Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Don Graham Stat Model Sheet

Note: read my previous posting for information on the "stat" process

Here is an Abner first-generation stat model sheet with "Graham file" written in pencil on the lower right. While original model sheets are a great fine, first-generation sheets are very special as well.

Don Graham Stat Model Sheet [click to enlarge]

Don Graham holds a unique position in the refinement of Disney animation. Here is a segment from "The Birth of Animation Training," Animation World (3/24/2009):
Walt decided to hire Don Graham, an instructor at Chouinard and former engineering student from Stanford University, to supervise this new training in addition to his teaching responsibilities at Chouinard. Graham is remembered today as an inspirational instructor who was patient and articulate. Graham had an incredible knowledge of drawing and art history in addition to being an outstanding draftsman himself. Walt invited diverse guest speakers to lecture at Hyperion, including friend and collaborator Salvador Dali, seen above vacationing with Disney in the 1950s.

One Disney animator commented on the value of this training when he said, “Before I started there I animated well and badly both. But I couldn’t reproduce the former at will and I couldn’t fix up the later. What the classes did for me was to give me consistency.”

Certainly the superiority of the Disney animated product during the 1930s and 1940s can be credited to this training. No other animation studio invested the time and money for training. Many of the principles of animation from squash and stretch to secondary action to more came from these Disney training studies.

The very first class at the Hyperion Studio was on Nov. 15, 1932, with 25 artists in attendance. Older Disney animators smile when they recount that the attendance grew swiftly when it was discovered that Graham was demonstrating motion with the use of cute nude female models.
----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). "U.S. 37" model sheet. "Abner" Pencil: "Graham file." Seller: "This is also something quite special! Original first generation model sheets from 1936 Academy Award cartoon along with great drawings from the film" [15"W x 11”H] Acquired 2000. SeqID-0467

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Jack Miller Stat Model Sheet

While it's great to get an original model sheet, finding a first-generation "stat" model sheet is also great. The photostatic process used to make duplicate copies had been in use for a number of years, with the electrostatic (xerox) being introduced in the late 1930's.

Here is a model sheet of Monty with "Jack Miller" written in pencil on the lower right. Miller, Joe Grant and Bob Jones were superb artists that became the Character Model Department. I don't know if this is Jack Miller's writing or someone else indicating that the copy was to be given to Jack Miller. However, the way the letters are drawn would lead me to believe that it is Jack Miller's writing.

Jack Miller Stat Model Sheet [click to enlarge]

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). "U.S. 37" Model sheet stat. First generation "Monty" Pencil "Jack Miller" [15"W x 12"H] Acquired 2000. SeqID-0466

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Pencil of Abner and Monty

I was attracted to this image for a couple of reasons. First, I thought the characters were great -- Abner showing shock as Monty yanks him out of danger -- a super rendition of expressions. The sheet also starts to demonstrate Monty's changing character as he becomes more protective of Abner.

Second, the shadow and water effects add to the overall interest of the image -- from an educational perspective. The notations give an indication as to the relationship between this sheet and several others in the sequence.

The comment in blue: "Ab still has bewildered exp."

Abner and Monty [click to enlarge]

The only thing I don't like about the sheet (from a display standpoint) is that Monty is so close to the right edge. I have not framed this as of yet, but my guess is that it would look best if "floated" so the whole sheet if visible.

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). Drawing of Monty and Abner. Excellent view of both characters and special effects. Note: "Ab still [has] bewildered exp" in blue pencil. Red effects "123 x SW" "123 124 125" [12”W x 10”H] SeqID-0460

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Abner Kicks Butt

I took this photo shortly after buying my first digital camera, a Nikon D1. The light fall-off on the copy stand was terrible. I should have scanned it, but I didn't have a scanner at that time...

This is a great piece because of it's dual sheet construction and character depiction. As I've mentioned, I like to find pieces that best describe a character and/or film. And there are a number of points in a film where different aspects of a character past or emerging personality can best be portrayed.

As Abner becomes "acclimatized" to City Life his character changes. Overwhelmed by all that he sees Abner takes on the Cat demonstrating more courage than Monty (although alcohol may have something to do with it). This images captures one of the film's "forks in the road" as Abner's character continues to develop.

Abner Kicks Butt [click to enlarge]

I should note that is composite consists of a two-sheet depiction of the cat, with the trimmed sheet of Abner placed on top. I've never really been in favor of trimming original art, but often dealers would find creative ways of combining images to increase marketability.

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). Two pencil sketches combined to show Abner kicking back of cat. Double wide with good registration. 24w X 10h. "Reg 39B in reg" (cat is "39B") "FIN" Back: Country Cousin 800" [Unframed Item: 24"W x 10"H] Acquired 2000. SeqID-0465

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Abner Pencils

Abner, the stereotypical Country Bumpkin, is an interesting character, but not as "deep" as Monty.

