Tuesday, August 19, 2008

stop motion: kermesse fantastique

Kermesse Fantastique, produced for Phillips, was used as a Trade Test Colour Film on BBC-2.

"Before Wallace and Gromit, before Gumby and Pokey, Hungarian-born animator and director George Pal (1908-1980) created the stop-motion shorts he dubbed "Puppetoons". . .with as many as 5,000 individually carved puppets per short." -- Amazon

Speaking of Amazon, you can buy George Pal's "The Puppetoon Movie" for $10.

Alas, Kermesse Fantastique is not on it. Amazon reviewer Michael Osborn from Seattle, WA details the contents of the DVD as follows:

What you are getting on this DVD is actually TWO MOVIES FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!
First, you get `The Puppetoon Movie' which was a theatrical release in 1987. It was a labor of love written and directed by Arnold Leibovit and was born out of the highest regard for George Pal's marvelous Puppetoons from the 30's and 40's. It opens however with a somewhat inept Gumby skit wherein Pokey and Arnie the T-Rex proceed to initiate Gumby into the world of George Pal by sitting him down and showing him some Puppetoons. I advise you to skip this chapter and launch right into the second through the tenth chapters which are nine Puppetoons conveniently divided by chapters:

*1. The Little Broadcast (1943) and The Big Broadcast of '38 (1937)
*2. Hoola Boola (1938?) and South Sea Sweethearts (1938) for Horlick's
3. Sleeping Beauty (1935) for Phillips
4. Tulips Shall Grow (1942)
5. Together In The Weather (1946)
6. John Henry and the Inky Poo (1946)
7. Phillips Cavalcade (1934-9?) for Phillips Radio
8. Jasper in a Jam (194?)
9. Tubby the Tuba (1947) The last Puppetoon short made.

*Puppetoons 1 and 2 (unfortunately) each consist of two Puppetoons edited and spliced together! -why? The other ones have their logos and credits removed in an attempt to create a cavalcadesque Puppetoons show, somewhat disappointingly shorn in effect.
All of the Puppetoons were made before television was invented, when the movie theater was the true pinnacle of the dream vision manifest experience, although there were radios in practically every home. George Pal financed several of his Puppetoons by funding from clients who were basically paying to have their products' recognition foisted on an unsuspecting movie-going public. These advertisements were shown before feature films, and they were nonetheless successful because they used a soft sell approach with the product not appearing until late in the film, and even then it was almost a parody of itself.
Phillips Radio Manufactures was one of the first companies to utilize Pal's films for advertising. Radio was the "TV" of the time. Different kinds of music from around the world provided a perfect backdrop for Pal's animation, which works wonderfully when set to music. Horlick's Malted Milk was another one of Pal's many advertising clients. The product was a "tonic" which would make the drinker "energetic" almost like Popeye and his spinach.
'The Bonus Puppetoons' is the second movie and alone is worth the price of the disk! It is probably more of what you may actually be looking for. It is twelve uncut Puppetoons complete with titles and logos. Three of these Puppetoons (4, 6, and 11) are complete versions of ones cropped in 'The Puppetoon Movie' and all twelve are crisper and clearer too. Definitely satisfying.

1. What Ho, She Bumps (1937) for Horlick's
2. Bravo, Mr. Strauss (1943)
3. Olio for Jasper (1946)
4. Phillips Cavalcade (1934-9?) for Phillips Radio
5. Jasper's Derby (1946)
6. Hoola Boola (1938?)
7. Ether Symphony (1936)
8. Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1936)
9. The Magic Atlas (1935) for Phillips
10. Jasper and the Haunted House (1942)
11. The Big Broadcast of '38 (1937) for Phillips
12. Ether Ship (1934) for Phillips, (made with beautiful glass models!)

Plus: A very interesting and long interview with Puppetoon Studios animator, Bob Baker!

If you find you have to learn more about George Pal and get a copy of The Puppetoon Movie, Amazon has combined the Arnold Leibovit documentary, "The Puppetoon Movie" and Pal's first film "The Great Rupert" in a 3-disc set for $27.

(Discovered at the Secret Fun Blog)

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