From the Publisher
"Fans of the recently released film and students of state-of-the-art animated techniques will appreciate this fun look into a filmmaking adventure.”
"...The Art of Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an incredibly constructed collection of art, a wonderful companion book to the film, and is an excellent addition to the libraries and coffee tables of fans old and new."
The HD Room
"...One of the best art books..."
Former Nickelodeon and Disney studio executive, film producer, and animation historian Beck (The SpongeBob SquarePants Experience: A Deep Dive into the World of Bikini Bottom) presents this companion piece to the whimsical new motion picture adaptation of Peabody's Improbable History, originally a segment of the Rocky and His Friends television series, with appreciative care and a palpable enthusiasm for the subject. This behind-the-scenes look at the making of the feature highlights the major characters, scenes and creations, and the process that led from concept drawing through to the final screen iterations hilariously informed by the original cartoon's deadpan aesthetic. From the WABAC Machine to Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Machine, Marie Antoinette to Cleopatra, the whimsy and clever updating of this mid-century classic jumps off the page. A foreword by Ty Burrell, the film voice of Mr. Peabody, preface by Tiffany Ward, daughter of Jay Ward, the creator of Rocky and His Friends, and afterword by director Rob Minkoff provide helpful context for the documentation of this mammoth effort by dozens of talented artists. VERDICT Fans of the recently released film and students of state-of-the-art animated techniques will appreciate this fun look into a filmmaking adventure.—Dan McClure, Pacific Northwest Coll. of Art Lib., Portland, OR
Read an Excerpt
Insight Editions asked Jerry Beck some questions about his career and about working on The Art of Mr. Peabody & Sherman with DreamWorks Animation:
1) What was it like working with DreamWorks?
This was my third time to go behind the scenes on a DreamWorks film (previously I’d chronicled the making of Madagascar and Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie). The DreamWorks campusesboth in Glendale, California, and upstate at PDI in Redwood Cityare incredible, state-of-the-art factories of creativity. Imagine the best artists, writers, directors, and producers, all under one roof, with all the materials needed to create spectacular 3-D animated movies. It’s not unlike the filmmaking factories of classic Hollywood in the 1930s and ’40s. You can’t help but have a smile on your face just walking through the halls. Oh, and the commissary food . . . superb! My role was to explain the characters, concepts, and techniques in the book, but the crew made me feel like part of the production teampart of a family that made an incredible family film.
2) Mr. Peabody & Sherman is based on the beloved 1960s classic cartoon by Jay Ward. Are you a fan of the original animated television show? Does the new film stay true to it? Any major differences?
I love the original Jay Ward cartoonsPeabody and Sherman in particular. I think I learned more about world history from those original cartoons than I did in elementary school. As a guy who has taken cartoons quite seriously all my life, I’m happy to report that the characters of Mr. Peabody and Sherman are perfectly brought up to date in this new film. The original cartoonsfunny as they werewere only five minutes long, and crudely drawn and animated in Mexico. To make a ninety-minute 3-D, CGI, full-length movie, a real story was requiredone with emotional beats and spectacular visuals. The finished film is a template on how to update a classic cartoon characterstart with a producer, director, writers, and crew that truly love the source material. That comes through here from start to finish.
3) Jay Ward’s daughter, Tiffany Ward, is an executive producer on the film. How important do you think it is to have a family member involved in this kind of project, which uses concepts developed by a singular artist?
On a project like this, when you plot to revive a classic cartoon character, if you can get the cooperation of the original creatoror someone as close to the creator as Tiffany Ward was to her fathergrab them! Her participation was essential to keeping the original integrity of the characters together. It’s important to remember what made these characters fun in the first place. That core knowledge of the characters central appeal is a crucial starting point on adaptations like this. It’s what makes those recent Marvel Comics movies so successfulthey understand their classic characters and know who their audience is. Tiffany provided that role on this film and she had learned a lot of “what to do”and what not to doin previous revivals of her father’s property. Everyone was glad she was there.
4) What’s a project you’ve always wanted to work on, but haven’t had a chance to yet?
One of my goalswhich I’m happy to say I’ve achievedwas to write books on cartoon characters I love. The classic ones like Looney Tunes, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Pink Panther, The Flintstonesand now, Mr. Peabody & Sherman. I was incredibly excited by DreamWorks acquisition of Classic Media last year, and I think it opens an opportunity for more revivals of classic cartoonslike Casper, Underdog, Little Lulu, etc. I love them all and I’m crossing my fingers to be involved with new works involving those characters. They shouldn’t just become a distant childhood memory. They should be revived and enjoyed by generations to come. I hope I’ll be part of making that happen.
5) What animated movie or show on the horizon are you most looking forward to?
There is so much good stuff coming upand animation is part of all of it. Even in live-action spectaculars like Godzilla, Avatar, and The Hobbit. In animation, I’m curious to see how Disney adapts a Marvel Comics property like Big Hero 6, and likewise I’m anxious to see Genndy Tartakovsky’s take on Popeye. As a big fan of The Big Bang Theory, I’m looking forward to DreamWorks’ Home with Jim Parsons. While working on the Mr. Peabody book, I saw much art from that film on the walls, and it looks hilarious.