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Mr Bean -  find him at ToonsToGo!



   Click Here!


                                                                     July 2003
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

Building a better site...
The reconstruction continues....  More...

   Happy birthday, old bean!
   The Beano is 65 years young...

    CGI Avon calling

    Animated Blakes 7 in the works...

    Hall-ways and forever

    Mark Hall says 'adieu' to Cosgrove Hall...

    Monkeying around

    Monkey Dust hits BBC2...

    Water film!

    Water Warriors on course for action...

    Grand title change, Gromit!
    New title reveals vegetable plot twist!

    Cracking auctions, Gromit!

    Top lots for Wrong Trousers Day...

  Shake your bounty with Rick Cassman! Shake Your Bounty  NEW
Rick Cassman talks
about Bounty Hamster...
   Hey Fresco! - A new Toonhound Q&A now online... Hey Fresco!  NEW
The Hound previews
J Edward Oliver's
top toon dinosaur...


    Happy birthday, old bean!

     Hearty congratulations today to the evergreen, and ever-popular Beano Comic
     which has just reached the grand old age of 65...

        The Beano - 65 today!

     The Beano was born on the 30th July 1938, was present through the war,
     through the cultural revolutions of the sixties and seventies and on, surviving
     the demise of the weekly fun comics in to the new millennium. It has walked
     a delicate tightrope over the decades, attempting to balance current trends and
     fashions with the old comic favourites. Nowadays The Bash Street Kids have
     the latest PC's and Gameboys, but their teachers still don bow-ties and
     olde worlde mortar boards. The publishers have always drifted towards slightly
     safer, conservative waters but actually, that's helped ensure the comic's
     survival because it means The Beano - and The Dandy, too - never alienate
     their audience, and there's something to appeal and appease both older
     and younger generations of readers....

     Indeed, The Beano comic operates on the same lines as the BBC - In the
     same way their Saturday Morning shows, or CBBC output will never be quite
     as 'trendy' as their rivals, but where they follow they'll always introduce an extra
     helping of quality. And boy, what quality!

      Grabndpa gets 'jiggy' with it!Plug gets 'pluggy'!

     We all can relate to the comic in relation to a particular era. Yours Truly
     grew up with The Beano in the 1970's, when Biffo The Bear was a cover star,
     and Dennis & Gnasher, Roger The Dodger, Billy Whizz, Minnie The Minx and
     The Bash Street Kids rubbed shoulders with Lord Snooty, Little Plum, The Three
     Bears, The McTickles, Baby-Face Finlayson, Grandpa, The Nibblers and Billy
     The Cat & Katie. Looking back at those comics, and the annuals and specials,
     what's remarkable  is the technical quality of those strips. The draughtsmanship
     was, and is still, extraordinary; wonderful full-bodied figures, three-colour stories
     told with absoloute clarity and  precision.

     Today's Beano is still strong, but strip styles have moved on with the times.
     Now we have full-colour art, close-up panels, and looser energetic strip-work
     like Nick Brennan's tube-limbed figures, or Hunt Emerson's scratched, relaxed
     panels - alongside those classic 'toons' of Barry Appleby and Barry Glenard.  
     and Dave Eastbury. And then, of course, there's the extraordinary individual
     madness of Tom Paterson...

     Whilst other comics have come and gone around it, The Beano still stands
     strong. And it will probably still be with us for it's 70th and 80th birthday,
     And even though it may have abandoned its print form and shifted on to
     disc, or on to the web or grid, it will still be familiar and appreciated by us
     all - be we young or old. The anniversary edition is in newsagents now, and
     features a reunion between the original and present day stars of the comic.
     The BBC has a splendid online natter with Barry Appleby, whilst TheGuardian
     have talked with the cartoon genius of Leo Baxendale...

                               More:  Beanotown   BBC News   TheGuardian: Leo Bax. 

