Monday, May 26, 2014

Snidely Whiplash Teaches Rocket J. Squirrel about Enumerable Sets

One of my previous posts was titled "Lost in Our Vaults Until Now" but this one might truly be called "Lost in [Bob's] Garage Until Now!"

A friend of mine named Bob Konikow used to own his own animation studio in California back in the 70s.  One idea they had at the time was to create a series of math-related animated shorts, and in one case, they even went so far as to write the script, do some preliminary design work, and even record the dialog, but they never finished it!

Flash-forward some 40 years, and he and I are going through the hoard in his garage, when we came across those original audio recordings on tape.  Luckily, he also still owned a (working!) reel-to-reel tape deck, and was able to digitize those recordings onto his computer.

Now, here is the best part.  It's who he got to do the voices for his short.  There are two parts in the script and he hired June Foray and Hans Conried to do the voices!

In case you don't know, June Foray is one of the most famous animation voice-over artists going, having voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Tweety's Granny, Bug's Witch Hazel, and many many (many) more!

Hans Conried was a popular "character actor" - including playing Dr. Terwilliker in "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T." - who also provided voices for many animated characters, notably Disney's Captain Hook, and Snidely Whiplash, also from the Bullwinkle show.

When I heard these two great voices again, and saw a couple of scene ideas, I asked him if I could take a crack at animating it, thinking others might enjoy hearing these two working together.  (Hans after all, hasn't been with us since 1982.)  So we did.

Now I hope the feeble work I did is worthy of these two icons, because Bob liked it well enough to re-kindle the idea of making a series a shorts.  So he's currently trying to see if he can find a distributor interested in the idea, which is why I can't post the whole short online.  But in the meanwhile, I thought I might upload just a small taste of the finished piece.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas from Frosty the Sandman

An e-card I made years ago for a now-defunct e-card site, inspired by the balmy temps we have down here in FL in Dec.  Oh, and Karen's grown-up now.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lost In Our Vaults Until Now!

Back in 1958, I helped to create this corporate animated video for Fortune Magazine, discussing the upcoming national highway system.

OK, so not really.  For the record, I wasn't even born in 1958.  But back in 2011, I don't remember how or why, but I stumbled upon an article on Fortune's blog where they were re-publishing "a classic story from [their] archive."  The article was accompanied by several illustrations which I just loved, and once again, I wanted to see them animated.  I'd love to credit the original illustrator here, but in the online images, the signature is too small to make out.  Chasmarty?  I don't know.

However, I will give credit to a site called CG that had a nice tutorial I followed to get that aged film look.

Also, ever since I was a little kid, I've wanted to create an animated short featuring the song "Powerhouse" - an animation industry staple for industrial montages.  So, check that one off.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


So, let me get right to the point, and then I'll give you some more details after the movie.

Famed artist, Kevin Kidney recently created a set of paper art pieces to promote the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.  Hopefully, this video can help to draw even more attention to their organization.

Watch and enjoy (Note: tablet and phone users, view in portrait orientation.)

So, how did I get involved in this?  Serendipity.

1) I've always been a big fan of animation, especially Disney animation, and that includes the wonderful stop-motion puppet animations that Bill Justice and Xavier Atencio were probably most famous for.  2) As a Disney fan, you gotta love the Sherman brothers, and Annette too!  I have the 3-CD set "The Music of Disney: A Legacy in Song" which I listen to often, since it's on my iPod.  3) I've also been following Kevin Kidney's blog for at least a few years now.  I love his - and Jody's! - design sensibilities.  So, when I noticed recently those wonderful new paper cut-out designs he created, I recognized the style immediately.  And when he posted the first two lines from "Mister Piano Man" in the description of the Golden Horseshoe Revue Annette on his flickr page, I could just picture in my mind what she would look like in motion, singing that song.  In fact, I really wanted to see it!  And what's more, I believed I had the skills and the tools to make that happen.

So, I animated the first 11 seconds and sent that to Kevin to see if he wouldn't mind if I used his character in my animation.  Well, let's just say, he didn't seem to mind.  In fact, he asked me if I wouldn't mind sharing the finished piece with the folks at Annette's Fund to help draw more attention to their organization (and, happily, they thought it was a good idea too!)  Well, naturally, I was delighted by the idea!  That would give my little animation a purpose in life, rather than being some little thing I did just for my own amusement.

Now I have not-totally-selfish reasons to hope this video gets as wide an audience as possible.  So now that you've watched it, I hope you enjoyed it, and (even if you didn't) I hope you'll think about kicking a buck or two (or more) to Annette's Fund.  Or why not get yourself a nice keychain, or any one of dozens of other products featuring Kevin's inspiring puppet design in their zazzle store!

Unfortunately, Annette herself will never see this (that we can be sure of), but the Fund lives on, and the Research continues…

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Way back in 2004, or maybe before, famed folksinger Arlo Guthrie wrote a little poem about mooses.  Then his friend, Alice Brock (yes, that Alice), made some illustrations to go along with the poem and they published it as a book.  Three years later, my friend is showing me the book and talking about what a cute animation he thought it would make, and I asked him if he wouldn't mind if I took a crack at it.  So I did.

I tried to get Arlo's permission to proceed with the idea, but I was having trouble getting a hold of him, and meanwhile I kept working on it.  Before you know it, I was done.  Now what do I do with it?  Well, as luck would have it, Arlo came to town to perform in concert at Epcot, and I was able to meet with him for a few seconds in between sets, and I handed him a CD with the finished piece on it.  Well, apparently from there, it ending up sitting on his desk for the next 6 months before Mrs. G finally noticed it, watched it and said it was "GREAT!"  She showed it to Arlo, and, according to her, "he really liked it too."  At one point, she had the video posted to her own YouTube channel, but she sadly passed in 2012, and that channel apparently no longer exists.

So, I hope he won't mind that I've now posted it to my own channel for all to enjoy…

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Tin Woodsman gets a new job

Ever wonder if you're on the right path? One little slip-up, one wrong turn, or missed opportunity and your life could end up very differently than it might have otherwise. What if the Tinman never met Dorothy? Or better yet, what if he had never got stuck in that storm and rusted in the first place? What might he have done with his life instead?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hogwart's Sorting Hat makes himself useful

Ever wonder what some of your favorite film and/or TV stars do with their downtime, or where they might have ended up if they hadn't found their proper place in this world? There's a small chance that if I ever post any more videos to this blog, that I will examine that question with multiple famous personalities. But for this first one, we consider another way for the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter films to make himself more useful. Let's watch...