Thursday, February 28, 2008

CARTOONS FROM CANADA

Okay, we JUST got done with our film submission for this July's Comic-Con film fest. SO, I now have time to get back to other things! Like here, I thought I'd do a nice and hopefully-interesting post about one of my favorite things provided by our friends up North.
CANADIAN CARTOONS!



What's interesting is I really haven't seen a lot of animated films from Canada. There just hasn't really been a lot of exposure of it in the United States.
Much earlier this decade, and the latter half of the 1990's, when Cartoon Network was THE network to visit for all your cartoon-watching needs (makes sense, right?), O Canada! was an original program they aired which was a half-hour block of cartoons from the National Film Board of Canada. Sometimes it was an hour long!


I remember its only time-slot was Sunday nights at like 1am. Well, so not really Sunday nights, more like Monday early mornings. I remember it airing right after Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, which I never missed. So when SG ended and I was getting into bed for the school week starting up the next morning, this strange little O Canada! show came on.

Sure, I grasped that it was animated shorts from Canada, but I was still a tad confused because every cartoon was SO WEIRD and BIZARRE. Most of them were in some form of Squigglevision, and they were all very dry humor. I know that "they felt very British" isn't really a feeling, but you automatically know what I mean when I say that. They were just so different from what I was used to seeing! Some quaint and quiet. Some insane and raucous. Some not containing humor as its primary function, rather, extremely artsy or dealing with mature situations (the Bob and Margaret "pilot" being about Bob going through a mid-life crisis on his birthday).

Is there ANYONE ELSE watching this right now besides me?, I thought. There was a huge appeal to this for me. I felt like it was a show the network put on just for night owls like me. That nobody else would understand if brought up in conversation.

Watching this late-nite block of cartoons was like being in a little secret club!


Alas, Cartoon Network eventually became the place it is today. And in order to do that, they got rid of a lot of their good programming.

And as with all television shows that make you WANT to switch on the TV, O Canada! fell into even more obscurity than it was already in and was replaced with... I am now checking the listings here for what currently airs on Sundays at 1am...... Darkplace. I have no idea what that is. But it's part of the [adult swim] block so I'm not exactly eager to find out.

Anyway. There's a little history of how I came into the know-how of these, albeit small amount, great cartoons that O Canada! introduced to me. Extra credit is given to them for being so cool because most of them seem to be produced in the 1980's, one of the past few decades that has been absolute hell on the American animation industry. Leave it to Canadians to be the best at entertainment!


So, a couple years ago I remembered a lot of these cartoons and searched around on eBay, Amazon, wherever, to see if I could obtain any myself. Luckily I found a bootleg-type DVD set of a lot of the shorts the show aired that I remembered being some of the WEIRDEST of the weird; a.k.a. my personal favorites!!!
Three of them in particular are included in it, so it's this very DVD set that I'll use to create the screencaps and clips for this blog post.


Directed by Cordell Barker

This is my favorite short from Canada. It's relatively new (1988), but it's just a classic. I actually remember seeing it BEFORE O Canada!, on TV as a kid. I remember it creeped the hell outta me! Mainly because it's pretty dark humor, and way more cartoony than mostly anything that was being made at the time.
I guess a cartoon being cartoony was so foreign to what audiences were used to that that's the way it originally made me felt.


Crazy!!!!

There are so many strange jokes in this one that just inexplicably fit. The man going up the mountain to get rid of the cat, and the amount of ladies tied to railroad tracks is just hilarious!




Below is another favorite...

Directed by Richard Condie
This one is so bizarre, but human at the same time. We witness 10 minutes where this lovely older couple is having a snit. One shakes their eyes too much. The other has an obsessive fetish for sawing.



Why are YOU always shaking your eyes all the time??!

You're always shaking your eyes HERE, and shaking your eyes THERE!!

Despite the strangeness of everything, it's a very sweet cartoon in which we somehow find we can relate to, one way or another.
It's also RICH with real human awkward silences. I must admit that this cartoon is a bit of an inspiration for my cartoon project that I'm working on right now!


A YouTube embed of it below. Definitely give it a watch if you haven't.


--------------------------

Directed by Brad Caslor

This brilliant short is the ultimate tribute to the cartoons of the Fleischers, and maybe even Clampett!
Everything is extremely fun and rubbery. Each character design is creative and exaggerated- floppy muzzles, lots of wrinkles, HUGE schnozzes.
Maybe best of all, almost the whole thing is timed to music!! A wonderful artistic element that's barely been done since animation's heyday.




