Thursday, November 30, 2006


This week's animated spin-off based on a live-action movie is Men in Black: the Series which is based on the 1997 hit Men in Black which is based on the comicbook of the same name.

Produced by Adelaide Productions, makers of Jackie Chan Adventures, Ghostbusters Extreme and Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, MIB: the Series debuted on the WB! in 1997 immediately following the movie. The events of the show spin directly out of the movie's plot and focus on the movie's main characters, Jay and Kay. The series lasted a whole four seasons, from 1997 to 2001.

In the show, Jay and Kay are still partners and must defend Earth from the various invading forces set out for world annihilation. Many supporting cast and villains from the movie pop up to say hi but none of them, including the main characters, are voiced by their original counterparts. Ed O'Ross and Gregg Berger replaced Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K and Keith Diamond replaced Will Smith as Agent J.

The show had a very slick style with creative sets, aliens and character designs that follow the style of this animation company. It was a pleasure to watch and the writing, despite one or two poor episodes, was very well done. I will be picking this one up if it ever comes out on DVD.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


December is always a slow month for new animation news. One one really makes big announcements until January. The only thing going on is that every Christmas movie, tv special and obligatory Christmas episode will make its way to the tube.

What I have decided to do is watch as many of those Christmas themed shows as I can and write a review for one every day leading up to my top five countdown five days before Christmas.

I will be reviewing classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas; I will also review movies like The Polar Express; But the bulk of the reviews will be the more obscure Christmas episodes that every cartoon had in the late 80s to the present. A few of the show you will see here are Spongebob Squarepants, X-Men, Invader Zim, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and some anime like Love Hina.

I hope you enjoy this month! Tomorrows' Thursday Theme Song will be the last week for November and there will be no Thursday Theme Songs for December but I am sure that you won't even notice that it is gone!

Is there any Christmas show that you would like to see here? Leave a comment and I will do my best to accommodate you!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Katie and I just returned from a sunny trip in Iowa visiting Katie's family for Thanksgiving. While I was there I decided it would be a good time to get engaged! That's right! I asked Katie to marry me and she said yes!

How does this relate to Animated Toast? Well, to lead into the proposal, I created a short video montage of wedding clips from various different cartoons. After showing the video I read a short poem and brought out the ring. It was tres romantique!

If any of you are on myspace you can pop over to our profile and leave us a congratulatory comment!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Just so everyone knows, we're visiting my family in Iowa this week. So there won't be any posts until Kurtis gets back on Monday. To all the US citizens... happy Thanksgiving! And to everyone else... Happy Thursday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


This week's television theme song is a spin-off of the 1988 Tim Burton film, Beetlejuice. The series ran four seasons and 94 episodes on ABC and FOX from September 1989 to December 1991 and was animated by Canadian company, Nelvana. Beetlejuice was an instant hit on ABC's saturday morning lineup and soon aired every weekday afternoon on FOX as well.

The series was quite different from the film. In the movie, Beetlejuice was the antagonist whereas he and Lydia are best friends. Lydia often travels to the 'Netherworld' (changed from 'afterlife') to either stop or help Beetlejuice as he scams the locals. Lydia was changed from a very depressing goth to a quirky teenager who just likes weird things.

The humour of the show was quite different from the movie too. The show really relied on wordplay and pop culture parody which made it quite popular with a college age audience.

The voice of Lydia was Alyson Court who is probably best known as Loonette the Clown on The Big, Comfy Couch.

The theme song was written by Danny Elfman who also wrote themes for Batman: the Animated Series and the Simpsons. Tim Burton served as an executive producer along with Geffen Records founder David Geffen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The video for the next single off "Weird Al" Yankovic's latest album Straight Outta Lynwood is Do I Creep You Out? A parody of Taylor Hicks' Do I Make You Proud?

This video was animated by the creative folks at and stars Al sporting and grey haired wig and no neck! This is Al's eighth music video for this album and the seventh to be animated by a popular animation studio! Keep it up Al!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


On November 14th, 1931, the Warner Bros. animation department released their sixteenth cartoon staring Bosko, the Ink-Talk Kid. In Bosko's Soda Fountain, Bosko is a soda jerk who takes pleasure in serving the local denizens ice cream in a musical and comical fashion. Meanwhile, Honey is teaching Wilbur to play the piano coaxing him with the promise of ice cream when they are done. She calls up Bosko and asks him to bring over an ice cream cone, to which, Bosko races over to her house nearly spilling the ice cream cone several times.

