Cast Announced for Funimation Dub of Summer Wars

10.20.2010

Funimation announced via their newsletter and blog that they have cast all the characters for their upcoming dub of Madhouse’s award-winning movie, Summer Wars. The cast includes Brina Palencia, J. Michael Tatum, and Maxey Whitehead, as well as over a dozen other main and supporting cast members. For full cast listing and story summary, check the official blog post at the link below:

http://blog.funimation.com/2010/09/summer-wars-has-people-talking/

- Mark Allen, Jr.
Contributor: Voice Actors in the News


Cast Details for New Scooby Doo D2V and TV Series

04.02.2010

The March 12th press release (courtesy of Scoobyfan.net) for the upcoming live-action/CGI sequel to Scooby Doo: The Mystery Begins reveals an upcoming animated direct-to-video title: Scooby-Doo: Camp Scare, which releases on DVD in September 2010.

In addition to the principal voice cast fans have come to expect from the animated series and features (Frank Welker as Fred and Scooby Doo, Grey Delisle as Daphne, and Mindy Cohn as Velma), I have a source confirming some of the supporting cast for this new D2V title: Tara Strong, Phil LaMarr and Lauren Tom. Scott Menville was also mentioned, which leads me to believe that Menville will be reprising his role as Shaggy rather than Matthew Lillard who voiced Shaggy for the February 2010 DVD release, Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo. [Menville also voiced Shaggy for the previous TV series, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo: Get a Clue!]

My source added that they were putting the “finishing touches” on recording.

The press release also mentions that the new animated TV series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated will air in 2011. However, since I first published this article here I now have two sources confirming that the series will air summer 2010, possibly in July, and that the 2011 date mentioned in the press release is believed to be for international markets.

A preview of the new series is scheduled to air Monday, April 5th at 7:00 PM (EST) on Cartoon Network, and it’s been given a full 30-minute time-slot on the CartoonNetwork.com Schedule.

The voice cast for Mystery Inc. includes Welker, DeLisle, Cohn and Lillard (whom I’ve confirmed through a fellow cast member that Lillard will voice Shaggy for the new series).

Additionally, David Kaye (voice of Megatron in five Transformers series to date) shared news that he had a recording session April 1st for an episode of Mystery Inc. with the aforementioned Welker and DeLisle, as well as fellow guest stars Cree Summer and Maurice LaMarche. Kaye added that he got to deliver one of the most famous lines of the Scoobyverse.

And as an exclusive for the blog, Kaye graciously granted permission to share the photos from the recording session:

Maurice LaMarche and Frank Welker


Cree Summer and Frank Welker


Group photo for a recording session of an episode of 'Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated': Left-to-right: Frank Welker, Maurice LaMarche, Collette Sunderman (voice director), David Kaye, Mitch Watson (writer).

And on a related Scooby note, I neglected to mention the February 16th release of Scooby Doo: Abracadabra-Doo in my VAs on DVD coverage earlier this year, but it’s worth the rental. It’s been well-received by fans (click here comments via Scoobyfan.net) and it also received positive reviews (toonzone called it “an uncommonly good Scooby-Doo movie”) due to its return-to-roots retro look and feel as well as some of best 2D animation Warner Bros Animation has produced for a Scooby feature since Scooby Doo on Zombie Island (1998).

Overall, it’s also one of the most entertaining Scooby features released in the last decade (or more). It just seems like more attention was given to producing a quality product which appealed both to kids and nostalgic Scooby Doo fans. For starters, it’s directed by Spike Brandt (Duck Dodgers, Animaniacs), and both Alan Burnett and Paul Dini — two of animation’s top writers — were involved in developing/writing the story and teleplay.

And it boasts a great cast too. Of course you’ll hear Welker, DeLisle, Cohn and Lillard (as Shaggy), and guest stars include Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), Brian Posehn (Mission Hill, Transformers Animated), Jeffrey Tambor (The Larry Sanders Show), and comedian Dave Attell as the voice of the Mystery Machine’s wisecracking GPS. Also listen for cartoon voice acting regulars John DiMaggio, Dee Bradley Baker, Crystal Scales, Olivia Hack, Diane Delano, James Patrick Stuart, and John Stephenson whom I believe has voiced a character in nearly every Scooby Doo production since 1969.

Wikipedia also mentions a Scooby-Doo and the Wild West Frankenstein animated D2V feature for 2011, but I have been unable to find any sources confirming this title. And according to a post on ScoobyAddicts.com, there was a Wikipedia entry in October 2009 which listed this title as Scooby Doo and the Wild West Boogeyman. The listing was removed less than a week later.

A very special thanks to David Kaye — DavidKaye.com for the photos.


Voice Cast Cavalcade: Word Up, WordGirl!

02.14.2010

This article was first published February 14, 2010 and has since been revised and updated with new information. Please scroll down for the most recent additions.

Although I have done previous voice cast features here on the blog, I’m introducing it as a series with a fancy-schmancy title — “Voice Cast Cavalcade” — where I will periodically spotlight the voice casts of TV shows, movies, films and video games which I think are worthy of mention.

WordGirl image courtesy of PBS.org

First up is the Emmy Award-winning PBS series, WordGirl [<-- official site link], one of my current favorite animated shows.

Yes, I know it’s a kids’ show. And no, I don’t have any kids. But as a writer I’ve always had a fascination with words and their meanings. I’m also involved in education as an acting coach for kids and teens, and I perform an “edutainment” reading program for children. So if I must justify why I watch WordGirl, there you go.

But I also watch the show because I just love cartoons. And as an animation critic, I can’t say the show’s animation is particularly striking or even outstanding. But that’s not worth criticizing because WordGirl is designed to have a functional, simplistic coloring book/comic book-esque look that’s easy on the eyes and works for the show’s format.

And it’s on PBS so it’s expected that WordGirl‘s focus is education, which it has in spades — it’s geared to help boost reading comprehension and vocabulary.

But quite surprisingly it also entertains…for all ages.

Most studios producing animated educational programming for kids unfortunately share a common problem: they often seem to forget to try making the show entertaining for adults too. (Many parents — good parents — do watch shows with their kids rather than letting the TV serve as a babysitter. I’m an uncle several times over and I love watching kids’ shows with my nieces and nephews because I find it interesting to observe what they react to.)

And because PBS shows are sponsored by companies who want parents to buy their products, I don’t understand why a production company would not attempt to make a kids’ show at least moderately entertaining for adults. Otherwise, the sponsors and advertisers seem more of an afterthought.

WordGirl is one of those rare kids’ shows that seems to have been intentionally crafted to be entertaining for all ages, and with a production studio like Soup2Nuts behind the series…well, that explains a LOT.

Soup2Nuts is the same studio that gave us Science Court, Home Movies and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. Home Movies and Dr. Katz — both skewed for adults — have developed a strong adult following through Adult Swim and Comedy Central (respectively). And Science Court was a kids’ show that thanks to clever writing and comedic voice performances had a broad audience appeal.

(And thankfully, WordGirl doesn’t use Soup2Nuts’ trademark “Squigglevision” from any of those series.)

And I’m not the only adult who has noticed WordGirl‘s entertainment value.

Popular animation fan site toonzone.net ranked WordGirl #19 on their Toons of the 2000s: Top 25 Animated Television Series, actually ranking WordGirl higher than such fan favorites as King of the Hill, Teen Titans, South Park and Chowder. Toonzone calls it “one of the smartest shows on television” thanks to the “humorous and fast-paced dialogue,” “unique villains,” “zany…secondary characters,” and the narrator’s commentary which “makes for some of the greatest highlights of the show.”

Toonzone calls it a “nominally…educational program,” and adds that there is “nothing nominal…about its entertainment value.”

PBS and Scholastic also seem deliberate in promoting the show to adults. In 2007, they enlisted PBS’ news anchor Jim Lehrer to do a “mock interview” with WordGirl for a show promo:

But what personally hooked me on the show were the cast performances and guest stars, which helped WordGirl to win the award for “Best Voice Talent” at the inaugural 2010 KidScreen Awards.

