Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy New Year!

                                                        From Big Fat Baby and "Histeria!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Is Coming...

                                              ...And winter is on its way!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas and All Through the House...

...Some creatures were stirring, including a mouse...

                                "Tonight, my dear Pinky, our plan is unfurled
                                We'll steal Santa's sleigh and take over the world!"

                                                                      From Animaniacs:  "'Twas the Day Before Christmas."

Friday, December 17, 2010

"A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" -- Pinky's Letter to Santa

Happy Holidays!

Here's a cell set-up from "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas."  This special won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in the 1995-96 television season.  This is the one and only Primetime Emmy Award won by a WB program in the entire history of the WB network (1995-2006).  Ever!

                                           A Pinky and the Brain Christmas (1995)
                                                                  directed by Rusty Mills

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Animaniacs: "Little Drummer Warners"

One of my favorite shorts of the series, "Little Drummer Warners" casts Yakko, Wakko and Dot as shepherds "abiding in the field at night" in this rendition of the Christmas story that offers up a jazzy swing version of "Little Drummer Boy."  Many thanks to Richard Stone, Steve Bernstein and Julie Bernstein for making the music work so well.  This cartoon was beautifully directed by Lenord Robinson.  Earl Kress and I worked on the script, and the vocal performances by Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille and Jim Cummings, among others, are outstanding.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Batman: The Animated Series" Christmas Card -- 1992

This was the 1992 Christmas card sent out by Warner Bros. Animation.  "Batman:  the Animated Series" had premiered just a few months earlier.  This beautiful and funny holiday scene was created by Bruce Timm.   I had a few copies matted then sought out the autographs of some of the directors, writers and producers on the series.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tiny Toon Adventures TV Guide Cover: Merry Christmas!

December 19th-25th, 1992:  Buster, Babs, Plucky and Hamton make the cover of "TV Guide's" Christmas issue.   This is a copy of the artist's proof. 

Here's the original painted background and cel setup...preserved for posterity by Jean MacCurdy, who gave it to me as a Christmas gift back in '92.  Thanks Jean!  


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?

In the News:  Mice Created From Two Dads

December 9, 2010:   Scientists in Texas have created baby mice from two male mice, raising possibilities that double-father offspring could, in the future, repopulate vulnerable species.   Researchers yesterday reported using stem cell technology to create mice with two dads, and no mums, genetically speaking.   That is, the mice carried chromosomes from two males, rather than the usual assortment of genetic material from one male and one female.

The latest issue of the journal Biology of Reproduction claims that researchers have found a way to successfully produce baby mice using genetic material from two fathers.  The breakthrough could be a boon to efforts to save endangered species -- and the procedure could make it possible for same-sex couples to have their own genetic children.

Tonight, at Acme Labs, Pinky and the Brain's regularly scheduled plan to take over the world has been postponed due to much confusion.  According to a spokeman for the Brain, somebody has "a whole lot of 'splainin' to do."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Animaniacs Movie Poster #6: "Revolutionary Warners"

Here's another early draft of a movie poster for a proposed Animaniacs feature film:  "Revolutionary Warners."  While we plotted out an outline in which the Warners played an instrumental role in the battle for independence, Bob Doucette designed this patriotic promo piece. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tiny Toon Adventures vs. Batman: the Animated Series

Both "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Batman: the Animated Series" have won their fair share of Emmy Awards.  On a couple of occasions, the two shows wound up in competition for the same award.  After one of those skirmishes when the toons prevailed over the superhero, Bruce Timm drew up this beautiful piece, below.  

At Warner Bros. Animation ( and most other studios)  many artists would celebrate birthdays, holidays, major events, studio politics and other humorous moments of life by drawing up cartoons and caricatures of fellow workers.  Batman producer/director/designer Bruce Timm was and is one of the very best at these works of comic art, and his caricatures have always been brilliant.  His cartoons of Eddie Fitszgerald and Tom Minton were used as the initial rough facial models for Pinky and the Brain.  (We just added ears, white furry bodies and pink tails to Bruce's drawings of Eddie and Tom.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Animaniacs Movie Poster #5: "Hooray for Hollywood"

Here's another preliminary poster for a proposed Animaniacs feature film.  I love the Hirschfeld-like caricatures Bob Doucette drew into the margins.  Many of the elements of this story found their way into the Animaniacs two-parter, "Hooray for North Hollywood." 

The challenge:  1.  Name all the celebrities pictured.  2.  Name the celebrities who are still alive.  3.  If they were all still alive, who would be the youngest?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Animaniacs Movie Poster #4: "Little Orphan Warners"

Another early draft of a poster, drawn by Bob Doucette, for a proposed Animaniacs feature film.  This was Yakko, Wakko and Dot's take on "Oliver Twist."  Bob's designs are fabulous.  I love seeing the pencilwork on all of these efforts.  

