Animation Artifacts &Layout & Design &Richard Williams &Story & Storyboards 17 Aug 2007 07:41 am

30 Raggedy Years

Tom Sito‘s blog, yesterday, reminded me that it was the 30th anniversary of the release of Raggedy Ann & Andy:A Musical Adventure .

To quote Tom’s blog:
___ASIFA/Hollywood is planning
___to have a reunion of the crew of
___Raggedy Ann to celebrate the
___anniversary. It will be at the
___American Film Institute in
___Hollywood on November 17th.
___A simultaneous reunion will
___happen in New York City. A lot of wonderful people worked on this film, many getting
___their first start.

This gives me a good reason to post some artwork from this film in the next few months. So, excuse me if you find it annoying to see artwork from a second rate feature. However, this was a seminal film for a lot of talented people who got a chance to work along some of the masters.
Just check out this list of animators on the film:
_____Hal Ambro, Art Babbitt, George Bakes, John Bruno, Gerry Chiniquy,
_____Tissa David, Emery Hawkins, John Kimball, Chrystal (Russell) Klabunde,
_____Charlie Downs, Grim Natwick, Spencer Peel, Willis Pyle, Jack Schnerk,
_____Art Vitello, Carl Bell and Fred Hellmich left mid-production.

_____Gerry Potterton was the consulting Director.
_____Cosmo Anzilotti was the Asst. Director.
_____Corny Cole was the designer of the film.

These were some of the younger upstarts inbetweening and assisting:
_____Bill Frake, Jeffrey Gatrall, John Gaug, Eric Goldberg, Dan Haskett, Helen Komar,
_____Judy Levitow, Jim Logan, Carol Millican, Lester Pegues Jr, Louis Scarborough Jr,
_____Tom Sito, Sheldon Cohen and Jack Mongovan.

_____I supervised assistants and inbetweeners in NY,
_____Marlene Robinson did that job in LA.

If you don’t know who these people are, trust me they were the backbone of the business for many, many years prior to 1976.

In some ways I think this along with some of the Bakshi and Bluth films led directly toward the rebirth of animated features. There was a long dark period before it.

So to start with the artwork.

This is a scene which immediately follows the Pirate kidnapping Babette.


Here’s the storyboard for the two scenes. It’s a copy of
Corny Cole’s drawing from the director’s workbook.


This is Corny Cole’s layout for Sc. 1A.


Here we have Dick Williams’ reworking of the same pose.
Fred Hellmich originally animated this, but Dick Williams redid the entire sequence, and
Fred left the film.


Dick’s LO for Sc. 1B.


Cut back to Andy (as drawn by Dick Williams) for Sc. 2.


How small it all gets on a pan and scan video.

20 Responses to “30 Raggedy Years”

  1. on 17 Aug 2007 at 10:15 am 1.Rudy Agresta said …

    Hi Michael,

    I first found about RAGGEDY ANN & ANDY from an article in an old MILLIMETER magazine that had a cover feature about the film. I was absolutely enthralled with some of the Tissa David ruffs and interviews with some of the “greats”. There was an advertisement for the book that John Canemaker was writing. I hawked EVERY bookstore/seller for well over a year to get a hold of that book. After much delay, it finally came out and I had my copy – well, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it since. Regardless of how the final product came out, I had wished that I had said yes to the opportunity that Disney gave me in the 70′s to train there. I was already involved in studying for medicine. After practicing medicine for 10 years I started free-lancing in NYC – everything was STILL hand-drawn!!! I did work for Mark Zander and Broadcast Arts, and during that time had the opportunity to meet Tissa David in her apartment – lugging up my super 8mm projector and a bunch of my scenes to “fleep” for her. I saw many of her Ann & Andy ruffs hanging by her drawing board – absolutely charming. I was able to hear first hand some stories about Grim Natwick, Art Babbitt, and Emory Hawkins. By that time in my career I had rubbed elbows with some very world-famous physicians, but there was no comparison to meeting Tissa. I remember how nervous I was when I called her on the phone!
    I have 2 cells from the film(one with a laser bg). In spite of how the film turned out (I loved it), I have many fond memories of it. Oh yes, she also mentioned she had a very talented assistant on the film by the name of Michael Sporn.

    As always, your SPLOG is my first animation stop of the day and can’t wait to see more of Raggedy Ann & Andy!

    Thanks,

    Rudy Agresta

  2. on 17 Aug 2007 at 11:30 am 2.Tom Sito said …

    Thanks for the plug Mike! Among the alumni from the film, you can also list Glen Entis- now VP head of digital development at Electronic Arts, Russell Calabrese, emmy award winning animation director, John Bruno- oscar winning visual effects supervisor for James Cameron’s Terminator II and True Lies, James Wang- founder of Cuckoos Nest, the largest animation studio in Taiwan and more.
    Whatever happened to Dwayne Ulrich? He was from New Mexico, I recall.

  3. on 17 Aug 2007 at 11:47 am 3.Michael said …

    I have to say, Tom, that I left quite a few names off the list. I just didn’t want it to go on too long. Not too many credits list some of the historic ink & paint people that were involved. Ida Greenberg was right at the top. She had supervised back on Gulliver’s Travels in Florida. Judy Price was a checker at WB back in the 30′s, and too many others as well.

  4. on 17 Aug 2007 at 4:35 pm 4.Tom Minton said …

    Is Judy Levitow, Abe’s daughter, the same Judy Levitow who does occasional reporting on one of the L.A. AM radio news stations?

