Saturday, 9 February 2013

Mrs. Browns Boys - Feckin' Declining?

Last Monday on the BBC was the last series of Mrs. Browns Boys which aired last Monday. It is a show that has been a guilty pleasure of mine, even though it has its nits. Yet, I couldn't help but think what the show had become of in the midst of its third series. Has Mrs. Brown's Boys declined in quality? At least, I couldn't see the enthusiasm in the third series as much as the public did. I found the season finale with the entire cast singing to Grease Lightning just plain corny and the whole ending was entirely incoherent...where in any aspect did it match to the story of the last episode? Yes, I've been pondering and analysing my aspects of the show recently over the past week.

During the week, I've been reading through several newspaper articles of how the critics and columnists despise the show for its crudity and incoherence, but yet the audience loved it. Mrs. Browns Boys creator Brendan O'Carroll clearly didn't write his show to impress the critics, nor did he create the show in search for television British stars--no, the entire set of cast consist of family members and very close friends. The show clearly is for the public who appear to dislike subtle humour, the middle-aged as well as 'obsesso Aspies'.

Mrs Browns Boys originally started off as a show in Irish radio when Brendan O'Carroll created the series in 1992. A huge hit in Ireland, the show didn't reach its peak or recognition towards the UK until the BBC granted O'Carroll a series for the most popular TV channel in Britain. It was a huge success when first aired in 2011, and two more series have been commissioned, with now a forth series being considered and a movie in the works. What is it about Mrs. Browns Boys that attracts the UK proud - why it appears to outnumber supposedly superior shows like Downtown Abbey. It even outnumbers Miranda (although I'm not surprised - 'Miranda' is about as funny as a grandmother's funeral). The show recently won the National Television Award for Best Situation Comedy, and yet at the same time has been considered the worst 'comedy ever made'. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer worse than 'Mrs Browns Boys?' - surely. It's definitely not the worst comedy ever made - but I do understand the criticism the show brings; which will be broken down into a analysis.

My view of the show is its the view and caricature of the Irish dysfunctional family. Much like The Simpsons being the American dysfunctional family -- or even Chuck Jones' Three Bears series for Looney Tunes. Both are comic geniuses in displaying dysfunctional families - Mrs. Browns Boys, however, stands out as inferior amongst many family shows. It's clearly just a family show by family lover Brendan O'Carroll where they consist of no stars (except Gary Hollywood, plays Dino Doyle) who all appear to turn out either solid or hit-and-miss performances each episode. One of the reasons as to why its a guilty pleasure of mine - I'll explain the positives first: to me, Mrs. Browns Boys is a show that has guts...they throw away dirty jokes, innuendos and even profanity I thought the BBC wouldn't let slip of. I have to give credit for the character personalities which most of them are very well comically performed, with all given different and unique personalities (except characters Mark Brown and Maria Brown, who are easily the most bland characters played by two unfunny actors).

Mrs. Brown - the Irish mother, a mother of five children--is certainly a sadistic woman from the impression I see of her. Why? Lack of respect for her deceased husband, torments and harasses Grandad (even in one episode--tried to set up his death), and of course...disloyalty towards most of her friends and peers - but its all presented for comic purposes. Are they amusing - I'd say so. Is Mrs. Brown subtle with her remarks - now THAT statement is a JOKE. She is completely the opposite of subtle. It feels to me as though much of the humour turns out to me that her 'jokes' are only funny through her/his (its a man in a feckin dress) strong abundance of 'fecks' and other four-lettered words--that appear to be a real hoot for the audience. A really great example of an example can be seen in in the Second Series where Mrs Brown announces Maria being pregnant. 'I didn't tell you - Maria's pregnant. Isn't it so feckin' exciting'. The audience chuckle a little. If the show was cleaned up with the profane, with the line: 'Maria's pregnant. Isn't it exciting?' that would just be an agreement towards the audience. It turns out we are in a generation where profanity is used. Mind you, I don't really care for hearing it - I hear and even use it in every day conversation. But, what frustrates me is it appears to be only jokes for the lines just to make the audience laugh -- it seems no-one gives a damn for subtle humour anymore where it was all clean and it stimulated your thoughts.

