Six Special Scenes

March 22, 2017 More

In the quest for more efficiency, the key crew members of “The Boing Heard Round the World” put their heads together this month to come up with the six most important scenes that we plan to complete before the end of this Summer, and sooner, and/or more scenes, if we line up more crew members, which we plan to do.

We felt that putting out all 40 scenes that we have blocked out so far, which is what we’ve been doing, was just too much to wrap any heads around, and we think we’ve made a wise choice, as crew members are picking scenes to work on now, at a much brisker pace.

The first image is a still from the end of “Gerald McBoing Boing”, which will be the inspiration for the last scene in “Kurtz on the Phone”, where our character of John Culhane, dressed in a valet outfit, will open the door of the limo for our character of Bob Kurtz, then twirl around as a transition technique into the the next scene, “Tao of Boing”, driven by the real John Culhane, during our interview with him in New York City.

The second image is from “Rooty Toot Toot” for the “Cartoonz is Cartoonz” scene, described in a clip from our interview with Bill Melendez, which illustrates how John Hubley was singularly motivated to make cartoons look like cartoons, not making them look like live action, which was the animation tradition of the 40s and 50s era. We’ve begun designing traditional style characters and backgrounds, which our Hub character will abruptly remove, and replace with what we now know to be “Rooty Toot Toot”.

The first three scenes, of the six scenes below, are already in the production line, but still need some participation, and the remaining three have only been blocked out, so they’re all ready to get started in production, and at this writing we have new crew members climbing aboard, along with others who want to work in the “front office”.

So, here are the six scenes we’ve chosen to kick off the latest wave of production:

1. Gerald’s Hop

Description: This is a scene driven by a story Jules Engel tells, with

a short comment by Jeff Pidgeon. It’s a moment that Jules recalls

about how Bobe Cannon came up with the distinctive hop/skip of

Gerald McBoing Boing, as he walks across the playground to

and from his school house.  The entire scene will be in animation

and it’s getting very close to completion.  Here’s Jules’ dialogue:

Bobo Cannon was very active and an incredible talent, 

incredible animator and designer, you know, yeah, 

I remember. I think we were on Hollywood Boulevard. 

I think we had lunch at that…that famous restaurant. 

Musso & Frank. He was thinking about a movement, 

and so there is Bobo, hopping around like a little bunny 

rabbit, you know, because he was thinking always, and 

he had to put that thinking into movement.

 

Positions to Fill: Backgrounds to be finished, then, Layouts, and

Animation, plus music & effects.

 

No Characters to design: Bobe Cannon, Jules Engel, and all the people

and animals on Hollywood blvd. have been completed.

 

 

2. Cartoonz is Cartoonz

Description: This scene is among our favorites, where Bill Melendez

talks about how John Hubley wanted Cartoons to look like Cartoons,

not imitations of live action, one of the key stylistic principle’s at UPA.

The highlight of the scene begins shortly after Bill talks on camera,

and features our characters of Bill and Hub walking into a scene

of traditional animation, with Hub changing everything into the

style of “Rooty Toot Toot”.  Here’s Bill’s dialogue:

I remember our discussing the philosophy of animating and 

illustrating as we did at UPA. We were getting away from 

trying to animate in a realistic fashion. At UPA we animated 

in a stylized fashion. I think Hubley must have thunk up that 

word, stylized (chuckles).  I know that’s what I tried to do, 

I tried to make it as different from live action as I could.  

To me those were glorious days.

 

Positions to Fill: Storyboards, Character Design, Backgrounds,

Layouts, Animation, plus music & effects.

 

One Character to design: the traditional version of Frankie is complete,

but the traditional version of Johnny needs to be designed.

 

 

3. Kurtz on the Phone

Description: Unlike the first two scenes, this scene and the three that

follow are part of the all important Prologue, which sets up the

content and style of our entire documentary. This particular scene

is told by Bob Kurtz, who was such a UPA fan that he would call

theaters in advance to see if they were playing a UPA short with

their feature.  The backgrounds of this scene will be reminiscent

of two of the backgrounds in the Oscar winning “Gerald McBoing 

Boing” animated short.  Here’s Bob’s dialogue:

I used to call up the theater, and I wanted to find 

out what cartoon was playing, because I wanted

to see a UPA cartoon.  Now who calls up a theater

to find out what cartoon is playing, that’s me. To me

a UPA cartoon was as important as the feature. 

When I found a theater that was playing a UPA 

cartoon, I was off to see another new UPA cartoon.

 

Positions to Fill: Storyboards, some animation, plus, music &

effects.  Fenway Fan has undertaken the creation of the

backgrounds, layouts and some animation.

 

No Characters to design: Bob Kurtz and the two versions of

John Culhane, the transitional character to the last scene,

The Tao of Boing, have been completed by Fenway.

