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This issue of FILM COMMENT changed completely my thinking on Hollywood Cartoons.








Sunday, January 6.

5pm: THE PIONEERS I expect early work not to be very exciting. In animation the reverse is true. The early work is really exciting. Features films from John Stuart Blackton, Emil Cohl, Winsor McCay, Max Fleischer, Paul Terry, Walter Lantz and Walt Disney. Naturally some folk will be offended.

Sunday, January 13.

5pm: FELIX THE CAT KEEPS ON WALKING. Artists get fed from the last teat on the bull. Otto Mesmer was the artist who created Felix The Cat. Pat Sullivan was the producer who took the credit and the cash. Felix was huge. His films are madly inventive. It’s no wonder the public loved him.

Sunday, January 20.

5pm: WALT DISNEY BEFORE MICKEY MOUSE. Walt Disney was so broke during the dawn of his career in animation that he would scrounge the trash of his neighbor for half eaten cans of beans. Told that must have been terrible Disney said, “No. I like beans.”

That’s what separates we who do from those who aspire. People who aspire always settle for second best. We who do don’t. We are called difficult. Consider it a compliment. Program includes films made for the Kansas City Ad Company, Alice’s Adventures In Cartoonland, Oswald The Lucky Rabbit and others.

Sunday, January 27.

5pm: OUT OF MAX FLEISCHER’S INKWELL. Max Fleischer’s Studio, located in New York, is the only animation studio ever which, consciously or unconsciously, followed the same process in the creation of its films as did and do the best jazz musicians. “Most teachers say you should go to school to get your degree to have something to fall back on. Aside from being a huge lie, that also creates a very high level of mediocrity, because nobody who really believes that is going to take the leap of faith required to be a serious artist. Stay out of school.”–Ellis Marsalis to his sons Branford, Delfeayo and Wynton. I’m with Ellis. Stay out of school. Max’s first big star was Koko The Clown. The real star of course is the body of wildly inventive films he made.

THE CINEFORUM, 463 Bathurst below College across from The Beer Store. Restricted. 19+. Donation $20.00. Private. All welcome.

“Some audience members were visibly distressed by the frequency and force of Hartt’s interjections into the program but it is clearly his chosen way of doing things, and the payoff in information is worth it. He has many good stories to tell: about Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s transformation into Mickey Mouse, Disney’s most enduring character; about the furor that greeted the creation of Tweety Pie, which subsided only when the artists painted him yellow; and much valuable technical information for the animation students. He has some interesting tales about Mel Blanc, Warners’ resident genius of voice characterization, as he continues the series with a full scale look at the Warner work of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and others. It’s the best work of its kind you will see anywhere because, except in rare oases in the United States and Eastern-Europe, they don’t make them like that anymore.”– Paul McGrath, THE GLOBE AND MAIL

A few years back I was invited to screen Fritz Lang’s silent film METROPOLIS at a Toronto cinema. When I began to introduce the film a woman in the front row said to me, “I came to see a silent film.” So did I,” said the woman sitting next to her. “So did we,” said the rest of the people in the nearly full theater.

“Are you saying you do not want to hear what I have to say?” I said. “Yes,” said the audience.

I said, “Fine.”

Then I got the film and went home.

There are many who will feel I did the wrong thing. That is unfortunate for them. The woman I later learned was Maxine J. Schacker of the MAX THE MUTT ANIMATION STUDIO and SCHOOL.

“I was told you are a bad influence, that I should not come to your programs,” a young man told me. “Who told you that?” I asked.

“Maxine Schacker,” he replied, adding he was going to her school.

Now I’m not here to diss Maxine. There are an awful lot of folk who speak highly of my work. One of those people was Chuck Jones.

A few years ago I got an email from a young man who had been in that audience. He said, “It was the moment when I fully realized what it is to be an artist. Thank you.”

David Mamet in his book TRUE AND FALSE writes, “Deny nothing. Invent nothing. Stand up. Speak up. Stay out of school.” I’m with Mamet. Stay out of school.

–Reg Hartt 1/1/2019.

When I brought Bob Clampett to Toronto in 1979 for a three day symposium on his career the animation schools and animation students told me he had nothing to teach them. I had placed a notice in an animation fanzine titled MINDrot published by David Mruz.

People flew in from all over the planet (England, France, Russia, Japan, Italy, even from Hollywood). Admission was by donation. I suggested $25 a day (by donation so that people without money could donate help). I wanted everyone who wanted to a chance to learn from one of the greatest animation artists of all time. Some young artists did help. The attitude I got from the Toronto film community was noxious.

Said David Beard, who ran Cinebooks, “Reg Hartt is under financed, over worked and snubbed. He treats animation–cartoons if you will–as art. We should be paying tribute to him.” (Toronto Star, 1980). This attitude is not directed at myself alone. This is a city bursting with talented people stuck behind a brick wall built by the talent less. People flew in for that event from all over the planet. I asked our then Mayor to welcome Bob to Toronto. His office said, “He’s spending the weekend with his kids.” I wondered what kids would not want to meet one of the people behind the greatest animated cartoons ever. I got someone much better to welcome Bob to Toronto. I got my friend Jane Jacobs. Not even Chuck Jones or Walt Disney was welcomed by someone of her stature in the global community.

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