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Cartoon California.

Beep beep. Boop boop de doop. I'll get you, you pesky wabbit.

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations hasn't yet enshrined the above phrases between its covers. They'll probably get around to it. Cartoons speak the classic American vernacular, wisecracking and indefatigable. The Greeks had Odysseus, the Romans Aeneas. We have Mickey and Bugs, and that's good enough for us.

This month, as Mickey marks his 60th birthday and Roger Rabbit's ticket sales turn human stars green with envy, it's time to celebrate animation. In California, the country's cartoon capital, you can buy animation art for Christmas presents, attend screenings of classic films, join animation clubs, and visit a new museum devoted to inked-in immortals.

Sherman, set the Wayback for 1928

The world's most famous mouse is not quite a native son of the golden state. Legend has it that Mickey was first sketched in a Pullman car bringing the aspiring Walt Disney back from New York. But it was on Los Angeles' Hyperion Avenue, Disney Studios' home, that the mouse took final shape and, eventually, sound. Early in 1928, Mickey starred in two unreleased silent movies, but his official birthday is November 18-the day he squeaked for theatergoers in Steamboat Willie. As Elmer Fudd would say, "The west is histowy." Donald Duck and Goofy joined the Disney lineup. At Warner Brothers, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, and Friz Freleng gave audiences a Brooklyn-voiced rabbit and a daffy duck. It was a golden age that lasted until the '60s, when television's demand for cheaper product forced much animation work abroad, mostly to the Far East.

But California schools, such as the California Institute of the Arts, USC, and UCLA, remain premier training grounds. And Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the about-to-be-released Oliver and Company offer proof of the renewed vitalitycommercial and artistic-of the craft.

What's up, Doc?

Demand for animation as art

In the last five years, art dealers have marveled at a real 'toon boom. Perhaps the most prized items are the cels: original images inked and painted on celluloid. When filmed in sequence, these are what generate the illusion of movement.

Produced in large number (a featurelength film can require 400,000), cels were for decades neither scarce nor valued. Cels from movies like Lady and the Tramp were sold at Disneyland for as little as $1.50. Others were wiped clean and reused. In the late '5Os, as if by decree of Roger Rabbit's Judge Doom, warehouses' worth of cels were destroyed.

For all these reasons, vintage cels are now in short supply, fetching Scrooge McDuck prices when they surface. (A rare blackand-white scene from the 1933 Mickey Mouse short, The Mad Doctor went for $63,000at a Christie's auction this year.) Easier to find are cels from recent films and TV shows. They range from less than $100 to about $1,500. Cels featuring popular characters go for more than those featuring supporting cast; cels showing characters and backgrounds-- say, Fred Flintstone with Bedrock behind him go for more than cels with characters alone. You can also find two kinds of reproductions of vintage cels: limited editions and serigraphs. The first ($300 to $500) are hand-painted on acetate and produced in editions of 200 to 500; silk-screened, serigraphs ($100 to $300) are usually produced in editions of 10,000.

Collectors snap up artwork done earlier in the animation process, too. These include "story sketches"-pastel renderings of characters or scenes and "animation drawings" pencil sketches of animated sequences. Examples of both can be found for less than $100.

Nor is interest limited to movies: collectors are also buying art done for newspaper comics. Prices run $100 to $1,000.

With cartoon art comes cartoon memorabilia-George Jetson lunch boxes to Minnie Mouse brooches. Bargains are out there. Says San Jose collector Kim McEuen, "You can go to flea markets and find good items that have been stored in somebody's attic for years."

If you plan to buy, research pays off. Hollywood animation art dealer Howard Lowery advises that you read one of these books: Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston (Abbeville Press, New York, 1981; $39.95); Encyclopedia of Walt Disney Animated Characters, by John Grant (Harper & Row, New York, 1987; $35); and Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, by Leonard Maltin (New American Library, New York, 1987; $14.95 ).

