Friday, July 22, 2011

Moving On

Greetings everyone.

This blog is moving on to: HERE

I'm still trying to figure out Wordpress (and other things).

Please update your bookmarks and keep reading.


Thursday, June 9, 2011


Blog posting will be temporarily suspended for a while in order to get certain matters in order.

Many thanks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pan Test

Here's another quick test for the Ottawa Signal Films.

Trying to do a background pan, this test was put together in about 20 minutes -just to see what it would take to do properly.

After this test, I'm going to figure it needs about three hours to do it properly.  A different lens would be good too, but that's not happening.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Top Cel Volume 2, #16; 12/1/45 - Strike Over, War Over

Labor Answers the GI courtesy Colliers

War Labor Board Decides In Our Favor

1) Union Shop Clause: The Union Shop clause contained in the 1944 contract between the parties shall be incorporated in their 1945 agreement.

2) Duration of the Contract: The term of the contract between the parties shall be for a period of one year from the date of expiration of the otherwise agree.

3) Severance Pay:  The parties' agreement with reference to the issue of severance pay shall be incorporated into the parties' agreement.

4) "Most Favored Company" Clause: The request of the Company that this Board recommend that the 'most favored company' clause be retained in the 1945 contract between the parties is hereby denied.

5) Wages: a) The request of the Union that this Board recommend its proposed rate ranges is hereby denied.

b) The parties shall adopt the following rates for the classifications listed below [enlarge chart on image].

The parties shall negotiate rates for the remaining classifications in relation to the above key rates recommended.

6) Retroactivity: Adjustments resulting from the provisions of the recommendation shall be affective as of March 14, 1945, the expiration date of the prior contract, unless the parties have agreed upon another retroactive date."

 Our Union

At our last general membership meeting the membership accepted an Executive Board recommendation on veterans initiation fees and dues as follows:

1) All returning veterans with experience in the industry may join the union for $5.00 intiation fe and pay no dues for three months provided he or she joins within one month after being employed;

2) All veterans with no experience will be allowed to join for $5 initiation fee after working for six months on a Work Permit;

3) Members in the service will get three months free dues.

Some members have asked for a clarification of the rules on fines for non-attendance at meetings.  Excuses are needed only for the third meeting misses and not for the first or second, because the fine is only levied after the third consecutive meeting is missed.

Many members have failed to apply in writing for a Withdrawal Card when leaving their job at a studio. Unless request is made in writing, a member faces suspension for failure to pay dues.

Speaking of suspensions, we would like to call the attention of those few members who have been suspended because they fell three months behind in dues to section 159, 160, etc. of the Brotherhood constitution.  Such members will note there that it will be very expensive in the long run to fall far behind in dues payments if they want to be able to work in the industry in any studio under the jurisdiction of the Brotherhood, as they all are.

Know Our Rights

WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO STRIKE, let's use it sparingly and wisely.  Under the Smith-Connaly Act, Congress legalized strike provided the membership of the striking union votes for the strike in an election held by the NLRB.  It is labor's strongest weapon, the Sunday punch that rarely ever fails if properly timed and organized.

But it is a very costly weapon to the employer, the union, and the country and so should be used only after all other means have been exhausted.  The scarcity of strikes throughout the war (1/10th of 1% MAN HOURS WORKED) and even today, despite anti-labor propaganda to the contrary, indicates how reluctant unions are to use such a devastating weapon.

In reality, however, the strike, so viciously attacked by the commercial press, is nothing more than the same economic action every businessman takes.  If we do not want to pay the price our grocer, butcher, landlord or auto dealer asks, he will not sell us his wares.  Today, real state men and manufacturers generally are on strike refusing to produce until they get higher prices, or lower taxes -and it is considered good business.  A strike by labor is exactly the same -a refusal to sell labor unless certain terms are met, certain principles upheld or higher wages granted.

