Rodney (1956)

Last week Amid posted several Disney industrial films and got quite a nice reaction, so I thought I’d try posting another one – this one not from Disney. Sometimes we dwell too much on the commercial and entertainment films produced by Hollywood and New York’s animation industry, but it was industrial and educational films like these that were the backbone of the business in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Rodney (posted below) is typical of the kind of bread and butter product produced by small studios that kept animators alive between larger assignments. Lee Blair’s New York studio, Film Graphics, produced this one allowing veteran animator Lu Guarnier a rare chance to direct. Don Towsley, Cliff Auguston and Preston Blair animated. Jack Shaindlin, a well known stock music composer, provides a classic 1950s score.

Cataloging the hundreds (thousands?) of ephemeral films like these is the next great frontier in researching animation. An important part of the history of the medium is contained within these – and many of them are still lost, neglected or forgotten.


  • Rodrigo

    Sucks for Rodney. That promiscuous jock strap had it coming though.

  • http://cheekyentertainment.blogspot.com Craig Clark

    It was always a treat to see an animated educational film in school. This one has interesting design and clever missing wall 2 shots. Which scenes were Preston Blair’s?

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    Lu Guarnier was smart in hiding animation and keeping the budget to a minimum. I hadn’t known he directed anything. The film looked quite sophisticated for NY, 1956.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Disney should re-open their industrial/educational films division and start to make new ones. How about Donald Duck and Anger Management. How about Brer Rabbit and Political Correctness.

  • Rose

    I liked this.

    It’s stylized art and directed style let the information flow while the overall product was entertaining-which isn’t easy with a subject like TB. It manged to be likable with a unlikable subject matter.

    I agree so much animation, as well as overall, history is in these short films. They very much deserve to be re discovered and appreciated.

  • Beautiful Mind

    Wonder how long one had to stay in a TB hospital… Anyway, I hope these old films get preserved!

  • http://klangley.blogspot.com Kevin Langley

    I would kill for Shaindlin’s score to this one. I hadn’t seen this one and always find these educational/industrial films interesting, usually for the designs.

  • Ebel

    Re-establishing any major studio’s industrial/educational films division would also provide a decent training ground for people just getting into animation, though now is the lousiest time to do such a thing in the history of the U.S. economy.

  • http://cheekyentertainment.blogspot.com Craig Clark

    Unless it was part of a new government sponsored WPA style “Stimulus Package” re-education campaign for “green jobs”. How do windmills work? Solar energy? Electric Cars? Dark Matter from the space station? T Boon Pickens Productions anyone?

  • RODAN

    Okay…Rodney reminds me of Bob from the Enzite commercials…

    We have these industrial / educational films today in the form of the Infomercial…ala the Pharmaceutical industries… etc….

  • Jeff

    Did a quick search for this film in the Catalog Of Copyright Entries: 1950-1959. The title “Rodney” by “Film Graphics for the National
    Tuberculosis Association” has a copyright date of March 31, 1951 and a note of “in notice: 1950″.

    Check out these Internet Archive sites for great “toon-dating”:
    http://www.archive.org/details/motionpict19121939librrich
    http://www.archive.org/details/motionpict19401949librrich
    http://www.archive.org/details/motionpict19591960librrich
    http://www.archive.org/details/motionpict19601969librrich

    The UPA influence appears quite commonplace in industrial cartoons by the end of the forties, but took a few more years to impact “mainstream” Hollywood animation.