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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

HISTERIA! -- The Cast and Crew

                                                                                HISTERIA! POSTER 
                                          Signed by the cast and crew

                                                                                                                                   Histeria! (c) 1998 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

"Tiny Toon Adventures" began to play...

                                                                                                     Tiny Toon Adventures (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Those Were the Days...

                                    When Tiny Toons were young...
     "Tiny Toon Adventures" premiered twenty years ago today!

                                                                                                  Tiny Toon Adventures (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hop, Lola, Hop? Or...

                                                                                     Lola Bunny, Looney Tunes (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"9/11" -- by Luke Ruegger

                                                                                                                                                            (c) 2010 Luke Ruegger

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Village of the Bammed

                                                                                   THE FLINTSTONES (c) Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Tiny Toon Adventures" -- Early Logo

Here's a preliminary sketch for a "Tiny Toon Adventures" logo.  I think this one was drawn by Alfred Gimeno.  Alfred and Ken Boyer came up with a bunch of different logos for the show, including the one that was ultimately used. 


                                                                                                  Tiny Toon Adventures (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Favorite Bugs Bunny Cartoon -- At the Hollywood Bowl

My wife Annie took me to the Hollywood Bowl the other night.  We saw and heard Herbie Hancock perform on his 70th birthday.   It was a great experience.

Every time I go to the Hollywood Bowl -- which is not that often -- I'm reminded of my very favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Different people have different favorite Bugs cartoons.  Some put "What's Opera, Doc?" at the top of the list.  The Elmer/Daffy/Bugs Hunter trilogy often ranks in the top ten.  "The Rabbit of Seville" is very popular.  For me, the best Bugs Bunny cartoon of all time is "Long-Haired Hare."   In my opinion, it's one of the only "perfect" cartoons ever made.

Without spoiling its "perfection," I'll say that I greatly appreciate how the final frames of "Long-Haired Hare"  recall the opening frames.  It's Chuck Jones' direction at its best, plus the added thrill of a caricature of Jones as the villain.  The script is by Mike Maltese.  Bugs is at his (1948) apex, doing  a great "Leopold Stokowski" impression, dressing up as a bobby soxer, and justifiably "getting even" like never before or since.  I also will always love Bugs' delivery of the line expressing his admiration for the Hollywood Bowl:  "Acoustically poifect."


                                                                                      Bugs Bunny, Looney Tunes (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.