If you are a fan of classic animation or the likes of the Toon In posts. You probably are quite familiar with the work of Alex Toth. An absolute legend in the animation as well as comic book industry. Just the other day while talking to the Retroist during our lunch break. I made mention that I had in fact not come up with a post for today. Which is when the Retroist was kind enough to suggest taking a look at some Fantastic Four art by Alex Toth.
All Alex Toth animation sheets courtesy of The Alex Toth Archive.
Obviously as you can tell, he wasn’t referring to the comic work for Marvel that Toth did. He was of course pointing me in the direction of the Alex Toth Archives. To share with you all some of the design work the illustrator did for Hanna-Barbera on 1967’s Fantastic Four.
Now the animated ABC series only produced 20 episodes. One season in fact although it was aired from 1967 until 1970. While it was of course not the first animated series featuring Marvel characters. That honor goes to the 1966 syndicated The Marvel Super Heroes series. It was the first Fantastic Four animated show. In addition as you can see in the Fantastic Four art by Alex Toth. There is a huge difference, the 1967 series featured traditional animation!
As beautiful as Alex’s work is when guiding the animation style of the Fantastic Four series. Seeing these work sheets in black and white is even more amazing. Check out some of the character he tackled, like the infamous Doctor Doom.
Or there is also the planet-devouring entity whose name the Universe fears. The terribly cosmic Galactus.
Of course there is also the all-seeing Uatu the Watcher.
Not that he didn’t also come up with original characters such as Von Lenz aka The Deadly Director.
It wasn’t just Fantastic Four art by Alex Toth that shaped early Saturday morning animation. Toth also worked on 1973’s Super Friends!
Friends, this Toon In offering is a little different. To say the least. 1979’s The Wizard of Speed and Time is not traditional animation. Nor in fact is it even stop motion, well, not completely. Of course it is in fact all manner of visual tricks that are used to make The Wizard of Speed and Time so absolutely charming.
The titular character of the 1979 short is Mike Jittlov. As well as being the Director, Animator, Special Effects Maestro, and Chief Dreamer.
Jittlov got his start in animation in the 70s at UCLA. With many of his short films making it into festivals. After designing his own multiplane animation system he caught the eye of the Walt Disney Studio. Where Mike would appear in the Mickey’s 50th two-hour TV event. Entitled Mouse Mania it features Jittlov as he visits a psychiatrist to discuss his mania of Disney related collectibles.
Besides the astounding stop-motion work that Jittlov and his partner Deven Cheregino put into the short. That 1978 short film also is wonderful to watch just because of the amount of vintage Disney merchandise is shown in it. Another thing to keep in mind while watching it, is every single effect was done in-camera.
The Wizard of Speed and Time was introduced on another Disney episode. In this case on an December 1979 airing of Disney’s Wonderful World. For a special episode entitled Major Effects. A documentary of sorts of how films and movies use all sorts of special effects to bring magic to life. By the way the special was released around the same time as The Black Hole!
This is where I actually was able to first catch The Wizard of Speed and Time. I can also say in all honesty that this was one of those TV specials that made me want to become a filmmaker in the first place. I think after you watch the short film for yourself you will certainly see why I was so captivated by the idea.
Welcome back, friends. It’s been a little bit since we’ve last had a Toon In offering. We are going not with the traditional cell animation for this go around however. This time we are sharing a classic 1947 bit of stop motion animation from the George Pal studio. One of his popular Puppetoon series of theatrical shorts, 8 of which were Oscar nominations. This includes of course Tubby the Tuba.
Although Tubby the Tuba ended up losing to Tweetie Pie.Which by the way was the very first Merrie Melodies short to feature Sylvester and Tweety Bird.
To be fair, the Puppetoons are described as replacement animation instead of stop motion. Replacement animation is when the animator uses multiple parts on a model that have been manufactured. Many time this will be facial features, just snapping them on and off. For a fantastic example of the replacement animation style, one need only recall The Nightmare Before Christmas!
When all is said and done, around 70 Puppetoon shorts were created. George Pal would have done more but the cost of making them soared after WWII. It’s been reported that a short animated this way would take thousands and thousands of carved parts. The ceasing of making such shorts ended up a boon for Pal. He would go on to become a Director of live action films in fact. Like 1960’s exceptional adaptation of H.G. Well’s The Time Machine.
In Tubby the Tuba we are introduced to an anthropomorphic orchestra. The titular character is not happy however. The poor tuba feels left out as he is never able to play any of the beautiful melodies like his fellow instruments provide.
For Tubby all seems lost until he manages to encounter a very helpful frog. While the tuba is feeling sorry for himself he is gifted an appropriate tune by the frog. But will it be enough to impress the conductor of the orchestra?
Now go and grab your favorite refreshments and enjoy Tubby the Tuba!
So I have heard there might be a new Marvel Cinematic Universe film out now. Something entitled Avengers: Infinity War? Down here in the Retroist Vault, the word is it’s some kind of small independent film. We obviously don’t get out too much down here. However, since it has to do with Marvel Super Heroes I thought this might be a good time for a Toon In offering. In this case 1966’s The Revenge of Captain America!
The Revenge of Captain America is an episode featuring…Captain America. Obviously. It was of course part of the 1966 animated series The Marvel Super Heroes. Which was originally produced by Grantray-Lawrence Animation, an independent studio that co-produced Rocket Robin Hood and would go on to co-produce 1967’s Spider-Man. The Marvel Super Heroes was a syndicated series and when first aired would feature three segments of a singular hero, generally running around seven minutes long. What heroes were chosen for The Marvel Super Heroes you might ask? The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, The Mighy Thor, The Sub-Mariner, as well as Captain America!
I think it’s fair to say these shows are best remembered for two things. The rather catchy theme songs for the heroes and their ‘limited’ animation. While perhaps the animation was scoffed at in later years, needlessy so in my opinion. It at the very least gave comic fans easy access to the artwork of Steve Ditko, Don Heck, and of course Jack Kirby. That was mainly do to the fact that the show was produced by xerography. They were literally using copied work from the actual comic books – however the artists sadly were not given credit.
At the very least we know now who was responsible for all of that wonderful artwork. The voice of Captain America was provided by Sandy Becker. Perhaps best known for The Sandy Becker Show from 1955 until 1968. Becker in fact lent his voice to a few classic animated shows such as Underdog, The Beagles, Go Go Gophers, in addition to King Leonardo and His Short Subjects. As well as being a well known announcer and spokesman, like on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Now as to the story for The Revenge of Captain America, it all has to due with the loss of Bucky. It’s not like revenge is something you think of in conjunction with Captain America. On the other hand, it is a little understandable considering Baron Zemo cause the death of the good Captain’s sidekick. It is something that at the beginning of this episode is weighing heavily on Cap’s mind. Even verbally lashing out at Rick Jones, friend to the Hulk and sort of mascot to the Avengers. The only thing that will ease Captain America’s conscience is to head out and attempt to bring Zemo to justice!
Friends, grab your favorite beverage and snack and join us on Toon In. As we learn of The Revenge of Captain America!