How Debbie Reynolds Perfectly Voiced a Spider in Heartbreaking ‘Charlotte’s Web’

How Debbie Reynolds Perfectly Voiced a Spider in Heartbreaking ‘Charlotte’s Web’
While Debbie Reynolds was best known as a Hollywood singing and dancing icon — from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” — she also made a strong impression in children’s programming. She voiced a grandmother in Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats,” and took on similar roles in Disney Channel’s “Kim Possible” and “Halloweentown.” But to me, nothing compares to her aching and wistful performance as the star of Hanna-Barbera’s 1973 animated “Charlotte's Web.”

The movie, the first adaptation of E.B. White’s beloved children’s novel, was met with lukewarm ticket sales, but received a renaissance in the ’90s thanks to its hugely popular VHS edition.

I must have been in the first grade when I got to know Reynolds — before I’d ever heard about her. As interpreted by Reynolds, Charlotte is everything the book character is and more: wise, maternal, sassy, didactic and endlessly protective of Wilbur the pig.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Off The Shelf – Episode 52 – New Releases For Tuesday, June 2nd 2015

This week on Off The Shelf, Ryan is joined by Brian Saur to take a look at the new DVD and Blu-ray releases for the week of June 2nd, 2015, and chat about some follow-up and home video news.

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Episode Links & Notes


Ikarie Xb–1 is Czech, not Polish! Seiki Player


IFC and Paramount / Shout! Factory: The Duke Of Burgundy, Reality, Clouds Of Sils Maria, Yoshishige Yoshida pre-order up at Arrow UK Wac – 6/23 – Hugo The Hippo! + Wac reveals their Entire June Slate on their Youtube Channel Scream Factory to release Wes Craven’s Shocker Kl Studio Classics to put out The Oblong Box (Poe adaptation with Vincent Price and Christopher Lee) Cohen Media: Under The Sun Of Satan (no date yet) Sony Pictures Classics: The Salt Of The Earth (July 14th) Cinema Guild: Jauja (July 21st)

New Releases

Apollo 13 – 20th Anniversary Edition Beetle Bailey
See full article at CriterionCast »

See the Very First Movie Adaptation of 'The Hobbit' Ever Made

Hollywood has often looked to the literary world for its source material. When it comes to J.R.R. Tolkien's riveting tale of fantasy and adventure The Hobbit, one filmmaker was anxious to bring the story to the big screen. Illustrator, animator and director Gene Deitch teamed up with producer William L. Snyder for the 1966 animated short The Hobbit!. Snyder purchased rights to the saga directly from the Tolkien estate before the novel's popularity was at an all-time high. His contract obligated him to a full-color film, which he started planning as a feature-length production. The project tanked, but when the masses caught on to The Hobbit, Snyder took advantage of its marketability with a new movie. Since his contract never stated the length of the picture, he had...

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Watch: First Animated Short Film Adaptation Of 'The Hobbit' From 1966

If Peter Jackson's epic trilogy adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is too long for you, then perhaps this very first, animated short film version will be more your cup of tea. And indeed barely running twelve minutes long, there has to be a good story as to why Tolkien's novella got dramatically truncated. And indeed their is. Producer William Snyder first optioned the rights to the book with plans for a feature film, but as negotiations with Fox got underway, his demand for money essentially killed any chance of it happening. However, he did have one ace up his sleeve — he could hang on the rights if he produced any version of the book as a movie, and that's just what he did with this short, which is nothing but illustrations with voiceover narration. But as director/animator/writer Gene Deitch explains on his blog, Gene Deitch Credits,
See full article at The Playlist »

Is ‘The Hobbit’ Better Told in 11 Minutes or 11 Hours?

This week’s Short Starts column was already going to be different by focusing on the first film for a particular story’s adaptation rather than for a director or actor. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit‘s first time on screen was as a short film in 1966 from the team of producer William L. Snyder and director Gene Deitch (Popeye the Sailor). I wouldn’t exactly call it an animated film any more than I’d call a Ken Burns documentary animated. It’s more of a slide show of illustrations, some of them zoomed in on or panned across for some visual stimulation, plus an occasional spot of psychedelic effects. The short was kind of a throwaway work (an “ashcan” production), similar to Roger Corman’s 1994 Fantastic Four film in that it was only made, and in such half-assed fashion, to retain rights to the property. Simply pointing to this curiosity is not enough, though
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

R.I.P. 'Where The Wild Things Are' Author Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

"Please don't go. We'll eat you up, we love you so"

- Maurice Sendak, "Where The Wild Things Are"

Only a few days after the death of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, more sad news has arrived today, with The New York Times reporting that Maurice Sendak, author of beloved children's classics "Where The Wild Things Are" (which was turned into an acclaimed 2009 film by Spike Jonze) and "In The Night Kitchen," among others, has passed away at the age of 83.

Sendak, the child of Polish Jewish immigrants, was born in Brooklyn in 1928, and set his heart on becoming an illustrator after seeing Walt Disney's "Fantasia" at the age of 12. He worked on books for other authors for years, most notably Else Holmelund Minarik's "Little Bear" series, before gaining fame of his own accord in 1963 for "Where The Wild Things Are," the story of an unruly boy in a wolf
See full article at The Playlist »

Long-Lost Version Of 'The Hobbit' Surfaces Online

You've probably never heard of Gene Deitch, but you were likely exposed to his work at a young age. The Czech illustrator produced episodes for the "Tom and Jerry" and "Popeye" throughout the 60s, during a time where the productions were being partially outsourced to Prague. Deitch's films for the series have been called the worst of the lot, but Deitch attributes that to his Czech style, which "had nothing in common with these gag-driven cartoons."