Another great thing this cartoon uses: Crazy animal crowds! Crazy animal crowds are essential to stories like this.




Great alley cats! This is definitely a nudge to Clampett. Probably Bakshi too.

Bob Dog is a funny little guy. Did the director ever make more cartoons like this? This seems to be the only piece of anything by him that I know of.




OH-kay,
I think that's gonna do it for now. If I am missing something really great, or anyone has anything to add, shoot me a comment and discuss!
Again, I'm no expert on the subject, as I've barely been exposed to anything since I don't live in Canada. But thanks for reading nonetheless!

Friday, February 22, 2008

KOT'N KATIE & KALI KAZOO: THE SPAWNING

It's been a lot of work in the making, but my pals (and bigshot cartoonist chicks extraordinaire) KALI AND KATIE have their own folk-rock band now!!!


Yes, the talented young ladies have finally decided to leave their original ambition of being professional mundunugu cave dwellers and move on to greener, musically-acknowledgeable pastures.


The best part is that THEY ARE TERRIFIC!!! I've gotten the amazing privilege to hear most of the recordings and it's all fantastic. Kali plays a mean guitar, not to mention the both of them sing sooo purdy-like! Almost every song is a duet, and with both of them singing in different harmonies, they compliment each other very well.


One of my favorite old country songs is Ghost Riders in the Sky so I nearly FLIPPED when Kali sent me their version of it!! It's now my favorite Katie 'n Kali song of them all, but I'm not about to neglect the rest of their pieces: They ALL tie for my favorite 2nd place recording!

BEHOLD- ridiculous photos i have taken of them.
Squishyface McGeee


and... Tasty Nose



WELL-
CLICK HERE and go check 'em out! They're the most darlin' lil' nippers you ever did meet.



Oh, and of course, all the cartoons above are property of Kali and Katie!



OH AND LOOOK!!!
here's my really quick and awful attempt at them.

go easy on me, i'm currently sick with the flu. :p

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

IT'S ME

self portraitzzzzzzz


My hair is pretty long right now.

argyle

Apparently, I'm also really tall. Everybody seems to like telling me that I am, anyway. Hey we should alert Jay Leno to write some opening monologue jokes, because people talking about my height seems to be all the rage!!
Here's what happens when I meet up with my friends.

...............

"yay 4 nico!"

KRISTEN IS AWESOME

me and kristen hang out in pretend, but we are real-life friendz!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

HAW-HAW-HAW: A Tribute to Eddie Fitzgerald

Oh, hello there!



I am quite privileged to personally know one of the greatest cartoon animators/directors of today: Uncle Eddie!



There are tons of cartoon blogs out there that speculate and observe the lives of amazing people in animation. Avery, Clampett, Disney, Jones, Natwick, Kricfalusi, Hanna, Barbera, Scribner, Wolverton, Gross, Bakshi, and more. While I'm a huge fan of all of them, Eddie Fitzgerald has yet to be recognized with the large, nicely-packed blog post of history that he deserves. I think today is that day. I think that right now is as good a time as any.

I should start off by saying that not many people realize that Eddie has had many successful careers BESIDES working in cartoons! He's been a professional yodeler, a radio DJ...


...a best-selling author...

...the perfect placement for in-studio cartoon gags...

...not to mention available for children's birthday parties!!


EDDIE, THE FAMILY MAN

Eddie is very close with his father. Papa Fitzgerald visits on a weekly basis because his son is such a hoot to be around!

Eddie is a great team player, especially when hanging out with his good chums! Here he is thoughtfully helping me escort Kali back to her home.

You know, Eddie is also an animal lover! He's the ultimate animal lover, actually. He happily shares his home with TONS of pets. You name it! Cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, horses, koala bears(!!) and many, many birds.
I didn't have enough memory in my camera to snap a photo of them all, but I did manage to photograph his loyal hound dogs. Edward, Eddington, and Eddie Jr.


EDDIE'S CARTOONS


Like any high-profile artist, Eddie has a secret place, a private sanctuary if you will, that he visits sometimes in order to think up all those ideas that eventually mature into the Eddieisms that captivate the rest of us. This secret place is...
THE THEORY CHAIR
...and don't forget the tap water!




Looks like someone has another idea!!!


