Hope you all had a great Easter and Passover, we had Matzos and ham! Of course you all know that Garge is referencing the poem: “The North Wind Doth Blow and We Shall Have Snow, and What Will Poor Robin Do Then, Poor Thing? He’ll Sit in the Barn, and Keep Himself Warm, and Tuck His Head Under His Wing, Poor Thing.” I don’t know offhand who wrote the poem, do you?
To me, Garge is a god. I spent hours and hours as a child with the few examples of the strip I could get from the library, just copying Herriman’s LETTERING. I loved the way he made his “E”s. These late 30s Kats were my favorite drawings of Krazy and company. Years later when Cathy and I visited the Navajo Tribal Park in Monument Valley and saw the formations I was in Herriman Heaven. We also saw what remained of the old Wetherill Dude Ranch where Herriman and Jimmy Swinnerton used to stay. My favorite monument? “The Thumb”, what else?
This post was inspired by Chris’s question on the “Tyer Felix” post. Here is an index of Jim Tyer’s Felix the Cat comics. He didn’t work on as many as I thought, he was there at the beginning, and in 1963 in the Dell 12cents era. Here’s the list:
Felix the Cat #1
Felix the Cat #3, Tyer’s first complete story: “Solo Fright”.
Felix the Cat #2 (1963 series) Cover, Story: “Beaux and Arrows”, “You Must’ve Been A Beautiful Baby” and “Wreck Rider”
Felix the Cat #4: Cover, Story: “Chairman of the Bored”, “The Vicious Cycle”, “Tale of a Fish”, “A Sample Assignment”, “There Auto Be A Law” and Rock and Rollo in “A Moving Story”. Entire Issue!
Felix the Cat #5: Cover, Story: “Some-Her”, “Modern Times”
Felix the Cat #6: Cover, Story: “Clothes Make the Cat”
Felix the Cat #7: Cover, Story: “A Biscuit A Basket”
Felix the Cat #8: Cover, Story: “Looks Are Deceiving”, Rock and Rollo in “Too Much Energy”. After this, Tyer disappears from Felix comics forever! (Sob!)
Pictures today are the covers of the 1963 Felix Comics, the Cover of #119, two pages from Tyer’s first complete story “Solo Fright” (I love that panel of Felix saying “Golly”, with the letters falling down), and Tyer’s first Felix page: “Ancient Egypt”.
The Joe Oriolo Felix the Cat TV cartoons from the early 60s are pretty difficult to sit through. Slow, stiltled dialog, lots of stock actions, and Felix himself sounds and acts a lot like Mickey. The Professor and Rock Bottom are the real stars of the series. Jack Mercer’s vocal diversity is impressive, he sounds so different as each one of the characters, I like the Professor’s voice best. It’s gravelly and sounds a bit sophisticated and stuffy. The episodes that Jim Tyer drew are the most fun to watch today. It’s a hoot to look at the crazy eyes he drew on the Prof. and Rock, and the stretch inbetweens he used to shoot the characters across the backgrounds. Tyer did a lot of special tricks, for instance when a character like the Prof. is falling through the air and hits earth, Tyer animates about 24 frames of a shadow getting larger on the ground, then Tyer exposes one frame of the Prof. squashed down in the contact position and pops if off BEFORE the rest of the falling action happens! You would think this would confuse the viewer, but it works very well, sort of a pre-image that underscores the rest of the action. Here’s a few frame grabs of Tyer’s silly drawings for Felix. He also drew many of the Dell, Toby and Harvey Felix comics in the 40s-60s.
Here are two of my favorite cat pictures, they are both very cartoony. One is of our outdoor tom cat: Little Gray, ignoring his “catch”, and chowing down on “Super Supper” (we always call it “stupid supper”). The other is a photo of either the bravest kitty who ever lived, or the most cowardly bear! The cat’s name is Jack and he is from New Jersey. Jersey cats must be the toughest! I can almost see a Barney Bear or Yogi gag here!
I went over to Burbank today to Sparkhill Prods. and recorded some commentary on the history of MGM cartoons for the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection Vol. 3. I can’t reveal what’s going to be on it, but there is some good stuff. They told me Eric Goldberg did some great commentary on the individual animator’s styles and histories. Coming soon to your DVD outlet (don’t buy it at Wal-Mart).
Soupy Sales was the Kausler family’s favorite comedian in the late 50s and early 1960s. My brother and I loved hearing our father laugh at silly White Fang the dog viciously smacking Soupy with a pie after an outrageous pun or crazy comedy routine. Of course, the puppeteer and comedian who was every bit as much a star as Soupy remained off-camera for the most part and unsung. His name was Clyde Adler. In New York, the puppets were controlled by Frank Nastasi, but we mid-westerners will always adore Clyde. Clyde’s voice was so funny he could have had a career as a cartoon voice actor, but preferred to edit film in Detroit when not performing with the Pookie Players. A couple of years ago, Soupy was given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is located to the immediate right of the doorway to the old Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I am including a photo of Soupy from the ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt last year. It was pouring down rain that day, and the old guy was wheelchair bound, feeble and couldn’t really speak, but I was thrilled to be there. Imagine finally being in the presence of the guy who had made us all laugh together as a family! And believe me, my Dad was not an easy laugher, but Soupy and Clyde tickled him. Now where is Clyde’s star? Do the Soupy Shuffle!
My wife Cathy and I look forward to painting outdoors in natural light whenever we can, usually on Thursdays. Cathy paints in oil and I attempt watercolor. Cathy is a wonderful painter and cartoonist. Maybe you’ve read her comic book: Mad Raccoons. Last week we went to Peck Park near Monrovia, Ca. The view of the San Gabriel mountains was sharp and purple, in great contrast to the previous week when they were so hazy that their edges made an anemic yellow outline in the sky. We paint with a group that consists of artists from the San Gabriel Art Association and the Mid Valley Art League. There are some really talented painters in the group. Our friend Jason Situ, from China, shows up occasionally at Peck Park, he is a widely collected and admired landscape painter. Bill Wray, also occasionally paints with us and is a talented landscape artist, being a cartoonist as well he often picks unusual subject matter. Last year at the paint-out in San Luis Obispo he did a Quick Draw painting of a hearse! It didn’t sell, but we had to admire Bill’s audacity.
As the friendly Bosko once said! Welcome to the new CatBlog! I don’t know how often I will post, as I don’t have much to say. I still feel uncomfortable around computers, I guess I read too much George Orwell and Ray Bradbury when I was a kid. I am working on an essay: “Bosko gives way to Buddy”, I’ll bet you can guess what I’ve been watching lately! It’s been an historic day for me, my cartoon “It’s ‘The Cat'” is on Cartoon Brew Films.com for paid downloads, I posted some stuff on Ebay for sale for the first time, and I have this new blog. Feel free to comment on anything you like, and I will delete them all! Yuk yuk! I will also post unrelated travel and other photos here, just to have something to look at.