Amoeblog

Linda McCartney's Somewhat Obscure Psychedelic Alien Invasion Hallucination

Posted by Kells, January 25, 2014 06:22pm | Post a Comment

In 1978 Linda McCartney, then a member of husband Paul's Wings, teamed up with British animator and director Ian Emes (known for his work with Pink Floyd) to create the hauntingly hypnotic cartoon short The Oriental Nightfish (so named after the Linda-penned composition it accompanies). The song features Linda's lead vocals as well as her electric piano and moog synth stylings with Wings filling in the gaps, providing a little extra sonic lift.


 
 

Trippy as all hell, in the best way, Ian Emes revealed to the Birmingham Post in 2010 just how this totally far out project achieved full realization:
 
I got pissed off whisky and put the music on as loud as it would go, and lay on my back in the living room and let it wash over me. The whisky did indeed help, and I came up with this weird idea where alien forces enter this building where someone who looks like Linda McCartney plays a Gothic Expressionistic Wurlitzer. This blonde female is penetrated, got naked and inhabited by the alien force, then she's replicated, before becoming a comet that explodes. The film was a bit weird and scary and a little bit sexual. Yet it was later put on Paul McCartney's Rupert The Bear video for children. The kids who watched it years ago are now in their 20s, and they've set up an internet site called The Oriental Nightfish Haunted My Childhood. I guess it freaked them out and opened their imagination.
 

Though the aforementioned site seems doomed to internet obscurity (if it even exists), the track "The Oriental Nightfish" is available on the studio/compilation album Wide Prairie released in 1998 following Linda McCartney's death earlier that year. The video for "The Oriental Nightfish" was made available on the VHS release of Rupert and the Frog Song -- a 1984 animated film based on the comic strip character Rupert Bear, written and produced by Paul McCartney -- a questionable placement given the not-so-vague sexual content of this short. There are some "import" vinyl collections out there that feature the song, one such release being the aptly titled Oriental Nightfish.

<---  That cover, though.

 

Krazy Kat - One of the kolossal komics in the kontinuum debuted 13, October, 1913

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 13, 2012 06:23pm | Post a Comment

INTRO TO KRAZY KAT

On 15 October, Google paid tribute to Winsor McCay's comic, Little Nemo in Slumberland, which debuted on that date in 1905. It was a beautiful tribute to one of the greatest comic strips of all time. Just two days earlier, though not celebrated by Google (I don't expect them to honor something every day), was the anniversary of another of my all-time favorite strips, Krazy Kat, which debuted in 1913 -- although some of the characters dated were introduced in George Herriman's earlier strip, The Dingbat Family.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT

Krazy Kat wasn't widley popular although it was hugely influential and afforded serious criticism as early as 1924, when Gilbert Seldes's article "The Krazy Kat Who Walks by Himself," was published. Fan and poet E. E. Cummings wrote the introduction to the first book collection of the strip.The Comics Journal placed it first on its list of the greatest comics of the 20th century. Charlie Chaplin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, H. L. Mencken, Jack Kerouac, Pablo Picasso, and Willem de Koonig were also avowed fans of the groundbreaking series.

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Happy Birthday, Gustaf Tenggren!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 3, 2010 12:01am | Post a Comment
Today is the birthday of Gustaf Adolf Tenggren, a Swedish-American illustrator who worked on some of Walt Disney's most famous films. Had he not died in 1970, he would be 114 years old today.

    

Tenggren was born November 3rd, 1896 in  Magra Parish, in Västra Götaland CountySweden. His parents Aron and Augusta had seven children -- Gustaf was the second youngest. Gustaf 's father, Aron, was a painter and decorator, just like his father, Johan Teng, had been. After relocating the family to Göteborg in search of steadier support, he left the family and moved to the US.

  

Gustaf began working as a runner boy and as an apprentice by a lithographer's shop at eleven, to help support the family. After his artistic talent was observed, he obtained a scholarship in 1910 to, at only thirteen, attend the local art school, Slöjdföreningens skola.

In 1914 he received a scholarship at Valand, an art school in  Göteborg. His earliest subjects were Swedish through and through, illustrating Swedish folk and fairy tales for the annual Bland Tomtar och Troll, although their style was heavily indebted to Englishman Arthur Rackham's style. In 1918, he married his first wife, Anna Peterson. He first exhibited his work publicly in 1920. After that, he and his wife promptly moved to Cleveland, Ohio to join his sister. 

  

Two years later he moved to New York City. There, like fellow-future Disney employee Kay Nielsen, he began illustrating children's books, especially fairy tales, including Tanglewood Tales, A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys and The Christ Story for Boys and Girls. At the same time, he began working for Milton Bradley, where he remained until 1939. In 1930, he also re-married another Swedish-American, Malin (or Mollie) Froberg.


In 1936 Tenggren was hired as chief illustrator and art director on Walk Disney's first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Although Tenggren was a natural choice for the Brothers Grimm adaptation, most of the fine detail characteristic of his illustrations was evident in the background paintings. In fact, most of his work for Disney would be as a background artist.