To my guilty liking of the show - I will admit I think the first and second series were a great peak with some memorable sequences seen in television. I'll admit - Season 1, Ep. 4 - the sequence with Mrs. Brown and her rival Mrs. Nicholson having dinner together in Mrs. Brown's house is probably some of the funniest comic performances I've seen in British television. When watching the third series -- I've been starting to feel the show has started to become rather tiring and dry. The jokes didn't all appear to turn out as fresh and even a desperation for a laugh was common through the series. I suppose its never easy to make a tight episode when only two locations actually exist in the whole show (Mrs. Brown's house, the pub). It's hard to put my own finger as to why I feel the jokes had a slight decline in quality--perhaps because the third series wasn't as outrageous and even shocking as the first and second series where much of the comic humour was humour. A few of the episodes in series three seemed rather chatty and monotonous.

An example for the decline of the show--Brendan O'Carroll appears to have recycled a gag or even got gag ideas by being inspired from The Simpsons. In S3E4 - 'Mammy's Valentine', Mammy is attempting to sign in for internet dating but finds a page in her monitor that reads 'to begin press ANY KEY'. In the Simpsons episode King-Sized Homer - Homer finds the exact same message where he reads: 'To start press ANY KEY - but where's the 'any key?'. That short line and gag is suffice alone to display Homer's ignorance, which is wonderfully executed itself. Meanwhile in Mrs. Brown - you can tell Brendan is in desperation to make an audience laugh, and even tries too hard - it's barely much other than a couple of chuckles. Also, the 1st and 2nd series - had storylines that went through from the beginning to the very end; both surprising. In the 1st series - Dermot and Maria were planned on getting married where Brendan O'Carroll was very fresh on ideas. In the 2nd series - Maria was pregnant and the triplets would be born at the end of the series; which kept the show fresh. In the 3rd series; the main storyline was Mark and his family forcibly emigrating to Australia because of Mark's business corruption, but however ends up not moving. Certainly couldn't create much of a string of gags to pull off a fresh series, eh?

With issues asides, you have to give credit towards his family members and close friends who are (mostly) great actors. Brendan O'Carroll is great as Mrs. Brown, and his son Danny is brilliant as the menacing Buster Brady -- and experienced actor Gary Hollywood is excellent as the gay boyfriend (Dino now husband) of Rory Brown (played by Rory Cowan - also great) and even Dermot O'Neill as Grandad, who is probably the best actor of them all with a superb sense of deadpan. Just to name a few - but they mostly all do wonderful. With much of the gags that they have already known for the last ten years (through shows, with similar episodes with the exact same gags) I sure wonder how they are still able to crack up laughing at Mrs. Brown's jokes -- even after hearing them the last ten years or so?? If they really are that hilarious - then Brendan has the touch.

The series is expected for much more in the near future: a movie, a forth series (commissioned for 2015) and even upcoming Christmas specials. We'll see in the future what the consequences will become of...

Friday, 18 May 2012

Bussssy....

Well, I don't know whether or not to continue with my posts on 'Blabbing on Arts and Culture' as I'm more occupied with my WB blog - which you can still read if you're interested. I've gone too hard with schoolwork which is what I'll probably end up at this rate:

Enjoy the drawing I made from a photograph. Will I make another post soon? Maybe.

Friday, 30 March 2012

"War Dogs" Animator Breakdown

Hello folks; I've been busy with school work and will have little time to update the blog but I'll pop back once in a while if I have something interesting to write about. Since I've gotten into the kick of animator breakdown of Hanna-Barbera animators at MGM; I've become pretty good with the Tom and Jerry animator identifications and I feel that I ought to attempt to breakdown the 1943 cartoon "War Dogs".

