Opening title pan down- Moonbird
- In 1964, John and Faith Hubley‘s film, Of Stars and Men opened at the Beekman Theater in Manhattan. This was their first feature; it was accompanied by a number of their short films. I was in High School, and this is the first time I saw any of the Hubley films, and my life had changed at that screening.
The flat colors of the Disney and Warner Bros cartoons were suddenly replaced with textures. It wasn’t only the backgrounds that had a texture; it was the characters as well. I’d already taught myself quite a bit about animation, but this was something new for me. I sat with saucer eyes watching every element and filmic device John Hubley came up with in creating these flms.
It was so clear that Hubley was using a system of double exposures, doubling the characters in at an exposure of about 60% so that the white paper would be somewhat translucent over the dark backgrounds. The rough pencil lines of the animators clearly delineated the characters in this technique, though they picked up some of color of the Bgs. Obviously, the white paper of the character had been painted black – up to the animator’s lines so that the extraneous parts of the paper was matted out. What a brilliant idea!
I explain this process in depth in this post from the past.
This enabled us, the audience, to see the rough lines of the animators and brought the same life the Xerox line had brought to 101 Dalmatians. It was thrilling for me.
The sing-song muttering of a child introduces us to “Hampy”.
Picasso and Steinberg had been mimicked in the UPA films.
With Adventures of an * the Abstract Expressionists
came under the magnifying glass as John Hubley used
the New York school as his inspiration.
Bobe Cannon, for years, had delivered great animation.
His work with Chuck Jones had produced new and rich
experimental heights particularly in the 1942 short, The Dover Boys.
Hubley had stated that this film was an inspiration
in the move to 20th Century graphics in animation.
The question is whether we’ve squandered that development
and have retrogressed to the 19th Century illustration styles
that Disney pursued. Recently, we seem to have had only
bad drawing or cgi puppets to choose from.
Time to step up, ladies and gentlemen.