Posted tagged ‘Characters’

Bill Melendez, Peanuts Animator and Voice of Snoopy, Dies at 91

September 4, 2008

Bill Melendez, the animator who gave life to Snoopy, Charlie Brown and numerous other “Peanuts” characters in  movies and television specials, died today at the age of 91. Being from Sonoma County, California, I, like many others grew up with the Peanuts gang. Charles Schultz was from Santa Rosa, a neighbor to my hometown of Petaluma. I feel as though a part of me died today as well, with the loss of Bill Melendez.

AP Photo/Nick Ut

Credit: AP Photo/Nick Ut

From the Associated Press:

Melendez’s nearly seven decades as a professional animator began in 1938 when he was hired by Walt Disney Studios and worked on Mickey Mouse cartoons and classic animated features such as “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia.”

He went on to animate TV specials such as “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and was the voice of Snoopy, who never spoke intelligible words but issued expressive howls, sighs and sobs.

Melendez took part in a strike that led to the unionization of Disney artists in 1941, and later moved to Warner Bros., where he worked on Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck shorts.

Melendez met “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz in 1959 while creating Ford Motor Co. TV commercials featuring Peanuts characters.

The two became friends and Melendez became the only person Schulz authorized to animate his characters.

Melendez founded his own production company in 1964 and with his partner Lee Mendelson went on to produce, direct or animate some 70 “Peanuts” TV specials, four movies and hundreds of commercials.

The first special was 1965’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The show reportedly worried CBS because it broke so much new ground for a cartoon: It lacked a laugh track, used real children as voice actors, had a jazz score and included a scene in which Linus recited lines from the New Testament.

However, the show was a ratings success and has gone on to become a Christmastime perennial.


Disney Characters Arrested at Disneyland

August 16, 2008

I always knew those Disney characters were not to be trusted!

Actually, many Disneyland employees, dressed as their favorite Disney characters, were handcuffed, frisked and loaded into police vans earlier today at a labor protest near the Disneyland park in Anaheim, California.

From the Associated Press:

The arrest of the 32 protesters, many of whom wore costumes representing famous Disney characters, came at the end of an hour long march to Disneyland’s gates from one of the three Disney-owned hotels at the center of a labor dispute.

Bewildered tourists in Disney T shirts and caps, some pushing strollers, filed past the commotion and gawked at the costumed picketers getting hauled away. The protest shut down a major thoroughfare outside Disneyland and California Adventure for nearly an hour.

The dispute involves approximately 2,300 employees at there Disney-owned hotels: Paradise Pier, Grand Californian and the Disneyland Hotel. The workers’ contract expired recently and their union claims that Disney’s newest proposal makes health care unaffordable for employees. They also believe that it creates an unfair two-tier wage system.

I can only imagine what would be going through my three year old daughters head if she were witness to this. Seeing Mickey in handcuffs could cause permanent damage! Hopefully, Disney and their employees can come to a peaceful resolution soon. Thoughts?