March 11, 2012

Artist Showcase: Phil Gullett

A decade ago or so I received a videotape from a friend of a friend, who himself had a friend, Phil Gullett, who was working as an animator in Chicago. This period was a somber one for American animation companies because their demise was emanate; The writing was on the wall, and it was written in Korean.

Mr. Gullett, if my memory can be trusted, was primarily a background artist. Working at StarToons (1995-2001, Chicago, Ill.) he had a hand in many projects, including various episodes of such high-profile projects as 'The Animaniacs' and 'Histeria'. But the crowning glory of his career may have been revealed to me that fateful day when I first viewed the videotape.

Co-created with co-worker Dave Pryor, the single pilot episode was titled 'Rye Noon' and starred a character named Tuna Sammich. The story I got was it had been shopped around to various networks, but none could find a place in their line-up for a talking sandwich. Stingy bastards.

For almost a decade afterwards, I lamented the fact that this brilliant cartoon would never get the credit it deserved from cartoon-watchers worldwide.

Finally, with the birth of YouTube , I would regularly search for the upload of Rye Noon, but always came up empty. Frustrated, I decided to seek out the creators and ask them why on earth would they allow Tuna Sammich to go unseen and unappreciated. In time, I made contact with Dave Pryor. He told me that the cartoon was the property of Jon McClenahan, the owner of StarToons. It seemed unlikely that the sammich would ever see the light of day.
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....until January 26th of this year, that is!! I found it last week. I don't know who posted it. I don't care. Before I send you off to see the wonder that is Tuna Sammich, I want to promote the current blogs of Dave Pryor ( http://davepryor72.blogspot.com/ ) and Phil Gullett ( http://phil-are-go.blogspot.com/ ). I am a semi-regular respondant on Phil's blog, which is often hilarious and published every weekday.

And now, Tuna Sammich in 'Rye Noon' ....




I believe Phil was the voice behind the sammich, and that he was in the band, blueWank, that plays during the closing credits. Just to be clear, I am about 90% sure of the facts as I presented them. But were I to be 100% incorrect, it would not change the fact that Tuna Sammich is available for all to see. THAT is a fact.

THIS JUST IN...
Upon further inspection, another animation creation from Phil Gullett has been unearthed! It must be your lucky day!...