Monday, November 17, 2008

TV Animation: Hanna-Barbera & Cartoon Network

Suggested Reading:

"Moody Toons: The king of the Cartoon Network" by Alec Wilkinson | Listen | Read

"Makin' Toons" by Allan Neuwirth

Cost-cutting techniques in TV animation:

-Cels and sequences of cels were used over and over again: for example Fred Flinstone only needs to be fully animated walking once.

-Only portions of a character, such as a mouth or arm, would be animated on static cel.

-Visuals took a backseat to audio elements so verbal humor and voice talent became more important than the animation (sitcom modelfollowed, e.g. laughtracks).

Hanna Barbera

-Studio formed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera after MGM animation department closed in 1957.
(The team created Tom and Jerry series in 1940)

-It was the first studio to successfully produce animation for TV.

-Criticized for contributing to the general decline in the quality of TV animation.

-Practiced "Limited Animation" for cost cutting rather than artistic purposes (true of many studios, not just H-B... Filmation, others).

-The company eventually evolved into the Cartoon Network Studios.

Cartoon Network

-With the growth of CN in the mid 1990's the network wanted to produce original shows instead of simply re-running old cartoons.

-Cable can serve a more refined audience... cartoons didn't have to have the broad appeal they did on network TV.

Genndy Tartakovsky

-Born in Russia, moved to USA at the age of 7 in 1978.

-Lived in Columbus, Ohio until he was 10.

-Graduated in Chicago; went to CalArts for 2 years where he met Craig McCracken.

-Drew for Batman in Spain.

-Pitched Dexter to H-B before it became the Cartoon Network.

-Tartakovsky's Dexter's Laboratory (1995) became one of the first shows produced for the network.

-Craig McCracken, a fellow student at CalArts served as art director on Dexter's Lab.

-Tartakovsky served as producer and coordinator on McCracken's Powerpuff Girls.

Screening Room:

The Huckleberry Hound Show: "Spud Dud"
Airdate: Sept. 11,1960

Search YouTube for Huckleberry Hound Show Cartoons

The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958-1962)

-The Series began in 1958.

-It was the first Hanna-Barbera program that they owned outright.

-Released in syndication: Ruff & Ready was the studio's 1st production, part of a cartoon program with a live host. The show also featured Pixie & Dixie and Yogi Bear.

-Huckleberry Hound was performed by prolific voice actor Daws Butler.
Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1916, his career spanned over 50 years.
Visit the Daws Butler page at IMDB

Jonny Quest: "The Robot Spy"
Airdate: Nov. 6, 1964

Search YouTube for Jonny Quest Cartoons

-1st animated TV series to portal "real" people vs. cartoon creatures.

-26 episodes aired during the 1964-65 season.

-Doug Wildey - longtime comic book & strip artist was known for bold use of shadow, realistically drawn figures, exotic locales.

-Wildey designed main Quest character models; produced many of the stories; developed atmosphere & style associated with the show.

-Production team studied the current scientific journals to immerse themselves in state-of-the-art technology

Samurai Jack: "Jack & the Scotsman"
Airdate: Oct. 29, 2001

Search YouTube for Samurai Jack Cartoons

-Content reflects TV's interest in action in cartoons

-The show's many different settings from episode to episode allows great artistic experimentation, especially by background artists (different times, locales).

-Style is lush and painterly but flat; characters drawn without black outline common to most cartoon characters.

-Focus on eyes - expressiveness.

-Little dialogue, simple stories, lots of action and fight scenes.

-Dan Krall - linedrawings and backgrounds.

-Scott Wills - color, lighting and shading of backgrounds.


Film: Little Prince and Eight Headed Dragon (1963) written by Takashi Iijima and Ichirô Ikeda

Directors: Sergio Leone and Akira Kurosawa

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