Bill Griffith’s offbeat creation, Zippy the Pinhead, will be making the transition to the small screen in the near future. Sunbow Entertainment has acquired the rights to develop and produce a new animated series based on the zany character. The Zippy strip has been syndicated by King Feature Syndicate in over 200 newspapers throughout the U.S., and Zippy books have sold over 150,000 copies all over the world.
“We’re looking forward to working with Griffith whose talent, vision and offbeat sense of humor have brought him a loyal following of dedicated fans,” said Sunbow prexy C.J. Kettler.
Sunbow’s pre-school series “Crayonbox” has been picked up for fall syndication. The indie outfit is also currently seeking buyers for “Boats-a-Float” a “Thomas the Tank”-like new series for young children, and “Brothers Flub,” a new show with a classic Max Fleischer look about two intergalactic courier brothers.
Get on the bus
Veteran actor Dabney Coleman will be one of the guest voices featured on the new fall season of PBS’s popular “Magic School Bus” series. Wynonna Judd, Bebe Neuwirth, Malcolm McDowell and Malcolm-Jamal Warner also will be joining cast regular Lily Tomlin (who provides the voice of cheerful science teacher Ms. Frizzle on the show). In the immortal words of Ms. Frizzle, “Wahoo!”
You knew it had to happen some time. The first experimental animation festival on the Internet arrived in January, courtesy of the whizzes at Santa Monica-based interactive outfit Troon and the folks at Absolut Vodka.
Featuring works by artists Jules Engel, Faith Hubley and Jonas Odell, among others, the site features original 10-second works from 24 filmmakers, picked by Christine Panushka, associate dean of animation arts at CalArts. “It’s exciting to see animation celebrated as a legitimate art form,” Panushka says. “This will mark the first time that experimental animation has been exposed to such a wide international audience.” You can check out the Webfest at http://www.absolutvodka.com.
Tuning in to toons
If you can’t get enough of those catchy theme songs from “Felix the Cat” or “Josie and the Pussycats,” you should check out Kid Rhino’s latest compilation, “Toon Tunes.” Featuring 50 classic tracks — from “Popeye the Sailor,” “The Woody Woodpecker Show” and “Speed Racer” to “The Jetsons,” “The Simpsons” and “Animaniacs” — the collection is available in record stores, or it can be ordered by calling RhinoDirect at (800) 432-0020. The collection also includes great toon trivia questions in its liner notes.
The commercial division of the indie animation studio Klasky-Csupo has signed four leading animator directors for spot work. Directors Danny Antonucci (“Lupo the Butcher”), artist George Griffin, Brit director-animator Miles Flanagan and director Bronita Versh are now part of the outfit’s commercial team. Klasky Csupo has been in the ad biz since the studio opened 15 years ago.