While researching CARTOON MODERN, I had the opportunity to find out about a lot of designers from the 1950s who I previously wasn’t aware of. One of these individuals was Ray Favata. Ray worked on the East Coast for his entire career. I had the pleasure of visiting him and his wife, Carol, in upstate New York in November 2004. In the early-1950s, he started in animation at Tempo Productions, a studio that was co-owned by David Hilberman, one of UPA’s founders. After Tempo was shuttered by the Hollywood blacklist (I’m too lazy to look up the exact date right now, but it was around ‘53-54), Favata started working at other studios, like the short-lived East coast division of John Sutherland Productions and Academy Pictures.
In 1957, Gene Deitch recruited him to work at the revamped Terrytoons, and Favata was the animation director of the terrific industrial film DEPTH STUDY (for CBS Television) and boarded the second (unproduced) FLEBUS short. After Terrytoons, Favata teamed up with Bill Tytla to start a new commercial animation studio. In the 1960s, the studio became Ray Favata Productions and the studio continued into the 1980s, producing mostly commercials and also the SESAME STREET series “Billy Joe Jive.” Favata himself continued working in animation into the ’90s, and I think he even pitched in on the design of J.J. Sedelmaier’s 50s-styled spot for Home Savings Bank.
Here’s a small sampling of Favata’s work from the 1950s.
Two storyboard panels (and a still) from an early-1950s Tempo commercial for Clark’s chewing gum. This is early in Favata’s career, and his drawing style is still somewhat tight. The drawings, while displaying a nice sense of posing, feel more like illustrations than characters that are designed for animation. The commercial won an award from the NY Art Director’s Club.
Another award-winning Tempo spot designed by Favata.
Stills from various mid-1950s commercials designed by Favata for Academy Pictures.
A page of character suggestions taken from a 1950s instructional booklet on creating TV commercials. (Thanks, Shane)
A 1958 drawing for TOP CEL, the newsletter of the New York animators’ union.
A late-1950s commercial for Cheerios. Favata’s design was animated by Bill Tytla in this commercial.