Special 5th Anniversary Post!!
Today, March 27th, 2012, I’m celebrating five years of writing and editing a “blog”. As a special contribution, GREG FORD, my producer onÂ the short cartoon: “There Must Be Some Other Cat”, has sent the first 100 feet ofÂ color shots!Â When I started the CATBLOG, I had no idea which direction it would take, and I knew next to nothing about computers. If truth be told, I had a very strong aversion to the Demon Machines. I didnâ€™t even know how to resize photos and art work so that they could be “published”. I still donâ€™t know how to do a lot of stuff, never got microsoft word or photoshop, but I have word perfect and irfanview, both are free programs and do what I require.
I started out kinda high falutinâ€™, publishing photos of places that Cathy and I have visited for painting trips. Soon, cartoons and comic strips crept into the mix, and now itâ€™s about 90% comic strips. I canâ€™t really make a good defense of reprinting old comic strips, itâ€™s just that I love so many of them, and Iâ€™m trying to help them to be remembered. I tried to do a feature for a while where I read DOROTHY PARKER and some of my favorite childrenâ€™s lit. aloud, but Iâ€™m not a great reader, and I got very little response. Again, too high-falutinâ€™.
The CATBLOG was really supposed to be a production journal of the motion picture cartoon: “There Must Be Some Other Cat”, or TMBSOC for short. However, due to fate, TMBSOC and “The Cat” and especially my good friend and producer Greg Ford, have gone through 5 years of hard times and privation. Greg and “The Cat” have lived through a horrible economic crash, the death of cel animation (due in part to these here demon computers), a devastating apartment fire that Greg and his girlfriend Ronnie Schieb managed to survive, the bankruptcy of Kodak and the looming end of all types of photographic film (again, thanks to the demon machines) and now, health problems have affected Ronnieâ€™s life and consequently, Gregâ€™s life (not due to the demon machines). Through all this and more, TMBSOC proceeded at a Snail-Catâ€™s pace for the last 5 years in the Manhattan jungles. As you can see by the above frame grabs, “The Cat” is beginning to emerge. The scenes really look beautiful projected on 35mm FILM, and Iâ€™m so grateful that Greg and many stalwart artists still cared enough to put their best efforts into what seemed like a doomed enterprise.
This Blog has chronicled the passing of many loved ones, friends (Vincent Davis, John Bohnenberger), family (my mother), and animals (Crispy, Little Grey). It has made new friends for me, and regretfully lost some. One of the most popular posts was the article about my visit to Ollie Johnstonâ€™s house after he had moved in with his family in Oregon.
(“Here’s the Pitch” Department) Dear Readers, if you can, please buy a cel from “It’s ‘The Cat'” over at https://itsthecat.com/Gallery-FilmArt.htm. If you don’t like the prices, make an offer! We’ll be glad to listen. Also, if you care to contribute any production money directlyÂ to “There Must Be Some Other Cat”, you may PayPal it to us at: email@example.com or just write to me at: Mark Kausler, 1632 Loma Crest, Glendale, Ca. 91205-3710. Any contribution over $200.00 will get you a screen credit as an “Ailurophile” (Cat lover). Now is the time! The cameras are actually rolling and we need your help. Thanks so much!
Â In Barker Bill this time, from 3-7 to 3-19-1955, there is a daily missing, 3-8, and a Sunday out, 3-20. It’s easy to follow the conclusion of the Gelt’s story without the 3-8, the Gelt turns out to be a “hen” and lays an egg. In the story starting on 3-16, Puddy falls in love with the new Circus star, Pompom the poodle. In order to impress her, Puddy decides to speak in public for the first time, and perform “Paul Revere”.
Â In Felix, from 6-24 to 6-30-1935, Felix and the Professor’s party search for the missing Danny Dooit, and Felix accidentally discovers a rare cannibal plant. In the Sunday, Messmer continues the attractive 9 panel layout from last week. I love the giant Dream Control machine in the second panel, and the silhouette of the little boy against flame in panel five.
Â In Krazy this time, from 5-5 to 5-10-1941, gag-a-day continues. I love the crocodile design in the 5-5, Krazy knows thatÂ the croc isÂ crying because he’s ugly, and diplomatically says so in the last panel.
Â In Patrick, from 3-6 to 3-11-1967, Nathan stars in two strips, and Patrick and Godfrey dominate the action the rest of the week. In the 3-8, Patrick works in a little political satire, commenting on the campaign fund-raising efforts of Senator Phil A. Buster. I’ll bet that Patrick would have taken great delight in today’s Super PACs! Remember to click on all the above images to enlarge the strips. By the way, who knows how long the archives to this blog will exist, so if you like the strips, download and save them for yourself! We have the complete Felix strips from 1936 in here, the almost complete “Marvelous Mike” strip, and quite a chunk of “Patrick”, amongst other rareties. Do yourself a favor, save them or lose them!
