WEEKEND was a magazine-formatted news show that ran once a month at 11:30 on Saturday night when the brand-new Saturday Night Live was on its monthly hiatus. Reuvan Frank, the head of NBC News, was the executive producer. He had the idea of having political cartoons to break up the show. Perpetual Motion Pictures got the contract, and as their brand-new animation hire, it fell to me to create a cartoon for every program. Fat Farm was one of them and it was shown in film festivals and got noticed.
During my first 5 years at Perpetual Motion Pictures I was responsible for one minute of animation a month for the magazine-formatted news show, WEEKEND. Perpetual created 2 cartoons a month, one was mine and the other was a series of Mr. Hipp cartoons-- a hip single guy and all the foibles of the day. Hal Silvermintz designed Mr. Hipp and Jan Svochak animated them.
My pieces' designs were all over the place (I kept on experimenting) and I believe that NBC deserves credit for my animation education-- the pieces improved as I learned.
Fat Farm was the first piece that I actually had help on. The newly-hired Russell Calabrese did my in-betweens, so it could have more drawings. And it was my first piece to make it into the Ottawa International Animation Festival!
I am also placing Yearning to Be Free on this page because it was the first piece I developed and pitched (in the same day!) because I read about the neo-Nazis marching in Skokie, Ill. and being defended by a Jewish lawyer. My pitch was accepted and on the air in 3 weeks! And it was acquired by Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum) in Jerusalem, Israel.
I am showing these films because they were publicly exhibited. I don't have copyright to any of the Weekend pieces, but I believe they should be available for viewing. Most of my contributions are on our Vimeo site. The Mr. Hipp videos-- (© Perpetual Motion Pictures, inc.) were designed and directed by Hal Silvermintz, produced by Buzz Potamkin with original music by John McKinney.
I've also added 5 of my favorite pieces that helped me in my animation education: Shoes, my first solo design (I did everything down to ink and paint!); Money Printers, one of the Big Bambino series I designed (The Big Bambino was based on dictators like Idi Amin); The Problem Solver (unintended consequences from microbes that can degrade hydrocarbons); The Rock Concert (the hypocrisy of having an age minimum to buy a beer); and Downtown (our eulogy to Beirut).
1978 Ottawa International Animation Festival