Posts Tagged ‘animation

05
Mar
12

Comic and Animation Fans: The Pittsburgh Toonseum needs your help!

Hey, everybody. If you’ve never heard of the Pittsburgh Toonseum, it’s a nice little site in the Steel City that hosts great displays of comic book and cartoon art. I’ve visited a couple of times and always enjoyed it. After a flood last week at an offsite storage facility, the Toonseum lost a lot of books, comics, exhibition reproductions and equipment (although, thankfully, no original art).

The Toonseum has a donations page on their website, and they’re currently asking for help to recover from this lousy bit of bad luck. Any help you could provide — including donating some money (a tax-free donation, by the way) if you can or just passing the link along to other websites and Facebook pages — would be greatly appreciated.

http://toonseum.org/waystogive.html

You could also Paypal a donation directly to donate@toonseum.org or mail a check to…
The ToonSeum
945 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Thanks!

08
Dec
11

What I’m Watching: The Flintstone Christmas Collection

I love the Warner Bros Archive Collection. I’ve you aren’t familiar with this vendor, it’s where Warner Bros sells DVDs of movies and TV shows they know have an audience, but probably not a big enough audience to mass-produce and sell in stores. With DVD-on-demand technology being what it is today, they can burn and package DVDs to order at a much smaller financial risk and sell them exclusively online, on theor own site and on Amazon. I’ve found some old favorites on this site — things like the Rankin and Bass Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, the Chuck Jones version of The Phantom Tollbooth, and the so-bad-you-must-watch-it Legend of the Superheroes special which featured Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their roles from Batman alongside a host of DC superheroes.

But today, I want to talk about The Flintstone Christmas Collection. Now don’t mistake this for The Flintstones Christmas Carol — also a fine cartoon, but it’s been readily available on DVD for years. (By the way, Warner Brothers, can we please agree on pluralization? Why is it sometimes “Flintstone” and sometimes “Flintstones?” Let’s pick one.) This Archive DVD contains two other Flintstones Christmas specials, beginning with 1977’s A Flintstone Christmas. In this special, Fred is summoned to play Santa Claus both by Wilma and by his boss, Mr. Slate. He runs into trouble, however, when the real Santa Claus takes a tumble, gets hurt, and Fred and Barney have to step up and take his place. I really like this cartoon, but I’m almost positive it’s a 60-minute remake of an old episode of the original TV series. I got the complete series on DVD last Christmas (thanks, Mom and Dad), so I suppose I could check, but I’ve got a week of school left before the semester ends and these kids are starting to whine about wanting to “know what they made on the last three tests” or something.

The second special, A Flintstone Family Christmas, is from 1993, and is perhaps the last thing made in the chronology of the original series. This actually follows up two made-for-TV movies from the early 90s in which an adult Pebbles and Bamm Bamm got married and had twins. In the new special, their family (who lives in Hollyrock) is coming home for the holidays, and new grandpas Fred and Barney couldn’t be happier. But things go awry when Wilma convinces them to take in a street kid named Stony who seems to be a bit of a troublemaker. If only he had a father figure in his life to set him straight.

If you know where this is going, it’s because you saw the same thing playing out in the now-infamous Leonardo DiCaprio arc on Growing Pains. And like The Cosby Show‘s Raven-Simone before him and the Simpsons‘ Poochie after him, Stony seems to be a rather blatant attempt to inject a new character in the franchise. Which is odd, as there was no Flintstones TV show on the air at that point. I dunno, maybe they hoped that this special would jump start things and get them back on the air. It didn’t, though, and to the best of my knowledge they stopped going forward in the Flintstones’ personal timeline after this and returned to Pebbles and Bamm Bamm’s years in diapers the very next Christmas, for 1994’s Flintstones Christmas Carol.

The second special is kind of trite, but it’s okay. The first one is classic. And if you’re looking for old Christmas cartoons and movies, hunt around the Archive collection. There’s a lot there to choose from, including a lot of things you’ve probably forgotten.

