Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fred Moore Centaurettes

(Click any image to enlarge.)

As the semester draws to a close, I'm getting buried with grading, which is why I haven't updated this blog in a while. Without time to really write something, I'm just going to mark time for a bit.

I bought this drawing at Gallery Lainzberg in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1979. At the time I was working at a small animation studio in Waterloo, Iowa, and every few months animators Bob Haack, Bill Barder and I would go to the Gallery.

This drawing was obviously fished out of a wastebasket. There are all kinds of notes jotted around the image that have nothing to do with it. It was also folded in half. Clearly, Moore discarded the drawing and then used it for scrap before trashing it. Somebody liked it enough to remove it and take it home.

The same day I bought this, Bill Barder bought a drawing from Avery's Dumb Hounded. I tried to buy it from him multiple times, but Bill wouldn't part with it.

I was pretty sure the centaurette drawing was by Moore but my opinion was corroborated by Chuck Jones. He came out to the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls to do a talk and he toured our studio while he was there. He stared at the drawing, mounted directly in front of my desk, and simply said, "Hmmm. Fred Moore." I figured he'd know better than me.

Here's a photo taken during Jones' visit. From left to right, Bill Barder, Chuck Jones, me, Mike Grove and Bob Haack.

That Moore drawing is still mounted over my board at home. The animation disk was one used on the Dick Williams Raggedy Ann and Andy. I bought it from my friend Murad Gumen, who worked on the film as an inbetweener. The drawings surrounding the centaurettes are others that I acquired over the years. The Mickey and Minnie was drawn by Peter Emslie, who gave it to me as a gift in 1990. On the right are drawings from a Tom and Jerry cartoon and from a Jones Sniffles cartoon. I've forgotten which cartoons they're from and I'm too lazy to look it up. On another wall in the same room, I have a Barney Bear drawing from Goggle Fishing Bear. I'll eventually give everyone a better look at these drawings, but I consider the Moore the prize in my collection of animation art.


Thad said...

Great anecdote; I can tell from that photo that the drawings are from "The Unbearable Bear" and "Nit-Witty Kitty". Yeah, I've got it bad...

Mark Mayerson said...

Thanks for saving me the trouble of looking the titles up.

David Nethery said...


you wrote:

"At the time I was working at a small animation studio in Waterloo, Iowa"

What was the name of that studio ?

I was wracking my brain recently trying to remember the name of that studio . They used to advertise in Millimeter magazine and other industry publications .

I was discussing the existence of smaller regional studios outside of the mainstream L.A. , Bay Area, and New York metropolitan areas with a student of mine who lives in Iowa (this is an online student) . He was bemoaning the non-existence of animation studios in places like Iowa. I told him that isn't always the case and there have been studios like Bajus-Jones in Minneapolis and the _________ studio in Iowa as just two examples I could remember ... but try as I might I could not remember the name of the studio in Iowa ... did it begin with H ... ?

Interestingly some Googling revealed that my student actually lives about an hour from a relatively new animation studio in Iowa:

Grasshorse Animation Studio

so I think I gave him some hope of maybe finding an intern job while still in Iowa and that there are in fact studios in non-major metropolitan areas .

But for the life of me I couldn't remember the name of that studio in Iowa in the 70's .

Mark Mayerson said...

David, the studio was called Hellman Design Associates at the time I joined it. The company did graphic design, illustration and animation. It mainly serviced accounts in Iowa, Minneapolis and Chicago. After I left, the animation wing changed its name to Hellman Animates.

Maurice said...

I've been trying to compile research for an article mapping animator-assistant (teacher-mentor) "bloodlines" (if you want to call it that) in Disney features. All I've ever found out is the following:

John Lounsbery was Norm Ferguson's assistant on "Snow White" (proven).
Don Bluth was John Lounsbery's assistant on "Sleeping Beauty" (proven).
Ollie Johnston was Fred Moore's assistant on "Snow White" (proven).
Randy Cartwright was Ollie Johnston's assistant on "The Rescuers" (I could be wrong).
Lester Novros was Bill Tytla's assistant on "Snow White" (I could be wrong).
Bill Hurtz was Art Babbitt's assistant on "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia" (proven).
Les Clark was Ub Iwerks's assistant on "Steamboat Willie" (proven).

If you have any information on other animator-assistant connections throughout Disney history, I'm starving for it. For starters, here are three specific inquiries:

a) Who was Ham Luske's assistant on "Snow White"?
b) Who was Fred Moore's assistant on "Pinocchio"?
c) Who was Don Bluth's assistant(s) on "The Rescuers"?

David Nethery said...

Maurice -

Sometimes animators on features worked with more than one assistant at a time .

On "The Rescuer's I believe that Don Bluth's main assistant was Heidi Guedel. I think Heidi also put in some time assisting Ollie Johnston. Heidi was promoted to animator on The Small One and Pete's Dragon . She was animating on The Fox and the Hound when the Bluth walkout took place . She was one of the animators who left Disney to join Don Bluth at that time. This is all covered in Heidi's auto-biography Animatrix: How Laughter Saved My Life" . The book has some fascinating insider info. on what it was like to work at Disney Animation in the 70's that has not been published elsewhere.

I also know that Dale Baer worked as an assistant to John Lounsbery for a while before Baer was promoted to being an animator himself.

Another Lounsbery assistant was John Ewing. (and John's son Sam Ewing was a Lead Key Assistant at Disney's Orlando, FL studio on such movies as Mulan and Lilo & Stitch , among others. )

Maurice said...

Comment 1) Thanks David.

Now I ask everyone out there what they know about what assistant animators worked on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (preferably with info on what animators they worked under), other than the four I already know worked as assistants on it (Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, John Lounsbery and Lester Novros).

Comment 2) Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were never big fans of Fred Quimby, and I'm not either. One thing I never understood about Quimby: why would he continue to show immense favor toward the Barney Bear cartoons even after it was perfectly obvious that the Tom and Jerry cartoons were miles above Barney in popularity?

Kyle said...

Resurrecting an old thread...

Ya know, I guess I just have to say thanks for telling this story...I've worked as an animator in New York for 4 and a half years, and often feel like the lone Iowan in animation (of course not true). But it's sure fun to hear about a bit of past animation history in Iowa!


Anonymous said...

He and Hamilton Luske are truly great at drawing the caricatured female figure.

Rustam Iralin said...

where can I get the animation disс too? i always wanted to have it at home.

Mark Mayerson said...

If you google "animation disk" you'll see lots of places offering them for sale.