The strike is a legitimate economic weapon.  We have the right to strike, let's use it wisely and sparingly.

Trade News

Selections by "Box Office" Magazine


March of Time (20th Fox)
This is America (RKO)
Bugs Bunny Specials (WB)
Disney Cartoons (RKO)
George Pal Puppetoons (Paramount)
Terry-Toons (20th Fox)
Featurette (WB)
MGM Cartoons (MGM)
Speaking of Animals (Para)
Passing Parade (MGM)


Teen-Age Girls (March of Time)
Bombalera (Musical Parade) Para
Coney Island Honeymoon (Warners)
Californy 'Er But (Disney's)
The Shooting of Dan McGood (MGM Cartoon)
New Americans (This is America)
Herr Meets Hare (Bugs Bunny)
In A Musical Way (Speaking of Animals)
Jasper's Paradise (George Pal)
A Lady Fight Back (Passing Parade)

"Hollywood Merry-Go-Round" new comic strip based upon authentic Hollywood backgrounds and actors, will be distributed nationally on Nov. 26 by McNaught Syndicate.  Renny McEvoy is writing the strip with Jim Pabian doing the art work.

Tony Standorf, veteran radio producer, checked in at Disney Studio to conduct a six week survey of talent and character suitable for radio and television.  Los Angeles may soon see Disney's product on the air, if company receives approval of its application for a television permit and begins experimenting locally.  There is speculation as to what sort of programs the proposed station would run if the FCC sets a minimum of six hours telecasting a day.  To provide cartoon films from the one studio for that amount of time would soon empty Disney vaults.


Payoff in film strike settlement will cost studios more than $6,000,000, it was estimated by one major company executive according to Daily Variety.  It was pointed out that severance pay for some 3,000 scabs with the possibility hundreds of these men will 'return to their former classifications and receive double pay.'  It was explained these figure don not take into consideration the extra guards employed during the eight month strike, lost production time, etc., which may boost the total cost of the settlement nearer $10,000,000.

George Pal will combine live action with his Puppetoons after first of year.  For take-off in new field, he has inked Louis Armstrong and his band for one of his "Jasper" character series.  He is also preparing a traveling display for exploitation of his series.  After being exhibited at Harvard University the display will be presented in department stores throughout the country.

CIO's Answer

"It takes no special acumen to sense a rising hostility among servicemen and veterans against labor unions," says Albert Deutsch, "thanks largely to highly distorted and and magnified reports of the current strike situation in anti-labor newspapers."  The CIO has just published a timely pamphlet, "The CIO and the Veteran", which presents convincingly the other side of the story:

Eighty-five per cent of the Nation's war materials were union made.  The CIO like the rest of labor, pledged no strikes for the duration.  There were some wildcat strikes, but the 7,400,000 man-days lost by  CIO strikes in all industries (including non-war) from Pearl Harbor through 1944 amounted to three-hundreths of 1 per cent of total working time. Industrial accidents resulted in 108 times more man days lost than all CIO strikes put together.

In spite of all the fancy talk, the US Labor Statistics Bureau estimated  that the family with two children was only $2.30 ahead in real money every week after paying for taxes, war bonds, and the higher cost of living.  What wage gains were made by organized labor's efforts helped sustain the returning serviceman's living standard when he takes his place on the production lines.


A little atom bomb hit George and Becky Ottino in the form of brand new twins.  They were born Nov. 10th at the Englewood Hospital in NJ.

Carlo Cucinotto's wife had a baby boy.  His name: Matthew.

"Pink and Blue Laughter", Paul Fitzpatrick book, made a hit at Famous.  Buy one, is good!

Latest additions to the Famous Studio payroll:  Thomas Ford, Lenore Gugenplan, Ann Nicolotti, Joan Saracino, Marion Aten, Rose Marie Rossi, and Viola Monfrede.

Phyllis Monnot working at Willard.

Joe Deneroff in the hospital.  We hope to see him well soon.