This particular poster took a bit more time to restore than the others.  I found it folded up at the bottom of an apparently non-leakproof box.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Animaniacs Movie Poster #3: "Wandering Warners We"

Another preliminary movie poster designed by Bob Doucette for a series of  "Animaniacs" movie concepts that were developed in the late 90's.  Paul Rugg had his hand in the development of this scenario, and the treatment is hilarious.  Yakko, Wakko and Dot play troubadours sent on a mission by the King to track down his heir, the princess, in order to save the kingdom.  In "Wandering Warners We," the fourth Warner sibling is introduced:  the profoundly untalented "Lakko."  (Before the midpoint of the movie, Lakko is unceremoniously fired from the production by his brothers and sister due to an abject lack of timing and charisma.) 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Greetings! -- Another Chistmas Card

Animaniacs Movie Poster #2 : "The Road to Bohemia"

In the late 90's, we worked up a bunch of different feature film concepts for "Animaniacs."  Then Bob Doucette drew preliminary movie posters for some of the more promising ideas.  

Various elements from "The Road to Bohemia" found their way into the feature-length "Animaniacs" cartoon that we ultimately made:  "Wakko's Wish."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Animaniacs Christmas Movie

Back in the late 90's, we developed a bunch of different movie concepts for Yakko, Wakko and Dot.  Bob Doucette drew up preliminary posters for some of these development ideas.  Here's one that featured the Warners working at the North Pole -- and driving Santa's elves crazy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from "Animaniacs"

A Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Yakko, Wakko, Dot and their Pilgrim pal Miles Standish from the "Turkey Jerky" episode of "Animaniacs." 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Tiny Toon Adventures" -- Early Logo -- Part 2

Here's another early "Tiny Toon Adventures" logo that Alfred Gimeno and I worked on for a while.  Of course, we ultimately went with the ring logo, further below.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Last "Pinky and the Brain" Script: "Star Warners"

Here's the cover page from the last "Pinky and the Brain" script:  "Star Warners."  You can see that it was quite the group effort.  At the recording session, I asked the cast and crew members on hand to sign my script...for posterity.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Tiny Toons Character Who Didn't Make the Cut

Initially, a younger version of Foghorn Leghorn was going to play a role on Tiny Toons...

...but no one could muster much enthusiasm for the character.  Ultimately, we came up with the foul-mouthed character named Fowlmouth, who seemed to carry on a bit of the blustery spirit of Foghorn, if not the design.  Fowlmouth, voiced by Rob Paulsen, made his biggest impression as the loud-mouthed movie patron in "Tiny Toons' How I Spent My (Summer) Vacation."  

Gone to the Dogs #21: Holiday Greetings!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tiny Toon Adventures: Steven's First Emmy

In May 1991, "Tiny Toon Adventures" won the Daytime Emmy for "Outstanding Animated Program."  Our executive producer Steven Spielberg was shooting his feature film "Hook" at that time, so a few members of the crew visited him on the set to present him with his very first Emmy Award.  

In the photo, from left to right:  me, during my brief beard phase, partially obscuring the view of our voice director Andrea Romano;  writer and co-producer Sherri Stoner;  of course,  Steven in the middle;  writer and story editor Paul Dini;  and directors Art Vitello and Rich Arons. 

And, in the background, pirates.  

Steven, Kathy Kennedy and Frank Marshall sent us the following telegram on the night of the Emmy event.   Telegrams were cool!  You sure don't hear much about telegrams anymore.  

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cast Members from "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Animaniacs"

In the mid-90's, we made a few "Tiny Toon Adventures" primetime specials while we were producing the "Animaniacs" series.  This photo was taken during a day when we were recording segments from both "Tiny Toons" and "Animaniacs."  Many of the voice actors performed roles on both shows. 

1st row, left to right:   Maurice La Marche (Dizzy Devil, Squit, the Brain),  Sherri Stoner (Slappy Squirrel, series writer, producer),  Nate Ruegger (Baby Plucky, Skippy Squirrel),  Andrea Romano (voice director),  me.  

2nd row:  Paul Rugg (voice of Mr. Director, series writer), K.C. (Sound Castle engineer),  Kelly Foley (recording editor), John Kassir (Buster Bunny).  

3rd row:  Jeff Bennett (Baloney, Charlton Woodchuck),  Jess Harnell (Wakko Warner, Walter Wolf),  Jim Cummings (Narrator, Daniel Boone),  Tress MacNeille  (Babs Bunny, Dot Warner),  Rob Paulsen  (Fowlmouth, Yakko Warner, Pinky). 

