July 1999


By Jeff Lenburg
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Animation acclamation This second edition of The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons, by Jeff Lenburg, contains over 40 percent new material among its more than 2,200 entries. Sections include silent and sound theatrical cartoons, full-length animated features, and animated television series and specials. Entries recount animators, studios, characters, and shows. Inclusions range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Nominees for sublimity include The Simpsons, easily the best cartoon ever on network TV; the magnificently noir and beautifully drawn New Adventures of Batman and Robin; and Toy Story, which turned out to offer not mere technical wizardry but both story and humor. On the ridiculous side (hey, I admit these are subjective), I could mention such errors in judgment as Mr. T, in which the tonsorially challenged intellectual giant battles evil and takes fashion risks with a group of adolescent gymnasts. But does that really surpass a masterpiece of goofiness such as Josie and the Pussycats or the hideous All Dogs Go to Heaven? The historical tidbits are wonderful. Browsers will learn that actor Clarence Nash, the legendary voice of Donald Duck, had to learn to quack in Japanese, Portuguese, and French to dub the foreign releases of the cartoons. Words were written out for him phonetically. Why don’t they teach important stuff like this in school? My favorite part of this book is that it proves what I have always maintained and no one has ever believed. When I was ten years old, in 1968, there was indeed a Saturday morning cartoon entitled Super President. So there.

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