Tuesday, April 17, 2007

50 cents plus talent, vs 50 million dollars and executive control


It's money vs talent!

The most expensive puppet in history:

Here is a talent contest between puppets. Which puppet do you think is more entertaining? Please vote.

The cheapest puppet in history:

CLICK HERE FOR LONG CLIP, 8mins 15 sec (19.5 MB)

CLICK HERE FOR SHORT CLIP, 1 min 20 sec (3.4 MB)

Money must have went a lot farther 50 years ago.
Executives today seem to believe that a lot of money is funnier than a lot of talent.


Toon_Geek_Kitty said...

That lion scares me O.o lol he looks creepy. if i had to vote... the lion wouldn't win XD;;

Nico said...

The lion was cute! And him just dancing as his gentleman friend looked weirded out by the whole thing got a couple laughs out of me.

I had to turn off the Shrek video as soon as the donkey started singing (like 20 seconds into it). I actually couldn't muster watching any longer past that part.

Mike said...

shrek has always amazed me for being such an expensive heap of shit. in less than ten years it'll be completely incomprehensible with its references, even more worthless. disneys aladdin which i overall enjoy bugged me with its pop culture references, but nothing holds a candle to the CGI features of this decade as far as not being 'timeless'. its embarassing to behold.

Mad Taylor said...

Watching the Shrek clip made my stomach sink and was just embarassing and made me want to tell them to stop it.

The Lion was great because the host was totally with us in thinking "what in the hell?" And that made it funny.

My vote goes for the lion. That thing is weird and funny. I think if Fiona, Shrek's g/f came on that show and started singing she'd get a chair thrown at her.

John_Fountain said...

I've felt for a long time that far too many people are drawn in by 'slickness'...
They think that just because something looks slick that must mean it's 'good.'
I've come to prefer stuff with a more raw quality to it.

Charlie J. said...

What I love about the lion is that it looks like the puppeteer is having a blast, gleefully coming up with all these cute yet retarted expressions.

Does it look like whoever animated shrek was having fun doing so?

of course not.

mike f. said...

Of COURSE Pookie wins - hands down! Jeezis, don't ask stupid questions!

And don't forget to credit Clyde Adler and the great Frank Nastasi for bringing him to life, (along with Black Tooth, White Fang, and an endless supply of funny guys at the door.)
His "gentleman friend" is one Soupy "Pachalafaka" Sales, host of the greatest TV kiddie show of all time - one with a largely adult following, as I recall.

...As for that ugly green piece of shit - I got dragged to the first one against my will and better judgment.
All I can say is, someone owes me 2 hours of my life back.

Ardy said...

Was that lion the basis for the lion in that Huckleberry Hound episode? Lion Tamer Huck?

Kali Fontecchio said...

Pookie made my day! He makes my year! Watching him turns my frown upside down! I showed him to some fellow students and they agree! Pookie rules hand puppetry!

I love waking up in the morning and seeing Soupy's face, that and bacon help me prepare for impending doom.

Paulrus said...

As a 3D animator I feel sad because you just know that 99.9% of the guys working at Dreamworks know it's crap but they need a job, so they do what they're told and keep comments to themselves.

At least Brad Bird knows that story is king.

Andreas said...

Honestly, do you even think there is anything to compare between the comedy genius of Soupy Sales and Shrek? I always thought it was hilarious how much emotion could be conveyed through puppets, or in the case of Jim Henson muppets. Everybody I know loves this one.


Adele K Thomas said...

I love you John in a way an animator loves a mentor...you crack me up everyday with your wisdom and truth...I HATE SHREK and Im not afraid to say it! Plus, if I had to choose, Id be a puppeteer rather than a 3D character animator...nothing at all against 3D/CG animators...they do great work...I just would find puppeteering more fun, would feel more like performing to me. Great post John, didnt have to say much to get the message across...love the previous post with the Young Hercules and the Gay dude photo...GREAT!

Charles said...

Jesus christ that Shrek clip is lowest common denominator pandering shit. The main problem with a lot of comedy these days is that it thinks arcane pop culture references = funny. A lot of clips from Family Guy and other shows are nothing more than a talking dog and baby reenacting a scene from a famous movie with no attempt at a joke. I can't believe people don't feel cheated and abused after seeing this crap.

Klark Kent 007 said...

Yay for Soupy & the Lion!

Adam said...

I agree with Charles. Why do audiences seem to love this piece of uninspired drivel? The creativity is stifled, the personality's are underdeveloped, and you really just don't empathize with the characters at all.

I guess you can't polish a turd, but you can sure put it in a pretty package.

John, love the blog and the wisdom you give out freely, sadly I just recently found this goldmine. I'm digging through all the archives though.