War Dogs is a patriotic short directed by Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera and it was also their last cartoon made before directing nothing but Tom and Jerry cartoons up until 1958. The cartoon has dated gags here; it's an alright short but entertaining in some sequences. The dream of the dog attacking a Jap soldier was cut from television but luckily the uncut version exists on YouTube. The animator on this short in the screen credits are Kenneth Muse, Irven Spence, Pete Burness and Jack Zander, although Ray Patterson did minimum animation. Here's the breakdown:
0:31-1:29: Pete Burness
1:30-2:14: Ken Muse
2:15-3:03: Irv Spence
3:04-3:12: Jack Zander
3:13-3:35: Ken Muse
3:36-3:59: Pete Burness
4:07-4:58: Irv Spence
4:59-5:25: Jack Zander
5:26-6:20: Ken Muse
6:32-6:41: Ray Patterson (uncredited)
I'm still pretty uncertain with the scenes; such as the air plane sequence because I don't know if Spence did ALL of it; but it has Spence's rubbery mouth so it's obviously him. The tent sequence is likely to be Kenneth Muse with the on-modelness but it's hard to say since there's a lot of volume changing in the drawings. It appears to be that Jack Zander did little animation on the cartoon and the only scenes which I'm positive he worked on was the dog testing the new helmet; and the two dogs as messengers before the sequence starts - although I don't know if that's all he did but these were the only scenes I found that didn't look like Ken, Spence or Pete would work on; Zander was pretty rubbery as an animator so I found them.
Pete Burness' animation in that short at the very beginning is pretty good stuff although it's roughly almost one minute of animation which is roughly 90 feet of animated footage. This must've taken him at least a month to have worked on that scene since the footage rota for MGM animators was 25 feet a week. Pete Burness had the knack of drawing characters that would bounce with weird poses; he tend to draw mouths with no edge parts attached together - this probably doesn't sound clear but see for yourself. He did a funny scene too with the dog on the novelty air plane. His poses weren't very snappy but was a fine animator with the movement.
Kenneth Muse did the most animation in the short although mind you; he was Hanna-Barbera's favourite animator at that time so don't expect less animation. He did a great scene of the line of dogs with the general ordering the dog to do these random positions; as well as the tent scenes; and the tank scenes. He is the most on-model animator; his animation is more meticulous than the other animators; and probably the most Disney-looking of them. He's one of the fancier looking animators as well as being the most productive. Greg Duffell told me how that Kenneth Muse would use to animate all the time; and even at the beach. He drew mouths in an off-model way and drew teeth grins rather snappy.
Irven Spence is of course a great animator in terms of timing, movement and comedy. He never focused on how the character should look and didn't intend to bother. He drew very funny drawings for his animated scenes which looks a delight once it's seen on the screen. He wasn't a straight ahead animator; he always planned out his scenes carefully which makes him a great animator. He got a fair bit of animation in this short including that one whole shot of the dog and the slide show presentation. The scene where he rips off the paper finding a picture of Hitler is just priceless since it feels just like looking at Spence drawing random poses and placing them in the scene. The airplane sequence was hard to figure out but it has his rubbery mouth and loose movement which is also a pretty funny scene. I like how he drew the dog in this short with it's tongue sticking out; he really gave the dog a "REAL" dog personality with its tongue sticking out and behaving like a dopey dog.
Jack Zander was another rubbery animator who we used to think did the cute, curvy baby looking scenes in the early Tom and Jerries but it turned out to be George Gordon. His work is small work but I imagine this was because of Zander left MGM Studios while this short was still in production and also did minimum animation in 'Yankee Doodle Mouse' which probably resulted to why he didn't do as much. His animation was pretty good at MGM with some pretty good loose stuff.
The last animator here of course is Ray Patterson but he is of course uncredited. He only did those minimum scenes of the dog inside the kennel and nothing else. I imagine that his was his FIRST scene he did with Hanna-Barbera when he arrived at MGM in 1942/43 when this cartoon was probably still in production finishing up with animation and Ray was just given (probably) a leftover scene or maybe the scene was animated by somebody else and was called to redo it; who knows? His first screen credit for Hanna-Barbera was on 'Baby Puss' where he got a fair part of animation. Ray Patterson in MGM apears to be the type of animator that focuses on drawing. He draws lots of details on the characters with wrinkles coming out on parts of the body; like the mouth, ears, etc. He would draw mouths on thee side of the character's cheeks in dialogue and draw them in a gummy way; he drew pouty faces, too. He's probably the type of animator that would go through the action of  the scene but redo it again to make it pretty. He has a neat style although his drawings and scenes are more suitable for acting and dialogue scenes which he was great at.
I'm afraid I'm going to leave that until now but I hope you've enjoyed the commentary I've put together and I hope to post soon but I guarantee it will be a while.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mendelssohn's Spring Song - Cy Young

Hi there - folks. Sorry if it feels like AGES since I haven't written a post in there since I've been pretty busy with the other blog and schoolwork, but since the blog seems incredibly empty - I thought I'd step back in for a short time. Recently; I came across some interesting animated shorts that I recall from memory that I want to review again; but here is a cartoon that I remember watching the first time about two years ago and it was directed by a favourite of mine, Cy Young back in 1931.