This first image is a really nice piece of art. I loved the expression on Abner's face -- I can't count the number of days I've felt like this...

Woeful Abner [click to enlarge]

Full Frame Abner

This image is nice because it's a large one, but I probably wouldn't buy it again because of the eyes being closed...

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). Pencil sketch of Abner. Abner center with umbrella. "95" [Unframed Item: 12"W x 10"H] Acquired 2000. SeqID-0462

From “Country Cousin” (1936). Pencil sketch of Abner. Eyes closed, holding hand to cheek "21" [Unframed item: 12"W x 10”H] Acquired 2000. SeqID-0463

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Monty Pencils

Boy, I really didn't like Monty when I first saw this film. While growing up, every once and a while I would be put into social situations with kids from "Country Club" families and, it seemed to me, that they would go out of their way to point out my ignorance in the "social graces." To me, Monty personified those self-absorbed creeps.

But as the film rolled along, Monty did redeem himself by taking care of the intoxicated Abner.

However, as I re-read what I just typed, I guess I still don't care for Monty. From my perspective, whenever Monty looked down his nose at Abner, he was looking down his nose at me.... Damn, I hate all this garbage I lug around...


----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). Pencil sketch of Monty holding up finger to say "sush" Notes: "TR #40 Feet and Tail"; "44"; "PD" Slight stain on lower right. [Unframed item: 12”Wx10”H] Acquired 2000. SeqID-0464

From “Country Cousin” (1936). Pencil Director's drawing of Monty. Monty on left holding out hand. "54-55-56" "54A" "BA" [Unframed item: 12"Wx10”H] Acquired 2000. SeqID-0461

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Ingeborg Willy Scrapbook Pencils

Here are some items from the pages of Ingeborg Willy's Scrapbook (1936-1937). Willy was hired to work in the Pen and Ink Department at an amazing time in the Studio's history. While the Studio was small enough for everyone to know one another, it was struggling with growth issues. Willy's scrapbook includes photographs she took of fellow workers and she also collected scraps of pencil art and other items used in the animation process. Included were a few items from "Country Cousin," which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1936.

While these are items trimmed from standard sheets, they all represent unique character poses. While some may argue the value is reduced because they are trimmed, each sheet in the scrapbook presents a special "snap shot" into the life of the Studio and the people that worked for Disney at the time -- which has a special value all its own.



----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). Pencils of Monty and Abner. From “Ingeborg Willy’s Scrapbook” (1936-1937). A scrapbook of photos, pencil drawings and other items put together by Ingeborg Willy, who was an inker for Disney from 11/23/36 to 11/26/41 and who died in 1999. Acquired 1998. SeqID-0243 Updated: 7/28/2005

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Babbitt Scene Synopsis

OK, here's the start of the Series of holdings from "Country Cousin" (1936).

The first item is a sheet found loose in the Ingeborg Willy Scrapbook (1936-1937). This is a Scene Synopsis sheet listing "Babbitt" as the animator.

What I found interesting was the sheet summarized the various categories of work relating to the scene: Mechanics, Effects, Color, Paint & Ink, and General. The items described in the Mechanics section show an excellent example of manipulation of underlays and camera movement. While I started by collecting "pretty" cels, I soon found myself interested in the broader scope of the animation process: backgrounds, story boards, concept art, pencils, story notes, internal memos, etc.

On the reverse of the sheet is the story line that is in progress...

I'm not sure why I took this turn in my collecting. My guess is that since I had started my own company, I developed an interest in "opening the hood" of just about every business I encountered to get a feel for what made other successful businesses "tick."

Scene Synopsis Sheet [click to enlarge]

Reverse Side of Scene Synopsis

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). Scene Synopsis listing the animator as "Babbitt." From “Ingeborg Willy’s Scrapbook” (1936-1937). A scrapbook of photos, pencil drawings and other items put together by Ingeborg Willy, who was an inker for Disney from 11/23/36 to 11/26/41 and who died in 1999. Acquired 1998. SeqID-0243 Updated: 7/28/2005

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Bootle Beetle" (1947) - Scrapbook Cels

Here are a couple of items that have an interesting history.

I bid on an item that was described as a "scrapbook of Disney related items." When I received the package, I was surprised that there were a number of cels included in the scrapbook. Unfortunately, a significant number of the cels were ruined when the red paper behind the cels bled onto the white of the cel's ink. A few survived...

In some cases, I preserved the cel and others were interesting enough to get framed. The following item looks better when mounted on an original Disney production background from an unknown film.

