Entries in John Lasseter (7)
Paul Lasseter, father of John and three other children, passed away in his sleep on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, eight days after his 87th birthday.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1941 at the age of 17 and served in the South Pacific throughout the war. He then settled in the Los Angeles area and worked in the parts departments of Chevrolet dealers until his retirement in 2000. He was married to John’s mother, Jewell Lasseter, for 54 years, until her death in 2005.
The image above is one that I located for The Pixar Touch, but didn’t use—a detail from a Los Angeles Times auto dealer ad, February 5, 1983. Paul Lasseter is at upper right (probably wondering what in the world was to become of his youngest son, a junior animator at Disney).
After young Disney animator John Lasseter saw footage of computer animation that an outside production company had created for Tron, Lasseter and colleague Glen Keane won approval to create a short test film incorporating computer animation.
The resulting 1983 film, known as the Wild Things test, was meant to be a sample of a proposed feature film of Where the Wild Things Are. The test combined computer-animated backgrounds with cel-animated characters.
Cartoon Brew has just posted a neat contemporaneous account of the project that appeared in an internal Disney publication (originally posted in December by Hans Perk). I was glad to see Tom Wilhite recognized for his role in the project (he was the Disney live-action executive who approved it—the animation side of the studio wasn’t interested).
In the early to mid 1990’s, one of the ways Pixar tried to support itself was making television commercials for products like LifeSavers candy, Trident gum, and Pillsbury rolls. Not surprisingly, Pixar specialized in commercials that used character animation to give products a personality.
Some of its most admired commercial work was for Listerine; the agency involved, J. Walter Thompson, gave Pixar considerable creative freedom.
How do you give a personality to a faceless bottle? Below, several of Pixar’s classic Listerine ads—
Director: John Lasseter
The concept was inspired by the 1980 film Raging Bull. A newly-hired Pete Docter assisted with the animation.
Swinging Bottle (1993)
Director: Andrew Stanton
This ad and Arrows, below, caused a minor craze for the accompanying New Wave song, Tarzan Boy.
Director: Jan Pinkava
This ad won Pixar its first Gold Clio award—loosely speaking, the Oscar of advertising.
(Thanks to Ralph Guggenheim for helpful tips.)
Is the recession of ‘08-‘09 a good time to launch a line of fine wines? John and Nancy Lasseter will soon find out: Their venture, the Lasseter Family Winery, is now open for business.