Thursday, December 18, 2008

Go on home rednose, your mama's calling ya!

you all know the Rankin/Bass version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in all of its Animagic glory, but have you ever seen the original, Max Fleischer version?

the Fleischer brothers, famous for their creations of Betty Boop and Popeye, as well as releasing two features that competed with Disney (Gulliver's Travels in 1939 and Mr. Bug Goes to Town in 1941), had by this time been separated, precipitated by Paramount's takeover of the Fleischers' studios after their disastrous move to Miami to avoid labor disputes in New York. the Fleischers themselves were involved in a family feud leading Dave to go off to run Columbia's Screen Gems animation studio in 1942. Max took a different route and headed up an industrial film company's animation department -- The Jam Handy Organization. this film was perhaps the greatest achievement while at the company.

created by Robert L. May while working for Montgomery Ward in 1939, the story was adapted into song by Johnny Marks in 1948 and formally recorded by Gene Autry in 1949. before this, however, the short story that May had written was adapted into this Fleischer cartoon in 1944 in a more faithful adaptation than the later Rankin/Bass version.

tonight is the airing of the final episode of Moral Orel ever. i interned at Shadowmachine Films, the production company of Robot Chicken and Moral Orel, and i preface this by saying i was not a big fan of Moral Orel when i first watched it. its since grown on me immensely. Nature Pts. 1 & 2 from Season Two of Moral Orel were probably the most affecting stop motion animation I've seen on television (though More is amazing).

getting to go through the storyboards for season three and seeing the first dailies from shooting, I knew that the third season would continue what the last few episodes of the second season had promised. the opening episode, Numb, was a floorer -- featuring the music of The Mountain Goats and circling the events leading up to last season's Nature episode. check out the end of Moral Orel if you can. its a shame that there will only be one stop motion show on Adult Swim now, especially when it was just revving up.

Here's Nature Pt. 1 & 2

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