Want to hear someone yap on about stuff in the media. Start reading here!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Why no rubber hose?

As you may or may not know, rubber hose animation was a novelty in cartoons when they first appeared in theaters in the teens, and into the early 30s. Then, when color became the norm in 1935, rubber hose was considered cheap and unrealistic. John Kricfalusi's discussion on rubber hose on his blog, inspired me. I began thinking to myself why it died out? Was it a restricted dicision? Or did it just abruptly die out the way a fad does? (now that I think of it, stuffing phone booths is something that disappeared for no true explanation).
Here is a picture I took off my TV from Steamboat Willie:
I always thought this was some clever animation. A funny joke too. A cartoony way for Pete to get Mickey's attention. And Mickey rebels by razzing Pete. The antagonist tries to kick the rodent, but he flees the scene, and Pete gets a kick in his own fanny:
This scene used to irk me as a child. Personally any kind of cotortionism (I spelled that wrong, I just know it) still bothers me, but only if it's real. Cartoon body-flexing doesn't annoy me anymore. In fact, it's a great way to deliver a gag! But by the 40s, it was all gone! There was really only one person still doing it by then, and that's Bob Clampett. Watch his cartoon "Baby Bottleneck" and you'll see what I mean. Even his later TV series Beany & Cecil had some flexibility.
But this brings me to an observation on the DVD interview of Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston on Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 1. Johnston comments, that doing rubber hose animation, even doing it today, wouldn't get you a job. You're bosses wouldn't think you were being serious. Well, on one hand, executives today don't know squat, but why would rubber hose be frowned upon?
I know John K. already had a rubber-hose animation discussion, but I'm starting my own. What are you cartoon fans' opinions on rubber hose animation? Should it have stayed, or are you glad it was done with? Or should it have been killed off sooner?
-Brandon "Georgy Girl" Pierce

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

United 93: Speculation Hell

I just saw the film "United 93", and WOAH man, this film is eerie. A "speculation reconstruction" of the events to the Flight 93 plane highjacked by terrorists, but never reached its destination because of the many passengers who fought back at the terrorists who lost control of the plane resulting in a climatic plummet to Earth's soil. I was left in chills as soon as the credits started rolling. That's how powerful this movie is.

I was quite surprised to learn that many of the figures who witnessed the terror events played their own respectful roles in this re-enactment. Even the old guy who blew everything off as just "possible" highjacking appears in this film. Not my popular character for the film. I wanted to boo this guy for his careless acts. What a moron.

The passengers were potrayed by family members of the victims, according to Internet Movie Database. That had to be tough. Acting out the last moments of a loved one. I wonder if family members of the two highjackers potrayed the roles. Probably not, I'd have to look deep into that. One of the actors playing the terrorists had one long ugly eyebrow. Did the guy really have that "Bert mark"? Did the actor have one for real, or was that massive make-up going on?

The scenes of the passengers using the plane phones to call their loved ones is a bit of a tear-jerker. When watching the movie the first time, or have no knowledge of the 93 incident (I didn't. That's how much I pay attention to the news), you're left to wonder if they'll make it. Going into this movie a second time would be tough. Those phone scenes may hit harder, because I'll know they're not going to make it.

Great acting, and great directing from Paul Greengrass (if that's really his name). I recommend this movie. I generally don't like drama flicks, but this is an exception. Because it's historical, and is based on fact. I like those kinds of drama films. Go and see it, and buy the DVD when the time comes. All the lives lost on 9/11/01 deserve our rememberence.

-Brandon "possible highjacker" Pierce

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Music in Cartoons- pt. 1: California, Here I Come

Yo! I'm back! Starting now is a regular series of posts on my blog regarding the music you hear in cartoons. As you may or may not know, in Warner Bros. cartoons, musician Carl Stalling often slipped in actual songs into cartoons. Songs that were kindred to the action on-screen. For example, the song, "We're in the Money" would be played on the soundtrack if a cartoon character was counting money. Today, we'll talk about "California, Here I Come." The ditty was written in 1924, by Bud De Sylva and Joseph Meyer. The song was originally performed by Al Jolson (whom, I'm sure you're aware had an enormous impact on many WB employees). Thanks to Wikipedia for letting me ransack their site (SHHHHH!), here are the lyrics to this time-honored song: When the wintry winds are blowing/ And the snow is starting in to fall/ Then my eyes turn westward/ Knowing that's the placeI love the best of all/ California, I've been blue/ Since I've been away from you,I can't wait 'til I get going,Even now I'm starting in to call: California here I come/ Right back where I started from/ Where bowers of flowers bloom in the sun/ Each morning at dawningBirdies sing an' ev'rything:A sun-kiss'd miss said/ "don't be late,"That's why I can hardly wait,Open up that Golden Gate,California here I come. It should be noted that this song is used as the theme song for Fox's "The O.C." Regarding WB cartoons it is heard in Chuck Jones' "Hair-Raising Hare" when Bugs runs away from the scientist and is packing bags. It's heard throughout Frank Tashlin's "Porky's Railroad", and in Robert McKimson's "Walky Talky Hawky" when Henry Hawk picks up Barnyard Dawg's doghouse and starts hauling it away.If you want to hear a version of this song, I searched AOL and came up with dis: http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/redir?src=singingfish&requestId=e8298c7bf5d64d64&clickedItemRank=1&userQuery=California%2C+Here+I+Come&clickedItemURN=http%3A%2F%2Fdismuke.net%2Fmusicfiles%2Fhowmusic%2Fhereicome.rm And, here's a little tidbit about myself: When I was a little kid watching Looney Tunes like nothing else was important, I used to notice the "California" music in many Porky Pig cartoons. I never knew what the song was, but because it was used in many Porky Pig shorts that I assumed it was Porky Pig's theme music. I was surprised when I saw "Walky..." and heard the music and thought, "Why are they playing Porky Pig's theme in a Foghorn Leghorn short?" Let the heckling begin!