The short is titled Mendelssohn's Spring Song. Of course; this cartoon is sort of like a presentation or showing animation combining with the Mendelssohn piece. It seems that at the time Cy was trying to find a distributor to that short and some sources say Walt Disney saw the cartoon himself and it was the reason why Young was hired to the Disney Studios. This cartoon was put onto by DVD by Steve Stanchfield some years ago; and I remember it being on YouTube once; and I'm going to go through it again. The animation in it can he really bizarre but wonderful to look at; and I think I want to go through it - by step. The music is credited to Carlo Peroni.

Here's the YouTube video before you watch when I go through it.

I'll post most of the short's pictures of the scenes by using the screen grabs and then I'll end it with my overall comments; as I wish I could review the whole thing - but having to have done many Buddy cartoons to review; I don't know I have the energy - but you follow and read. :-)












I love how the cartoon opens with the terminal sign "Aunt Arctica" and there are these two Eskimos like that pull a switch in which a traffic sign pops up but hit's the sun's face that shouts "OUCH!". It's very amusing to look at; but it looks a little creepy for starters but the timing is awesome. The flame of the sun then lands on a steam locomotive in which the engine is about to start. There are these weird bizarre bells that are starting the train with the sun shouting "All aboard!". I love the animation on how that the train wheels have just got a bump at the end of the wheels and they're sort of like jumping - just perfect timing for a 1931 cartoon.

The train then starts to go under a tunnel in which there is a beautiful background effect of going inside the tunnel and the lights inside the dark. I wonder if Cy Young did all the animation himself since he was sort of an effects animator. What I find really crazy but subtle is that the train was a caterpillar crawling out of a piece of fruit and onto a tree. The caterpillar then unzips itself and forms into a butterfly. Gorgeous animation; it's all just wonderful to look at. The butterfly then has a violin and bow that pops out by magic. He starts to play with it's finger popping off and playing the lower notes on the strings.

They're all pretty colors that all work - even though this isn't Technicolor. The trees and cloud turn into dancing; the backgrounds are very simple looking but wonderful. I like how the cloud dancers are dropping rain that look like tears. The raindrop animation that lands on leaves is pretty beautiful although the animation standards on effects animation weren't fully accomplished. I like the effects that show the butterfly passing through the trees in which the flowers then start to change colors or even the part when that bug is painting roses red.

As we track down the red roses we see these Romeo & Juliet type bugs that are doing an impression of the balcony sequence in the Capulet's orchard. The bug is playing harp music on the spider web. The female spider then brings down a barrel of love hearts which I guess is romantic for a cartoon. The bugs are then swinging by a spider web cuddling each other. Aww. The next part we see some frog animation and has "Zzz" letters coming out which means he's having a snooze - and we see some clever animation the letter movement.

The cartoon comes to an end in which we see these two birds that are carrying with them - erm, something red or for the baby birds to eat. Inside the birdhouse is a mother bird cradling some eggs that aren't hatched yet. The family of birds then start to have dinner. The mother pulls out a tureen in which there is a whole giant worm for everyone. The last frames of this short are in black-and-white. Is this because of a fuzzy film projector or that the cartoon wasn't yet completed?