Original Bootle Beetle Cel

Cel Mounted On Production Background

Another Original Cel Left Unframed

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From "Bootle Beetle" (1947). Cel from the Scrapbook Collection of the older Bootle Beetle on a production background (unknown 1940’s Disney film). [5”W x 6”H] SeqID-1434 7/29/2005

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Winged Scourge" (1943) - Pencil Sketch Snow White Characters

Here's an interesting sketch of various Snow White characters for a US Government film on mosquito control. I think it's a good example of how the animation business re-invented itself to find new revenue streams during World War II.

Snow White Characters

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Winged Scourge” (1943). Pencil sketch of the various Snow White woods animals helps one of the dwarfs fill in ponds and standing water. Notes: small tear upper left and upper right; horizontal fold along bottom 1/3; vertical fold along center. This was a film for the US Government on mosquito control. [Unframed Item: 15-1/2"W x 12-1/2"H] Acquired 1998. SeqID-0288 8/3/2005

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Figaro and Frankie" (1947) - Minnie, Figaro and Frankie Cel

This is a really great cel grouping. Three cels trimmed and mounted on another cel with a Courvoisier background. Great expressions on all the characters. A Good moment. Colorful.

Figaro, Frankie and Minnie Courvoisier

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Figaro and Frankie” (1947). Minnie is trying to get Figaro and Frankie to make up. Inscription: "from Figaro & Frankie." Has the WDP stamp and a Walt Disney sig. Laminated with Courvoisier background. [Image: 7-9/16" diamete] SeqID 0047

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"ZIM" (1897 & 1928) - Eugene Zimmerman Cards

Here are some of the oldest items in the collection.

These items are a little different than the standard animation stuff in the collection, but the animation industry owes much to the early cartoonists who developed new ways of looking at the human form. Those early cartoons, most of which were political, did not have much room for textual explanation, so the visual really needed to be worth "a thousand words" to get the point across. While a realistic drawing of a political figure might not be quickly recognized by the vast majority of readers, finding an unusual physiological characteristic and exaggerating it made the character immediately identifiable. And Eugene Zimmerman was a major influence on how characters were rendered.

While the effort of the cartoonists at the turn of the century might not be apparent when drawing a mouse, films that included human characters (like "Autograph Hound") certainly demonstrated the exaggeration techniques borrowed from the political cartoon genre.

Eugene Zimmerman was one of the best known cartoonists at the turn of the century. Known for this grotesque caricatures (called the Grotesque School), Zimmerman worked for both Puck and Judge. He created one of the first correspondence schools for cartoonists and was the founder and first president of the American Association of Cartoonists and Caricaturists.

This first card is from 1897 and shows a fairly rough characterization of himself.

1897 Eugene Zimmerman Card

The card below is from 1928 and was drawn about 7 years before he died in 1935. The character is drawn in color and is more refined.

1928 Eugene Zimmerman Card

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

ZIM by Eugene Zimmerman Card. Eugene Zimmerman (1862 - 1935), forever known by the block scrawl signature ZIM, was the developer of the Grotesque school of caricature and one of the nation's most respected and original cartoonists of the late nineteenth century. During his career, ZIM worked for both Puck, in the leading American humor magazine, and Judge, which eventually surpassed Puck in circulation and influence. A prolific and energetic artist, ZIM also did formal portraiture, wrote newspaper and magazine articles, drew a newspaper comic strip, illustrated books, created a cartoonist correspondence course, and was the founder and first president of the American Association of Cartoonists and Caricaturists. [Item: 3”x4”] SeqID-0859, SeqID-0860

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Buck Rogers" - Dick Calkins Signed Drawings

For those interested in Science Fiction (kind of...), Buck Rogers is one of those "must have" items for a collection.

Getting comic art from Dick Calkins is always fantastic, but it is even nicer when you can pick up some one-off items. These two are great examples.

The top item was drawn for a fan in the 1930's and was drawn on hotel stationary. It is amazing that Calkins would care enough about his fan base to draw something as detailed as this while on the road.

Dick Calkins Sketch circa 1930

The second item is from 25+ years later. The lines are bolder. Striking use of color. There is nothing shy about this piece. It certainly shows the change in Calkins' art.

Dick Calkins Sketch 1957

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From Dick Calkins’ “Buck Rogers” (circa 1930). Note: “To Stuart Nelson Regards from Buck Rogers and Lt. Dick Calkins”; “Battle of Minneapolis 2432 A.D.”; “There’s one down, Stuart! You get the other!” [8”W x 11”H] SeqID-1452

Seller: Bob, I've been offered this early 1930s 'Buck Rogers' pencil on paper drawing. The 3 lines at top center are 'whiteout' over some stationary heading. The price is 3.5k but to me that seems a bit strong. It's 8'' x 11''. LB: The Buck Rogers piece is something that I think is REALLY, REALLY SPECIAL! I don’t know of any other piece of original Calkins Buck Rogers art like it! It represents some of the earliest original Sci-Fi “Space Art” ever done. The one man open cockpit space ship and the ray gun are fabulous details.

