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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.