Danna Feinglass (photo courtesy UCBTheatre.com)

The show’s title character, WordGirl (aka Becky Botsford) is voiced by Dannah Feinglass (also credited as Dannah Phirman) who is also the voice of Penny, Bessie Higgenbottom’s sidekick on Nick’s popular animated series The Mighty B!. Furthermore, Feinglass voices Zaria and Linda the Sheep on Tak and the Power of Juju (also on Nickelodeon), and has voiced characters in the Mass Effect video game series. [FYI: Feinglass has also written episodes of WordGirl and The Mighty B!]

Feinglass is also an alumni of the Los Angeles’ comedy troupe, The Upright Citizens Brigade — which if you browse the Performers page on UCBTheatre.com you’ll discover this is a common connection with several other members of WordGirl’s voice cast: James Adomian, Maria Bamford, Patton Oswalt, Matt Besser, Danielle Schneider, Ron Lynch and Nick Kroll.

WordGirl‘s voice cast is far too lengthy for me to include here in its entirety, so I’ll just list the principals, recurring roles and notable guest stars (note that these are all recurring characters featured in 3 or more episodes).

- Chris Parnell – Narrator, “The Exposition Guy”
- Maria Bamford – Mrs. Botsford, Violet Heaslip, Leslie the Assistant
- Ryan Raddatz – Mr. Botsford, Todd “Scoops” Ming
- Cree Summer – Granny May
- Tom Kenny – T.J. Botsford, Dr. Two Brains
- James Adomian – Curator, Security Guard, Robber
- Fred Stoller – Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy
- Patton Oswalt – Theodore “Tobey” McCalister III
- H. Jon Benjamin – Reginald, the Jewelry Store Clerk
- Ron Lynch – Mayor
- Larry Murphy – TV Reporter
- Grey DeLisle – Lady Redundant Woman
- Jeffrey Tambor – Mr. Big
- Jim Gaffigan – Mr. Dudley
- Pamela Adlon – The Birthday Girl
- John C. McGinley – The Whammer

Other notable guest stars include Kevin McDonald (Kids in the Hall, Invader ZIM), Ed Asner (Freakazoid!, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Wayne Knight (Seinfeld, Toonsylvania), Kristin Schaal (Flight of the Conchords), Andy Dick (NewsRadio, Clone High), Judy Greer (Arrested Development), Peter Graves (Mission: Impossible, Airplane!), Elliot Gould (Friends, Kim Possible), and Brian Posehn (Transformers Animated, Mission Hill).

Here’s a segment from WordGirl introducing one of the series’ recurring villains “The Butcher” via PBS’ official YouTube Channel, featuring the voices of Dannah Feinglass (Becky, WordGirl), Chris Parnell (Narrator), Maria Bamford (Violet), Jack Ferraiolo (The Butcher), Jen Cohn (Bank Teller, Rich Old Lady), H. Jon Benjamin (Reginald), and Mike O’Connell (Grocery Store Manager).

For the show’s on-air credits, the cast is listed by name only which unfortunately makes it difficult to ID the voices, and I am unable to find an official source with a complete voice cast. The cast lists on IMDb.com and Wikipedia.org are useful but lack 100% accuracy.

I’ve contacted PBS Kids and Scholastic in hopes that they will be able to supply this information for the fans, and will update upon their reply.

DVD cover for 'WordGirl: Earth Day Girl' (via Scholastic press release)

And in very closely related news, PBS issued a press release (via toonzone.net) on Jan. 19th announcing WordGirl’s first-ever DVD release for March 30th: WordGirl: Earth Day Girl.

WordGirl: Earth Day Girl includes 8 episodes with bonus content that will both educate and entertain younger viewers, and I believe animation fans will find the show refreshingly entertaining too.

I personally hope it sells extremely well with parents and thus possibly help season box sets to be released in the future…for my future kids, naturally, but for me too.

Update: 5.04.2010
— I’ve given this article a complete overhaul and added images and video clips, and tried finding some other cast interviews via Google search:

- Found a mention on the official site for Ryan Raddatz (series writer and voice of WordGirl’s dad, Mr. Botsford) of a WordGirl live event (held in Los Angeles January 22, 2009) where Raddatz’s mentions that they had just wrapped production on “104 eleven-minute episodes” for WordGirl’s second season. (Barely half of Season 2′s new episodes have aired as of May 2010.)

And in a follow-up post, Raddatz shared several photos of the event featuring the voice cast.

In a more recent post, Raddatz blogged February 12th, 2010:

I’m currently writing my last script of season four (episode 155!) and we’ll be in the booth recording all next week. We should hear soon about more seasons….Fingers crossed!

- Series writer and voice talent Jack Ferraiolo was profiled in a June 2008 interview following his Daytime Emmy win.

- Animation World Network published an interview February 2009 with WordGirl executive producer Deborah Forte and series’ creator Dorothea Gillim.

- Two interviews with Maria Bamford:
womensradio.com
creativeloafing.com

- Starpulse.com February 2009 interview with Chris Parnell.


Next Animated DC DVD: ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’

02.11.2010

toonzone.net reports (via the LA Times) that Batman: Under the Red Hood will be the next at the next DC Comics animated direct-to-video title adapting “the recent storyline from the 2005 Batman comics written by Judd Winick, who is also apparently writing the screenplay to the movie.”

Brandon Vietti will direct, and the voice cast will feature Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) as Batman, Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) as the Red Hood, Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, John DiMaggio as the Joker, and Jason Isaacs (the Harry Potter franchise) as Ra’s al-Ghul.

Sorry, I can’t hold back the commentary on this one. This is the third voice for Batman in a year. Come on Warners/DC Comics — make up your mind, for crying out!

Granted, William Baldwin as Batman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is forgivable since it’s an “alternate universe” kind of story. Otherwise, Batman should be voiced by Kevin Conroy, and only Kevin Conroy. Even Christian Bale‘s Batman should have been overdubbed by Kevin Conroy.


February Celebrity Voice Acting Round-Up

02.10.2010

I’ll continue to update this page throughout the month of February.

As always, readers can stay informed of all blog updates/additions via Twitter (@voiceroy) and Facebook. I also regularly post celebrity voice news items through Facebook and Twitter which I don’t publish on the blog.

Update: 2.19.2010

- Via Animated Views by Ben Price: Premiering on HBO Friday, Feb. 19th at 9PM is The Ricky Gervais Show, an animated version of the Guinness World Record-holder for “most downloaded podcast.” It features the voices of comedian/actor Ricky Gervais (popular BBC sitcom The Office), Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. You can watch the first full episode online at HBO.com.

- Via TVSquad.com: Gilbert Gottfried now has a new title to add to his credit: “TV pitchman,” as the spokesperson for “ShoeDini”:

- Via LA Times’ Hero Complex: Rockers Gene Simmons and David Lee Roth howled for “Wolfman” film vocal effects.

- Added two photos to the press release for Goodspeed Musicals gala event honoring Paul Williams.

- Via Zachary-Levi.com: Disney’s Rapunzel changes title (again) to “Tangled.” (Currently confirmed voice cast previously reported here.)

- Via DivineCaroline: “Name That Voice: 10 Celebrity Commercial Voice-Overs.”

- Via WalletPop: “The Celebrity Voices Behind the Commercials.”

- Via DailyFill.com: “15 Secret Celebrity Voice Overs.”

- Via toonzone.net: Archer‘s Aisha Tyler (The Boondocks, The Wild) and series creator Adam Reed (Frisky Dingo, Sealab 2021) discuss the show and the voice cast.

Update: 2.15.2010

The LA Times Hero Complex blog has an interview with Tim Burton discussing Barbara Windsor, who voices the Dormouse in Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

In related news, there will be an Alice in Wonderland “fan event” in Hollywood on Feb. 19th with in-person appearances by Tim Burton and “some cast members” whose names have yet to be announced. Hero Complex has more details on the event.

