Anne Richardson

Oregon Film History Conference/May 3, 2019

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I think it’s part of the responsibility of an artist to shock, to upset, to make people think differently, and to surprise people. And that’s where the good humor is, if there’s a surprise and there’s something unexpected. Something that’s not normal, not in the realm of general living expectations. Bill Plympton 

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists? Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

On Friday, May 3, 2019, Oregon Cartoon Institute presents the fifth annual one day Oregon Film History Conference. Go here to register.

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The conference is designed to showcase the complexity and diversity of Oregon film history for educators, historians, and museum professionals. It is small in size, and designed to encourage interdisciplinary engagement, open ended conversation, and professional networking.

We limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

This year we focus on the intersection of music and Oregon film history. The day begins with a focus on the very first Oregon musician to perform on camera, and ends with an onstage conversation with an artist from Oregon City who uses music extremely sensitively in his films, two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton.

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Here is the list of speakers.

MUSIC ON FILM: LEE MORSE

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Lee Morse became a top selling recording artist in 1924. She appeared, as herself, in three early soundies made in 1930.  Dennis Nyback makes the case that Lena Corinne Morse (1897-1954), born in Cove, Oregon and brought up in Kooskia, Idaho, is the first recorded jazz singer.

Dennis Nyback‘s musical revue CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS? was adapted by PBS to YOURS FOR A SONG: THE WOMEN OF TIN PAN ALLEY in 1999. Nyback presented his paper on Morse at the 2010 Pacific Northwest History Conference. Master projectionist and film archivist, he is co-founder of Oregon Cartoon Institute.

MUSIC IN FILM: JOHNNIE RAY

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Johnnie Ray was one of the first to make me really open my ears. That was like 2 or 3 years before Elvis. Rolling Stone Bill Wyman

Singer-songwriter Johnnie Ray‘s The Little White Cloud That Cried sold two million records in 1952. In 1954, he starred in THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS.  John Alvin Ray (1927-1990) was born in Dallas, Oregon, and grew up in Portland.

Anne Richardson‘s interest in Portland as a pop machine began in New York in the 1990s. She co-founded Oregon Cartoon Institute with Dennis Nyback in 2007.

MUSIC + FILM: KEN KESEY

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Novelist Ken Kesey (Sometimes A Great NotionOne Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) bought his first movie camera in 1964. In 1965, he began creating immersive art happenings which combined his films with live music. Kenneth Elton Kesey (1935-2001) was born in La Junta, Colorado, and grew up in Springfield, Oregon.

Richard Gehr writes about music, culture, and pop culture. He is the co-author of The Phish Book and the author of I Only Read It for the Cartoons: The New Yorker’s Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists. From Portland, Richard now lives in Brooklyn.

BRUSH UP ON BILL: DAVID CHELSEA & PAUL HARROD

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Bill Plympton‘s first hand drawn feature, THE TUNE (1992), was a musical. His fifth and sixth, IDIOTS AND ANGELS (2008) and CHEATIN’ (2013, above), have entirely musical soundtracks. No dialogue at all! Revered by animators and beloved by audiences around the world, Bill Plympton is especially treasured in France.

Graphic novelist, cartoonist, and commercial illustrator David Chelsea will discuss Bill’s uncommon mastery of perspective. Production designer Paul Harrod, nominated this year for an Annie Award for his work on ISLE OF DOGS, will discuss Bill as a fellow designer of story worlds.

MUSIC, MODERNISM & MID CENTURY PORTLAND

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Coliseum 17, Graphite on paper, 40×60 inches, 2017, Avantika Bawa

The Beatles played Portland during their first American tour. Alexander Benjamin Craghead will discuss the modernist masterpiece in which they performed, and describe the way it expressed the values and dreams of mid century Portland.

Alexander Benjamin Craghead is the author of The Railway Palaces of Portland, Oregon: The Architectural Legacy of Henry Villard (The History Press, 2016). A historian of design and place, he is writing a dissertation at UC Berkeley on the American urban landscape.

TWO QUESTIONS FOR THE DIRECTOR

Q: What intersection does the Beatles’ 1965 appearance at the Memorial Coliseum have with Oregon film history?

A: The connection is through Capitol Records, which sponsored their tour. Pinto Colvig (1892-1967), who performed the voice of Bozo the Clown, and Mel Blanc (1908-1989), who performed the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and a host of other Warner Brothers cartoon characters, were Capitol’s top selling artists. Thus, it was the Hollywood success of two voice artists from Oregon which underwrote Portland’s only visit from the four lads from Liverpool.

Q: Where was Bill Plympton, age 19, on Aug. 22, 1965, when The Beatles were in Portland?

A: Let’s ask him!

MARNE LUCAS ON BILL PLYMPTON

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After a day of discussions led by a film archivist, a music journalist, an graphic novelist, a production designer, and an architectural historian, a filmmaker will provide the introduction to our keynote speaker by discussing her response to his work, artist to artist.

Marne Lucas is an infrared video pioneer and visual artist working at the intersection of feminism, art, technology and health. Her filmmaking debut, the magnificently eerie THE OPERATION (1995), was made with Jacob Pander. Her most recent gallery exhibit, Bardo  Project,  showcases her collaborative nature in a social practice endeavor on dying and legacy work.

Bill Plympton will join us for an onstage conversation. Perhaps the conversation will include Bill’s thoughts on how he chooses the music for his films, his own intersection of music and Oregon film history.

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The artist whose work is described by the NY Times as “mischievous, mordant, analytical, and ceaselessly inventive” is, in person, unfailingly polite, calm, and attentive. But it’s true – it is really fun to make him laugh.

Come see for yourself!

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Registration for the fifth annual Oregon Film History Conference is now OPEN.

Here’s the link to registration form.

Registration is required. Seating is limited. The conference is free, but participants must supply a qualifying affiliation with a non-profit organization (school, museum, historical society, etc.). First come, first served.

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Q: What’s the conference like?

A: Here’s the previous years: 2015,  2016, 20172018.

Contact me if you have questions.

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Word to the wise: In the middle of the day, we take time out to salute our film history heroes. Last year, the Elmer Buehler Award For Film Preservation went to Sheldon Renan. This year it will go to  Heather Petrocelli. Traditionally, the ceremony includes cake for all.

For those unfamiliar with Elmer Buehler, the patron saint of film preservation, Bonneville Power Administration film archivist Libby Burke, will give an orientation.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say; This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” Tom McCall

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Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks Kinsman Foundation for their support.

Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks in advance our wonderful speakers Dennis Nyback, Anne Richardson, Richard Gehr, David Chelsea, Paul Harrod, Alexander Benjamin Craghead, and Marne Lucas. Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks in advance our wonderful keynote speaker, Bill Plympton.

Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks in advance our event manager Gretchen Harmon and A/V specialist Brad Robison.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our 2019 Oregon Film History Conference sponsor Oregon Film, aka the Governor’s Office of Film & Television. Thank you, Tim Williams.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our 2019 Oregon Film History Conference sponsor Oregon Film Museum. Thank you, Mac Burns.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our 2019 venue, Lewis and Clark College. Thank you, Matthew Johnston.

The 2019 Oregon Film History Conference steering committee: Libby Burke (BPA), Michele Kribs (OHS), Elizabeth Peterson (UO), Anne Richardson (OCI).

More information about Oregon Cartoon Institute here.

And here.

