Sunday, February 24, 2013

It’s Me, Mon Ami!

Life is full of pleasant surprises! And this was a great big one for me…

A French Canadian Disney comics licensed publisher, PRESSES AVENTURE of Montreal, is presently releasing a series of thick, sturdy, and attractive softback books predominately featuring the later Boom! Disney comic material.

Number 16 in the series, is titled “Donald Et L’Or Des Pirates”, and includes (in order) the original Carl Barks and Jack Hannah 1942 classic “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold”, an Egmont Gladstone Gander story from 2000, the noteworthy specimen of comics pre-history “Donald Duck Special Correspondent” that David Gerstein did such a marvelous job in translating for Boom!, and concluding with Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold Again – titled here “Donald et le Nouvel Or des Pirates”!

Both “Pirate Gold” stories feature the parrot “Old Yellow Beak”, or “Le Vieux Bec Janue”. Please forgive any errors I may inadvertently commit in my attempts to present the French language in this post.

Now, pairing the original “Pirate Gold” saga with its early sixties sequel from Italy would be special enough -- and something we didn’t get to have here in the states – but this particular packaging goes an amazing step further by taking MY ENGLISH LANGUAGE SCRIPT for “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold Again”, as seen in Boom!’s DONALD DUCK # 366 (2011), and translating THAT into French!

Click to enlarge illustrations:
So, at the bottom of the illustration above, Donald says: “Nice night for a thriller! How ‘bout ‘The Monster that Ate the Other Monster’?”

And, in the PRESSES AVENTURE edition, he says: “Belle soiree pour un suspense! Que diriez-vous de ce film: Le Monstre Qui a Devore L’Autre Monstre?” (Sorry this keyboard does not allow for proper accent marks!)

Or, at the bottom of this one:
Yellow Beak: "Yo-Ho! Still remember yer ol’ shipmate, eh?"

First Nephew: "You took us on..."

Second Nephew: "...our first adventure!"

Donald: "And 5,941 harrowing escapes later, we meet again!"

…And, in French:

Yellow Beak: “Argh! Z’avez pas oublie’ votre vieux cap’taine hein?”

First Nephew: “Tu nous as menes dans notre…”

Second Nephew: “…Premiere aventure!”

Donald: “Et 5,941 peripeties plus tard, nous viola reunis!”

He's not a fan of Adventure -- in ANY language!

These are bits that were EXCLUSIVELY MINE, not part of any previous translation, and here they are translated into French!

And, if there’s any doubt, or possibility of coincidence, I called the treasure island “Boli-Boli-Holi-Moley” – and PRESSES AVENTURE called it “Boli-Bola-Bolo-Hola”. (Likely making their own joke, after mine!)

Even some of my trademark PUNS remain intact… to the best extent they can, such as the sign fronting the Beagles International Tahiti headquarters on Page 21:




…And, in French:




There are no words to adequately describe the “geeky-thrill” I experienced looking through this, even though I can hardly read a word of it.

Other scripts of mine that have found their way into French translations are Moldfinger – or The Spy who Ducked-Out on Me(Donald Duck Classics: Quack-Up) and The Last Auction Hero(UNCLE SCROOGE # 397).

I wish PRESSES AVENTURE great success in this enterprise, while I consider investing in a crash course in French!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Watching Old Movies: Our (Chan)ging Language.

Let us investigate the strange case of a particular word...
Once upon a time, there was a word that served as a slang term for “Detective”, as seen in the title of this classic W.C. Fields film.

In that sense, it also played a key role in the naming of this iconic comic strip character.

Along the way, our featured word acquired certain “other meanings”… including, but certainly not limited to, a person who indulges in purposefully rude, obnoxious, and insensitive behavior.

Oddly, in the 1939 film “Charlie Chan in Honolulu” – a film, coincidentally, about a DETECTIVE – one (or more?) of the word’s later-acquired multiple meanings inadvertently come into play.

Watching it with the CAPTIONING ON only “enhances” the experience, as seen below, when two crooks discuss "the guy on the left's effectiveness at passing himself off as a detective".

Click to Enlarge:

In tandem with the image and text below (backing the film up just a few frames), whatever one might be thinking right about now likely becomes doubly reinforced.

Click to Enlarge:

Good Night, Everybody!

Hah!  For once, we got the last laugh on old Will Hays! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Animaniacs Volume 4: Update 2: “Meet the Warner Brothers, and the Warner Sister Dot".

No, we’re certainly not meeting them for the first time.  More like we’re getting started on the great new DVD set Animaniacs Volume 4.   …Though, just for fun we MIGHT “…run around the Warner Movie Lot”.  Just a little, maybe…

You can find our original post on the set HERE, and our first update HERE.   This final volume begins even better than I expected.  Nothing but complete and utter enjoyment, spread out over the first three episodes.    
I’m issuing "Spoiler Warners”… I mean “Spoiler WARNINGS” on all.   Here they are: 
We're the Spoiler Warners and the Warner Sister Dot -- and you're our "Special Friend"!

