Monday, February 15, 2016

Animation Guild Golden Award Interview #11 -- Lucifer Guarnier

Lu Guarnier has the distinction of being Chuck Jones's last animation assistant ... before Chuck was promoted from animator to director, a position from which Mr. Jones never descended. ...

Lucifer B. Guarnier began his career on the west coast at Leon Schlesinger's, where the going was tough and the wages paltry. Per Michael Sporn:

[Lu] started as inbetweener to Clampett and worked his way up to animator. $12 a week. He once told me of the “hurt” jokes that were enormously popular for a short period back in the day. How “hurt” was he?

Well, as an inbetweener, he was the last to receive some animation that Clampett had done in a particular Porky Pig cartoon. An axe was falling on Porky and at the very last moment, the pig was saved from the blade falling on him. Lu, for a joke – a “hurt” joke – decided to continue the animation with Porky being cut in two as an alternate ending that he sent to PT. After they watched the dailies, they could watch the alternate – the correct version. ...

It just so happened that that was the day Leon Schlesinger was making the rounds. The fresh dailies arrived and the assembled animation crew watched Porky cut in two. Leon turned to director, director to Clampett, Clampett to the lowly inbetweener who squirmed his way out of the room. Lu expected to be fired, but wasn’t; they all laughed after he’d left the room. ...

Mr. Guarneir spent the rest of the 1930s at Schlesinger's, but in early '41 the armed forced made him an offer he couldn't refuse, and into the army Lu went. He spent the duration of World War II in New York and New Jersey, animating on training and intelligence films. After he was mustered out, Lu spent the balance of his career working for Lee Blair (Preston's brother) at Graphic's Studio, then at UPA's east coast facility, and finally freelancing for New York City animation shops.

Mr. Guarnierdied in December 2007, at the age of 93.


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