There’s many designers who are as mysterious to me today as when I first started working on the book. Charleen Peterson is one of them. Here’s everything I know about her:
- She was recruited from Chouinard Art Institute.
- She worked at UPA from 1954-1956. She may have worked there longer, but I haven’t been able to confirm beyond 1956.
- She was married to story artist Charlie Frazier.
- Her only UPA credit that I’ve found is that she was the designer of MEET THE INVENTOR: ROBERT FULTON, a short that aired on the CBS TV series THE BOING BOING SHOW (1956). The piece was directed by Aurelius Battaglia, and it’s made in a simple but effective cut-out style.
It’s funny because during the course of research, I asked a number of UPA veterans about her, and the response was always, “Oh yes, of course I remember Charleen!” But nobody could ever remember what she actually did at the studio. Then I found a photo of her, which is below, and it became obvious why she was so fondly remembered by the other artists. If ROBERT FULTON is any indicator, she was a pretty good designer too. I have no idea whether she continued working in animation after UPA or whether she’s still alive, but perhaps somebody out there knows?
Frame grabs from MEET THE INVENTOR: ROBERT FULTON