Episode # 1:  Gimme the Works” / “Buttons in Ows” / “Hercules Unwound”:

Right out of the gate, the Warners screw with your expectations…  Bless their devious little trickster hearts.

They run across a loud, foul-tempered hot-dog vendor, whom Yakko ominously declares is their new “special friend”.  But, just when you were expecting Hot-Dog Guy to get the titular “Works”, Dot declares that she’s just not into it today, and the trio walk off leaving the venomous vendor sadly un-harassed.
What's "hot" is "not" for Dot!

Heedless toddler Mindy crawls off after little dog Toto, with her canine rescuer Buttons in hot pursuit, and they all get tornadoed-away to Oz.  Does Buttons get Munchkin-mashed, and Ruby Slipper-slammed?  Whadda you think?!  Special appearance by Pinky and The Brain, as “the mice behind the curtain”.
He's off to be creamed by the Wizard!

Finally, an ultra-whiny version of Hercules faces his legendary labors… and the prospect of being heckled by Yakko, Wakko, and Dot.  But, in a marvelous “call-back” to the show’s opening, Dot’s still not into it so, believe it not, we abruptly shift into a Pinky and The Brain cartoon... using Hercules and Zeus as The Brain’s latest pawns toward achieving (ancient) world domination! 
After the Warners left... Joan Rivers?
Talk about screwing with your expectations!  I don’t think I’ve EVER seen such an unexpected shift in focus before.  I’m sorry if I’ve spoiled this for anyone – but it serves to show just how talented the ANIMANIACS staff of writers actually were!   
The same thing we do every night... Try to take over a cartoon!

Episode # 2:  This Pun for Hire” / “Star Truck” / “Go Fish” / “Multiplication Song”:

Oh, did I say the writing staff on ANIMANIACS was TALENTED?  I can’t begin to adequately describe the feelings brought on by watching “This Pun for Hire”! 

I’ve not seen “This Pun for Hire” for nearly 15 years, and I loved it THEN… but NOW that I’ve come to fancy myself a writer (if even in my own mind, and a few scattered issues of Disney comic books), I view it with utter awe and unabashed envy!  How I would love to write dialogue THIS GOOD and THIS FUNNY! 

What could have been little more than a routine parody of “The Maltese Falcon” in lesser hands, is an absolutely amazing, non-stop laugh fest!  This is the kind of thing that can make you laugh heartily out loud, even when sitting alone with it late at night, after your spouse has retired.  (It did for me!) A relentless assault on your funnybone, that pushes the envelope in every conceivable direction.  When a guest appearance by FREAKAZOID! isn’t even the second-or-third funniest thing in the picture, you KNOW you’ve got something special.
You mean I didn't get the BEST LINES?!

Not to be overshadowed, “Star Truck” may very well be the best animated parody / tribute to that classic series.  What’s worse than becoming the Warners’ “special friend of the day”?  Why, having them be FANS of yours, of course!  And, like so many of us nerds and geeks, fans of “Star Truck” they are. 

This episode may have pioneered the “halting cadence” that has now become the de-facto method of vocally impersonating William Shatner.  We see the “Scotty character’s” transformation from the relatively slim engineer of 1966’s first season to the bloated, mustachioed persona of the ‘80s film series occur before our eyes.  And, the Spock character has the “expected / unexpected consequences” of a mind-meld with Wakko.  You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Wakko’s familiar “Faboo!” spoken in a Spock-parody voice!

The balance of the show has Wakko playing a card game with himself (escalating the stakes and violence level), and one of those Yakko educational songs about multiplication.   After the first two ABSOLUTE GEMS, it’s almost as if… who cares!  You could have tacked on ANYTHING, and the show would still be a success. 
I know... Let's just tack on ANYTHING!

Episode # 3:  “The Sound of Warners” / “Yabba Dabba Boo” :
Ev-ery-ting is peaceful... TOO peaceful!
The Warners meet their match in a “Julie-Andrews-like” nanny assigned to keep them out of trouble.  A really nice twist to this is that Yakko, Wakko, and Dot can’t drive her away in their usual heckling style because she has not been rude, or taken any aggressive actions against them.  It’s sort of their code, like the later Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny.  So, they get someone else to handle the job.  Care to guess who? 
Ahhh... Don't think so HARD, ya might HURT yerself!

By now, you know the drill.  Chicken Boo, now in the guise of script-doctor “Larry Gel-Boo” is brought in to save a Flintstones script, which is failing badly.  His “clucks” are amazingly just what the script needs to send the producer and the rest of the Writer's Room into fits of laughing hysterics.  A lone writer, who sees Boo as the chicken he is, sits dumbfounded until vindicated by the eventual reveal. 

