Frame Grabs &Hubley &repeated posts 11 Oct 2011 06:54 am

Hubley and the Telephone

- The Hubley show last night was brilliant. A first rate job by John Canemaker. Most of the prints were spotless and beuatiful (something you rarely see with Hubley films – the DVD copies are soft focus and poorly transferred.) I’ll write about it later in the week. I have a lot of photos to add to that post.

I’ve been posting some pieces about the Hubley work. Given the start I had concentrating on it, I can’t come down so quickly. There’ll be a couple more posts on his work this week. This piece is something you won’t see projected any time soon. It’s an industrial done for AT&T originally posted back in July, 2009.

– In 1965, John Hubley directed animation inserts for an educational film for Jerry Fairbanks Productions and AT&T. It’s the story of the history of the telephone and how it works. The story, such that it is, tells about two kids visiting their uncle, an animator (actually, an actor playing an animator). He gives them an animated lecture on the story of the phone.

The film reminds me very much of another film done by the Hubley studio. UPKEEP was the history of the IBM repairman. We travel through history to see how the repairman has worked over the years. It’s a successful device that works in John’s hands.

The film is available to view on the Prelinger Film Archives. I’ve made some frame grabs to post to give an idea of the style. The characters seem to shift a bit stylistically from the humans at the beginning to those later at the circus. From Hubley to Jay Ward. This was a period where John Hubley was beginning to experiment with more expeditious styles for the jobs that came in. The more artful Maypo style was a bit complicated to pull off. The cels, here, are cel-painted traditionally. (I actually have a hard time believing the date on this film – 1965. It feels more like late 50′s.)

The backgrounds are all by John Hubley, and they remind me of those he would do for UPKEEP and PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE. Lots of white space and soft images. The animation looks like it was done by several people. I recognize Emery Hawkins‘ style, and I also can see Bill Littlejohn in there.

The animator’s studio.

Kids are always fascinated when an animator draws.

The character goes from this . . .

. . . to this.

The caveman has to deliver a message.

This is the full length of his run, the pan wherein the character
runs from being a caveman to an Egyptian to a Roman.

Here’s the same BG broken into four parts:





Once on horseback, man travels through
the middle ages to the pony express.

Man turns to smoke signals to communicate.


Then flashing lights.


Morse invents the telegraph.

Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone.

Now the animator explains how the telephone works
to two very interested children. .





We get the fable about the lion who calls . . .

. . . a raven.

Though he shouts too loudly into the phone.


Then there’s the squirrel who can dial the phone . . .

. . . and the bear who answers the phone too late.

No one there.

Then there’s the elephant who dials the wrong number.

Finally there’s the pig who won’t get off the phone
so the fox can make an important call.

Next the animator takes the kids to the police station.

This way the cop can tell the kids how to make emergency calls.

The End. Too bad John & Faith didn’t write it.

2 Responses to “Hubley and the Telephone”

  1. on 11 Oct 2011 at 11:50 am 1.joe c said …

    Holey moley, thanks for this classic. I haven’t seen it since NYC school assembly in the early 1970′s and probably before my first introduction to the Hubleys via their Electric Company shorts.

  2. on 11 Oct 2011 at 12:44 pm 2.Paul Spector said …

    Holy Moly. an animator takes kids to a police station? My dad never did that. ;)

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

eXTReMe Tracker
click for free hit counter

hit counter