Sunday, March 29, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
It's tough to say why a film falls flat. Sure, it's a simple exercise many of us play, to pick at a film after the fact. But who knows, decades later, why strong veteran talent can't bring a film up to, at the least, average level? Certainly, no one starts out to make a dull flick. My dad is uncredited on Phantom; not sure why, but it happens. Maybe Jones had a crystal ball and was doing my dad a favor. And now I’m undoing that favor. Ain’t it just like a son to revisit the sins of the father?
However, here's how my dad found out about the non-credit: My dad, my good schoolfriend Danny (whose favorite book was The Phantom Tollbooth) and myself, went to see a screening of the film, probably at the Screenwriters Guild, where I saw a lot of screenings in the sixties. The lights go out, the opening credits roll, and my father's name is not to be found. We sat through the movie, drove Danny home, and then my father turned red and got real angry...to empahsize, I mean, REAL angry. This was one of maybe a half-dozen times in his life I have ever seen him like that -- where you hold your anger inside for a few hours, then turn lava red, and finally go off like a volcano. He said he would have walked out at the beginning were if not for us kids being there.
I'm deliberating whether or not to post pictures here, as all I have are a mess of faded old photocopies...okay then, I hear ya, hold on, I'll scan them. I doubt they're my father's. And, if not Chuck's, then Tony Rivera would be my guess.
So let's forget Phantom. Here's an anecdote even more interesting about another time when my father blew his stack. You gotta love stack blowing -- the true essence of a person: Earlier in the 1960s, Ed Graham (Linus) was over at our apartment. Me? I was still in elementary school at that point. Ed was, chronologically, a grown man. I was chatting in our living room along with the rest of the adults. I told Ed that I was one of the fastest runners in my school. Ed challenged me to a race, right there, on the sidewalks of Magnolia Blvd. I was game. We go downstairs. We race. He beats me. I figured he would too. We go back upstairs. My dad asks who won? I say Ed. Quiet from my dad. Ed and his wife leave about an hour later. My dad blows his stack! My dad yells something to the effect of, "Beating a kid! He always has to be so damn competitive!" Although I'm using damn as a euphemism.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
As mentioned in a previous post, The Bear That Wasn't is the first of two cartoons that my father had a hand in that I hope to get online (I'm halfway there!) by the time the Chuck Jones evening hits Turner Classic Movies on March 24.
I thought Bear turned out quite nice, although animation and live film director Frank Tashlin -- whose children's book from which this cartoon is adapted -- was less than thrilled. (this last link leads to an interview that Michael Barrier conducted with Tashlin.) Tashlin's complaint was that once the cigarette was put into Bear's mouth, the concept of separation between beast and man was straddled.
Now, my father could often make liberal use of putting a cigarette in the mouth of many of his own creations, but I strongly doubt he had the pull in this cartoon for how the main character would look; I'd have to put that decision upon the director. Tashlin must have felt mighty close to this book. Either way, I'll be looking forward to seeing it again, and I won't be picky. Don't forget the wonderful Maurice Noble's own personal co-directing stamp on this picture.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Here's another real pip. Total B.S. wrapped in even more bureaucratic B.S. Forget about the signature on the bottom by wannabe-Wiseguy Saunders; Animation House was actually owned by Wiseguy Bob Mills. The best thing about this gig was that my dad got out of Los Angeles for a bit, and if you knew the L.A. animation scene in '73, maybe my dad actually won out...uh, on second thought...
I'd write more, but my computer is hung-up calculating the compounded interest...
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
By now, you might have intuited that on some occasions that I post the strip -- which are already shot and imported into my ancient Windows ME computer -- then I'm biding time with you while I ready other posts. That would be true in this case.
As a head's up, these other posts will correspond to the Chuck Jones Olympiad Marathon Event that Turner Classic Movies will air on March 24th, and for which my dad did some damage on two of the productions: one credited, the other, not. You would do right by going over to Mark Mayerson's blog and see the Jones schedule he posted a few months back. That's where I was first alerted to it. Thanks, Mark!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
No story credit on this cartoon. Animation layout only.
You'll notice that his payment included monies for a title Poison To Poison. I'm not aware of a cartoon by that name, but I'm thinking it was an earlier working title for The Plot Sickens. Anybody have a different take on that? I'm open to it.