Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Roger Ramjet - the tip

Even without actual animation, this stuff has some key cartoon elements:
Really distinct and funny voices. Plus the acting and inherent comedic timing is great.

Great cartoon actors have to have that clear delivery that not only sounds natural, but focuses on the jokes. They know just where to pause before an accent and what to stress.

Much full animation doesn't use strong vocal talent, but makes up for it with movement. If you don't have much movement you can sure benefit from funny, distinct voice actors.

Add funny and distinct character designs, and you have instant believable characters-even when they don't actually move.

Of course, I love it when you get all this and great full animation, like in 40s Warner Bros. cartoons, but it's rare to have all the elements that make good cartoons in one film or even one studio.

movie clip:


Bitter Animator said...

I love that - the staging is the animation. Really simple looking, yet really clever. This is why I love limited animation.

That man has no feet.

Johnny Mastronardi said...

In my opinion, this and the Jay Ward cartoons are much more enjoyable than most of the stuff we have today, precisely for those reasons. Good voice acting and good character designs can make all the difference.

Anonymous said...

Maybe one day the bigshots will discover that you don't need billions of dollars to make something awesome. Half of the commercials for new CG movies are telling you what big celebrity is doing the voices. Holy crap! Rene Zellweger's voice?!? Now that's entertainment!

By the way John, I've been doing more Preston Blair stuff and copying some old Disney model sheets. I really concentrated on trying to get the perspective and angles and crap like you told me, so could you check it out? Thanks! They're at

Josh Heisie

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

Didn't they make a completed "radio show" audio track that was later animated to, or am I thinking of Bullwinkle?

- trevor.

Robert said...

wow... Roger Ramjet takes jumpcuts to a new level.

ok now... the guy in the truck arrives to deliver pickles, then drives off without ever unloading them, but in the next shot the pickles are indoors (the badguy's lair?) somewhere.

Ryan Cole said...

Cartoony voices can help strengthen the cartoon, but it's really hard to find voicework in the modern day that are original without resorting to bland human tones or just copying lots of the stock voices from the 40s-50s. Anyone here look for reference in voicework?

I myself just leave my radio alarm on during Saturday mornings and listen to the local reverend give the most passionate god speeches I've ever heard, and I'm not even religious. The radio used to be a good source, but it's all to rare to find strong voices on it these days.

Squishy Sqiggles said...

Hi John,
A little off topic; I was wondering if there is a chance you will be posting some new crazy celeb drawings? Are cartooning lessons finished? Are you still posting any?

Chicken and Biscuits,

Anthony P. Rizzo said...

Great Ramjet post! Ramjet really breaks down the cartoon formula to the bare minimum but still pulls it off. Great voice talent goes a long way. I always thought the Genie from Aladdin was really great for that reason. I mean of course, when Robin Williams isn't being depressed and is actually his normal insane self. :)

Also, more drawings for you to check out John if you get the chance. Thx.



Payo said...

Trojan Pickles! That completely cracks me up.

And I totally agree with josh - most big studio animated films are only interested in advertising who the BIG STAR voices are (and make no attempt to have these actors actually act with their voice).

GIve me limited animation, great voice work and jokes, and I'm all good.

PCUnfunny said...

It's cartoons like Ramjet that prove beyound a shadow of adoubt that a cartoon is only limited by the cartoonist's imagination, not the budget. By the way John, I am surprised you aknowledged Tex Avery's 100th birthday.

Jeremy Brooks said...

You gotta love those pickles.

Bluedog said...

Gary Owen had a great mock "radio" voice. Problem (if there was a problem) was that he was getting a tremendous amount of voice work in the 60's - not to mention tons of prime time tv. So his voice was a little overexposed during that time, like so many of the other great voices at the time. I'm thinking of the voices for Boris and Natasha for example. That's all you ever heard back then.

Kali Fontecchio said...

The way those giant pickles were sitting on top each other was extremely hilarious!

Adam T said...

I would say The Simpsons has strong voice acting. So there are still good voice actors out there even in mainstream productions. Of course the writing has degraded which is the other side of the coin.

josephking said...

LOL this was pretty much all staging no animation... Its great, especially if you are on a budget hehe

Keeno said...

ah I loved Roger Ramjet!
I think it was the Plane he flew with the little wheels poking out the bottom of them. It was a while ago now, so I barely remember the scripts, but the blokes voice for Rog was classic! I loved the whole show because of that ;)

Bird of Paradise said...

To land their planes the American Eagles and Ramjet would dive at a 90 degree angle and land ina horizoltal positiuon on realy long landing gear