Celebrity Deathmatch

In the news, MTV is bringing back Celebrity Deathmatch, which was created by Eric Fogel in 1998. Here are some samples from earlier seasons. Celebrity Deathmatch. (Click link to see Buster Keaton Vs. Charlie Chaplin)


Bring back the Charley Bowers DVD

I don’t recall what inspired me to buy the Charley Bowers DVD set a few years ago, but it was more than a pleasant surprise.   I was introduced to a great talent in comedy, and animation.  Before seeing the DVD’s I had not heard of him, he is not mentioned in any of the many books on silent film that I had read.  If it weren’t for an essay by the surrealist Andre Breton praising his work, he probably would have been lost to history.  It took some film historians years to collect his surviving films from dusty collections around europe.

Charley Bowers began his entertainment career in 2D animation, writing and directing hundreds of short films based on the cartoon strip “Mutt & Jeff”  as well as “The Katzenjammer Kids.”  In 1926 he went into live action slapstick comedy, which is where the DVD collection starts.  His live film work was respectable, but it was the addition of  some extremely imaginative stop motion animation that brings him up to a level of quality that makes him worthy of  your time to watch.

Here are some samples:

He even has a facebook page

Also, a book is published in France that looks interesting.

The Bowers’ Mother Goose Movie Book

It has flippable pages.

Exuberance

“A Town Called Panic” was a total surprise when I saw it in the theater.  I loved it, and still think it is a must see for animators.  It is an excellent example of a film displaying “exuberance.”    An unrestrained joyful energy.  With the simplest of materials, they created a world of bizarre events that sustains itself with constant surprises.  What the characters are saying is not nearly as important as the emphasis and voice quality. Also the pauses and spaces that contrast with the fast talking and give the impression of the characters thinking.

I must give it my highest praise.  “I wish I made that.”

Here are some of the original TV shorts that led to the feature film:

Youtube calling

I really like this stop motion animation, inspired by Basil Wolverton

It’s quick and fun, and nicely done. The animator was Thomas R. Smith

I also noticed two other things about it. It has 16 million views, and no advertising. I recently read that popular youtube videos with advertising earn about $5000 for every million views. By that number, “Ugly Girl” could have pulled in $80,000. I wonder if Mr. Smith intentionally declined, or was just unaware of the potential. UPDATE: On further thought, perhaps Smith doesn’t legally own the piece.

I know the people behind “Kozo, the Dancing Hippo” On youtube it has been duplicated and remixed so many times I haven’t bothered to count. The views on all of them runs into the tens of millions. I imagine if they had worked the system, they could have profited from each of them. I need to learn more.

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