In Memory of

David Bowie & Jim Henson (1986)

I really should have posted this yesterday and the Jim Henson documentary today. Nonetheless, in honor of David Bowie’s birthday yesterday and to follow up with the Jim Henson documentary here is a tasty tidbit from the legendary Labyrinth. Please enjoy.

Labyrinth is a 1986 musical fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, with George Lucas as executive producer, based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. It revolves around 16-year-old Sarah’s quest to reach the center of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, whom Sarah wished away to Jareth, the Goblin King. Most of the film’s significant characters, apart from Bowie and Connelly, are played by puppets produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Ralph Bakshi (1977)

Wizards is a 1977 American animated post-apocalyptic science fantasy film about the battle between two wizards, one representing the forces of magic and one representing the forces of industrial technology.

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Producer: by Ralph Bakshi
Writer: Ralph Bakshi
Starring: Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, Steve Gravers
Narrator: Susan Tyrrell
Music: Andrew Belling
Cinematography: C. Bemiller
Editor: Donald W. Ernst

The film is notable for being the first fantasy film by Bakshi, a filmmaker who was previously known only for “urban films” such as Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, and Coonskin. The film has since become a cult classic.

Ralph Bakshi had long had an interest in fantasy, and had been drawing fantasy artwork as far back as 1955, while he was still in high school. Wizards originated in the concept for Tee-Witt, an unproduced television series Bakshi developed and pitched to CBS in 1967. In 1976, Bakshi pitched War Wizards to 20th Century Fox. Returning to the fantasy drawings he had created in high school for inspiration, Bakshi intended to prove that he could produce a “family picture” that had the same impact as his adult-oriented films.

The film is an allegorical comment on the moral ambiguity of technology and the potentially destructive powers of propaganda. Blackwolf’s secret weapon is propaganda, used to incite his legions and terrorize the fairy folk of Montagar; but Avatar’s willingness to use a technological tool (a handgun pulled from “up his sleeve”) destroys his evil twin. Bakshi also states that Wizards “was about the creation of the state of Israel and the Holocaust, about the Jews looking for a homeland, and about the fact that fascism was on the rise again”.

British illustrator Ian Miller and comic book artist Mike Ploog were hired to contribute backgrounds and designs. The crew included Vita, Turek, Sparey, Vitello, and Spence, who had become comfortable with Bakshi’s limited storyboarding and lack of pencil tests. Artist Alex Niño signed a contract with Bakshi to work on the film, and was granted a work visa, but was unable to gain permission from the Philippine government to leave for the United States until two months afterward, and later found that by the time he had arrived in the United States, not only had the film’s animation been completed, but Niño’s visa did not allow him to submit freelance work on any other projects.

The film’s main cast includes Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, and Steve Gravers. Bakshi cast Holt based on his ability to imitate the voice of actor Peter Falk, of whom Bakshi is a fan. Welles, Romanus, and Proval had previously worked with Bakshi on Hey Good Lookin’, where Romanus and Proval provided the voices of Vinnie and Crazy Shapiro, respectively. Actress Tina Bowman, who plays a small role in Wizards, has a larger role in Hey Good Lookin’. Actor Mark Hamill auditioned for and received a voice role in the film. Bakshi states that “He needed a job, and he came to me, and I thought he was great, and Lucas thought he should do it, and he got not only Wizards, he got Star Wars.” Bakshi had wanted a female narrator for his film, and he loved Susan Tyrrell’s acting. Tyrrell performed the narration for the film, but Bakshi was told that he couldn’t credit her for her narration. Years later, Tyrrell told Bakshi that she got most of her work from her narration on the film, and that she wished she had allowed him to put her name on it.

John Grant writes in his book Masters of Animation that “The overall affect of the animation is akin to that of the great anime creators – one has to keep reminding oneself that Wizards predates Miyazaki’s The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), not the other way round. The backgrounds are especially lovely, even the simplest of them; and in general the movie has a strong visual brio despite occasional technical hurriedness.” Notable artists involved in the production of Wizards include Ian Miller, who produced the gloomy backgrounds of Scortch, and Mike Ploog, who contributed likewise for the more arcadian landscapes of Montagar.