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

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2019 Oregon Film History Conference/Registration FAQ

Registration is now open for Oregon Cartoon Institute’s annual crash course in Oregon film history. The conference is a day of short talks designed to encourage interdisciplinary engagement, open ended conversation, and professional networking among educators, historians, and museum professionals.

We limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

Our 2019 keynote speaker is two time Oscar nominee, Bill Plympton.

Here’s the registration form.

Go here to read more about the conference in detail.

REGISTRATION FAQ

Q: Who goes to the conference?

A: Last year 50 professionals attended from across the state (and a few from across the country.) They were educators, historians, scholars, librarians, archivists, artists, writers, filmmakers and a fair number of “other”. To achieve this mixed audience, we divide the available seats evenly among those professional groups. We will do that again this year. Reservations are on a first come, first served basis for each of the categories.

Q: What’s the conference like?

A: Here’s the previous years: 2015,  2016, 20172018.

Q: What’s the risk of waiting to register?

A: Seating is limited.

Q: Can anyone register to attend?

A: No. A qualifying affiliation with a non profit (school, museum, historical society, non-profit movie theater, etc) is required in order to register. This conference is designed for people who are already engaged with interpreting Oregon film history, either in the classroom or to the public.

Q: I volunteer at my local historical society (school, museum, etc). Does that affiliation qualify me to attend?

A: Yes

Q: I wish to attend but have no qualifying affiliation. What should I do?

A: Contact me and I will see if I can match you up with a qualifying organization as a volunteer.

Q: May I reserve two seats?

A: No. One seat per registration.

Q: How much does the conference cost?

A: It is free.

DATES TO REMEMBER

Feb. 5, 2019. Registration opens.

April 19, 2019. Registration closes.

May 3, 2019. 5th annual Oregon Film History Conference.

The 2019 Oregon Film History Conference steering committee: Libby Burke (BPA), Michele Kribs (OHS), Elizabeth Peterson (UO), and Anne Richardson (OCI).

Any questions can be directed to Anne Richardson, the director of the conference.

Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks Kinsman Foundation for their generous program support.

The fifth annual Oregon Film History Conference receives support from Oregon Film, aka the Governor’s Office for Film & Television. Thank you, Tim Williams!

The fifth annual Oregon Film History Conference receives support from Oregon Film Museum. Thank you, Mac Burns!

That’s it! See you there.

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

Anne Richardson on Will Vinton/Who Makes Pop?

 

This presentation was given on May 4, 2018, as part of the fourth annual Oregon Film History Conference.

Thank you to Fellene Gaylord, the WordPress Wizard, who showed me how to post the slide deck.

The fifth annual Oregon Film History Conference will take place on May 3, 2019.

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

 

Essential Texts/2018 Oregon Film History Conference

The theme of the 2018 Oregon Film History Conference was the minor cinemas of Oregon. Keynote speaker Will Vinton discussed his roots in experimental animation, one of the minor cinemas. Leading up to Will’s talk, which he shared with Randy Finley,  were talks by Ben Truwe, Worth Mathewson, Ellen Thomas, Monte Wolverton, Sheldon Renan, Dennis Nyback and Anne Richardson. For the first time, we included a bibliography/filmography in the registration packet.

But perhaps one bibliography is not enough.

For people who new to using a cross disciplinary, humanities based lens to explore Oregon film, yes, there is additional reading, if you would like.

Here are six useful resources:

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Left to right: William T. Foster, Anna B. Crocker, Andries Deinum

1914

Vaudeville and motion picture shows : A study of theaters in Portland, Oregon by William Trufant Foster

This astonishing document may be the Rosetta Stone which explains Portland’s pop strength. Covers the Board of Praise, curfew, 90% of 14 year olds, concern for safety on the way home, The People’s Institute, and Mary Frances Isom.

William T. Foster, Reed College president, with the aid of sixty community volunteers, investigated the charge that children were being harmed by live entertainment and/or movies. He finds the theaters not guilty.

1946

It Goes Deeper Than We Think: Reflections About the Role of Art in Education; Reflections, So to Say, About Scenes Observed and Lines Heard by A Minor Actor in A Drama Developing Meaning in Rehearsal by Anna B. Crocker

Anna B. Crocker, director of Portland Art Museum from 1909 to 1936, made a way out of no way for the fledgling Museum Art School by forging deep partnerships with Reed College, Multnomah County Library and Portland Public Schools. Her influence continues to guide Portland’s relationship to art and art education today. A titan.

In this self published essay, Crocker describes her work and discusses her approach.

Strange but true: Will Vinton and Bob Gardiner’s Oscar winning short, CLOSED MONDAYS (1974), appears to take place in a museum similar to the one Crocker helped design in 1932.

1965

Speaking For Myself: A Humanist Approach to Adult Education for a Technical Age by Andries Deinum

Andries Deinum, a self described “refugee from occupied Hollywood”, opened the first film school in the Pacific Northwest at PSU in 1969. The Center For The Moving Image served as a networking hub, not just for student filmmakers, but also for filmmakers in the community. One of those filmmakers was the young Will Vinton.

Speaking For Myself, a collection of essays which reflects the inclusive, inquiring nature of Deinum’s intellect, is now out of print. Fortunately, Brooke Jacobson is preparing a manuscript for publication which will reverse that.

Impatient people can access this book through Multnomah County Library’s Interlibrary Loan.

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1974

Film Community” by Will Vinton

Five months before the above photo was taken, Will Vinton wrote: “The growth and achievements of the past few years represent a phenomenal potential for the Portland area becoming a film center.” He also discusses the role of the audience, echoing William T. Foster‘s assessment of Portland theaters as spaces which build community.

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1977

The independent film community: a report on the status of independent film in the United States by Committee on Film and Television Resources and Services, edited by Peter Weinstein. Contributors include James Blue, Brooke Jacobson, Sheldon Renan.

In 1973, Sheldon Renan, director of Pacific Film Archive, proposed a national survey of existing resources for independent film. As part of the survey, a team of experts traveled across the country making onsite visits.

In the final report, published in 1977, the presence of the names of three Portlanders on the title page – Sheldon Renan, Brooke (at that time she used the name “Denise”) Jacobson, James Blue – testifies to the national impact of Oregon’s early investment in arts education.

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Sheldon Renan attended Saturday classes at the Museum Art School, founded 1909; Brooke Jacobson is co-founder of the Northwest Film Study Center, which was (and is) fiscally sponsored by Portland Art Museum, founded 1892; James Blue, founding faculty member of American Film Institute & founding director of Rice Media Center, took classes at University of Oregon’s School of Architecture & Allied Arts, founded 1914.

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1998

The Portland Story 1925-76/Northwest Animation: The Roots of Creative Variance. Society for Animation Studies Conference, October 1998 by Rose Bond

With this paper, Rose Bond became Portland’s first animation historian. Her analysis reaffirms the qualities first catalogued by Will Vinton in 1974, and provides more detail about this regional strength.

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Top, left to right: Reed College president; director of Portland Art Museum; founder of PSU’s Center For The Moving Image. Middle, left to right: head of Will Vinton Studios; co-founder of Northwest Film Center; founding director of Rice Media Center (in Houston). Bottom, left to right: founding director of Pacific Film Archive (in Berkeley); founding director of PNCA’s Animation Institute.

It appears Oregon’s regional strength in film and animation cannot be separated from a parallel regional strength in art education.

I’m thinking this is exactly what Wendell Berry meant by “Essential wisdom accumulates in the community just as fertility builds in the soil.”

