Monday, July 25, 2016

Thirty-Two Years Ago in Toluca Lake (aka Burbank)

The Animation Guild held an awards banquet for industry veterans.

... The First Golden Awards Banquet ... was put on by the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, IATSE Local 839’s (today’s Animation Guild), at Sorrentino’s Restaurant, in Toluca Lake, California, on January 20, 1984, to honor those who had been in animation for 50 years or more. (They also occasionally honored a comic strip/book artist or two, as some did fall under the union’s jurisdiction.)

The first banquet honored 41 people, though only 36 showed up; it was a huge success and is remembered as one of the largest gathering of Golden Age animation artists since Montreal’s Expo ’67. ...

That first Golden Awards Whoop Dee Doo was a pretty boisterous affair. A lot of cartoon veterans hadn't seen each other in years, and Sorrentino's banquet room was packed (the restaurant is now long gone). Bob Clampett was there ... in one of his last industry appearances (he died abruptly four months later in Detroit Michigan), as was Chuck Jones, Eric Larson, Cal Howard, Bill Hanna and Grim Natwick among numerous others.

Because there were so many honorees, award presentations were brief, but food and drink were abundant and there was lots of lively talk at the long tables. The only comparable gathering of animation talent occurred six-plus years later at Grim Natwick's 100th birthday party at the Sportsmen's Lodge.

Chuck Jones receives his Golden Award from Business Representative Bud Hester. The white-haired man in the middle distance (behind and to the right of table-marker "9") is the veteran Disney director Jack Kinney. Disney animator Eric Larson sits with his back to camera in the center of the picture, while Disney's Joe Hale -- then the producer of the oncoming "Black Cauldron" -- sits across from Eric in a Western string tie, looking up at Mr. Jones.


Dave said...

What is that reference to Expo 67 about? I was there for a couple of days . .but I don't remember anything about a gathering of animators. ??

Harvey Deneroff said...

The Cinematheque Quebecoise, a film archive which specializes in French-Canadian cinema and animation in general, hosted a "World Exhibition of Animation Cinema" at Expo '67 that included an "Hommage Aux Pionniers." Among Americans in attendance who were not around for the Golden Awards Banquet included Dave Fleischer, Paul Terry, J.R. Bray and Otto Messmer. For a more complete list see the August 1967 issue of Top Cel, Local 841's newsletter, posted on Michael Sporn's Splog:

The Exhibition also published Andre Martin's timeline poster detailing the "Origin and Golden Age of the American Cartoon Film, 1906-41."

Dave said...

Wow! Quite a gathering! Thanks for the info, Harvey!

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