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September 3, 2015


Guitarist and animator Pete Kleinow dead at 72

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 10th 2007 6:00PM

pete kleinowPete Kleinow, steel guitarist for the Flying Burrito Brothers who also played with several big names in the music business, passed away Saturday at the age of 72 from complications brought on by Alzheimer's disease.

Kleinow also had a career in television and film. He worked as an animator on the original Gumby series and also wrote and performed the theme song. His other animation projects included Davey and Goliath, Land of the Lost, and commercials for Pillsbury featuring Poppin' Fresh. He also worked on visual effects and animation for such films as Gremlins, the first two Terminator films, Army of Darkness, The Empire Strikes Back and Holes.

In 1983, Kleinow won an Emmy for his visual effects work on the ABC miniseries The Winds of War, which chronicled the world events leading up to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

[via Cartoon Brew]

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Scooby-Doo animator dead at 81

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 9th 2007 12:30PM

takamotoAfter losing co-founder Joseph Barbera and animator Ed Benedict, Hanna Barbera is again saying good-bye to yet another legend. Iwao Takamoto, who designed Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and the rest of the Mysteries Inc. gang, passed away yesterday at the age of 81.

While Ed Benedict is credited with designing the original Flintstones characters, Takamoto designed the Great Gazoo. He also created Muttley, the wheezing dog featured on such shows as Laff-A-Lympics, Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines and Wacky Races; and Astro, the Jetson's dog who, oddly enough, sounded not unlike Scooby-Doo (both were voiced by Don Messick). His other credits at Hanna Barbera include Josie and the Pussycats, Jabberjaw and many, many others.

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Where did the Harvey Birdman bear come from?

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 18th 2006 1:02PM
bearFans of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law have gotten used to seeing the silent bear who appears in the group scene at the end of almost every episode and inexplicably pops up now and again throughout the show. Adult Swim has a transcript of creators Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter talking about the origin of the bear, which first appeared in the episode "Very Personal Injury," the one where Apache Chief loses the ability to grow into a giant. The bear was designed by Vincent Waller, an animator and storyboard artist who worked on Ren and Stimpy and other John Kricfalusi projects, as well as SpongeBob SquarePants and Duckman. Ouweleen describes the bear as "the most zen creature on Earth." When you look at that serene face, you can't help but agree. He's the calm eye of the storm at the center of the Sebben and Sebben hurricane; the fuzzy lynchpin of the Birdman universe.

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Artists try to help out fellow artist and Holocaust survivor

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 14th 2006 1:32PM

For over thirty years, Dina Babbitt, once a teenage girl imprisoned in Auschwitz, has been trying to reclaim paintings she made while in the concentration camp. Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor, took a liking to Babbitt's artwork and asked her to paint portraits of the gypsies on which he was performing his horrific experiments. It was, in fact, these paintings that kept Babbitt alive. After the war, Babbitt came to California and worked as an animator for both Warner Bros. and Jay Ward Productions. When it was revealed that seven of her Auschwitz paintings were on display at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland, she tried to get them back, but the museum has consistently refused, claiming the paintings are not personal works of art, but rather documentation of the events that occurred at Auschwitz created under the orders of Dr. Mengele. The artistic community, including former DC Comics artist Joe Kubert, have rallied around Babbitt's cause, as have congresswoman Shelley Berkley, and a former director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Efforts to help the 83 year old Babbitt reclaim her artwork were stepped up recently due to a heart condition that is threatening her health, though I would assume that if she were to pass away before the issue is resolved her family would continue the fight.

[via Toon Zone]

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Punchy animator dead

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 9th 2006 12:32PM
PunchyJan Svocheck, an animator who worked for several studios and whose most recognizable work was undoubtedly as the head animator for the Hawaiian Punch commercials featuring Punchy, the squat Hawaiian who enjoyed decking people in the kisser, passed away Wednesday at the age of 80. Svocheck was born in Czechoslovakia and came to the United States in the 1930s, later returning to Europe to fight in World War II. Upon returning to the states he worked at Famous Studios on such shows as Baby Huey, Herman and Katnip and Little Audrey. Among many other jobs in the industry, he also worked at J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, the studio best known for its work with Robert Smigel on Saturday Night Live's "TV Funhouse" segment. He worked on the Hawaiian Punch commercials from the 1960s up through the 1990s, and was also an animator for the "Mr. Hipp" segment on NBC's Weekend, an occasionally tongue-in-cheek news program that aired in the late 1970s.

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Animator Ed Benedict dead

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 2nd 2006 10:28AM
fred flintstoneFirst of all, I've been out of the loop for the past few days so I wasn't able to post about this when the news first broke, but for those who haven't yet heard, animation legend Ed Benedict passed away on August 28 at the age of 94. Casual cartoon fans may not recognize the name Ed Benedict, but they will recognize his contribution to television animation, as he was responsible for designing some of the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters such as Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound. It was Benedict's designs that made Hanna-Barbera's cartoons instantly recognizable. Before joining Hanna-Barbera in the latter half of the 1950s, Benedict worked at Disney before moving to TV commercials and eventually a gig at MGM with Tex Avery. Ren and Stimpy creator John K. was also an admirer of Benedict's work, and has a lovely tribute to the man over on his blog.

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Animator paints awesome mural for grandson

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 23rd 2006 7:57AM

cartoon cowEarly on in life I discovered I had a natural artistic ability, but one of the things I've always kind of regretted is that I never learned the fundamentals that can make a decent artist a really great artist. I can doodle a decent enough cartoon character, but nothing that could stand up to the scrutiny of anyone who actually knows how to draw. Nevertheless, whenever a family member wanted to have their kid's room painted with cartoon characters, I was the one they called upon. My "murals," if you will, usually turned out decent enough, but they were nothing compared to this 1930s-inspired mural created by animator Joe Busam for his not-yet-born grandson's room. All of the characters in the barnyard scene are generic, though apparently the kids are based on characters from the Merrie Melody "Pagan Moon." If anyone has a burlap sack and some heavy chains feel free to contact me and we'll work together to kidnap Busam so he can paint something like this for my unborn children, too.

[via Cartoon Brew]

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