I’m not one who likes to brag but that’s because I usually don’t have a whole lot to brag about. Things are a little different today though. I’ve just learned that my book Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation has won the Theatre Library Association Award for the best book about film, television and radio in 2006. Previous winners of the award, which has been given out since 1973, comprise a veritable who’s who of film and music historians including Gary Giddins, Neal Gabler, John Canemaker, David Bordwell and Kevin Brownlow. I’m humbled (and somewhat dazed) to be included among such elite company.
I’m especially thrilled because this is only the second time an animation book has won the top prize in the award’s 30-plus year history. The first time was in 1987 when John Canemaker was recognized for Winsor McCay: His Life and Art. (Also worth noting, last year, Daniel Goldmark received a Special Jury Prize for his book Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon.)
Cartoon Modern is essentially page after page about some of the most unrecognized and undervalued geniuses of 20th century film art, and it makes me really happy that these artists are being afforded the long overdue recognition they deserve, both from the fine folks who have purchased the book and organizations like the Theatre Library Association who are honoring the book. I’ll be headed to NYC in June for the TLA awards ceremony. I half expect Ashton Kutcher to meet me there and tell me I’ve been punk’d.