Thursday, July 09, 2009

The MegaCollector's Flip the Frog

Ub Iwerks was Walt's strong right arm in the 1920s. He was a designer and work-horse animator on the early Disney shorts, considered so valuable that he was a 20% owner of the studio.

But the 20% ownership ended when Iwerks departed Walt Disney Productions after a falling out with the majority owner. Bankrolled by movie mogul Pat Powers, Iwerks developed the frog character above, but within a few years flamed out as an animation kingpin and returned to Disney's.

The drawing above is from the Mega Collector's massive collection, file # 34-438. Mr. Mega believes it to be an Ub drawing. It was originally owned by Ub's son Dave.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is such an unappealing character it's almost like something Robert Crumb would do.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Two disses with one blow! Shut up and go change your diapers.

Anonymous said...

It's not as unappealing as it is nondescript. Easy to see why Iwerks failed with this...

Michael Sporn said...

It's better than anything done in the last ten years. I love it.

Anonymous said...

It's better than anything done in the last ten years...

Thank you for the laugh. But credibility is a terrible thing to waste. And now I know I can safely disregard you in the future.

shocked said...

Who the hell are you to disregard Mike Sporn? If you accomplish a fraction of what he has accomplished in his career you can consider your lifetime well spent. You probably don't even know who he is, you imperious moron. You "disregard?" Well, la-dee-fricken-da!

Anonymous said...

Well, Shocked, I'm not discussing Mr. Sporn's professional resume. I am, however, discussing the absurd notion that Flip the Frog, whose banal design is correctly appreciated only as a historical footnote, is "better than anything in the last 10 years."

There is no aesthetic justification for such a grand pronouncement, as anyone with a modicum of awareness of some of the wonderful work that has been made in animation in the last 10 years can attest.

Anonymous said...

"Shocked" sounds like he needs to unwad his dainty panties.

still shocked said...

You're the one with your "dainty panties in a wad." You and all of your friends who think the world and animation began ten years ago.

Steve didn't post the model sheet so all of you too-cool-for-school smart-asses could vote on Iwerks' artistic merit or design chops. It's an historic document. He was one of the founders of our industry. He doesn't need your approval or admiration. It would be like criticizing George Washington's presidency. Honestly, get over yourself.

By the way, you might actually want to check out those Flip shorts. They were excellent work, especially for their time. You can't really blame Iwerks for failing to knock a cultural icon like Mickey Mouse off his pedestal.
He was neither the first nor the last to do that.

Anonymous said...

You and all of your friends who think the world and animation began ten years ago.

Nope. Just capable of keeping things in a certain level of perspective, unlike you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this here union blog is SUCH a happy place! Aren't animation artists and fans wonderful folks? I love this business!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the animation business.

Was Shocked, Now Confused said...

"Nope. Just capable of keeping things in a certain level of perspective, unlike you."

What??? Exactly how does criticizing someone for attacking Mike Sporn for complimenting Ub Iwerks, (which he might of meant ironically or facetiously), failing to keep things "in perspective?" What does that even mean? And what do you know about what I am or am not "capable" of?

I don't know you, but it's obvious that you are very quick to be judgemental.

Anonymous said...

How can you be so judgmental as to think that I, and all my friends, believe the world and animation began 10 years ago? That's a pretty mean-spirited accusation.

I will belatedly give Mr. Sporn the benefit of the doubt that he was being humorous. I'm just tired of the constant bashing of recent animation (much of which is some of the most sophisticated ever created), while elevating even the silliest pablum from the 30's to virtually mythic status.

The truth is that, interspersed amongst some absolutely brilliant work, much of the original "Golden Age" animation was pretty crappy stuff. And there is much being produced today that trounces it on every level. Let's start calling a spade a spade.

formerly Shocked said...

You are pretty thin skinned. Nobody is "bashing" modern animation. Where did you get that? No matter how Sporn meant his comment, I'm sure it was meant to be more of an acknowledgment of Iwerks than a knock of more recent work.

Current films are kind of all over the place, both style-wise and quality-wise. It would be impossible to lump it all together in one box. One thing is for sure: Whatever current animators achieve, artistically or technologically, it's on the shoulders of the artists who proceeded us.

It is totally unfair to judge the work of the pioneers of the art form outside of the context of their times. Take another look. Mixed in with the simple stuff there is some astonishingly creative work, all of which was completely unprecedented.

My personal favorite is the early Fleischer work with it's trippy surreal playfulness. There is no contemporary American equivalent.
Miyazaki oftern comes close, but it's mostly a creative vein that has not been mined.

Togotooner said...

Absolutely love it! Flip the Frog was fantastic and the creator was brilliant.

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