An Optical Poem by Oskar Fischinger and Harry Smith’s Early Abstractions pt.3

Written by Joe D on January 26th, 2015

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I’m in an animation frame of mind these days. Here’s Oskar Fischinger’s onlyHollywood Studio comissioned film. An Optical Poem. It’s pretty amazing cosidering it’s cut out paper circles and other shapes moved along wires frame by frame. Fischinger was a pioneer in creating visual music, abstract visual music and a huge influence on many animators like Harry Smith, Jordan Belson, the Vortex group, light shows etc. I knew Harry Smith when he lived at the Chelsea Hotel in NYC. He told me he went down to L.A. to meet Fischinger in the 50’s.They had a hamburger at a diner and were very engrossed in a discussion of abstract animation when a fed up waitress told them to “get a room” at a nearby motel. Fischinger was outraged! I guess the waitress misinterpreted their passion for Visual Music for something else.


Here’s Harry Smith’s homage to Fischinger.

New Janko The Musician

Written by Joe D on January 20th, 2015

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More Polish animation from the great Jan Lenica! Visual poetry, so simple yet evocative, funny, moving. The supergraphic talents of Mr. Lenica are on full display here, it’s like some of his genius movie posters come to life. Also the music is amazing, so cool, and the sound design is excellent , kind of Jaques Tati, Alan Splet, David Lynch sensibility. Check it ouT!

Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Lenica-Labyrinth

Written by Joe D on January 5th, 2015

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Here is an incredible cut out animated film that blows all others away! Sheer inventiveness, entertainment, fun , mystery, excitement etc.
Obviously influential to such filmmakers as Terry Gilliam and Harry Smith, these masters of the genre were giants of World Animation.

Stefan and Franciszka Themerson- The Adventures of a Good Citizen

Written by Joe D on January 4th, 2015

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Check out this brilliant film from these early avant grade Polish filmmakers, it’s obviously a huge influence on Polanski’s great Two Men and a Wardrobe. More to come on the wonders of Polish Cinema and magical animation.

Compare it yourself!

LSD No No

Written by Joe D on December 16th, 2010

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I have always been fascinated by the story of the no hitter pitched by Dock Ellis while under the influence of the mind altering psychedelic LSD-25. When I was a kid I had a Time/Life book called The Mind.

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There were photos of a spider spinning a perfect web after being fed a LSD laced fly.

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The Acid took away the distractions that are programmed in and enabled effortless concentration. Anyway here’s an animated film by James Blangden set to the pre-recorded telling of the tale by Dock Ellis.

Food Party!

Written by Joe D on May 17th, 2010

I love food, I love to party, I love Food Party.

More Zeman, Inspirace

Written by Joe D on December 14th, 2008

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Thanks to The Film Walrus for bringing to my attention the fact that Inspirace was posted on Youtube. This is an incredible film! A truly inspired and inspirational piece of art. Zeman heated blown glass figures and bent them between exposures to bring them to life. This magical film takes place in a drop of water on a leaf. Zeman opens a window into a jeweled world of fantasy and wonder, like a glimpse into a phantasmagorical Fabergé Egg.

Karel Zeman, visionary, proto steam punk

Written by Joe D on December 12th, 2008

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Check out this doc on the great Karel Zeman, Czech animator, special effects guru, all around genius. I don’t know about you but I vastly prefer mechanical, physical, optical effects to the digital junk created by an army of ants with computers. Zeman made the super cool Fantastic World of Jules Verne in a Victorian roto-gravure style, it rocks! Anyway here’s a couple of videos as a sample.The first is the doc, the second is a trailer for Jules Verne.

Larry Roemer, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Written by Joe D on December 10th, 2008

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Xmas is just around the corner so here’s a tale of holiday magic from the old days in NYC when I worked as a film cutter on all kinds of stuff. I needed some sound effects for a project I was working on, I made some calls, finally I found what I was looking for so I jumped into a cab and shot over to 45th st.

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Night Falls On 45th St.
Back in the day everything was on 45th street, optical houses, editing rooms, sound transfer, you name it. Once I was on 45th st. , it was also at xmas time, Dec. 16th 1985. It was late afternoon, getting dark, cold, windy. I came out of the Optical House at 45 w 45th and heard sirens , I could swear I saw some guys in overcoats hurrying down the street, looking back and laughing nervously. That night on the news I found out Mafia don Paul Castellano had been hit at Sparks Steakhouse over on 46 th st.
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Anyway, I headed over to Magno Empire, a small office in a big building, an offshoot of Magno Sound, a big sound mixing outfit. I go in and ask for Larry, an older gent comes out and goes to get my sound effects, a yong guy working there comes up and we start talking. “You know who Larry is?” he asks. ” Nah, who is he” I reply. “He directed Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.” the young guy answers. When Larry comes back,I tell him what a fan I am of the show, what a pleasure it is to meet him. Larry lights up like an Xmas tree, he invites me back into his den and we talk for a while. Finally I have to leave, back to work. Larry stops me. “You like Spike Jones?” he asks. “Sure.” I reply. “Here, you’ll love this.” Larry hands me a cassette of Spike Jones greatest hits that he’s put together. I noticed in the end credits of Rudolph that Ralph Friedman was a sound mixer on it. Ralph was the founder of Magno Sound, I guess he was throwing Larry a bone, giving him a gig at Magno Empire in his waning years, not much stop motion to direct in those days. I see on IMDB that Larry (in 1966, two years after Rudolph) directed a stop motion Ballad Of Smokey The Bear. This featured the voice of the great James Cagney.
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Larry Roemer wherever you are I salute you.

Michael Sullivan, The Sex Life Of Robots

Written by Joe D on November 17th, 2008

Here’s a little sample of The Sex Life Of Robots by the mad genius Michael Sullivan , a stop motion epic he’s been working on for 20 years or so.


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