"What's New" Archives: December 2004
December 25, 2004:
BAH, HUMBUG: In case anyone received a copy of Hollywood Cartoons:
Animation in Its Golden Age for Christmas and is bursting to
say something about it, I've posted a Feedback
page about the book. Joshua Wilson has raised some good questions
about Hollywood Cartoons, including some that I've heard
from other people, and the new page gives me a chance to address
them. Let me also call your attention to the Feedback page devoted
to The Incredibles
matters, where Gene Schiller's comments are new.
FAREWELL TO JOHN K.: With the end of the year approaching,
this seems like a good time to call a formal halt to my vigorous
debate with John Kricfalusi
about cartoon acting and related subjects. I've not heard from
John for months now, and it seems clear he doesn't want to continue
our online discussion.
There is one loose end I need to tie up, though, and it's related
to Hollywood Cartoons. I say in the bookand I repeated
here, in the debatethat there's a scene in Bob Clampett's
Falling Hare in which Rod Scribner takes over mid-scene for
Bob McKimson. This is an error I fell into more than twenty years
ago, and I didn't test it against the cartoon until John K. questioned
my attributions. I've seen Falling Hare again recently, and
it's clear to me now that John is right, and McKimson animated the
entire scene. I've added a correction to the list of corrections
for Hollywood Cartoons.
December 23, 2004:
PARKER, HUNTER, AND FORD: Mark Mayerson and Keith Scott
have pointed out that Jeffrey Hunter appeared in leading roles in
two more John Ford-directed movies after The Searchers. He
was also in The Last Hurrah (1958) and Sergeant Rutledge
(1960). I've added a bracketed sentence to the Fess
Parker interview to that effect.
Keith also had these thoughts about the Parker interview:
"The Parker interview is terrific. He has great recall and
seems far more level-headedly philosophical than many showbiz veterans
with even more campaign medals.
"He was a particular favorite when I was a youngster.
Even then he reminded me of a younger Gregory Peck (certainly there's
a resemblance in the dark brown voice, though without the slightly
stilted theatricality of Peck, which, for me, resulted in some occasional
dull performances). And Fess' very natural, easy way with dialogue
also reminded me of the unshow-offy quality that several second-string
star leading men, like Fred MacMurray in his more dramatic parts,
seemed to exhibit effortlessly. They both played with great sincerity
and conviction but without any histrionic touches that seem to have
slightly dated people like Burt Lancaster in his hammier moments.
"I always thought Parker could have played a great Abe
Lincoln (young or older), if given the breaks. And I can still see
him as an alternative to Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird."
December 20, 2004:
PARKER: One of Walt Disney's most famous and beloved characters,
Davy Crockett, made his television debut fifty years ago this monthin
live action, of courseduring the first season of the Disneyland
show. The nationwide "Crockett craze" that followed
remains a unique episode in American popular culture. As part of
the research for my Walt Disney biography, I've recorded several
interviews with Fess Parker, who played Davy Crockett (and later
Daniel Boone), and you can read a composite of those interviewsin
which Parker speaks with insight and humor about Walt Disney, film
acting, and strange encounters with John Fordby clicking here.
TASHLIN FEEDBACK: The
Frank Tashlin interview has generated an unusually large number
of interesting responses, including messages from the voice artists
Bob Bergen, the new voice of Porky Pig, (www.bobbergen.com)
and Keith Scott. I've posted them on a separate Feedback
page devoted to the Tashlin interview.
December 16, 2004:
FRANK TASHLIN: You can read my 1971 interview with the great Warner
Bros. cartoon director and Disney story man by clicking here.
December 11, 2004:
"SPONGEBOB" UPDATE: I did it! I saw The
SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and lived!
December 8, 2004:
"PEANUTS" UPDATE: Thanks to Arts
and Letters Daily, one of my favorite Web sites, I now know
that Jonathan Franzen's piece on "Peanuts" for The
New Yorker is still available on the Web, by clicking here.
(I make no guarantees about this or other "What's New"
links, though, except for those to other pages in this site.)
December 7, 2004:
WALT'S LIVE-ACTION FEATURES: I could have said, "Happy
Pearl Harbor Day, and speaking of bombs..." But I didn't. Actually,
some of Walt Disney's live-action features are worthy of your attention
even if you believe, as I do, that it was in animation that he made
his indelible mark. I've watched all of Walt's dozens of live-action
features in recent months, as part of the research for my Disney
biography. Although I didn't come away persuaded that The Ugly
Dachshund is a neglected masterpiece, I was pleasantly surprised
by some of what I found. Click here to read about seven
Disney live-action features that have a claim to a place on
your DVD shelf, even if "Disney" means "cartoons"
December 3, 2004:
"INCREDIBLES" TALK: The Incredibles has
generated some interesting mail, and I've put up a Feedback
page devoted to the film and corollary issues. The page includes
my response to the first message, a thought-provoking mini-essay
from a British visitor named Benjamin Sanders.
A TRAVEL UPDATE OF SORTS: When I posted the four installments of
my European Journal last summer, I included a link to the Annecy
Festival's site on the page about my visit to Annecy,
but no links to sites for
Disneyland Paris, the beautiful Swiss village of Zermatt,
or Copenhagen and its wonderful Tivoli
Gardens. I've now added a link to an official tourist site at
the bottom of each of those pages. All of those places are worth
a visit, if you can tolerate the current exchange rate.
December 1, 2004:
THE NEW YORKER: I don't think anything from the November
29 "cartoon issue" is still available on the Web, but
that issue is worth seeking out not just for the cartoons (including
a glum R. Crumb cover, with a self-portrait of the artist at the
far right) but also for the novelist Jonathan Franzen's piece on
his childhood attachment (circa 1970) to "Peanuts." This
is a memoir more than an article about the strip, and the more valuable
for that reason. I was particularly struck by this sentence: "It's
hard to repudate a comic strip .. when your memories of it are more
vivid than your memories of your own life."