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Next year’s fifth annual Oregon Film History Conference will take place on May 3, 2019.  The 2019 Essential Texts post to follow!

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

In Praise Of Dennis Nyback

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To the people who contributed to the Go Fund Me campaign set up by Gilbert Peterson, thank you so much.

Yesterday, Dennis Nyback received his last chemotherapy infusion in the cancer treatment which began last spring. With surgery scheduled for next month, the entire treatment will be over by the end of the year.

He’s almost there.

If you would like to help Dennis make it back to good health, you can still do that. Here’s the link.  Thanks, guys!

In the above photo, Dennis sits inside the Lighthouse Cinema, located on Suffolk in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. His previous theaters – the Rose Bud Movie Palace, the Jewel Box Theater, and Pike Street Cinema – were all in Seattle. Back in the day, he did all business by phone. He met his longtime friend Jack Stevenson over the phone. When Jack called the Pike Street to interest Dennis in booking his films, Dennis opened his calendar and gave him three nights the following week. After a long pause, Jack asked, “Don’t you want to see the films first?”

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Their friendship was off to a great start, and they hadn’t even met. Dennis is used to flying by the seat of his pants.

For example: When Dennis and I started Oregon Cartoon Institute in 2007, our only assets were Dennis’ films, Dennis’ knowledge, and my curiosity. Our first event was housed in Disjecta, and ran for three weeks.

Dennis Nyback’s Cartoon Extravaganza included American animation from Emil Cohl, Winsor McCay, John Randolph Bray, Otto Messmer, Max Fleischer, early silent Disney, Paul Terry, Walter Lantz, Ub Iwerks, Amadee Van Beuren, Rudolf Ising, Ted Eshbaugh, Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, George Pal, Ladislaw Starevitch, Paramount, Famous Studios, HarveyToons, Warner Brothers, Columbia, UPA, as well as foreign animation, animated educational films, puppet animation, animated Industrial films, animated television commercials, and avant garde animation.

Here’s the program notes of Dennis Nyback’s Cartoon Extravaganza with Dennis’ introductions. Titles which feature contributions by Oregon artists are in italics.

Friday February 23, 2007

Day 1: Animation From Zoetrope to Sound

Starting with a short look at the history of animation as presented in a short subject Disney documentary from 1955 (print begins after the missing title sequence), then works by the very first artists to work in the field of animation.

Untitled educational film on the history of animation (1955) Disney
Fantasmagorie (1908) Emil Cohl France
Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) Winsor McCay
Colonel Heeza Liar in the African Jungles (1923) John Randolph Bray
Charley at the Beach (1919) Pat Sullivan Otto Messmer Nestor Film Co.
Modeling (1921) Max Fleischer
Puss in Boots (1922) Walt Disney, Kansas City Laugh-O-Gram Films
Seeing Things Mutt and Jeff (1919) Bud Fisher
Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse: A Duet, He Made Me Love Him (1916) Frank Moser, Leon Searl, writer George Herriman

Dennis’ notes: The program will end with another film that Nyback has the only known print of. It is Monsieur Slim starring Joe Morgan as Andy Gump. It has not been determined what the original American title of this film is. This a French print purchased at a sidewalk sale in Paris in 1999 with French inter-titles. It concerns an auto race in which the Gump family enters their mobile home which is a shack built on a truck chassis. It is hilarious and is mostly live action but uses animation in a key scene. Andy Gump was a very popular comic strip in the twenties and has been cited as a favorite of R. Crumb.


Monsieur Slim c1927 Joe Morgan as Andy Gump.

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Saturday February 24, 2007

Day 2: The Mouse that Roared

Ten early Disney cartoons in black and white. The beginning of the company that soon dominated the animation industry. See the development from crude to sophisticated animation from the first days of the company.

Alice Rattled by Rats (1925)
Steamboat Willie (1928)
Mickey and Gold Rush (1932) AKA The Klondike Kid
Touchdown Mickey (1932) aka All American Mickey
The Steeple Chase (1933) aka Mickey’s Trick Horse
Mickey Saves the Mail (1933) AKA The Mail Pilot
Mickey’s Man Friday (1935) aka Robinson Crusoe Mickey
Camping Out (1934) aka MM Exciting Picnic
Mickey and Liliputians (1934) AKA Gulliver Mickey
Movie Star Mickey (1933) AKA Mickey’s Gala Premiere

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Sunday February 25, 2007

Day 3: The Early Work of Paul Terry, Walter Lantz, Otto Messmer and Ub Iwerks.

Ub Iwerks met Walt Disney in Kansas City and was Walt’s first employee. He was a brilliant animator and created Mickey Mouse. He left Disney to form his own cartoon studio in 1930. Paul Terry was born in San Mateo and animated his first cartoon in 1915. His company churned out cartoons for the next fifty years. Walter Lantz was a pioneer (worked on Bray’s Col Heeza Liar in 1916) who established his own studio and produced scads of cartoons. Otto Messmer created Felix the Cat in the teens.

Fiddlesticks (1931) Ub Iwerks Character: Flip the Frog, music by Carl Stalling
Techno-cracked, Ub Iwerks, animator Shamus Culhane, music by Carl Stalling
Play Ball (1933) Ub Iwerks Character: Willie Whopper, Music by Carl Stalling
The Black Duck (1929) Paul Terry
Eliza On the Ice (1944) Paul Terry Producer, Connie Rasinski Director
Andy Panda’s Pop (1941) Walter Lantz
Fish Fry (1944) Andy Panda Walter Lantz
Hollywood Matador (1942) Walter Lantz, Mel Blanc,  Woody Woodpecker
The Coo Coo Bird (1947) Walter Lantz, Dick Lundy, voices Mel Blanc, Bugs Hardaway
Felix In Fairyland (1923) Otto Messmer
Felix Woos Whoopee (1928) Otto Messmer

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Monday February 26, 2007

Day 4: The Birth of Betty Boop or My Life as a Dog

The program begins with the 1933 cartoon Is My Palm Red, which purports to tell the true story of Betty Boops baby days and forward. It is followed by the first Betty Boop cartoon Dizzy Dishes. Then, nine more, all made before Betty became human. Betty first appeared as the love interest of Bimbo. Bimbo was a dog. Betty was too. See her change, not just in and out of her clothes, but into another species. Produced by Max Fleischer. Directed by Dave Fleischer.

Is My Palm Red (1933)
Dizzy Dishes (1930)
Mysterious Mose (1931)
Any Little Girl Who’s a Nice Little Girl (1931)
The Herring Murder Case (1931)
Bimbo’s Initiation (1931)
Kitty From Kansas City (1931) With Rudy Vallee
Mask-A-Raid (1931)
Dizzy Red Riding Hood (1931)
Any Rags (1932)

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Tuesday February 27, 2007

Day 5: The Forgotten Greatness of Amadee Van Beuren

Some of the best cartoons of the thirties were made by the fabled studio of Amadee Van Beuren. Mr. Van Beuren fell into poor health and produced no cartoons after 1936. His cartoon studio then folded. He died in 1938.

A Toytown Tale (1931)
Butterflies featuring Molly Moo Cow (1935)
Molly Moo Cow and Robinson Crusoe (1935)
Rasslin Match (1934) featuring Amos and Andy
Parrotville Old Folks (1935)
Piano Tuners (1932)
Pastrytown Wedding (1934) Ted Eshbaugh
Happy Hoboes (1933)
The Sunshine Makers (1935) Ted Eshbaugh
Cap’n Cub (1945) Post Van Beuren work by the enigmatic Ted Eshbaugh who earlier did The Sunshine Makers and others.

