The First Pixar Short

Hope The Younger and I believe we have seen all the Miyazaki films now, including Animal Treasure Island, Lupin The 3rd, and Pom Poko. Our UrgeToComplete is turning us to Pixar, and luckily Anne Thompson tipped us to this the other week. "The Adventures Of Andre And Wally B" was the first Pixar short, way back when Pixar was a division of Lucas Film. Now the question is, have we seen every Pixar film? Once we check these boxes, we might as well move on to TheEntireHistoryOfFilmEVER!

Peanuts Without Telepathy

"The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show" was a Saturday morning show that ran in '83 & '84. It was a direct lift from the Peanuts comic strips with nothing added except when absolutely necessary. You can kind of figure out what the three panels were if you try hard. It created some problems though: without Snoopy's thought balloons how were you supposed to know what he was saying since DOGS CAN'T TALK? So you lose a few punch lines. You also recognize quick that Peanuts rarely gave a happy ending. Who needs a happy ending? Things going wrong is always more fun to watch, isn't it?

Thanks Macleans!

Old School Cartoons

Early on in his days H2Y asked "Why is old school so much cooler than new school?"  Volumes could be written on that, but here in The Bowl we just prefer to serve up another helping and hope that the sweet flavor of the old points the way.

Toon Tracker is an excellent website that has a horde of forgotten cartoon relics to amuse and delight: Hot Wheels, Abbott & Costello, Mighty Mouse.  Now all you need is a rainy day and screen time limit release and the surfing will be swell!

Little Nemo

The Champion Cartoonist Of All Time has got to be Windsor McKay.  He created Little Nemo In Slumberland, Dreams Of A Rarebit Fiend, and Gerty The Dinosaur, to name but a few.  He was one of the original pioneers of cinema and used to do a trick act where he performed live on stage as if he was training Gerty, who was actually nothing more than a filmed dinosaur.

Little Nemo is hours upon hours of fun for any kid of any age.  McKay drew with architectual precision.  He had full page panels that would work equally well upside down as right side up.  His imagination knew no bounds.
We feel safe in saying that none of other hero drawers could do the work they have accomplished without him to pave the way -- so imagine how dull that world would be: No Miyazake, no Tex Avery, no David Weisner, no Chris Ware, and so on and so on and so on.
There is a great collection of his work on-line at the Comic Strip Library.

Free PEANUTS (If you act fast) !

Everyone knows that PEANUTS is one of the greatest comic strips ever, right?  But did you know that NEW animated episodes of it are available for free download at the iTunes store.  Better act now and get them onto your iPod, or your parents' iPod that is.  

We don't know how to link directly to the iTunes store (please tell us if you know how) so you have to click on this link and then click on the link there that will direct you and then download.  But do it now because it is only for a few days!

Political Monsters by Gerald Scarfe

I have always dreamed of Alternative Careers.  Within that is the subset of Imaginary Alternative Careers.  Pursuits may be a better phrase; I dislike Career as it supposes that work is distinct from life.  The use of our labor is one of primary choices, inherent to whom we are -- or rather I think it should be.

But back to the dreams: I once wanted to be a cartoonist.  Unfortunately that takes talent and craft. I once also wanted to be a journalist and also to work in politics -- basically I wanted to both observe, comment, and to change things.  
Gerald Scarfe is a political cartoonist who's stock in trade captures another one of those dreams: monsters.  For me it might have been more of a "monster shepherd".  I envy that character on Doctor Who who collected all the beasts across time -- but of course I would want to live with them, at least not these days.
BBC has a great slideshow profile on Scarfe and his work.  He's sort of the Brit Ralph Steadman, but you probably know him best from Pink Floyd's The Wall.

The Rube Goldberg variations

As I said,  Rube Goldberg was one of my first favorite cartoonists. He drew these wild machines that were soooo complicated but did simple things.

And his cartoons have inspired one of our favorite short films of all time: THE WAY THINGS GO. Definitely Recommended Viewing.

The Way Things Work have in turn inspired a series of commercials which are pretty darn fun. Here's one:

And Rube, The Way, and these commercials have inspired a whole slew of wonderful homemade contraptions that all over the internet. But we will look at those later.

Complicated Is Better: Rube Goldberg

Over at BOWL OF NOSES, I am posting a series of Rube Goldberg "inventions" and the various things he has inspired.  I think Rube's collection "INVENTIONS!" needs to be Required Reading at every grade level.

With our economy in collapse, and the U.S. becoming a country of debtors and indentured servants, Rube points out why we should all start visiting the tailor.
His contraption for avoiding bill collectors is pure genius:  
As Tailor (A) fits customer (B) and calls out measurements, college boy (C) mistakes them for football signals and makes a flying tackle at clothing dummy (D). Dummy bumps head against paddle (E) causing it to pull hook (F) and throw bottle (G) on end of folding hat rack (H) which spreads and pushes head of cabbage (I) into net (J). Weight of cabbage pulls cord (K) causing shears (L) to cut string (M). Bag of sand (N) drops on scale (O) and pushes broom (P) against pail of whitewash (Q) which upsets all over you causing you to look like a marble statue and making it impossible for you to be recognized by bill collectors. Don't worry about posing as any particular historical statue because bill collectors don't know much about art.

Whenever I am in a "story" or edit meeting on a movie and the executive is demanding we remove "layers" or subtly, I know we need more Rube in the world.  And whenever anyone breaks the world down to good vs. evil or some other simple black and white equation, I think of all the invisible Goldberg layers that I know are the truth.
The official Rube Goldberg site has many other great solutions in their art gallery.

Rube Goldberg: grandaddy of chain reactions

Why do something in a simple way?  People always say "build a better mousetrap", but one of my heroes did just the opposite.  His machines were hilariously complicated.  Now when something is overly elaborate, people say its "Goldberg-ian".  Makes you wonder what your last name might represent years from now...

This is his Self-Operating Napkin.  No more wiping needed.  As you raise spoon of soup (A) to your mouth it pulls string (B), thereby jerking ladle (C) which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off sky-rocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth thereby wiping off your chin.

Well, so in the old days, the foolish grown ups were still smoking cigars -- but at least he put his to work.  Check this out; there's a book of a bunch of Goldberg's Inventions here.

The Fifty Greatest Cartoons Ever!

The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals is a 1994 book by animation historian Jerry Beck.  Five of the top fifteen are up on the internet for you viewing pleasure, including one of our faves Duck Amuck.  Porky In Wackyland is so great (and not available on line).  If you don't have the Looney Tunes Collection, we recommend a netflix order or purchase.  Vol. 1 has Duck Amuck.  Vol. 2 has Porky In Wackyland.  No life is complete without having seen Wackyland.  Seriously.  You have our word.  Check these out online.

15. Bad Luck Blackie (1949)

You Are Never Too Young For Indie Rock!

We don't have TV in our house.  No cable.  No broadcast.  But we do have a DVD player and we do have the internet.   Got keep a toe in pop culture somehow...
As a result though I only know Yo Gabba Gabba via YouTube, but I have to say I love this marriage of Indie Rock and Animation.  Both these songs, by Red House Painters and Dean & Britta are great, and the animation is lovely.