26
Jun
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 227: Animated E-Mails

Blake is alone this week, so he takes advantage of the quiet to answer some of your e-mails that have been building up! Blake discusses his newfound love for Phineas and Ferb, the new Looney Toons Show, and other all-ages television, brand loyalty, War of the Green Lanterns, Brightest Day, and more! In the picks: Rocketeer Adventures #2. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 227: Animated E-Mails

29
May
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 223: Andy Kuhn and Firebreather

Our talks from the panel room of the Nola Comic-con continue! This week, it’s time to talk to comic book artist Andy Kuhn, co-creator of the Image Comic and Cartoon Network original movie Firebreather! Andy talks about creating the character, the transition to film, and some plans for the future of Firebreather in this Showcase special. In the picks, Blake recommends Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #10! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 223: Andy Kuhn and Firebreather

26
Feb
11

My Saturday Morning Shuffle

A little while ago, chatting with Erin and Mark on Facebook, we call came to the conclusion that there just aren’t any good shows on Saturday mornings anymore. Certainly no decent cartoons. And I decided that the only way to remedy this, at least until I take over television programming, is to get an enormous DVD player capable of holding dozens of discs and placing the episodes on random shuffle. So I looked at my DVD collection to decide what I would put on that shuffle if I could do so right now…

  • Animaniacs Volume 1 (I so gotta find the rest of these)
  • Challenge of the Super-Friends Vol. 1, 2
  • Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers Vol. 1
  • Count Duckula Season 1
  • DC Super-Heroes: The Filmation Adventures
  • Danger Mouse Seasons 1 and 2
  • Darkwing Duck Vol. 1
  • Ducktales Vol. 1-3
  • Dungeons and Dragons: The Beginning
  • Exosquad Season 1
  • Flintstones: The Complete Series
  • Galaxy High Vol. 1
  • Garfield and Friends Vol. 1-5
  • Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1-3
  • Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection Vol. 1-2 (I desperately need the rest of these)
  • Max Fleischer’s Superman
  • The Muppet Show Seasons 1-3 (Not a cartoon, but I dare you to tell me these don’t deserve to be here)
  • Peanuts 1960s Collection, 1970s Collection Vol. 1-2
  • Pinky and the Brain Vol. 2 (Still need more!)
  • The Pixar Short Films Collection (Because they’re cool)
  • The Real Ghostbusters Vol. 1
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle Season 1
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • Star Wars Animated: Droids & Ewoks
  • Superman: The Animated Series Vol. 2
  • Tiny Toon Adventures Season 1 Vol. 2
  • TransFormers: The Complete First Season Vol. 1
  • Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White; Silly Symphonies Vol. 1; Oswald the Lucky Rabbit; The Chronological Donald Vol. 2; The Complete Goofy

Looking at this list, my collection seems woefully inadequate. Why have I never finished the Looney Tunes collections? Or Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, or Pinky and the Brain? Why don’t I have the Batman cartoons, Batman Beyond, or the Justice League? (Why has Warner Brothers not yet released a complete set of Static Shock?)

:sigh:

Someday, my friends. Some. Day.

10
Dec
10

A trio of Christmas episodes online

Y’know, once websites like Hulu.com and Netflix can start streaming shows the day of their broadcast, nobody will have any reason to watch network television anymore. I say that specifically as a message to the people at NBC’s New Orleans affiliate who preempted last night’s episode of Community so they could show the same three talking heads rambling on about a court case for an hour and a half without saying anything original or insightful. Fortunately, Hulu saved me. But before that, let’s look at a couple of other of Yuletide offerings you can now watch online.

Last year, you may recall, I reviewed the first Christmas special in many years produced by the Walt Disney Corporation and Shadow Government, a delightful half-hour special called Prep and Landing, all about the elves whose job it is to prepare a house for Santa Claus’s visit. The special was successful enough that Disney is working on a sequel for Christmas 2011, but to tide us over, they produced a new 7-minute short called Operation: Secret Santa. Wayne (Dave Foley) and Lanny (Derek Richardson) are back for a new top-secret mission… steal a special box from Santa’s office and deliver it to Mrs. Claus (voiced by that up-and-coming future superstar Betty White).

