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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Reed and Wright...

A quick "inbetween:" Steven Hartley asks: "didn't John Reed go on to become the leading animator for the great British-animated film 'Animal Farm'?"

Funny you should ask this, Steven, just after I re-read Dave Hand's book "Memoirs." When Hand got the job of creating an animation studio for J. Arthur Rank (later known as Gaumont British Animation), he found he needed trained, skilled artists to teach the rather untrained British ones, and he chose Ralph Wright for story, Ray Patterson for animation and John Reed for effect animation. Patterson returned Stateside after a year, Wright stayed longer, and, yes, John Franklin Reed (1908-1992) remained after all others had gone "home," to become the animation director on Halas & Batchelor's 1954 release "Animal Farm." It seems he animated for Disney on - among other films - Paul Bunyan (1958) after that.

The book "Memoirs" has a funny anecdote in it told by Hand's secretary, the first person Hand hired, who later married animator Stan Pearsall. She tells of the time Ralph Wright and John Reed arrived at their hotel and she was to fetch them, only knowing that one was tall and the other wasn't. She walked up to two gents who fit the bill and asked "Are you Mr. Reed and Wright?" to which the answer was "No, we are Mr. Walk and Talk!" She had addressed the wrong two American gentlemen.

The fourth American drafted to work for GBA by Hand was none other than technical wizard Bill Garity, (according to the patent) the inventor of the click track, the Multiplane Camera, Fantasound, the Iron Pencil and the system Disney used for making 3D animation, but who - in Dave Hand's "Memoirs" - is only described as having stomach ulcer problems and always having to ingest powders against these.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Steven Hartley says...

Thank you for your information, Hans, I've never came across Dave Hand's book 'Memiors', but thanks for asking me that, it seems that Dave Hand was trying to make British-animators more trained so Ray Patterson, John Reed, and Ralph Wright were helping Dave.

Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 8:24:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Mark Mayerson says...

I have Hand's Memoirs, and I find that the section written by the secretary is better than what Hand wrote. The book was a major disappointment to me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 7:24:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

It was to me, too, Mark, which is why I didn't look in it for years. Then, reading it WITHOUT any hopes of finding new information, I found it rather interesting in some areas, like - he seemed such a together person, but when he came back to the States, he fell all apart. Also reading about his "hobo years" is quite curious. But no doubt, the most interesting few pages by far (and the best written) are the ones that you mention...

The three lines about him meeting "some guys" in Denmark covers several months of his life that were to shape part of the destiny of animation in Denmark and Holland, and indirectly even my own life!

Monday, May 10, 2010 at 1:38:00 AM PDT  

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