In Southern California, Dudley's emporium, Mickey's boutique

These stores specialize in animation art. Anaheim. Circle Gallery, Disneyland Hotel Shopping Mall, 1150 W. Cerritos Avenue; (714) 774-9979. Hours: 11 to 5 daily. This gallery chain is an authorized dealer for artwork from Disney, Warner Brothers, Hanna-Barbera, and other studios.

Disneyana Shop, Main Street, Disneyland; 999-4216. Hours: 10 to 6 weekdays, 9 to midnight weekends. Though in earlier years it sold original material, this shop now deals mainly in reproductions. But it's still the place to go for a $2,000 handcarved cedar Mickey Mouse clock, and highquality replicas of other toys. The shop also stocks a good collection of cels, and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Beverly Hills. Circle Gallery, 329 N. Beverly Drive; (213) 273-1461. Hours: 10 to 5 Mondays, 10 to 9 Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 to 10 Fridays and Saturdays, 11 to 6 Sundays. See Anaheim listing.

Costa Mesa. The Disney Store, South Coast Plaza; (714) 979-2920. Hours: 10 to 9 weekdays, 10 to 6 Saturdays, 1 to 5 Sundays. The store offers cels, as well as original drawings from comic strips.

Glendale. The Disney Store, 2227 Glendale Galleria; (818) 247-0222. Hours: 10 to 9 weekdays, 10 to 7 Saturdays, 11 to 6 Sundays. See Costa Mesa listing.

Hollywood. Collector's Bookstore, 1708 Vine Street; (213) 467-3296. Hours: 11 to 5 Tuesdays through Saturdays. This store sponsors monthly auctions (by mail and telephone) of all types of animation art. Call or write for a free catalog.

Dudley Do-Right's Emporium, 8200 Sunset Boulevard; (213) 656-6550. Hours: 10 to 5 Tuesdays through Thursdays. The dimwitted mountie and incomparable pals Builwinkle and Rocky inhabit this gaily painted store. Outside walkways feature portraits of Jay Ward heroes and villains. Inside are cels, memorabilia, story sketches, scripts even official biographies ("After distinguished service in the Armed Forces as a destroyer radar mast and officers' club hatrack, Bullwinkle decided to study acting under the great student of Stanislavsky, Francis the Talking Horse.")

Los Angeles Fantasies Come True, 8012 Melrose Avenue; (213) 655-2636. Hours: noon to 4 Tuesdays through Saturdays. Many collectors consider this eight-year-old store the best place in California for original Disney cels, posters, music boxes. Shine Gallery, 8012 1/2 Melrose Avenue; (213) 653-7558. Hours: noon to 5 Tuesdays through Saturdays. This new store sells artwork and memorabilia from Disney and other studios.

San Diego. Circle Gallery, 2501 San Diego Avenue; (619) 296-2596. Hours: 10 to 6 daily, to 8 Thursdays, See Anaheim listing. Sherman Oaks. Circle Gallery, Sherman Oaks Galleria, 15301 Ventura Boulevard; (818) 501-7220. Hours: 10 to 9 weekdays, 10 to 6 Saturdays, 11 to 6 Sundays. See Anaheim listing.

Nickelodeon, 13438 Ventura Boulevard; (818) 981-5325. Hours: 11 to 5 Wednesdays through Saturdays. Cartoon memorabilia (no cels) from the '30s on. Studio City. Collector's Paradise Gallery, 12262 Ventura Boulevard, (818) 785-4080. Hours: 11 to 4 Tuesdays through Saturdays. More than 100,000 pieces of animation art. Call or write for free catalog.

Torrance. The Disney Store, Del Amo Fashion Center, 3525 Carson Street; (213) 370-8686. Hours: 10 to 9:30 weekdays, 10 to 7:30 Saturdays, 11 to 6 Sundays. See Costa Mesa listing.