The world premiere of Alice in Wonderland will take place in London on Feb. 25th. Expected to attend the red carpet event: Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Avril Lavigne, Alan Rickman, Anne Hathaway, Christopher Lee, Mia Wasikowska, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Timothy Spall, Paul Whitehouse, Barbara Windsor and Michael Sheen.

Other details on the film were previously reported below.

Update: 2.14.2010

- Via toonzone.net: Saturday Night Live’s Chris Parnell will guest star on Nick at Nite’s Feb. 15th episode of Glen Martin D.D.S. as the voice of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

- Comics/TV/film writer/producer Neil Gaiman says via his blog that he will be providing a voice for an upcoming episode of the PBS’ kids show Arthur. As of his Jan. 21st post, he had only received the script and does not mention when he would be recording. [Source: toonzone.net]

- PBS kids show WordGirl has an impressive voice cast which includes many celebrity guest voices such as Ed Asner, Elliot Gould, Peter Graves, John C. McGinley and Jeffrey Tambor. Read my review of the show here.

Update: 2.13.2010:

- Reuters reports:

James Marsden has signed on to star opposite Russell Brand in “I Hop,” a live-action/computer-animated hybrid comedy.

Tim Hill, who directed the hybrid “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” is pushing his resume into hipper territory with this tale of an out-of-work slacker (Marsden) who accidentally injures the Easter Bunny (voiced by Brand) and must take him in as he recovers. As Fred struggles with the world’s worst houseguest, both will learn what it takes to finally grow up.

I’ve never heard of a movie being named after an actual restaurant chain, but I guess there’s a first time for everything? I predict this “working title” doesn’t last three months.

- TV.com has an interview with Tim Daly, voice of Superman in Superman: The Animated Series and Batman/Superman: Public Enemies. He indirectly discusses his voiceover work and briefly mentions his role as Superman:

Q: You’ve done a little bit of everything in television—hour-long network drama, sitcoms, voiceovers for animation, TV movies, prestige cable shows. Is there any format you like working in more than others?

Q: No. Every step, every character, every medium has its own particular challenges, but essentially, I consider my job finding a way to tell the truth, to deliver the truth to people in a way that effects them, that makes them say, “Wow, that moved me or enlightened me or made me laugh.” I think that’s the job of pretty much any artist. We listen to music and it makes us weep—why? Because it speaks truth to us. I think TV should be the same way. It should strike a chord in us where we say, “That struck a human chord in me and it moved me.”

Q: So it’s not all just a let-down after playing Superman?

A: [laughs] Well, a little bit. I mean, come on, it’s Superman, after all. Superman was a great role, and I loved doing it, and I would welcome doing it more, especially with Andrea Romano, who’s such a great director. I hope that opportunity presents itself again.

- Via SeattleWeekly.com: Simpsons‘ creator Matt Groening and cast member Hank Azaria will appear as guest judges on the upcoming seventh season of Top Chef. It is not known when the show will air; production is scheduled to begin in April 2010.

- On December 22, 2009, Atari/Cryptic Studios issued a press release announcing that Leonard Nimoy would be narrating the intro as well as key scenes and events throughout the game for Star Trek Online (which released Feb. 2nd):

“I am happy to be involved with Star Trek Online. In this game, the essence of Star Trek – exploration and adventure – lives long and prospers,” said Nimoy. “I’m pleased that a whole new generation of fans will be able to discover new frontiers in the Star Trek universe.”

IGN.com has footage of Nimoy’s voiceover session for the game.

NVISION Magazine Winter 2010 issue.

Elsewhere, Nimoy is interviewed in the Winter 2010 print issue of NVISION Magazine which includes an 8-page feature on the game. The magazine is available on newsstands through March 2nd, 2010 and can also be ordered online.

On Dec. 12, 2009, Zachary Quinto, who played Spock in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie, announced at the Spike Video Game Awards that he would be the “the voice of” Star Trek Online. He does not, however, reprise his role as Spock. According to a Jan. 27th interview on Wired.com, Quinto “provides the voice for a holographic doctor — the Emergency Medical Hologram Mark VI…[new] players of the MMO will hear Quinto’s voice as they make their way through the game’s opening tutorial.”

Quinto also discussed the game in a Feb. 2nd interview with the New York Daily News, and IGN.com has footage of Quinto’s voiceover session. SciFiWire.com has a video interview with Quinto detailing his voice work on the game.

- Voice cast info on some upcoming animated films and live-action/CGI features:

> Alice in Wonderland (March 5th, 2010): I’ll bypass mentioning the main stars in the Tim Burton-directed *sequel* to the Lewis Carroll classic children’s novel since you’ve likely seen your fill of them in recent TV ads. What I’m personally looking forward to hearing/seeing are the performances by Crispin Glover as The Knave of Hearts, Stephen Fry as The Cheshire Cat, Christopher Lee as The Jabberwock, Alan Rickman as The Caterpillar and Matt Lucas as both Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

> The Hero of Color City: No specific release date has been announced yet, but this computer-animated film from Magnolia Pictures is supposed to be released sometime in 2010. According to IMDb.com, it will feature the voices of Christina Ricci as “Yellow,” David Kaye (Transformers Beast Wars, Beast Machines) as “Black,” and Craig Ferguson and Rosie Perez in yet-unannounced voice roles.

> Guardians of Ga’Hoole (September 24, 2010): Based on the popular children’s book series, this film has been generating some advance buzz based on the voice cast which includes Emilie de Ravin, Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Jim Sturgess and Miriam Margolyes. (Complete voice cast linked via IMDb on the movie title above.)

> Holy Cow! (release date unknown): Variety first reported March 5th, 2009 that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would voice a Texas steer in this computer-animated feature and I have yet to see any announcements since. The film doesn’t even have an IMDb page. I guess maybe this one has fizzled like the Johnny Bravo live-action movie starring Johnson that was announced back in 2004.

> Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (July 30, 2010): This is a sequel to the 2001 live-action/CGI talking-animal film, but only a handful of the original cast reprise their roles. According to IMDb.com, returning to voice their canine characters are Alec Baldwin (Butch), Michael Clarke Duncan (Sam) and Joe Pantoliano (Peek), while Bette Midler voices the villain Kitty Galore with Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911, Camp Lazlo, The Fairly Odd Parents) in a supporting role as the voice of “Cool Cat.” IMDb lists comedian/actor Paul Rodriguez as “Crazy Carlito,” but does not specify whether the role is voice-only.

I know the original was your average kids/family film, but I admit I enjoyed it..mainly for nostalgic reasons: the first dog I ever owned in grade school was a beagle, so I must admit I’m disappointed that Lou (as voiced by Tobey McGuire) does not appear to be returning for the sequel. And other favorite noteworthy performances from the original don’t seem to be returning either: Sean Hayes (Mr. Tinkles), Jon Lovitz (Calico) and voice actors Danny Mann and Billy West as the Ninja cats.

> Yogi Bear (December 15, 2010): *Sigh* Why, Warner Bros…why would you do this? Oh yeah, money…that’s why. At any rate, it features the motion capture performances and voices of Dan Aykroyd (Yogi), Justin Timberlake (Boo-Boo) [yikes!], and Christine Taylor (Cindy). I’m not looking forward to this movie. I will wait to see the reviews, but even then chances are slim that I will ever watch it.

In unfortunately related news, LA Times‘ Hero Complex blog reports that Warner Bros has named Alex Zamm to direct its planned live-action/CGI Marvin the Martian feature film. (Zamm is also contracted to helm yet another similar feature for Hong Kong Phooey.) Two TV writers — Paul Kaplan and Mark Torgove — have also signed on for the Marvin screenplay (who in turn are writing the CHiPS remake).

The LA Times says that the producers are “talking to a number of stars” and mentions Mike Myers as “one name that’s come up.”

