Saturday, July 02, 2011

Assisting on Fantasia: an interview with Reg Massie

Self-portrait of Reginald Massie, circa 1945.

A couple of weeks ago, Didier Ghez sent me a partial transcript of an interview that John Culhane did in March 1971 with Reginald Massie, who worked for Disney, UPA, Screen Gems and George Pal in the 1930s and 1940s.

Today, July 2, is the centennial of my Dad's birth. With the permission of and thanks to Didier and John, here's a reading of that transcript as part of Steve Hulett's series of "oral interviews", with Steve H. as John Culhane and myself as Reg Massie.

Interview with Reg Massie

Find all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link

After the Disney strike, Massie worked briefly for Screen Gems, George Pal and UPA. After Pearl Harbor the Army commissioned him as a Staff Sergeant in charge of effects animation for the Signal Corps Photographic Center in Long Island. He worked with Frank Capra on the "Why We Fight" series and with John Huston on "The Battle of San Pietro," as well as numerous training films. In 1942 he married former Disney inker Nancy Bedell, whom he had met during the strike.

After the war he returned to George Pal, where he worked on several of the Puppetoons (his screen credit was "Backgrounds" but Gene Warren confirmed for me that he more or less designed everything but the puppets). Here's the 1947 Puppetoon of "Tubby The Tuba" (not the 1975 feature):

"Tubby" was my father's last released Puppetoon and, at the age of thirty-six, his last screen credit. After his layoff from Pal, he ended up freelancing magazine illustration work, then moved to Connecticut where I was born. He worked as the art director of The Reporter magazine and then for Gourmet. He passed away in 1989.

(Nancy Massie freelanced for Shamus Culhane and Preston Blair for years, then worked on Raggedy Ann and Andy and The Thief and the Cobbler for Richard Williams and as a color stylist for Hanna-Barbera; she passed away in 1981.)


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