugs-Daffy-Elmer Hunting trilogy, the complete works of Beaky Buzzard, A. Flea and Tex Avery’s Art Deco classic Page Miss Glory. Not to mention a nifty 28-page color booklet (written by yours truly).

The complete contents are listed here. I just got my advance copy and can’t be more pleased about how it turned out, especially as it restores original titles to several films, and a lost ending gag to the seminal Hardaway-Dalton rabbit-hunting cartoon Hare-um Scare-um (1939). Pre-order it now – and yeah, it’s available on DVD (minus a bonus disc and several bonus features). Highly recommended!

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9. Warner Bros. Animation/Hanna-Barbera Scholarship

Calling all students! Warner Bros. Animation is trying to get the word out on an animation scholarship program that the studio is offering to graduating high school students/incoming college Freshman. Below is the basic info along with a link to the application. It’s a great opportunity… don’t be a moroon – go for it!

2013 Warner Bros. Animation/Hanna-Barbera Honorship

Who: Any graduating high school senior enrolling in a college, university, or trade school to study animation.

What: Through the Warner Bros. Reach program, one outstanding student is awarded the Hanna-Barbera/Animation Honorship each year that includes a scholarship and four full-time paid internships at the company during four consecutive summers while enrolled in college. Successful Reach program graduates will be eligible for full-time positions at Warner Bros.

How: Application (w/ instructions) can be downloaded via this link.

When: Application deadline is by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2013

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10. Dallas Opera to Hold the World’s Largest Screening of “What’s Opera, Doc?”

After drawing a crowd of 15,000 attendees to Cowboys Stadium for a live simulcast of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, the Dallas Opera aims for repeated success this April with Turnadot. This year’s curtain-raiser, however, will be the world’s largest screening of What’s Opera, Doc?, displayed on the Stadium’s record-breaking 160-foot wide, 72-foot tall HD screens. 

Surprisingly, Cowboys Stadium was planned from the outset to bring high art into the lives of sports fans—Gene Jones, the wife of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is almost solely responsible for the Stadium’s museum-quality collection of contemporary art. This arena-turned-cultural center will provide the setting for the latest chapter in the love-hate relationship between animation and classical music.

With Fantasia, Walt Disney quite literally tried to align animation with the high arts, with ostriches unironically performing ballet pas de deuxs set to the “Dance of the Hours” from the opera La Gioconda. Eventually, animation and classical music became a tongue-in-cheek pairing; during the early 1950s it was commonplace to see Wile E. Coyote assemble a spring-loaded rocket launcher to the sounds of a lilting oboe. By the time Chuck Jones produced What’s Opera, Doc? in 1957, it was a way of saying “Screw ‘em,” to the established arts. “I never made a cartoon that didn’t contain some flick-of-the-wrist at the establishment of the day,” said Jones in Chuck Jones: Conversations.

This April, in a very public arena, Jones and his work will be embraced by the very establishment he parodied. Only now, as opera faces its biggest identity crisis, does it wholeheartedly embrace the exaggerated cultural conventions we’ve established over the years: busty valkyries, lovesick brutes and overdone pageantry. Keith Cerny, the CEO of Dallas Opera acknowledges that What’s Opera Doc? is “still creative, interesting, fresh, plays off the same stereotypes about opera that we’re addressing today.” Proponents of opera have realized that the best chance of fruitful survival is to laugh with us—if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

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11. Bruce Timm Steps Down As Warne Bros. Animation Supervising Producer

From a report on ComicBookResources.com:

Cartoonist Bruce Timm has stepped down as supervising producer at Warner Bros. Animation to develop his own projects. He’s been replaced by James Tucker, a veteran of Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League and, more recently, Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

It’s the end of an era.

(Thanks, Paul Burrows)

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12. Bruce Timm Steps Down As Warner Bros. Animation Supervising Producer

From a report on ComicBookResources.com:

Cartoonist Bruce Timm has stepped down as supervising producer at Warner Bros. Animation to develop his own projects. He’s been replaced by James Tucker, a veteran of Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League and, more recently, Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

It’s the end of an era.