I guess there really is no animated property that’s safe from this sort of treatment.

- toonzone.net reports that David Spade is in talks with cable channel TBS to develop an animated series based on the Joe Dirt feature film.

Hey, TBS! If you’re going to produce an animated series based on a feature film and expect it to be successful, you might want to pick a film that was actually good.

- Via toonzone.net: Olympic figure skating champion Michelle Kwan will guest star on Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Sunday, February 21, 2010, at 7:00 PM (Eastern).

- toonzone.net reports (via Adult Swim press release) that Robot Chicken has been renewed for two more seasons, with an “unprecedented” order for 40 new episodes. toonzone adds, “No information was provided on when the new seasons will begin production or when they will air.”

Says co-creator Seth Green in the press release: “We’re very excited,” says Green, “we never expected to do a second season, let alone a fifth and sixth, so we are thrilled by the audience response and how the show continues to grow internationally.” Matt Senreich says, “We love Adult Swim. It’s really that simple. From the get-go, we’ve always said that Robot Chicken was a show where we play with friends and we look forward to doing that for years to come!”

And I’ll add that it could be a really long before we see new episodes since Green and Senreich along with Tom Root are developing an untitled pilot for FOX (previously reported here).

- Leonardo DiCaprio will narrate the NASA space documentary Hubble 3D. The film arrives in theaters March 19th, 2010.

And some of my own celebrity-related reports outside of this article:

- 2.13.2010 — Toy Story 3 Cast News (Woody’s) Round-Up

- 2.13.2010 — Paul Williams Honored

- 2.11.2010 — Jonathan Winters Rumored to voice Papa Smurf

- 2.11.2010 — Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Cheryl Hines and Star Trek‘s George Takei guest star on the 2-part season finale of The Superhero Squad Show. (Link includes interviews with Hines and Tom Kenny.) Mark Hamill also guest-starred in January as the voice of the Red Skull.

- 2.11.2010 — Next Animated DC DVD: Batman: Under the Red Hood (which includes cast info).

- 2.11.2010 — Neil Patrick Harris Guests on Nick’s ‘Penguins’

- 2.11..2010 — In a Futurama Cast Round-Up of news on the upcoming sixth season of the show, I reported that late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson will guest on the second episode of the new season.

Update: 2.11.2010:

- Robin Williams, Hank Azaria and Elijah Wood have recently been in Sydney, Australia recording dialog and filming motion capture for the computer-animated Happy Feet II. On Feb. 9th, Williams gave an impromptu stand-up performance in a Sydney bar and received a standing ovation.

On a related note, Movieline.com reported Jan. 15th that Matt Damon and Brad Pitt had also been cast in the film, although Warner Bros has declined to confirm this. Movieline says their sources state that both Damon and Pitt were in the studio recording dialog for the film that week.

It is assumed that “Gloria,” the character voiced by the late Brittany Murphy, will return for the sequel because Murphy had plans in early December 2009 to fly to Sydney with Elijah Wood to record the dialog, and then afterwards was allegedly fired by Warner Bros. There has been no announcement since whether Gloria’s role in the sequel will be cut or if Warner Bros will cast a replacement.

- Added another update to my August 2009 news on DreamWorks’ computer-animated superhero adventure, MegaMind (formerly “Oobermind,” which was originally “Master Mind”).

- The live-action/CGI hybrid Marmaduke, voiced by Owen Wilson, arrives in theaters June 10, 2010 and features the voices of Steve Coogan, Ron Perlman, Jeremy Piven, Fergie, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Thomas F. Wilson, Emma Stone, Damon Wayans and Marlon Wayans.

- Movieweb.com attended DreamWorks’ 2010 film presentation on Jan. 15th, and for those who enjoy spoilers Movieweb describes the action from previews of the upcoming computer-animated films MegaMind, Shrek Forever After and How to Train Your Dragon.

Shrek Forever After features returning cast members Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas. Other confirmed cast members: Kathy Griffin and Kristin Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) as ogre-hunting witches, Jane Lynch (Glee), Jon Hamm (Mad Men) as the ogre leader of an underground resistance group, Megan Fox (Transformers film series) as a princess, and Walt Dohrn as Rumpelstiltskin [Dorhn voiced several incidental characters in Shrek the Third].

Wikipedia has an alleged “confirmed cast” list, but its validity is already challenged by listing Beatles’ frontman Paul McCartney as the voice of Rumpelstiltskin which the USA Today refuted in a Nov. 2009 article.

And here’s the most recent trailer (as of this writing):

And DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon arrives in theaters March 25th, featuring the Movieweb-confirmed voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Kristen Wigg. Chris Sanders, who wrote and directed (and voiced) Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, is the film’s co-writer and co-director.

Originally posted 2.10.2010:

- Kevin McKidd, who plays Poseidon in the feature film Percy Jackson and the Olympians, revealed in an interview on DailyRecord.co.uk that he was “asked to provide a voice in Pixar’s Scottish animated movie, The Bear And The Bow,” which will feature the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson.

McKidd adds, “[My son was delighted that I'm] doing a voice in a Pixar film. I haven’t done the recordings yet so I’ll know more in March when I start. I’m dead excited about it – and that I’m working with Billy Connolly.”

- Via Adweek: Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall is the image voice for the Dodge Charger.

- Via TheFlickCast.com: Ron Perlman narrates the trailer for Fallout: New Vegas video game.

- Via toonzone.net: T.C. Carson, voice of Kratos in the God of War video game series, will be doing a signing Feb. 14th at Rose Bowl Comics in Pasedena, CA.

- Via ComicBookResources.com: Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Cheryl Hines voices Stardust, herald of Galactus, on the 2-part season finale of The Superhero Squad Show airing Feb. 13th and 20th at 7:30 PM on Cartoon Network.

Says Hines of her voice acting experience:

The first time you do this, it’s such a strange feeling, because you’re in this booth that has this big glass window and there are usually, I don’t know, five to eight people on the other side staring at you with their headphones on. You can’t really hear what they’re saying, unless they want you to hear what they’re saying, and then they push a little button and say something to you. Otherwise, you’ll do a take and see them all talking. “Oh no, what’s going on in there?” Then they’ll push the button and go, “That was good, but let’s just try it one more time.” [Laughs] They’re always super calm when they talk to you, because they don’t want you getting rattled.

I remember the first time I did it, I was sweating. You’re not sure if you’re doing it right. You don’t really know what you’re doing. After you do a few [takes], you realize that there’s actually no right or wrong. The people on the other side of the glass, they’re listening and they’re really good at imagining the world that you’re creating.

You are so exhausted at the end of recording something like this. It’s very draining. I mean, let’s be honest, I’m not digging ditches, but your whole body is all tense and you’re trying to get it right and you’re so in it and concentrating so hard for three or four hours at a time. When it’s over, it feels like you just ran a marathon. Plus, with everybody’s eyes all on you, everyone’s listening to every little swallow, and God help you if you have any other body noises. [Laughs] It can be very stressful! But it’s weird. It’s a different way of working.

- Via CreativeLoafing.com: Aisha Tyler (Archer, Boondocks, The Wild) discusses voice acting:

Creative Loafing: You’re currently doing the voice for the character Lana Kane on the animated TV show Archer. What’s that like?

Aisha Tyler: Well, I have done a good number of animated parts already; a show called the The Boondocks that Aaron McGruder created for Adult Swim, shows for the Disney channel, and also a big Disney movie, The Wild. So, I’ve done a good amount, but this is the first time I have done a series. It’s great. It’s much easier than regular TV. You don’t have to do hair and make-up and you just get to go into a booth. The workload is cake, and it’s really fun actually.

CL: How is that working right now with your comedy tour kicking off?

AT: We finished all the episodes for this season. But, what’s great about voice-overs is that as long as you have access to a high quality sound booth in any city, we’re able to do it from any part of the country. So, it’s not too difficult.