Bakshi was unable to complete the battle sequences with the budget Fox had given him. When he asked them for a budget increase, they refused (during the same meeting, director George Lucas had asked for a budget increase for Star Wars and was also refused). As a result, Bakshi finished his film by paying out of his own pocket and using rotoscoping for the unfinished battle sequences. According to Bakshi, “I thought that if we dropped all the detail, it would look very artistic and very beautiful. And I felt, why bother animating all of this? I’m looking for a way to get realism into my film and get real emotion.” In his audio commentary for the film’s DVD release, Bakshi states that “There’s no question that it was an easier way to get these gigantic scenes that I wanted. It also was the way that showed me how to do Lord of the Rings, so it worked two ways.” In addition to stock footage, the film used battle sequences from films such as Zulu, El Cid, Battle of the Bulge, and Alexander Nevsky for rotoscoping. Live-action sequences from Patton were also featured.

Vaughn Bode’s work has been credited as an influence on Wizards. Quentin Tarantino describes Avatar as “a cross between Tolkien’s Hobbit, Mel Brooks’ 2000 Year Old Man, and Marvel Comics’ Howard the Duck” and Blackwolf as physically similar to Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible. In Jerry Beck’s Animated Movie Guide, Andrew Leal writes that “The central figure, Avatar sounds a great deal like Peter Falk, and clearly owes much to cartoonist Vaughn BodĂ©’s Cheech Wizard character.”

As War Wizards neared completion, Lucas requested that Bakshi change the title of his film to Wizards in order to avoid conflict with Star Wars, and Bakshi agreed because Lucas had allowed Mark Hamill to take time off from Star Wars in order to record a voice for Wizards.

Charles Schulz & Bill Melendez (1966)

Happy Hallowe’en, kiddies! Enjoy this spooky treat. Hahahahahahaha!!!

The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a 1966 American prime-time animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. A Halloween special, it was the third Peanuts special to be produced and animated by Bill Melendez.

Tim Burton (1982 & ’84)

Vincent is a 1982 stop motion short horror film written, designed, and directed by Tim Burton, and produced by Rick Heinrichs. It is the second Disney horror film, the first being The Watcher in the Woods. At approximately six minutes in length, there is currently no individual release of the film except for a few bootleg releases. It can be found on the 2008 Special Edition and Collector’s Edition DVDs of The Nightmare Before Christmas as a bonus feature and on the Cinema16 DVD American Short Films.

The film is narrated by actor Vincent Price, a lifelong idol and inspiration for Burton. From this relationship, Price would go on to appear in Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. Vincent Price later said that Vincent was “the most gratifying thing that ever happened. It was immortality — better than a star on Hollywood Boulevard”.

Frankenweenie is a 1984 short film directed by Tim Burton and co-written by Burton with Leonard Ripps. It is both a parody and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley’s novel of the same name. Burton later directed a feature-length stop-motion animated remake, released in 2012.

Tim Burton featuring Shiny Toy Guns (2008)

The Finale is the final song of the movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is sung by Jack Skellington as he realizes that he is the Pumpkin King and that he must return to Halloween Town in order to help the citizens fix Christmas. Later, Santa thanks Jack for helping him save Christmas by bringing snow to Halloween Town. Jack and Sally sing together under the moonlight in the final scene as they lovingly embrace and kiss.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

Cyclops: Jack!
Corpse Father: Jack’s back!
Undersea Gal: Jack?
Winged Demon: Jack’s okay!
Offscreen Voice: He’s all right!

Chorus: Jack’s okay, and he’s back! Oh, yay!

(with Corpse Kid)
He’s all right!

(with the Mayor)
Let’s shout, make a fuss
Scream it out, wheee!

Jack is back now, everyone sing
In our town of Halloween…

(“What’s This?” verse)

Corpse Kid: What’s this?

Cyclops: What’s this?

Harlequin Demon: I haven’t got a clue…

Mr. Hyde: What’s this?

Clown with the Tear-Away Face: Why, it’s completely new!

Offscreen Voice: What’s this?

Wolfman: Must be a Christmas thing…

Offscreen Voice: What’s this?

