"Computer Animation Magic," airing at 5 p.m. Sunday on KCET Channel 28, combines the cliches of high-tech boosterism with the unctuous tone of an old high school science film.
Much of the program consists of snippets taken from the show reels of various commercial studios, many of them no longer in business. The images are familiar--glittering chrome and neon shapes that zoom in and out of infinity--and so is the thrust of the program.
Computers are touted as an artistic panacea, although the visuals demonstrate only their effectiveness as an advertising tool. No mention is made of the more challenging work of computer animators like John Whitney Sr., Ed Emschwiller and Larry Cuba.
The script, by producers Geoffrey de Valois and Donna Cohen, extols not only the virtues of computers, but of specific computer systems and products. Instead of showing how a paint box system works, the omnipresent narrator explains what the Quantel Paintbox does. Cynical viewers may wonder if these suppliers underwrote the program.