“It’s ‘The Cat'” is on My Toons!

ha-cha.JPGpop-korn-pg-1.jpgpop-korn-pg-2.jpgmike-2-4-57.jpgmike-2-5-57.jpgmike-2-6-57.jpgmike-2-7-57.jpgmike-2-9-57.jpgkrazy_vintage6-26.gifkrazy_vintage6-27.gifkrazy_vintage6-28.gifkrazy_vintage6-29.gifkrazy_vintage6-30.gifkrazy_vintage7-1.gif   Wow Folks! It’s taken quite a long time, but my cartoon “It’s ‘The Cat'” is now on the My Toons store! Here’s the link: http://www.mytoons.com/markkausler. If you fork over the princely sum of $1.99, you will see the cartoon at full frame rate. I think it plays at reduced frame rate if you just click on the arrow and try to view it for free. Very soon we should have cels for sale from “It’s ‘The Cat'” on this very web site! There will be 52 set-ups in all, mostly from Sc. 3 (the cat on the fence), but quite a few from other points in the cartoon, as well. My cat is rubbing whiskers with “Banjo the Woodpile Cat” by Don Bluth on the My Toons store, among many other cartoons available for paid downloads. So please pay, download, and erase, then repeat as often as you can! Maybe we’ll pay our negative cost back one of these days.

Did you know that the great Disney Donald Duck comic strip artist Al Taliaferro also dabbled in comic books outside of the Disney ranch? Well, here’s “Pop Korn” from Coo-Coo Comics #28 from August, 1946, one of the few stories Al was able to publish under his own by-line. Pop is a goose, not a duck, but his body shape and attitudes certainly suggest Donald, but Pop Korn comes off more like Grandma Duck than anything else. The wolf seems right at home on a rural front porch, not like Zeke Wolf at all. I assume Al wrote the story and inked it too. Let me know what you think.

In strips this week, Marvelous Mike (2/4/1957-2/7, 2-9) walks for the first time, and the Mr. Kosno plot thickens as the Crump’s room at the Miami hotel is ransacked. The strip from 2/8 was missing from the Post-Dispatch microfilm, but the continuity seems pretty clear without it. Krazy Kat is from 6/26/1939 to 7/1, and the week’s strips are all about “Boids and Bugs”, puns on things like “Bowl” Weevils, “Liar” Birds, and so forth. These play like gags Garge was doing in the earliest Krazy Kat dailies from 1913. The design of the Boll Weevil looks a lot like “Archy” from Herriman’s illustrations for the “Archy and Mehitabel” stories by Don Marquis that were published around 1939. Garge drew Archy and Mehitabel in several different designs over the course of the books he illustrated, the Boll Weevil design is just one of Archy’s “looks”.

That very crude drawing of “The Cat” at the top of the page is one of two drawings I have done on a digital “paint” program. It’s like drawing on a chunk of ice with another chunk of ice, so my control was not the greatest, but the result has a bit of life in it anyway, so I’m throwing it out there. Let me know what you think of the My Toons store! See you soon.

9 Responses to ““It’s ‘The Cat'” is on My Toons!”

  1. Hi Mark. I’m glad that It’s the Cat is available again. Can you talk a bit about how you approached animating to the music? Did you do bar sheets before exposure sheets? There’s some very complex matching of visuals and the audio in the film. Did you plan to hit off beats or extra notes, or did you see opportunities as you animated?

    Was there a constant beat? I seem to see things on a 7 beat, but sometimes it’s a 6 beat and sometimes an 8.

    The part where the cat and the moon exchange heads and where the cat is batting the mice against the fence strike me as particularly complex from a rhythm standpoint. Any thoughts on how you approached the timing of those two bits?