(Thanks, Paul Burrows)

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13. WonderCon 2013: Tarzan tells a tale of Tiger at Warner Bros. Pulp TV Panel

A powerful looking Ron Ely, star of the TV’s “Tarzan”(1966-1968) and “Doc Savage: Man of Bronze” (1975) spellbound his audience at WonderCon Friday, relating his fight with a wild tiger.  According to Ely, “The Script read: Tarzan sees tiger, Tarzan fights tiger, Tarzan and tiger walkaway in opposite directions with mutual respect.” Instead of firing the writer and walking off the set as would likely happen these days, the actor concerned himself with how to achieve the scene. Contacting the San Diego Zoo, Ely and his producer’s were able persuade Zoo officials to detour a recently captured tiger from India to the set of “Tarzan” in Burbank.  Gaining the big cat’s trust by his attending every feeding,  Ely and the Tarzan production crew took precautions to insure no one would be hurt.  By forbidding a gun on the set, Ely was also insuring the tiger’s safety.

“When we were set to film I hit him on the nose and he gave me a look like ‘Is that the best you got?’ I hit him again and he ignored me. There was only one other thing I knew to do to rouse him–if I turned my back.” Sure enough, the tiger went flying over Ely’s head to pounce and they wrestled. “To a tiger, its just play,” Ely said with equanimity.  Much to Ely’s own astonishment, the scene came off as written.

You can enjoy Warner Bros. Archive Collection of “Tarzan” and “Doc Savage” available at http://www.wbshop.com/category/wbshop_brands/warner+archive.do.

Also being released by WarnerBros. Archive Collection: “Bomba, the Jungle Boy” (1949) and “The Adventures of Superboy, Season 3″ In coming months there will be additional releases of other Boomer generation Televison shows.  One such is “Maya,” starring Jay North.  The star of “Dennis the Menace”, now a teen, searches the jungles of India for his missing father aboard an Elephant named Maya. The show was a milestone for TV at its time in that it was filmed on location in India.

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14. Today Only on Amazon: Over 350 Looney Tunes for $65

Amazon’s Gold Box Deal of the Day—good for today only—is an amazing value for anyone who is even slightly interested in classic Hollywood cartoons. They’re offering all six Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD sets for $65. That’s 24 discs with over 350 cartoons and far too many extras to mention. Go to Amazon by midnight to order.

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15. Toy Trends Inspired By Pop Culture, Technology, And Social Causes

We were at the Time To Play toy showcase yesterday to keep an eye on the trends coming this spring and summer — and to have a little fun letting our inner child come out to play. As usual, toy makers are putting out toys that are travel-friendly... Read the rest of this post

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16. Steve Kloves to Write and Direct "Defending Jacob"

Steve Kloves, who wrote seven of the eight Harry Potter films, has been asked by Warner Bros. to write and direct a new thriller: Defending Jacob. Defending Jacob is an adaption of William Landry's novel, a New York Times Best Seller. Variety reports:

Set in a wealthy Boston suburb, novel follows a district attorney who must leave his day job to defend his son from a murder charge while uncertain of his son's innocence.
The film is still in the very early stages of production, so there is no set release date just yet.

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17. Let Frank Tashlin Teach You His “SCOT Art” Cartooning Method

Frank Tashlin’s extremely rare 1952 cartooning booklet How to Draw Cartoons has been posted online in its entirety. In the book, Tashlin promotes his SCOT Art technique, which simplifies every cartoon character into squares (S), circles (C), ovals (O) and triangles (T).

Tashlin’s idiosyncratic style is geared more toward print cartoonists than animators, owing to Tashlin’s beginnings as a newspaper cartoonist. Even though his old-school cartooning style was already on its way out when the book was published in 1952, somehow the style looks artful in his confident hands. Throughout the book, Tashlin uses examples from his own illustrated books, including The World That Isn’t, which still holds up as a masterpiece of graphic art commentary.