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Wednesday February 28, 2007

Day 6: The Amazing Ladislaw Starevitch.

Starevitch produced his first stop motion cartoon Lucanus Cervus in 1910.That puts him before Winsor McCay in the history of animators and only Emil Cohl before him. Nyback considers him the greatest animator who ever lived and is not alone in that assessment. His work has influenced Jan Svankmajer, The Quay Brothers, and many other animators. Toy Story was a remake of his greatest work The Mascot. His work from 1914 to 1933 will be in the show.

The Mascot (1933) Original title Le Fetiche
Love in Black and White (1928) Original title Amour noir et amour blanc
The Song of the Nightingale (1925) Original title La voix du rossignol
The Frogs Who Wanted a King (1922) Original title Les grenouilles qui demandent un roi
The Cameraman’s Revenge (1912) Original title Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Thursday March 1, 2007

Day 7: Warner Brothers Part One: The Harman and Ising Era

It should be noted that WB cartoons were distributed by Warner Brothers, but they were independently produced by Leon Schlesinger. From the beginning into 1945. Everyone knows the great WB cartoon characters Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Road Runner, Yosemite Sam, and the rest. The first of those to appear was Porky Pig in 1935. Warner Bros. animation started in 1929 under the control of Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising. They left WB for MGM in 1934. Here are ten great cartoons from the Harman Ising era at WB.

One More Time (1931)
Freddy the Freshman (1932)
I Like Mountain Music (1933)
We’re In the Money (1933)
Wake Up the Gypsy In Me (1933)
Buddy’s Showboat (1933)
Buddy the Gob (1934)
Bosko in Person (1933)
Shake Your Powder Puff (1934)
Honeymoon Hotel (1934) Cinecolor

Dennis’ notes: All of these cartoons are from the “pre-code” Hollywood era. It shows.

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Friday March 2, 2007

Day 8: Warner Brothers Part Two: The introduction of Bugs, Daffy, Porky and the rest.

Cartoons characters change over time. Here we see some of the all time greats in their earliest forms. You’ll be shocked to see how fat Porky Pig was in the beginning. You’ll be amazed at just how Daffy Daffy Duck was. Bugs Bunny was really a jerk. You’ll see the first Tweetie Pie cartoon where he is really sadistic and not the “cute”character seen currently on pre-teens backpacks. A nice look at these characters before their sharp corners were rounded off.

Porky’s Pet (1935) Porky Pig
Porky’s Duck Hunt (1937) Daffy Duck
Porky in Wackyland (1938) Porky Pig
A Wild Hare (1940) Bugs Bunny
A Tale of Two Kitties (1942) Tweetie Pie
Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips (1944) Bugs Bunny
Russian Rhapsody (1944) Gremlins
Southern Fried Rabbit (1953) Yosemite Sam
There They Go Go Go (1956) Road Runner

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Saturday March 3, 2007

Day 9: Mel Blanc, Man Of A 1000 Voices 

Clink Clink Another Drink Soundie with Mel performing with Spike Jones & His City Slickers
The Screw Driver (1941) Woody Woodpecker
Home Front (1943) Private SNAFU
Porky’s Movie Mystery (1939)
Sheepish Wolf (1942)
Wise Quackers (1949)
A Hick, A Slick and a Chick (1948)
Daffy Doodles (1946)
Banty Raids (1963)
Cocoa Pebbles Ad c1963
Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943)
Mel Blanc excerpt, in 1943 Army/Navy Screen Magazine

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Sunday March 4, 2007

Day 10: Cartoonists and Animators Go to War

From WWI, we will see Winsor McCay’s spectacular The Sinking of the Lusitania. From WW II we will see Ted Geisel (aka Dr. Suess) military training toons, Popeye battling the Japanese, Chuck Jones’ pacifist Draft Horse, Superman fighting for the American way, Joseph Stalin the Godless Commie on our side, and much more. This is not really program for children.

Sinking of the Lusitania Winsor McCay (1919)
Tokio Jokio (1943) Norman McCabe, Warner Bros.
Education For Death (1943) Disney
The Draft Horse (1942) Chuck Jones Warner Bros.
Spies Private (1943) Pvt. Snafu
You’re a Sap Mr. Jap (1942) Popeye Max Fleischer
The Japoteurs (1942) Superman Max Fleischer
Rumors Private Snafu (1944)
Bugs Nips the Nips (1944) Bugs Bunny Warner Bros.
Russian Rhapsody 1944 Warner Bros.
Der Fuhrer’s Face (1942) Disney

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Monday March 5, 2007

Day 11: World Animation

Mr. Nyback is very happy to at last be able to show some rarities he has collected from his travels around the world showing films. Many of these cartoons were given as gifts in foreign lands. They will include Czech, Hungarian, Australian, Japanese, French, Dutch, Polish, and other world animation.

Barktakiada (1985) Oldrich Habere Kratky Film Praha Czech
Hat on Flier (1986) Zagreb Film
Red and Black
Variations on Theme no date Budapest Anti-War
Sword (1968) Czech
Story of the Southern Cross (1969) Thelma Dufton, Concept Films Australia
The Jump (1965) Eino Ruutsalo Music by Henrik Otto Donner Finland
A-1 Love (1965) Yoji Kuri Japan
The Daisy (1965) Todor Dinov Bulgaria
Lakat Kao Takev (1959) Zagreb Film

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Tuesday March 6, 2007

Day 12: There is Nobody Like Tex Avery

This program will have the best of Tex, both at Warners in the 30’s and at MGM in the 40’s.

Homesteader Droopy (1954)
Drag Along Droopy (1954)
Bad Luck Blackie (1949)
Uncle Tom’s Cabana (1947) MGM
Red Hot Riding Hood (1943) MGM
Thugs with Dirty Mugs (1939)
Hamateur Night (1939)
Mice Will Play (1938)
Screwball Squirrel (1944) MGM
A Sunbonnet Blue (1937) WB
Don’t Look Now (1936) WB
I Love to Singa (1936) WB

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Wednesday March 7, 2007

Day 13: Sixties Animation

Most of this will be television animation.

Matty’s Funnies, Lost Wages episode, (1962) Bob Clampett, Beany and Cecil
Rocky and Bullwinkle Upsy-Daisyism (1961)
Roger Ramjet (1965)
The Mighty Heroes (1966) Ralph Bakshi
Rosie the Robot (1962) The Jetsons (Pilot episode)
Rock of Rockzilla (1962) Flintstones
Pigeon in a Plum Tree (1962) Gumby
Sesame Street (1969) First season

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Thursday March 8, 2007

Day 14: Comic Books Come Alive: Superman, Little Lulu, Beatle Bailey, Mighty Mouse, others.

The Bulleteers (1942) Superman Dave Fleischer
Mechanical Monsters (1941) Superman Dave Fleischer
Lulu’s Indoor Outing (1942) Manny Sparber, Little Lulu, Jug Haid’s Jumping Frog
Home Sweet Swampy (1962) Al Brodax, Snuffy Smith
Jug Haid’s Jumping Frog (1962) Snuffy Smith
Goonland (1938) Popeye, Dave Fleischer
Sultan Pepper (1934) Oscar Soglow, The Little King
Railroad Rhythm (1937) Krazy Kat 

Friday

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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March 9, 2007

Day 15: Educational Animation

Here is some really rare and interesting stuff, animation not intended for theatrical release but for the school systems as educationals.

