Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Let's Watch "A&E's Dinosaur: The Tale of an Egg"

"The Tale of an Egg" turns our focus to dinosaur life-cycles and behavior.  Baby-rearing, migrating, fighting, and feeding.  All the things that are fun to speculate and fun to illustrate/animate/puppet.  It's the most kid-heavy episode as well, which makes it a lot of fun.

Somebody start a band based around David Weishampel's Parasaurolophus trumpet already.

Next time: brace yourself, it gets weird.

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(ahem...)

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Art of the Day: some more current loud dinosaurs.

3.15.21 - Spring(?) in Sapsucker Woods

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Let's Watch "A&E's Dinosaur: The Tale of a Bone"

This week's episode of "Dinosaur" mostly focuses on the Bone Wars.  But what I really love about it are all the interviews with dinosaur artists.  We meet Eleanor Kish and Steve Czerkas and the Dinamation crew.  And -most exiting of all- Ray Harryhausen!  We get a clip of "Gertie the Dinosaur" as well as some of Harryhausen's animation.  John Sibbick and David Norman (they of the famous "Norman-pedia") give interviews and they turn out to be mainly responsible for what the puppet dinosaurs look like here.  I thought they felt familiar.  Also, this happens: 

@babbletrish

Another wonderful moment from the ‘91 A&E Dinosaur series. ##dinosaur ##documentary ##Weird90s ##wtf ##waltercronkite ##NewYorkCity

♬ original sound - BabbleTrish

Next time: Eggs!  Like real eggs, not the one in that one confusing pain reliever commercial.

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(Polite little cough...)

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Art of the Day!  A Kestrel and Barn Owl from a Museum of Science livestream.

3.6.21 - Kestrel and Barn Owl

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Let's Watch "A&E's Dinosaur: The Tale of a Tooth"

July is going to be a very busy month here at Babbletrish Lodge.  So this feels like the perfect opportunity to watch a documentary series I'd never seen in it's entirety before. It's true, somehow I hadn’t watched the 1991 A&E "Dinosaur" documentary series until just this month and it is a real treasure.  It's another fantastic example of what a dinosaur documentary looked like before "Jurassic Park" and "Walking With Dinosaurs".

Look.  I know I say "They don't make 'em like this anymore" an awful lot, but they REALLY do not make them like this anymore.  We are never going to get a pure gold nugget of a moment like this ever again:


@babbletrish

I haven’t watched the 1991 A&E “Dinosaur!” series until today and so far it is a treasure. ##dinosaur ##documentary ##Weird90s ##moodwhiplash ##SingingKids

♬ original sound - BabbleTrish

Turn the volume up.  You could guess what kind of music scores this scene and you’d be wrong.  I guarantee.  (You also might just hear me chuckle.)

Part One, "Tale of a Tooth", is about the early days of dinosaur paleontology.  There's period costumes, more strange music choices, wonderful puppet dinosaurs, and Dr. Bob Bakker pulls a wooden sword on Walter Cronkite.  And there are vintage commercials, most of which I'd completely forgotten about.  Next week, the Bone Wars!

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Art of the Day!  Cornell Birdfeeder sketches

2.19.21 - Cornell Birdfeeder Sketches

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Digs, Dragons, and the Dinosauroid (again?) Let's Watch "The Great Dinosaur Hunt"

It's almost 100 degrees out!  It's so hot, why don't we take a journey to the desert!

Okay, this one's a real oddity.  I only learned about "The Great Dinosaur Hunt" (a 1993 Goodtimes home video release, not to be confused with the identically titled "Infinite Voyage" and, er, "Postman Pat" episodes) recently on Twitter and since it was a dinosaur documentary I somehow never saw, I needed to watch it.  Three nights later (!) I'm here to tell the tale.

"The Great Dinosaur Hunt" covers the China-Canada Dinosaur Project, an expedition that started in 1986 and carried into 1991.  And it is a fantastic example of what I can only accurately describe as a pre-"Jurassic Park" dinosaur documentary.  First off, it really did take me a while to get through.  For a 90 minute film, this is s-l-o-w.  The focus is on paleontology itself and the truth of the matter is, paleontology is an awful lot of wandering through the desert hoping to find something, anything.  And boy did I feel that vicariously.