Not to take this too far off-topic, but if you’re interested in learning more about Tashlin, I’d also recommend this Michael Barrier interview, which was conducted just one year before Tashlin passed away.

Tashlin has never been properly given his due as an animation director, mostly because his career as a live-action director eclipsed his earlier work. But he was easily among the most forward-thinking, singular and influential animation directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Below is a fine example of his innovative directorial style—the 1943 Warner Bros. short Puss n’ Booty.


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18. Obama Is Bugs Bunny, Romney Is Daffy Duck

If you’re trying to understand the 2012 US Presidential elections, here it is in cartoon terms: Barack Obama is Bugs Bunny, Mitt Romney is Daffy Duck. I’m voting for Porky Pig.


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19. A Must-Read Interview With Forgotten Animation Legend Phil Monroe

Golden Age animator Phil Monroe (1916-1988) is rarely discussed, even amongst animation cognoscenti, which is unfortunate because he had an amazing career. Over the course of his career, he animated for an honor roll of legendary directors including Bob Clampett, John Hubley, Chuck Jones, Pete Burness, Friz Freleng, and Frank Tashlin. Animation historian Michael Barrier has posted a never-before-published 1976 interview with Phil Monroe that he and Milton Gray conducted.

The interview delves into details that may appeal to only a small portion of our twenty thousand-plus daily readers, but if you appreciate classic Warner Bros. shorts and animation history in general, the interview is guaranteed to blow your mind. There’s even a great story about how Monroe got Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng to square dance with one another, even though “they were barely on speaking terms.” Barrier conducted a follow-up interview with Monroe in 1987, which he promises to publish online soon.


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20. 72 Years Ago Today: Bugs Bunny Was Born

Seventy-two years ago today — on July 27th, 1940 — Bugs Bunny appeared in Tex Avery’s A Wild Hare. The Warner Bros. short is widely considered to be the first definitive Bugs Bunny cartoon, in which the character’s appearance, personality and voice gelled as a whole. It’s also the first time Bugs, voiced by the inimitable Mel Blanc, uttered his famous catchphrase, “What’s up, doc?”

All the major players involved with the production of A Wild Hare are dead except for one individual: 94-year-old Bob Givens. He was the character designer who redesigned the studio’s clumsy-looking rabbit character into the familiar design below. You’ll notice that Givens calls the character “Tex’s Rabbit” because they hadn’t officially christened him Bugs Bunny yet.

Bob can also claim responsibility for redesigning Elmer Fudd into the recognizable character that we know today. He speaks about working on A Wild Hare in this interview conducted by animation historian Steve Worth and animators Will Finn and Mike Fontanelli:

Bob Givens means a lot to me personally because he was the first animation artist that I ever interviewed. Who knows where I’d be today if Bob hadn’t been patient and encouraging of my interest in documenting animation history. I wish I could remember how I got in touch with him—it may have been simply by looking him up in the phone book—but when I first went to Bob’s modest bungalow home in North Hollywood, I was unaware of just how much of a key figure he’d been throughout the history of Golden Age Hollywood animation. I learned quickly though.

In 2001, a few years after our first interview, I had the honor of interviewing Bob a second time. This time it was onstage at the San Diego Comic-Con International where he was joined by fellow WB veteran Pete Alvarado. It’s doubtful that the event was recorded onto video, but this photographic memory remains:


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21. Warner Bros. Announces Exclusive Features in Harry Potter Wizard's Collection; Video of Cast Exploring the Boxset

In celebration of a certain wizard's birthday today, Warner Brothers have released the list of exclusive features and memorabilia that will be included in the eight film, 31-disc Harry Potter Wizard's Collection, due in stores on September 10, 2012. Harry Potter Wizard's Collection contains more than 37 hours of special features, including all previously released special features from the eight Harry Potter films and nearly four hours of never-before-seen bonus features.