The Glob Family no information
Emily, The Story of a Field Mouse c1972
The Story of Menstruation (1946) Disney
My Turtle Died Today (1964) Bailey Film
About Conception and Contraception (1973) National Film Board Canada
ABC of Health Great Britain c1940

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Saturday March 10, 2007

Day 16: Pinto Colvig and other Oregon Animators.

Pinto Colvig  was born in Jacksonville, Oregon in 1892. He first worked as a newspaper cartoonist and then became an animator. Working at Disney in the early thirties he began doing voice work. He was the longtime voice of Goofy. He also did some voice work for Warners and was the voice of Bluto in Famous Studios Popeye cartoons. This show will feature his work at Disney, Warners, and Famous. Carl Barks was born in Merrill, Oregon in 1901. He worked at Disney animating Donald Duck and then, by himself, created Scrooge McDuck. We will show one of his Donald Duck cartoons. Most Portlanders know that Matt Groening is from here. What most of them don’t know is that in high school he worked with local teenage film maker Tim Smith on several films. One of the best, which includes animation, is Drugs: Killers or Dillers, which will lead off the show.

Drugs: Killers or Dillers (1972) Tim Smith & Matt Groening
Hobo Gadget Band (1939) WB Pinto Colvig
Klondike Kid (1932)
Mickey’s Mellerdramer (1933) aka Mickey and Simon Legree
Pluto’s Judgement Day (1935) Disney Pinto Colvig (voice) Carl Barks (animation)
I Like Mountain Music (1933) WB Pinto Colvig
Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep (1941) Pinto Colvig
The Whoopee Party (1932) Pinto Colvig

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Sunday March 11, 2007

Day 17: World Puppet Animation

Mobilier Fidele (Autmatic Moving Co.) 1910 Emil Cohl France
The Problem (1964) Prague Czech Jan Dudesek
Phillips Broadcast (1938) George Pal Netherlands
Puss in Boots (1940) Germany Ferdinand Paul, Hermann Diehl
Jack and Beanstalk (1956) Germany Lotte Reiniger
It’s A Bird (1930) Charley Bowers USA
Poison in the House (1957) Basil Miovsorff, born Siberia, USA

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Monday March 12, 2007

Day 18: Industrial Animation

Industrial films are among the least seen films by the average person. They were generally only seen by those in the industries they covered, sort infomercials for a much smaller market. Animated industrial films are smaller group. Here are some pips! Doomsday for Pests was made by the Sherwin Williams paint company to promote the latest product of 1953: Paint mixed with DDT to keep bugs at bay. The great animation was by the Jerry Fairbanks company. It uses both animation and live action to great effect. The UPA company was formed by animators who had been blacklisted for striking against Disney in the forties. They produced the wonderful Gerald McBoing Boing cartoons and also Mr. Magoo. Their bread and butter was animated commercials and industrial films. Of great topical interest today is their Man On the Land paid for by the oil industry in 1957 which you will see is a beautiful Technicolor print. Mr. Nyback is not sure who made Happy Little Blue Bird Valley. It was obviously funded by hydroelectric power money. It shows the little blue bird and other animals of the forest who are so happy because a dam is being built. Truly bizarre! Others.

Man on the Land (1951) UPA
Doomsday for Pests (1953) Jerry Fairbanks Productions
Happy Little Bluebird Valley c1962

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Tuesday March 13, 2007

Day 19: Animated TV Commercials (50’s through 80’s)

Intertitle: Junk Food The All American Meal

Burger King Lion and son in the jungle fully animated 1970s
Zero Bar candy fully animated 1970s
7-UP See the Light! Fabulous psychedelic vaudeville 1975
Pepsi CLIO award winner 1989 Funk Music fully animated
Adams Gum Fully animated Weird flavors 1970s
MacDonalds Ronald MacDonald with puppets back to the stone age 1970s
Funny Bone Candy Bar 1960’s b Live action kids and animated candy bar B&W
Little Caesar Pizza CLIO award Origami ad 1989

Intertitle: You Gotta Have A Gimmick To Sell This Stuff

Brick Makers CLIO award 1989 Judo
Flair Pens 1960s color Stop Motion
Social Security PSA 1970s live action with partial animation
Levis With Dacron Polyester 1977 Plaid Levis Ken Nordine voice Not on youtube
Princess Telephone 1964 Stop Motion B&W
Silverstone Teflon frying pan Hang on Sloopy! CLIO 1988
Baggies Alligator Live action with cast from Family Affair partial animation 1960s

Intertitle: Moral Crusade Public Service Advertisements

National Safety Council  Roadrunner Wiley Coyote and Shamu Fully animated 1960s
Basic Education Grants Platform shoes talk to each over 1960s fully animated
California Dental Association Tarzan, dental care, fully animated 1970s
EPA Use Pesticides Carefully 1970s Puppets
FDA Eat Sensibly 1970s Puppets
Woodsman spares tree Seasons Greetings R.O. Blechman fully animated 1969

Intertitle: Hook’em Young The Fine Art of Exploiting Children

Peter Pan Peanut Butter with Tinker Bell Live action and animation 1958
Ding Dongs King Ding Dong Fully animated 1970’s
Sippity Doo Dah 1970s Some sort of chocolate milk Live action and animation
Kool Aid 1970s Hey Kool Aid Bowling Alley puppet
Twinkies Live and stop motion “Even space girls like Twinkies.” Weird 1970s
Nestles Quik Famous live action and animated Bunny 1970s
Pet Instant Milk 1962 Live and stop motion child star Ron Howard B&W
Crazy Foam 1960s color bathtub toy dispensers Live action and animation
Jif Peanut Butter 1950s B&W Live action and some stop motion
Top Cat Ad for the tv show Fully animated 1961
Hunts Snack Pack 1960s Talking horse
Bugs Bunny Show 5 second spot fully animated
Kool Aid Kids from Holland Fully animated B&W 1960s
Yoplait CLIO award 1989 Spanish strong children

Intertitle: Damn the Ozone Hair is Important

Blondes American Style 1960s Color Live and stop motion.
Vitalis Men’s hair care 1957 Animation and live action
Datsun B-210 We are Driven! 1974 animated logo
Union 76 “long hose” shot in SF. Not animated, but some manipulation 1960s B&W
Chevron Live action and animated B&W 1960s

Intertitle: Feminine Allure

Hour after Hour Deodorant 1970 With Diane Keaton animated logo
Tussee Lipstick 1960s Live action and interesting animation B&W
Maybelline Moonstar False eyelashes 1960s B&W Fabulous! Manipulated live action
Coppertone “We own the sun” B&W Manipulated live action 1960s
Coty Excites 1950s Sexy ad Manipulated and stop motion animation B&W
Scope Mouthwash Woman confronts boss about bad breath 1960s B&W part animated

Intertitle: When Fun was Fun: Smoking and Drinking

Western Airlines Wally the bird “The Ooonly Way to Fly” 1959 fully animated
LA Beer CLIO Award 1988 Manipulated live and stop motion
Ice House Wine Cocktails Fully animated and very cool! 1970s
Marlboro Manipulated and live action. B&W 1960s
Salem Menthol Cigarettes B&W 1960s Take a puff, it’s Springtime! Animated logo
Colt 45 Malt Liquor CLIO award 1989 Partial animation
McEwans Best Scotch Clio Award 1988 Partial animation
Old Style Beer Fully animated 1950s B&W
Phillip Morris Cigarettes From I Love Lucy 1952 Animated logo With Bob Shepard

Intertitle: The Tao of Tide

Bold Laundry Detergent 1960s Better than Bright!
Wizard Air Refresher 1960s “Houseitosis”
All Detergent 1968 color Made funny by featuring Lily Tomlin Live and manipulated
Sani-Flush 1960s Good animated toilet!