From “Buck Rogers” (1957) by Dick Calkins. Dick Calkins’ Image of Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering (1957). Note: “To Eldon ‘Don’ Everett Regards Dick Calkins 7-24-57”; “Buck Rogers”; “Wilma Deering” [Item: 10.5”W x 13.5”H; Frame: 15.5”W x 18”H] Acquired 2005. SeqID-0292 Updated: 8/3/2005

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Palmer Cox "Brownieland" Card (1907)

Over the years, I've picked up a few items relating to the emergence of "comic art" around the 1900's. Here is an interesting card drawn by one of the larger-than-life names: Palmer Cox.

While Palmer's name is generally unknown and the "Brownie" character seems unfamiliar, these little characters were extremely popular at the time. So popular, Eastman Kodak called one of his first small cameras a "Brownie."

1907 Palmer Cox Card

Palmer Cox information from Wikipedia:

Palmer Cox (April 28, 1840 – July 24, 1924) was a Canadian illustrator and author, best known for his series of humorous verse books and comic strips about the mischievous but kindhearted fairy-like The Brownies. The cartoons were published in several books, such as The Brownies, Their Book (1887). Due to the popularity of Cox's Brownies, one of the first popular handheld cameras was named after them, the Eastman Kodak Brownie camera.

He was born in Granby, Quebec, son of Michael and Sarah (Miller) Cox, and became a carpenter and car builder. He moved to San Francisco via Panama as a railroad contractor. He lived in San Francisco from 1863 to 1875. In 1874, he began to formally study drawing and contribute illustrated stories to such publications as Golden Era and Alta California. After 1875, Cox lived in New York (Pine View House, East Quogue, Long Island). During this time he regularly contributed editorial cartoons to Oscar Hammerstein's United States Tobacco Journal.

The earliest publication of Brownie characters took place in 1879, but not until the February, 1881 issue of Wide Awake magazine were the creatures printed in their final form. In 1883, Brownie stories appeared in St. Nicholas Magazine and as their popularity rose, they were covered in publications such as the Ladies' Home Journal.

Cox's Brownies were little men who had mischievous adventures together. Each Brownie had a distinctive physical appearance: for example, one, Cholly Boutonnière, wore a top hat and monocle, another was dressed as a stereotypical Chinese peasant, yet another was dressed as a Red Indian chief in war bonnet. Cox's text was quite crude, and did not develop individual personalities for the Brownies, aside from the "ethnic" ones speaking in stereotypical dialect. Cox's illustrations tended to show a crowd of Brownies jumbled together, with specific Brownies recurring from one illustration to the next, but with no Brownie occupying a predictable location in the picture.

Cox died in his home, Brownie Castle, on July 24, 1924. His tombstone, decorated with a Brownie figure, reads: "In creating the Brownies he bestowed a priceless heritage on childhood."

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

Brownieland” by Palmer Cox (1907). Early American Cartoon Artwork by the creator of Brownieland. Condition is Very Good Plus to Near Fine for all twelve cards. Watercolors are bright and unfaded, inks are clean and undamaged, card stock is creamy white and some with tanning. [3"H x 4"W to 4.5"H x 3.5"W ] SeqID-0849 10/17/2005

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Alice In Wonderland" (1951) [Series] - David Hall Watercolor Sketches

[Edited based on comment]

This is the end of the series -- the last "Alice In Wonderland" item in the collection that I wanted to post...

This is not a very good image of what I believe to be a wonderful piece of art. The colors are fantastic. The sheer number of characters on the page are unusual. One of the reasons I like the piece is that it is a window into the flow of the creative process of character development. You can see the morphing of the character as you move across the page and as difference scenes are sketched.

David Hall Watercolor Sketches

Matt, at his site, has some great Alice material and some fantastic items drawn by David Hall. Be sure and check it out!

I thought this was an interesting comment on the Disney Archives site:

This animated feature had been on Walt's mind since 1933, when he considered a live-action version starring Mary Pickford. He shelved the project after Paramount made a version, but later had artist David Hall, a Hollywood artist and designer, create some concepts for an all-animated film. World War II intervened, and it was not until the late 1940s that work began again in earnest. One of Walt's big problems with this film was that here he was dealing with a highly regarded classic, and what was charming and appropriately bizarre in book form seemed oddly out of place on the motion picture screen. Walt's feeling, expressed in later years, was that "Alice" had no "heart."

