Two important women in animation passed away recently:
Shirley Silvey died on July 17 in Fresno, California. When she started working in the mid-1950s, she represented new breed of woman animation artist who were allowed the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Unlike the earlier days when women in animation faced a nearly overwhelming uphill battle at a disadvantage to the men, Silvey was hired at UPA in the creative role of designer on the The Boing Boing Show where she designed cartoons like The King and Joe. She was one of two layout artists working under Bob Dranko on the UPA feature 1001 Arabian nights.
She worked at studios including Churchill-Wexler, TV Spots, Warner Bros. and, most importantly, Jay Ward Productions. She worked for fifteen years at the latter studio. Silvey said once in an interview that, along with Roy Morita, she drew 366 storyboards for Rocky and Bullwinkle, as well as all 104 episodes of Hoppity Hooper and countless episodes of Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle and Fractured Fairy Tales. There’s a nice interview about her career at this website. She is survived by a daughter, two grandchildren and brother, David Jonas, who is also an animation artist.
Mary Schuster with Ward Kimball (l.) and animator Julius Svendsen in November 1952 during production of Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom
This one is a bit late, but Mary S. Broggie passed away on March 10 at the age of 85. When she married Roger Broggie, the first Disney Imagineer, she took his last name, but prior to that, she had been Mary Schuster, an inbetweener and assistant animator in Ward Kimball’s unit during the 1940s and ’50s. She started at Disney in 1944. In a brief phone conversation once, she told me that she had always been an inbetweener, though it’s conceivable that she also did some assistant animation. She began working in Kimball’s unit shortly after she arrived at the studio, which was a unique arrangement because my understanding is that inbetweeners weren’t assigned to specific units. She worked on all of Ward’s characters including Pecos Bill, Cheshire Cat, Lucifer, and The Indian Chief, as well as Melody and Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom. She is survived by her son, Brian; stepsons Roger, Jr. and Michael; and eight grandchildren.
1946 drawing by Ward Kimball of the 1-D animation unit: (l. to r.) Ward Kimball, Clarke Mallery, Ollie Johnston, Mary Schuster and Al Bertino.