    CGI Avon calling

     Remember that cardboard and stickyback plastic sci-fi series 'Blake's 7'?
     Well, many of you will know it's coming back to our screens, courtesy of
     Andrew Mark Sewell and B7 Enterprises who is currently up to his eyes
     developing the new-look tv series. But many of you may not know that there
     are plans to bring it back in animated form alongside its live-action return.

     Andrew talked about his plans for the series over at the splendid
     news site C21media. The animated 'Blake's 7' will be a CGI affair, based
     upon the original scripts by Terry Nation. 26x26min episodes are planned,
     and a deal with a 'high-end CGI studio' is in the pipeline. There's even talk
     of original star Paul Darrow returning to voice Avon...

     News of an animated 'Blake's 7' comes hot on the heels of the recent
     BBCi / 'Dr Who' toon heralded last week.  Richard E Grant will be voicing
     the Time Lord for the new run, which is being animated by the always-busy
     Cosgrove Hall Films...

     The live-action-to-toon sci-fi translation is an interesting development,
     tried before of course. 'Star Trek' and 'Planet Of The Apes' spring to the
     mind first; the former is still well-regarded in fan circles too. The advances
     in CG technology of the last decade are immense and have blurred the
     line between live-action and animation. Witness 'Final Fantasy', 'The
     Animatrix' etc. It will be intriguing to see how Blake and The Dr.

                                                                         More:  C21media


     Hallways and forever

      Last Thursday (17th July) staff and friends of Cosgrove Hall Films celebrated
      and applauded the end of an extraordinary era in British animation history with
      the official retirement of true blue Toon God Mark Hall. Mr Hall is of course,
      the long-time animation partner of the equally-legendary Brian Cosgrove
      Over the last three decades these two toon stars have built up an animation
      studio and team of world renown. Cosgrove Hall have produced umpteen
      top-quality toons and films, blending techniques, developing new talent and
      facilities up there in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, and consistently pushing at the envelope
      of tv animation. Their creations have travelled the length and breadth of the globe,
      winning them shelf-loads of animation awards and - more importantly - winning
      the hearts and minds of many a toon fan en route With 'Chortlon & The Wheelies',
      'DangerMouse' and the rest, Cosgrove Hall reinvented 'children's animation
      making it just-as appealing to adults and enriching our worlds with bucketloads
      of fun and nonsense. Films like 'The Pied Piper Of Hamelin' and 'The Fool Of
      The World' have amazed us with their studious technique. And over the last
      decade they have perfected the children's TV package, producing a stream of
      superbly realised and presented toons which manage to walk the corporate
      tightrope, tickling our toon buds without ever feeling 'homogenised' or overtly
      formulaic. By 'eck they've done well, they 'ave...

      DangerMouse - Amazing! - Astounding! Oh, Mr Toad! Jamie - with his magic torch...

      And now Mark is deservedly taking his feet off the company pedals and on
      to a comfy footstool alongside those of Brian Cosgrove, who stepped off the
      machine himself a year-or-two ago. But never fear, because the studio these
      two founded together with John Hambley is flushed with success right now.
      Witness 'Bill & Ben', 'Andy Pandy', 'Engie Benjy', 'Little Robots' and the
      multi-award winning 'Albie'. Coming soon is 'Postman Pat' for Entertainment
      Rights. Then there's the just-announced animated 'Dr Who' for BBCi
      (with Richard E Grant) and the company's very first foray into adult animated
      territory 'The Inbreds'. Certainly, Mark Hall's retirement marks the end of an
      extraordinary era. But truly, the company's future looks as rosy as ever...
                                                                              More:  Cosgrove Hall


     Monkeying around

      Are you sitting comfortably? - You won't be for much longer. At least, you
      won't be if you tune into 'Monkey Dust' on BBC2 this week. 'Monkey Dust'
is an anarchic animated sketch show originally commissioned for BBC3,
      where it caused much furore for it's loud and lewd content. Indeed, The Beeb
      are said to have gotten so cold footed over the production when it first launched
      that they prevented any preview tapes from being sent out and ordered that the
      show's web site be taken down (according to The Sunday Times, anyway).
      That's normally the best way to get your show noticed. But alas, this was BBC3
      which a large chunk of the UK still can't tune in to, and the rest can't be bothered
      to view anyway. Hence the switch to BBC2...