Intertitle: Who Needs A Doctor When You Have TV

Ammons Powder 1960s color Fully animated
Dristan Nasal Mist 1960s B&W Cool “breathing bag” with animated sinuses.
Bactine Medicated 1960’s Cool and peppy jingle with dancing girl Live and animated
Anacin Classic B&W 1960s housewife and the end of her rope
Nervine Better housewife mood elevator “Avoid excessive use” Live and animated
Mentholatum Deep Heat Rub Live action with animated aching back
Compound W Young woman with warts! Animated wart action.
Chocks Vitamins puppet B&W 1950s
Bufferin Invisible men’s bodies show Bufferin at work Animation and manipulated

Intertitle: The New Joy of Cooking Food In a Box

One a Day Vitamins 1950s B&W creepy
Sunbeam Microwave CLIO award 1980s
Stroemann Bread Fully animated color 1960s
Jolly Green Giant Corn Partially animated 1960s color
Rice a Roni 1960s Cool Jazz and SF A great commercial with manipulated images
Pillsbury Angel Food 1950s Live and stop motion.
Shake and Bake 1970s Partial stop “time delay” motion
Wonder Bread Live and animation with The Fresh Guys 1970s
Florida Orange Juice Anita Bryant with animated “Orange Bird.” 1969 color
Pillsbury Flour with the Pillsbury animated Doughboy. Color 1960s
Pillsbury White Cake Live action, stop motion and manipulated images. B&W 1950s

Intertitle: Part Of A Balanced Breakfast

Instant Maxwell House 1960s Color with the Percolator Jingle Animated percolator
Awake Breakfast Drink Sexy dialogue between fresh and squeezed. Full animation
Quaker Puffed Rice “Shot from Guns!” B&W 1950s
Start Breakfast Drink With animated Popeye 1970s
Rice Krispies 1970s Full animation
Cocoa Puffs 1960s B&W The first Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs animated ad
Fruit Loops 1960s B&W Oop Fray, Oops Lay! Full animation
Kellogs Frosted Flakes 1960s color Tony the Tiger “Live it Up” full animation
Corn Flakes with Live action and animated “Cornelius” by Andy Devine color 60s
Post Super Sugar Crisp Sugar Bear 1970s full animation
Alpha-Bits 1973 With Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five Manipulated images
Honeycomb 1970s Puppet Abominable Snowman
Trix 1970s The Silly Rabbit does get a bite fully animated
Sunkist Oranges 1970s Animated little girl and dragon

Intertitle: 9 Out of 10 Dentists Agree Sex Sells

Stripe Toothpaste 1960s B&W Little sister bugs older sister about sex. brief animation
Score 1970s Hairspray for men This is right to the point See animation plump things up
Maiden Form Rated “X” Bra 1971 Color Manipulated images
Paper-mate Pens 1957 Nice phallic symbol usage Live action and animation
Doral Cigarettes 1970s Phallic symbol animated images with confused woman
Certs Breath Mints 1960s color the classic “If he kissed you once….” Animated logo
Fresca 1960s color Manipulated images and women in swim suits

Intertitle: Riding the Gravy Train All the Way to the Bank

Ken-L-Ration Tender Chunks Animated dog barking and logo Woof! 1970s
Friskies Kitten Formula CLIO award 1980s Live and stop motion
Farmers and Mechanics Bank 1950s Manipulated images including Great Dane
Hartz Mountain Flea Collar Puppets 1970s
Chuck Wagon 1971 Famous dog and miniature stage coach
Purina Cat Chow 1970s Chow Chow Chow!

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Wednesday March 14, 2007

Day 20: 70’s Animation

Trust Mr. Nyback to not just show Groovy Ghoulies and Friends in this show, although they will be in it.

Charles Darwin/Evolution 1972
Wonderful World of Professor Kitzel Shamus Culhane
The Ghost in the Shed (1980) Sam Weiss Churchill Films
Overture 2012 (1976) Milan Blažeković Zagreb Film Croatia
Groovy Ghoulies and Friends

All films on 16mm. All from his collection.

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Thursday March 15, 2007  –

Day 21: 35mm Animation from the fifties into the nineties

Oregon animators in italics.

T.V. Of Tomorrow (1953) Tex Avery
Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969) Marv Newland
Thank You, Mask Man (1971) John Hale
Closed Mondays (1974) Will Vinton & Bob Gardiner, loaned by Vinton.
Dimensions of Dialogue (1983) Jan Svankmajer
Pink Komkommer (1991) Marv Newland
Screenplay (1993) Barry Purves
Pro and Con (1993) Joanna Priestley & Joan C. Gratz
Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase (1992) Joan C. Gratz
One of Those Days (1988) Bill Plympton
Insect Poetry (2002) Marilyn Zornado, loaned by Zornado.
Magda (2004) Chel White, loaned by White.

All films on 35mm. All from Dennis Nyback’s collection, except where noted.

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Here’s more information about Dennis.

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

Paramount Preserves REDS Talking Heads

Nominated for 12 Academy Awards, and winning three, REDS is about the tumultuous life of Portland journalist John Reed (1887-1920). To prepare for the film, writer-director-producer-star Warren Beatty conducted extensive interviews with people who knew Reed, or who knew of him as a contemporary.

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Not all of the interviews made it into the finished film.

In the snippets that did make it in, the speakers are pithy, wry, sentimental in turns. In REDS, you see brief excerpts of interviews with ACLU co-founder Roger Baldwin, literary legend Henry Miller, screenwriter Adela Rogers St. Johns, radical economist Scott Nearing, anti-Communist Isaac Don Levine, “writer’s writer” Rebecca West, historian & philosopher Will Durant, muckraker George Seldes, actor George Jessel, and John Reed’s Harvard classmate (’10) Hamilton Fish, who happens to also be the grandfather of Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. That’s a partial list.

The unused interview footage went into the Paramount vaults.

On Thursday, Nov 29, at the AMIA Conference in Portland,  a team of moving image preservationists from Paramount Pictures will describe their project to digitize all the REDS interviews and make that footage available to the public for the first time.

Comrades in Archiving: Preserving the Unedited Reds Witness Interviews

Chair(s) and Speakers

  • Jeffrey Osmer, Paramount Pictures
  • Nikki Jee, Paramount Pictures
  • Trisha Lendo, Paramount Pictures

Reds and Portland native John Reed take us on a theatrical journey back in time to the Russian Revolution. Interspersed through the theatrical release were interviews with the real people represented within the films narrative. These witnesses include a diverse group of writers, labor leaders, politicians, and classmates of the main character John Reed. The panel details the process of locating a quarter million feet of unedited film from the movie Reds, the creation of digital files for this footage, and the file cataloging process. Our task was to digitally preserve the assets and make uncut interviews easily available to all.  The hybrid nature of this Academy Award winning film, intertwining documentary footage with a historical recreation, made this a rather unique archiving project. This is a panel for archives undertaking their own massive digitization process (and/or for fans of the Bolshevik revolution).