- toonzone.net reports that Classic Media and Vivendi Entertainment will release a brand new animated direct-to-DVD title, Kung Fu Magoo, on May 11th. It features the voices of:

Jim Conroy (Celebrity Death Match, Grand Theft Auto IV) as Mr. Magoo
Dylan & Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody)
Alyson Stoner (Camp Rock)
Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live)
Kenny Mayne (Dancing With The Stars)
Fred Travalena (Bogey from Shirt Tales)

Also on May 11th, Classic/Vivendi will release the 1964 Magoo classic, Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest, starring the original voice of Mr. Magoo, Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island).

TVShowsonDVD.com has a look at the cover art for both titles.

- BBC.co.uk has an interview with Family Guy’s Mike Henry discussing the celebrity guest voices featured on the Family Guy spin-off The Cleveland Show, which include Kanye West, T-Pain, will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas), U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr and film director David Lynch.

Henry says of Kanye:

Kanye could not be a cooler guy at our show – we do definitely have some jokes where he makes light of himself.

He does some things out in public that stir up controversy and opinions. He knew that and we contacted him and he was totally up for doing the part. He’s a recurring character [as Kenny West]. He does an extended rap-off with Cleveland Jnr in an episode first season and he and Cleveland hook up and do another rap in season two.

The first time we had actually written a rap for him. Five of our writers sat down to write this rap and they were like, ‘I wonder how he’s going to like it?’.

But he was genuinely laughing. He very humbly asked if we could change one line which didn’t feel right. He was even joking that we should write a song for his next album.

T-Pain and will.i.am will play Cleveland Jr.’s sidekicks in season 2. “We just recorded [will.i.am] last week and he was absolutely hilarious,” Henry says. “He could do his own animated show he’s got so many voices.”

Of Larry Mullen Jr. Henry says, “We just recorded him doing a couple of different parts and he was very funny. He plays a mobster in one episode; he plays a bad Elvis impersonator by design in another episode. He’s got his own studio so we just record it from Dublin. You don’t have to record at a certain time. It’s an easy gig and one that people like to do.”

Henry adds, “It’s very cool to have all these people from different walks of entertainment participating in what we’re doing.”

A related interview with Cleveland Show executive producer Rich Appel on HollywoodReporter.com mentions that this Sunday’s episode (2.14) guest stars the Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie, and adds that episode 16 in season 2 will feature guest stars Carl Reiner, will.i.am and T-Pain.

- Via toonzone.net: …and speaking of T-Pain, he spoke with ABCNews.com about his role in Freaknik: The Musical, a hip-hop animated musical scheduled to air on Adult Swim March 7, 2010 (previously reported here) The much-hyped special also features the voices of Rick Ro$$, Andy Samberg, Lil’ Wayne, Bill Hader, Kelis, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Young Cash, Sophia Fresh and Charlie Murphy.

Additional sources: IMDb.com, Wikipedia.org, Screenhead.com, Wikipedia’s 2010 in film

Related posts:
- 12.11.2009 — Dec-Jan Celebrity Voice Acting Round-Up
- 1.28.2010 — VAs on DVD: January-February 2010 Feature


Event: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Premiere

02.08.2010

From paleycenter.org:

Event: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Thursday, February 18, 2010
7:00 pm PT
Los Angeles
In Person

Bruce Timm, Executive Producer
Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu, Directors
Andrea Romano, Dialogue Director
Dwayne McDuffie, Writer
Voice Cast Members: Bruce Davison, Josh Keaton, Vanessa Marshall
Others to be announced.

Join Warner Home Video, Newsarama, and the Paley Center for the world premiere of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the highly anticipated new entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe animated original films. Filmmakers and members of the voice cast are scheduled to attend this screening followed by a Q&A with the audience.

General Public: Free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. RSVP to justiceleagueLA@newsarama.com to receive a free ticket.

Related post: 1.28.2010 — Romano, Davison Talk Justice League: Crisis


Vanity Fair’s Top Hollywood Earners of 2009

02.06.2010

I might have saved this one for the next edition of Frivolous List Friday except that it involves some heretofore unmentioned upcoming animated feature films and details on earnings from voiceovers — a “hot topic” here as one of this blog’s most-read articles.

Names of note on Vanity Fair’s list of “Top Hollywood Earners”:

#7. Ben Stiller: Madagascar film series
- VF: Estimated “$5 million: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (back-end bonus for voice work, and share of DVD)”

#8. Tom Hanks: Toy Story series
- VF: Est. “$15 million: Toy Story 3 (fee for voice work in upcoming “3-D-quel”)”

#12. Adam Sandler: voices in 8 Crazy Nights and upcoming Zookeeper
- VF: Est. “$2 million: Zookeeper (fee for voice work in and producing upcoming animated feature)”

#16. Owen Wilson: voices in Cars and upcoming Cars 2 sequel and Marmaduke
- VF: Est. “$1 million: Marmaduke (fee for voice work in upcoming animated film based on tired comic strip)”

#17. Nicolas Cage: G-Force
- VF: Est. “$2 million: G-Force (back-end bonus for voice work, based on worldwide gross of $285 million)”

#19. Cameron Diaz: Shrek series
- VF: Est. “$10 million: Shrek Forever After (fee for voice work in upcoming 3-D “fourquel”)”

#21. Johnny Depp: voice in upcoming Rango animated feature
- VF: Est. “$7.5 million: Rango (fee for voice work in upcoming animated film)”

#22. Steve Carell: voices in Over the Hedge and upcoming Despicable Me
- VF: Est. “$500,000: Despicable Me (fee for voice work in upcoming animated feature)”

#29. George Clooney: Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Earnings info from Fantastic Mr. Fox not available.

#31. Reese Witherspoon: Monsters vs Aliens
- VF: Est. “$10 million: Monsters vs. Aliens (back end for voice work, based on worldwide gross of $381 million, and share of DVD)”

#40. Brad Pitt: voice in upcoming Megamind feature film
- VF: Est. “$5 million: Megamind (fee for voice work)”

Related post: 4.27.2009 — How Much Do Voice Actors Earn?


RiffTrax Rips on ‘Paranormal Activity’

02.05.2010

RiffTrax releases their comedic commentary track for the low-budget box office hit Paranormal Activity on Thursday, Feb. 11th. Here’s a preview:

Related post: 1.28.2010 — New RiffTrax DVD Releases Reviewed


Rick Wasserman Talks ‘Planet Hulk’

02.02.2010

Toonzone’s Ed Liu has a great interview with voice actor Rick Wasserman who spills details on Planet Hulk which released on DVD Feb. 2nd. Here’s an excerpt:

TZN: Was there any particular scene you can remember that really gave you a lot of trouble to get right?

WASSERMAN: Well, on a technical note, all of the roaring and screaming had to be right, even though a lot of the time, we didn’t have pictures. I didn’t get to see what this thing really looked like until the premiere, and at some of the ADR I got to see some pictures. But they’d have to describe to me, like, “All right, Hulk is leaping 60 feet into the air and grabbing onto a giant metal worm and tearing him apart like a giant FedEx package. Go.” And, you know, I would just give it my best and they’d go, “No no no! Not like that! Like a FedEx package.” “Oh. OK.” (laughs) So, they had a very clear idea in their minds what it should sound like, and that took some tries to get it right.

Toonzone has a review of Planet Hulk as well.

For more details on Wasserman’s work, visit his official site: RickWasserman.com.

Elswhere, Movieweb has coverage of the Planet Hulk red carpet premiere event at the Paley Center in Los Angeles, which includes a brief interview with Wasserman.


VAs on DVD: January-February 2010 Feature

01.28.2010

Look for further additions to this feature through the end of February.

As always, readers can stay informed of all blog updates/additions via Twitter (@voiceroy) and Facebook.

Please note that I do not attempt to list every single upcoming animated title. This report is to highlight notable releases for the voice casts and bonus content of upcoming releases as well as noteworthy on-camera appearances by voice actors.

