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Monthly Archives: November 2006

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Birthday Haul #3: Cartoon Modern Book

A wad of extra birthday cash inspired me to go to and purchase the book Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation written by Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew and Animation Blast magazine. Although I haven’t yet read it, the book looks absolutely gorgeous and smartly designed with tons of beautiful film stills and production art. I also like how it was organized alphabetically by studio, encompassing not just theatrically released shorts but television (dig the early, cooler lookin’ Flintstones!), commercials and industrial films. There’s also an intruiging section on animation trends in Europe. I could be completely wrong about this — but paging through the book gives one the sense that during this period the big movies studios’ animation units were becoming obsolete, which paved the way for dozens of smaller studios to step in and produce more visually innovative work. I can’t wait to read this one.

How Logo Can You Go

Fun little diversion: identify the correct logo in the quickest time (via Kris at Web Goddess). Being presented with six minute variants on popular e-company logos might sound simple, but some of them are unexpectedly tough. I completed the quiz in just under two minutes. The fact that it took me five tries before correctly guessing the MySpace logo oughta tell you how often I visit that horrid site.

Everybody’s a Critic

Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club Blog writes on the succession of stand-in critics on Ebert & Roeper, which points out many of the same things as my previous post on the subject. Namely that people within the entertainment industry have serious credibility problems when they slip into critic mode. On the other hand, TV babe Aisha Tyler ended up being surprisingly insightful on her two E&R appearances — so I don’t know how to think anymore.

Simple Pleasures …

… finally locating a good Scrabble game for the Mac. It cost me twenty clams, but I’ve been trying to get something like this for years.

A Face That Could Crumble Stone

In honor of his recent passing, I present Bill Griffith’s impressions of Jack Palance in a 1988 Zippy the Pinhead strip. GSN just reran an old ’60s Password in which the movie toughguy faced off against Lauren Bacall. Mr. Palance may have been a pretty effective actor, but he was a terrible Password player.

Birthday Haul #2: Looney Tunes Vol. 3

The birthday loot continues with the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 3. I supplied my parents with a suggestion to get either this or the Rhino Girl Group set, and they bought both. Maybe becoming grandparents brought out their indulgent side, but we’ve definitely been enjoying the cartoons on these DVDs. The format is the same as previous collections, with themed discs filled to the brims with vintage animated shorts and a generous array of extras. With many of the popular (and overplayed) classics used up on the first two volumes, they’re starting to delve into the more obscure and interesting stuff here.

If I had one minor complaint, it would be with the forced intros by Whoopi Goldberg warning of the cartoons’ non-PC content in the most condescending way possible. The footage automatically plays when you insert each disc (and it’s the same on all four discs!). Although skippable, Warner Bros. has earned the ire of many a Looney Tunes fan with this misguided method of appeasing professional complainers. These sets are clearly marketed to the adult collector (not kids), so why bother catering to idiots? On the upside it appears that Whoopi is missing on the Volume 4, out this week. Maybe they’ve replaced the auto-play warnings with simple and unobtrusive text panels preceding the more offensive ‘toons (which Warner has already effectively used on the Busby Berkeley DVDs). Despite all that I’d still say this is the best of the first three Golden sets, with entire discs devoted to two of my fave Looney Tunes subjects — Porky Pig and Hollywood parodies. I’m so thankful these mini-masterpieces are back, looking and sounding better than ever!