Sure, there’s plenty of Fifties animation design on this here blog, but I’m not the only person writing about this amazing period in animation history. Many other artist-bloggers are also discussing various aspects of Fifties animation design on their blogs. Here’s a few recent posts from other bloggers that are worth checking out:
Michael Sporn has posted some frame grabs from THE INVISIBLE MOUSTACHE OF RAOUL DUFY, a 1955 short directed by Aurelius Battaglia at UPA. The film was written by experimental filmmaker Sidney Peterson. While the short aired on THE BOING BOING SHOW in 1956, I believe it was produced earlier for another purpose. In an interview with Peterson, he said that he’d been working with MoMA to create projects which would enhance the public’s understanding of modern art. Peterson said, “I hit upon the idea for children’s films about artists, films maybe for television, which would be cast in the form of fables. I wrote three such scripts for which UPA did the animation: THE MOUSTACHE OF RAOUL DUFY, MERRY-GO-ROUND IN THE JUNGLE (about Henri Rousseau), and DAY OF THE FOX: THE LEGEND OF SHARAKU.” I’ve never been able to find any record of MoMA being involved in these productions, but it sounds like the films may have been completed before production had even begun on the BOING BOING SHOW.
The modern technique of the 1950s was so pervasive that it was even applied to the cheapest TV productions of the time. Kevin Langley has made a couple posts of background paintings from early Hanna-Barbera television cartoons. The backgrounds were painted by Fernando Montealegre and Art Lozzi and Bob Gentle. While the bgs have some good ideas in them, on the whole, they feel rushed and cheap. I can imagine the painters at H-B had to paint dozens of these a week to keep up with the breakneck production schedules, and the hastiness shows from the generic color palettes to the uninspired technical execution of the paintings.
Dan Goodsell has posted four model drawings from a 1950s Ray Patin commercial. I scanned a few of these in for the book but ended up not using them because there was far stronger work available from the Patin studio. At the time, we didn’t know which artist had drawn them or what they were for. Dan recently discovered that they were made for a Campbell Kids Clubhouse commercial, which can be viewed HERE. As you can tell from the finished commercial, the type of rendering that the artist used in these drawings was utterly useless for the purpose of animation. That time would have been far better spent had they focused on the design and construction of the characters. Nevertheless, the animator(s) of the commercial do a terrific job of creating beaver characters with strong designy shapes and appealing animation.