And for the record, I rarely mention “best of” or volume collections of anything which include only a handful of episodes and no worthwhile bonus content. It’s obvious that such titles are marketed to families only. They’re a deliberate attempt to increase profits by selling low-content titles in a series rather than season sets, thereby ignoring DVD collectors and fans of the shows being released.

On a related note, I’ve created a Facebook group — Animated DVD Collectors — for collectors of all things animated on DVD and Blu-Ray. Come, be one of us…one of us!

Update: 2.14.2010

- In an exclusive interview with Animation World Network, Avatar director James Cameron says fans can expect to see the film released on DVD and Blu-Ray “toward the end of April or May.”

AWN adds, “This will be followed by ‘value-added’ Blu-ray and DVD box sets for Christmas with a lot of ‘feature shock.’ There might even be a bare bones 3-D Blu-ray also released for Christmas.”

As for the possibility of an “extended cut, Cameron says there will not be one, “but rather lots of additional scenes as bonus features”:

“To me, AVATAR is the cut that I wanted to put out,” Cameron explains. “Again, no pressure from the studio… What we may do is one of these branching path things where you can sort of program your own version of the movie, so you can watch a longer or shorter version of it, as long as both are available in the same package at the same time.

“And if the seamless branching works out, and you can pre-select the 15-minute or the 10-minute longer version of the film, well, that’ll be an interesting experience because every once in a while something will pop up that you never saw before. And I think that could be kind of cool: you’re rolling along and all of a sudden, ‘Wow, what is that?’ Here’s what bothers me: I don’t like this kind of revision, this kind of rewriting of history where one version starts to replace another version. To me, the definitive version of the movie is what we released. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the technology.”

- Via TVShowsonDVD.com: CBS/Paramount releases Barnaby Jones Season 1 on DVD Feb. 16th. This 662-minute set includes all 13 episodes and features as guest stars some voice acting notables: William Conrad (narrator on Rocky & Bullwinkle), William Shatner (Osmosis Jones, The Wild, Eek the Cat), Roddy McDowall (Pinky & The Brain, A Bug’s Life, Batman: The Animated Series), and voice icon Gary Owens (Laugh-In, Roger Ramjet, Space Quest video game series).

- Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew reports that Warner Home Video will release two Bugs and Daffy cartoon compilations on April 27th:

Two new single disc releases are scheduled for release on April 27th – with more being planned for release later this year. The first two in the Looney Tunes Super Stars line are Bugs Bunny: Hare Extraordinaire and Daffy Duck: Frustrated Fowl. No bonus material or audio commentaries – just straight cartoons. Fifteen on each disc, restored, uncut and previously unavailable on DVD.

The Brew also lists the shorts confirmed to appear on these releases, and TVShowsonDVD.com has a related post with additional details.

- toonzone.net has the press release for the indie stop-motion animated feature $9.99 which releases on DVD Feb. 23rd. It features the voices of Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia, Joel Edgerton, and Claudia Karvan. The press release does not mention any bonus content.

- Via ToughPigs.com: Lionsgate releases “Song of the Cloud Forest” on DVD April 13th. This Muppets production originally aired as part of The Jim Henson Hour. Extras include Fraggle Rock episode “The River of Life” and two episodes of Jim Henson’s Animal Show: “Owl and Frog,” and “Kangaroo and Frog.” And besides the wonderful Muppeteers who performed in this production, this production is unique in that it features cameos by Muppet performers Jerry Nelson and Fran Brill.

In related news, Lionsgate will release the 5-episode volume of Jim Henson’s Animal Show: Lions, Tigers and Bears on April 13th. TVShowsonDVD.com has product details and cover art.

- Via TVShowsonDVD.com: South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season releases on DVD and Blu-Ray March 6th. Extras include deleted scenes and commentary tracks for all episodes by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

- Shout! Factory released Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XVI Collector’s Edition on Dec. 1st, 2009. It includes a limited-edition Tom Servo figurine, 4 episodes of the cult favorite TV show, and a considerable amount of bonus content.

Shout! releases MST3K Vol. XVII on March 16th with 4 more complete TV episodes and a goodly amount of extras including the bonus feature “The Main Event: Crow vs Crow” and Joel Hodgson introduction for “The Crawling Eye.”

- Via TVShowsonDVD.com: Warner Home Video releases 6 remastered Peanuts specials in a 2-disc collection on June 1st: Peanuts 1970′s Collection Vol. 2. The single bonus included is a retrospective on Peanuts in the 70′s.

- Batman: Under the Red Hood has been announced as the next animated direct-to-video DC Comics/Warner Bros Animation title. Click the title link for details.

- toonzone.net reports that Aria the Origination releases on DVD March 2, 2010. Among the bonus features on the 5-disc box set is a Japanese voice cast discussion.

- Although Shout! Factory released the massive Transformers “Matrix of Leadership” complete box set in July 2009, the last of their individual season box sets — Transformers Seasons 3 and 4 — will release April 20th. According to the official press release at toonzone.net, bonus features on this 4-disc collection include:

* The Autobots, The Decepticons & The Fans – A look at the loyal fans of The Transformers
* From the Files of Teletraan-2
* Rare PSAs
* Archival Hasbro Toy Commercials
* Art Gallery

- WordGirl: Earth Day Girl (previously reported here) releases March 30th. This marks the first time the underrated PBS kids show has been released on DVD. It includes 8 episodes and educational bonus content.

- Warner Home Video will release the third title in their series of “Saturday Morning Cartoons” with a 2-disc collection from the 1980s featuring 11 vintage shows: Mr. T, Dragon’s Lair, Monchichis, Thundarr the Barbarian, Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, Galtar and the Golden Lance, The Biskitts, Goldie Gold & Action Jack, Martin Short’s The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, and The Flinstone Kids. TVShowsonDVD.com says the title releases May 4th and includes the bonus featurette, “Lords of Light!: Thundarr the Barbarian” which “explores the animated origins of the hero.”

- toonzone.net has Disney’s press release with cover art and content details for the March 2nd DVD/Blu-Ray special edition re-releases of the Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki anime classics Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Tortoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

- Via toonzone.net: Warner Home Video has announced the April 6th DVD/Blu-Ray release of Ralph Bakshi’s animated vision of Lord of the Rings. It includes a 30-minute interview with Bakshi exploring “his concept for creating an illustrated film, his pioneering rotoscoping process, and inspirations for his visual storytelling.”

- Shout! Factory released Kingdom of the Spiders: Special Edition on Jan. 19th. This remastered version of the B-movie vintage thriller stars William Shatner (Star Trek, Osmosis Jones, Over the Hedge, The Wild), and bonus content includes interviews with Shatner and other cast/crew, commentary, and “rare behind-the-scenes footage.”

- Warner Home Video releases the eagerly-anticipated Halo Legends on DVD and Blu-Ray Feb. 16th. toonzone.net has comprehensive coverage of this title with press releases, interviews, movie stills and preview video clips. The 2-disc edition includes “several hours” of bonus content including a making-of featurette for each of the seven episodes, documentary history of the Halo “phenomenon,” and audio commentary by directors Frank O’Connor and Joseph Chou.

IMDb.com has a list of the voice cast for Halo Legends, which includes several notable voice talents from anime dubs and video games.

- Via toonzone.net: Canadian animated favorite Bob and Margaret: The Complete First Season releases on DVD Feb. 16th. Amazon.com says the 2-disc set has a runtime of 290 minutes, but no bonus features are mentioned.

- Via TVShowsonDVD.com: Cartoon Network releases Johnny Bravo Season 1 on DVD May 11th. This is the premiere title for the “Cartoon Network Hall of Fame” lineup. No bonus features have been announced.

- Although Shout! Factory released G.I. Joe: Complete Series Collectors Set on Nov. 10, 2009, they have continued to release individual volumes from the series as well.