Mayor: It’s really very strange…

Chorus: This is Halloween
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween

What’s this, what’s this? (verse repeated three more times)

(instrumental verse)

(“We’re Simply Meant to Be” verse)

Jack: My dearest friend, if you don’t mind
I’d like to join you by your side
Where we can gaze into the stars

(with Sally)

And sit together now and forever
For it is plain as anyone can see
We’re simply meant to be

Tim Burton featuring Plain White Tees (2014)

Poor Jack is a song from the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is sung by Jack after he survives an explosion in Christmas Town that was meant to kill him. The song is about Jack confronting his guilt surrounding the mess he made of Christmas Town. He then chooses to remain the Pumpkin King and rushes off to save Sandy Claws.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

What have I done? What have I done?
How could I be so blind?
All is lost, where was I?
Spoiled all, spoiled all, everything’s gone all wrong

What have I done? What have I done?
Find a deep cave to hide in
In a million years they’ll find me
Only dust and a plaque that reads here lies poor old Jack

But I never intended all this madness, never
And nobody really understood, well how could they?
That all I ever wanted was to bring them something great
Why does nothing ever turn out like it should?

Well, what the heck I went and did my best
And by God I really tasted something swell, that’s right
And for a moment, why I even touched the sky
And at least I left some stories they can tell, I did

And for the first time since I don’t remember when
I felt just like my old bony self again
And I Jack, the Pumpkin King
That’s right I am the Pumpkin King

And I just can’t wait until next Halloween
‘Cause I’ve got some new ideas that will really make them scream
And by God, I’m really gonna give it all my might
Oh, oh, I hope there’s still time to set things right Sandy Claws

Tim Burton featuring Amy Lee (2008)

Sally’s Song is sung by Sally Finklestein in the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas after her plan to stop Jack fails. During her song, she sings about how she hopes that Jack is safe,
yet she feels that Jack will never accept her feelings for him.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

I sense there’s something in the wind
That feels like tragedy’s at hand
And though I’d like to stand by him
Can’t shake this feeling that I have
The worst is just around the bend
And does he notice my feelings for him?
And will he see how much he means to me?
I think it’s not to be

What will become of my dear friend?
Where will his actions lead us then?
Although I’d like to join the crowd
In their enthusiastic cloud
Try as I may, it doesn’t last
And will we ever end up together?
No, I think not, it’s never to become
For I am not the one

Tim Burton featuring Tiger Army (2008)

Oogie Boogie’s Song is the main villain song from the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas sung by Oogie Boogie and his prisoner, Santa Claus. Due to time constraints, the instrumental break was cut from it in the film, while the second verse was omitted because its sequence which was to feature bugs dancing on Oogie Boogie’s arm was deemed impossible and too difficult to animate after being storyboarded. But both were present on the soundtrack of the film.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

Oogie Boogie:
Well, well, well, what have we here?
Sandy Claws, huh?
Ooh, I’m really scared!
So you’re the one everybody’s talkin’ about?
Ha, ha, ha, ha!

You’re jokin’, you’re jokin’!
I can’t believe my eyes!
You’re jokin’ me, you gotta be,
This can’t be the right guy!

He’s ancient, he’s ugly;
I don’t know which is worse!
I might just split a seam now
If I don’t die laughing first.

When Mr. Oogie Boogie says
There’s trouble close at hand,
You’d better pay attention now
‘Cause I’m the Boogie Man!

And if you aren’t shakin’,
There’s something very wrong!
‘Cause this may be the last time
You hear the Boogie Song!

Woah

Skeletons:
Woah

Oogie Boogie:
Woah

Skeletons:
Woah

Oogie Boogie:
Woah

Bats:
Woah

Oogie Boogie and Chorus:
I’m (he’s) the Oogie Boogie Man!

Santa:
Release me now or you must face
The dire consequences
The children are expecting me
So please, come to your senses

Oogie Boogie:
You’re jokin’, you’re jokin’!
I can’t believe my ears!
Would someone shut this fella up?
I’m drownin’ in my tears!

It’s funny, I’m laughing;
You really are too much.
And now, with your permission,
I’m going to do my stuff…

Santa:
What are you going to do?

