Over the past few days two gentlemen passed away. Two gentlemen with very different but both very interesting connections to furry fandom. Stan Freberg, 88, was a man who “wore so many different hats throughout his career that he may as well have been a hat-maker. Satirist, songwriter, comedian, commercial producer, recording artist, actor, puppeteer, and voice artist only scratch the surface.” Among the myriad of voices he created some of the most memorable might be Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent (in both the puppet and animated versions of Beany & Cecil), the beaver in Disney’s Lady & the Tramp, and (from a very young age) Junior Bear, the lunk-headed young son of short-tempered Papa Bear in a series of cartoons by Chuck Jones. (“C-A-T, dog… D-O-G, Rhode Island…”). Meanwhile Bob Walker also passed away, at the age of 54, apparently from a heart condition. Mr. Walker will best be remembered as co-director (with Aaron Blaise) of Disney’s 2003 2D animated film Brother Bear, but prior to that he had worked as a layout artist on numerous Disney animated projects including Rescuers Down Under (1990), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Mulan (1998), and Lilo & Stitch (2002). A native of Canada, Mr. Walker started his career working for Nelvana Animation on TV shows like The Raccoons. [Thanks to Cartoon Brew for providing this info.]
It is with great sadness that I must report on the passing of one of the giants of the voice-acting world.
Christine Cavanaugh passed away on December 22, 2014 at the young age of 51. She is perhaps best-remembered as the voice actress of (in no particular order) Babe, Dexter (Dexter's Lab), Bunnie Rabbot (Sonic the Hedgehog), Chuckie Finster (Rugrats), Oblina (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters) and Goslyn Mallard (Darkwing Duck, Raw Toonage).
While her voiceography is not as long as other veteran voice actors and actresses, she more than made up for it with quality acting and defining fan-favourite characters, bringing them memorable personalities that lasted long after their shows completed their runs.
Colin maintained several furry websites, including furry.org.nz and the NZfurry mailing list, and (as Nicol Firefox) furry image and story archive Cub Central. He featured prominently in media coverage as a New Zealand fursuiter, provided hosting and IT support for FurcoNZ, and participated in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Colin received a BSc in Computer Science from the Victoria University of Wellington in 1997, and worked for over twelve years as a systems programmer and Linux server administrator for the University of Waikato; in March 2013 he moved to Mako Networks.
Colin's funeral will be at 3PM on Thursday 27 November at the chapel of Morrison Funeral Directors at 220 Universal Drive, Henderson, Auckland. A memorial for friends and family will be held 29 November in the Wellington area.
Update (21 Mar): The website Colin founded, Cub Central, is set to close after his death.
The world of movies lost another big name this week when actor Bob Hoskins passed away at the age of 71. Though he was known throughout much of the world for his dramatic roles (and earned award nominations for several of them), here in the United States he will perhaps forever be best known for his role as gumshoe detective Eddie Valiant, playing opposite a crazed toon bunny in the groundbreaking 1988 live action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which went a long way towards putting animation back on the American landscape after a long slump in the previous decade. But not even counting that, Hoskins had numerous roles in movies with more than a bit of Furry Fandom interest. Some of them cringe-worthy (Mario Brothers, anyone?), some of them wonderful (like the voice of Boris the goose in Balto), and some of them rather obscure (he played Badger in a 2006 British TV movie of The Wind in the Willows). Check out his page at the Internet Movie Database to find out just how diverse his career was. He will be missed.
Furry artist FilthyRotten Jackalope (Tangela Parten, née Harris) has been reported dead following complications from emergency surgery at the age of 35.
A long-time resident of Atlanta, Georgia, and a long-time participant in the local furry community, FilthyRotten served as Volunteer Coordinator at Furry Weekend Atlanta from 2008 to 2013. She moved in June 2013 to Vancouver, Washington, with her husband DarkPatu (Paul Parten) and their three children.
On April 1, 2014, FilthyRotten posted pictures to her Twitter account from her stay at the Peace Health Services Hospital for a blood transfusion (due to a history of chronic internal bleeding), but by April 4, she posted that she would be heading to emergency surgery the next day. According to DarkPatu, "Complications after an emergency hysterectomy led to an infection in her brain and cranial bleeding."
Word came out recently that one of the originals of Furry Fandom, Mark E. Rogers, passed away this past weekend while out hiking with his family. Some might even call him a patron spirit of anthropomorphics. In 1984 (back when a certain group of Ninja Turtles were making their very first appearance) mark published his first book chronicling the adventures of Miaowara Tomokato, the Samurai Cat. Almost every other page of Rogers’ Samurai Cat books featured a black and white or full-color illustration by the author, connected with the action on the previous page. Through a series of five such books of historical satire, Mark was one of the first to take anthropomorphics away from “funny animal” silliness and into something completely new, in a big way. Ron Miller has a detailed obituary of Rogers which he posted up on I09. Sayonara, Mark-san.
