It’s been three years since I left Atlanta behind, and it feels as if I left an entirely different way of living. The Atlanta animation community has a curious quirk; it’s primarily made up of men in their late 30s/early 40s who have an obsession with the 1950s and 60s. And old friend use to theorize that we become obsessed with the generation of the decade in which we were born; either he’s incorrect or Generation X doesn’t think the 70s are interesting enough to obesess over.
A couple of relevant examples: Alton Brown is classic Atlanta, and if you watch his show often enough you’ll see plenty of retro dishes. And then there’s the Starlight Drive-in. Every summer they host B science fiction double features, and then ramp up the festivities with surfing bands (who play on the roof of the snack bar) and tiki merchandise. People arrive in Betty Page haircuts and mopeds to watch the show, and some of them seem a lot more interested in being part of the image than watching the movie.
But the heart of retro Atlanta for them who cartoon is the annual Clay Croker Halloween party. Clay is the voice of Zorak and one of the creators behind Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. He’s also a collector of all kinds of oddities, including film reels and Godzilla models, and his home is a monument to the mid-century. When one of Atlanta’s drive-ins closed down he bought the leftovers, and on Halloween he plays monster movies on a backyard screen while serving popcorn from a tiki bar. Who knows if the parties are still going on, but when they were it was the place to see every animator in town, young and old, in every medium, even when they weren’t getting along. They would pass in and out, eat hot dogs and cheer on the cartoons, Japanese serials and space schlock flickering on the screen. There was always a crisp bite in the air, there was always plenty to eat, there were always dramatic reunions before sober mornings brought back the drama. He would probably laugh if he ever found out how much I looked forward to those parties.
As Halloween rolls around again, remembering those days got me thinking about doing something similar on a tiny scale. Too bad I won’t have the tiki torches, but at least I can make hot dogs.
I’ve belonged to a stock photography community for about two years. There’s a big controversy going on over there right now as photography submitters are going after vector illustrators that may have referenced their work. While I can understand getting irritable over an obvious copy of a distinctive shot, getting in a twist over the similarity between your picture of a car and the illustrator’s vector car is why I’m pulling out. I have visions of photographers making 30 cents a download scouring a Dave Mack comic for similar poses so they can SUE!!! I point out Mack because I caught him doing exactly that with a magazine photo in one of his panels years ago. Referencing a photo for a drawing is as old as taking a picture, and I’m surprised photo people are just discovering this. Some of the back and forth reminded me of this.
It was one of those kind of weeks as our server went down for roughly three days for Scooter and Ferret, four days for the Animation Closet. The only parts of AC that I regularly update are the Links page and the Ball Blog, so my memory was failing me as I tried to figure out which portfolio sections were old and which were vital to a complete site. Even now, I have nagging suspicions that broken links are hiding in unexpected places. I hope that if anyone finds said sneaky little 404 errors that they will contact my very tired self.
Getting back to animation news, I’ve put off making any comments about Father of the Pride in favor of other news. I did sit down to watch it not long ago, and I couldn’t make it through an entire episode. I understand that most of the content is again made outside of the United States, but that aside, I can’t understand the thinking behind this show. I saw approximately twenty minutes of the program, and there were at least three sexual innuendos that made me extremely uncomfortable. The humor is adult, and perhaps it is a bit disturbing that much of its audience would probably be children. Bothersome as that is, what really made me cringe was that it was coming from animal characters. In my brief session I was treated to two meerkats having a heavy make-out session and a lion warning two warthogs that excessive steroid use could shrink their genitals. If I never have to think about warthog crotches again it will be too soon.
It’s hard to think that the weird vibe going on in this cartoon is not going to turn off the typical television viewer; someone who more than likely needs serious convincing before he will give an animated show a chance. I’m going to predict that this show will not last long, despite having some very nice production values.