Paul B said...

Hi john!!
hahah the last dance of pookie is hilarious!!! ahahahaahaha

hey, here in chile we have a show called "31 minutos",this is an extreme low budget show with huge talent. it's very funny!!

the show is about a bunch of puppets making a news program, like CNN, and everything can happen.

in this chapter one of the puppets have a news about a war between a bunch of conserve cans with a bunch of sauce cans, hahaha, its funny!

the only problem is that it is in Spanish


hope you like it!!

Vince M. said...

Pookie wins!

He's still the King of the Kid Vid Jungle.

Big talent doesn't need a big budget, as Soupy Sales used to prove night after night.
This stuff is STILL funny.

I give it "Two Thumbs Up a Puppet's Butt!"

Pedro Vargas said...

Oh, my God! Pookie is probably the coolest lion to ever exist! I couldn't stop watching that clip. I would've loved to have worked on a show like that. Pookie definitely wins. By the way I couldn't watch at least 3 seconds of that Shrek clip. It made me cringe!

NateBear said...

i'd rather listen to each those crappy songs in their entirety than watch that Shrek clip again.

Tom Dougherty said...

There is a sequence in Toy Story 2, involving clips shown from the television show that starred Woody. It's a marionette show, shown in black and white. That is the most charming CG animation I've ever seen, spending thousands to try to emulate the look of the budget allowed for a lunch meeting at Pixar or Dreamworks.

So in this case I'd definitely say the Lion is more awesomer.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Pookie definitely wins!

Roberto González said...

That Shrek clip is like a competition for the most unlikeable character performing the most irritating dance, except for Donkey and Gingerbread Man, which are a little more likeable and have acceptable design and movements IMO.

Pookie looks very old fashioned and I found the clip a little long and slow paced, but it actually made me laugh a couple of times, and I think both the puppet and the actor are more likeable than most Shrek creatures.

None of them it's totally my thing, but I guess I'll vote Pookie.

Ron said...

My vote is for Pookie as well.

Rafi said...

the lion rules.

shrek movies are made up of everything that is demeaning to animation as an artform. poor designs, bad colour, lifeless and non existent characterization and worst of all, a fuck load of pop culture references that sum up how much time, talent and money is wasted on non-ideas. it's just product.

shrek. what a bag of old bollocks.

John S. said...

Wow, I've never seen that show before!
It has such a loose improvisational quality!

Raff said...

Impressive and detailed animation of total hack acting and boring personailties...versus hack puppetry (mouth is closed when it shold be open and too much spazzy pseudo-Hensonizing) of a more interesting personailty.


My vote's on Soupy for tripping on and breaking a table.

I'll say this much: If that Eddie Murphy donkey yelled "King Tut" and Shrek tripped over and broke a table I'd still change the channel.

Pedro Vargas said...

You know, Pookie reminds me alot like Triumph the insult comic dog and how he'd do those bits with Conan O'Brien on the Late Night show. It's very improvised, but planned out. I wonder if Robert Smigel got the inspiration from Pookie to do Triumph. I'm thinking he did.

Animal Qwacker said...

Everything about Shrek sucks avocado-colored bawls.
I think I accidentally laughed once when I was forced to watch the last one.

James said...

As a Puppeteer , i can not agree with you more,
i think the big problem is most people seem to be attracted to CG stuff the same way a guy is attracted to shiny appliances at the hardware store, sure they might be pretty , but they have no soul,
but a good puppeteer can make even the simplest puppet come to life in a more convincing manner than any CG

Vanoni! said...

This comment has been removed because it linked to malicious content. Learn more.

peldma3 said...

oh wow, in the late 70's there was a soupy sales show, It's one of my early memories, I didn't get any of the pun jokes then but I liked the show , I think maybe because soupy talked directly to the camera(me) , the set was so clear and simple and I could absorb into it. and I always thought I would maybe get to see Fang.. not just his arm or foot.I twas really direct, hell soupy even talked to the off camera crew.

peldma3 said...

I really didn't get shrek ,I liked the first toy story, the story was great, But I liked it better when Jim henson did it with puppets and called it "The Christmas toy." and Cgi still doesn't get me to feel anything like a gumby cartoon does,, Gumby seemed more real to me his world sure was more real. My problem with cgi has always been everythings so shiny.. The trees the people they all LOOK THE SAME. maybe cgi is still in it's infancy and we just aren't seeing what it could be.

peldma3 said...

You understand comedy, you understand timing, do a puppet show with Uncle Eddie and unkie Ralph.

Steve said...

Aw, son of a bitch.

I may disagree with a lot of what you have to say, but damn if this post didn't make me laugh outloud.

