- One of my all time favorite pieces of Hubley animation was a station ID for WNDT-TV, New York’s public service station back in the 60′s. I thought of this spot last week when I posted the piece about Stanley Kaufman’s Art of Film for that station. It ultimately became WNET, NY’s PBS channel 13.
This spot was undoubtedly animated by Bill Littlejohn, and I think it’s one of his finest pieces. The timing is excellent. He obviously animated straight ahead; the characters distort and morph to the needs of the animation. It’s a full 2mins: 40 secs, so it would qualify as a short film these days,
The piece ran in B&W. It employed the multiple exposure technique. The characters had black paint filling everything bu the animation drawing. This was double exposed over the BG, hence a see-through quality to the characters. This techniques was used on Moonbird, The Hole, Of Stars and Men and several other Hubley shorts.
Here are some frame grabs of the spot.
The two guys come out on to the stage and take a bow.
I love how the shapes of the characters shift and distort and change throughout the piece always coming back to the original models. This is a sure sign of straight ahead animation, and it almost makes the acting feel like an improvisation exercise by two actors. It supercedes animation and becomes acting.
The obviously loose time of the piece shows that the animator was probably given a lot of leeway with his timing, and he took it. As I said, I have no proof that Bill Littlejohn animated it, but I’ve never doubted it for a moment. It’s certainly as much his style as it is Hubley’s.
That is the odd thing about working for a director with a strong personality. I remember the day that I looked at one of my drawings and realized that it looked like one of my drawings, but there was no doubt it was a Hubley. Something happens, and you just end up drawing in their style.