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Bill and Joe Show You How It’s Done

Bill and Joe on the CBC

This 1961 film clip of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera explaining the TV animation process is well worth a view. There’s a lot of crazy stuff that happens in the mere span of three-and-a-half minutes. First there’s the shot of layout man Alex Lovy, who takes a long drag on his cigarette before he even starts to draw, which is a unique sight for any animation documentary. That’s followed by a shot of a stereotypically obese animator who barely fits in the frame. I more or less expect animators to look like this today, but it’s something of a surprise to see such a bulky animator in 1961.

Mark Mayerson, who originally linked to this clip, also notes the video’s “casual sexism” in which “‘girls’ do ink and paint, but a ‘man’ paints the backgrounds.” Along those lines, it’s worth noting that the best “how-to” advice in the video has nothing to do with animation. Just watch as Joe Barbera puts the moves on the foxy woman interviewer at around 1:30 into the clip. Now there’s a glimpse into a long-lost era when animation execs were also smooth operators.

  • jordan reichek

    Aw! that was great! Thanks for posting! That Alex Lovy shot is the money, right there!

  • A long lost era indeed. I understand Hanna Barbera being partially blamed for the decline in animation. And here, some of the cartoons might get associated with a bit of white conservativeness. Not all of the cartoons Hanna Barbera did in the 1960’s held up over time, but the time portrayed is no better or worse than what I hear about today.

  • Yeah, she IZZ very pretty!!

    Thank YOO for this incredible Catch! Thank the Heavens Above for this SITE!!

  • cory

    thanks for posting this, i really enjoyed it. what was really cool was that i unknowingly had the ‘dragon hunters’ movie page up (from the previous post) which has this really nice piece of background music that i thought was part of the clip itself which made it have this surreal feeling to it as i was watching it.

  • tom

    Seems a little uncharacteristically rude to devote so much of this post to deriding an animator for being overweight, Amid.

    That’s all I wanted to say.

  • amid

    Tom: No need to generate controversy where there is none. In no part of the post did I “deride” anybody for their physical appearance.

  • Merrill

    Did one of the men say something like, “One day, all of our stuff will be in color.”? If so, then he was surely prophetic with the colorization of older black and white cartoons.

  • Tom Pope

    C’mon, Amid. “Bulky” and “obese” ain’t neutral words.

  • I used to work for a guy that size who referred to himself as “portly”. But I’ve never heard anyone self-identify themselves as “obese”.

    I wonder how our new thin President will affect this social issue?

  • Richard

    Merrill says, “Did one of the men say something like, “One day, all of our stuff will be in color.”? If so, then he was surely prophetic with the colorization of older black and white cartoons.”

    I remember that they colored everything at the Hanna-Barbera studios, even though the shows aired in black and white. Yes, their stuff were ‘in color’ as in ‘during production’; I believe he meant ‘in color’ as in ‘for those who have the (future) color TVs’.

  • “Bulky”? “Obese”? “Portly”?

    I prefer “immense”…as in “immensely talented”!

    And I love that footage of Alex. The guy was about as handsome as one of those craft-fair “apple dolls”, but — like Joe B. — always had his radar on (among other things, I presume) when it came to hitting on attractive women. It must have worked, too, young Sally Struthers (when she performed the voice of teenage Pebbles on a series that Alex produced) reportedly became one of his girlfriends. Alex always made it a point to know the names of every good-looking female at H-B; on the other hand, aside from his old cronies, Alex hadn’t bothered to learn any male’s name in decades. To him, anyone with a penis was simply “Guy”.

    Thanks for posting this, Amid!

  • Annie Sweetie Oakley

    If a “long lost era” means women are held down: GOOD RIDDANCE!

  • a reader

    Almost none of the animators at Disney today are even what one would call overweight. The range I see is more accurately from wiry to super fit; even the older, greying guys are usually pretty lithe. *shrugs* Maybe it’s the hard times, or the more involved dads chasing after their kids when not at work?
    I think that’s a bit of an old stereotype these days.

    And when did “animation execs” cease to be smooth operators?!

  • haha funny i don’t know any chubby animators in new york! maybe that’s because we’re all waiting so long to get our freelance paychecks we don’t eat!