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Kennedy and the Ups & Downs of Silver Age Animation

Discussion in 'The Warner Bros. Club' started by SB20xx, Jul 13, 2003.

  1. Jonny Mack

    Jonny Mack Member

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    Um, I think there's also a thread on this forum where you can post some of your own fan art. I think it would be great to see what you consider "well-drawn" ... or particularly "well-animated" if you could post a clip.

    Et cetera etc cetera ... You might also want to check out the very old thread (I can't find it anymore, maybe one of the Administrators can point us to it) where Kennedy Cartoons is raked over the coals.

    Since I can't find it any more, I can't blame anybody for reviving the subject in a new thread.

    But what was discussed in that thread is that Kennedy is a very good artist, and at the time when he did the Tiny Toons shows, he was under the impression that he was setting the drawing style, the way he did for "A Pup Named Scooby Doo." By the time Spielberg decided he didn't like the Kennedy style, all those shows were already finished or in production.

    They don't look like the other shows, but we consider them "bad" only because of a late style decision. Had things gone the other way, we'd all be making fun of the TMS and Akom shows instead of Kennedy - and they would be equally innocent.

    For my last little counter-rant, I want to point out something about the picture below:

    [​IMG]
    "Wrong in so many ways." Perhaps you'd like to post the correct way to draw Montana Max when he's zipping off frame.

    But before you do, you might want to grab some frames off the "Leopold" sequence of Chuck Jones' "Long-Haired Hare," a classic Bugs Bunny cartoon. See, the thing is, those drawings are meant for motion effect, not for static framing. If you want nice static images to post on a message board, you should limit it to comic book images - which were meant to be looked at for as long as you care to. The image above was meant to be seen in a sequence of drawings, during which it would be on screen for 0.08 seconds.

    So we should agree that those images were never meant to be scrutinized - but let me reiterate, it certainly wasn't because the artist couldn't draw.

    It was because he/she did know how to animate.

    Anyway, we're all learning, right? Peace.
     
  2. Jonny Mack

    Jonny Mack Member

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    Thanks Boris! As you can read above, I couldn't find that old thread!
     
  3. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

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    Good to see you here, Jonny! I really liked your work for Animaniacs, and I thought your old studio's Buster and Babs designs were cute, and I enjoyed that "Louie and Elmo" cartoon you did for the What a Cartoon Show! And I even liked the work you did for Southern Star in the mid-1980s like "The Berenstain Bears." I THOUGHT the animation looked a little Startoons-ish there at times :D

    Oh, and should we bump up the old thread? I got lots to say about my opinions on Kennedy here!
     
  4. Roman Legion

    Roman Legion Let's Make a Deal
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    Good to see you still lurking around. I didn't say anything back in that other thread, but it was great to read about all the production insights. :)

    I'm wondering whether or not to just merge this thread with that one. Both threads started on a similar note.

    --Romey
     
  5. Lonestarr

    Lonestarr Stop eating my sesame cake!
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    That smear shot of Montana Max may well be one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen.

    What possessed the producers to hire Kennedy?! (Yeah, yeah. Without them, we might never have gotten Jon McClenahan and StarToons, but come on!)
     
  6. Framwinkle

    Framwinkle Crazy Squirrel

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    Personally, I disagree. I never liked that style, even as a kid, because I thought it just looked cheap, which is one reason I never watched that version of Scooby Doo. I just couldn't stand it. Maybe among those involved in and familiar with animation at the time it was trailblazing, but I didn't even know what an animation studio was back then. I thought Disney animated Disney cartoons, and WB animated WB cartoons. So it was very confusing to me why some episodes of TTA had a quality on par with early Ducktales episodes, yet others were clearly different, even though it was all the same WB cartoon. Maybe I was just spoiled by shows like Gummi Bears and Ducktales, but I shudder to think what might have happened had Tiny Toons all been done in the Kennedy style, because I'm pretty sure I would have liked it a lot less than I did.
     
  7. Roman Legion

    Roman Legion Let's Make a Deal
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    I'm not a fan of Kennedy, but I wish more people would understand the point you're making. Animation is, err, animated. Being animated, it's intended to be viewed in motion. Weird looking frames - even continuous sequences of them - are not necessarily bad art or poorly drawn.