He worked as an uncredited inspirational artist on 1937's The Old Mill and on the conceptual designs on 1940's Pinocchio. However, my favorite work he did at Disney was the Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria segment of 1940's Fantasia. For it, he, Vladimir Peter "Bill" Tytla, Kay Neilsen and others based their visuals on the story of Modest Mussorgsky's 1867 piece, Ночь на лысой горе ("Night on Bald Mountain"). Mussorgsky first began work on the piece in 1858. It was originally set on St. John's Eve (June 23), a Midsummer holiday on which, since pre-Christian times, various Northern and Eastern Europeans burn massive bonfires. The witches came in in 1860. In the cartoon, Chernabog, a Slavic demon, summons demons, ghosts, skeletons, witches, harpies, and other monsters for a sabbat before it segues into Franz Schubert's Ellens dritter Gesang for, in my opinion, a much less memorable segment (that I don't remember).

Tenggren quit Disney in 1940. A year later, he was followed by Alfred Abranz, Basil Davidovich, Bernie Wolf, Bill Meléndez, Bill Tytla, Bob Wickersham, Claude Smith, Cornett Wood, David Hilberman, Ed Love, Emery Hawkins, Frank Tashlin, Grant Simmons, Howard Swift, Jack Bradbury, John Hubley, Kenneth Muse, Maurice Noble, Preston Blair, Ray Patterson, T. Hee, Ted Bonnicksen, Tyrus Wong, Virgil Partch, Volus Jones, Walt Kelly, Walter Clinton, William Hurtz, Zack Schwartz and others. His last work at Disney was as an atmosphere sketch artist on 1942's Bambi.


    

After leaving Disney behind, he left his established style behind too. From 1942 till 1962, he worked for  Little Golden Books, illustrating with his new look books like Tawny Scrawny Lion, Little Black Sambo and The Poky Little Puppy. The latter became the best-selling English Language hard cover children's book of all time. In the well-known story, the titular puppy is repeatedly punished for indulging in his curiosity and individuality. He did still tackle fantasy subjects, including Canterbury TalesKing Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, The Giant with the Three Golden Hairs and Snow White and Rose Red.

Gustaf Tenggren died in 1970 at Dogfish Head in Southport, Maine. After his death, some Tenggren's art was donated to the University of Minnesota to be included in the Kerlan Collection of Children's Literature. In his memory, a nine-meter-tall bronze sculpture of Pinocchio, designed by artist Jim Dine, has been erected in Borås, a town near Tenggren's birthplace.

Happy Birthday, Winsor McCay!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 26, 2010 05:11pm | Post a Comment


Today is the birthday of artist, animator and vaudevillian Winsor McCay, who, were he still alive, would be 139 -- or 144 years old… more on that later. Like many animation pioneers,  McCay's work has been largely overshadowed by his better known successors, Walt Disney and the Fleischer Brothers. But if it weren't for McCay, who knows what they'd have done with their lives. 

 

 

Zenas Winsor McKay was born September 26th -- either in 1871 in Spring Lake, Michigan (according to McCay), or in 1869 in Canada (according to his tombstone), or 1867 in Canada (according to the census). What is not disputed is that he was the son of Robert McKay (later changed to McCay) and Janet Murray McKay. Robert worked variously as a teamster, grocer and real estate agent. They sent him to Cleary's Business College in Ypsilanti, Michigan. At Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University), John Goodison (a former glass stainer) taught him the fundamentals of art. McCay moved to Chicago in 1889 with the intention of attending the Art Institute of Chicago. However, unable to afford tuition, he found a job at the National Printing and Engraving Company where he made circus and theatrical posters. In 1901, he moved to Cincinnati, where he worked as an artist for Kohl and Middleton's Vine Street Dime Museum and married Maude Leonore Dufour. 

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Bill Thompson - The Voice of Droopy Dog and Wallace Wimple...

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 8, 2010 01:45pm | Post a Comment


Today is the birthday of radio and voice actor Bill Thompson. Although he also sang for a bit with The Sinclair Weiner Minstrels, he was best known for voicing the characters Wallace Wimple and Droopy Dog.

William H. Thompson was born on July 8, 1913, in Terre Haute, Indiana to a Vaudevillian family. Bill began his career making regular appearances on Don McNeill’s variety show, The Breakfast Club, on Chicago radio in 1934.

Around 1936, he joined the cast of Fibber McGee and Molly, where he played several characters including Widdicomb Blotto (aka Horatio K. Boomer) and Nick Depopulis. In 1937 he introduced The Old Timer, whose classic statement, “That's pretty good, Johnny, but that ain't the way I heeerd it!” became a national catch phrase. In 1941, McGee’s frequent foil, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, left the show to star in his own sitcom, The Great Gildersleeve.

Thompson ultimately reintroduced Mr. Wimple in 1941 to fill "The Great Man’s" newly-created vacancy. Wallace Wimple was a henpecked milquetoast who lived in fear of his abusive, oft-discussed but never seen/heard wife, “Sweetie Face.” His mush-mouthed greeting, “Hello, folks,” was another big laugh-getter and inspired Tex Avery to build a character around his voice. The result was one of MGM’s most enduring cartoon characters, Droopy Dog. The jowly Droopy Dog was one of the most beloved cartoon characters of all time; he was a mild-mannered basset hound who was usually motivated by his romantic pursuit of various beautiful, vaguely disturbing anthropomorphic beauties. Given his lethargic demeanor and small stature, he was frequently exposed to bullying which would provoke hilarious displays of surprising physical strength, albeit meted out with his normal, stone-faced stoicism.

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