Classic

Rare SNAFU/Wartime Animation Art Found

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A Hollywood production artist, part-time performer and animator, Paul Manchester, has inherited a cache of rare World War II animation artwork of great significance.

Manchester’s great uncle, Harold “Al” Curry, served as a storyboard artist under Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) during the war. Paul recounts his story:

Before my great uncle Al died he was cleaning out a bunch of old stuff in preparation for a move and he gave me a manilla packet of old stuff he didn’t really know what to do with. I was following in his footsteps as an illustrator who occassionally worked in animation. At the time I briefly looked through it but was more distracted by the old art books and art supplies he gave me at the same time. Ten years passed.

Last month the National Academy of Sciences presented PRIVATE SNAFU VS. MALARIA MIKE as part of their Cartoon Medicine Show exhibition. It rang kind of a bell in the back of my brain and I pulled out the old manilla envelope and right on top was a rough storyboard drawing from Malaria Mike. I found four painted cels- two with backgrounds attached and a whole stack of roughs from HOME FRONT, PAY DAY (and others).

But the cool thing was an entire storyboard from an animated short called A FEW QUICK FACTS: WEAPON OF WAR. It has been bound into a small book maybe 8″w x 4″h and is about 1 1/2 ” thick- it has the entire script copy printed on the left side of the page and the image on the right.

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Paul has scanned and posted all this great artwork – he even created a video, shooting the entire 89 page storyboard from the Weapon of War, assembled it in iMovie and posted it on YouTube.

Paul has set up a webpage to showcase his find. Original 1940s wartime cartoon art like this is extremely hard to find, as most of it was destroyed as classified material. Thank you Paul for making these rare pieces accessible to all.