I had such a long rant today, that it crowded out the L.A. Jr. Times comics, to be continued in the next post.Â
Jerry Beck says:
Mark, congrats on the 5 year anniversary online… and THANK YOU for allowing me to be the first person (besides you and Greg) earlier today to see the first film footage from TMBSOC. Those frames above are delicious reminders of how good it looks. You’ve topped the first one – I can’t wait to see this finished.
Paul F Etcheverry says:
Frame grabs look GREAT! Hope Annie and I will have a chance to visit you sometime. . . inevitably, 16mm prints of ancient comedy shorts on Kodak stock will be nestled in the trunk.
Charles Brubaker says:
Congrats on the 5th anniversary! That Cat cartoon looks great!
If you ever need assistance on the film (whether cel painting, clean-up, or otherwise), feel free to contact me. I work cheap 🙂
David Gerstein says:
Congratulations on your 500th blogniversary, Mark, and thanks for sharing the beautiful screenshots from TMBSOC. Inch by inch, foot by foot this beautiful work of art keeps coming together…
Both Felix and Krazy are at their best this week. The Felix Sunday page has some especially brilliant layout and techniqueâ€”and I love the fact that Herriman actually focused on Mrs. Kwak Wakk’s duck instinct for a change.
Anna A. Belle says:
MARK, HURRAY, We need people like you and your friends to restore these old and great pieces of American Art and Literature, though humorous, they tell of the times and what was in the thoughts and minds of the creators and the reader. A feeling that is irreplaceable. It’s a history book just even as to the design and how the work was administered. So, when are you making a museum of this? Just as there are other museums where persons have recorded readings or films or slides of the famous work, this also should be kept in just as high praise. In comparison is a newspaper museum. Many have also gone out of print by the change in demand. You can do it! -ANNA A. BELLE
Cathy Karol-Crowther says:
beautiful pictures from your upcoming film.
thanks for showing them on the blog.
keep on keeping on
David Nethery says:
Glad to read that you are opening up a PayPal account for receiving contributions to fund the completion of the second Cat film. I purchased a cel already, but would like to get another one. At this point my cash flow is a little tight, but when I get some extra I’ll definitely throw some in “the kitty” .
I’d encourage anyone else who loves hand-drawn animation to purchase one of these Cat cels . They’re beautifully inked , very nice examples of a craft that has virtually passed away .
“The CATBLOG was really supposed to be a production journal of the motion picture cartoon: â€œThere Must Be Some Other Catâ€
Mark, I know your general aversion to online/computer-ish stuff and the whole “marketing” and self-promotional culture, but I think you should definitely make a push to re-orient this blog to be a production journal about the making of TMBSOC , along the lines of what Neil Boyle did for his traditionally animated film “The Last Belle” : http://thelastbelleblog.blogspot.com/ .
I think by showing more photos, drawings, and talking about the process of making the film you’d drum up more interest from the fans of hand-drawn animation. I’m pretty sure that a lot of hand-drawn animation fans just don’t know about this film , but would be willing to support it if they did.
Maybe consider editing together a short teaser piece with some of the pencil test footage to whet their appetites ? Then post it on YouTube or Vimeo with a link back here to the blog (and the PayPal acct.) ? The pencil test of TMBSOC looked GREAT when you showed it to me at CTN a couple of years ago. You wouldn’t need need to show too much of the new film , but just a taste of “catnip” to get people purring about this project.
Too bad the original “It’s the Cat” film is not more widely available. I purchased it when it was briefly for sale on the “Cartoon Brew Films” website (or was it “My Toons” ? I forget which one … both gone now) a few years ago , but as of now I don’t think there’s any way for anyone to view the original Cat film online , right ? It would probably help drum up support for the new Cat film if “It’s the Cat” were more visible. I wonder if you should just sell “It’s the Cat” on DVDs that people could order directly from you or Greg ?
Good luck with it ! I hope this is the year that TMBSOC finally gets completed and released . I’ll do whatever I can to support it and promote it.
Mike Rosado says:
Mark, David has some great points here. You could definitely add stuff to your blog to increase interest to come back to the site. That’ll get people more emotionally invested. That quickly can turn to financially invested. Maybe even start a FB page to help spread the word even more. It would definitely not hurt and of course, costs nothing but a little extra time…Best of luck. Totally going to purchase one of the cels soon. You rock!!
