- Today I’m posting a special issue of Top Cel, the NY animation guild’s newspaper. Dated August 1967, it celebrates the Montreal Expo animation conference and exhibition held that summer. Obviously, this was the place to be that year if you were an animation lover.
Just take a look at that list of signatures of attendees. Some of them are:
Chuck Jones, Peter Foldes, Manuel Otero, Edith Vernick, Abe Levitow, Don Bajus, Bill & Fini Littlejohn, John Halas, Ward Kimball, Ken Peterson, Shamus Culhane, Carl Bell, Pete Burness, Ub Iwerks, Gerald Baldwin, I. Klein, Gene Plotnick, Ian Popesco-Gopo, Carmen d’Avino, Bill Mathews, Len Lye, June Foray, Bill Hurtz, Spence Peel, Paul Frees, Steve Bosustow, Dave Hilberman, Stan Van der Beek, Les Goldman, Jimmy Murakami, Mike Lah, Robert Breer, Tom Roth, Art Babbitt, Feodor Khitruk, Fred Wolf, Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Paul Terry, J.R. Bray, Walter Lantz, Otto Messmer, Dave Fleischer, Ruth Kneitel, Bruno Bozzetto, Bob Clampett, Karel Zeman, Dusn Vukotic, Bretislav Pojar, Jean Image, Grim Natwick, Tissa David, Barrie Nelson, Andre Martin, Ed Smith, Dick Rauh, and John Whitney.
I guess they don’t make Festivals like they used to. There doesn’t seem to be much written about this event, and I wish some of those in attendance would write about it.
From the Wikepedia entry for Bill Tytla, there’s the John Culhane quote: On August 13, 1967, the opening night of the Montreal Expo’s World Exhibition of Animation Cinema, featured a screening of Dumbo as part of an Hommage Aux Pionniers. Tytla was invited, but worried if anyone would remember him. When the film finished, they announced the presence of “The Great Animator.” When the spotlight finally found him, the audience erupted in “a huge outpouring of love. It may have been one of the great moments of his life,” recalled John Culhane. I’m sure there were many such moments.
Pepe Ruiz was the u-nion’s business manager. In 1966 – the year prior to this expo – I was a junior in college, determined to break into the animation industry. Of course, I knew the military was coming as soon as I graduated, but I called the u-nion to have a meeting with Pepe. I wanted to see what the likelihood of a “part time job” would be in animation. This took a lot of courage on my part to see what the u-nion was about. I pretty well knew part time jobs didn’t exist. There was no such thing as interns back then.
Pepe was an odd guy who kept calling me “sweetheart” and “darling” and he told me that it was unlikely that I could get something part time in an animation studio.
However he did send me to Terrytoons to check it out.
I met with the production manager, at the time, Nick Alberti. It was obvious I was holding up Mr. Alberti’s exit for a game of golf, but he was kind and said that part time work wasn’t something they did. (He moved on to Technicolor film lab as an expediter after Terry‘s closed. I had contact with him frequently for years later, though I never brought up our meeting and doubt he would have remembered it.) Ultimately, I was pleased to have been inside Terrytoons‘ studio before it shut down shortly thereafter. A little adventure that let me feel as though I was getting closer to the world of animation.
The photos of the Expo are worth a good look. I’ve singled out those above to place around my text. The picture of Tissa and Grim is a nice one of the two of them together.
Ed Smith was the Top Cel editor at the time, and he put together a creative publication.