This massive transfer of cultural wealth to an accessible format calls for a gesture of gratitude. Oregon Cartoon Institute is partnering with two PSU geographers, Hunter Shobe and Zuriel van Belle, to create a map of John Reed’s Portland to present to the three visiting Paramount Pictures moving image preservationists, and to their fellow AMIA conference attendees.

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Hunter Shobe is co-author of Portlandness: A Cultural Atlas. An associate professor of geography at PSU, he  began attending the Oregon Film History Conference in 2017. He recommended Zuriel van Belle, the director of the Urban Coyote Project, to create OCI’s map of John Reed’s Portland. Thank you, Hunter and Zuriel!

With this map, we salute Paramount Pictures and the team of Paramount preservationists who are making the REDS interviews, a treasure trove of primary sources,  available to present and future Oregon historians.

In recognition of the value of his work conceiving, conducting, and conserving the REDS witness interviews, I hereby make Warren Beatty an honorary member of Oregon Cartoon Institute.

Welcome aboard, Warren!

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

 

Oregon Cartoon Institute@Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference, Nov. 28-Dec 1., 2018

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On Nov. 28-Dec 1, 2018, hundreds of archivists, librarians, collectors, curators, students, educators, artists, technologists, researchers, distributors, exhibitors, service providers, consultants, and advocates of preservation of the moving image will converge in the Hilton Hotel, right in the center of Portland’s film history rich downtown.

Downtown Portland is where young Mel Blanc sold newspapers. It’s where Clark Gable apprenticed as a stage actor, Gus Van Sant shot lots of MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (see above), Courtney Love performed at Mary’s Club, Bill Plympton animated his first film, and Matt Groening‘s mom used to drop him off at the Hilton to go swimming. Ernest Haycox, the Westerns writer (STAGECOACH), had an office in downtown Portland as did the dentist father of Gordon Scott, star of TARZAN’S GREATEST ADVENTURE.

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During the 20th annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, three Oregon Cartoon Institute members will be right there, in the middle of the action.

Ben Truwe, OCI board member, will be there wearing his other hat, as member of the board of directors of Southern Oregon Historical Society. His panel will discuss specific issues unique to creating and sustaining regional and community archives.

Dennis NybackOCI co-founder and independent film archivist, will screen three rare 16mm shorts from his collection.

Anne Richardson, OCI director and intrepid spelunker into regional caves of Oregon film history, will talk about the way films in private collections transformed her understanding of a regional strength.

Another presentation we’re excited about: a team from Paramount Pictures Library is coming to the conference to describe a project underway to preserve the interview footage from Warren Beatty’s REDS (1981).

Right up OCI’s alley, in terms of film history research.

Here’s the AMIA conference website: http://www.amiaconference.net

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

Liverpool/Portland/Who makes pop?

 

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Nike recently reminded everyone of Portland’s power as a pop machine.

In 2006, Dennis Nyback, PNCA students Mack MacFarland and Damon Eckhoff, and I did The Portland That Was, a TBA Festival project which explored Portland history using films from Dennis’ collection.

The project featured clips of interviews, including one with musician James Hawthorne.

During his remarks about Paul Revere and the Raiders, Hawthorne draws a parallel between Portland and Liverpool.

This comparison came as no surprise to me (producer) and Dennis Nyback (interviewer), although it may have startled cameraman Tim Smith. The parallel between the two cities, as engines of pop, is one Oregon Cartoon Institute has been contemplating since its very founding.

Dennis and I aren’t interested in comparing Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Beatles, or in their respective places in music history. We’re interested in the communities which produced these two bands. What kind of cities produce pop? More precisely, what kind of cities produce artists of unusual pop fluency.

The Beatles came to Portland on August 22, 1965, and played the Memorial Coliseum. The British Invasion already happened via radio, but now they were here in person. As it happens, Paul Revere and the Raiders made their network debut the same year, as hosts of ABC’s Where The Action Is, a half hour variety show which debuted on June 27, 1965.

Where The Action Is was on every single weekday afternoon. You could watch Paul Revere and the Raiders faithfully every day when you got home from school just as you could watch Warner Brothers cartoons voiced by Mel Blanc faithfully every day before you left for school. Portland children had wall to wall Portland influenced pop culture coming at them from the small screen. Both success stories came out of local radio: Mel Blanc from KGW and Paul Revere and the Raiders from KISN.

James Hawthorne confined his comparison of Liverpool and Portland to rock music. Oregon Cartoon Institute believes there is a deeper parallel between these two cities, which has to do with the very nature of pop culture.

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Matt Groening, far right, plays a greaser in Tim Smith’s SALMON STREET SAGA (1970)

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John Lennon fronts The Quarrymen, his Liverpool skiffle band, in the late 1950s 

In Paul McCarthy’s recent GQ interview, he mentions his hometown six times. “It’s a Liverpool thing.”, he says. He doesn’t explain what “a Liverpool thing” means except to say “it’s no fairyland”. What he gets across is that there IS a Liverpool thing. He has a regional identity, and he doesn’t expect you, as someone not from Liverpool, to understand it.

As it happens, I may not be the only person who sees a big parallel between Portland and The Pool (the nickname of Paul McCarthy’s hometown).

Matt Groening began his thank you speech, upon receiving his Hollywood star in 2012, with “Well, I couldn’t have done it without three other boys from Liverpool”. He was quoting the speech Paul McCarthy gave four days earlier, upon receiving his own Hollywood star.

That happened, but also this:

During 2006, the year we used an interactive map to explore Portland history via movies in The Portland That Was, the University of Liverpool was doing the exact same thing.

While our project focused on embedding films from Dennis’ collection within a map of Portland, the University of Liverpool’s The City In Film project focused on embedding home movies made by Liverpool citizens within a map of their city.  Both projects were built before Google purchased Youtube and made embedding video in maps a push button operation. Both projects were hand coded.

Here’s The Portland That Was.

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This website was made so long ago, Google no longer supports it. But you can see the rough idea, which was cutting edge in September 2006.

Here’s University of Liverpool’s The City In Film.

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They’ve kept their site up to date, and continued to add data. They now have 1,700 films in their database.

Sir Matt and Sir Paul both come from cities where artists/social scientists were anxious, in 2006, to get started using new media to explore history by embedding moving images into interactive maps. Maybe impatience is one of the defining characteristics of a pop fluent city.

In 2019, Oregon Cartoon Institute heads into a digital humanities project which will reflect the advances in design capability since 2006. I believe the University of Liverpool is keeping their interactive The City In Film project current. I hope so, since I would love to have an exchange program with them, and compare notes.

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

Crash Course: Tim Smith

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Tim Smith, with his trusty Bolex H16

When Tim Smith began making films in 1968, he was in junior high school. The quintessential independent, he wrote, directed, produced, edited & sound edited his own work. Should we call the films he made for the next eight years “student films”? One problem with that – he had no teacher. He taught himself.

Fifty years later, Tim Smith is having a moment.

In early November 2018, the 45th Northwest Filmmaker’s Festival is screening THIS IS PORTLAND (1971), from Smith’s high school filmography.

A month after that, the 20th international AMIA Conference will screen THE CASE OF THE KITCHEN KILLER (1976), a film Smith made shortly after graduating high school.