    For lack of a better analogy, it's like complaining that the Impressionists didn't finish their paintings. Some types of complaint miss the point of what one's supposed to be looking at.

    --Romey
     
  8. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe because Tom Ruegger, the big man himself, was one of the creators of "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo" in 1988, and he knew Glen Kennedy personally, and loved his work on the show. (Kennedy Cartoons had not opened yet by this point; Glen Kennedy was an in-house animator at H-B and was also the animation supervisor at Wang/Cuckoo's Nest, the overseas studio that did the rest of Pup's animation.) In the second season, not only did Tom Ruegger leave, but Glen Kennedy left as well, and Wang completely took over with the show's animation, and the only Kennedy animation you'd see would be when they'd often reuse the old dance cycles from the first seasons (here the Wang animators obviously just either traced over it or they still had the original artwork).

    So I think Tom Ruegger decided to hire Kennedy Cartoons since he knew him well from H-B, but had no idea what the end result would REALLY look like. So at the end of the first season, WB fired Kennedy, which then moved on to doing overseas animation for the Disney Afternoon shows like "Darkwing Duck" (which Startoons helped out with as well).

    BUT... I mut confess that I really love "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo" AND its animation. But here Kennedy's animation actually fits and is more in control at times, so I really prefer seeing it here than on TTA.

    Plus, if Kennedy Cartoons didn't animate on TTA, we might not have gotten Eddie Fitzgerald's awesome "Tales of Worm Paranoia" short from the What A Cartoon Show!
     
  9. Roman Legion

    Roman Legion Let's Make a Deal
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    Thread Merger Notice

    I've merged "Post badly-drawn screencaps of TTA and Animaniacs!" with the previous "Ultra Sloppy!", since both dealt with Kennedy and the details behind various aspects of production on Tiny Toons and related series. Newcomers should pay attention to when things were posted. Opinions may have changed over the years.

    --Romey
     
  10. SB20xx

    SB20xx Oooooh!
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    Kennedy as a whole got more uniform in the Disney Afternoon series. The animation still fluctuated a bit, but the character designs usually stayed relatively similar. In addition, the trademark dancing was virtually eliminated, unless the script called for it (i.e. Goof Troop's "Cat's Entertainment", when the cat is ordered to do a dance for an advertising executive).

    BTW, my latest blog post, which is long overdue, showcases some fine work by Willy Ashworth, a former Kennedy animator.
     
  11. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for doing so. I have to admit, I think "Kennedy and the Ups & Downs of Silver Age Animation" is a better title for this thread!

    BTW, here's a funny piece of fan art I found online criticizing Kennedy Cartoons's work on TTA (WARNING: a bit of foul language!)

    http://chupatoster.deviantart.com/art/TINY-KENNEDY-TOONS-93478198
     
  12. DarthGonzo

    DarthGonzo Fourteen Years!

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    I really enjoyed Kennedy's stuff at Disney, especially Darkwing Duck when John McClenahan was doing some animation. Speedy posted some screen shots of John's work on Darkwing in this thread:

    http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=199121

    Kennedy also worked on Goof Troop, Bonkers and Aladdin and to be honest I'd rather watch a Kennedy episode of any of these shows before I watch a Sunwoo-animated episode.

    Can you imagine an entire TTA episode just animated by Willy and John? What other episodes does his work appear in, Speedy?
     
  13. SB20xx

    SB20xx Oooooh!
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    Specifically, this post.
    Ditto. I found Sunwoo incredibly bland. Though I guess they did OK work for Bonkers's Lucky Piquel episodes...
    Well, according to an e-mail conversation I had with Willy a few months back:
    -In the same episode, he animates the bus rounding the corner at the very end of the first act.
    -This bit in "Bat's All, Folks".
    -He did some animation in "Wild Takes Class". He wasn't specific on which bits, though.
    -Plucky searching for clues on the street in "Pluck Twacy".
    -A bit where Babs is talking to the voice of Bosko in the football field in "Fields of Honey". I -think- he does the first part of that scene, not the part where Bosko comments on how Bugs is over 50 years old. That's somebody else's work.
    -In "The ACME Bowl", he animates Gogo turning into a whistle, as well as the ball saying "Ouch ouch ouch!" when kicked at the start of the game.
    -The skipping myna bird in "Buster and the Wolverine".