Oogie Boogie:
I’m going to do the best I can.

Oh, the sound of rollin’ dice
To me is music in the air
‘Cause I’m a gamblin’ Boogie Man
Although I don’t play fair.

It’s much more fun, I must confess
When lives are on the line
Not mine, of course but yours, old boy,
Now that’d be just fine.

Santa:
Release me fast or you’ll have to answer for this heinous act!

Oogie Boogie:
Oh brother, you’re somethin’!
You put me in a spin! You aren’t comprehending
The position that you’re in.

It’s hopeless, you’re finished
You haven’t got a prayer
‘Cause I’m Mr. Oogie Boogie,
And you ain’t goin’ nowhere!

Tim Burton featuring Rise Against (2008)

Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King prepares the citizens of Halloween Town for Christmas
in this fun diddy from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

This time, this time
Making Christmas
Making Christmas
Making Christmas, making Christmas is so fine

It’s our this time and won’t the children
Be surprised? It’s ours this time
Making Christmas
Making Christmas

Time to give them something fun
They’ll talk about fir yeas to come
Let’s have a cheer from everyone
It’s time to party

Making Christmas, making Christmas
Snakes and spiders get wrapped up
So nice with spider legs and pretty bows
It’s ours this time

All together, that and this
With all our tricks we’re
Making Christmas
Here comes Jack

I don’t believe what’s happening to me
My hopes, my dreams, my fantasies
Hee hee hee

Won’t they be impressed? I am a genius
See how I transformed this old rat
Into a most delightful hat?

Hmm, my compliments from me to you
On your most intriguing hat
Consider though this substitute
A bat in the place of this old rat

Huh, no, no, no, now that’s all wrong
This thing will never make a present
It’s been dead for much too long
Try something fresher, something pleasant
Try again, don’t give up

All together, this and that
With all our tricks
We’re making Christmastime

This time this time
Making Christmas, making Christmas
La la la
It’s almost here

And we can’t wait
‘Cause when the full moon starts to climb
We’ll all sing out, it’s Christmas time
Hee hee hee

Tim Burton featuring Vitamin String Quartet (2008)

Vitamin String Quartet is an American musical group from Los Angeles, widely known for its series of tribute albums to rock and pop acts.

VSQ is not a string quartet in the traditional sense. Rather, VSQ is a series of string quartet projects developed and produced by CMH Label Group, an independent record company based in Los Angeles. The CMH team works with an ever-evolving cast of arrangers, producers, string players and other creatives to bring each project to life. Their albums are released through Vitamin Records and primarily performed by a string quartet, though other instruments have been used. “Vitamin String Quartet is about applying rock n’ roll attitude to classical technique,” says Tom Tally, a violist and arranger who has performed on and produced over fifty Vitamin String Quartet albums.

Tim Burton featuring KoRn (2008)

Kidnap the Sandy Claws is a song from the film, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
It is sung by Lock, Shock, and Barrel when they plan to capture Santa so that Jack could take over Christmas,
which only brings in a disastrous result.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Kidnap Mr. Sandy Claws?

Lock: I wanna do it!
Barrel: Let’s draw straws!
Shock: Jack said we should work together

Barrel: Three of a kind
Lock: Birds of a feather
Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Now and forever!

La, la, la, la, la, la
La-la-la-la-la
La, la, la, la, la, la
La-la-la-la-la

Kidnap the Sandy Claws, lock him up real tight
Throw away the key and then turn off all the lights

Shock: First, we’re going to set some bait inside a nasty trap and wait
When he comes a-sniffing, we will snap the trap and close the gate

Lock: Wait! I’ve got a better plan to catch this big red lobster man
Let’s pop him in a boiling pot
And when he’s done, we’ll butter him up!

Lock, Shock and Barrel: Kidnap the Sandy Claws, throw him in a box
Bury him for 90 years, then see if he talks

Shock: Then Mr. Oogie Boogie Man…
Lock and Shock: …can take the whole thing over then
Lock and Barrel: He’ll be so pleased, I do declare
Lock and Shock: That he will cook him rare
Wheeee!

