Friday, August 08, 2014

Sito's Month In Animation

Time once again for President Emeritus Tom Sito ... and his look-back at important August dates in cartoonland.

Animation In August

Aug 2, 1986 - Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky premieres.

Aug 5, 1924 - The first Little Orphan Annie comic strip drawn by Harold Gray premieres.

Aug 6, 1999 - Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant goes into wide release.

Aug 7, 1979 - THE RUNAWAY WARS - The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE calls a citywide strike against studios sending animation work overseas. (The strike, after one week and change, is successful. -- Steve Hulett)

Aug 8, 1942 - Walt Disney’s Bambi premieres.

(Frank Thomas told me a story about an unfortunate sneak preview for the movie that he attended with Walt Disney: "We were to the part of the film where Bambi's mother had just been shot, and Bambi is wandering through the snow calling out "Mother!" And some kid in the balcony yells, "Here I am Bambii! Heere I aamm!" Laughter rolls through the audience. I look down the row at Walt, and he is seething." -- Steve Hulett)

Aug 9, 1930 - Max Fleischer’s cartoon Dizzy Dishes introduces Betty Boop. A singing star named Helen Kane sues Fleischer claiming that they stole the signature Boop-Ooop-a-Doop from her, but the case is thrown out when it's revealed Kane had stolen it herself from an African-American singer. (Betty was supposed to be a dog character to match her male counterpart Bimbo, but animator Grim Natwick had done a lot of drawing of girls in Paris and New York and turned the character into a saucy little flapper.)

Aug 10, 2001 – WB’s Osmosis Jones premieres.

Aug 11, 1934 - Mickey Mouse cartoon Orphan’s Benefit premieres. It’s the first cartoon where Donald Duck loses his temper and does his fighting stance. This is also the cartoon Dippy Dog is called by his new name- The Goof, or Goofy.

Aug 12, 1951 - Bob McKimson’s Warner Bros short Hillbilly Hair premieres. The short includes the long routine animated by Emery Hawkins where Bugs Bunny takes over calling a square dance and uses it to torture two twin brother hillbillies who are after him.

Aug 13, 1941 - The first animator, James Stuart-Blackton, is run over by a bus on Pico Blvd.

Aug 12, 1946 - MGM cartoon Northwest Hounded Police, the short in which Tex Avery perfects the ‘Tex Avery Take”, premieres.

Aug 13, 2004 - Craig McCracken’s Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends debuts.

Aug 15, 1843 - Tivoli Gardens opens in Copenhagen. One of the oldest amusement parks in the world. King Christian said “When people are amused, they don’t worry about politics.” Hans Christian Andersen was a frequent visitor. Walt Disney visited to get inspiration for Disneyland.

Aug 16, 1942 - Terrytoon’s short The Mouse of Tomorrow debuts. The first production to show Mighty Mouse.

Aug 17, 1941- EL GRUPO - Walt Disney and his artists arrive in Rio on a ten week goodwill tour of South America, underwritten by a $70,000 government grant. President Franklin Roosevelt was worried that some South American countries might be sympathetic to the Nazis, forcing the U.S. to worry about her backdoor. So FDR sent Nelson Rockefeller to give the Latin American countries whatever they wanted to keep them out of the world war. Among other things, they wanted Donald Duck. Federal mediator Stanley White made an arrangement with Roy Disney stating that if they got Walt out of town, they could settle the Disney animators strike. The name comes from hotel footmen in Buenos Aires paging the artists as “El Grupo Disney!” The films The Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos are inspired by the trip.

And the rest of the month ...

Aug 17, 1984 - The Walt Disney Company informs its chairman Ron Miller that they want his resignation. Disney had fallen to 14th in film box office by that time. Within two years of Roy Disney and Michael Eisner taking over, Disney was number one.

Aug 17, 1986 - John Lasseter’s award-winning short Luxo Jr., premieres at Siggraph’86 Dallas.

Aug 20, 1982 - Ralph Bakshi’s film Hey Good Lookin’ premieres.

Aug 22, 1929- Walt Disney’s first Silly Symphony, The Skeleton Dance, premieres.

Aug 22, 1942 - Tex Avery’s first cartoon for MGM, The Blitz Wolf premieres.

Aug 23, 1994 - Jeffrey Katzenberg announces he's leaving Disney.

Aug 24, 1942 - Walt Disney’s film Saludos Amigos receives its world premiere in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Aug 26, 1918 - 17-year-old Walt Disney fakes his parents signature in order to enlist to fight in World War I. Assigned to the ambulance corps, he arrives in Europe as the war is ending.

Aug 26, 1980 - Director Tex Avery dies after collapsing in the parking lot of Hanna-Barbera.

Aug 27, 1968 - Former master animator Bill Tytla’s request to return to Disney is turned down. The artist who animated Grumpy, Dumbo and the Devil on Bald Mountain even offers to do a free “trial animation test” to show he still has it. Disney exec W.H. Anderson replies “We really have only enough animation for our present staff.” Bill Tytla dies later that year.

Aug 29, 1953 - Warner’s Cat Tails for Two introduces Speedy Gonzales. He's named for the nickname of assistant animator Frank Gonzales, who was one of the faster artists on the team.

Aug 29, 2004 - Atomic Betty debuts on Teletoon.

Aug 30, 1975 - Ralph Bakshi’s film Coonskin debuts. Bad boy Bakshi’s portrayal of African-American urban violence was deemed so offensive to civil rights groups like C.O.R.E. that it caused the first riot ever at the Museum of Modern Art. The film was retitled on video Streetfight.

Aug 31, 1935 - Disney cartoon Pluto’s Judgment Day debuts.

Aug 31, 1938 - Walt Disney puts ten thousand down to buy 51 acres on Buena Vista Street in Burbank. He will build his modern studio there.

(The staff moves from Hyperion to Burbank in the Fall of 1939. "Pinocchio", Disney's second feature, is completed in Burbank. -- Steve Hulett)

Aug 31, 1946 - Looney Toon short, Walky Talky Hawky, the first appearance for Foghorn Leghorn. The character is based on a Fred Allen radio character ‘Senator Clayton Langhorn’ that poked fun at bombastic Southern conservative politicians.

Aug 31, 1948 - Disney’s Melody Time premieres.


Unknown said...

Helen Kane's lawsuit was not thrown out of court, but McGoldrick in the end did decide against her. He basically gave two reasons: there not a sufficient resemblance between Kane and Boop and Kane's style of singing were derivative of several other entertainers, including Baby Esther, the African-American child singer Sito refers to.

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