Monday, April 30, 2007


How to Hook Up Your Home Theater
Spending time in Walt Disney World really got me excited about everything that Disney is doing right now. The constant quality that Pixar/Disney keeps turning out. John Lasseter being put in charge of Disney Feature Animation and him resurrecting the 2D department. The good reviews of Meet the Robinsons. The return to fairy tales with Frog Princess. All of this makes me think that a new era of Disney is just around the corner. Now check this out:

Disney and the brilliant John Lasseter have made the decision to bring back theatrical animated shorts in the same style as they used to in the good old days.

When Disney started his career in the 20s all the studio produced were five to seven minute shorts that were shown before feature films. Many of these are landmark films that have influenced the evolution of animation. A few examples are Steamboat Willie (the first cartoon to sync animation with sound effects and dialogue) and Flowers and Trees (the first colour cartoon made with the Technicolor process). When Disney and other studios started making feature films the shorts became less frequent and then the invention of television killed the production of shorts all together.

Goofy is doing what he does best.
But Lasseter saw the benefit in giving the audience more for their money and helping out up-and-coming artists polish their craft so he created shorts that appear before every one of his Pixar movies.

Now he is doing the same with the Disney movies starting with a brand new Goofy cartoon called How to Hook Up Your Home Theatre. This cartoon will be Goofy's return to the big screen and will be an homage to the How to instructional shorts of the forties and fifties.

You can read an interesting interview between Animated News and Disney animators Andreas Deja and Mark Henn here Here are a few highlights:

"John Lasseter came in and announced that we were going to do shorts again, because Pixar’s doing shorts and it’s a good idea to nurture new talents and attach directors and storytellers to the new films, and everyone was thrilled." -Deja

"We really wanted to pay attention, even though the subject matter is contemporary, that the look and feel still has the fun and feel that you see in the older classic Goofy shorts." -Henn

I don't care what movie this short will be paired with! I'll pay top dollar when it comes out this fall!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Katie and I are off to Iowa to get married! And then to Disney World for a honeymoon! WooHoo!

Animated Toast will be taking the next week and a half off for vacation. But we will return on April 31st. Thursday Theme Song will return on May 3rd and the Completely Crazy Cartoon Character Challenge will return on May 4th.

See you soon!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Volume one box art
Volume One

No. of Discs: 4
No. of Episodes: 25
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: July 25, 2006
Run Time: 550 minutes
Full Frame - 1.33:1

Story: Animaniacs is a multi-character skit show in the same style as The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show and Harveytoons. Each five-ten minute short focuses on a different group of characters.

Pinky and the Brain, two lab mice bend on global domination, Slappy Squirrel, a retired cartoon character who was big in the 30s, Buttons and Mindy, a little girl and her faithful dog who keeps her from getting hurt by sacrificing himself, Chicken Boo, a chicken who wants to be a human, and of course, the three Warner siblings who are just wacky and zany.

History: After working on Tiny Toon Adventures, producer Tom Rugger wanted to create a show with characters based on the old-time cartoon characters of the 30s and 40s. The result was the Warner Brothers and their sister, Dot.

The show was hugely popular not only with children, but also with a college-age crowd because of the many cultural references that children don't understand. Two of the show's characters, Pinky and the Brain, left the show to star in their own spin-off.

Polka Dot?
Favourite Episode: King Yakko This parody of the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup is a joy to watch. Not only is it ripe with slapstick, puns and fun songs, but it also has some of the better
animation in the series. Yakko inherits the kingdom of Anvilania just in time to defend it from a rival kingdom that want to take all of its anvils.

Audio & Soundtrack: Music plays a big role in Animaniacs. Multiple original song were written for each episode often parodying famous classical and folk songs. The most famous song in the show has got to be Yakko's World in which Yakko sings every country (and points to each one - great animation!) to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance.

The audio on the dvd is Dolby 5.1 (which is stupid because the show was originally broadcast in 2.0) and 2.0 so you get to pick how you want to listen to the Warners.

Video & Animation: The use of rotating, over-seas animation studios causes each episode to vary in quality. This is most notable in the Warners sketches because each team makes the trio look off-model when comparing them to each other. I remember watching the show and thinking how good the animation was. But I was thirteen. Even the timing suffers from the lack of a theatrical budget.

The video on this dvd is good for the show. Everything is clear and clean.

Baloney in their slacks.
Extras: Not much here except for an interview with voice actors Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnel, Tess MacNeille and Sherri Stoner. It is hosted by Maurice LaMarche and the gab for a while about what they liked about the show. It's sort of interesting but only if you are a big fan of the show.

Packaging: Warner Home Video has released this set in a digi-pack that has two discs set one on top of the other, making it impossible for the bottom disc to come out with removing the top disc. I realize it saves space but it is quite annoying. Package art look great and follows a similar look with the Pinky and the Brain releases.

