I’ve been derelict in posting to the old Catblog, much to my disadvantage. Some Other Cat played my home town, St. Louis, Mo. in the St. Louis International Film Festival last Friday, Nov. 15th. My brother was in attendance, and braved a journey to the Tivoli theater in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods to see Itza on the big screen. He reports that Itza drew a few laughs with his patented pogo stick shtick. At the very same time, I was doing a three-day stand at the annual CTN Expo, brainchild of the Matriarch of Contemporary Animation, Tina Price! Jerry Beck was kind enough to put up with Itza’s constant yowling at his Cartoon Research table, and assisted in peddling cels from the production to many fine people. Quite a few friends and former employers came by, Raoul Garcia, Will Finn, Don Hahn, Steve Segal, Wilbert Plainarr, Darrell Van Citters, Craig Clark, Steve Stanchfield and more! It’s especially gratifying when people who have never seen Itza before warm up to him and buy a cel. A professor at Van Arts School in Vancouver, B.C., remarked as he watched Some Other Cat on the little DVD player we keep on the table, “I can feel the emotion in it”. Just the quality that I tried to put in to the short, not only comedy, but feeling. Just that one comment made the whole weekend for me. A little girl from Thailand hung out at the table for quite a while, just touching the cels and remarking about how she could feel the texture of the ink lines. She took several photos of them with her iphone camera while I looked at scans of her beautiful water color paintings. The CTN Expo was absolutely packed this year. It’s grown so large that Jerry and I were under a big top tent, out in the parking lot. You can see what the table looked like in the upstairs photo, including Jerry’s new “The Spongebob Squarepants Experience” book, with 20, count ‘em, 20 activity inserts! He sold all the copies he brought to the convention. Probably next year it’ll be in a Las Vegas convention center, this thing has grown almost as big as the San Diego Comic-Con in only 5 years. “Kids” with portfolios waited in very long lines to let the pros, such as Disney, get a glimpse at their masterpieces. Thanks to computers, and modern image duplication, almost every sample case looks professional, so it’s tougher to make an impression. Most everyone has an ipad with them or a laptop, so you can instantly see what their animation looks like. It seems as many women as men are looking for animation jobs, and even little kids are making their own Internet cartoons to be seen on You Tube. Hope springs eternal, and it is inspiring, but the reality is, there are very few jobs available in what’s left of the “cartoon” business. Keep pluggin’ kids!
Here’s Krazy Kat from 1-16 to 1-31-1942. Offissa Pupp pits his “subtle noodle” against Ignatz’s “puny mind” in a week’s worth of continuity. Offissa Pupp has a station wagon which doubles as a paddy wagon, and he loves to have attractive goils like Mimi the French poodle riding in it. 1-16 to 1-28 deal with Mimi’s sense of outrage as it dawns on her that she is gracing a Police vehicle, and Ignatz is treated as a “fifth wheel”. Ignatz gets back at Pupp with a box of thumb tacks and hobnail boots in the 1-30 and 1-31 strips. I love Garge’s drawings of the Station wagon; the front of it resembles a locomotive boiler.
Dudley Fisher’s Myrtle is from 10-20 to 10-25-1947 this time around. I love the pragmatism of Myrtle as she finds that she has unjustly accused Sampson of breaking her slingshot, and needles him into doing her arithmetic problems as punishment. Even though she finds out that her Mom broke her slingshot in the vaccum cleaner, Myrtle decides to let Sampson finish her homework for her just the same. (10-25 strip) The slingshot also comes in handy in the 10-20, as Freddie accidentally surprises Myrtle with the slingshot drawn and Myrtle retreats to the Park, convinced that her Dad is going to snap her with her own weapon.
Felix is from 1-15 to 1-21-1934 this time. Those rotten mice try to get away with a hunk of Swiss in Danny’s toy train and Felix can’t stop them. When the mice run Felix’s blockade in a toy tank, Felix comes after them with a can opener! In the Sunday, Felix continues his balloon ascension and nearly starves, but manages to hook a Sea Bass with his anchor and roast it over a candle. Feast your eyes on the magical cartoon drawing of Otto Messmer, Felix constantly changes appearance year to year, but always remains himself. My friend Will Finn who has his own blog called “Small Room”, http://willfinn.blogspot.com/told me that he really enjoys the old comics I post here, so Will, this one’s for you!