         Monkey Dust on BBC2...

 'Monkey Dust' is produced and co-written by Harry Thompson, whose credits
      include 'Have I Got News For You' and 'The 11 O'Clock Show'.  It's a mad and
      bloody cocktail of political and celebrity jibes, japes and jeers - a halfway house
      between '2DTV' and 'Aaagh! - It's The Mr Hell Show'. The Beeb begin re-screening
      the entire first series on BBC2 from Thursday July 24th at 11.20pm (after 'Newsnight')
      and it will be intriguing to see if they stick to this script, given the way they gave
      Mr Hell the runaround...


     Water film!

      Animator, director and all-round toon star Graham Ralph got in touch with
      The Hound the other day to talk about his flippin' fabulous feature 'Water Warriors'.
      Graham is the director of Silver Fox films, and he's the creative force behind
      such hit series and films as 'Spider', 'The Forgotten Toys', 'Angelmouse',
      'The Second Star To The Left' and 'The First Snow Of Winter' which has just
      been added to the Mini Movie Guide. Plus he and Silver Fox make up one
      third of the 'Bounty Hamster' co-production, of which this site has expounded
      at length...

        Water Warriors - from Graham Ralph Silver Fox Films...

     'Water Warriors' is being touted as 'Braveheart with frogs'. It's a CGI feature
     film focusing on the amphibious inhabitants of a small pond, and in particular,
     young Dudley the smallest frog in the pond. Here's the rest:

         'When aliens crash land in their pond, they enslave the pond creatures
         to help raise their spaceship and then plot to remove all the world's water!
         Dudley and a group of motley outcasts are the only ones left to thwart their
         master plan...'

     Sounds like fun, doesn't it? - And looks like it too, judging by the pre-production
     sketches on the Silver Fox page, and that highly-desirable Dudley poster image.
     Graham tells us that pre-production is going splendidly well. The film is being
     produced with Jim Henson's Creature Shop - who are no strangers to frogs
     of course - and the project is backed by the British Film Council. Henson have
     developed a new digital system that enables performance-controlled animation.     
     Schedules and contracts permitting Jeremy Irons, Stephen Fry, Cathy Burke,
     and Geoffrey Palmer are just some of the voice talents being lined up for
     the film...

     Graham has been working up the project for some time now, and he tells us
     that they're on schedule to be in full production early next year. The film looks
     like being a splendid mix of action, silliness, and very cute amphibians. And the
     whole pond environment-thing surely lends itself to some beautiful CGI scenery,
     doesn't it? - Gosh, The Hound can hardly wait..

     Stay tooned for more soon!

                                                                        More:  Silver Fox Films


    Grand title change, Gromit!

     What's this? - It seems that Nick Park and Aardman Animation's long-awaited
     Wallace & Gromit feature film could be up for a title change, if you believe the
     folks at 'Entertainment Weekly'.  According to the latest edition, what was once
     'Wallace & Gromit in The Great Vegetable Plot' has now apparently become
     'Wallace & Gromit in The Were-Rabbit',  which frankly, doesn't sound half as
     good as that original title...

      Wallace & Gromit: Vegeatables and Were-Rabbits!

     ...But what is extra exciting about this 'change' is the plot twist it reveals at last.
     You see, Nick Park has previously only referred to the movie as being 'a vegetarian
     horror film', and there have been no plot revelations thus far. What great plot was
     afoot, exactly? Now we know, there'll be ghostly goings-on with a rampant rabbit
     raiding Wallace's prize allotment, or something similar (and no doubt, the finger of
     suspicion will fall on young Gromit once more: 'Have you been a bit peckish, lad?').      Gosh, a rabbit with pointy teeth, straight out of Monty Python, stalking our
     dynamic duo by moonlight. How exciting!