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that not everyone likes Chicken Boo, nor do they find the variations on the single plot of a chicken infiltrating various areas of human endeavor to be as absurdly funny as I do.   But, I can’t apologize for that.  This tickles my sense of the absurd, and that must have been the feeling at Warner Bros. and Spielberg’s as well.  So, add a few points if you’re a “Boo-Booster”, and subtract a few if you’re not.  
Give me a "B"!  Give me an "O"! Give me an "O"!
 No matter, I just hope you're all enjoying ANIMANIACS Volume 4 as much as I am! 
Will be be ..."Back" with more?  Ya never know!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy V-Day!

Okay, now stop reading this, and tell that special person you love them! 
Make them some coffee.  Pour them some wine.  Or, make them some coffee BECAUSE you’ve poured them too much wine!

Clean the snow off their car, and the cobwebs from your head. 

Tell them what they mean to you… ‘cause you can’t when you’re dead! 

Okay, maybe don’t tell ‘em like THIS! 

We'll have more Animaniacs Volume 4 stuff coming up, after this V-Day break!   

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Life and Times of Don Rosa!

The next Animaniacs Update will be delayed another day or two, because you MUST read this fascinating piece by Don Rosa on the reasons for his retirement. 

It comes to us via a link from Mark Evanier's great Blog -- HERE!

Please read everything Mark has to say, and then take his link to Don Rosa's writings.  

I've had the pleasure of meeting Don Rosa many times at conventions. He is a gentleman and a fine fellow -- and I'm truly sorry to learn of a number of the things he discuses.  And discusses with great candor, I might add. 

The Disney related stuff is of little surprise.  I'm just happy we had Don's work to enjoy IN SPITE OF IT! 

Thanks to Mark Evanier for bringing this to my attention. 

And more thanks than I could ever express to Mr. Don Rosa for a ride I didn't believe could be possible in the Post-Barks era of Disney Duck comic books. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What I Did – and Didn’t Do – Today!

What I did today! 

What I didn’t do today, but wish I did! 

Yes, this means I’d rather jump out of a water tower (at great risk of bodily injury, I might add) than discover a supernaturally placed shovel, impossibly positioned in a massive snowdrift, with no logical way to account for how it could possibly have gotten there! 

…Or, maybe I’d just rather watch more of that great ANIMANIACS DVD, than spend most of my day shoveling over a foot of February nor’easter snow.  Ya, think?  Maybe?  Huh? 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Animaniacs Volume 4: Update # 1: “Floundering Fan Mail”.

As you might expect, I’ve been spending some joyous time with everyone’s favorite “Horrible Little Puppy Children”, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, on the new DVD set ANIMANIACS Volume 4. 

See THIS POST for more, and pay close attention to the part concerning the riotous episode “Back in Style” (1997), and our friend Top Cat James’ comment that draws very valid parallels to its “predecessor-in-subject-matter”, “Don’t Touch That Dial”, a 1988 episode of MIGHTY MOUSE: THE NEW ADVENTURES.

No, we’re not gonna do the comparison here, though it might turn up as a future post, but both were magnificent spoofs of the gloried and not-so-gloried past and the then-present of the TV animation industry.
With “Back in Style”, ANIMANIACS sends-up not only Hanna-Barbera (Yogi Bear Era), Hanna-Barbera (Scooby-Doo Era), and Filmation (Fat Albert) but, seeing it again after nearly 15 years, I can also add Total Television (Underdog), and The Beatles cartoon of the mid-1960s. 
Doesn't look a THING like me, Boob!
Another thing I completely forgot about, until seeing it again, was the INTRODUCTION piece that preceded the title card for “Back in Style”, which references Rocky and Bullwinkle.  In particular, the well-known and oft-repeated 1960s interstitial segment where R&B find a message in a bottle… that turns out to be a Message-From-Our-Sponsor.  Before that not-so-startling revelation, Bullwinkle asks if it is “Fan mail from some flounder”.   

Just like the Moose and Squirrel, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot also find a message in a bottle.  But, we’ll just let the dialogue take over…

WAKKO:  I think we’re lost!”


WAKKO:  Fan mail from some flounder?”

YAKKO:  No, it’s from some ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER… We should have never STOLEN THIS BIT!”

DOT:  At least we didn’t steal the NEXT CARTOON!” 

YAKKO:  That’s what YOU think!” 
...Now, it's what we KNOW!
And, while any aficionado of sixties animation would get the Rocky and Bullwinkle reference, if Top Cat James never drew for me the parallels between “Don’t Touch That Dial” and the later “Back in Style” (both written by Tom Minton, who must surely have written this intro as well) I’d still not fully “get” that final joke!  …Thanks, TCJ! 

Now, “Don’t Touch That Mouse!” (not Mighty Mouse), because we will very likely have another Animaniacs Volume 4: Update coming soon.  Stay tuned… or blogged… or logged-on, or whatever…