Vanoni! said...

do a puppet show with Uncle Eddie and unkie Ralph.

Don't forget Unca Mike!

Marlo could come out of hiding and make the puppets.

- Corbett

Anonymous said...

MAN, I wish I had had funny puppet shows as a kid.

This type of puppet humour is still HUGE with both kids and adults in Latin America, by the way.

And Shrek SUCKS. Monsters Inc. deserved that Oscar, if solely for the fact that it referenced "Feed The Kitty." And I thought that before John started a blog.

EIBass said...

See this is why I love to stop by here. You thumb your nose at the execs that could throw money at you, if you kissed their asses. But instead you tell them how talent less they are. You even name specific execs and make jokes about their fondness of your pants. I fucken laugh when I come here.

lastangelman said...

Whoa, I missed the first time Soupy was on the air, but in the seventies, he returned to WPIX-TV channel 11 in New York. He only lasted a few months, I think, but god, was that lion funny and White Fang was the best off camera comedian of all time! As teenagers, we thought the whole cast was on coke or speed. After watching the show, Mom would endlessly recount how Soupy was thrown off the air and put in jail for asking kids to steal from their parents and send the money to him, but of course, the consequences of what happened to Soupy is an urban legend.
Oh gosh now I am reminiscing about a visit to the TV station on the set of Officer Joe McCarthy show when Moe Howard of the Three Stooges was on talking about his brothers and movies; he was the nicest old man I had ever met at the time(I had to have been five, six or seven) and he didn't wear the bowl cut wig.

Roberto González said...

>Well. . .you hang out with this crowd. . .

And I'll hang out with these guys<

Nah, I already said I disliked most Shrek characters, I'll only hang out with Donkey. I know some people might think he's the most irritating one, but for me is the only character in those flicks that's slightly funny. And it's weird, cause I can't stand current Eddie Murphy films (Beverly Hill Cop was silly but entertaining)

Kyle said...

I do think shrek is over rated for the budget that goes into it, but I also think he gets too much flak.
the stiff animation and insane amount of pop culture references need to go. but I did enjoy the first movie. at least it was more serious than the second one. with the second and third movie, they are obviously milking it now.

do you like any 3d animation/characters john? you seem to have a bit of a bias.

Jesse Oliver said...



Charlie J. said...

hey John,
what do you think of bob Clampett's puppet shows?

Craig Harris said...

The lion bit was trippy but funny with the interaction with the host...that gets the vote by a landslide.

You've been on the kick of posting all the old shows lately and I just had to throw this on out there. Its a clip of Foster Brooks and Dean Martin.


Thanks for posting the Honeymooners clips, I went out and bought a box set and they are great shows.

Enjoy the clip

Pepe Cuafato said...

Paul is right, 31 minutos is very funny, and very succesfull in Latin America, thanks to the cable television.

Great post, i hope more posts of comparisions! and music!

Freckled Derelict said...

Pookie by a landslide!

Ms. Jane D'oh said...

i think people like ugly animated designs so as long as they're realistic... hence airbrush and photoshop's undying popularity.

Stephen said...

We used to have a dog that was so ugly, she was cute. I feel the same way about Pookie the Lion.

Shrek is really just Mike Myers dressed as a troll, or whatever he is, and I've never thought the character was all that interesting.

My money's on Pookie.

Animateclay said...

Puppet: Spontaneous, great interaction, fluid, just the expressions and timing are funny when Soupy trips over the table.

Shrek: Rigid, un-lively, jokes fall flat. I think thats because they tweak the animation to death in CG.

You really can't beat the live action comedy even if the puppet is made out of 50 cents worth of plastic and fabric. That's because everything is done on the fly and you can really relate to the interaction. With Shrek it's more like watching a TV commercial. Your brain just kind of zones out when they hype up the shots. You expect a 90 year old man to hit the drums after each joke for a reaction. Ra ta ching!

Jim Rockford said...

I agree with you John,Hollywood has lost all sense of creativity.today for the most part (99.9 per cent) we have bad acting,bad writing,bad attitudes,and million dollar special effects.
the entertainment bussiness has been selling the indiscriminate public dog food for so long they've seemingly developed a taste for it.
How many times can Disney sell the same basic storyline and generic one personality fits all lead and sidekick characters?
everything is just sickening about them,they use "star power" to add "audience draw" to the picture.
Gone are the days of the humble yet talented voice actor who worked behind the scenes to give the cartoon character its distinctive voice and personality,instead today we get big name actors using their natural voices and stock entertainment personalitys to put the sale over in the minds of the big shots.
the formula seems to be -big budget-big stars= big money.

Jim Rockford said...