  2. Mark Kausler says:

    Hi Mark,
    I approached the musical timing of “It’s ‘The Cat'” by listening to the old Harry Reser recording over and over again as I storyboarded. This gave me all the main accents. Then I transferred the record to 35mm magnetic track film. I then read out the beats by running the film at speed through a moviola and tapping the rhythm with a grease pencil right next to the magnetic head. I did this three times, using different colored grease pencils and the averages of the three marks became the beat. For the most part, the old fox trot beat comes out to 9 frames. If this number was recorded especially for animation, the musical director would probably have made this an 8 beat so that it could be more easily animated. The 9 beat forced me on to ones quite a bit. There were no bar sheets for this picture, as all the reading was done off the mag track and then transferred to exposure sheets. Once I had the basic rhythm down, then I put the mag track on my synchonizer and sound reader (squawk box) and did a close-up reading, picking out the little swoops and accents from the horns, violins, woodwinds and drums. The last thing I did was mark off the exact length of each scene. Of course, now you would use an Avid system to read the track, but there’s something very physical about tapping beats with a grease pencil and getting into single frame readings that helps you “feel” the music and get some really useful timing notes onto the exposure sheets. Once in awhile, I would go back and do another reading to clarify certain notes, but for the most part, once I’d finished the reading process, I could animate for years without touching the track again. Since the process took over 10 years, I’m glad we had the sound on mag film, a computer program probably would have lost the information in 10 years!
    The exchanging heads was animated mostly on ones and done to the fast little “chase chorus” by the horns at the end of Sc. 3. The handball scene with the three blind mice was inspired by Krazy Kat’s dance direction in “The Katnips of 1940”. Do you remember the scene where he shouted to the chorus line, “One, Two, Three, Four, OneTwoThreeFour, Onetwothreefour” then repeated? That’s the underlying beat behind the “Three Blind Mice” melody. I felt that tempo as the film was running on the moviola and marked it with the grease pencil, then animated to that underlying beat. You can’t hear it, really, but you can FEEL it!
    Thanks for your intelligent questions, Mark, I’ll put a link on my blogroll over to yours.
    All best, Mark

  3. David says:

    Great question.

    Great answer.

    (now I have to find The Katnips of 1940 , which I’ve never seen)

  4. Thad says:

    Thanks for that enlightening comment on your film, Mark. “It’s the Cat” is on my list of cartoons I watch just for pure joy. I love the cel I have from it.

    And I knew that was Al Taliaferro’s work without even seeing the credit or enlarging it! Looks exactly like Gus Goose, but with Donald’s body language.

  5. Austin "oppo" Papageorge says:

    I take it I have to fork over some money to watch the whole thing.

    Not convienient for me at the time, but…

    From what I saw, you did a great job Mr.Kausler!

  6. Mark Kausler says:

    Hello Austin,
    I am sorry that it isn’t convenient at this time for you to pay to see my short cartoon: “It’s ‘The Cat'”, I really can’t give it away, since I am partners in the film with Greg Ford and our supporters, each of whom deserves to be paid back for helping make the picture. I hope you will consider buying a copy some time, you can download it and watch it as much as you want to, even burn a copy to your own DVD if you wish. By the way, do you think $1.99 is too expensive for a short that took 15 years to complete, cost about $80,000 and runs 3 minutes and change? Thanks for the compliment, too, glad you liked the first 30 seconds!

  7. Austin "oppo" Papageorge says:

    No offence meant, Mark.

    I’m just not very techo-saavy to know how to download it.

  8. Austin "oppo" Papageorge says:

    All what I’m trying to say, Mark, is that I would definitely buy your cartoon if I knew how to.

    Sorry for being so obtuse before.

  9. Mark Kausler says:

    Hi Austin,
    Please accept MY apology if I sounded offended by your question. I wasn’t. I was just asking if $1.99 seems like the right price for a cartoon short like mine. To watch it, I think you need to get a password, just click log-in at the top of the page and My Toons will lead you through the process and send you an email to confirm your password. Once you have the password, go to the Mark Kausler cartoon page, log-in, and click the “add to cart” link at the bottom of the inset screen containing the “It’s ‘The Cat'” animation. It will lead you to a page where it will ask for your credit card info. Just enter that and click “buy” and it will start playing. At least that’s the way it works for me. Thanks for all your questions and interest!

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