Lock: I say that we take a cannon, aim it at his door and then
Knock three times and when he answers, Sandy Claws will be no more!

Shock: You’re so stupid! Think now
If we blow him up to smithereens, we may lose some pieces
And then Jack will beat us black and green

Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Kidnap the Sandy Claws, tie him in a bag
Throw him in the ocean, then see if he is sad

Lock and Shock: Because Mr. Oogie Boogie is the meanest guy around
If I were on his boogie list, I’d get out of town

Barrel: He’ll be so pleased by our success
That he’ll reward us too, I bet

Lock and Barrel: Perhaps he’ll make his special brew
Lock and Shock: Of snake and spider stew (Shock: Mmmm!)

Lock, Shock, and Barrel: We’re his little henchmen and we take our job with pride
We do our best to please him and stay on his good side

Shock: I wish my cohorts weren’t so dumb
Barrel: I’m not the dumb one
Lock: You’re no fun
Shock: Shut up!
Lock: Make me!

Shock: I’ve got something, listen now! This one is real good, you’ll see
We’ll send a present to his door
Upon there’ll be a note to read
Now, in the box we’ll wait and hide until his curiosity

Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Entices him to look inside
And then we’ll have him! One, two, three!

Kidnap the Sandy Claws, beat him with a stick
Lock him up for 90 years, see what makes him tick
Kidnap the Sandy Claws, chop him into bits
Mr. Oogie Boogie is sure to get his kicks
Kidnap the Sandy Claws, see what we will see
Lock him in a cage and then throw away the key…!

Tim Burton featuring All American Rejects (2008)

Jack’s Lament is a song from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is sung by Jack Skellington who is tired of celebrating Halloween and wants to experience something else. The All American Rejects covered this song for the album Nightmare Revisited, which was released in 2007.

Jack laments the mundane repetition of Halloween as he wishes for a new adventure and hopes to experience something new as he searches for meaning in his life.

Nightmare Revisited is a cover album of songs and score from the 1993 Disney animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was released on September 30, 2008 by Walt Disney Records to commemorate the film’s 15th anniversary of its theatrical release. In addition to the album’s eighteen covers are two re-recordings by original composer Danny Elfman, of the “Opening” and “Closing” tracks. One song featured on the album, Marilyn Manson’s “This Is Halloween”, was previously released nearly two years earlier, on the 2006 reissue of the film’s original soundtrack which, featuring five covers of songs from the film, acted as a precursor to Nightmare Revisited. The album also features Korn covering “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” which is also their first recording to feature Ray Luzier on drums. Enhanced content on the disc features the trailer of The Nightmare Before Christmas, as well.

American psychobilly band Tiger Army also provided a cover of “Oogie Boogie’s Song”, which was not featured on physical CD editions of Nightmare Revisited, but was released as a digital bonus track. Scott Murphy’s cover of “Sally’s Song” is also featured on Japanese pressings of the album.

Danny Elfman (1993)

There are few who’d deny, at what I do I am the best
For my talents are renowned far and wide
When it comes to surprises in the moonlit night
I excel without ever even trying
With the slightest little effort of my ghostlike charms
I have seen grown men give out a shriek
With the wave of my hand, and a well-placed moan
I have swept the very bravest off their feet

Yet year after year, it’s the same routine
And I grow so weary of the sound of screams
And I, Jack, the Pumpkin King (SHOUT!)
Have grown so tired of the same old thing

Oh, somewhere deep inside of these bones
An emptiness began to grow
There’s something out there, far from my home
A longing that I’ve never known

I’m a master of fright, and a demon of light
And I’ll scare you right out of your pants
To a guy in Kentucky, I’m Mister Unlucky
And I’m known throughout England and France
And since I am dead, I can take off my head
To recite Shakespearean quotations
No animal nor man can scream like I can
With the fury of my recitations

But who here would ever understand
That the Pumpkin King with the skeleton grin
Would tire of his crown, if they only understood
He’d give it all up if he only could

Oh, there’s an empty place in my bones
That calls out for something unknown
The fame and praise come year after year
Does nothing for these empty tears

Tim Burton featuring Marilyn Manson (2008)

Come, one and all, and bear witness to the fantastic freakishness of the creepy crypt creators Tim Burton
and Marilyn Manson as stop-motion animation meets shock rock.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 American stop-motion animated musical dark fantasy film directed by Henry Selick and produced and conceived by Tim Burton. It tells the story of Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween Town who stumbles through a portal to Christmas Town and becomes obsessed with celebrating the holiday. Danny Elfman wrote the songs and score, and provided the singing voice of Jack.