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Alice In Wonderland” (1951). A watercolor color model sheet by artist David Hall. Hall did the concept work after Disney bought the rights to “Alice In Wonderland” and “Peter Pan.” SeqID-1947

Seller's Notes: "Alice in Wonderland" Original artwork painted in 1939. This Disney Studio artwork is a watercolor painting on Studio peg hole board and was created as a Character Model of 'Alice' for the film and has multiple images of her styled by the Disney artist David Hall. This Conceptual artwork was used in the creation of the animated film version of "Alice in Wonderland" which was released by the Studio in 1951. David Hall is a very well known artist and reference can be found on him in a number of Disney related art books, such as "Before the Animation Begins" , "Paper Dreams" and "The Treasury of Disney Animation" all by author John Canemaker. This Original artwork is in Mint Condition. Size: 10" x 12"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Alice In Wonderland" (1951) [Series] - Mary Blair Concept

Over the past few years, a number of Mary Blair items have entered the market. This is one of those and I thought it was pretty interesting -- a watercolor concept of Alice at the Tea Party. It's a significant scene in the film (which fits one of my criteria). In addition, I look for art that summarizes a character and this image which is both whimsical and pensive mood fits.

There is no mistaking Mary Blair. Her style was as much of a departure from the "norm" as was Gustaf Tenggren. For better or worse, "It's A Small World" is Mary Blair's playground. My big mistake was video taping the entire "It's A Small World" attraction when we visited Disneyland 20+ years ago. Our daughter played that tape non-stop for months (at least that's what I remember)! The song was burned into my mind and I would wake up in the middle of the night with visions of those expressionless eyes bouncing left and right in a never-ending dance through the darkness. But I digress...

Mary Blair Watercolor Concept

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Alice In Wonderland” (1951). A Mary Blair concept watercolor of Alice at the Tea Party. Excellent, vivid piece, large. [Framed: 15.5”W x 13.5”H; Item: 8”W x 6”H] SeqID-1946

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Alice In Wonderland" (1951) [Series] - Cel of White Rabbit

The White Rabbit is a wonderful character to find. No one in the film (other than the Walrus) represents the Business World any better than the White Rabbit -- where speed of completion is far more important than substance.

From my perspective, this is a classic representation of the character -- the harried look, the hand on the head, legs spread, face in disbelief. Again, if you are going to buy art try to find images that give you the best feel for the character, the best representation of a scene or a classic unforgettable moment in the film.

We put this in a round frame to highlight the angle and roundness of the character. And it tends to break up a will filled with square and rectangular views...

Cel of the White Rabbit

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Alice in Wonderland” (1951). A great cel of the White Rabbit running for an appointment. [Frame: 13.75"W x 14.25"H; Image: 8" diameter] SeqID-0224 7/27/2005

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Alice In Wonderland" (1951) [Series] - Tulgey Wood Cel

I thought these were very nice. The Mother Bird was very nice, but I've always liked the Hammer Bird and the Horn Bird. These "acid trip" characters were a novel departure from the normal characters and still fit it with the wacky world of Alice's special reality.

In this cel grouping, we have the Mother, the baby Hammer Bird, the somewhat dim adult Horn Bird and the smaller baby Horn Bird. A very nice grouping. The black background works for these characters and the frame picks up the general coloring of the Mother Bird.

Tulgey Wood Characters

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Alice in Wonderland” (1951). Cel of Nesting Mother Bird, Bulb-Horn Bird and Hammer Bird creatures in Tulgey Woods. These are very rare. [Frame: 12.5"W x 10.5"H; Image: 9.25"W x 7.25"H] SeqID-0222

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Alice In Wonderland" (1951) [Series] - Dog and Caterpillar Cels

[Following has been edited after correction by reader.]

Here are two interesting cels: a Dog and Caterpillar. They are one the screen for a very short period of time, but they make a lasting impression.

Like the previous post, when we picked these up we didn't know much about finding backgrounds. Nor was the option available to pull an image from a DVD. Maybe in the future, I'll construct a background for these guys... Notice the frame picks up the leaf motif...

Dog and Caterpillar

In looking over the new book, "Disney Dogs," there is a page devoted to this character...

Page from "Disney Dogs"

Framed Cels

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Alice in Wonderland” (1951). Two Cels. Dog and caterpillar standing. An interesting piece since they are only on the screen for a few seconds. [Frame: 21.5"W x 25.25"H; Image: 11.25”W x 15.25”H] SeqID 0021

Disney Editions. “Disney Dogs.” New York: Disney Enterprises, 2008. Page 143. ISBN: 978-14231-0920-4. [8”W x 8”H] Acquired 2009. SeqID-1952

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Alice In Wonderland" (1951) [Series] - Dinah Cel

This is the start of a fairly short posting of items in the "Alice In Wonderland" holdings.

Earlier, I posted one of the Black & White cels we have from a Hudson Motors commercial. You may want to check it out...