Season 1.3 released Feb. 2nd and includes PSAs, archival toy commercials and a production featurette.

Season 2 releases April 27th and includes more PSAs and toy commercials as well as a featurette called “Greenshirts: The G.I. Joe Legacy.”

Update: 2.11.2010:

- Via PixarTalk.com: While the U.S. DVD/Blu-Ray release of Dumbo 70th Anniversary Special Edition has been delayed for unknown reasons, it’s already been released in Mexico and France (with three other countries following in March).

Confirmed extras include:

DVD Only:
* Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo (26:56)
* Magic of Dumbo: Ride of Passage (2:59)
* Sound Design Excerpt from “The Reluctant Dragon” (5:40)
* Deleted Scene: The Mouse’s Tale (5:20)
* Deleted Song: “Are You a Man or a Mouse” (3:31)
* 1941 Theatrical Trailer (2:09)
* 1949 Re-Release Trailer (1:15)
* Original Walt Disney Television Introduction (1:04)

Blu-ray Only:
* DisneyView
* Cine-Explore with Pete Docter
* Art Galleries
* Featurette: “Celebrating Dumbo” (14:51)
* Bonus Shorts: “The Flying Mouse” and “Elmer Elephant”
* Games: “What Do You See?” and “What Do You Know”

Update: 2.10.2010:

- TVShowsonDVD.com has the trailer for MTV’s Daria: The Complete Animated Series, as well as a look at the cover art for the 8-disc collection. It releases on May 11th, 2010.

- Via TVShowsonDVD.com: Shout! Factory will release a 4-disc set of C.O.P.S. Volume Two on March 16th, and sold exclusively online through their site: ShoutFactory.com.

- The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie! releases April 20th, and features Seth MacFarlane as the voice of “I.S.R.A.E.L.” TVShowsonDVD.com has a look at the cover art.

- Iron Man: Armored Adventures – The Complete Season 1 releases May 4th. TVShowsonDVD.com says this is a “4-disc set running 572 minutes long. 26 episodes are presented in widescreen video, with English Dolby 2.0 sound.”

On a related note, Disney releases Marvel’s Iron Man: The Complete 1994 Animated Series on March 4th. The 3-disc set includes all 26 episodes and stars Robert Hays (Airplane! film series, Starman) as the voice of Tony Stark/Iron Man. TVShowsonDVD.com has a look at the cover art.

- toonzone.net reports that Classic Media and Vivendi Entertainment will release a brand new animated direct-to-DVD title, Kung Fu Magoo, on May 11th. It features the voices of:

Jim Conroy (Celebrity Death Match, Grand Theft Auto IV) as Mr. Magoo
Dylan & Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody)
Alyson Stoner (Camp Rock)
Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live)
Kenny Mayne (Dancing With The Stars)
Fred Travalena (Bogey from Shirt Tales) [in one of his final voice roles]

Also on May 11th, Classic/Vivendi will release the 1964 Magoo classic, Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest, starring the original voice of Mr. Magoo, Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island).

TVShowsonDVD.com has a look at the cover art for both titles.

Update: 2.09.2010:

- DVDTalk has a review of Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic, a direct-to-DVD release based on the upcoming video game of the same title. It features the voices of Mark Hamill, Kevin Michael Richardson, Victoria Tennant, Vanessa Branch, Graham McTavish and Grey DeLisle. Here’s an excerpt:

Though there’s some impressively stylish animation on display here, it never seems like the story gets to a place that lives up to the art. Then again, everything about this movie looks better in the game it’s based on, leaving anyone who knows anything about the game likely disappointed, as it’s lighter on both action and imagination. The DVD itself looks and sounds fine, but is light on extras, so you’ll want to give it a rental before diving in.

Update: 2.05.2010:

- TheDigitalBits reports that Astro Boy will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 16th: “Extras will include a pair of all-new animated sequences, deleted scenes, featurettes, a photo gallery and more.”

- TheDigitalBits.com also reports that Where The Wild Things Are will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray March 2nd. Bonus content includes “4 featurettes (The Absurd Difficulty of Filming a Dog Running and Barking at the Same Time, The Big Prank, Vampire Attack and The Kids Take Over the Picture). The Blu-ray version will add 4 more (including Maurice and Spike, Max and Spike, The Records Family and Carter Burwell), along with the HBO First Look special and the all-new Higgelty Piggelty Pop! short featuring the voices of Meryl Streep and Forest Whitaker.”

- UltimateDisney.com has a rundown of when fans might expect to see some of Disney’s animated classics to be released from the vault:

Thanks to a tip from someone aware of Disney’s retail schedules, we’ve gotten word of the studio’s plans for its tentpole titles. This year’s anticipated Diamond Editions are still on track to make it to stores in 2010. Beauty and the Beast is slated to make its Blu-ray debut in October, with Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 following in December. Meanwhile, already heavily-marketed Dumbo, which isn’t part of the Diamond line but was clearly intended for re-release this week, won’t arrive until February 2011 (rendering its proposed 70th Anniversary Edition moniker more accurate). Beyond that, a big October 2011 splash is expected for one of Disney’s biggest all-time titles; The Lion King is set to bow on Blu-ray then. As always, all of these plans are subject to change until they’re formally announced (and sometimes even after that).

- UltimateDisney.com also reports that the live-action movie Old Dogs, which is of note here in that it co-stars Robin Williams and Seth Green (Family Guy, Robot Chicken) will release on March 9th:

…in a single-disc DVD ($29.99 SRP), a single-disc Blu-ray ($39.99 SRP), and in a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack ($44.99 SRP). The DVD will include only bloopers and deleted scenes, while the standalone Blu-ray adds Travolta and daughter Ella Bleu’s “Every Little Step” music video. Besides the digital copy, the Combo will also contain two additional exclusives in Bryan Adams’ “You’ve Been a Friend to Me” music video and the featurette “Young Dogs Learn Old Tricks.”

- Also from UltimateDisney.com:

Originally scheduled for March, 1986′s The Great Mouse Detective will get a slipcovered Mystery in the Mist Edition DVD on April 13. Besides boasting an all-new digital restoration, this moderately-priced disc ($19.99 SRP) will include all-new bonus “So You Think You Can Sleuth?”, an animated look at the history of detective work through the ages with crime-solving challenge. Carried over from the movie’s initial 2002 DVD are a making-of featurette from the 1980s and a sing-along of villain Ratigan’s “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind.”

- And again from UltimateDisney.com:

Disney has announced a 2-disc Special Un-Anniversary Edition DVD of their original 1951 animated Alice in Wonderland for release on March 30, 2010 while Tim Burton’s new take on the story plays in theaters. New bonus features include the deleted scene “Pig and Pepper.”

- toonzone.net has a press release for Oscar-nominee Fantastic Mr. Fox which releases March 23rd on DVD and Blu-Ray. Bonus content includes “8 featurettes (The Look of Fantastic Mr. Fox, From Script to Screen, The Puppet Makers, Still Life, The Cast, Bill and His Badger, A Beginner’s Guide to Whack-Bat and Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl.”

- DVDTown.com has a review of The Simpsons Complete 20th Season, which lists some of the celebrity guest voices and notes that this season features a few firsts for the series: first season released on Blu-Ray, first with episodes produced in HD and widescreen and the first season for which voice cast member Dan Castellaneta is credited as a “consulting producer.”

What the review doesn’t mention, however, is the repeated complaint from fans and DVD collectors over the obvious lack of bonus features and commentaries fans have come to expect from the FOX releases.

TheDigitalBits.com calls this release “sub-par” and “a disappointment,” and adds, “Even the menus look ugly and tossed off.” But it’s particularly lacking in bonus content:

This is not one of those wonderful, extras-packed sets that we’re used to. The only bonus feature on here, if you can even call it that, is a three-and-a-half minute promo piece for Morgan Spurlock’s 20th Anniversary Special. That’s right. You get an extended commercial for a special that aired two days BEFORE this was even released.

