Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ken Glennedy

So, John Kricfalusi has posted up some of "Uncle" Eddie's Tiny Toons drawings on his blog. Interesting how he refers to the characters by the names of their Golden Age counterparts, and as being "babies" despite the fact that they are meant to be age 12-14 or so. I guess the Tiny in the name is kind of confusing, heck, before I saw any episodes, I thought the characters were called "Baby Bugs", "Baby Porky" etc. because that was the convention I knew about. Since I assume John K. knows better than this, I guess he's suggesting that the characters are rip-offs and immature, or something.

Fitzgerald was one of the first directors of the series (along with Ken Boyer, Art Leonardi and Art Vitello), and his name appears as a director on three of the earliest episodes, before his unit is taken over, first by Gerard Baldwin, then by promoted character layout / storyboard artist Rich Arons. After that Fitzgerald continued to serve as a writer and storyboarder (usually for the same unit, now under Rich Arons) and occasional director.

The subject of Kennedy animation crops up a lot in the comments. It has a bad reputation among TTA fans but I personally think it was just sometimes misused. Glen Kennedy himself animated (the majority of?) the first episode "Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow" and the segment "One Minute Til Three". (Sadly neither episode is available on YouTube, but you can find screengrabs at the above links)

In "Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow" the characters are not fully defined yet, and so a more "on-model" animation style might have helped to ground them as in some way consistent characters. "One Minute Til Three" on the other hand, is almost entirely devoted to Plucky's frantic mental state -- there is very little physical movement for the characters - and so Kennedy's wild distortions really make Plucky's feelings come across visually - it would be a pretty bland segment if Plucky stayed on-model the whole time. This is a similar situation to that described by Mark Mayerson in his 1980 article on Jim Tyer (and if you don't know who Jim Tyer is, then read this article and I guarantee you'll be seeking out certain Famous and Terrytoons shorts!).

Actually, Glen Kennedy (or at least Kennedy cartoons), Jim Tyer and John Kricfalusi do intersect in one TTA episode. The villain of the episode "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny" is a rival cartoon star named Stanley the Elephant, designed by John K. (his only connection with TTA) and based on the Terrytoons character Sidney the Elephant, originally animated by... Jim Tyer. Now, Glen Kennedy is only credited as a timing director on that episode, with Namcook Lee as animation director, but the scene where Stanley throws a diva fit with his director looks to my admittedly inexpert eyes like Glen might have animated it. It does look like it was animated by the Silver Age answer to Jim Tyer.

(Feel out of the loop because I'm talking about TTA episodes you've never seen? One solution to that: buy the DVDs! No, I don't get paid to write this, but it would be nice if I did.)

25/11/09 Edited to add: Jenny Lerew, another TTA charater layout / storyboard artist, has posted some of John K's Stanley the Elephant drawings on her blog, The Blackwing Diaries. Could anyone other than Kennedy have brought these to animated life?

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