Saul Kessler's en route home.

Elva Jump is literally a jump ahead of us.  She's learning to fly a Piper Cub and doing well too.

Beatrice Sertner took a month's leave of absence, her wedding took place November 22, Thanksgiving.  The lucky fellow?  Sgt. Norman Pellman.

Speaking of marriages and such.  Phyllis Shagrin Needle  is in Florida in her honeymoon.

Birthday greetings to Bob Little, Rosalie Socolov, and Bernice Steinberg.

Nancy Lee Jones left Terry's to be married.

Bob Little, former head of the Background Department at Famous left for Miami, Fla.  We are sorry to see him go.

Bob Wickersham left Gems to do strips fro Davis.  We just heard that Warners RAISED several assistants to 75 bucks and gave a flock animators a 25 dollar raise.  (We love these RUMORS.)

The Duffy Bag

Stan Green and Myron Waldman the newest veterans to start a Famous. At Terry the additions are Rocco Eletto, John Vita and Walter Gleeson.

Don Roman out of his Marine uniform and in California.

Wilber Streech just came back from LA.

Dave Hilberman transferred to the West Coast.

C. L. Hartman a civilian already, also  Dave Rose.

Johnny Harbough already working at Disney's.

Jim Logan in his way home.

Jack Mercer was discharged from the army.

Irving Dressler, formerly with the army in India now back at Famous.

Martin Provensen, Louis Schmitt, Sam Spohn, Scotty Witaker and Don Tobin getting out of the Navy.  Alex Lovy and John Carey are out already.

Captain Fahringerm of the Culver City Unit, reenlisted.

Carmen Elleto in his way home.

John Baldwin, a Sgt. now, in Gushkara, India.

Bob Summa, once a tracer at Terry's, not only got his discharge, but also a wife.  Maybe we'll be seeing him after his honeymoon.

Latest releases from Culver City, John Hubley, Herb Rothwill, Bob Givens, Frank Onaitis, Jero Fabry.

Bill Schipek back at his desk at Metro.

Paratrooper Catp. Paul Fanning, now a civilian and home in New York.

Marine Bill Perez writes from Tsingtao, China, promising us some drawings.

John Barron left to get his discharge, and at the same time, Lou Guarnier, Murray Fairbairn, Herman Cohen, Melvin Grau, Chuck McKimson, Bob Janess, Lloyd White, etc.

Gene Fleury at the Signal Corp in NY.  Also in New York Ray Harryhausen.

Hollywood Strike

October 24 1945, will be remembered in Hollywood labor history as the V-Day on which the plain people of Hollywood backed by friends everywhere finally smashed the most concerted effort in recent years to destroy all the gains labor made.

We do not want to congratulate any one leader or even the Strike Strategy Committee for the remarkable job they did and for the service they rendered to the labor movement and the nation as a whole.  We do want to congratulate plain John Doe who, to the surprise of the self-satisfied producers and newspaper publishers, saw clearly, as he so frequently does, through the smoke-screen of lies and propaganda that was thrown up to becloud the issue.

It was thrilling and encouraging to see the John Does all over the US rise up and help fight a principle, just as the Indonesians and Spanish Republican are doing.  We are proud to have been part of that cause.  It was a privilege to have been able to contribute a little to the fight waged by our brother cartoonists in Hollywood.  While we hope that there will be no need for fighting such a bitter battle again, we are sure that if the need does arise we will once again stand side by side and perhaps the next time we will be able to help much more.

Why A Union

Fundamentally, a union is simply a device for raising the individual employee to a somewhat more comparable bargaining level in relation to his economically superior employer.

Can we visualize any single employee to a somewhat more comparable bargaining level in relation to his economically superior employer.

Can we visualize any single employee, without a union, striding boldly into Mr. Terry's or Mr. Buchwald's office, for example, and demanding an increase in pay from $15 to $26?