Summary: This show, just like the old Looney Tunes cartoons, suffers from dated jokes but is otherwise a pretty funny show. And while the animation sometimes suffers, you will still get a kick out of watching it. A-

Trivia: Yakko, Wakko and Dot were originally ducks called Yakki, Smakki and Wakki but the idea was scrapped because they thought that Disney has already over-saturated the duck market (DuckTales, Darkwing Duck).

Episode Guide:
Animaniacs.doc 59K

Friday, April 13, 2007


Welcome back to the CCCCC #14! This one should be fairly easy so I want a last name too! Leave a comment with your guess and I will reveal the answer on Monday! Good luck!

UPDATE: This week's winner is coolb who correctly identified this character as Aja Leith from Jem and the Holograms!

There is going to be a two week hiatus as I will be out of town getting married and going on a honeymoon. But the Challenge will return in May! See you then!

Da Points:

athena: 1
coolb: 5
coolshades: 1
eagle-man: 3
katie: 1
starlac: 3

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Week two of "Here's Johnny!" and I've got a good one for you! This will be the last week for Thursday Theme Songs this month because I will be going away for a few weeks (to get married!). I will resume the Thursdays when i return in May!

But now...on with the post:

Who wouldn't want a piece of this?
Johnny Bravo

Johnny Bravo is a show about picking up chicks. Johnny is a totally ripped, Elvis influenced, ego-maniac who will try just about anything to get a girlfriend. Unfortunately, he usually messes up and gets clobbered by whatever girl he's trying to impress.

The Cartoon Network show ran four seasons and 65 episodes between 1997 and 2003. While the absurd and slapstick humour is some of the appeal, the real reason for watching the show is to see which guest star will make a cameo!

Donny Osmond is a regular guest star
on the show.
Everyone from cartoon characters like Scooby-Doo and the Gang, the Flintstones and Huckleberry Hound to real life stars like Mark Hamill, Adam West, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Don Knotts, Dr. Phil, Jessica Biel, Alec Baldwin, Luke Perry, Farrah Fawcett, Dionne Warwick, Mick Jagger, Richard Simmons, Mr. T, Shaquille O'Neal, Seth Green, and Donny Osmond, who was a regular guest star. The guest stars were perfectly charactered with the actors providing the voices to their cartoon counterpart.

The series was created by Van Partible, who did a bulk of the writing and animating. Butch Hartman, creator of Fairly Odd Parents, and Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, joined Partible to make the show hilarious.

There was supposed to be a live action Johnny Bravo movie starring the Rock but for some reason it was shelved.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Harmless? Hardly.
Felix the Cat Productions is suing the manufacturer of the famous Kit-Cat Klock stating it is a "blatant knockoff" violating 100 copyrights registered in the last century.

Felix the Cat is the world's first cartoon star having appeared in hundreds of theatrical films since 1919 as well as a few tv shows, a comic strip and a comic book, and every single piece of merchandise you can think of!

The California Clock Co. made the clock back in 1930, a decade after the first appearance of Felix. The clock was used as a gimmick to bring a smile to peoples faces during the depression. The eyes that follow you around the room and wagging tail became a household name and recently, because of the internet, has seen new life in this generation.

Would these eyes lie to you?
But now the two companies are going to court because the California Clock Co. has been advertising their clock as the Felix Clock on their webpage since 2004. Felix Productions is also going after retailers like Walgreens, Bed Bath & Beyond, and because they sell the item.

This was stupid on Kit-Cat for infringing on the copyright (even though everyone thinks of Felix when they see this clock), but why is Felix going after them three years after Kit-Cat used Felix's name on the webpage? And why are they going after all those retailers? They are victims of circumstance! Felix should think about making some new Felix cartoons if they want more money instead of sueing everyone like this!

Monday, April 09, 2007


Johnny Hart's B.C.
It is sad that more and more significant people of the golden era of cartoons and animation are passing away. This past weekend saw the death of Johnny Hart, creator of the beloved comic strip B.C. He was 76 when he suffered a fatal stroke on Saturday while he was at his drawing table.

B.C. began its forty-nine year run on February 17, 1958 and is one of the longest running comic strips continually drawn by its original creator. In fact, Hart drew the daily strip up until the day he died!

The cartoon follows B.C., a caveman whom Hart says is modelled after himself. Along with his friends, Peter, Wiley, Clumsy Carp, the Fat Broad, the Cute Chick, Curls, Thor, and Grog, they live their daily prehistoric lives together contemplating life. The jokes often involve puns, dry wit and topical humour. While they live in caveman days, there are many out of context references to modern things like Wal-Mart and the United States.