    He also apparently worked on Darkwing Duck, but effects stuff only. No character animation.
     
  14. DarthGonzo

    DarthGonzo Fourteen Years!

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Man, I wish every Darkwing Duck episode looked that good.
     
  15. Racattack!Force

    Racattack!Force 私は、ああ、くそっバットマンなんだよ !

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    Is Darkwing's bill supposed to be orange in that scene? :confused:
     
  16. DarthGonzo

    DarthGonzo Fourteen Years!

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    Yeah, because he had just burnt it on a boiling hot wall of water.
     
  17. Jonny Mack

    Jonny Mack Member

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    Wow. Never saw that post. Brings back memories!

    For the record, the pic at the top is definitely mine; the next one down (in front of the TV set) is probably mine (75% chance?); the third one is definitely NOT mine - mainly because I never draw the corner of the mouth that way and also I never draw fingers with a single bend like the ones in front of his nose - my fingers are either double-jointed, straight & bulbous, or curved & bulbous (although Disney/Kennedy staff may have altered them to be more "on-model" ... even though they didn't do it in the top 2 pics); the fourth one down might be mine (40% chance?) because I usually do something a little more special with the eyes (the ones on the big guy in back look a little vapid to me) and the hands are not 100% like mine but they could've been altered by Disney/Kennedy clean-up artist; the fifth one down might be mine (90% - again with those fingers); and the bottom one is definitely mine - I guess I use that pose a lot.

    Kennedy's staff was forced to comply with Disney's rigid model on this series, so an animator might do a brilliant job with the animation but then have to spend a long time tweaking the drawing to make it "just right" because, as we all know, people would probably die if they ever saw a Disney cartoon with an imperfect drawing in it. With Warners, animation was fun. With Disney, it was brain surgery.
     
  18. Jonny Mack

    Jonny Mack Member

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    Again, just to clarify, Tom Ruegger knew exactly what to expect from Kennedy because, as you said, they had worked together on "A Pup Named Scooby Doo." I just know that when Spielberg gets involved and he says, "Jump," your only correct response can be, "How high, Mr. Spielberg?"

    In this case, he said (probably correctly): "I like the original models better." And there wasn't much discussion after that - at least not rational discussion.

    WB's in-house crew was sending shows to Kennedy and Asia (TMS, Akom, Wang) simultaneously, and while Kennedy thought he was going to be setting the pace, style-wise, the Asian studios - of course - took the models they got and ran with them. It was all the result of an unfortunate breakdown in communication, and it all led to some bad feelings and, sadly, some inconsistency with the shows.

    But it's given us a lot to talk about, hasn't it?
     
  19. Cartoonzrule

    Cartoonzrule Member

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    I was wondering, on "Buster and the Wolverine" who was the animator that animated that "re-used" shot of the kids going through through the forest playing their instruments? That same person animated the same scene when Plucky got the bagpipe. I think his animation is a little funny...
     
  20. SB20xx

    SB20xx Oooooh!
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    I think it was more the movement of the character than anything. Like, when I saw it in motion, I was thinking, "That's gotta be Jon's work." But maybe I'm wrong. You would know better than I.
    Don't forget Freelance in New Zealand! :) It's funny; early '90s shows frequently had studios that took on only a couple episodes. Tiny Toons had Freelance and Encore, Darkwing Duck had Wang and Walt Disney France, Goof Troop had Guimares, Aladdin had Jaime Diaz Productions, and I think Batman: TAS had some as well (though I'm not as well versed in their studios).

    I would imagine that inconsistency between studios is what prompted the domestic side to stick with only one or two overseas facilities starting in roughly the mid to late '90s. Because nowadays, you just don't see a show outsourcing to multiple places at once. All SpongeBobs are done by Rough Draft. All Fairly OddParents are done by Yeson. All American Dads are by Yearim. And anytime they DO outsource to more than one company, they make darn sure you can't tell much of a difference between the two by having the artists follow the model sheets and layouts to a T.
    No idea, but it seems to be the same style that pops up a few times in "The Return of the Toxic Revenger".

    At any rate, I can identify another bit of animation in "Buster and the Wolverine": The part where Sweetie says "I guess I didn't relax him enough!" and then screams when she discovers the wolverine is right behind her... that's done by Harold Duckett. I should make a new blog post about that, actually.
     

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