Another interesting thing about this documentary is there's almost no animation.  There are a few animated sequences showing living dinosaurs in action, all traditional and by the fine National Film Board crew.  The scene showing the world through a young Troodon's eyes is particularly lovely and I long for a whole short like this.  

Of course as soon as they mentioned Troodon, and because Dale Russel is one of the paleontologists involved, I knew our old friend the Dinosauroid would make an appearance.  I'm honestly starting to wonder if they were required to mention this thing in every dinosaur documentary from this time.  Think of how weird that is; like if every marine biology documentary spent a few minutes on Initial Bipedalism (link goes to an old TetZoo article where sadly the illustrations are gone, but brace yourself for a wild ride anyway.)

And because this mostly takes place in China, the very droning narrator really loves droning on and on about dragons and how the dinosaur scientists are Unearthing the Mysterious Dragon and did you know that the ancient Chinese found dinosaur fossils and thought they were from dragons?  And that in Asia they use the same word for "dinosaur" and "dragon"?  And and and...?  (Turns out this is all, to put it succinctly, Kinda Racist Nonsense TM.  I f-in' knew it. 😒)

Other than that, this is a pretty nifty look at a legendary expedition.  I'm glad to have had my attention brought to it.  Now I need to jump in the lake.

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Art of the Day

So. I knew about the “We’re not sure how Azhdarchids moved on the ground, did they walk on two legs?” theory but I
A. did not know there was a sculpture depicting this or that
B. it looks... Like This.
Anyway, this was all I could see. A vision that haunted me all that night, so I had to draw and share.

5.3.21 - "Life goin' nowhere! / Somebody help me!"

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dixon, Dinosauroids, and We're Desperate for a Dub: Let's Watch the "After Man" Specials from Japan!

Boy, I really wish we had subtitles for this one, but I'm glad to get to watch it at all.  Here is the rare 1990 Japanese documentary based upon After Man:

This wasn't too hard for me to follow even though I couldn't understand the narration.  It mostly reiterates the big points in the book, like that no niche in nature stays empty for long and that the ancestors of the animals we know today would've looked very odd to us.  We get to see a lot of Phil Tippet's animation from "Dinosaur!"  Dougal Dixon gets to visit the real lands and animals that inspired his imagined ones, which are brought to life through some wonderfully Harryhausen-esque stop-motion animation.  This is all delightful to watch but I really long for an English-language version, especially so I can better understand the sequence where we encounter our old friend the Dinosauroid as well as Dixon's... different... take on the concept.

Fortunately, we do have English subtitles for the "After Man" music video.  This was part of a program of short educational music videos called "Minna no Uta", kind of the Japanese equivalent of "Schoolhouse Rock".  Understanding the lyrics doesn't answer that many questions, but I really like the designs for the creatures here.

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Art of the Day!

JuneFae isn't over yet!

6.10.21 - It's Puck from "Gargoyles"!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Yesterworld's History of "The Black Cauldron"

I've got a soft spot a mile deep for "The Black Cauldron" as you well know.  Here's an excellent recent documentary that finally shows us some of the scenes infamously cut from the production:

Of all the animation history books I've read, surprisingly few of them talk about animated productions in their historical/pop culture context.  I bring this up because I feel like the fact that "Black Cauldron" just happened to be released around the same time as "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" should warrant a mention, if only because that is incredible.

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Art of the Day: Have some jolly toucans.

2.3.21 - Jolly Toucans

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Sketching Along with "The Living Edens" and the Sci-Art Tweetstorm

Symbiartic's Science Art Tweetstorm is back!  Today is technically the last day of the event, so I'm sharing sketches I drew while I watched "The Living Edens: Manu, Peru".

3.24.21 - "The Living Edens: Peru" Sketches

The above drawings were on the last few pages of my Articka Note Sketchbook.  The next batch are on the first few pages of my current Sketchbook, the Ohuhu Marker Pad.  Both are square, take ink and pencils nicely, both are okay with watercolors, and both call to mind the Illo Sketchbook.  So far, I'd put all these Sketchbooks on basically equal footing.

Also, the best way to combat "first page blues" is to go straight from one Sketchbook to the next and the second best way is to find reference of one of your favorite animals and draw their butt.

3.24.21 - "The Living Edens: Peru" Sketches

(Say why didn't any dinosaur books that mentioned Hoatzens told me they are pretty?  Because darn, that is one beautiful bird.)