Monday, March 2, 2009

B-iiiiird Man!

Time for a little 60s kitsch. If you couldn't already tell, I love cartoons; originally the reason I became an animator. Among my faves are old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. You can imagine how much Boomerang is on in my house. Not to worry, I also love Sponge Bob, Powerpuff Girls, Venture Bros. etc.

Probably the weirdest HB factory work was Birdman. At the height of superhero cartoons in the 60s, NBC had to have their own brand of Space Ghost & Mightor. Sort of the "Shazam!" of its day (okay now we're in the 70s) being that the alter ego would yell out a word and become the super one. Let's note for a second, that Space Ghost never yelled his own name in public. That's just corny. Mighty Mightor is forgiven since yelling his name is kind of a battle I stretching?? So Birdman flies out of his secret mountain lair and yells "Biiiird Man in his operatic timber.....and we're not sure why. I guess just because it sounds good.

So Boomerang always uses the old HB toons as time-fillers to the next show. The other night, Birdman came on and it had to be the single WORST episode ever. (I'm not talking about Harvey Birdman, Attorney -- it's brilliant.) By the time HB was in to their 1960s hey day, they were really crankin' those babies out. They were probably already shipping stuff out to Mexico or the Philipines, but the drawing continuity was way off model in almost every cut. His head was too big, his body out of scale, his hands were huge...and you know what that means.....I looked for anything to let me know this was not a real Birdman cartoon. At one point I thought, why doesn't Birdman hold up a sign (ala Road Runner) that says "Silly ain't it?"

So in the interest of all that's kitschy, I've continued my entries into 1960s Halloween masks. Everything that had ANY popularity was made into a Halloween costume...still works today right?

Birdman was my next natural choice. Note the usual thing about Halloween costumes is they had to plaster the character name all over it. You couldn't just dress up in these store bought licensed versions. You had to be recognized by adults too. Without the word "Birdman" imprinted who would know what the heck superhero you were. Even Batman had it stamped all over.

I hated that. These days it's called marketing.

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