Dinah, the cat, is a continuation of Disney's cat characters. In "Alice," Dinah has a slightly different character. More of a house cat. A little over-fed. Somewhat less comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. This cel of Dinah is a nice example of Dinah's character. I especially enjoyed the sense of wonderment in her eyes...

Dinah Cel

We framed Dinah to pick out her colors. We didn't have anything that really worked behind Dinah, so we let the cel stand on its own. After seeing some of Rob Richards' work on creating backgrounds from DVD, I've given some thought to re-creating the actual background. I'll put that on my "To Do" list...

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Alice in Wonderland” (1951). A very good Dinah cel from Alice in Wonderland. Looking up into the frame. Full figure. Excellent color. [Frame: 17.5”W x 17.25”H; Image: 9"W x 9"H] SeqID-0020
Reference: Image in Encyc of WD Animated Characters pg 225.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Autograph Hound" (1939) [Series] - Cel and Pencil of Greta Garbo and Clark Gable

These are my favorite items from "Autograph Hound": A cel and pencil of Greta Garbo and Clark Gable. Good poses in both instances.

Garbo and Clark were in a 1931 movie "Her Rise and Fall" and, apparently, developed a tremendous dislike for each other. So, the fact that in this scene Garbo dominates Gable keyed into part of the joke at the time.

The 1935 film "Anna Karenina" was Garbo's showcase film. However, the aspects of her acting that were appealing became a liability as the movie industry evolved. Her "I want to be alone" line became the mission statement for her later life. Swedish by birth, she was criticized for not taking a public stance against Hitler -- which tarnished her public image and led to fewer roles being offered her. It was learned later that she was secretly involved in gathering information for the U.S. Government, but by the time the information became public it was too late to counter the PR damage done years before. [By the way, if you want to read a really interesting story, check out actress and scientist Hedy Lamarr and her role as co-inventor of spectrum spread telecommunications.]

Clark Gable was starting to develop the rugged "bad boy" womanizer image before "Autograph Hound" (1939) and "Gone With The Wind" also released in 1939. "It Happened One Night" (1934) earned Gable an Oscar and "Call Of The Wild" (1935) both put Gable to the front of the pack when it came to fulfilling the everyday role of male Hollywood star... So, having Gable dominated by Garbo was part of the joke in "Autograph Hound."

While we recognize Gable much more quickly than Garbo, it's Garbo that was the more significant actor. Her portrayals are more widely cited at key examples of acting -- as far as I can tell.....

Greta Garbo & Clark Gable Cel on Master Background

Greta Garbo & Clark Gable Pencil

Framed Pieces

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From Autograph Hound (1939). Greta Garbo has Clark Gable in a dip. Both are looking at each other. I believe that this is where they hear that Donald Duck is on the set. Directed by Jack King. SeqID-1206. See SeqID 0025 for a near identical pencil sketch

From "Autograph Hound" (1939). In this pencil sketch, Garbo has Gable in a dip. Both are looking off the screen at sounds being made by Donald Duck. A Donald Duck film directed by Jack King. [Image: 8.5"W x 7.5"H; Frame: 16.5"W x 15.5"H] SeqID-0025 8/3/2005

Monday, March 9, 2009

"Autograph Hound" (1939) [Series] - Director's Pencil Sketches

Here are three pencils: two Director's sheets (those sheets with the timing marks lower right) and another general shot. While the Director's sheets are more rare and have a somewhat higher value, the last sheet has the more recognizable characters (Eddie Cantor [who coined the phrase "March of Dimes] and Arthur Treacher).

The unfortunate aspect is that the vast majority of the population has no idea why these folks were Hollywood celebs -- and, frankly, neither do I. These cartoons (and the Celeb Genre as a whole) were very popular at the time and a number of studios turned out cartoons with cameo appearances by figures that graced the Silver Screen at the time. But the unique humor of the cartoons only lasted as long as the viewer could identify the Hollywood character -- either by facial recognition or their unique physical humor.

What I'm quickly finding out is that just looking up the names of these Hollywood greats and near-greats doesn't seem to work any more. You have to look for a clip from their movies to get a feel for why they were singled out for inclusion in these cartoons. When I watch these films today I smile and chuckle at the antics but I know full well that I'm only getting a third of the jokes. They almost need a set-up piece on the front end to get the viewer "up to speed" on the role these folks played in American cinema as the country was dragging itself out of The Great Depression. For example, Eddie Cantor (bottom sketch) lost most of his fortune in the Stock Market Crash (which he referred to as the "Stuck Market") and originated the phrase "March of Dimes." Or that there was more to Arthur Treacher than "Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips."

There is a history lesson in these films. A lesson that is probably far more interesting than we realize. But, since it takes work on the part of the viewer to do the research, I doubt if much will be done. Other cartoons in the late 1930's, on the other hand, dealt with more timeless issues that could be understood just as easily today as back then. Ah, well... Thinking about this makes me tired.

