Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Favorite Things - Part 1

I've decided to post a few of my favorite Looney Tunes collectibles. Two of them are collectible limited-edition Goebel figurines and the other is a limited-edition Bugs Bunny figurine that was sent out by the Collector's Guild at the Warner Bros. Studio Store (which is now closed, unfortunately).

"Rabbit of Seville"
The first is the complete Goebel "Barber Shop" set from 1997. It is based on the classic 1950 Chuck Jones short "Rabbit of Seville". Only 10,098 pieces of this set were produced. All together this figurine is worth about $275. I got a really good deal for it on eBay back in 2008. I remember when I was a kid seeing this in a shop at the mall and wanting to buy it. It was way too expensive but eleven years later I finally introduced it to my home.


"Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century"
This is the one-piece Goebel "In the Name of Earth" figurine from 1997. Unfortunately, it is not the full set. It is based on the classic 1953 Chuck Jones short "Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century". This figurine is worth about $110. I also got a pretty good deal for this on eBay back in 2008. It was the first of these figurines that I purchased.


"Collector's Guild Bugs Bunny Figurine"
This is a Bugs Bunny figurine sent out to Charter members of the Warner Bros. Collector's Guild in 1997. I purchased it for a decent price in 2010. I'm not sure how much it is really worth but I have seen it selling on eBay for around $200.


That wraps up my blog on "My Favorite Things - Part 1". Stay tuned for part two sometime in the near future. I know you are drooling with anticipation.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More Cartoon Favorites

Here are some more Chuck Jones shorts that are in my top ten favorite Looney Tunes cartoons of all-time:

Behind the Hollywood Bowl stage which is playing the opera, The Barber of Seville, Bugs Bunny flees into the backstage area with Elmer Fudd in close pursuit. Seeing his opportunity to fight on his terms, Bugs raises the curtain on Elmer, trapping him on stage. As the orchestra begins playing, Bugs comes into play as the barber who is going to make sure that Elmer is going to get a grooming he will never forget. -- Kenneth Chisholm (IMDB.com)



A wind-up toy in the shapely shape of a female rabbit lures Bugs Bunny out of his rabbit hole and into the castle of an evil scientist who looks exactly like Peter Lorre. The scientist wants to feed the rabbit to his huge, sneaker-wearing monster. The beast, completely covered in orange hair, is frightening enough to leave our hero temporarily speechless - forcing him to hold up a sign that says, "Yipe!" But Bugs Bunny is not easily cowed, and soon the wily rabbit is disguising himself in turns as a lamp, a chatty manicurist, a figure in a framed portrait and a knight on a charging horse, tricking and frustrating his nightmarish opponent at every turn. -- J. Spurlin (IMDB.com)



Daffy is harassed by an unseen, trickster animator, who keeps changing backgrounds on him, messes with the soundtrack, switches props and humilates him with buffoonish costumes. -- Paul Penna (IMDB.com)



Porky and Sylvester spend the night in an old dark house, whose horrors only Sylvester sees. His repeated attempts to save Porky from the ghoulish doings of the killer mice infesting the place only make the skeptical Porky all the more convinced of Sylvester's cowardice. -- Paul Penna (IMDB.com)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Chuck Jones Tribute

I went through a video editing phase last March and created two music videos in memory of animation legend Chuck Jones. The first video contains clips from some of his work on Looney Tunes and the second is a dedication to the classic Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner shorts. The version I'm posting of "A Chuck Jones Tribute" is not the final version but there isn't much difference besides a few clip changes.



Here are a few Chuck Jones sketches I captured a while back from "Chuck Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens":

 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 3 Greatest Cartoons of All-time

I decided that for my birthday I would blog about the three greatest cartoons of all-time. I am of course talking about the "Duck Season! Rabbit Season!" trilogy directed by Chuck Jones in the 1950's. Everything about these cartoons is perfect. The animation, the timing and the word play are brilliant."Rabbit Fire" is probably my very favorite cartoon ever, with "Rabbit Seasoning" and "Duck! Rabbit! Duck!" in a close second and third. I love all of Chuck Jones' work, but in my opinion these are the best of the best.

"Rabbit Fire" (1951)
In "Rabbit Fire" Bugs and Daffy battle it out over which hunting season it really is: rabbit or duck. Daffy is continuously blasted by Elmer Fudd's "elephant gun" as Bugs outwits him through the entire cartoon. It turns out it is really "Elmer Season" so Bugs and Daffy decide to get trigger happy on the clueless hunter.



"Rabbit Seasoning" (1952)
In "Rabbit Seasoning" Daffy posts signs all over the forest claiming it's rabbit season. He runs into some "pronoun trouble" while trying to get Elmer Fudd to blast Bugs and ends up getting shot himself. This cartoon has some of the greatest facial expressions of the trilogy.



"Duck! Rabbit! Duck!" (1953)
In "Duck! Rabbit! Duck!" it is once again duck hunting season and Daffy tricks Elmer Fudd into thinking it's rabbit season. But Daffy falls victim to his own scheme when Bugs keeps switching the signs to be different hunting seasons. One of the funniest shots in this cartoon is when Daffy is shot off-camera, picks up his beak and walks off to give Elmer some more "briefing".



