A CAR-TUNE PORTRAIT

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One of the hot things emerging on several cartoon blogs lately is the detailed deconstruction of classic animated features and shorts. By “deconstruction” I mean the study of individual animator’s styles within a cartoon by determining who animated what scene. Records of this work, known as “animator drafts,” were created in-house during production and usually discarded once a film was completed. Disney, of course, saved theirs. The existence of these records from other studios is usually harder to come by – but miraculously several survive from the likes of Warner Bros., UPA, MGM, Terrytoons and Fleischer simply because the animators themselves occasionally hung onto them.Jaime Weinman has been examining classic Warner Bros. cartoons (such as RABBIT OF SEVILLE) scene by scene on his blog; Jenny Lerew has posted drafts from Disney shorts like THE NIFTY NINETIES; and Michael Sporn just posted several pages of animator drafts from Disney’s PINOCCHIO. Adding to the fray, I’ve just posted a draft of a 1937 Max Fleischer Color Classic, A CART-TUNE PORTRAIT, up on my Cartoon Research website. Animators identified in this cartoon include Dave Tendlar, Joe Oriolo, Bill Sturm, Nick Tafuri and several other Fleischer regulars. Once you get a handle on an artist’s particular traits, following their work becomes easier – and studying their accomplishments significantly adds to our collective knowledge of the history of animation.