Sunday, June 07, 2009

Cartoon Bruins

Look out!  Cute on the loose!  Tuffy and Tubby wreak havoc on vacationing humans in Walt Disney's fluffy live-action comedy Yellowstone Cubs (1963).

This is the original publicity artwork - (click on it to make it huge) - hand-painted by, I think, artist Paul Wenzel.  Anybody know for certain?

The painting was auctioned in 2006. I like it a lot.  It's not perfect, but it's got that funky, sixties sweetness that was so well conveyed with paintbrush and gouache. 

You don't have to agree with me, though. In fact, Cartoon Brew's Jerry Beck wondered just last week if this very illustration could be the "Worst. Disney Poster. Ever."

As for the movie itself, I recently got the new DVD release and found that it still offers much to enjoy, such as Rex Allen Jr.'s folksy narration and these simplistic, punchy title cards:

On the other hand, here's the current packaging that Disney is using to sell the DVD...
I bet you can guess which art I prefer.


Matt said...

I agree - I like this a lot. Not a big fan of how the BG sky and geyser are rendered, but overall, its a great pic.

By the way, do you have an Amazon listing of your picks (i.e. Alain @ Disney and more)?

Emily said...

Hey Kevin,

Thanks for posting the original artwork for this. I did see Jerry's post on CartoonBrew, and couldn't understand why it was so horrible ;)


Jerry Beck said...

Actually, that's a beautiful piece. I still stand on my assertion that it may be the worst Disney poster, but I did buy the lobby card and I have it framed and on a wall in my home (albeit in the bathroom). The poster has an ugly typeface and just doesn't have the "sell" most Disney movie posters have. It's got a kitsch appeal that I appreciate - and the full piece of original art posted here is quite nice! I really love the movie's on screen title graphics you posted... as usual Disney did a superb job on the film itself.

Major Pepperidge said...

I do find the painting appealing in an odd way. Kitschy is the word! The guy falling over in the fishing boat is about the level of humor found in some of those 60's/70's Disney movies though!

Joke said...

Gotta agree with the Major. In my youth most of those Disney live action comedies invariably featured someone, arms twirling at 2000 rpm, splashing backwards into some body of water.

Is it just me or does the actual DVD cover look, oh-I-dunno, a leeeeeetle bit National Geographic-ish?

Unknown said...

Hey Kevin, did you know that is the Movie Rewards DVD, but Yellowstone Cubs is coming to general release DVD on August 18th? You can see the NEW cover artwork at my site Can't wait for it!

Michael said...

Modern Disney home video art makes my soul hurt. I've considered doing a series on my blog of creating alternate DVD sleeves that use real production art for people to print out and use. Stuff that's more like the original 2-disc Tarzan SE with the Keane pencil drawing on the front.

Kevin Kidney said...

Michael, that's a great idea. Most of the new DVD box art from Disney is, um, less-than-stellar. I have begun shucking the boxes and slipping my DVDs into a storage binder with pockets!

Michael said...

Yeah, that makes sense. The box art today is invariably pretty awful, with some being exceptionally ghastly. This is so odd to me, considering that for a lot of these films they have decades of exceptional art to draw from. Some of which is even on-model for the characters!

It's pretty obvious that the art of the film poster is next to dead. Photoshop and the age of floating heads has killed it. It's extremely rare anymore to see a film poster or DVD cover that looks as if any thought has gone into it. When you look at the funky midcentury stuff like Saul Bass, or the awesome posters of the 80s that I grew up with like Struzan, it only makes the loss seem that much more sad.

But I digress - it's been a bee in my bonnet for several years now to create alternate DVD art and post high-rez PDFs or TIFFs online for people to print out on glossy stock and replace the "factory standard" covers. I have no artistic talent whatsoever, so I'd have to use existing elements, but I've always thought it would be a fun project.

Another benefit would be the ability to create a standardized look within the Disney "classics" series, instead of the hodgepodge of series and editions they've used over the years. That appeals greatly to the OCD part of my personality.

Dating Doctor said...

Great Stuff Kevin. See the ultimate Dinosaur photo. Attacking the Bronx