This is a cute follow-up to last year’s special, if you take it for what it is. For one thing, the first special gets the lauded honor of being Disney’s first Christmas special in years and (I think) the first ever CGI TV special by Disney Proper. It also did the job of world- and character-creation for this franchise, leaving little of that for this new short. But there are several solid laughs that lead into a wonderful, heartwarming, Christmasy conclusion. If I know Disney (and I think I do) they’re probably planning a DVD/Blu-Ray release of both of these shorts, along with with next year’s special, that will hit stores immediately after the third cartoon airs. I’m looking forward to that — these specials have definitely earned a spot on my shelf near Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Clark Griswold and Jack Skellington. You can watch both the original special and this year’s new short over at ABC.com’s Prep and Landing Mini-Site.

For the past two years, I’ve reviewed the new Christmas episodes of one of my favorite shows, NBC’s The Office, which you can view for a limited time over at Hulu.com. This year’s episode is Classy Christmas, and is online in two parts. When Michael Scott finds out his ex-girlfriend Holly (guest star Amy Ryan) is coming back to the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin for a while, he decides to throw the classiest Christmas party of all time in an effort to win her back. Meanwhile, Angela brings in her new boyfriend, Darryl tries to get his daughter to want to spend Christmas with him, Pam seeks advice on the greatest Christmas present ever, and Jim and Dwight enter into a snowball fight of truly epic proportions. I’m really glad this was an hour-long episode, because there was way too much going on to even think about fitting it into 30 minutes. Condensing this would have meant cheating some plotlines and throwing others out entirely. Instead, the story fit the 60 minute running time nicely. This, of course, is Steve Carrell’s last season on the show, and there’s been much speculation that his departure would somehow involve the return of Holly, the only woman who’s ever really been right for him. This episode certainly feels like it’s setting things up for the second half of the season, while at the same time fulfilling its promise as a Christmas episode. It wasn’t a perfect episode — I’m not really crazy about how terrified Jim was of Dwight’s snowball onslaught, or about how two HR reps somehow missed the fact that Jim had blood on his shirt, but despite those few caveats, I think this may have been one of The Office‘s best Christmas episodes.

I’ve saved the best for last. If you’re not watching Community, it’s the best show you’re not watching. If you are watching it, it’s the best show you’re watching. The show follows a group of students (and, frequently, faculty members) at Greendale Community College. The show began as a sort of standard “group of misfits” comedy, but has transformed into one of the smartest shows on TV, offering up pointed satire of all forms of motion pictures while still crafting fully-developed, engaging characters. It’s already a Christmas miracle. Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas begins with the highly genre-aware Abed seeing himself and his friends in a classic stop-motion animation style on the last day of classes before Christmas. As the group tries to figure out why Abed is hallucinating, they wind up on a journey through a Winter Wonderland to find the true meaning of Christmas.

As always, the show lampoons virtually every facet of Christmas specials, up to and including the frequent musical numbers the cast breaks into. But they never do it in a mean or cruel way — instead there’s a nudge and a wink that makes you understand that just because they’re poking a little fun at the classics doesn’t mean they don’t also love them as much as the rest of us. The dedication to the story is incredible here, with the entire running time of the episode done in some of the best stop motion animation television has produced in decades. And the story manages to develop many of the characters on top of that — we learn something really important about Abed’s family life and psyche, we get another little tease about the bizarre relationship between Jeff and Annie, and we see Chevy Chase walking around as a snarky little teddy bear. And the song at the end makes it pretty clear, even to the most cynical among us, that yes — they really do know the true meaning of Christmas.

And it’s a beautiful thing.

10
Oct
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 191: News From New York

The New York Comic Con was this weekend, and the Showcase boys spent an hour talking about all the big announcements! Or… at least, the announcements that had been made by the time they recorded this episode! But there’s plenty here, including the big DC and Marvel price drop announcement, future plans for X-Men, Captain America, Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes, Iron Man and X-Men cartoons, Green Lantern and Superman movie news, the comic book returns of Richie Rich and Godzilla, IDW’s daring Infestation crossover, and more! In the picks, Kenny chooses Next Gen Wars #1 and Blake was into Brightest Day #11. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp!

Music provided by the Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 191: News From New York




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