Steve Worth has asked readers of the ASIFA-Hollywood Archive blog to write about why we think the archive is important.
Why is the Archive necessary to Animation History?
1. Good cartoon material is RARE!
Animation has a curious history. Our medium hasn't been around half as long as music or traditional painting, Film Animation has been around for roughly a hundred years, starting to develop commercially in the 1920's USA, and reaching its artistic peak in the 1950s. By the 1960s The golden age of American cartoons has ended, since then the majority of previously created gems hasn't been available to the public.
Not many golden age cartoons and comics have been re-released in their original unharmed version. some golden age cartoons were made available on VHS and Laserdisc in the late 80s and early 90s, they are now out of print. Many of the cartoons now out on DVD are lesser-versions. Unlike the original cartoons, they consist of wrong colors, censored material and introductions by Whoopi Goldberg.
Comic strips and classic illustration suffer from a similar syndrome: only a fraction of the wonderful material created has been re-published and kept. Our medium keeps progressing technologically and financially...but artistically, too much stuff looks the same. This is a result of limited classic material to study from, we keep re-using recent material.
The archive is important because it can preserve animation history, without learning from our medium's wonderful past, we may never be able to progress artistically, and never capable to do it as well as the old masters did. Animation history is still young, but to our grief, the majority of the first generation animators have passed. Their work is still around and it can be learned from, The archive is being set to make sure classic work does not perish.
2. Steve is the man to run it
Since classic cartoons keep going out of the public's reach, you need to be an expert just to know what to look for, but have no fear, THIS expert wants to make them available to you. Starting an archive is no easy work, it requires strong knowledge, vision and capability.
Of all the people I've met, Steve is the perfect man to run an operation like this. He's not only professional, he is also a real fan of cartoons.
Whatever Steve touches turns into gold, he's been resorting beautiful production cells using home-mixed paints in his Animation art gallery "Vintage Ink and Paint",
He's been designing awesome web pages (at its prime www.Spumco.com) using plain raw HTML,
In fact, Steve was in Ralph Bakshi's "Cool World" for only a brief moment and his acting was better than Brad Pitt and Kim Basinger combined.
Now seriously, just check the Archive blog and see samples of this wonderful restoration project, Steve has kept top quality material putting expensive "restored and digitally remastered" DVD releases to shame, the cartoons in his collection are uncut, as their creators intended them to be seen.
To differ from many other projects in the Animation industry, this is not made for profit! This voluntary project is made with love and respect to culture, heritage and creators.
Thanks to ASIFA Hollywood animation archive, young artists won't have to keep re-inventing the wheel.