- Planet Hulk released on DVD Feb. 2nd (click here for the voice cast).

Toonzone’s review says the release includes “a sizeable list of extras which fall a bit short, unfortunately.” Among them, two production featurettes and commentaries.

411Mania.com’s review says of the ‘A World of Hurt’ feature that it’s “your basic DVD making of/production featurette and runs about 22 minutes. This goes a lot into the animation production and interviews with the production crew. I would’ve liked to have seen some more interview footage with the voice actors, but this was still good.”

Update: 1.31.2010:

- JustPressPlay.net has a review of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition which released on Jan. 26th. A retrospective on the production of this 1985 animated TV musical is included as a bonus feature.

The voice cast includes:

- Brad Kesten as Charlie Brown
- Kevin Brando Charlie Brown (singing voice)
- Michael Dockery as Marcie
- Jeremy Scott Reinbolt as Schroeder
- Tiffany Reinbolt as Sally
- Jessie Lee Smith as Lucy van Pelt
- Bill Melendez as Snoopy, Woodstock
- Robert Towers as Snoopy (singing voice)
- David Wagner as Linus van Pelt

Originally posted 1.28.2010:

- DeseretNews.com has a review of Legends of Laughter: Abbott & Costello (released on DVD Jan. 26th), calling it “a blast from the past…a treasure trove of tidbits” from the legendary comedy duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

The 6-disc set retails at $29.98 and includes the movies “Africa Screams” (1949) and “Jack and the Beanstalk” (1952), and old time radio nostalgia buffs will be pleased to see included “audio recordings of 17 of the pair’s radio show (1942-49) and 14 episodes of “The Colgate Comedy Hour” that Abbott and Costello hosted from 1951-54,” one of which includes guest star (and legendary cartoon voice actor) Mel Blanc.

Bonus features include a blooper reel, a WWII PSA and 20 movie trailers.

- TVShowsOnDVD.com reports that Season 4 of the vintage TV detective series Simon & Simon will be released on April 6th. The 6-disc set will include all 21 episodes, including what I’m told is an appearance by cartoon voice acting legend Frank Welker who guest-starred in the S4 episode “Almost Completely Out of Circulation” in 1984 as a “Dubbing Actor.”

I’ve been trying to catch this episode in reruns for years, so I’m very pleased to see this released on DVD.

Update: 1.29.2010, 1:45AM (EST) — Doreen Mulman, webmaster of the official Frank Welker Homepage, confirms that Frank does appear on-camera in this episode, “albeit briefly.”

John Astin (voices on Tazmania, The Addams Family, Disney’s Recess, Duckman, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes) also guest-starred in season 4 of the show as the Simon brothers’ Uncle Ray in the episode “Revolution #9 1/2.”

- The toonzone reports that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release The Princess and the Frog on DVD and Blu-ray on March 16, 2010.

The voice cast features (from the press release):

- Anika Noni Rose (Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, 2004,“Caroline, or Change”)
- Keith David (Crash)
- Jenifer Lewis (“Strong Medicine”)
- Jim Cummings (“Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”)
- Michael-Leon Wooley (Ghost Town)
- Bruno Campos (“Nip/Tuck”)
- Peter Bartlett (The Producers)
- Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow)
- Jennifer Cody (Broadway’s “Shrek: The Musical”)
- Oprah Winfrey
- John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.).

Bonus features include:

Single-disc:
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentary by John Musker and Ron Clements (co-writers and directors) and Peter Del Vecho (producer)
• “Never Knew I Needed”- Music video by Ne-Yo
Games and Activities
• What Do You See: Princess Portraits — A bayou-style quiz tests viewers’ knowledge of all of Disney’s beautiful princesses. Ray’s firefly family creates twinkling portraits of each princess and if the player correctly identifies her, they can enjoy a tongue-cheek mini re-telling of that character’s story.

The Blu-ray Combo Pack edition:
Backstage Disney
• Magic In The Bayou: The Making of A Princess — Co-writers and directors John Musker and Ron Clements take a freewheeling, behind-the-scenes look at the making of Disney’s newest animated film as it grows from an initial concept to a lavish animated film set in the enchanting world of New Orleans and the surrounding bayous.
• The Return To Hand Drawn Animation
• The Disney Legacy
• Disney’s Newest Princess
• The Princess and the Animator
• Conjuring The Villain
• A Return To The Animated Musical
• Bringing Life to Animation, with an introduction by John Musker and Ron
Clements.
• Deleted Scenes introduced by the filmmakers
• Art Galleries — A collection of storyboard art traces the visual development of The Princess and the Frog’s rich gallery of
characters and settings.

- The-Trades.com has a review of Super Friends! Season One, Volume One which released on Jan. 5th. Although skimpy on content (only 8 episodes and one “trivial” bonus feature), this early 70s series is still a nostalgic favorite for many DC Comics fans. The show features the voices of:

- Sherry Alberoni as Wendy
- Frank Welker as Marvin
- Danny Dark as Superman
- Shannon Farnon as Wonder Woman
- Norman Alden as Aquaman
- Olan Soule as Batman
- Casey Kasem as Robin
- Ted Knight as Narrator

- The toonzone has a review of Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side which released in Dec. 2009. Seth MacFarlane and other of the show’s principal cast are included in what toonzone reviewer Chad Bonin calls a “surprising number of extras”:

“Family Guy Fact-Ups” are Pop-Up Video/A.D.Vidnotes notes that come up throughout the episode explaining some references or pointing out how many voices Seth MacFarlane does in the special (25, to be exact), and would be a welcome addition to the DVD releases of the main series. A crew commentary is nice as usual, and gives you another reason to watch the special all the way through. There are two table reads from a pretty poor angle for the most part, one covering two acts of the special found on this disc, and one a preview of the next parody, “We Have a Bad Feeling About This”. The final two features are some animatics with commentary alongside the finished footage, and a featurette about the art behind the poster design.

- TVShowsOnDVD.com reports that Warner Home Video will release The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete 5th Season on May 4th. The 3-disc set offers 25 episodes with some voice acting guest stars of note: Isaac Hayes (South Park) as a Minister in the episode “The Wedding Show (Psyche!),” Pat Morita (Disney’s Mulan, Kingdom Hearts series, Robot Chicken, SpongeBob SquarePants) as Mr. Yoshi in “Love Hurts,” Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons, Kim Possible) as Ruby Jillette in “Save the Last Trance for Me,” and Brad Garrett (A Bugs Life, Ratatouille) as mafia thug John ‘Fingers’ O’Neill in “Fresh Prince: The Movie.”

- TheDigitalBits.com has a rundown of the all-new bonus features produced for the March 23rd DVD/Blu-Ray combo special editions of Toy Story and Toy Story 2:

Toy Story disc will include 8 featurettes (The Story: An Exclusive Sneak Peek at Toy Story 3, Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off, Paths to Pixar: Artists, Studio Stories: John’s Car, Studio Stories: Baby AJ, Studio Stories: Scooter Races, Buzz Takes Manhattan and Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw), plus BD-Live movie chat, movie mail, movie challenge and more. All-new bonus features due on the Toy Story 2 release include director’s commentary and 8 featurettes (Characters: An Exclusive Sneak Peek At Toy Story 3, Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station, Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists, Studio Stories: Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab, Studio Stories: Pinocchio, Studio Stories: The Movie Vanishes, Pixar’s Zoetrope and Celebrating our Friend Joe Ranft), plus BD-Live movie chat, movie mail, movie challenge and more.

The late Joe Ranft was a writer and storyboard artist for Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Cars (which he also co-directed) who voiced Wheezy the Penguin in Toy Story 2, Jacques the Shrimp in Finding Nemo, Heimlich in A Bug’s Life and three characters — Red, Jerry Recycled Batteries, Peterbilt — in Cars.

Related post: 7.22.2009 — VAs on DVD: Coraline, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Transformers, Tinker Bell, and More


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