     And this is where I receive a dozen emails, telling me I'm wrong. Hmm. I guess
     we'll just have to wait and see, won't we, Gromit?...



    Cracking auctions, Gromit!

     Trousers at the ready! - It's Friday July 4th here in the UK, which means it's
     time for the inaugural official Wrong Trousers Day, sponsored by that cracking
     duo Wallace & Gromit....

     As reported back in May, the Grand Appeal has been around a while now,
     helping to raise  £12million for Bristol's Hospital For Sick Children. But as of
     this year the organisation has gone UK-wide, taking the idea of folks paying
     £1 to wear 'wrong trousers' for charity to the length and breadth of the country,
     and a bunch of celebrities have taken up the challenge to ensure the
     hopefully-annual event starts with a bang.

        Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal - a charity well-worth supporting!

     Now better yet, to tie in with the Uk-wide launch those extra-generous folks
     at Aardman Animation have donated some incredible items to a series of
     charity auctions being held online. And when The Hound says 'incredible',
     he means stuff that will really get animation fans salivating and - ideally -
     their wallets out and ready to spend until their desires are satiated...

     Oh yeah, like what?

     Well how about an original model of Morph, or Rex The Runt, or Nick Park
     signed art, or a Chicken Run chicken pie prop? - Yep, this stuff is an Aardman
     fan's dream, guaranteed to get you spending. So what are still doing here?
     Go check the auctions!...

     ...And when you're done there, you can stop by the Aardmarket at Aardman's
     official site. Why? Well, Bristol's finest are also offering to make donations to this
     grand cause on a selection of online purchases, like special Grand Appeal mugs,
     and a nifty Wrong Trousers mini-clock. Think I might get one of these for
     myself, actually...

                                   More:  Cracking Auctions   Grand Appeal   Aardman


Building a better site...      (03.07.03)

    You know, this site construction lark is a time-consuming thing. Over the
    last four years Toonhound has grown from a single page of cartoon links, in
    to this 550+ page behemoth. And it's still expanding, week-on-week as
    new toons are indexed, gaps are filled and content is added. What's more,
    The Hound has to update, upgrade and maintain it all on his lonesome,
    and for free. It sure eats up a lot of time.

    That's why I have to apologise for the delay in completing some of the upgrades
    that were promised last month. As you must surely be aware, the site is
    currently perched midway into a substantial upgrading of pages. The new
    look site does away with some of the 'fussier' layout, like the old rollover
    buttons, in the hope of speeding up load times and clearing file space for
    more toon content. Now, last month I promised not only to introduce the
    brand new Toon Movie Guide, but also to complete the upgrading of the
    TV Toons section. But alas, neither were completed on schedule because
    as it happens, too many 'other things' intervened...

    Now hold on, this wasn't a bad thing. You see, two of those 'other things'
    have now arrived on the site. The first was a splendid email exchange with
    cartoonist J Edward Oliver - he being the former Fleetway employee who
    brought us Cliff Hanger, Master Mind, The Champ and more. JEO's Fresco
    is a darned cute creation, worth bumping an update-or-two for I'd say.
    And then? - Why, then there was Rick Cassman, the musical maestro
    who co-wrote the music for 'Bounty Hamster'; a true Toonhound favourite.
    When Rick dangled the very tempting carrot of a BH theme for exclusive
    inclusion on the site, well, who could resist...?

    So you see, though there may be times when The Hound appears to let
    you down there's invariably a jolly good reason behind the change of plan.
    This month The Hound promises faithfully to at least complete that much
    requested and oft-promised TV Toons upgrade. Unless, of course, temptation
    comes a-calling once more...

    As always, stay tooned!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'     thehound@toonhound.com

  all characters coypright to their respective estates/creators     'Pooch' copyright / site copyright - F2000-2003