It’s Gene Deitch’s 87th birthday today – Happy Birthday, Gene! – and to celebrate, Deitch has started a new blog based around his latest book, a work-in-progress, called Roll The Credits.

For the few reading this unaware of Gene’s career, Mr. Deitch is an Academy Award winning (Munro, 1960) animation director who began his career at UPA where he ultimately ran the New York studio directing Bert and Harry Piels commercials, ran the Terrytoons studio where he created Tom Terrific and Sick Sick Sidney, moved to Prague in 1959 where he directed Tom & Jerry shorts for MGM, Popeye and Krazy Kat TV cartoons for King Features and Nudnik theatricals for Paramount. He spent many years directing animated films for Weston Woods, including an adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Oh, and he’s the father of acclaimed underground cartoonist Kim Deitch.

Gene’s new blog will (on a somewhat regular basis) post chapters from the new book, each one devoted to a person who inspired him, “the 65 freaky people – many who have been so far hidden from you – who’ve pushed and prodded me into whatever it is that I’ve accomplished.” The first posts are devoted to his mentor John Hubley, author-illustrator Tomi Ungerer, filmmaker Jan Svankmajer and his mother, Ruth. Gene says this about the book and website:

I’ve tried to keep it light, bright, and short-winded where possible, but a couple of chapters are necessarily semi-sagas. Please cue me if I induce boredom! It’s a “Living Book” because YOU are invited to correct, add, deny, refute, or argue with anything I’ve written. Sadly, many of the people I’ve written about have gone beyond the point of no return, so it’s up to you to challenge my memory. A true history is the goal.

It sounds like a present to all of us who love Gene and the history of animation. Here’s to Gene Deitch, his new blog and our best wishes for his continued success and good health. Happy Birthday, Gene Deitch!

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