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Jerry Beck to be honored at this year's Annie Awards

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Jerry Beck to be honored at this year's Annie Awards

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Next Friday night, Toontown's top talents will put on their Sunday best and then motor on over to UCLA's  Royce Hall for the 35th annual Annie Awards.

Copyright 2008 ASIFA-Hollywood. All Rights Reserved

This is the night that the animation industry honors its own. When the very best work from 2007 in the fields of feature films, shorts, television and gaming finally gets the recognition that it so richly deserves.

And speaking of recognition ... Earlier this year, I was thrilled to learn that Jerry Beck had been selected to receive the 2008 June Foray award. Which is given annually to that individual who has ...

" ... made a significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation."

2008 June Foray Award winner
Author & historian Jerry Beck
 Photo by Harvey Deneroff

Which describes Jerry Beck to a T. 

Now I know that Jerry isn't exactly a household name. Unless -- of course -- you're a Hollywood history nut like myself. If that's the case, then your library already has at least one of the 12 well-written & researched tomes that Mr. Beck has produced over the years.

I mean, never mind about James Brown. To my way of thinking, Jerry Beck is the hardest working man in show business. Hell, just last year between October 25th and November 20th, three new books of his turned up on store shelves.

First up was "The Art of Bee Movie" (Chronicle Books, October 2007), which detailed the convoluted production history of Dreamworks Animation's latest CG feature.

 Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation

Given the decades that he's been covering the animation industry, Jerry knows story. Which is why he has a great eye for that truly ironic detail (EX: Like how DreamWorks design labored for months to come with a character design that looked just Jerry Seinfeld. Only to then have the acclaimed comedian reject this design because he thought it looked too much like himself) that just makes a show biz anecdote soar.  

 Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation

But what Beck's also great at is explaining the actual process of animation. Breaking the various phases of production down, giving his readers a clear understanding of how an animated feature really comes together.

Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation

He's also not afraid to tackle big projects. So when Nickelodeon decided that it wanted a book that chronicled its entire animation output, Jerry jumped in with both feet. Creating "Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!" (DK Adult, November 2007) ...

 Copyright 2007 Viacom International Inc. / DK Adult. All Rights Reserved

... this profusely illustrated coffee table book that's just loaded with great stories from the creators of such landmark Nickelodeon animated series as "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Rugrats."

Copyright 1996 Viacom International Inc. / DK Adult
All Rights Reserved

But you know what I like best about Beck? In spite of all the years that he's been writing about animation, all the high profile projects that he's worked on, all the movers and shakers that he's met & interviewed, Jerry has never become jaded. Deep in his heart of hearts, he's still a huge animation fan.

 Copyright 2007 Insight Editions. All Rights Reserved

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Beck's third book for 2007, "The Hanna-Barbera Treasury" (Insight Editions, November 2007). Jerry's love for the sometimes schlocky Saturday morning shows that HB churned over the years is obvious, given all the model sheets, miniature comic books and other tchotchkes that he crams into this 56-page hardcover.

Copyright 2007 Insight Editions. All Rights Reserved

It's books like these three which entertain as they inform, not to mention the dozens of magazine articles that Beck's written over the years or the great work that he continues to do over at Cartoon Brew with Amid Amidi that explains why this writer / historian is so well respected by members of the animation community.

So congratulations on your June Foray award, Jerry. Enjoy your time in the spotlight next Friday night. You definitely earned it.

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  • Good for him... I guess. It'd have been cooler if you'd covered a Disney person... but whatever. Congrats.

  • I picked up the Hanna Barbera book because I like that particular style of book, and, in all honesty, I was quite unimpressed by it.  I think my disappointment centered on the fact that I own other "treasure" style books (the Disney treasures, the two excellent Star Wars books, and the one on NASCAR), that I was expecting too much.  I found that the extras were basically the same throughout the book.  I am not saying that the book was bad (a matter of fact I loved the book because it focused on the cartoons that I grew up on and ended there, as opposed to going farther in the Hanna Barbera story line), but I think I had high hopes for the extras.

  • Jim,

    You start your post off with "Next Friday night, Toontown's top talents will put on their Sunday best and then motor on over to the Alex Theatre for the 35th annual Annie Awards." Actually, they won't be motoring to Glendale; This year's Annie Awards will be at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus. (Why the change? I have no idea.)

    As for the award for Jerry Beck, I agree that it's well deserved.

  • Congratulations Mr. Beck!

    Your updates at Cartoon Brew are always a daily treat, and I love that you never pass up an opportunity to pop up in a classic cartoon DVD collection featurette!

  • Jerry Beck is an animation treasure, and this is well deserved.

    Keep in mind there were a lot of old Disney guys working at Hanna-Barbera in the sixties, seventies and eighties.

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