Saturday, July 7, 2007

Ub Iwerks

At the Golden Age Cartoons forum, Nelson posts the news that the Ovation Channel (it's an Australian TV channel, as far as I can tell) will be airing an Ub Iwerks documentary in about a week:

You won't have to wait till Dec 11 for the Oswald dvd collection to see the Ub Iwerks documentary when the Ovation Channel will air the feature length film of Iwerks's(creator of Mickey Mouse) career this month, in a film that was made by Iwerks's grandaughter Leslie Iwerks.

This irks OurGangAlfalfa:

I resent that comment about Iwerks being the "creator" of Mickey Mouse. The general consensus is that Mickey was the cocreation of the whole Disney studio, the two main contributors being Iwerks and Disney. And if Iwerks was such a "genius" than why were the Flip the Frog, Whille Whopper and ComiColor cartoons so terrible, not just in my opinion, but the general consensus of people at that time?

Tom Stathes questions whether Iwerks' cartoons were quite as hated as OurGangAlfalfa says:

Either way, Flip and the ComiColors seemed pretty withstanding- otherwise not so many would have been made. I've yet to see any contemporary evidence of the series being disliked, even if not highly successful as Disney's output at the time.

OurGangAlfalfa is having none of that:

In Leonard Maltin's book, a theater owner is quoted as saying something like he was glad that the Harman-Ising MGM cartoons were introduced, because of the terrible atmosphere created by the Flip the Frog, and Whillie Whopper cartoons. And what more eveidence do you need than the fact that Flip lasted for only 3 years. If people demanded more Flip, they would have lasted longer than 3 years. It's called the law of supply and demand.

Sogturtle also decides to defend Iwerks:

Welllll there is absolutely no doubt that Ub WAS the designer or physical creator of the original Mickey Mouse . Walt definitely came up with the idea for the mouse in shorts though. As to the idea that Mickey was the "cocreation of the whole Disney studio", well considering that with the imminent split of the Disney studio into the 'Winkler' group (Harman et al) on one side and Walt and lone surviving master-animator Iwerks on the other I don't quite know HOW you can support that idea... Particularly since Walt had Ub sequestered off in a room SEPARATE from all the other animators so that THEY WOULDN'T KNOW what he was working on (while they were doing the final Disney/Oswald work). And then there is the issue of Ub being the ONLY animator on those earliest Disney sound-era cartoons... And the fact that the Disney archives actually show Ub as the sole director of one or two of the earliest Mickey Mice.

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