Sunday, August 18, 2013

Irv Spence's Cartoon Diary: August 18, 1944

Way back when, on the old Cartoon diary blog Marc Crisafulli contributed this item he found on the Ralph Bakshi Forum, posted by Bakshi himself:

Irv Spence had a live action 16 mm film that he'd directed, an amazing gangster epic, about 35 minutes long, starring him, Tex Avery and a lot of the other Warner/MGM animators of the time playing crooks. The film was great, Irv's family may have is worth trying to get a hold of.

When I asked for further information about this movie Mark Kausler wrote:

You are no doubt referring to Irv's 1944 live action (b/w, silent) film, RATS IN SPATS. Irv showed this film to us when I was in his animation class back in '68. It is very nicely shot, although the outdoor shots used reflectors that shake a bit. I don't remember Tex being in it, but Tony Ligerra and Harvey Eisenberg play roles. Irv made a color silent movie in Big Bear a few years later called RUGGED RANGERS, which again has Harvey Eisenberg and Mike Lah in central roles as forest rangers. It was made in beautiful Kodachrome. There are video copies of these films, one has running commentary by Irv and others, as the projector runs in the background. You can tell from these diary pages that Irv was a real "home movie" buff, even though he didn't have sync sound!

So far neither of these films have showed up on YouTube. According to James Tim Walker in the comments section of this post from the Animation Guild blog, the original film and negatives belong to the Culver City Historical Society.

Spence as a cowpoke and Stod "Butch" Herbert as a gangster, via TAG Blog and Tim Walker.

TAG blog has a few other drawings by Spence from Tim's collection here, here, and here.

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