Thursday, December 3, 2009
A Book Both Glorious And Grand
Yesterday I posted about Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol, the 1962 spectacular that was TV's first prime-time animated special. Things get even better today, for here's a wonderful Christmas gift for all appreciators of animated artistry: Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special. A work of art unto itself, this magnificent tome was researched, published and written by the ever-dapper Darrell Van Citters. This newly-published book is really the news of the holiday season, for it gloriously celebrates an unfortunately underrated animated jewel. An authentic Christmas Carol confection of production art, designs, storyboard drawings and background paintings, and rare historical photos, this making-of volume was beautifully designed by Amy Inouye under Darrell's stewardship. Included in the wonderfully written text are newly uncovered details such as the recording sessions (incredibly, there were only two), full biographies of the voice talent including Jim Backus, the story behind the Broadway-worthy songs and score, the selling of the show to NBC and sponsor Timex (and the show's initial backer, Kellogg's) —and if you're wondering why the book is written with an insider's understanding of animation production, that's because Darrell is an acclaimed animator and director himself, as well as being a heavy-duty animation historian. I received my copy of this overstuffed Yuletide pudding a few days ago, and I can't stop reading and re-reading it and looking at the colorful and fascinating artwork—but if you don't want to take my word for it, check out the back cover of the dust jacket, where animation powerhouses John Lasseter, Brad Bird, John Musker, Chris Buck, and Michael Giaimo (who Darrell credits with being the one behind the book's creation) all heartily endorse Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special. Be sure and visit the book's website for a closer glimpse of this holiday treat—you'll want to order a copy for yourself and for everyone on your gift list.