Harley Jessup Speaks Harley Jessup Speaks

Harley Jessup Speaks

Twice Upon a Time

I’ve always been interested in learning more about animation production designer Harley Jessup (Twice Upon a Time, James and the Giant Peach, Monsters, Inc.), and in the past week, two separate animation blogs have profiled him. Firstly, Ward Jenkins recently conducted a fascinating interview with Jessup in which he talks primarily about his work on the early-’80s animated film Twice Upon a Time. Also Jessup-related, the Spline Doctors have posted a new roundtable audio podcast featuring a discussion between some of the key figures in Pixar’s art department. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but the lineup of artists participating is amazing: Jessup and fellow production designer Bob Pauley, director of photography Sharon Calahan, art director Tia Kratter, and character designer Teddy Newton.

  • Zach

    I remember watching this on Cartoon Network back when they showed cartoons. I was about nine. I loved how dark it was.

    George Lucas was involved in Twice Upon a Time, and I suspect he was too wrapped up in his Star Wars / Indiana Jones business to care about this movie, hence its lack of popularity.

  • Hank

    I doubt Lucas’ lack of interested had anything to do with it’s lack of popularity. It’s an interesting curio, and I love it. But it’s extremely easy to see why it never found a wide audience.

    I have googled this guy so much and rarely find anything.
    I love all his art in the pixar art-of books.

  • Animation was at a very low point at that time, especially an animated feature. Plus, the studio (Warner Bros) didn’t push it out there and give it a decent opening. It played to a few theaters in the Northwest, but that was pretty much it. Lucas was, indeed, busy with Return Of The Jedi, but that wasn’t the only reason for Twice’s lack of popularity.

  • The amount of work that seemed to go into the production of this movie sounds insane. These days, it would probably be done through CG to imitate the Lumage process a la South Park, and while I doubt it would diminish the style, there’s something to say about how much harder artists had to work back then.

  • I saw this movie twice on HBO when I was a kid and it stuck with me for years. I never saw it again until it aired on CN when I was in college. Having a hunch that it might air once or twice for the first time in twenty years and vanish again, I taped it. It was a joy seeing again for the first time in forever. The film still looks gorgeous after all these years.

  • john

    trying to find cartoon played on hbo in the earley 80s about rabbit they where little violent and bloody