Cab Calloway's song "Minnie the Moocher" is familiar to many people, due to its status a one of Cab's swinging classics, which was used for the title and inspiration for a spookly little Bettie Boop short cartoon, complete with a spectral walrus whose dance moves were rotoscoped from Cab himself. Flash forward to 1980 with Calloway in his 70s, Cab returned to belt out the tune in The Blues Brothers in classic Cab Calloway swinging style, returning the song to broad prominence. But do you know how the song came to be? You've probably heard the somber "Saint James Infirmary," but have you heard of "Willie the Weeper" or "Willie the Chimney Sweeper"? Mix the two, and you have a few pieces of the story behind Cab Calloway's big hit (Google books preview). [more inside]
In March 2012, legendary animator Glen Keane sent out a letter to his colleagues at Walt Disney Animation Studios that outlined his resignation from the House of Mouse, where he'd worked for over 38 years on beloved Disney characters like Ariel, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and the Beast. His departure left many Disney fans wondering what was going to happen to the great master, whom many believe is one of the greatest character animators alive today, and for a while it seemed that his retirement might be permanent. Last week, however, Keane debuted his first hand-drawn animated short, Duet, which he produced with Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group in San Francisco. As you might expect, it's an absolutely breathtaking artistic and technical achievement. And it hasn't even been released in its final interactive mobile format yet. [more inside]
Forward March (YouTube) is a silly little animated film, featuring four formal British military men and a furry fellow who emerges from the sewer. This short is one of the graduation pieces (Google auto-translate; original link) from the French arts school, ESMA (official French site). You can find more short animations on their YouTube and Vimeo accounts.
Sometimes you want to be somber, or serious, or just enjoy some peace and quiet. And in some of those instances, you get jazz that nobody asked for. Jazz that just won't die. [more inside]
"Adam and Dog" is a beautiful animated short by Disney artist and animator Minkyu Lee (features some nonsexual nudity). [more inside]
Disney's Oscar-nominated animated short Paperman has just been made available for your viewing delight on the official Walt Disney Animation Studios YouTube channel! [more inside]
"Mountain of Dinosaurs" (1967) A Russian cartoon, directed by Rasa Strautmane. WARNING: things don't end well for the Dinosaurs. [via]
The Unicorn In The Garden by James Thurber, a Columbia Pictures short from 1953. [YouTube, approx. 7 mins.] Original text here. Read all about the life and times of James Thurber at the Thurber House. More information here and here.