- Ryan

Friday, June 17, 2011

"I Tawt I Taw a Putty Tat!"

I've been watching a lot of Sylvester and Tweety cartoons lately. I've realized I'm so Gung Ho on Chuck Jones' work I never really took as much time to appreciate Friz Freleng's cartoons. He is probably my second favorite Looney Tunes director. I especially love his style from the mid-forties through the early fifties. His characters get rather stiff in the late fifties, and even a little bit in the early fifties. I'm not too crazy about his later Bugs Bunny, but his Sylvester and Tweety cartoons are amazing. Tweety is such a little sarcastic bastard I am always rooting for Sylvester to sink his fangs into that fat yellow head.


My favorite Sylvester and Tweety cartoon is "I Taw a Putty Tat" from 1947. It is one of the few cartoons where Tweety wears his stupid little blue hat. I'm not a big fan of Tweety but he is pretty funny in this cartoon. Probably because he does more than have stupid one-liners.

- Ryan

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why I Love "The Wish Fish Family" and You Hate It

I don’t lead an exciting life. In fact, my life is ridiculously dull. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy bringing cartoon characters to life. I can make stuff actually happen to them. I can fill them with all the love, hate, anger and sadness I feel on a daily basis. I can break their hearts and blow their heads off. Anything I want to happen to them I’m able to make come trueas long as I’m not feeling too lazy. But of all my characters I have grown most fondly of the cast of The Wish Fish Family, the most controversial and politically incorrect cartoon I’ve ever created.

The Wish Fish Family spawned from a character I created in 2003 for the cartoon “Spike and Johny”. He was simply a fish that granted wishes. He had a small role in the awful cartoon and I wanted to see more of him. The Wish Fish was perfect for a quick and simple cartoon, which are the type I prefer to do because I am so lazy. I decided to give him his own sitcom, but instead of it being cheesy and lame it’d be completely offensive and the total opposite of the shows I grew up watching. I gave The Wish Fish the name Harold and made him a total bigot. I thought it would be funny to see a fish spewing racist crap out of his mouth. I didn’t even take into consideration whether or not it would actually offend anyone. I just made it for me and my friends. But years after its creation, The Wish Fish Family ended up causing more controversy than I had ever anticipated.

I entered The Wish Fish Family into a college film festival, again, not thinking of it offending anybody. I was friends with the people running the festival and they were in a hurry to put their reel together. They decided to put The Wish Fish Family in the lineup without having time to really review it. I thought it was cool and didn’t realize what a bad idea it was until I was sitting in the theater waiting for it to be screened. But when it finally hit me I knew it was a huge mistake. People were disgusted and in total shock as I had expected. The theater was filled with students’ parents and it was completely the wrong audience. Even if people thought it was funny they were too afraid to laugh. Although the situation was funny to me, at the same time it sucked that no one really got it. There wasn’t even a moment I was ashamed of the cartoon. In fact, The Wish Fish Family is one of the very few works that I am proud of. When I was presented an award for best web site and had to get up in front of everyone I decided to defend my work instead of apologizing. I still don’t regret this decision. If I could do it all over again I would have gone much further than saying that I enjoy offending people. But the truth is I don’t enjoy offending people. I enjoy making people laugh. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that day. I got several complaints and made most of my classmates hate me. The administration was looking further into the cartoon to see if it had some kind of hidden message they weren’t getting. But the truth is there wasn’t a message; it was just a cartoon about a racist fish that was screened in the festival by accident. The mystery has finally been revealed!

So you may be asking yourself, “Why did you make a cartoon about a racist fish in the first place?” The answer, as I briefly stated before, is because I think it is funny. After the incident I was referred to as South Park but without a message. Although I love South Park and wish I could be as genius as they are, I am not. I don’t put a message in everything, and to be sincere, I just think racism and stereotypes are funny if done properly. A lot of people would consider me a racist because I created such a bigoted character, but for the record I do not consider myself racist. I don’t seriously hate anyone because they are different than me, even if I joke about it. I hate everyone equally. I believe everyone should be open to mockery so I make fun of everything, including myself. That is the only message The Wish Fish Family has if any at all. Learn to laugh at yourself and there will be no reason for hate at all.

After I did the first episode of The Wish Fish Family in 2006, the next year I decided to do another episode revolving around my favorite character, Duck Bill. It turned out to be one of my favorite cartoons, if not the favorite, that I’ve ever done. The characters began to feel more real to me after the second episode. Their personalities started to go beyond the stereotypes. Harold was a selfish bigot who enjoyed making others miserable, especially his gay son who wants nothing more than his father’s love. Helen was a traditional house-wife with no say in anything terrible that her husband does and loves the family unconditionally. Perhaps it doesn’t sound all that original but it is realistic, as I later realized it was somewhat a reflection of my family life growing up. I first realized this when I showed the cartoon to my dad and he remarked, “That wasn’t about me was it?” That is when it clicked. Yes, it kind of was about him. Since then I have purposely put bits of myself into Junior’s character; but removing the homosexual factor, of course.

