The British Animators 1932

In 1952 Raycol Ltd., wanted to make, amongst other films, an H.M. Bateman cartoon film in colour with sound in order to establish their ciné colour system. Grif and myself took on the animation and were later jointed by Joe Noble with Bateman being responsible for the key drawings. Later that year On the Farm appeared on the screen.

While animating I found time to develop a strip cartoon character ‘Jinky’ or ‘Jolly Jinky’ as he was also known, which appeared in the weekly Pearsons Magazine during 1931 and 1932. This was followed by a daily strip ‘Adam & Eva’ in the London Evening Standard. Next. from October 1952 was the ‘Weather Pup’, a panel which was run during the last quarter of the year. For this series of fifty panels I was paid the sum of £3 3s Od for each set of six.

I was still in the film business when I first thought of the Nipper but at the time it did not occur to me to put him on the Screen as I saw him essentially as a character for a strip cartoon. I made a few sketches and submitted them. These were accepted and were published as a daily feature in the Daily Mail from 30th August 1933. The step from Wardour to Fleet Street had been relatively easy.

According to Percy V. Bradshaw, H. M. Bateman, T. Webster and G.E. Studdy were all very disappointed money-wise with their adventures into cartoon films. We animators would have probably done much better if we had gone to the United States of America. The making of screen cartoons in this country had generally been tackled in a rather half-hearted manner. Owing to lack of money or lack of enterprise, costs were always kept down to the minimum and there was very little to spare for experimental work or the training of skilled animators. In fact it was not long before I discovered that the only people who would spend a reasonable amount upon the elaborate work of making animated cartoon films were the big commercial firms. So I turned my attention to making advertising pictures.

It was a difficult job even then. There was no team of specialists such as were developed by Walt Disney. I had to tackle almost every process of the work myself from planning the story, working out the gags, making rough sketches, then doing hundreds and hundreds of drawings, acting as my own camera man, to editing the finished film. Even with the aid of one or two assistants it took about six weeks to draw the pictures for a five minute film. When the ‘talkies’ came in I even had to supervise the setting of the musical accompaniment and attend to the final synchronisation of the sound track. Working for twelve years on screen cartoons gave me a pretty good all round technical experience in this field.

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