Brian Griffin, the martini-drinking anthropomorphic dog from the animated series Family Guy, has been killed off. In the episode which aired on November 24, Brian was hit by a car and subsequently died from his injuries.
In the same episode (entitled Life of Brian), Stewie Griffin had dismantled his oft-used time machine, and was unable to reconstruct it to go back and save Brian. A month after Brian's funeral, the family get a new dog, Vinny, voiced by Tony Sirico.
Family Guy writer Steve Callaghan explained why they decided to kill off Brian:
Well, this was an idea that got pitched in the writers room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up. As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters.
Update: Some fans were, predictably, not happy with Brian's fate. The effectiveness of online petitions is debatable, but one has been set calling for Brian's return. As of now (Nov 26), it has just under 42,000 signatures.
One of the most talked-about furry phenomena from a decade ago was a silly little series of animated shorts called Happy Tree Friends. Here’s how the distributors describe it: “Happy Tree Friends is the cult cartoon sensation with over 1 billion views. The cartoon is drawn in simple appearance and combines cute forest animals with extreme graphic violence. Each episode revolves around the characters enduring accidental events of bloodshed, pain, dismemberment and/or death.” Got that? Well now Flatiron Entertainment have released Happy Tree Friends: Complete Disaster, a 4-DVD box set which includes 13 half-hour TV episodes and 75 short cartoons. Amazon has it for sale, of course. Ouch!
“Necrophilia is more erotic than that [censored!].”
-SWfan, Flayrah commenter
The ABCs of Death is the brainchild of producer Ant Timpson (an end credit suggests the whole thing was inspired by a nightmare of his): take 26 horror directors from around the world and give them a letter of the alphabet. They then pick a word with that letter, and direct a short film for $5,000 that depicts a death involving that word.
Pretty simple, and a great concept for a horror anthology, but why the review on a furry site? Well, there’s Thomas Malling’s “H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion,” which is basically a live action Tex Avery cartoon. And there are plenty of animal-related shorts available, as well; some of the best shorts on the roster, including “D is for Dogfight,” “N is for Nuptials,” “P is for Pressure” and “Q is for Quack,” involve animals, if not always anthropomorphic.
But are these highlights worth the time for furries?
The loss of fursuiter Lemonade Coyote was met with widespread grief among members of furry fandom, including this remembrance from his friend Silver Wolf. Lemonade Coyote's coworker Cody Medley also sustained fatal injuries, after a car drove through an intersection and crashed into their ambulance while they were on the job as medics.
Police said the ambulance was not on an emergency run, but had the right of way when the car ran a flashing red light. An early report that "both medics were wearing seatbelts" is contradicted by a later report that neither wore seatbelts and both vehicles were speeding.
[Prosecutor Curry said] Hammer was driving 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit, while the ambulance was driving 15 to 20 mph over. The posted speed limit was 30 mph.
The driver whose traffic violation caused the crash had a blood alcohol level of 0.038, less than half the legal limit. According to the prosecutor, the traffic violation "does not rise to the level of criminal recklessness", and there will be no criminal charges for the fatal crash.
While not on duty, Lemonade enjoyed fursuiting. His suit's bright and vibrant pink and yellow was true to the name. He was passionate for sticking up for what was right; once saying his dream job was to be a homicide detective.
The ABCs of Death is a horror anthology film which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Released as Video-on-Demand on January 31, it will screen in theatres from March 8 in the U.S.
The film is comprised of twenty-six different shorts – all themed around death – one for each letter of the alphabet. Spanning A is for Apocalypse to Z is for Zetsumetsu, each short has its own director and style.
H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion (by Thomas Cappelen Malling) features two anthropomorphic animal characters. A World War 2 British fighter pilot depicted as a jowly British Bulldog is shown watching a striptease performed by a sultry red fox who is concealing a deadly secret.
A short clip of the anthro characters can be found here - viewer discretion is advised.
Dennis Avner, better known under his Native American name Stalking Cat, died November 5. He was 54.
OggyWolf and BlueCanary confirmed Stalking Cat's death with local officials. His body is being held in Tonopah morgue for his brother [tip: STrRedWolf]. No cause of death was stated, but some claim suicide.
A former U.S. Navy sonar technician, and programmer, Stalking Cat was famous for having had extensive cosmetic surgery to adopt the likeness of his totem animal, the tiger, in accordance with Huron traditions. His body modifications included a split lip, labret-based whisker-holding implants, dental surgery, and silicone injections. He was also extensively tattooed.
Joe, also known as Josey Pearl on Second Life, lived in the San Francisco Bay Area where he attended Los Medanos College as an animation student. He had previously attended Diablo Valley College, and De La Salle High School in Concord, California.