The writing in The Wish Fish Family is far from perfect. In fact, I will be the first to say it is pure crapit fits the animation perfectly! If you want to judge me on my writing ability none of the cartoons I have animated show what I’m fully capable of. Why? Because I’m just not that good at drawing or animating. I limit myself in my cartoons, which is something I hope to get away from one day. But this is why works like The Wish Fish Family have flourished in the FARToons universe. In some cases the limitations work and in others they don’t. I think The Wish Fish Family is one instance in which it does.

Surprisingly, almost all the feedback I’ve gotten on The Wish Fish Family has been positive. It depends on where people are viewing it, but mostly young viewers take a liking to the offensive escapades. If people could actually find the cartoons I think they’d grow in popularity. Unfortunately, the time has come to move on from The Wish Fish Family and leave its legacy behind. Episode six will more than likely be the final installment of the online series. But maybejust maybeone day an alien civilization will stumble upon The Wish Fish Family and actually understand why the idea of a racist fish is funny.

-- December 16, 2010

Monday, June 13, 2011

Trailer Park Boys: Drunk, High & Unemployed

Bubbles, Ricky and Julian on stage.
I went to go see Trailer Park Boys: Drunk, High & Unemployed on Saturday and it was fucking amazing. I can't believe I actually got to see them in person. The gods of comedy were standing just a few feet from me, yet I wish I had been even closer. I went to buy "meet and greet" tickets but they ran out right as I was about to purchase them. My luck sucks ass so unfortunately I didn't get to have my picture taken with them. My once in a lifetime chance got fucked as always. But the show was still awesome. I think my favorite part was when Bubbles sang "Liquor and Whores". It was pretty intense. I fucking love Trailer Park Boys. I wanted to the punch the people who threw beer bottles at them on stage. Fucking stupid ass drunks. The Trailer Park Boys are fucking legends! You don't throw shit at them even if you are joking! You just bathe in their glory. That is the right thing to do. People are so dumb. I posted some pictures and Bubbles singing "Liquor and Whores" below.

Ricky tries to convince everyone his legs stopped working.
Bubbles singing "Liquor and Whores".
Robb Wells, Mike Smith and John Tremblay thank the audience.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In Memory of Blacky (1993-2007)

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the loss of my best friend and most beloved pet for fifteen years, Blacky. She was literally the greatest cat in the world. I love all cats but I've never encountered one quite like her. She had such a unique personality it was almost as if she was human. But I loved her more than I could ever love any human. Unfortunately, I wasn't around much the year prior to her death because I had moved away. I really wish I had been there to spend more time with her. But when I was home she always rushed to give me love. She never forgot me, even when I was away for months at a time. She was my loyal companion till the end.


I was in third grade when I first encountered Blacky, and it happened to be on Thanksgiving at my grandparent's house. There were two cats outside starving for food and attention so my sister and I fed them turkey. We thought they were strays at the time but later found out they lived across the street. Of course, this was years after we had already taken them in. We named the two young cats Blacky and Zebbie. They both had kittens soon after we gave them a home. I remember coming back from the bowling alley with my dad to find both cats had given birth under a bush by our front porch.

Blacky was a wonderful mother. She rarely left the kittens' sight. Not only her kittens but Zebbie's as well. We ended up giving away most of the kittens and two of them ran off; Corky and Furby. Soon after Zebbie ran off as well. This was one of the first times I remember being devastated. I went looking for her in the woods but never found her. Blacky, on the other hand, stayed around for her whole life. We loved her like a member of the family. If she was ever missing for very long we'd go search for her, even in the rain. Luckily she always came back. Except for on June 12, 2007 when she never returned.

Blacky had gotten diabetes the year before she died and was getting very sick. I remember when she first got sick my mom and I took her to the vet. I was terrified because I knew her time was running out. But when I heard she died I didn't even cry for some reason. It wasn't shock. I wasn't surprised she had passed. I was expecting it. I envisioned myself becoming hysterical if anything ever happned to her. But for some strange reason, I didn't even cry. I think it was because life had changed so much and I was already going through such a terrible time that nothing really affected me anymore. But about a month later when I finished making a video in her memory I finally cried.


I created a cartoon version of Blacky for my animated TV series pitch Senioritis. The scripts are about my life so it was only fitting I included my best friend. But I was drawing cartoons of Blacky long before Senioritis. She was even in my first hand-drawn animation from 2006, the award-winning "Winner Takes Brawl".

I love and miss you so much Blacky. You were everything I could ever ask for in a best friend. You mean the entire world to me. I can only hope that somehow we will be together again one day. I will never forget you.

A Few of Blacky's Favorite Things:
  • Attacking the couch and rug
  • Meowing at the door
  • Sleeping on my computer desk
  • Laying in front of the kerosene heater
  • Rolling in the dirt
  • Hiding in my drawers
  • Leaving dead animals at the doorstep
  • Eating cheese