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James K. Angell III, as Dwayne Dwight, in Tim Smith’s THE CASE OF THE KITCHEN KILLER (1976)

Smith’s very first films experimented with stop motion animation. When he moved to live action, he chose parody, a genre well matched with his limited resources and non-professional, although very game, actors. In a quartet of no-budget shorts made between 1970 and 1976, each cheekier than the last, he sent up biker films, travelogues, drug scare films and true crime films. His “look, Ma, no shooting permits!” camera roams the city, while his sound design, increasingly complex over the years, adds a layer of sophistication to filmmaking which, purely on a visual level, was already restless, improvisational, ambitious, and cinematically astute.

Smith’s informed ridicule of genre is immensely entertaining. In DRUGS: KILLERS OR DILLERS, all drug users, from the beginning of time, jump off the same bridge. In THE CASE OF THE KITCHEN KILLER, a mother threatens her son with a rolling pin, and he fights back with an eggbeater. In THIS IS PORTLAND, a close up of a nose inhales an empty rose bush. If it sounds silly, it is. Wonderfully silly is difficult to achieve, and fun to watch, in much the same way skateboarding is.

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Tim Smith’s SALMON STREET SAGA (1970) “greasers”, in costume 

Bemused by our interest in his high school work, Tim Smith tolerated our questions about it for a 2006 TBA Festival project, The Portland That Was. He sat for an interview for that project, and donated, uncredited, his labor as cameraman for another interview in the project, with musician James Hawthorne.

Q: How do Tim Smith’s high school films fit into Oregon’s overall film history?

A: His choice to work with actors is distinctive. Animation was the more popular choice among Portland independents. The two most popular genres for beginning filmmakers in Portland at that time were animation and documentary. Tim chose neither. His location shooting preserves on film the scuzzy downtown Portland which predates the bus mall, the streetcar, and MAX. In Tim Smith’s Portland, Pioneer Square is still a parking lot. Gus Van Sant later would re-create this time period via careful art direction in DRUGSTORE COWBOY (1989).

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Young Smith scowls at the camera. 

TIM SMITH / TIMELINE OF PDX INDEPENDENT FILM

THE GREAT TURN ON (1967), PSU yearbook advertisement Dir: Bill Plympton; DP: Bob Summers. Animated short.

PSU’s Center For The Moving Image opens, 1969. Founding director: Andries Deinum; film production instructor, Tom Taylor.

NEA’s first media funding panel, 1970. Panelist Sheldon Renan (Cleveland HS ’59), with the support of fellow panelist James Blue (Jefferson HS ’49), secures funding for a brand new nationwide network of regional film centers.

SALMON STREET SAGA (1970) Dir & DP: Tim Smith. Live action short.  

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THIS IS PORTLAND (1971) Dir & DP: Tim Smith.  Live action short. 

Northwest Film Center opens, 1971. Founding co-directors Brooke Jacobson and Bob Summers, both Andries Deinum students, receive funding from Sheldon Renan’s NEA initiative.

THE CIRCLE (1972) Dir: Tom Moyers, Jr. DP: Will Vinton. Live action feature.

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DRUGS: KILLERS OR DILLERS (1972)   Dir: Tim Smith & Matt Groening, DP: Tim Smith Live action short.

CLOSED MONDAYS (1974) Dir: Will Vinton & Bob Gardiner, DP: Will Vinton. Oscar winning animated short.

THE CASE OF THE KITCHEN KILLER (1976) Dir & DP: Tim Smith. Live action short. 

PROPERTY (1977) Dir: Penny Allen, DP: Eric Edwards, Sound: Gus Van Sant. Live action feature.

Tim Smith’s films are now part of the Oregon Historical Society’s Davies Family Research Library. A musician himself, Tim Smith transitioned into a career as a sound editor before retiring from the film business entirely. He is currently working on a comic book – in German!

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

OCI/FAQ

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Bill Crawford, OCI secretary-treasurer, looms over a model of 1970s Portland.

Q: What is Oregon Cartoon Institute?

A: Oregon Cartoon Institute is a two person think tank, comprised of director Anne Richardson and film archivist Dennis Nyback. We investigate Oregon’s film, animation and print cartooning history, using every possible tool we can lay our hands on.

Q: What do you do?

A: We ask questions, and share the process of pursuing answers.

Q: What questions?

A: We’re interested in “Who makes Pop?” Exploring this question sometimes makes us wonder “Where is the West?” or even “Is there a West?”

Q: Why are these questions important?

A: Once upon a time there was a decaying blue collar town one thousand miles from Hollywood, and two thousand miles from New York, which produced artists who changed American culture. What happened? Where did Portland’s film, animation, and print cartooning artist-entrepreneurs come from? Pursuing a deeper understanding of this strand of our regional identity illuminates American history and culture, not just our own.

Q: Who are your colleagues?

A: So many! We’ve received guidance, encouragement, information, and occasional collaboration on live events from radio historian Craig Adams, artist Carye Bye, economist Larry Bissett, political scientist Richard Blue, archivist Libby Burke, producer David Cress, poet Walt Curtis, cinematographer Harry Dawson, filmmaker/inventor Walt Dimick, musician Tim DuRoche, UX designer Damon Eckhoff, pillar of moral support Bill Failing, historian Gus Frederick, journalist Richard Gehr, educator Lisa Groening, pop genius Matt Groening, writer Gretchen Harmon, historian Maurice Isserman, filmmaker James Ivory (thank you, James!), scholar Brooke Jacobson, historian Robert Johnston, radio historian Ronald Kramer, archivist Michele Kribs, film preservationist Gary Lacher, bookstore owner Fred Nemo, archivist Elizabeth Peterson, scholar Heather Petrocelli,  artist-entrepreneur Mike Richardson, comics historian Patrick Rosenkranz,  graphic journalist Joe Sacco, urban designer Tad Savinar, journalist Norman Solomon, theater historian Steve Stone, educator Ellen Thomas,  filmmaker Will Vinton (thank you, Will!), librarian Rich Wandschneider, filmmaker Chel White, graphic designer Josh Winsor, artist Monte Wolverton, technician Robert Zurcher, and untold others.

Q: Who runs OCI?

A: Our board of directors is comprised of Portland historian Carl Abbott, urbanist Bill Crawford (see above), designer/Design Week co-founder Eric Hillerns (president); educator Anne Richardson, and Southern Oregon historian Ben Truwe.

Q: Who advises OCI?

A: Artist David Chelsea, animator Bill Plympton, and writer Sheldon Renan, longtime informal advisors, recently became our advisory board.

Q: What does OCI bring to knowledge production?

A: We open the definition of Oregon film history to include films made by Oregon artists outside state boundaries, and we research that history from a statewide perspective. We access two new data sources: oral histories from artists and archival films, sometimes on loan from private sources. These shifts/expansions in data collection lead to a deeper, more accurate understanding of our regional strength.

Q: Who supports OCI projects?

A: OCI’s public history/arts education events have been supported since 2010 with grants from Kinsman Foundation and the James F. and Marian L. Miller Foundation. And with the skilled labor of many volunteers!

In 2018, Oregon Film, Oregon Film Museum, Dark Horse, James Blue Alliance, and UO Knight Library/Special Collections supported OCI’s annual Oregon Film History Conference, held in UO’s White Stag Auditorium in Portland.

Q: What’s next for OCI?

A: OCI became a 501c3 non-profit organization in 2017. We’re looking to add a paid, professional, non-profit administrator to our staff. If you are interested in our mission, and can see yourself in this role, contact us and tell us everything you’d like us to know, including your salary requirements.

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.