Overall comments: My overall comments on this short cartoon is that it's sort of like watching a very early Silly Symphony cartoon made around 1929 up to 1931; with all those bug scenes and also the choice of the song used; which is Mendelssohn's Spring Song. I think this was probably shot in 2-strip color but the credits says it was shot in Brewster Color. Cy Young; who directed this cartoon is credited as "Sy Young". Which is probably rare for him to be credited that way. The song is pretty popular in animated cartoons, since guys like Tex Avery used the song often for his cartoons; and Carl Stalling - as well as other cartoon directors. The surrealistic images at the beginning are just wonderful to look at. The animation was just beautiful to look at; and it's pretty much unknown and I feel it deserves some recognition. I wonder if Cy Young did all the animation? The beginning really sticks to me the most since I love the bizarre surrealistic parts of this animation which all works really well and what a cartoon at the time should be. It gives us the feeling that animation can do bizarre things. Bravo do Steve Stanchfield for finding the 35mm copy.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Happy Birthday to me

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is! Just thought I'd put that out there for anyone who's interested. Now that I'm 19, I can legally drink alcohol in bars!

Friday, 25 November 2011

100 Years - Ray Patterson! (Belated)

by Steven Hartley.

On the November 23rd, it would be exactly 100 years since Ray Patterson was born, he died in 2001 on December 30th and could've lived another 10 years to celebrate. I am going to make a tribute about Ray Patterson with his work on animation that he worked on, I'll include some personal information on Ray, and also some animation scenes that he animated on through my knowledge..

Here is a picture of Ray Patterson. Probably taken around the 1930's at some dress-party.

Raymond Shepard Patterson was born on November 23, 1911 in the Los Angeles County to the parents of Searles William Patterson (7/29/1882-3/29/1960) and Marlon Leslie Shepard (10/16/1886-1/9/1976). He had two brothers, one older named Donald W. Patterson (born 26 December 1909 in Illinois), you guessed it - it's animator Don Patterson who later became a famous animator for Disney, Walter Lantz and Hanna-Barbera. 

His first animation career started at the Charles Mintz Studios in 1929 when he was only 18. He stayed at the Mintz Studios for roughly eight or nine years, where he worked as an inbetweener and ink and painter. Eventually he became an animator and character designer. Below are some drawings that Ray did at the Mintz studios (not mine, but courtesy of the ASIFA-Hollywood Archives site):

At around 1938, he then left the Mintz Studios, where he finally got a job as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios where he was working on features like Fantasia and Dumbo where he got screen credit in both those films. He arrived in roughly 1939, and his brother Don Patterson must've been around at Disney a year earlier, when he would be busy working on Pinocchio animating cuckoo clocks, and Pinocchio and Gepetto in the raft. He didn't animate very much at Disney, and he certainly wasn't there for very long at all, but he has contributed to some animated scenes. He seemed to have paired up with Grant Simmons at Disney, (they later became partners years later). Ray animated some scenes of the elephants in the "Dance of the Hours" section in Fantasia here is the sequence to find his only scenes.

He also worked on a Donald Duck cartoon called Truant Officer Donald and there is a scene of what he animates:

Here Ray Patterson animates on the 0:56 mark up to the 1:49 mark.

Here, on Dumbo - Ray contributed to the film with some great animation. His most notable animation on that film was on the clowns in the fire brigade act. Skip to the act where you see animation of clowns in the fire brigade performance. Ray did a lot of work on that sequence, Grant Simmons worked on that, too. Ray Patterson's scenes there includes the introduction scenes of the clowns in the fire engine and they all scramble in panic, and the small clown climbing up a tiny ladder and trips. One of his greater scenes in that sequence, is the clown up a ladder and roasting a sausage by a flaming fire. He did more animation on the clowns later on. His animation was identical to his MGM animation, and he was just a cartoony animator in the Disney films, when usually it was all personality and emotions.

Around that time, Ray Patterson was married in 1940 to a lady named Antoinette (surname unknown), they were married in 1940, but unfortunately they were divorced in 1942 after only two years. He did eventually remarry in 1946 to a June Walker (?) the marriage lasted longer, but only for about six years. He at least had a daughter named Kim, but date is unknown.

