Halas & Batchelor Cartoons

dodofarm.jpg

Though mentioned on the Brew back in May, I just stumbled upon a copy of Halas & Batchelor Cartoons today, at my local Barnes and Noble.

halasbook.jpgFirst off, this book is a must-have. John Halas himself was one of the world’s great animators and producers. He was also a pioneering cartoon historian and was one of the founders of ASIFA and the Annecy Animation Festival. Joy Batchelor was an amazing artist, designer and business woman. Together they created Britain’s largest animation studio creating hundreds of films, from experimental avant-garde works to commercials, full length feature films (Animal Farm) and TV series (Do-Do the Kid from Outer Space, among others). 3-D, stop motion, CG and practically every other technique available was tried in their fifty year career together.

The book itself, compiled by daughter Vivien Halas and historian Paul Wells, covers their entire history thoroughly–the personal side and the professional–with numerous illustrations and photographs and a bonus DVD featuring seven of their best short films. The art and images are especially well chosen and a delight to look at. This book covers an important piece of animation history and two pioneers who should never be forgotten. Amazon.com has it in stock at discount. Buy it.


  • http://doubleben.blogspot.com/ Emmett Goodman

    Sounds like a great book to check out. I have seen ANIMAL FARM and think it is a wonderfully animated film. The expressions of the characters are wonderful, and spot on, especially for such a deep, dark setting.

    I haven’t been able to locate anything else from Halas Batchelor on DVD, unless I’m just not looking hard enough. On YouTube, they have ANIMAL FARM and a Public Health Service commercial they animated. And ANIMAL FARM is already on DVD. Not to mention that it is one of the very first animated features to come out of the United Kingdom.

  • http://tomstoontroubles.blogspot.com/index.html Tom Rollinger

    I got that book for Christmas last year from a cousin of mine who lives in England. The DVD itself is worth while full of some great animation on it except I have had some problems playing some of the movies on it. It could be the British code that they encode on their DVDs that conflict with other DVD players. Maybe I am just not doing it right.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    - I got that book for Christmas last year from a cousin of mine who lives in England. The DVD itself is worth while full of some great animation on it except I have had some problems playing some of the movies on it. It could be the British code that they encode on their DVDs that conflict with other DVD players. Maybe I am just not doing it right.

    Was the DVD region coded? If not, it could be a problem with it being mastered in PAL as opposed to the US standard of NTSC. Some DVD players are capable of playing back both standards OK if you look hard enough.

    I’ll have to check to see if the B&N or Borders in my area happens to have this book available to get, as I know I’d be more than interested in the shorts and history alone.

    There had been once a DVD made available of the H&B shorts that came out from Hen’s Tooth Video, though it’s been out-of-print for a long while and I’ve read quality-wise it wasn’t that perfect.

  • http://garyfieldsstudios.blogspot.com GARY FIELDS

    I have fuzzy but warm memories of Do-Do the kid from outer space. I always wondered who was responsible. I can’t tell you anything about the content except the theme song rattled through my head after reading this article. Did they also do a Pinocchio television show around this same time period?

  • http://www.rudyagrestaartandmusic.moonfruit.com Rudy Agresta

    Hi Jerry,

    I got this book the first day it was released here in the U.S. It is truly a must have. The diversity of product put out by the many fine artisans at Halas and Batchelor is astounding. The DVD is worth the price of the book. A five star plus recommendation! I had no problems playing the DVD on my computer or TV – give it another go Tom!

  • http://www.daganm.blogspot.com Dagan

    Awesome, this sounds like a GREAT book!

    Are these the folks who also did ‘Watership Down?’

  • Paul

    Tom, if your cousin sent the book from England, it’s probably a region 2 DVD, which is why you’d have problems playing it in the states :0(

    I managed to score a copy of Halas’ book on animation a while back, and it’s a valued addition to my library. And of course “Timing For Animation” is a must-have for any animator’s bookshelf. I’ll definitely add this one to the list…

  • Firoz

    You can watch some short public information films created by Halas and Batchelor at the UK National Archives website – here and here.