Hey, and speaking of cartoons, I'm pleased to announce here on my cartoon blog, that for my animated short I am working on right now, Eddie Fitzgerald voices my main male character! I don't want to give too much away besides that for right now, but here is a direct screencap from one of the shots I have completed so far. It is the character Eddie voices, named Henry:


---------------------------------------------



This short aired on Cartoon Network when I was about 12 years old. Much later I would find out that Eddie directed it, but at the time, I had no clue as to who any of the Spumco cartoonists were. All I knew was that if it looked like "the Ren and Stimpy guys" did it, then that meant cartoon-watching fun time for me!


This is a CRAZY cartoon! At the time it was on TV, it felt like some kind of strange, strange dream. I always tried to tape it because in the days before TV listings on the internet, you had no idea when something like this would repeat again.


Years later, I found a VHS tape for sale on eBay of a bunch of the random cartoons that Cartoon Network would produce themselves. "Tales of Worm Paranoia" was on it!! So I had that for a while, and then unfortunately lost the tape when I moved places. Since then, it's been uploaded to and taken off of YouTube over and over again, and I don't believe it can be found on that site at the moment!

Look at THIS, below! Such elasticity in the characters, and so much fun. I love big saggy cartoon hats that grow hair!

"YOU FILTHY CHILDREN"




THE MANY LIVES OF EDDIE

Not many people also know that Eddie has lived a life of many different backgrounds, situations and extreme super-adventures!!!


DID YOU KNOW that Eddie has many faces?? For a brief period, he was a dashing romantic, and Spanish inquisitor! Feared all over Spain! This was the middle 1980s, of course.

FACT: Eddie once saved a bus-load of children from plummeting off a cliff, using only a paper clip and some sewing thread.
What a school bus of children was doing out in the wilderness, near a cliff, is beyond me!
"NO THANKS NECESSARY"


For a VERY brief period, Eddie was a SUPERVILLAIN! A huge threat to all of 'em - Batman, Superman, EVEN THE WONDER TWINS - Eddie was a true master of mayhem!


Feared by every damsel in distress!

Another hapless victim is doomed!!!!!



But, the past is the past. A life of danger can get.. well, dangerous after a while!


In fact, a couple of months ago, Kali chose ME to help out on the set of her school film project! A short subject starring Eddie! You can tell from the photo below that you're NOT GONNA WANT TO MISS IT!


IN CARTOONS, Eddie has made quite a name for himself! Here he has a cameo in Tiny Toons, I think?

Eddie's brain!

Plus many loving caricatures by cartoonist bigshots!
by John K:

by Kali Fontecchio:
(this should be hanging up on Eddie's wall!)

by Katie "Boundless Talent" Rice:

I think this is by Mike Fontanelli? My apologies if I'm wrong!



Being a Spumco fan for years and years and years, since Ren and Stimpy debuted, I've always been an extreme fan of all these very talented folks. And I'm so glad that I've reached a point in my life where some of them are now friends of mine!!

But.............
TRUE STORY:
Early last year when we were all at Mike Fontanelli's house, I had the chance to meet Eddie for the first time. I'll never forget when Eddie walked in the door, and as soon as he saw me, he nearly jumped out of his skin!! I was very befuddled as to why he seemed so alarmed. What had happened was, the moment he saw me, he recognized me from online. So before I could even fully stand up to say "Hi my name is Nico", he did a huge cartoony double-take, started howling-out laughing, and thrusted his hand out for a hearty shake. "Oh my god HAW HAW HAW! It's Nico, from the internet! Holy cow, YOU'RE REAL!!!" The reason he was so happy about this was that he now had proof that I was a real person, and not a figment of his internet imagination. This meant that he wasn't crazy! And naturally, this made me feel pretty good about myself. Eddie is very observant to other people's feelings!


Let's rummage around through this box a little more... AH, LOOK what we've found here in the Uncle Eddie attic! A REAL treasure: Eddie's "NO" Hat!

Ah, old photos. Eddie and John were quite the crazy kids!

And take a look at this one! Ahh, young love. Who could possibly forget prom night? What a scamp!


Well............
This has been a very touching evening, I think, having the rare opportunity to peek at only 1 page in the life of this fine and profound gent.


As the sun sets, and our day is coming to an end, what of Eddie? How does his day end? Oh, not much. Back to the quiet sanctity of his Theory Chair, Eddie comfortably smokes a Bic pen, leans back, and reflects quietly. Quite humble, I think.


"OKAY OKAY, ENOUGH ABOUT ME! MOVE ALONG. SCRAM!!!"
Sorry Eddie! We'll all go now. Hope to visit with you again!