There is an interesting part about Ray Patterson in a Walt's People - Volume 9 in a Art Scott interview where during Ray's time at Disney, their wives would be working late at the ink and paint department working on Bambi and that Ray and Art would play badminton - and both of them even played a match against Walt Disney and Ham Luske. Art said about Ray as a very skilled badminton player. Here is a snippet on what Artie said about Patterson:

Ray Patterson had been an animator there, at the old Mintz Studio. Another one from that group that was there was Fred Abrams [Is that Ray Abrams who worked for Tex Avery?] He's an animator here. And Hal Ambro, who was an inbetweener. He and I were inbetweeners together. And he became assistant there, and then we went on to Disney's together. And Ray went on to Disney. He and I were at Disney together.
In fact, one time when we were there we were still at the old Hyperion studio, and he and I used to play badminton a lot together. We were over waiting for our wives, because our wives were working in the Painting Department, so they were working late because they were finishing Bambi or something...Anyway, they were working late, So we went on a soundstage to play badminton. He and I were hitting the bird back and forth, and who should walk in but Walt Disney. Of course, we were a couple of new guys there and we were using this stage. It was Walt and Ham Luske and their wives, and they were there for an evening of badminton, and here these two clods are out there...(laughs).
So Walt, being magnanimous with this couple of guys there, let their wives sit out, and said, "Why don't you join us?" So the wives watched while Ray and I played Ham Luske and Walt Disney. Not because I was any good, because I was hardly a player at all, but Ray was excellent, Ray was a fantastic player. And we ripped them. Ray, the day after he goes, "Do you think we ought to have done that?"
 The story finishes with Walt Disney and Ham Luske beating them at the badminton, but Ray was close to beating them. The text is a courtesy from Didier Ghez, and John Culhane's interview in Walt's People - Volume 9.

Ray's stint at Disney only lasted about two years, and he was involved in the Disney animator's strike in 1941, and he was one of the many animators who were laid off. Ray later found other animation jobs, he spent roughly a year at Screen Gems in 1942, and finally he moved to MGM in 1943 where he would remain there for roughly a decade working on many Tom and Jerry cartoons for Hanna-Barbera, and he has contributed to so many great animation there which I will go through and I will identify some of his scenes.

Ray's animation back around 1943-1947 is quite easy to identify, and he had a lot of details in his scenes. He was particularly great for acting scenes. He always gave Tom freckles and an upper lip, and he gave Ray a pouty lip as his trademark that no animator had ever done before. Although, when it came to movement, his animation was rather stiff compared to Ken Muse, Irv Spence or Pete Burness - but it really worked and did the job well. He gave his facial expressions for the character (if it was smiling) in a rather gummy and funny way - it wasn't as appealing as Ken Muse would handle it, but Ray did make the facial expressions look very cartoonie and very funny, but Ray's facial expressions also had character, and he looked like Ray used a lot of caricature on Tom. He wasn't very loose in the early forties, but after his year stay at England, he arrived back in 1948 and his animation became looser, and made a big change. Here, I will show you some scenes by Ray Patterson that are worth studying and memorable:

Here in Mouse Trouble Ray animates the first traps that Tom plots to try and get Jerry by using different booby traps. He animates from the 1:00 mark and continues up to 1:58, and that's all he animated on. In the mousetrap scene, he gives Jerry weight when he uses much of his strength to get the piece of cheese off, and managed to without even being snapped. Tom's eyes widen (a great 'take' by Ray) and he touches his fingers, in which he is pinched from the mousetrap - that is just bad luck for Tom.

In the hilarious Tom and Jerry cartoon Flirty Birdy (animated by Ken Muse, Irv Spence and Ray Patterson), Ray did manage to get some great scenes on his own. He animated the opening scenes of which Tom picks pieces of cheese all lined up, as a booby trap so Jerry gets caught in a sandwich. Here in this mark, Ray handles 0:25-0:53 including the scene where Tom's teeth crash together and fall apart - which is priceless. Ray Patterson comes back later on animating 3:42 and up to 4:40. 3:42 with the buzzard's take on Tom's eyelash seducing him, is just hilarious timing and a hilarious expression. Ray went very extreme with that pose and it works very well - I don't think this could've been done better, and the casting was very good. Ken Muse was known for his on-model type-animation (rather Disney looking), and Irv Spence was great for his wacky scenes in which there was little detail in the scenes.