  5. on 17 Aug 2007 at 11:28 pm 5.Michael said …

    Yes, Tom, that is the very same Judy Levitow. She’s a very talented animation artist as well. Her father was a brilliant animator and a fine director. I haven’t been in touch with her often since Raggedy Ann, but I think of her often enough.

  6. on 18 Aug 2007 at 2:52 pm 6.Tom Minton said …

    I thought it might be her. Levitow just isn’t that common a name. I never met her nor her late father but the very first professional animation desk I worked at, in a long-since defunct studio known as Galerie-Internationale, had been signed years earlier in black permanent marker by Abe. I still have the 1977 Bobbs-Merrill Raggedy Ann and Andy book, which I don’t believe ever came out in hardcover. The late gag man and animator Jack Miller thumbed through my copy in 1978 and exclaimed “Any book that shows pictures of the backs of painted cels is worth buying!”

  7. on 18 Aug 2007 at 11:38 pm 7.David N said …

    “Any book that shows pictures of the backs of painted cels is worth buying!”

    Amen.

    And even more so a book that shows you photos and tells you the actual names of the people who painted those cels , and assisted/ inbetweened those scenes , along with the names of the lead animators is worth buying.

    And it did come out in hardcover , because I have one and it’s a treasured possession.

  8. on 20 Aug 2007 at 1:10 pm 8.Ken Priebe said …

    Yay!!! Keep those drawings coming Michael! Thanks!

  9. on 02 Sep 2007 at 3:39 am 9.Jan B said …

    I just stumbled on this. Hello Michael, from Raggedy Ann West – the Hollywood branch. I spent the most intense nine months of my life on the film, schlepping around both scenes and Dick Williams. It was an amazing gathering of talent. It wasn’t what I would call fun, but I wouldn’t have missed it.

    And as I recall, Hellmich didn’t even make it to mid-film.

  10. on 02 Sep 2007 at 8:00 am 10.Michael said …

    You’re right, Jan. Fred didn’t last to the middle of the film. His entire sequence was redone by Dick. I remember all of Fred’s drawings well and am sorry I didn’t swipe any of his scenes. I didn’t quite see the problems with his animation but assumed Dick knew more than I. I did come to realize that Dick always seemed to require someone on the outside who could be the center of his complaints with any film in process. Fred may have been that guy at that time.

  11. on 10 Sep 2007 at 11:41 am 11.Deb Gaug said …

    Hi, I am John Gaugs sis & he would have liked to have celebrated with you in Novemeber.

  12. on 10 Sep 2007 at 2:34 pm 12.Michael said …

    Deb,it was great hearing from you. I’ll try to keep you informed about this event as it gets closer.

  13. on 14 Sep 2007 at 7:06 pm 13.Jan B said …

    Ah yes, the “whipping boy.”

    To be fair to Dick, it seemed like his dissatisfaction had to do with how he saw Andy, and I think Fred’s version was a bit too masculine. Didn’t Fred’s sequence include “No Girl’s Toy” – which Dick wanted to look like Donald O’Connor doing “Be a Clown”?

  14. on 15 Sep 2007 at 1:59 pm 14.Michael said …

    You’re right on the money. Fred had animated most of “No Girl’s Toy” which Dick “assisted” with new animation.

  15. on 24 Sep 2007 at 6:45 pm 15.Jan B said …

    I think that Dick “assisted” more than once…

    Speaking of films gone wrong: I was looking at a rack of used videos at my local grocery store a few years ago, and there was a copy of “The Thief and the Cobbler.” No, it couldn’t be, I thought. But it was – cobbled (excuse me) together from what animation existed (all that stuff that Dick collected over such a long time, from all those people), that thing that Miramax released. I felt sick…but I bought it.

  16. on 12 Dec 2007 at 4:32 pm 16.NW said …

    Where can I buy this movie on DVD???

    I have been searching for this movie for the past 10 years! I could only find it on Ebay on VHS!

    Could someone please let me know if this movie is available on DVD?!

    Thank you!

    NW

  17. on 15 Mar 2008 at 3:20 pm 17.lodilois said …

    Today I went to a yard sale at the home of Celia Hellmich, widow of Fred Hellmich. I picked up a couple of interesting rolled sheets and found that they are labeled “Andy Original Johnny Gruelle Reference Material” and “Ann Original Johnny Gruelle Reference Material”. Both are well used and both have the initial FH on the lower corner. Does anyone have any idea what these are?

  18. on 15 Mar 2008 at 3:36 pm 18.Michael said …

    One would assume, without seeing them, that these are reference materials that Fred gathered in preparation for his work on the film. I would assume they’re copies of Johnny Gruelle (the original autahor/illustrator) drawings but without seeing them I can’t tell.

  19. on 14 May 2008 at 1:19 pm 19.Catharine Bushnell said …

    Hi, Michael! Remember me? Production photographer, and wife of Michael Sisson, Assoc Producer? Just found this archive on an unrelated search and I’m sad that I didn’t know about the reunion — I would have been there with bells on. The “whipping boy” note from Jan made me smile; as you may know, Richard never spoke to Michael again after the production was over, and they had been old friends for years previously. I think it had something to do with Michael’s wanting to get the film out on time and within budget…
    PS, I’ve got a huge artist portfolio crammed with all the cartoons, lampoons, and caricatures you and the other incredible people did of each other to reduce some of the stress. I look through it from time to time and it makes me laugh all over again. Please give my best to everyone you hear from!

  20. on 01 Oct 2012 at 3:13 am 20.Luke Menichelli said …

    When you feel it’s appropriate, I’d like to see more of the “Raggedy Ann & Andy” director’s workbook.

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