Thanks, Jerry, Paul, Charles, David G., Anna, Cathy K-C, David N. and Mike for your wonderful and well thought-out comments. Charles, your offer of cheap labor is very kind, all the artwork is finished and we have a good cameraperson on board, but I will not hesitate to contact you should we need anything. David N., you gave already, so it’s not necessary for you to give more. The inking is actually improved on TMBSOC over “It’s ‘The Cat'”! Igor, our star inker, practically did all the scenes of the Cat, by himself. All that beautiful linework you see upstairs is his. I actually sold one cel from this post! I will mention more about it in the next one. Neil Boyle’s blog is nice. I don’t have that much artwork from TMBSOC to post here, it’s all in NYC. I don’t really enjoy discussing animation very much, not even my own. My approach is fairly intuitive. It may be just a tad early yet to do very many actual production type posts, but as more of the color footage is shot, I’ll do some more. I’ll never forget when the late Moebius came by our table two years ago at the Expo and actually stopped long enough to watch the entire “It’s ‘The Cat'” on that little DVD player screen I had running. He said some very kind things and even bought an Orphan Annie book from me. I really love his drawing, what an honor! May he rest in peace. The work print is being built digitally in NYC, and I am doing the analog one out here, so maybe we’ll have something to put up on You Tube. HOWEVER, I do NOT like watching movies on the demon machine, (especially my own) too many frames drop out and I don’t like the color or contrast. Currently, “It’s ‘The Cat'” is streaming on the web for free as part of Craig Clark’s “The Customonsters Show”. You may find Craig on the dreaded Facebook, and ask him about it. I had my fill of webstreaming when My Toons went down. I think I made 40 bucks in all the time it was on there. I don’t want to change my blog too much and drop all my comic strip reprints, I really enjoy doing them. They also draw people here. By the way, Mike, what’s an “FB page”? Sounds like a good idea. You see my demon machine ignorance creeping in again! Thanks a lot, dear readers, hope to post again very soon. Mark
Mike Rosado says:
Ha! Sorry Mark. Facebook! I really think by expanding your connections there with the right community, you’ll find that people will start gravitating more to your blog, toons, etc…I know it sounds like it sucks, but you can really spread the word and actually find some fun in connecting with people that can help the cause! It’s helped me a lot. Keep up the great work!
Charles Brubaker says:
If you decide to go with the Facebook thing and need help, I think I can lend a hand. I’m fairly web-savvy.
Lee Crowe says:
Just saying’ hey. Hope all is well — and I vote for you having a Facebook page. Our friend Floyd uses it a lot.
I’m still in Atlanta but hope to see you the next time I visit LA!
Actually, Itza’s little excursion into Facebook land is as much as I want to be involved in it. I’m very happy to as indirect as possible with social media! We all know and love Georgia for Atlanta, the home of Turner Classic Movies! Take Care, Mark
Wow, thank you. It’s hard for me to ID animators in some of those early T&J crtoaons. This definitely helped out a lot. Cecil Surry? That’s a new name for me.And I’m going to go on record as saying I loved Littlejohn’s animation in the Peanuts specials. His style stood out among the stiffer animation of animators who didn’t really seem to have much of an individual style. It’s funny how you can see his distinct style as far back as the earliest Tom and Jerry crtoaons.Incredible that he was still animating Peanuts specials pretty much up until they starting shipping the stuff overseas.
Polyvios C. says:
Wow, Mister Kausler, I didn’t know your cat character had fallen in love before. I am a native of Salem, MA, 18 vista avenue and I work cheap.
If you’re looking for assistance, I’d be glad to work with you.
Hi C. Polyvios,
I don’t think we need any help right now, but thanks. If you can shoot conventional (film) camera we might have a spot, otherwise, the artwork and cels are all done.
Thank you, Mark
Jorgen Klubien says:
I just bought the Oswald Lucky Rabbit DVD, and enjoyed your commentary very much. I now realize you are a real source of inside information to who’s who of early Mickey cartoons. I have a beautiful drawing from Mickey’s Barn Dance with Pete dancing with Minnie… wondered if you can tell me who drew that scene? Working on a short film myself these days, out of Joe Grant’s old house, where I live with my wife and kids… best, Jorgen.
I’m glad you liked my commentary on the Oswald DVD, the only time I’ve worked with Leonard Maltin, it was fun!
Ub Iwerks would be my best guess on your “The Barn Dance” drawing of Pete dancing with Minnie. Ub and Les Clark animated most of that cartoon. Good luck on your short, and enjoy Joe Grant’s house! Best wishes to you and your family,