The Nightmare Before Christmas originated in a poem written by Burton in 1982 while he was working as an animator at Walt Disney Productions. With the success of Vincent in the same year, Burton began to consider developing The Nightmare Before Christmas as either a short film or 30-minute television special to no avail. Over the years, Burton’s thoughts regularly returned to the project and in 1990, he made a development deal with Walt Disney Studios. Production started in July 1991 in San Francisco; Disney released the film through Touchstone Pictures because the studio believed the film would be “too dark and scary for kids”.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see
This, our town of Halloween

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright
It’s our town, everybody scream
In this town of Halloween

I am the one hiding under your bed
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red
I am the one hiding under yours stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!

In this town we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song
In this town, don’t we love it now?
Everybody’s waiting for the next surprise

Round that corner, man hiding in the trash can Something’s waiting no to pounce, and how you’ll…
Scream! This is Halloween
Red ‘n’ black, slimy green
Aren’t you scared?

Well, that’s just fine
Say it once, say it twice
Take a chance and roll the dice
Ride with the moon in the dead of night
Everybody scream, everybody scream

In our town of Halloween!
I am the clown with the tear-away face
Here in a flash and gone without a trace
I am the “who” when you call, “who’s there?”
I am the wind blowing through your hair
I am the shadow on the moon at night
Filling your dreams to the brim with fright
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
Tender lumplings everywhere
Life’s no fun without a good scare
That’s our job, but we’re not mean
In our town of Halloween
In this town
Don’t we love it now?
Everybody is waiting for the next surprise
Skeleton jack might catch you in the back
And scream like a banshee
Make you jump out of your skin
This is Halloween, everybody scream
Wont’ ya, please, make way for a very special guy
Our man, Jack, is king of the pumpkin patch
Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King now
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
In this town we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song
La, lala la, lala la
La la la, lala la, lala la
La la la, lala la, lala la
La la la, lala la la la
Heir

Tim Burton (2005)

Inspired by Walt Disney’s and Ub Iwerks’ Silly Symphonies animated short The Skeleton Dance,
Tim Burton pays homage to the frolicking skeletons of swing in this fun little diddy, Remains of the Day.

Remains of the Day

Danny Elfman (2005)

Hey!
Give me a listen, you corpses of cheer.
Least less of you who still got an ear,
I’ll tell ‘ya a story, make your skeleton cry,
of our own judiciously lovely corpse bride.
Die, die we all pass away, but don’t wear a frown ‘cuz it’s really okay.
You might try n’ hide, and you might try n’ pray,
but we all end up the remains of the day.

Die die die yeah yeah, die die die.

Well! Our girl is a beauty known for miles around.
A mysterious stranger came into town.
He was plenty good lookin’ but down on his cash,
and our poor little baby she fell hard and fast,
when her daddy said no, she just couldn’t cope,
so our lovers came up with a plan to elope.

Die, die we all pass away, but don’t wear a frown ‘cuz it’s really okay.
You might try n’ hide, and you might try n’ pray,
but we all end up the remains of the day.

Die die die yeah yeah,
die die die yeah yeah
die die die yeah yeah
die die die yeah yeah

Yeah, so they conjured up a plan to meet late at night,
they told not a soul kept the whole thing tight.
Now her mother’s wedding dress fit like a glove,
you don’t need much when you’re really in love.
Except for a few things or so I’m told,
like the family jewels and a satchel of gold.
Then next to the graveyard by the old oak tree,
on a dark foggy night at a quarter to three,
she was ready to go, but where was he?

(And then?) She waited
(And then?) There in the shadows, was it a man?
(And then?) Her little heart beat sooo loud!
(And THEN?) And then baby, everything went black.