I also wanted to add that great shows like the Honeymooners had very small budgets,(it was obvious that the set walls were just painted backgrounds),but millions of dollars worth of real talent.
Jackie Gleason was a top flight actor,he was adept at both comedy and drama.(remember the poor soul?)
one film that is very underated and seldom talked about is "Soldier in the Rain" starring the Great one,as well as Steve McQueen and Tuesday Weld.anyone who hasnt seen it is in for a treat.
It saddens me to think about how underpaid real talents like The Three Stooges were in comparison with the horribly undertalented "comedians" and actors we suffer from today.
In the end though talent will always triumph over executive control and money.
the greats,will endure forever and be remembered for the real talent they brought to their field.
Thanks for the great site,its an amazing wealth of information and insight into the great cartoons of the past as well as the genius behind them.
P.S. I really laughed my ass off at Boo Boo Runs Wild.
The backgrounds were incredible! as well as the animation..but hell,its a Spumco cartoon so that goes without saying! Loved the scene with Cindy flipping Yogi's photo down on the table and his butt sticking out on the other end! "BOO BOO...DONT DO THIS THING!"

Jim Rockford said...

Robert Crumb made the statement that people today are like children,they just buy into media hype,anything thats new or trendy,they are unable to descriminate between what is authentic and has quality anymore.
poor taste seems to pervade most aspects of life today,most people are sheep who cant think for themselves and just follow whatever is currently "in" and therefore good.
One of the byproducts of this mentality is that once the standard of quality gets lowered and accepted it just seems to keep going downhill from there.

Dovid said...


Dovid said...

I'm surprised the voting is so one one side here. Obviously the value of talent, creativity, spontaneity (sp?), and originallity can't be overlooked just because of cool new methods of "puppeteering," but come on. There is a reason why shrek is more captivating than pookie the lion- because it immerses you in the fantasy much more. Every extra detail and context and interaction with surroundings creates a more complete world for us to lose ourselves in. Seriously, when you saw kermit the frog ride a bycicle for the first time- it changed the reality of the fantasy forever. The same is true with CGI "puppets." Because they don't have arm up their trunks or strings or sticks on their arms, they can interact more freely with the worl around them. Sometimes even just that alone can be more captivating than something with better writing or vision behind it. People want very much to believe in the fantasy, and understandably, that desire can win out over the desire for original material. Sorry if that was too long.

Anonymous said...

Dovid may be right in some aspects, but that presents a pretty depressing view of current audiences. Escapism is more important than entertainment value? Are peoples lives really so depressing today that comedic talent is less appealing than fantasy worlds in which to escape the daily doldrums? Even with garish colours and pukey skin tones?

I do remember the first time I saw Kermit on a bike, and I pissed myself. But it wasn't because I suddenly believed his existence now that he had active legs, my excitement was based on the unexpected surprise of a puppet moving independent of his anal aid. As a kid, I was fascinated by how they achieved the 'trick'.

Shrek is completely cgi. There are no tricks, because it's all pixels, it's ALL fake. And that's the believablity handicap it suffers.

Soupy and Pookie win. What was Soupy up to during that long absence while the lion got his jiggy on? He seemed pretty dazed when he returned. Took him a while to get the rhythm back.

Robin said...

Hmm. By all means show up Shrek for the lurid, soulless, thundering bore it doubtless is. Rock on. But it's self-defeating to present 8 minutes of dated, creaky, self-satisfied mugging as an alternative. That clip would bore 95% of the population, but that's their fault for not being embittered, backward-looking obscurantists, right? There's a middle ground to be occupied between cynical, formulaic, big-budgeted drivel and worthy, hand-whittled traditionalism. It's a balance achieved daily with wit, heart, and no small amount of verve by scores of individuals and small studios working in fields as diverse as shorts, advertising and the web. Real innovation and creativity in the here-and-now, not 60 years ago.

Sorry to rant, I just dislike the negativity and insularity that seem to pervade an industry that should have open-mindedness and enthusiasm at it's core.

CornFactor said...

Of course Pookie wins! I've been searching for clips like this for a long time. My friends and I used to get buzzed and watch the late night Soupy Sales show in the late 70s and we used to wait for Pookie because he was hilarious!

If you have more Pookie clips PLEASE post them.

mehrnoosh said...

Shrek movies are ANIMAISHITs

Anonymous said...

Pookie is by far the superior puppet, with much more bang for the buck (or fifty cents).

Today's audiences are bored and jaded...let us not forget the genius that was Soupy Sales. White Fang and Black Tooth were basically gloves manipulated by a guy (Clyde Adler?) on a ladder.

Nowadays, you need 3D animation, computer imagery to elicit a tired laugh from the spoiled masses.

Long live POOKIE, the lion that couldn't roar!

The clip is GREAT!