Monday, September 04, 2006

Pluto animator animates the Flintstones, George Nicholas, lucky accidents

It's designed and layed out by Ed Benedict.
I'm not 100% sure, but I think this is animated by George Nicholas. I can always tell his stuff in the show itself but this is early and a little different so...?

His drawings are very angular - as opposed to Carlo Vinci's or Ed Love's more rounded characters - his drawings are handsome and well balanced - all the elements fit together well. Carlo's are much less balanced and kinda sloppy - but really funny!

George is the one who drew Betty and Wilma really cute.
His animation for Hanna Barbera is less funny than say Carlo's or Mike Lah's, but it is very human, which is the opposite of what he did for Disney.

Again, I'm not saying the animation itself is better, just the acting in his TV stuff is more natural. Natural doesn't mean better either, it just means more like real people.

Some of Fred's gestures in this commercial are subtle and simple, yet really well thought out. They aren't all stock animation actions and timings (some are) like you see in the Simpsons or modern cartoons. There is some formula here and some customized actions. "Hold it Hold it! You know I never smoke nothin' else!" Well, it ain't brilliant, just interesting and natural feeling + handsome design. It gives me ideas.

The sad thing to me is that most people judge Hanna Barbera by the cartoons they made just a few short years after they started. These later cartoons pretty much destroyed animation for good.

I saw an episode of Magilla Gorrilla in a store the other day and was repulsed at how formulaic the animation, timing, voice delivery, background paintings and music were. I can see why people would hate Hanna Barbera for letting this happen to cartoons.

If only HB had taken the good parts of what they accidentally started in 1958 and continued till 1960 and then developed the ideas further. I'm going to do a post later about the good that can come from studios that are basically unsupervised or policed creatively-like Terrytoons, Walter Lantz and the early Hanna Barbera TV studio. A random mixing of very talented artists working together in assorted combinations, just naturally comes up with unique styles and ideas that a more controlled standardized studio would never let happen.

If I had a ton of money I would open 2 studios, my random unpoliced place that would have a swinging door and tons of talented people who work in different styles coming and going through and no director or model sheets.

Then when the lucky accidents happened, I would take my A studio and purposely develop the accidental inventions to much further heights.

That's what Hanna Barbera should have done with their first couple years of lucky accidents and tons of one-time inventions. Instead, as soon as they had some money, they clamped down and killed all individual styles and standardized everything. That is the Hanna Barbera that made Magilla Gorilla on purpose which was completely boring and vulgar, compared to the first season of Yogi Bear which to me was beautiful, funny and always different.

Of course they later got even worse. Magilla led the way for Scooby Doo and the complete fall of cartoons. We're still paying for it and have never recovered.

Hey, anyone know who animated this?:

It doesn't look like any of the regular Hanna Barbera animators. The layout and design looks like Walt Clinton (a regular) and I'm guessing the animation might be by Art Babbit, 'cause it's so careful and solid and subtle - cartoony design by Walt but non cartoony animation and great in its own way.

Look how different these two commercials look! See the beauty of non-standardization?!

Mix 2 different layout artists with 2 different animators, and they each do the same characters and yet we get two different cartoon styles. That's candy to me!

Here's Ken Muse predicting the future of Hanna Barbera animation:


Dave Pryor said...

Great stuff John.

J. J. Hunsecker said...

Very interesting post. I take it you like "naturalism" in acting. Is there an exception to this type of acting that you also like?

keenan said...

I know this has nothing to do with this post, but whats the name of your band, and where could i listen to it?????? ... I WANNA HEAR!!!! ....... i love the flinstones (now it has something to do with the post) LOL!!!

Joel Bryan said...

I'm loving all these Flintstones posts. Wow, to have been one of the people inventing that stuff back in the day!

Or even to be doing anything creative now!

I think it's sad how you have to keep explaining acting vs. animation. I can't believe people can't understand the distinction you're making.

And keying off one of the comments above... isn't Kirk Douglas' acting style an influence on some of your animation, John?

I seem to recall an article about Spumco with photos where everyone was drawing a bust of Kirk Douglas.

I don't know if I'd call it "naturalism," but I've always enjoyed his movies. Especially that one where he was the clown who escaped the Nazis and ended up in Israel... I saw that when I was home with a fever so maybe I dreamed it.

What about Burt Lancaster?

Jorge Garrido said...

I'm glad ot hear you say that about Magilla. That was sort of the culmination of everything wrong that had been building in HB's cartoons. The lines were thinner and less tapered and the jokes not funny. The only good thing about it was the voices, but even those from Mel Blanc and Daws Butler were muhc more deiliberate, less natural and much more stilted.

MG came out in 1964, and their last good show started in 1962. Even the laster seasons of shows that had begun earlier were awful. The first three seasons of the Flintstones were great, but I don't know if I want to buty the rest. I'm gonna email Earl Kress to see if they're worth buying.

JohnK said...

Hey Jorge,

your comments are always entertaining, but do you really not have spell check?

My Lord!

lastangelman said...

I've liked the Winston ads for years, tho' I've always wondered why H-B made them B&W - I guess because it was cheaper and most people still had B&W sets?
Does anyone who has the Flintsones and Yogi Bear anti-smoking commercials put them on YouTube? I remember the Yogi Bear especially from when I was a kid because the smoker "coughed his fool head off".

Roberto González said...

I watched some Hanna Barbera cartoons yesterday (I have a half-decent compilation in DVD).

It actually contains some interesting cartoons. One is a Huckleberry Hound cartoon called The Big Spud (I think). It is very funny and wacky, even visually. There is a scene with Huckleberry Hound in a hellicopter which kind of reminded me of Stimpy in the hellicopter in Firedogs (1) and the aspect of the talking potatoe also reminded me of some of your designs.

David Germain said...

John, that example of Mickey's Delayed Date you just added to this post, are you saying that's an example of GOOD Disney animation or BAD Disney animation?

Thad K said...

George Nicholas did some great animation in "Plutopia" of a gay masochist cat.

- Thad

Todd Oman said...

That Flintstones animation was as smooth as a Winstons, Awesome Stuff.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

That's a really interesting idea, the one about two studios where one further develops ideas created by the other.

If you have time it would be great to see a post about your ideal studio. What would it be like? How would it be different than the studios that exist today?

J. J. Hunsecker said...

What about Burt Lancaster?

Yes, what about him?

I'm partial to "Sweet Smell of Success" myself.

SunshineFox said...

You know whats really great tho, when youre Animation History instructor starts to give you the impression that he reads other peoples blogs and steals information and videos without crediting the source...

rodineisilveira said...

Johnny K.,

We cannot forget that the legendary animator Art Babbitt (who animated one of the Winston cigarrettes with the Flintstones) was one of the Disney's "nine old men".
This one will serve to refresh your minds.


Rodinei Campos da Silveira (from São Paulo, Brazil)



Alan Reed's singing in the Winston commercial makes his tone deafness painfully obvious, making it a no-brainer to have to replace his singing voice with Henry Corden in those infamous Fred singing episodes...But did Henry do them all?