I bet you’re all wondering how “Tex Avery Day” went back in February, huh? Well, I’ll admit that it wasn’t all I had hoped it would be, but for what it was, it was a decent dedication to one of animation’s greats.
I left my apartment at 12:40 or so and, with cash in my pocket, gas in my tank, and Cheap Trick playing on my iPod, I drove over to Taylor to check out this event. I managed to find a parking space in front of the theater. While I was waiting in line, I showed a couple of people a picture I drew earlier that week of Droopy and the Wolf (impressively, without reference, since I drew it from memory,) and they were amazed by my drawing.
|The drawing that impressed many.|
|This was on the door of the theater|
After we got in, we had to sit through some dull speeches (which were pretty much the same thing) in order to get to the good stuff. For one thing, not only did they show a video of Tex talking about his career, they did unveil a painting of Tex Avery. The image didn’t resemble what people usually associate with Tex Avery, it looked more like one of his younger photos, like back when he was starting out, either at Walter Lantz Studios and Warner Bros. As for guest speakers, I had no idea who any of those people were. I was actually thinking they would get animators and cartoonists who were inspired by Tex’s work. But then again, they didn’t have much of a budget, so what was I to expect there?
|The Tex Avery Painting|
There were (cheap) costumed characters of Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam and Marvin The Martian, which was strange, since out of them, the only one created by Tex Avery was Bugs Bunny. Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones created the other two, respectively. Critical Research Failure, perhaps?
|Try to keep a straight face looking at these.|
Afterwards, we got to see them unveil the state marker down the road. A gentleman who sat by me in the theater took my picture with the marker (along with Bugs Bunny, who happened to get into the picture,) and I headed over to get some cake and check out some of the cartoons they offered.
|Me by the state marker|
|Me by the state marker with the only character that Tex Avery actually created that was even AVAILABLE for this.|
Surprisingly, most of the cartoons that were shown at the theater WEREN’T Tex Avery cartoons at all. They were mostly Looney Tunes cartoons in general, with very few that were directed by Tex Avery. It’s a shame, since Tex deserves a lot more recognition for his MGM work because, while he did break ground at Warner Bros., it was his MGM work where he was at his creative peak. On the plus side, I’m at least glad the newer generation is getting exposed to these great classic cartoons. And I did enjoy the cartoons I actually sat down to watch. (Mostly because I waiting for the next thing they offered.)
To make up for it, they did have a documentary playing upstairs that actually talked about his career. Maybe I laughed a bit too loud, but hey, I was at least enjoying the clips they played, and besides, it was cool to hear people like Chuck Jones, June Foray, Michael Lah, and even animator and historian Mark Kausler talk about his work and the impact it had.
After that, when things cooled down a bit, I went around, taking a few more pictures, and then went over to read the actual state marker before gathering everything and heading back home.
|The state marker|
|The state marker a little closer up|
That next Friday, a Cartoon Brew article about the event was posted and apparently, a reader on Cartoon Brew posted his own article about “Tex Avery Day” on Cartoon Brew, and one part caught my attention:
“…some chubby shaggy weirdo kept showing me his sketch book(*) and telling me he was still in college. ‘ACC? You know Mike St----ns?’
(*) his drawings were actually pretty good.”
THAT WAS ME! I was the “chubby shaggy weirdo” who showed off my sketch book! It’s an honor to be blown off by you, whoever the heck you are! My status as obnoxious, mentally unhinged maniac is well assured!
All joking aside, (since I am very sensitive about my weight and thus do not appreciate being called “chubby” at all,) the event itself wasn’t perfect, but they did make do with what they had. Apparently, one of the coordinators of the event, going by the name “SAM”, was aware of this and commented about it on that same Cartoon Brew post (although I did make some spelling corrections and that kind of stuff):
“As one of the coordinators for the event, rest assured we have bigger plans and your critique is as expected. One must understand that Taylor is a small town with limited budgets and many here locally didn't even know who Tex Avery was before we started this process. Securing the marker was certainly a milestone but merely a starting point to show forward motion and we're very proud of what we accomplished. As far as the costumes, we contacted Six Flags and they don't loan. We ultimately contacted the source that creates the official WB costumes and had several bona fide Tex characters ordered. Unfortunately the storm hit the Southeast prevented shipment so the costumes were cobbled together in a matter of days by local youth trying to make the best of a bad situation. Rest assured next year’s installment will include Tex Avery related content never before seen and more. Our goal is only to raise attention and awareness to an under appreciated pioneer. We would appreciate your support here.”
It sounds like they plan for this event to be annual as opposed to a one-time thing. If that’s the case, then it’s good to know they’re accepting of criticism and are willing to learn from the mistakes, and I plan to attend next year to see what they have next time. That is, if they announce it again.
|Tex Avery Day Program (outside)|
|Tex Avery Day Program (inside)|
Sorry if this took forever to post. I don’t know why it did, but rest assured, more posts will be coming on the way soon.