Animation Artifacts 23 May 2006 07:54 am

Amid Gives Us Cannata

- Once again, Amid Amidi has sprinkled some real gold before us through his Cartoon Modern site. He talks in some depth about Dolores Cannata’s work on the Charles Eames film, THE INFORMATION MACHINE: CREATIVE MAN AND THE DATA PROCESSOR. There’s such a wealth in this short article that Amid leaves for us this morning.

The underrated Cannata family gets some modest and well deserved attention here because of the one film, but what it really does is get me drooling to get my hands on Amid’s new book, CARTOON MODERN: STYLE AND DESIGN IN FIFTIES ANIMATION due out in August.

This is one of the best sites available to us. I return often; when there are no new posts, I revisit some of the old. The artwork here is such an inspiration.

Back in the day, when I spent my lunch hours or after hours working at the Hal Seeger studio as an apprentice editor cum messenger, one of the first studios I visited to show my portfolio of drawings and cartoons in search of an animation job, was ECA, George Cannata‘s studio. George is the one who looked through my artwork, but I also got to meet Dolores briefly.

He’s the one who told me that my work demonstrated that I shouldn’t try to be an animator; it indicated too strongly that I’d be a good designer. There was no job there, but it sure made me feel good to get interesting and positive feedback. It wasn’t the usual rejection from a stagnant NY animation industry in 1972. I held George Cannata close to my heart after that.

8 Responses to “Amid Gives Us Cannata”

  1. on 23 May 2006 at 6:08 pm 1.oscar grillo said …

    I worked with George Cannata in London in 1971. He was a terrific man and we were united by our common love for boxing. I had once a great lunch with Cannata, George Nicholas, Hal Hambro and Ken Harris. Who can ask for anything more?…If Maurice Noble had been there as well it would have been heaven.

  2. on 24 May 2006 at 12:05 pm 2.Amid said …

    I had the good fortune of interviewing both Cannatas while I was in NY. I felt like we’d only scratched the surface by the time I left but it was nice to at least talk with them for the time that I did. Have you ever seen the mid-60s version of “Shooting of Dan McGrew” that George Cannata Jr. directed? It’s a beautiful film with art direction by Walt Peregoy. I wish all this work wasn’t so difficult to find.

  3. on 15 Nov 2006 at 1:21 am 3.Evgenia Fisher said …

    George Cannata Jr. is teaching drawing at the Art Students Legue of New York. come visit, the man is a genius!

  4. on 10 Mar 2007 at 7:06 pm 4.brian said …

    i’ve studied with george at the art students league. he really is a special person and gifted artist. oh, and he’s a great teacher too.

  5. on 12 Apr 2007 at 8:19 pm 5.Norm Drew said …

    Great to see folks are picking up on the Cannata Family’s great contribution to animation.

    As with the foregoing commentators, (Hi ol’ Jackson Five buddy Oscar! Check your website…I emailed you!) I too was lucky to be an assistant to the three New York Georges: Cannata, Rufle and Germanetti, (including primarily being assigned as the great Milt Stein’s assistant, on Crawley FIlms ’50′s graphic style NBV TV special (‘In Living Color!’): ‘Return to Oz’.

    What fun it was 8 years later, to be working again with George Cannata. This time it was ‘The Jackson Five’ at Halas & Batchelor in London, (along with Bob Balser and many of the other ‘Yellow Sub’ crew-mates of 1968).

    H & B had found a workaround replacement for Xeroxing cels: drawing animating directly on the cels with litho/grease pencils !!

    When George arrived, he flatly refused to animate this way. In this rare instance, the studio bowed to a master animator and cel tracing assistants were conscripted to trace his pencil/paper drawings onto cels.

    It wasn’t long before George saw further possibilities in the technique and picked it up in no time.

    Another note on the ’50′s flat graphic style: another George, from Canada, George Dunning (director of YS) originally went to London to head up UPA’s London works. UPA of course was famous for their ’50′s graphic style with Mr. Magoo.

    And of course John and Faith Hubley.

    It would seem today’s ‘flash’ animation techniques are well-suited to that
    ’50′s modern flat graphic look.

    – Norm Drew
    Animator, director, producer, overseas supervisor, instructor/tutor

  6. on 13 Apr 2007 at 7:38 am 6.Michael said …

    Great to hear from you , Drew. I learned to use the litho/grease pencil trick from Dick Williams. I still have a couple of the Omni-chrome and Koh-i-noor Projecto-color pencils that work on cel. It was a style I had no problem with and used often enough. Of course, now it’s all too dull with computers.

  7. on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:19 pm 7.Gerard Baldwin said …

    There seems to be some confusion in your facts regarding George Cannata senior and George junior. I can give you correct information because Cannata senior was my brother-in-law and junior is my nephew. There are other errors in your information, and if you wish to contact me, I can set you straight.

  8. on 29 Nov 2011 at 10:27 pm 8.Ed Graham said …

    George was an employee of Ed Graham Productions and worked for me on several projects years ago. The Linus The Lionhearted Show, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, a lot of commercials. I would like to know is he is a: alive. b. traceable. If he’s still with us, I have a new project I would like to discuss with him. Ed Graham

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