Does this sound like a pretty weak plot to you? Well this is the basis of most of the old Looney Tunes cartoons of the 30s. With the invention of 'talkies' (movies with dialogue) Warner Bros. animators Hugh Harmon and Rudy Ising created Bosko in 1927.

He was ment to be a parody of white actors who pretended to be black in vaudeville plays. This became the stereotype for black cartoon characters for many years. Mickey Mouse followed this model as well but was masked as a mouse whereas Bosko was definitely a 'Negro boy'.

The Bosko cartoons showcased Warner's cutting edge voice-synchronization techniques and Bosko went on to be Warner Bros. very first cartoon star.

In 1933, Harmon and Ising left Warner Bros. but because they made sure they kept the right to the character, Bosko went with them to MGM where he appeared in a few Happy Harmonies cartoons before disappearing completely.

Monday, November 13, 2006


A second teaser trailer for the Simpsons Movie debuted during yesterday's episode of the Simpsons. I find it a little funny that they are putting the emphasis on its traditional 2D animation but most of the backgrounds and props seem to be computer generated but use Toon shading to give it a '2D look'. It still looks nice.

There are three types of Simpsons fans: The loyal fans who have been fans for years and will always be fans. They will see this movie; The fans who have given up on the show after season seven who will not see this movie; The fans who have given up on the show after season seven who will see this movie only to complain to everyone about how much it sucked. Don't be in that last group. If you don't like the Simpsons anymore than just keep it to yourself. I'm still a fan and have enjoyed the direction to the show has gone.

And in other news, a new trailer for Spider-Man 3 is out and it looks amazing! This will be the highlight movie of next year in my books! (This is animated news because most of the characters will be animated during fight scenes, I'm sure.)

It seems they are changing the plot regarding Uncle Ben's death in order to give Sandman some relevance. I'm afraid that this movie is trying to take on more than it can chew. Spider-Man will battle Sandman, Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin and an alien costume that will try to take over his mind and body! Not to mention that Peter will ask MJ to marry him and there will be some issues regarding the arrival of Gwen Stacy!! Too much! Either this movie is gonna be really long or it will end up like Batman & Robin or X3: The Last Stand; too many characters and plots for people to care about. I will still be there opening night to support my favourite superhero.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Welcome to another installment of Thursday Theme Song! This month's theme is "Live-Action Movies With Cartoon Spin-Offs" and this week we look at a cartoon that was a continuation of the cult classic Back to the Future trilogy.

This short lived two season, 26-episode Saturday morning cartoon aired on CBS from September 1991 to September 1993. It followed the adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown as they visit parallel time zones. Joining the cast is Doc Brown's wife, Clara, and their children, Jules and Verne, and Marty's girlfriend, Jennifer Parker.

Christopher Lloyd appeared as Doc Brown in opening and closing segment of each episode but his animated counterpart was voiced by Dan Castenella (Homer Simpson). David Kaufman replaced Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, but Mary Steenburgen and Thomas F. Wilson reprised their roles as Clara Brown and Biff Tannen. Bill Nye the Science Guy sometimes joined Doc Brown in the live action segments to share with the viewers some neat science facts.

The show had some good character designs and the characters were true to the movie and the fact that it was animated meant that they could do many things that live action wouldn't allow. All in all, a decent cartoon.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Animator Biography: PAUL DRIESSEN

It seems that Wednesdays have turned into Animator Biography days. Too bad there's no cool alliteration for it like, "Theme Song Thursdays", hey? Oh well.

The more I researched Paul Driessen for today's post, the more fascinated I was by his work. First of all, he's not a trained animator. He went to school (the Art Academy in Utrecht) for graphic design and illustration. He worked in Holland animating TV commercials. Director George Dunning discovered Paul when he was searching out animators for his movie Yellow Submarine. This movie was based on the Beatle's song and required very (for lack of a better term) trippy animation. Paul was perfect for the job. I've included a clip from the movie in this post. I wanted to put up some of his solo work but unfortunately couldn't find it in the right format to display here. Although this is a very good glimpse at his style. His lines are always wiggly and moving. He has a way of morphing one shape into another (which you can see in the beards and hair growing on the Beatles). His animation seems very childish at first, as far as character design. But if you actually watch it, you'll be amazed at the fluidity of movement and the realism of the characters. I encourage you to go to his page on the NFB website and check out more of his work.