Here, Ray Patterson animates the entire opening of the classic Quiet Please and he does some outstanding animation here. The opening is just wonderful animation (probably my favorite Patterson animation), and it involves Spike the bulldog trying to take a nap while sleeping, but he gets rather disturbed in which Tom is trying to hit Jerry with a frying pan, but hits Spike by mistake and runs off. Spike then has a gesture on his face "Oh well", and continues sleeping - but is disturbed again with gun sounds, and Tom uses his head as a base to aim his gun to Jerry. Spike gets even more annoyed, and yet again hears more sounds with Tom holding an axe and trying to chop Jerry. Luckily, Tom is holding the axe the wrong way and he keeps hitting Spike in the axe. You can tell on the look of Spike's face that he is going to murder Tom any second, until he finally stands up and gives Tom a yelling. In fact, I will break down this entire short to show you what the others did, and since this is one of my true favourites.

0:22-1:41: Ray Patterson
1:42-3:08: Irv Spence
3:09-5:06: Ken Muse
5:07-5:29: Ed Barge
5:30-5:39: Irv Spence
5:40-6:06: Ed Barge
6:07-6:23: Ken Muse
6:24-6:56: Irv Spence
6:57-7:11: Ken Muse

After 1945, Ray Patterson disappeared in the credits from 1946 and 1947 - but he did in fact do animation on those cartoons throughout 1946-1947, but just remained uncredited (the same with Pete Burness). Ray Patterson did leave MGM in 1946 to go to England where he went with Dave Hand, Ralph Wright and John F. Reed to teach British men on how to animate the way they do it. Ray stayed in England for roughly a year before his return, but he didn't do very much work on the cartoons.

Ray's (uncredited) animation in Solid Serenade:
0:32-1:15: Ray Patterson
4:15-4:36: Ray Patterson

Yes, Kenneth Muse did in fact animate the famous Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby  song score of Tom playing the double bass, but I won't go too much in there. Ray Patterson did the introduction shots again, but he did some great animation on Tom's plot on how to get to the orchard since "Killer" the bulldog is guarding the house. I really like how Ray animated that shot of Spike's teeth hit the tree, this vibration of timing he did was one of his trademark. Whenever Ray animated a character that hit a wall, he would animate the characters vibrating slightly after hitting a wall, and then stay stiff.

Here is a great scene that Ray Patterson animated from 4:44 to 5:19 in the cartoon Cat Fishin' - you can tell on how Tom vibrates when he whacks Spike in the rear end, and also don't forget the details that he adds in the characters.

During Ray's time in the UK, he was training a lot of British animators on how to animate better, as they weren't very professional with their jobs and needed help from the Americans. Ray stayed in England for a short time, and there is a web page that speaks briefly about Ray in Moor Hall, England.

Here is Ray Patterson at his time in England. Photo courtesy of Moor Hall site. Date unknown.

Ray Patterson returned to MGM full-time again in 1948 where he would continue to work on many more Tom and Jerry cartoons. Since the characters have changed through model sheets, Ray's animation was much more different. He didn't go much through detail, but he still had the upper lips in his animation, and he also draw his characters with larger mouths, and the characters weren't caricatured as Ray used to do it in 1943-1947 - with the pouty mouth and freckles, it was caricatured differently - sometimes Tom's muzzle made him look like an ape.

Here is a great cartoon Tennis Chumps with some great animation by Ray Patterson. He handles 1:27-2:04 where he animates the tennis game getting started as it gets more violent. He did a great job with how the game was warming up, and then it gets heavier. Ray Patterson also comes back on 2:38 and up to 3:37 where he animates Jerry taking both sides of the cat, by using different objects that look like tennis balls. Some very look acting scenes here, and I love how Tom breaks into pieces.

In Texas Tom, Ray Patterson got a sequence to himself, and he animated the If You're Ever Down in Texas (Look Me Up) song where he did all the sequence to himself, (the scenes where Jerry changes the pitches is by Ken Muse, but Ray animated Jerry being hit on the head from Tom's guitar). Ray's animation lasts up to the 4.05 mark.

In Tom and Jerry at the Hollywood Bowl Ray Patterson was the star animator on that short. He did the mammoth work on that cartoon (so did Kenneth Muse), but Ray got the best acting scenes to do. He animated the entire introduction at the 0:44 and up to the 1:24 mark, where he animated Tom who seemed like a professional conductor - Ray steps off for a short while, with Ed Barge taking over for a bit. He came back again on the 1:50 mark, and finished at 2:26 with Kenneth Muse taking over for roughly a minute and a half with Irv Spence animating Tom being wheeled away from the orchestra and run over by a bus - Ed Barge did a great scene after the bus scene, of Jerry's shirt being ripped, and clashed by one of the orchestra members with the cymbals. Ray Patterson came back again on the 5:48 mark where he animates the orchestra falling down a hole after Jerry sawing the members. Kenneth Muse then animated the finale of that sequence, and I believe that's all for Ray in that short. So, Ray (in my opinion) was the best animator on that short.

