Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bob Jaques

In this 1982 photo, that's Bob Jaques in the center. Behind him on the left is Dan Haskett and to the right is Chris Armstrong.

I'm late mentioning this, but I wanted to dig up a visual to go with talking about Bob's new blog. I met Bob at Nelvana in Toronto in 1980 or '81. While I had come from New York and had worked in the New York animation industry, I was far more enamored of animation that had been made in L.A. To be honest, I looked down my nose at a lot of the people working in N.Y. animation.

My only excuse is that I was young and stupid. I came to realize that the difference between N.Y. and L.A. had more to do with opportunity than with talent. One of the people who wised me up was Bob.

Bob had stared at the Fleischer and Famous cartoons long and hard. Comparing what he saw on the screen with the sparse animator credits on those cartoons, he had methodically figured out how to recognize the styles of just about every animator. Bob was the one who opened my eyes to the brilliance of John Gentilella, an animator whose work was as good as anybody in California and done under much less friendly conditions.

Bob now has a blog dedicated to identifying the animators on the Popeye cartoons. As these cartoons are finally becoming available on DVD, his timing couldn't be better. (Bob has also done some audio commentaries for future Popeye DVD releases). New York animators never received the attention of their L.A. counterparts and were rarely interviewed. It's great that Bob is sharing his knowledge, filling in gaps in our understanding of the Fleischer/Famous animators.


Pete Emslie said...

I'm hoping Bob doesn't limit his blog posts to just his analyses of "Popeye", as I would love to see samples of his own work too. Bob's studio, Carbunkle Cartoons, was responsible for the best looking episodes of "Ren and Stimpy". As a cartoonist himself, Bob's no slouch! He's also got an uncanny knack for celebrity caricature too, samples of which he should also post on his blog.

Mark Mayerson said...

Peter, you and Bob are the two best caricaturists I've had the pleasure to know. I'm glad that you're blogging caricatures and I agree that Bob should do the same.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,
Thanks for the compliments. Caricaturing was always a good way to get a cheap laugh.

Mark - thanks for highlighting my blog. I wish in retrospect that I had devoted more time to interviewing the Fleischer/Famous Studio old-timers. I'm glad they're finally getting their due respect.

I remember the day I cornered the New York animator imports in the hallway of Nelvana. You were there, Tom Sito, and Gian Celestri. I started asking you guys about the Fleischer/Famous animators and everyone in the group looked at me as though I had festering boils covering my face. I also recall Gian Celestri thinking that Johnny Gent was a hack until I dragged him into Brian Lemay's room one day and showed him some of Johnny's footage from 'For Better or Nurse' that was playing on his TV.

Peter - I think I'll keep the blog to strictly Popeye cartoons, related trivia and minutia. I think it’s still too early in my career to be analyzing my own work - I thought that was done once you retire. I’d be happy to answer any inquiries though.