Articles on Animation 12 Mar 2007 08:25 am

I.Klein’s Charles Bowers 1

Charles Bowers was an animation pioneer and entrepeneur. He is often mentioned in animation histories but is given short mention in the same publications. The brilliant book, Before Mickey by Donald Crafton, often mentions Bowers by name and company (Celebrated Film Corporation), but it doesn’t really go into what he did.

In fact, he supervised the Mutt and Jeff series for Pathe-Freres and Bud Fisher and was instrumental in trying to get The Katenjammer Kids animated (until law suits from Hearst developed). He invented a new camera for live action and became a moderately successful silent-screen comedian. He also did a couple of puppet animated shorts in 1939 & 1940 which were released by the Fleischers.
(Click on any image to enlarge.)

Additioinally, he was an animator for Loucks & Norling on a World’s Fair film about petroleum done in 3-D (stereo vision), a story writer for Walter Lantz, a published cartoonist, a children’s book author/illustrator, a high-wire walker and at one time a bronco buster. Perhaps his problem was that his energies were too spread out trying to do many different things. Had he been more focussed on a single métier, he might have had more success. (Just a guess.) His is in some ways a typical animation biography.

In March and June of 1975, Cartoonist Profiles published a two-part article by animator, Izzy Klein. Klein witnessed Bowers’ work and writes about it in a very affable style.

Cartoonist Profiles magazine stopped publishing in 2005 when editor Jud Hurd died. I’ve decided to post the two parts of this article: Part 1 here, today. Part 2 later this week.



6 Responses to “I.Klein’s Charles Bowers 1”

  1. on 12 Mar 2007 at 4:53 pm 1.Mark Mayerson said …

    Bowers is legendary. Dick Huemer implied that Bowers caused Raoul Barre to have a nervous breakdown. Bowers also did a lot of interesting stop motion films.

    I’ve learned that Izzy Klein donated his papers to the University of Syracuse. I wonder if any animation historians have gone through the material. You can find out more here:

  2. on 12 Mar 2007 at 5:42 pm 2.Brian Meyer said …

    just to let you know page #3 isn’t loading.

  3. on 12 Mar 2007 at 5:54 pm 3.Michael said …

    Sorry about that. I’ve corrected the link. Thanks for telling me.

  4. on 13 Mar 2007 at 4:30 pm 4.Leila Cabib said …

    Hello, Michael

    I want to add to the comments about “Champagne.” I saw your wonderful film years ago at an ASIFA-East screening in Washington, D.C. Reading your post about it and seeing the images made me want to watch it again (and more carefully), so I’m going to order the DVD. It’s a special treat to see the thumbnails, because sketches and pencil tests in general have a freshness and vitality that is sometimes lost in the finished, polished film.

  5. on 22 Mar 2007 at 12:57 am 5.Tom Minton said …

    Bowers was fond of visual scenarios involving chickens and/or eggs hatching. He did quite a bit under some very tight budgets and should’ve lived longer. His imagination would’ve had a field day in the early years of television.

  6. on 02 Nov 2012 at 1:46 pm 6.Lee Krueger said …

    Trying to find you , wondering if you are OK after Sandy. email if we can have a chat via phone or email. Lee

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