In Jerry's Cousin Ray didn't get much at all to work on this cartoon, but he did do a great sequence from 1.42 up to 2.29 (Ed Barge does Tom in a vase scene), and there is great exaggeration on Tom's face when Muscles places a dynamite in Tom's mouth. Ray comes back again at 5.53 up to 6.10.

This is all the information about Ray Patterson that I can provide for you, and I hope this is an example of his great work he's done. It might not be very much he animated on shorts in terms of footage, but he has done some very challenging scenes to do, and acting scenes. Ray Patterson stayed at MGM until 1953/1954 and he left, to form his own company with Grant Simmons - Grantray-Lawrence Studios where it ran from 1954-1967 and they made a lot of Superhero shows. but he did work at UPA for a short while, on the film Gay-Pur-ee.

With his colleague, Grant Simmons; the company was a low-budget studio and they mostly made commercials, but they did contribute to the Spider-Man series in which the popular theme song was in there, and probably their famous piece of work. The song was later parodied in the Simpsons Movie.

Ray Patterson at the GrantRay studios turned in a lot of projects, but some pretty awful material that he turned out was The Marvel Super Heroes and it was based on Marvel superheroes such as the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, etc. You can see the introduction and closing credits to one of them. The animation is horrible, and in Zartok-35's words, "Everything is WRONG with that animation." Of course, I don't think Ray had much involvement in those shows, but he was the producer and he had the crew's wishes to work on awful material.

Since he formed the studio, it meant that he was able to freelance at other studios such as UPA, or Walter Lantz. He worked at Hanna-Barbera in the 1960's, and he was an animator on Hey There, it's Yogi Bear! (I don't know what he animated), and he did some animation on The Flintstones. In fact, he remained at Hanna-Barbera up to around the early 1990's when he fully retired.

Ray Patterson was pretty active throughout the 1980's, when he was directing a lot of shows, but some of them were pretty awful - such as those crummy TV shows such as Tom and Jerry Kids and Yo Yogi! He paired up with animator Don Lusk who was a veteran in the animation industry. Don Lusk later said that he felt he owed a lot to Ray Patterson for helping him find jobs, and even at Hanna-Barbera. Ray Patterson was even directing some of the Scooby-Doo films such as Scooby-Doo and the Curse of the Werewolf and Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School.

Ray Patterson was the Vice President of Hanna-Barbera up to around 1993, when he officially retired. He was dedicated in a Simpsons episode Trash of the Titans when the character named Ray Patterson was voiced by Steve Martin. Ray died on December 30, 2001 in Encino, California.

Well done Ray Patterson, you've had some great career in animation - and you're pretty underrated in the animation industry, but I know that your animation is deeply appreciated not only by animation fans, but the public too, who've watched your animation in cartoons and appreciated them.

It's also sort of my special article that I've written since I've been absent for a very long time, and I hope that you will enjoy this very lengthy piece that I've done. Of course, Zartok-35 did write a short post about Ray Patterson, and he was supposed to write a bit in this article but he did it differently, in which I've posted by version.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

100 Years of Ray Patterson

100 years ago today, Raymond Patterson was born. He went on to have an interesting carreer in animation that spanned several decades and productions. In 1954, Ray Patterson and Grant Simmons started their own animation company aptly titled 'GrantRay' animation. They did mostly contract work from other animation companies. They started off by doing 2 cartoons for Walter Lantz, "Dig that dog" and "Broadway bow-wows": In the mid-1960s GrantRay did some work for Hanna Barbera, contributing animation to "Hey there, it's Yogi bear", and the "Pebbles' birthday" episode of The Flintstones. I can't tell what Ray did in the episode, but here's some Carlo Vinci animation for you: Rest in peace, Mr. Patterson. You and your work are not forgotten!