Arts and Entertainment

Don't worry, Disco Stu is safe

Obituary: Phil Hartman

WHEN the actors providing the voices of The Simpsons cartoon series threatened to go on strike earlier this year unless they got hefty pay rises, the news made headlines around the English-speaking world. It gave viewers the chance to put faces to the names they regularly see on the credit sequences and to realise how versatile those performers can be, since they often lend their talents to several characters.

Multimedia: Through 3-D glasses darkly

A NIGHT at what was billed as the world's first digital opera - the British premiere of Monsters of Grace, from the Einstein on the Beach team of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass - began when we were presented with a pair of 3-D glasses along with our tickets on arrival at the Barbican theatre. Nifty things, specially designed by l-a-Eyeworks (and note that classy lower case prefix), the specs presented a problem straight away. Did you wear them with the white or the blue side facing outwards, and did it matter? Once in our seats, the Barbican's Arts Director Graham Sheffield came on stage to put us right (it was white side out), and ran through the technical specifications rather like Q in a Bond film. Then he got us all to pretend we were already watching the screen so that the too- good-to-miss photo opportunity - an update of Weegee's famous pic of a 3-D movie audience from the 1950s - could be recorded for posterity and maybe the weekend arts pages.

In thing: South Park

South Park is dominated by round-faced little people with ecstasy-dilated pupils; it's a world where Wizard of Oz Munchkins have become hooligans. With the parent-troubling warning - "The following programme contains coarse language and, due to its content, it should not be viewed by anyone" - this cartoon strip from America follows in the satirical mode of The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Daria. With $25m in merchandising already spent, South Park has found the right formula for Nineties icons in this group of offensive juveniles: Cartman, aka the fat one; Kyle, the Jewish one; Stan the vomit king; and Kenny the dead. Cred must be given to a show that gets George Clooney to take a challenging part as a gay dog, and has Robert Smith from The Cure wanting a part. Animation has always been violent (Tom & Jerry were never put in the dock). The only shadow on the horizon is that a feature-length film looms; let's hope it is better than Beavis & Butthead do America.

Photography: Comedy bites in South Park

South Park, the US cult cartoon, is ready to rattle Britain. Meg Carter reports on the string of subversive animation shows to hit American screens

TV hits the bottom line

The latest US import takes toilet humour to new depths. Vanessa Thorpe on the 'adult' cartoons that kids can't resist

Talking poo on a screen near you

If you're tired of the Teletubbies, get ready for South Park, the sickest and funniest cartoon ever made in America. Its creators, Paul McCann discovers, get their sense of humour from Monty Python - so will the British get the joke?

eye give...

14 present buying days to go...

Frank talking and the start of a Homer epic

Sport on TV

Let's not say goodbye, but au revoir

Don't throw your old computer away when you buy a new one. Sara Edlington has plans for it

Arts: Animators all agog with the lure of Hollywood fame

The quirky tales of Wallace, the inventor, and Gromit, his long-suffering canine sidekick, have captured a niche market for British talent. Almost single-handedly, Nick Park, 37, the characters' inventor, has blazed the 3D animation trail in this country. But now he has a rival. Make way for Gogs, courtesy of young, animators from north Wales, Deiniol Morris, 33, and Michael Mort, 25.

You just can't get the staff

There's a battle raging in Hollywood. The studios have gone crazy for animated blockbusters. There's just one problem: finding enough animators to make them. Peter Guttridge reports

See you in court, folks

As Disney unleashes 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', a monstrous legal suit and an animation war threaten the Magic Kingdom.

The hunch that is set to earn millions

Disney's latest offering, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, takes more than a few liberties with Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris - 1482. Quasimodo is recast as "Quasi", an innocent 20-year-old outcast with heart, soul, vibrant voice, advised by inspirational gargoyles nicknamed Victor and Hugo. Esmeralda comes equipped with a frisky pet goat named Djali.

Obituary: Ed Love

Ed Love is not a name well known even to those film-lovers who take notes from the creative credits which flash by all too quickly in the cinema. Television is no help, either, often cutting off credit titles or squashing them into unreadable portions of the screen while using the rest of the space to advertise whatever is coming next. This is especially true of cartoon credits, where even resorting to videos and freeze-frames does not always help. This is even sadder for a long-term animator like Ed Love, whose early work was never credited anyway, and whose later work may well be lost thanks to Hanna-Barbera's latest practice of crediting every name in the company but in ultra-rapid frame flashes.

LETTER : Multiple Oscars

Sir: In her report on the Academy Awards ceremony (27 March) Marianne Macdonald states that the animator Nick Park is "the first Briton to win three Oscars". The composer John Barry has won four Oscars and the cameraman Freddie Young has won three.
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