Now when she opened her eyes, she was dead as dust, her jewels were missin’ and her heart was bust, so she made a vow lyin’ under that tree
that she’d wait for her true love to come set her free.
Always waitin’ for someone to ask for her hand, when outta the blue comes this groovy young man, who vows forever, to be by her side, and that’s the story of our own, corpse bride

Die, die we all pass away, but don’t wear a frown ‘cuz it’s really okay.
You might try n’ hide, and you might try n’ pray,
but we all end up the remains of the day.

Bruce Bickford and Frank Zappa (1979)

Baby Snakes is a film which includes footage from Frank Zappa’s 1977 Halloween concert at New York City’s Palladium Theater, backstage antics from the crew, and stop-motion claymation from award-winning animator Bruce Bickford.

Wallace McCutcheon (1908)

An animated political parody of the 1908 presidential election.

At a political club, the members debate whose bust will replace that of Theodore Roosevelt. Unable to agree, each goes to a sculptor’s studio and bribes him to sculpt a bust of the individual favorite. Instead, the sculptor spends their fees on a dinner with his model during which he becomes so inebriated that he is taken to jail. There he has a nightmare, wherein three busts are created and animated from clay (through stop-motion photography) in the likenesses of Democrat William Jennings Bryan and Republicans Charles W. Fairbanks and William Howard Taft. Finally an animated bust of Roosevelt appears.

Ken Jacobs (1960)

A film in four parts. In In the Room, a man and a woman in outlandish garb are sitting in a claw-foot bathtub smoking, while the man abuses a doll in various ways. In They Stopped to Think, the filmmaker focuses on a woman trying to position a stool upon which to sit next to a wall. The filmmaker talks in voice-over about filming the scene, and his current relationship with the people shown in the film. The scene shifts to a pier where a man and woman are filmed, playing to the camera. In It Began to Drizzle, a man and woman are lounging in a street-side patio. The scene then shifts to a man and some children doing chalk drawings on the sidewalk, and how others respond to what they are doing. In The Spirit of Listlessness, a man lounging on an urban rooftop is playing with balloons while he plays to the camera.

Outrageous yet tender, the film begins with the skip of a cracked 78 rpm record and a handmade title festooned with streamers and lettered in dripping red. In vignettes continuing in this vein, characters occasionally stumble on glimmers of beauty in their bleak existence: a view from the roof and kids drawing on the sidewalk. The scenes are unsettling in their immediacy. Jacobs embraces the New York City streets as his stage and improvises props and costumes from castoffs. The characters, including Jack Smith and Jerry Sims, are completely at ease with the camera. They cavort, they pose, they affront, and they demand our attention. Like it or not, we are made part of the scene.

For many years Jacobs played 78s at screenings, again transforming poverty into a live-performance asset. A grant from Jerome Hill facilitated by Jonas Mekas enabled Jacobs to add voice-over to the middle section and create a sound print. By this time, his relationship with Smith had soured, and he had lost touch with most of those pictured. Jacob’s narration, presented self-consciously as anything to distract you from talking to each other, acts as a remembrance of things past. The closing vignette, shot on a New York rooftop on a crystalline day, shows Smith clowning with a balloon to the tune of Happy Bird. In Little Stabs at Happiness, moments in the sun do not last.

Ken Jacobs is an experimental filmmaker, who, along with Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, Maya Deren and others, helped spearhead the American avant-garde film movement. His impressive filmography spans more than 60 years and 45 films, utilizing just about every experimental technique imaginable. In the ’60s, he helped redefine the notion of domestic (home) movies, and along with it, domestic space—pioneering work that expanded the parameters of art cinema, and also, coincidentally, the gender expectations of male artists. Jacobs has also experimented with found footage, creating such memorable works as Star Spangled to Death, a nearly seven-hour epic charting an alternative U.S. history. Most recently, he has been reformatting, reworking, and altering silent films to give illusions of depth, creating experimental, heavily stroboscopic abstract cinema, and 3D. At every stage of his career, Jacobs has sought to push the technology as far as it can go and to challenge his audiences to think about politics, gender, class, race, documentary, and movies differently. This series provides a rare opportunity to see the work of one of the greatest living American filmmakers.