Comedian Mischa Auer - Director's Pencil

IMDB Notes: Mischa Auer --
One year after signing a long-term contract with Universal, Auer broke through into the realm of featured character actors with his Academy Award-nominated turn as the fake nobleman/freeloader/gigolo Carlo, in the classic screwball comedy My Man Godfrey (1936), over at Columbia in 1936. That was the first year that Oscars were awarded to supporting players, and although he lost to eventual three-time Best Supporting Actor Academy Award winner Walter Brennan, it made him as a popular character actor. Auer -- the Mad Russian -- became a fixture in comedies of the late '30s and early '40s. Of the role of Carlo, he said: "That one role made a comedian out of me. I haven't been anything else since. It's paid off very well. Do you wonder that I am flattered when people say I am mad?"
He turned in a memorable appearance as the Russian ballet-master Boris Kolenkhov in Frank Capra's Oscar-winning classic You Can't Take It with You (1938) opposite Jean Arthur and Ann Miller. Other memorable parts in the "Golden Years of Hollywood" phase of his career came in the musical One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937) in support of Deanna Durbin and as Boris Callahan, who touches off a cantina catfight between Marlene Dietrich and Una Merkel in the classic Destry Rides Again (1939).

Irwin S. Cobb & Edward J. Arnold - Director's Pencil

IMDB Notes: Irwin S. Cobb --
Novelist and dramatist who acted in occasional US films of both silent and sound eras. Hosted the Academy Awards in 1935.

IMDB Notes: Edward J. Arnold --
Born Gunther Schneider in New York City in 1890, Edward Arnold began his acting career on the New York stage and became a film actor in 1916. A burly man with a commanding style and superb baritone voice, he was a popular screen personality for decades, and was the star of such film classics as Diamond Jim (1935) (a role he reprised in Lillian Russell (1940)) Arnold appeared in over 150 films and was President of The Screen Actors Guild shortly before his death in 1956.

Eddie Canter & Arthur Treacher - Pencil Sketch

IMDB Notes: Eddie Cantor --
He invented the name "March of Dimes" for the donation campaigns of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (polio), a play on the "March of Time" newsreels. He began the first campaign on his own radio show in January 1938, asking people to mail a dime to the nation's most famous polio victim, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Other entertainers joined in the appeal via their own shows, and the White House mail room was deluged with 2,680,000 dimes.
Singer, songwriter ("Merrily We Roll Along"), comedian, author and actor, educated in public schools. He made his first public appearance in Vaudeville in 1907 at New York's Clinton Music Hall, then became a member of the Gus Edwards Gang, later touring vaudeville with Lila Lee as the team Cantor & Lee. He made Broadway stage appearances in "Canary Cottage", "Broadway Brevities of 1920", "Make It Snappy", "Kid Boots", "Whoopee", "Banjo Eyes", and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1927. He had his own radio program in the 1930s, appeared often on television in the 1950s, and made many records. Joining ASCAP in 1951, and his popular-song compositions also include "Get a Little Fun Out of Life", "It's Great to Be Alive", and "The Old Stage Door". Eddie Cantor also wrote the books "Ziegfeld, the Great Glorifier" and "As I Remember Them", and the autobiographies "My Life Is In Your Hands" and "Take My Life".

IMDB Notes: Arthur Treacher --
Born Arthur Veary Treacher in Brighton, East Sussex, England, he was the son of a lawyer. He established a stage career after returning from World War I, and by 1928 he had come to America as part of a musical-comedy revue called Great Temptations. When his film career began in the early 1930s, Treacher was Hollywood's idea of the perfect butler, and he headlined as the famous butler Jeeves in Thank You Jeeves and Step Lively Jeeves--based on the P.G. Wodehouse character. He played a butler in numerous other films including: Personal Maid's, Mister Cinderella, Bordertown, and Curly Top. By the mid 1960s, Treacher was a regular guest on The Merv Griffin Show. The image of the proper Englishman served him well, and during his later years he lent his name to a fast food chain known as Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips.