But for now... some Beatles...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I know that this post today has nothing to do with animation but I have to tell about it anyway.

I am the manager of a rock band called A Sheep at the Wheel. We have just finished shooting our first music video for the new single Machine Guns & Jesus Christ!

Let me know what you think and check out A Sheep at the Wheel's Blog for information about the song and the video.

Monday, November 06, 2006


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has released a list of the eligible animated movie for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. A Whopping sixteen films meet Academy requirements!

Included in this list are Warner Bros.' The Ant Bully and Happy Feet, The Weinstein Co.'s Arthur and the Invisibles, Paramount/Nickelodeon's Barnyard, Disney/Pixar's Cars, Disney's The Wild, Universal's Curious George, 20th Century Fox's Everyone'’s Hero and Ice Age: The Meltdown, DreamWorks/Aardman's Flushed Away, DreamWorks' Over the Hedge, Sony's Monster House and Open Season, Warner Independent's A Scanner Darkly, Miramax's Renaissance and Sony Pictures Classics' Paprika.

Out of all of these films only three will be nominated. It should be easy to narrow down. Many of these movies were terrible and obviously will not be considered. (I noticed that Romeo & Juliet: Sealed With A Kiss didn't make the cut!)

I hope to see Monster House and Over the Hedge nominated although I don't expect to see Over the Hedge because usually the films have to be technically impressive as well as visually and mentally engaging. Monster House fits that bill with their motion capture process.

My guess is that Monster House will be nominated, A Scanner Darkly or Renaissance will be nominated because of its rotoscoping technique and also the art house factor, and Paprika because they usually throw in an anime if they can help it.

Not an impressive list but that is due to the overwhelming number of crappy CG movie that cam out this year. Here's hoping for next year.

Nominations will be handed out January 23 and the Academy Awards are on February 25.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Welcome to November everyone! Time for a new theme for THURSDAY THEME SONGS! This month's theme is 'Cartoon Spin-Offs of Live-Action Movies'. This week's theme is a television spin-off of the two Ace Ventura movies from 1994 and 1995.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Jim Carry was an unknown when he made Ace Ventura: Pet Detective but his portrayal of the titular character was so popular that not only did he make a sequel but the character also got a television series of the same name. He then went on to make The Mask which also got it's own cartoon spin-off.

The show ran one season from 1995-1997 and was animated by the Canadian animation company, Nelvana. Carry did not return as the voice of Ace, that job was given to Michael Hall. A few of the other characters from the movies returned in the show but none of them were voiced by the original actors either.

While the movies relied on its distinct cartoonish sense of humour, the cartoon went for a different feel. Since the cartoon already has a cartoonish sense of humour due to that being its very nature, the writers resorted to toilet humour to bring in the laughs. Having said that, it should be no surprise when I tell you that Family Guy's Seth McFarlane was one of the head writers for the show.

The series didn't gain the audience that Warner Bros had hoped for so it was canned. And thus is the fate of most cartoon spin-offs of live-action movies.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Animator Biography: MARV NEWLAND

I'm not sure if this was a good idea or not, but Kurtis has given me access to his blog. He's too busy to post every day, so I get to help on the days he can't do it.

For now I'm going to start a series of animator biographies. There are some great indie animators that go fairly unnoticed. Since moving to Canada from the States I've noticed there's a much better awareness of independent animation up here, mostly thanks to the NFB. I'm just starting to be exposed to these animators through my school and I figured I'd share all the cool stuff I've seen.

First on the list is Marv Newland. He got his start in LA and broke into the animation scene with his short Bambi Meets Godzilla in 1969. He did a lot of television commercial work, including animated advertisements for Sesame Street.

He founded the animation company International Rocketship Limited here in Vancouver in 1975. One of their notable clients was Danny Antonucci (director of Lupo the Butcher).

Today Marv continues to work at International Rocketship and also teaches in the classical animation department at the Vancouver Film School. I've posted the short Bambi Meets Godzilla for your viewing enjoyment. This was the first of his animation I was exposed to. As you can guess from the title it's by no means a drama. I love his sense of humor, it reminds me of Monty Python.