Friday, April 18, 2008

Vintage Animation Back ( and Fore! ) grounds : Part III

Part 1
Part 2

This is the long overdue third installment of a series of post focusing on some boffo animation backgrounds ( and, in this case, foreground as well ) from some slightly more obscure films of the 1950s and early 60s. Up today: What Makes Us Tick ( 1952 )

In between my childhood and adolescent dreams of becoming a super hero comic book artist and my adult career in illustration I was most influenced artistically by animation of the 1950s and 60s. Starting with Chuck Jones and Disney and progressing to lesser known creators my love for the genre was evident in my work at the time. I grew out of that phase but a touch of that influence still shows itself occasionally, and when I run across some wonderful work that I haven't seen before I still grab a few screencaps to add to my scrapbook.

Such is the case with "What Makes Us Tick". Released in 1952 by the Sutherland studio ( the folks responsible for one the previously featured films "It's Everybody's Business" ), this production was contracted by the fine folks at the New York Stock Exchange to explain ( and, of course, promote ) the stock market.

As with all Sutherland productions this 12 minute short has a great look provided by director Carl Urbano and art directors Gerald Nevius ( "A Is for Atom", "Fantasia", "Dumbo" ) and Ed Starr ( Pinocchio, Fantasia, Song of the South ). Music provided by frequent Sutherland contributer Eugene Poddany ( French Rarebit, The Dot and the Line, Horton Hears a Who! ).

While the backgrounds don't quite reach the heights of 1954's "It's Everybody's Business" or 1956's "Destination Earth", it's still a well designed film with plenty going for it.

Be sure to click on all the images in the post for for full sized views of these screencaps taken from the public domain copy available on the wonderful Prelinger Collection section of the Internet Archive. Due to the age of the print and the limitations of the viewing method these aren't the highest quality stills, but I've cleaned, and in the case of the wider background pans, composited a number of frames together to give an approximation of the original art.

If you're a fan of 1950's and early 60s animation and don't already own a copy be sure to pick up Amid Amidi's excellent 2006 book Cartoon Modern. Chock full of wonderful examples and enlightening background information on the best of that era's animation art ( including an 8 page section on the Sutherland films ) it's a must.


kiwi-d said...

I love the old 50's 60's cartoon style. Cool and retro.

mixville said...

An original, vintage Boris Gorelick serigraph is being auctioned on eBay this week. The artwork is huge — 10 feet wide! — and beautifully rendered in "Cartoon Modern" style. Gorelick was the background artist on Warner's "Show Biz Bugs" and he also worked for UPA in the 1950s.