Back row:  Rich Freeman (production associate),  Harry Andronis (engineer),  Leslie Lamers (casting director),  Frank Welker (Furrball, Little Beeper, Ralph the Guard, Runt, Chicken Boo).


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Slappy and Skippy -- Circa 1994

                              Slappy Squirrel and Skippy Squirrel plug "Branimaniacs." 

                                                   The voices behind the squirrels:  
                                  Sherri Stoner as Slappy and Nate Ruegger as Skippy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Platypus Duck

I have been drawing cartoon versions of duck-billed platypi since 1975, when I started working on my first animated film.  It was called "The Premiere of Platypus Duck."  

The playtpi pictured below are among the absentminded "Platypus Duck" doodles that I've drawn over the years.  

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"The Flintstones" 50th Anniversary

"The Flintstones" premiered on the ABC Television Network 50 years ago today, September 30, 1960.  

                Hanna-Barbera Studio's promotion art for "The Flintstones" circa 1975.  

I remember it vividly.  For a 6-year-old who loved cartoons, this was "event television."  The first weekly primetime cartoon show, in color, on ABC, from the makers of "Huckleberry Hound" and "Yogi Bear"?  Heaven!   

The entire family -- mom, dad, and siblings -- tuned in that night, and everyone found something to like.  There were frequent laughs throughout the show.   Here was a new and rare example of cartoons and television bringing families together.

             From 1961:  My  most cherished TV Guide cover, featuring my favorite TV stars of the era.

I started drawing Fred and gang almost immediately. Below is one of my earliest drawings of Fred and Barney from 1960.  Apparently, as far as I was concerned, "The Flintstones" had already joined the ranks of cartoon superstars.  

Below, a signed drawing of Fred by "The Flintstones" Sunday comic strip artist Gene Hazelton.    He drew a great Fred!  

Fred became a fallback doodle drawing for me.  I've been drawing him adbsentmindedly practically my whole life.   Following are a few samples from over the years.  Keeping Fred on model does not seem to be a goal of my doodles.

So, on this 50th Anniversary of "The Flintstones," thank you Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera and the entire creative staff at Hanna-Barbera for bringing this landmark show to life.

I had the privilege of working for Hanna-Barbera in the 70's and 80's.   I started out in Bill's arena, the animation and production department, and later I worked for Joe in the story, development  and writing department.  They both taught me crucial aspects of the animation business, and I'm eternally grateful to them for giving me such wonderful opportunities.  

Bill and Joe were great guys, and they made some great cartoon shows!  

                                          I had my picture taken with Bill and Joe at a 90's reunion. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Randy Beaman Kid, Skippy and Steven

Pictured at an "Animaniacs" wrap party from the mid-90's:  Colin Wells (the voice of Colin, the kid who tells all the Randy Beaman stories), Steven Spielberg (the big kid who tells lots of other stories), and Nate Ruegger (the voice of Skippy Squirrel).

Colin is the son of "Animaniacs" writer Deanna Oliver.  Colin just returned from two years of active duty in Afghanistan.  Welcome back, Colin!

Friday, September 24, 2010

HISTERIA! -- Recording Session -- 1998

Histeria! cast members at Monterey Post in Burbank, circa 1998:  Front row:  Voice Director Leslie Lamers, Tress MacNeille, Laraine Newman.  Back Row:  Tom Ruegger, Frank Welker, Kelly Foley, Jeff Bennett, Rob Paulsen, Billy West, story editor Mark Seidenberg.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Animaniacs" Recording Session Photo

Actors, writers, sound engineers, producers, the voice directing team, film editors, sound effect editors and series composers gather at the Sound Castle studio for an "Animaniacs" recording session.

Front Row:  Deanna Oliver, Jeff Bennett, Maurice LaMarche, Andrea Romano, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen, Rich Freeman, Mark Keats.

Middle Row:  John Mariano, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Randy Rogel, Harry Andronis, Kelly Foley, Leslie Lamers.

Back Row:  John McCann, Jean MacCurdy, Paul Rugg (in the bright light), Peter Hastings, Nicholas Hollander, Tom Minton, Joe Gall, Julie Bernstein, Kathy Page, Richard Stone, and a Sound Castle engineer.   

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Warner Bros. Store -- 5th Avenue, New York City, 1995

In the mid 90's, the "Animaniacs" cast, including Yakko, Wakko and their sister Dot, received star billing and the full window-display treatment at the flagship Warner Bros. Studio Store on 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. 

Time/Warner made some crazy moves when it merged with AOL in 2000.  One of the nuttiest of those moves, and one they would regret, was closing the studio stores. 

Monday, September 20, 2010