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Autograph Hound” (1939). A Director’s pencil sketch of Mischa Auer (who did comedy roles at the time). #CD 65. Did comedy roles at the time. Sequence A60 - A65 Other notes: 3-1/4F 2-3/4N 1-1/2E [Item: 15.5"W x 12.5"H] SeqID 0196

From “Autograph Hound” (1939). Director’s pencil sketch of Irwin S. Cobb & Edward J. Arnold, #C-27. Cobb was a critic and a writer -- Will Rogers type. Arnold was a character actor of the time. Notes: directions 12 thru 16; "C-27" Back: "29" stamp in blue ink. [Item: 15.5"W x 12.5"H] SeqID 0198

From “Autograph Hound” (1939). A pencil sketch of Eddie Cantor & Arthur Treacher, #3-D. Arthur Treacher played a proper British butler and founded Arthur Treacher Fish 'n Chips. Looks like initials "JHB" on the bottom right. [Item: 15.5”W x 12.5”H] SeqID-0197

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Autograph Hound" (1939) [Series] - Stepin Fetchit Pencil

A number of years ago, the Smithsonian hosted an exhibit of art associated with celebrities. Naturally, there were items representing the field of animation. This is one of the items that was deleted from the exhibit after it was deemed "politically incorrect." I thought the piece was interesting, but the fact that it was "politically incorrect" made it impossible for me to pass it up! This was one of Stepin Fetchit's most famous poses.

As I recall, Stepin Fetchit was one of the first Black millionaires in America. After his death, he became a very controversial figure in the civil rights movement. Finally, his contribution was honored by the NAACP. There is a good overview at Wikipedia.

A nice example showing how other cels and the background would register with this cel

Stepin Fetchit Pencil

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From "Autograph Hound" (1939). Stepin Fetchit, down on his knees and scratching his head. This is where he is rolling dice. This was one of the items that was deleted from Smithsonian exhibit because of the gambling aspect of the sequence. Notes: "11"; "SW"; "TR. BAL. #9A" On back = "2" A Donald Duck film directed by Jack King. [Item: 12"W x 10"H] SeqID-0195 7/27/2005

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Autograph Hound" (1939) [Series] - Shirley Temple Pencil

Shirley Temple was another famous figure that appeared in a number of cartoons in the late 1930's and early 1940's.
In this sequence, Donald has been looking for Shirley to get an autograph. Unexpectedly, when Shirley hears the name "Donald Duck," she wants his autograph! A great sequence.

Shirley Temple Pencil With Color Notes

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From "Autograph Hound" (1939). Shirley Temple peering out of port hole when she hears Donald Duck's name. Notes: "17"; "RMC"; "2225 sc 66.5"; "4 field 1-1/4 W"; Color directions; "REG. BG." On back = "17" A Donald Duck film directed by Jack King. [Item: 12"W x 10"H] SeqID-0193 7/27/2005

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Autograph Hound" (1939) [Series] - Clark Gable Pencil

Clark Gable was a popular character for cartoons -- could be that he had some "cartoonish" features!

Here's a great pencil of Gable. Nice big image. Great pose...

Clark Gable Pencil

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From "Autograph Hound" (1939). Clark Gable with extra large ears, mouth open, looking at camera. Notes: "125" On back = "118" A Donald Duck film directed by Jack King. [Item: 12"W x 10"H] SeqID-0193 7/27/2005

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Autograph Hound" (1939) [Series] - Pencil of Joe E. Brown and Martha Ray

I had (have) a fascination with characterizations of popular figures in cartoons. Hollywood has always been a good target because they seem to last in the public eye longer and with more positive attitudes than politicians....

This is the first of that genre of image we collected. I liked the two sheets because the heads were so large and really reflected the underlying personality of the Star... (again, sorry about the pink cast. They tend to look OK my my computer - even after converting the profile to sRBG).

Martha Ray

Joe E. Brown

We framed both of the pencils together. If I had realized that we were going to pick up more, I probably would have framed them as individual items. However, the wide open mouth of both does make it work....

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From "Autograph Hound" (1939). A large pencil sketch image of Joe E. Brown with this mouth open wide (#10). Martha Ray also singing (#4). Good images. Directed by Jack King. Framed with Martha Ray image from same film. This is often confusion as to the movie -- these two are also in Mother Goose Goes Hollywood. The difference is in the hat that Joe E. Brown wears. A Donald Duck film directed by Jack King. [Frame: 28"W x 17.75"H; Image: Left & Right: 9"W x 9.5"H] SeqID-0024 7/27/2005

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Yogi Bear Show: Bat Bear Episode" (1960-1961) - Full Storyboard

Yogi was one of those "bad" hero cartoons that was a major departure from other cartoon role models of the time -- probably why I liked it...

This is one of my favorite pieces. Unfortunately, since I can't find a way to frame it without taking over a whole wall it sits in a file drawer!

There are some great boxes -- like these:


Here is the entire storyboard set. Hope you enjoy it!!! (Sorry about the pink cast...)

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “The Yogi Bear Show - Bat Bear episode” (1960-1961).. Very unusual -- full pencil story board for "Bat Bear." 14 panels with up to 9 scenes per panel. For use in 1960-1961 season. HB99-89-999-01. SeqID 1369_1 to 1369_14 This group contains 100% of the story boards for the cartoon. [14 pages @ 12.5"W x 10.5"H] SeqID-1369