The complete list is as follow:

Films Included in this Collection – All on Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Theatrical Version and Extended Cut
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Theatrical Version and Extended Cut
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 2D and 3D Versions
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 2D and 3D Versions
Blu-ray Special Features for Hours of Entertainment – Includes all previously released Special Features

  • Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection Bonus Disc: Nearly 4 hours of features including:
    • All New! “The Harry Potters You Never Met” - Meet the stunt doubles for Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as they demonstrate how they balanced major stunt work with seamlessly mimicking the actors they represented and share their favorite moments.
    • All New! “Designing the World of Harry Potter” - Explore how production designer Stuart Craig and his creative team brought J.K. Rowling's imagination to life on the screen.
    • All New! “When Harry Left Hogwarts” (Extended Version) - Hear candid and emotional stories about the final days on set in this extended behind-the-scenes look.
    • All New! “50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments” (Definitive Version) - Take a look back with cast members who share their on and off-screen memories.
    • All New! “Secrets Revealed! Quidditch” – At last, the secrets behind the special effects required for the breathtaking Quidditch scenes are revealed!
    • All New! “Secrets Revealed! Hagrid”- See the camera tricks, towering stand-in and voluminous body suits behind the beloved Keeper of  Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Bonus Disc: Over 2 hours of features including:
    • All New! “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part. 7: Story"
    • Plus all previously released special features!0
  •  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Bonus Disc: Over 4 hours of features including:
    • All New! “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part. 8: Growing Up”
    • All New! “A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe: Extended Version” - with 15 minutes of new footage
    • “Hogwarts’ Last Stand” (Extended Version)
    • Plus all previously released special features!
·  Exclusive Premiums
  •  Memorabilia designed exclusively for the collection by the graphic designers from the films
  • Label Collection –  A collection of prop labels created by the production for potions, wizarding products and more
  • Harry Potter Catalogue of Artefacts – 48-page rigid book featuring the favorite props of the film’s graphic d

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22. “Looney Tunes Bounce” By Mr. Ghetto (NSFW)

Um, I don’t see any putty tats in this video, but I see a lot of nice girls having a good time. And, after all, isn’t that what Looney Tunes are all about.

(Thanks, John Ryan, on Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)


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23. Video: 'Hagrid' Clip from Harry Potter Wizards Collection Special Features

Den of Geek has received a new clip discussing the creation of Hagrid from the special features of the Harry Potter Wizards Collection. The clip includes interviews with Nick Dudman, special makeup effects designer, and Martin Bayfield, the double for Hagrid. Watch the video at this link or below.



The 31-disc Harry Potter Wizards Collection is out Sept. 7 in the U.S. and Sept. 10 in the U.K.

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24. Scary Warner Bros. Costumes

With Halloween just around the corner, Warner Bros. has started selling a new crop of character costumes on their on-line store. Is it just me or do Scooby, Tom, and Jerry all look like demented PEZ dispensers about to vomit up small children?

(Thanks, Alex Rannie)

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25. “A Hitch in Time” By Chuck Jones

A Hitch in Time is a new one for me: a 1955 propaganda short directed by Chuck Jones that encouraged U. S. Air Force personnel to re-enlist. The cartoon appeared last year on the first volume of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection.

What impresses most about this short are the production values. Layout artist Ernie Nordli and background painter Philip De Guard give a masterclass in composition and color.

There is absolutely no reason a didactic re-enlistment film like this needs to look so good except that the artists who made it didn’t know how to do it anyway else. They were craftsmen at the top of their game, and they managed to turn the most mundane material into something entertaining and beautiful.

Chuck Jones is at his peak as an artist, and his character layouts of the two main characters are lots of fun. The animation is equally expert. Although the movement plays second fiddle to Jones’s overpowering poses, it’s no mean feat to give life to designs as organic and complex as these.

The film is no classic, but it’s a must-see for any fan of Chuck Jones and Golden Age Hollywood animation.

(via Cartoon Retro)

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