But, those same individual employees, when standing together as a union, can get all of those things and more, as we did thru our union last year and can continue to do in the future if we broaden our understanding of the immense power we have as a union and learn to use it.

Act Now

The urgency of the international situation cannot be emphasized enough.  Walter Winchell's recent quip "short peace, wasn't it" is unfortunately more than a quip and unless we all act now it will be a very short peace.  The United States, more powerful than all the world combined, has it in its power to make the United Nations Organization work.   If we destroy UNO as we destroyed the League in 1919 a terrible atomic war is inevitable only a few years hence, and unless we act immediately our leaders will have killed UNO before it starts.

It is fashionable to ran against Russia for seeking power in Poland and the Balkans by supporting governments there friendly to Russia, which governments, incidentally, FOUGHT IN OUR SIDE DURING THE WAR.

We tend to ignore the fact that the USA championed fascist Agentina into the UNO and still sends oil and food to Franco Spain while feebly complaining about Franco's support of Hitler's Germany. We innocently ask the English not to kill Indonesian democrats with American lend-lease weapons until the America labels are removed.  Our leaders make speeches about not interfering in the Chinese Civil War and then give thousands of American planes to Chaing, have American Marines land Chaing's forces behind Communist lines and bring men and material to the front.  And we have the gall to threaten the Chinese Communists for shooting at American Marines.  Of course, we shouldn't mention the land we've taken in the Pacific for "military reasons".

Monday, June 6, 2011

Video: R. O. and R.

Michael Sporn and others have posted a link to an interview with my great teacher, R. O. Blechman, on the Comics Journal.

Somehow or another reading that combined with whatever other web browsing I've been up to connected me to this series of videos from the Strand with Bob and the lovely and talented R. Sikoryak.

I was there, but I'm an old man, so things like this a good reminders of what I once know.

At the beginning of this video he says "it was only about a year ago I became acquainted with [Harvey Kurtzman's] stuff". He told me the same story about ten years before. I suspect by the early 1970s R. O. had already filed away the work of every illustrator in world history and has used the following years to appreciate them all and add to the list.

This also starts with a great story about doing covers for Story magazine -an important lesson for how to be happy with your work.


Anyone who's interested in illustration, especially students should pay close attention to this talk.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Some Help? - Repost

We've gotten some great submissions for this, and as the other segments are barreling along we'd love to add your contribution!

As previously mentioned, we're doing the signal films for this year's Ottawa Animation Festival.

Like most of our projects we're making it both simpler and far more complicated than it needs to be. 
There will be several episodes.

In one, we're going to do that face thing, in three parts, flipping.  From the kid's books.  I have no idea what it's called.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jim Blashfield

Part of the reason for posting every day is to keep sharp, no matter how dull the material (or authoship) may be.

Study of other figures in the field is an important part of whittling down to pointy animation skills.   Coming from that tack, I'm going to start a regular feature of little write ups about interesting artists.

Last year I was asked to write the program notes for the Jim Blashfield retrospective at the Ottawa Animation Festival. 

Having written a few of these pieces, I felt the need to pose a little challenge to myself.  I wouldn't contact the artist, I wouldn't interview anyone.  I watch his films and look at his artwork.  Chris Robinson sent me a questionnaire the artist answered with all the "facts" and some good anecdotes.   That was all I used.

I'm happy with how that article turned out (and with little modesty think it was the highlight of last year's Festival Reader), but I'm more happy about the time I got to spend with Jim Blashfield's films.

Like many still artists who move into animation, his primary technique is cut out/under camera manipulation.  This is the look we're familiar with from his classic music videos.

The cut-out technique, though, is very sophisticated and uses an awful lot of images. So it's similar to rotoscopy in many ways.

Most interesting are the installations the artist has been creating for the past several years.

Animation is used as a means of expressing ideas -narrative or purely visual or just visceral. That's why they capitalize the "A" in Art.