Hart often brought his religion into the strips which has brought some controversy surrounding his Christian beliefs. The Easter 2001 strip below had Jewish readers complaining that Hart thought Christianity was above their religion. Hart later stated that he was trying to pay tribute to both religions.

click for larger image

Johnny Hart will be missed. His legacy lives on through the many cartoonists that Hart's work has influenced.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


This month will only contain two Thursday Theme Songs because I will be out of town on a vacation/honeymoon for the last two weeks of April. So I have two theme songs for you and if there is ever another month with only two Thursdays I will post another two on this theme: "Here's Johnny!"

Are we there yet?
Jonny Quest

Jonny Quest, the story of an eleven-year-old boy who tags along on his scientist father's dangerous explorations, is a fan favourite of kids young and old. The action and stories are exciting, the drawings and animation are fun to watch and the characters are fun to be around.

When Hanna-Barbera first developed the show, they wanted an action-adventure show based on the popular radio program Jack Armstrong. But licensing fell through and the show was reworked into Jonny Quest.

One of the first things you will notice about this show, especially comparing it to other Hanna-Barbera shows like Scooby-Doo, Flintstones or even Super Friends, is that the artists have pulled out all the stops.

How is Dr. Quest gonna get outta this one?
Hanna-Barbera shows had a small budget because they were a small time animation company. They didn't have the revenue that Disney or Warner Bros did so they had to find creative way to make their show good but cheap. A lot of the time the animation suffered because it would be to expensive to make a character get up out of a chair or change direction while running on screen.

But HB knew that Jonny Quest needed to have better quality animation and artwork in order to tell the stories the wanted. The result was bold and dynamic characters and backgrounds and animation that was still limited but way more fun to watch.

The show was cancelled after one season even though ratings were high. The show was just too expensive for Hanna-Barbera to keep in production.

This theme song is by Hoyt Curtin who did most of Hanna-Barbera's music in the sixties and seventies.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart?
In order to promote the new Simpsons Movie that hits the theatre on July 27, 7-Eleven is converting eleven of its stores across the United States into "Kwik-E-Marts", the popular store from the Simpsons tv show.

The deal is not final yet but if all goes well you will see the exterior of the store changed to look like Kwik-E-Marts and you will be able to by products like Krusty-Os and Squishees (Simpson brand Slurpees).

A fun idea! I hope to see it follow through!

Monday, April 02, 2007


Cover art
Batman: the Animated Series
Volume One

No. of Discs: 4
No. of Episodes: 28
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
Run Time: 625 minutes
Full Frame - 1.33:1

Story: Batman continues his everyday quest to rid Gotham City of criminals and other underwold scum. Sometimes he is joined by Robin, Boy Wonder.

History: The series was created by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Eric Radomski who created the show after seeing the success of the two Tim Burton Batman movies. It has since become a cult classic and is the most accurate interpretation of Batman in animation. The series aired from 1992 to 1995 with 85 episodes.

Mr. Freeze
Favourite Episode: Heart of Ice This is the first episode with Mr. Freeze who is, by far, my favourite character in this series. Dini wrote a brand new origin story for Freeze that gives him a very tragic past and a very complex character. Animation in this episode is great and Dini always writes a good story.

Video & Animation: This show's animation was hit or miss. Most of it was great but every once in a while there would be episodes with off-model characters and choppy animation. There is even a scene where the Batmobile actually curves to go around a corner! I found most of the Joker episodes to be quite poor (especially Christmas With the Joker).

The video quality on this dvd may seem grainy with a lot of dust and scratched but that is actually a product of the show. All of the backgrounds were painted on black canves which created a lot of dust that got trapped between cells. It's not a fault of poor film stock or a bad transfer and is very much part of the show.

Audio & Soundtrack: Warner Bros television shows always have a great soundtrack. This is due to the actual 30 piece orchestra that they use to individualy score every episode. Top notch! And the audio on this set sound great in 2.0 Dolby Stereo.

Extras: There are two interesting episode commentaries on Heart of Ice and On Leather Wings by Bruce Timm, Eric Rodomski and Paul Dini. There is also a lame Flash animated tour of the Batcave and a stupid retrospective featurette. The highlight for me in this set if the pilot promo, The Dark Knight's First Night which has never before been released.

Packaging: Warner Home Video has put together a really nice digipack that features original artwork as well as screencaps from the show. Many, myself included wondered why the red and yellow colours were used as they do not reflect the show at all. But they match the style of the other DC Comics Animation releases and because it looks like it belongs in a set I'm okay with it.

Summary: Fans of the series will not be disappointed with this set. Everything is intact and it looks great. My only complaint is that the packaging doesn't relect the show. But that is quite minor. A-

Triva: In many episodes you can see a character read a Tiny Toon Adventures magazine! Keep your eyes open!

Episode Guide:
batmananimated.doc 50K