 

 

4. UPA Style(s)

Description: In this early scene of the Prologue, Gene Deitch counters

a UPA style squabble between commentators who each think

UPA’s style is different than the others, with Gene saying that

UPA is all those styles, as UPA chose any style to best fit each

film being made.  The animation will be fun, showing several

of our characters of key UPA artists creating their different

styles.  Here’s Gene’s dialogue:

The key to UPA animation was not limited animation, 

it was unlimited animation.  It was the idea that, that 

every story should have its own kind of design and 

every story should have its own way of filmic storytelling. 

In other words, UPA was the first studio to come out 

without a house style. UPA was the first studio to say 

any style in the world, any graphic style, any style of 

any artist, anything that you can imagine is possible 

to animate. And I think that’s what made UPA great and

that’s what opened up the whole school of animation. 

 

Positions to Fill: Storyboards, Character Designs, Backgrounds,

Layouts, Animation, plus, music & effects.

 

Six Characters to design:

Art Babbitt, Chuck Jones, & T. Hee, are started but need to be finished.

Phil Eastman, Lew Keller, and Art Heinemann, need to be designed.

Bobe Cannon, John Hubley, Jules Engel, Paul Julian, Grim Natwick,

Millard Kaufman, Fred Crippen, Pete Burness, Bill Melendez, and

Bill Hurtz, have been completed.

 

 

5. Animation Picket Line

Description: This scene in the Prologue is made up of three short scenes

that all work together, “Met on the Picket Line”, driven by a comment

by Steve Bosustow, “Babbitt & Hurtz” with a Giannalberto Bendazzi

comment, and “Brotherhood Bond”, with Tom Sito’s comment.

Steve Bosustow begins with the idea that future UPA artists met

for the first time on the picket line of the big animation strike of

1941, will be illustrated in animation, with a group of picketers

marching arm in arm, evoking the final scene in UPA’s early

Brotherhood of Man”.  Giannalberto Bendazzi picks up with

a light hearted touch, using a story that will be animated with our

Art Babbitt character running back into the big animation studio

to get his assistant, Bill Hurtz, out to join the picket line. The final

section of this picket line scene is told by Tom Sito, elaborating on

how they all bonded there, with more of our characters of future

UPA artists joining in.  Here’s the dialogue for Steve, Gianni,

and Tom:

(Steve) UPA got started on the picket line. For the first time 

all us artists had a chance to mingle with each other, discuss 

and get to know each other.  (Gianni)  Quite comic this thing, 

when Art Babbitt called the strike in 1941, it was because his 

assistant didn’t get money enough and from the sparkle the 

whole fire began. And then he was hired at UPA and worked 

with his same assistant, Bill Hurtz.  (Tom) They were all

activists, they all had a common belief in the mission of art, 

to make things better in the world and that art has a message. 

And they came together, basically their brotherhood was 

kinda fused in the strike. 

 

Positions to Fill: Storyboards, Character Designs, Backgrounds,

Layouts, Animation, plus, music & effects.

 

Five Characters to design:

Art Babbitt, Ted Geisel, & T. Hee, started but need to be finished.

Phil Eastman, & Art Heinemann, need to be designed.

Dave Hilberman, John Hubley, Bill Hurtz, Steve Bosustow,

Paul Julian, Zack Schwarz, Jules Engel, Grim Natwick,

and Willis Pyle have been completed.

 

 

6. UPA had Fans

Description: This scene follows a scene in the Prologue featuring

Leonard Maltin talking about all the great press UPA received.

So, Bill Melendez gleefully reminisces about fans, as we see

our characters of Bill and other key artists exiting the front

entrance of the UPA studio, and being inundated by a gaggle

of fans wanting autographs. Witnessing all this is Oscar Grillo,

standing to one side of the brouhaha.  As the artists sign

autographs, Grillo will fly up, head over heals, out of frame

into his own scene, “Urban Settings”, where he comments on

UPAs modernism.  Here’s Bill’s dialogue for this scene:

Can you imagine, we at UPA had fans? That’s absurd. 

I thought it was absurd.  We were a bunch of yokel

cartoonists, but we were admired, that’s what tickled 

our fancy. But, there was good reason for us having 

fans. We were trying to invent different things in cartoons. 

Positions to Fill: Storyboards, Character Designs, Backgrounds,

Layouts, Animation, plus, music & effects.

About Nine Characters to design:

T. Hee was started but needs to be finished.

Sterling Sturdevant & Fans need to be designed.

Bobe Cannon, John Hubley, Jules Engel, Bill Melendez,

Pete Burness and Grim Natwick, as well as the transactional

character of Oscar Grillo have been completed.

Category: Back Issues, Production