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Bonus009: Kurtzman’s Folly, Columbia Oscar Nominee, Russian Featurette!

Bonus Archive

People who aren’t members of Animation Resources don’t understand how comprehensive our Reference Packs are. Today we are sharing the current Bonus Archive. If you are an annual member of Animation Resources, click on this post to go to the Bonus Archive page. If you aren’t a member yet, today is the perfect time to join! You’ll get six new RefPacks a year. Sign up for a General or Student Membership and you’ll get access to the special Bonus Archive with even more material from past Reference Packs.

These downloads will expire May 1st.

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Harvey Kurtzman

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Edited by Harvey Kurtzman

Hugh Hefner employed Harvey Kurtzman from April 1956 to edit Trump Magazine. The slick, full-color humor magazine appeared on newsstands in January 1957. Cartoonists who contributed to Trump included Mad regulars such as Will Elder, Wally Wood, Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, and Russ Heath, as well as newer artists such as Irving Geis, Arnold Roth, and R. O. Blechman. Writers Mel Brooks, Roger Price, Doodles Weaver, and Max Shulman also made contributions. The fifty-cent magazine was a luxurious, more risqué version of Mad, and sold well. Unfortunately, Hefner began to have financial problems, and canceled Trump after its second issue. The magazine had been a success in the market, but had already accrued $100,000 in expenses, to which Hefner said, “I gave Harvey Kurtzman an unlimited budget, and he exceeded it.”

Hefner delivered the news in person to Kurtzman— in the hospital where his third child, Elizabeth, was being born. His wife Adele said it was the only time she had seen her husband cry. Kurtzman later said that Trump was the closest he ever came to producing “the perfect humor magazine” —

This PDF e-book is optimized for display on the iPad or printing two sided with a cover on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper.

REFPACK025: Harvey Kurtzman’s Trump
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Adobe PDF File / 130 Pages / 459 MB Download

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Match Girl

The Little Match Girl
Columbuia / Arthur Davis / 1937

Animation Resources Advisory Board Member Steve Stanchfield writes…

I recently acquired a 35mm Technicolor print of this cartoon, and we showed it at the Redford Theatre cartoon show a few weeks back. Watching it with an audience unfamiliar with the film was a surprise, and more than a few people commented to me about the emotional tone of the film.

It’s one of my favorite cartoons, but is far from perfect. I think if the Columbia crew had more experience with serious subject matter that some of the things that detract from making it was powerful wouldn’t have been included.

In the 30s, the Mintz studio sometimes used film transition techniques in strange ways; the use of some are confusing and to the detriment of the short, while other times they work just fine, but seem unusual. The overuse of cross dissolves and wipes for seemingly no reason is a great example of this. In a pivotal moment in Little Match Girl, the use of these transitions lessens the seriousness of the moment, making the timing of the sequence seem more cartoonish. At other times, the techniques work beautifully.

As always, many thanks to Steve Stanchfield for sharing his treasures with us. If you haven’t already, check out the videos at his Thunderbean Animation Store at Amazon.

REFPACK025: The Little Match Girl
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M4V Video File / 8:20 / 468 MB Download

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Fisherman and his Fish

The Tale of the Fisherman and his Fish
Soyuzmultfilm / Aleksandr Ptushko / 1950

The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish is a fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin wrote the tale in autumn 1833 and it was first published in the literary magazine Biblioteka dlya chteniya in May 1835. The tale is about a fisherman who manages to catch a “Golden Fish” which promises to fulfill any wish of his in exchange for its freedom. The storyline is similar to the Russian fairy tale The Greedy Old Wife (according to Vladimir Propp) and the Brothers Grimm’s tale The Fisherman and His Wife.

In Pushkin’s poem, an old man and woman have been living poorly for many years. They have a small hut, and every day the man goes out to fish. One day, he throws in his net and pulls out seaweed two times in succession, but on the third time he pulls out a golden fish. The fish pleads for its life, promising any wish in return. However, the old man is scared by the fact that a fish can speak; he says he does not want anything, and lets the fish go.

When he returns and tells his wife about the golden fish, she gets angry and tells her husband to go ask the fish for a new trough, as theirs is broken, and the fish happily grants this small request. The next day, the wife asks for a new house, and the fish grants this also. Then, in succession, the wife asks for a palace, to become a noble lady, to become the ruler of her province, to become the tsarina, and finally to become the Ruler of the Sea and to subjugate the golden fish completely to her boundless will. As the man goes to ask for each item, the sea becomes more and more stormy, until the last request, where the man can hardly hear himself think. When he asks that his wife be made the Ruler of the Sea, the fish cures her greed by putting everything back to the way it was before, including the broken trough. —

This video is newly restored and has no English subtitles But I think you will be able to follow the story. There is some remarkable effects animation and design, and some skillful rotoscoping. If you would like to see more animation by the legendary Soyuzmultfilm studios in Moscow, let us know.

REFPACK025: Fisherman and his Fish
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M4V Video File / 30:11 / 493 MB Download

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Animation Resources is one of the best kept secrets in the world of cartooning. Every month, we sponsor a program of interest to artists, and every other month, we share a book and up to an hour of rare animation with our members. If you are a creative person interested in the fields of animation, cartooning or illustration, you should be a member of Animation Resources!

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