5 items from 2017
June Foray, the voice of Rocky The Flying Squirrel, Granny from Looney Tunes, and literally hundreds of other beloved animated characters, has died. Heralded as “the first lady” and the “queen” of voice acting, Foray’s career in film and TV stretched for 71 years and more than 300 credits, embodying everyone from Magica De Spell to Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. As reported by Variety, Foray was 99.
Originally working in radio—and on comedy albums with Stan Freberg—Foray broke into film in 1950, when she voiced Lucifer the cat in Disney’s Cinderella. From there, it would probably be easier to list the beloved animated series she didn’t appear on: Her versatile voice showed up in The Flintstones, Peter Pan, Mister Magoo, dozens of Looney Tunes shorts—with director Chuck Jones supposedly once noting that “June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc »
- William Hughes
It is safe to say that The Flintstones will go down as one of the biggest pleasant surprises in the history of comics. When the first promo images were released for this along with the other Hanna Barbera series the majority of the world scoffed at the very idea of this project. While the other series like Scooby Doo Apocalypse have left a lot to be desired, Mark Russell and Steve Pugh’s Flintstones has been one of the best comics since its debut. It is a series that will only grow in notoriety as more people learn about its brilliance.
Issue twelve is a bittersweet moment as it marks the end of this fantastic book. Not wanting over extend this idea is admirable, but still, it is hard to let something so consistently good go. In reality the sharp social and political commentary that makes The Flintstones what it is could only last so long. Rarely do comics or really any form of entertainment end before there is a sharp dip in quality. Part of being a great creator is knowing when to move on to something new.
This issue works as a wrap-up of some of the major stories that have been building during these past twelve issues. A testament to the power of this series is how it crafted one of the most fulfilling narratives around a bowling ball and his relationship with a vacuum cleaner. Objects that were just cheap gags in the original cartoon where the heart and soul of this series, which ties into one of the biggest surprises of this last installment. For a series that was mighty critical of the human race and our society, this had a much more upbeat and optimistic outlook.
During the issue The Great Gazoo is giving his assessment on humanity and its downfalls but why there is reason to be hopeful. Within that framework we see Bam Bam and Pebbles attempting to better understand the conflict between science and religion. The result is one of the best explanation for the need for religion I have read. One that is not critical nor ignorant to its problems. The Church of Gerald has been a consistent source of humor but here it became something more.
Steve Pugh also needs to be praised for his work. No one else could have made this book except for him. That look that many people criticized at first was key in making the tone perfect. If this looked too cartoony it would not nearly be as effective and if it was too realistic it the irony would be absent. I truly hope these two work on so much more in the future.
If you are still hesitant to read this series get over that as quickly as possible. Go back to issue one and get ready to experience twelve issues of genius. This final issue may not be the best one so far but it is a fitting end to a special book. I can safely say we will never see a book like this ever again.
*****½ 4.5/5 »
- Dan Clark
After gestating in development for years as a live-action adaptation, Warner Bros.' animated adaptation of The Jetsons is now moving forward. The studio's Warner Animation Group has brought on Conrad Vernon, who most recently directed Sony's R-rated Sausage Party, to take the reins of this animated movie. The filmmaker has been brought on to develop the project, with an eye towards directing it himself. It isn't clear if he will be working with another writer or if he will write the script himself.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news today, with the filmmaker coming aboard keeping this project firmly entrenched within the Warner Animation Group banner. That wasn't always the case, though, with the studio previously trying to put together a Jetsons live-action movie for many years, with directors such as Adam Shankman and Robert Rodriguez attached to the project, with the later working from a script by The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg. »
Vernon’s credits include co-directing “Shrek 2,” “Monsters vs. Aliens” and “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” in addition to the raunchy “Sausage Party” with Greg Tiernan. “Sausage Party” grossed $140 million worldwide on a $19 million budget. Vernon also voiced the Gingerbread Man in the “Shrek” movies.
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The Hanna-Barbera original animated show aired in primetime on ABC in 1962-63. It was set in 2062 and centered on George, Jane, Judy, and Elroy Jetson along with Rosie the Robot. The series was a Space Age counterpart to Hanna-Barbera’s “The Flintstones.”
Warner Bros., which owns the Hanna-Barbera library, »
- Dave McNary
“Tra-la-lalala”A simple tune that quickly transformed into an earwig which burrowed into the brains of a generation (“Generation X” to be more precise). Yes, it’s the rallying song of that big, blue behemoth of kid-friendly franchises, the Smurfs. Those petite (three apples high) magical imps were introduced by Belgian cartoonist Peyo (Aka Pierre Colliford) way, way back in 1958. They were a merchandising phenom in Europe, but didn’t truly achieve worldwide superstar status until they descended on the Us thanks to TV cartoon titans Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara (the creators of The Flintstones and Scooby Doo also co-wrote that too-catchy theme song with Hoyt Curtin) and became the anchor for NBC’s Saturday morning line-up in 1981 through 1989. Tons of toys and imitations (remember the Snorks?) followed, but things were quiet in their hidden spot in the magic forest for the next twenty years or so. And then »
- Jim Batts
5 items from 2017
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