Monday, July 27, 2009

Entertaining Memoir from One of the Last Classic Cartoon Voices

I just met June Foray and Stan Freberg at the recent Comic Con International in San Diego. I was in cartoon voice bliss. Two greats in one day in one setting!! It would have only been surpassed if Mel Blanc, Daws Butler and Paul Frees were also there, but they have long ago left this mortal coil.

Anyway, June is one of those people that may not be a household name, but you HAVE heard her voice, be it as Rocky, the Flying Squirrel (pictured on cover) or Granny in the Warner Bros. cartoons or two different Witch Hazels, one for Disney and another for Warner Bros.

Or, you may have seen her in various live-action roles in such places as "Green Acres", or as the voice of "Talky Tina" in a classic "Twilight Zone" episode where she creepily states, "I'm Talky Tina, and I'm gonna kill you!!"

This book is well-written and covers her entire life and career. It's a little rushed on discussing some of her voicework and I think she spends a little too much time on her formative years, but that's minor quibbling as I really knew nothing about her childhood. Read about the life and career of one animation's greatest LIVING legends!!

Also (plug plug) if you get a chance and like animated cartoons, pick up my book "Created and Produced by Total TeleVision Productions". Unfortunately, June never voiced anything for them.

Friday, July 10, 2009

This is a great book and a great asset for my own book about TTV

I sought out this book for its coverage of many voice artists that are now deceased particularly Norma MacMillan and Jackson Beck. This was a very helpful reference for my book about TTV called Created and Produced by Total TeleVision Productions. It was also a good read about other known and unknown vocal talents. Highly recommended!

Very Good But Not Excellent Stuff From Kurtzman and Company

I would have given this five stars, but I fault Fantagraphics for doing some artsy-fartsy production on the various "Humbug" cover reproductions by also reproducing the various tears, wrinkles and missing pieces from the covers to make them look old. While the book goes on and on about how meticulously they rescanned and recreated missing artwork (for which this is worth a 5), they fall far short with these travesties posing as covers. It's like intentionally putting in scratches on a digitally remastered film. If I want a crappy copy of "Humbug", I certainly can pick one up at a show or on Ebay.

As far as material goes, this is very good, but not excellent Kurtzman material as other reviewers have said. Best is the parody of "Around the World in 80 Days" which is possibly why it is touted on the slipcase, but the other stuff doesn't hold up as strongly, despite great artwork.

BTW, I am currently at work about the history of "Cracked" magazine and although this book doesn't state it, Jaffee, Elder and Davis all bailed out to "Cracked" for a short time before eventually returning to "Mad" (in Jaffee and Davis' case) and "Playboy" (in Elder's case).

As for Kurtzman, I have always considered "Trump", "Help!" and especially "Mad" to be far superior to this. Overall, it looks good, but it leaves you kind of limp. Fantagraphic's lousy issue cover reproductions kind of imply this as well.

It's worth buying the deluxe limited edition for the original autographs of Jaffee, Davis and Roth.