December 14th, 2017

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Interview: Bob Givens- Grand Old Man Of Animation

Bob Givens (March 2, 1918 – December 14, 2017)
Thank you for being so generous with us at Animation Resources, Bob. We’ll never forget you.

Bob Givens

In November of 2008, Will Finn, Mike Fontanelli, JoJo Baptista, Michael Woodside and I were treated to nearly three hours of fabulous stories from Bob Givens relating to his half century in the animation business. I’ve included the whole interview as two Quicktime movies…

Bob Givens

You’ll notice that the kinds of stories that Bob relates here are quite different from what you might have read. When I first met Bob, I asked him if he had read any of the books written on the subject of animation history. He was blunt. “A lot of it is bologna. Those books are written by people who weren’t there… people who have never set foot in an animation studio.” This is a sentiment that I’ve heard expressed by a lot of the "old timers" I’ve had the privilege of being able to speak to. But Bob may be the last one left. We’re all lucky to have this opportunity to virtually sit at the feet of a "golden age" animator and hear about his experiences in his own words.

Bob Givens

Bob began his career as an Assistant Animator at Disney. His raw talent led him to be assigned to assist the Grim Natwick unit on Snow White. Please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, but I believe that Bob is the last surviving member of the Snow White crew.

Private Snafu

During WWII, Bob was a part of the First Motion Picture Unit producing training films for the war effort.

Bob Givens

At Warner Bros, Bob designed the character models for the first true Bugs Bunny cartoon, "A Wild Hare", as well as providing background layouts and story sketches for countless Jones, Freleng, Avery and McKimson cartoons.

Linus the Lionhearted

Givens’ career continued to flourish throughout the television era. He worked on the first TV cartoon, Jay Ward’s Crusader Rabbit, as well as Clampett’s Beany & Cecil, Post Cereal’s Linus the Lionhearted and Hanna Barbera’s The Flintstones. Along with Bernie Gruver, Givens designed the classic "Raid Bug" spots for Cascade, and continued to work steadily into his 80s, retiring in 2001 after laying out Chuck Jones’ Timber Wolf.

Bob Givens

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History of the First Motion Picture Unit

Many thanks to Bob Givens for sharing his experiences with us, to Mike Fontanelli and Will Finn for taking time out of their busy schedules to speak with Bob, and to Michael Woodside and JoJo Baptista for producing this video.

Will Finn posts his impressions of the interview on his blog, Small Room.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Animation.

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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 4:24 pm

December 14th, 2017

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Cartooning: Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning Part Three

Heinrich Kley

We continue our series of posts on Gene Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning with the section on the fundamental skill that at is the root of all pictorial art…

SKETCHING
Introduction by Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

WILLIAM VON RIEGEN

"William Von Riegen, with his studies of figure drawing, claims that this type of exercise gives him a looseness and freedom of line that he couldn’t get in any other way. Von Riegen is an outstandingly talented young man in the field- an especially fine artist." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

FINE ARTISTS

In this section, Byrnes does a fine job of clearly showing the link between fine art and cartooning.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

HEINRICH KLEY

"Heinrich Kley as a pen and ink artist is in a class by himself. I know of nobody who ever had the freedom of line with a pen that could compare with Kley’s. Each of his drawings is a little masterpiece." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

ROGER VERNAM

"Roger Vernam’s animals are good examples of on the spot sketching. In his book published by Harper, entitled Drawing People For Fun, he sketches people from all walks of life." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

GORDON GRANT

"Gordon Grant, the world renowned marine artist, whose work appears in dozens of art museums, works in oil, watercolor, and pen and ink. Whenever he has any spare time, he uses it to sketch. His sketches on the following pages were taken from his private sketchbooks and were done on a trip through Brittany. They were accomplished with a fountain pen and no preliminary pencil work." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

HOWARD BRODIE

"Howard Brodie’s portrait sketches were done in Germany when he was an artist correspondent with the United States Army. His drawings of the G,I. the battle scenes, and the action that he portrayed while he was in the Army have made him famous." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

FURTHER READING

Byrnes Complete Guide To CartooningByrnes Complete Guide To CartooningIn his blog, Temple of the Seven Camels, Mark Kennedy has been offering sage advice to beginning animators about the value of carrying a sketchbook with you wherever you go. Make sure to read the whole series…

Carrying A Sketchbook Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four

Searle's Secret Sketchbook

…And don’t miss his posts on Ronald Searle’s Secret Sketchbook Part One and Part Two; and Ken Anderson’s Africa Sketchbook

Drawings By Heinrich KleyIf you don’t have The Drawings of Heinrich Kley in your library, get over to Amazon right away and order it. As Gene Byrnes says, no cartoonist should be without this book!

Many thanks to Marc Crisafulli and David King for sharing this great book with us.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.

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Posted by admin @ 11:03 am

December 12th, 2017

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Filmography: I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (Fleischer/1930)

Fleischer Bouncing BallFleischer Bouncing BallThis Saturday, the archive video guru, Eric Graf sat down to begin digitizing an amazing collection of Fleischer Bouncing Ball cartoons. These were among the most popular cartoons of their day; however, taken out of their original theatrical context, it isn’t quite the same experience viewing them today.

Each cartoon consisted of an animated introduction, followed by an invitation by the narrator to "Follow the bouncing ball…" A singalong section designed to get the whole audience singing was followed by an animated singalong where the characters interacted with the words of the song. If you’ve ever seen any of these films projected on the big screen, you know what fun it is to be singing along, and suddenly have the cartoon characters start cavorting with the words you’re singing.

Fleischer Screen Songs
Fleischer Screen Songs

This film is interesting, because it includes some early attempts at lipsync. The rabbit conductor speaks to the audience in stilted speech, obviously designed to be understood over the primitive theater sound systems of the time. But the stilted speech and the bizzarre drawings create a truly weird and wonderful effect. Drawings this strange don’t happen by accident! Still frame through this scene and check them out. John K theorizes that this scene might be some sort of animation equivalent of exquisite corpse. Marc Deckter has provided lots of great frame grabs of the crazy lipsync at his blog, Duck Walk.

An interesting side note is that the narrator who refers to the rabbit as “funny boy” is none other than pioneer recording artist, Billy Murray, disguising his natural tenor as a baritone. He narrates many of the Fleischer cartoons of this era, and provided the original voice for Bimbo.

Fleischer Screen Songs
Fleischer Screen Songs

We are fortunate to have over ten hours of Fleischer Screen Songs on Beta tapes. With your support, we have assembled a video digitization station where we can capture video. There’s literally hundreds of hours of cartoons waiting to be digitized… the entire Terrytoons syndication package donated by John Kricfalusi. The Warner Bros and MGM laserdisc box sets, the complete run of Format Films’ Alvin Show, and classic television commercials from the 1950s and 60s. As time and funding allow, we will be adding this material to our database.

Fleischer Screen Songs
Fleischer Screen Songs

I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (1930)
(Quicktime 7 / 18 megs)

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

TheoryGrim Natwick

This posting is part of an online exhibit entitled Grim Natwick’s Scrapbook.

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Posted by admin @ 11:46 am