Monday, July 24, 2006

Who's Who In Animated Cartoons

I've spent a large portion of the evening thumbing through Jeff Lenburg's 380 page tome "Who's Who in Animated Cartoons"... If you're interested in animation, this is a reference book you've GOT to have. With three hundred biographical entries, "Who's Who" was bound to leave out some important players in the animation biz (and does.) But the entries between its covers are lengthy and detailed, and even if you think you already know all of the various wrinkles of an artist's life, this book will surprise you.* For instance, I learned that Norm McCabe (referenced below) was born in Great Britain, started directing shorts for Leon Schlesinger in his middle twenties, and was working on Tiny Toon Adventures in the 1990s. Or that Ed Gombert, one of Disney Feature Animation's best story artists, did character design work on television's Duck Tales. And Mr. Lenburg gets most of the details right. Disney veteran Vance Gerry did indeed end his Mouse House career working with Burny Mattinson and Joe Grant in a group they called "The Geriatricals." Woolie Reitherman most certainly did leave Disney's during WWII to serve in the Army Air Corps (although his brief stint as an airline pilot is omitted). Anyone who has a desire to immerse themselves in animation's colorful past and dynamic present should find themselves a comfortable armchair, a good reading lamp, and settle in for several summer evenings perusing "Who's Who In Animated Cartoons." I know that I plan to. *Since this post was first written, we've come to realize that Lenburg didn't do the fact checking that we first gave him credit for, and that his entry on Freddie Moore in particular perpetuates some woeful misinformation. At this point we suggest you take the information in the book with a grain of salt.


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