Now, we have an animation that's sure to get Deitch some attention from diehard fans of another series. Deitch's 1966, 12-minute "Hobbit" short film, illustrated by fellow Czech illustrator Adolf Born, has surfaced on YouTube after almost 50 years in the vaults. The short was originally supposed to be a feature-length film, according to Deitch's blog, and would have been the first full-length "Hobbit" film, he claims. The convoluted series of events that led to it
See full article at Huffington Post »

A Beautifully Animated Version of 'The Hobbit' Circa 1966 from the Guy Who Did 'Tom and Jerry'

Artist and filmmaker Gene Deitch — whose work you'll probably remember from Saturday morning cartoons and the Tom and Jerry series — created a beautiful, animated version of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. One of the most impressive parts of the project is that Deitch created the work in only 30 days. That sound you just heard was Peter Jackson's head exploding. In 1967, filmmaker William Snyder managed to secure the rights to Tolkien's story and set out to make a feature length adaptation with his collaborator, Deitch. The duo worked diligently, but were unable to secure financial backing. As Deitch laments on his blog, "I had a fat script, but no other film companies were then interested. It was crushing. Even today, when...

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Watch 'The Hobbit' Online!

That's right Tolkien fans, it's true.  It's now possible to go to youtube to check out and early version of The Hobbit, right away and free of charge!  I am, of course, referring to the 1967 animated short from Tom and Jerry animator Gene Deitch.  What, did you think I was talking about something else?  Alright, I was being pretty shameless there, but this is something worth taking the time to watch.  It may not have the best animation, but it's interesting to see Tolkien's world projected through an artistic lens that isn't taken from medieval Europe.
See full article at Get The Big Picture »

Cool Videos: The unreleased first adaptation of The Hobbit

  • JoBlo
Now this is an awesome find- the very first adaptation of "The Hobbit"! Made by animator Gene Deitch and Czech illustrator Adolf Born who cranked it out in a mere 30 days in order to secure the rights for producer William Snyder, it's a unique piece of film history, for sure. Deitch has some words on his website about the production. In 1964, before anyone but some obscure Brit kids ever heard of it, Bill handed me a faded little 1937 children’s book...
See full article at JoBlo »

The Hobbit Long Lost Animated Short Discovered

The Hobbit Long Lost Animated Short Discovered
A twelve minute animated short of The Hobbit has recently been uncovered. It was written and directed by Tom and Jerry animator Gene Deitch and designed by Czech illustrator Adolf Born. Made in 1967, this short was to be turned into a feature length film. But all parties abandoned it after J.R.R. Tolkien published The Lord of the Rings and it became an unexpected hit. To read the entire history of the short: clickHere. Then check it out below.

This is what Gene Deitch has to say about the short.

"We were well into the The Hobbit screenplay when The The Lord of the Rings came out in paperback editions. Having assumed there was only The Hobbit to contend with, we had taken some liberties with the story that a few years later would be grounds for burning at the stake. For example, I had introduced a series of songs, changed some of the characters' names,
See full article at MovieWeb »

The Hobbit - Watch the First 1966 Animated Adaptation

Back in 1966 animator Gene Deitch got together with illustrator Adolf Born to create an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel The Hobbit, which is currently being made into an incredible-looking feature film. The video is only 12 minutes long, so it's a very abridged version of the story, with a ton of awful changes. Some of these changes include no dwarves, and added princess, and Smaug the dragon is renamed Slag. But, it's the first adaptation of the story ever made.

Regardless of all the weird changes, the video was still fun for me to watch. Check out the interesting vision of The Hobbit below and tell us what you think!
See full article at GeekTyrant »

Voice Actor Allen Swift Dies at 86

American voice actor Allen Swift, born Ira Stadlen and known as the voice of Tom's owner in "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, died April 18, according to the Telegraph of London. He was 86. Swift took his professional name from two of his favorite satirists, Fred Allen and Jonathan Swift, and did work in the early '50s on "Howdy Doody," voicing various characters including Tooter Turtle, Clint Clobber, and even Howdy. He also did voices in Gene Deitch's early '60s "Tom and Jerry" cartoons and recently guest-starred on "Law & Order."In a letter to the website, Deitch, Swift's longtime friend and collaborator, said, "Allen [had] been suffering with a series of health calamities for several years, since he fell and broke his hip while walking his dog. From that moment, one thing led to another."Swift is survived by, among numerous other relatives, his son: the Broadway actor, mimic,
See full article at Backstage »

Review: 'Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection' on DVD

  • Comicmix
I have to laugh when I watch old Tom and Jerry cartoons. First, of course, because they’re funny. The original series of 114 theatrical cartoons by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Hollywood cartoon studio were produced between 1940 and 1957, seven of them winning the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons)...a tie for most awards, one should note for the animation snobs out there, with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies animated series. A series of perfectly dreadful and too-often released cartoons followed, produced in Eastern Europe (cheap labor, I would imagine, and worth what they paid for it), produced by Gene Deitch at Rembrandt Films in 1960 before, thank the animation heavens, there came Chuck Jones in 1963.

Which brings us to Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection, hitting stores on Tuesday. Jones was one of the handful of master animators to influence the entire look and feel of the Warner Bros.
See full article at Comicmix »

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