Universal City. Woody's Cartoon Corner, Universal Studios Tour; (818) 459-4459. Hours: 10 to 3:30 weekdays. 9:30 to 3:30 weekends, Video screens throughout the store show the vociferous woodpecker berating creator Walter Lantz. There are other cartoon folk here, too, but Woody is king; he stars in cels and posters, and on commemorative plates ($42)-as

Gainsborough's The Blue Boy and as the grim-visaged farmer in American Gothic, by Grant Wood.

Masters of animation on L.A. screens

This month, cartoons from Japan, the Soviet Union, and other countries are celebrated in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's "Masters of Animation" series. Films screen at 1 and 8 Fridays and at 8 PM. Saturdays at the museum's Leo S. Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard. At 10:30 A.M and 8 PM. Saturday, November 12, the museum honors Mickey Mouse's birthday with a retrospective of the mouse career. Tickets for all screenings are $5, $3 seniors and students. For details, call (213) 857-6010.

The UCLA Film Archives has one of the world's largest collections of animated films. Through November, it's sponsoring a program of Australian films, "Beyond and Back: Discovering Australian Film and Television." The November 13 program will focus on animation. Tickets: $4. For a schedule, call (213) 206-8013. Serious animation fans can join ASIFA (L'Association Internationale du Film d'Animation). The Hollywood branch is the world's largest; it sponsors awards and screenings. Annual membership ($40) includes a subscription to the monthly newsletter, The Inbetweener For details, write or call ASIFA, 5301 Laurel Canyon Blvd., #250, North Hollywood 91607; (818) 508-5224.

In San Francisco, a new museum and cartoons of The New Yorker

"What mysterious surroundings," muses Krazy Kat (in an original watercolor by George Herriman) as you enter the new Cartoon Art Museum. The museum has exhibits reaching back to early Mutt 'n Jeff and The Captain and the Kids, on up to today's Peanuts and Garfield.

Opened this year, it's one of only two museums in the U.S. devoted solely to cartoons. (The other is in the New York City suburb of Rye Brook.)

Through November 19, a special exhibit, "Drawn to Excellence: Masters of Cartoon Art," will show original drawings by Saul Steinberg, Jules Feiffer, and many others. After that, the museum's permanent collection will be displayed.

The museum ($2, 50 cents ages 12 and under) is at 665 Third Street, open noon to 6 Thursdays and Fridays, 10 to 5 Saturdays. For details, call (415) 546-3922. Through November 20 at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park, The Art of The New Yorker highlights cartoonists Charles Addams, James Thurber, and many others. Hours are 10 to 5 Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is $4. For information, call (415) 750-3659.

Bay Area cartoon sources

San Francisco. Circle Gallery, 900 North Point (in Ghirardelli Square); (415) 7762370. Hours: 10 to 9 Mondays through Saturdays, 10 to 6 Sundays. See Anaheim listing, page 13.

The Disney Store, Pier 39; (415) 391-4210. Hours: 10 to 9 Sundays through Thursdays, 10 to 10 Fridays and Saturdays. See Costa Mesa listing, page 13.

The Owl Gallery, 465 Powell Street; (415) 781-5464. Hours: 10 to 6 Sundays through Wednesdays, 10 to 10 Thursdays through Saturdays.

Tooning in: clubs, a magazine, and mail-order art

Collectors of Disneyana can find likeminded souls through National Fantasy Fan Club for Disneyana Collectors. For details, write or call the club, Box 19212, Irvine, Calif 92713; (714) 241-8104. The Mouse Club sponsors conventions, other events. For a sample copy of the monthly newsletter, write or call Kim and Julie McEuen, 2056 Cirone Way, San Jose, Calif. 95124; (408) 377-2590. Storyboard, a bimonthly magazine ($18 a year), focuses on Disney memorabilia. Write or call 2512 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach 90278; (213) 376-8788.

Iowa-based Gallery Lainzberg offers animated art from 24 studios, and will perform searches for art not in their stock. For a free 3 6-page color catalog, write or call the gallery, 200 Guaranty Building, Cedar Rapids 52401; (800) 553-9995.
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Title Annotation:animation clubs
Date:Nov 1, 1988
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