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Speaker 1 0:01
So the copyright of this recording is suggested in the British entertainment history project interview is very Nelson. The interviewer is gesture it and the date is sixth of October 2021. Like one if we could just start with you, your name, your date of birth, and when you were born.
Speaker 2 0:26
Sure My name is Barry Merritt, date of birth is 23rd of the night 40 And I was born in Louth, Lincolnshire. And really my introduction to the animation industry was when I first left school at the age of 16. I decided not to go on further education of any kind. So I left and went into work. And I happen to live next door to a young girl who was working at the pearl and Dean film studio in the trace and paint department. And she mentioned to me that the animation studios, were looking for a new junior runner basically to get the teas and the sandwiches. So I went up and applied and I got the job. And that's how I first started and obviously working in a studio. I came across and worked with various people. And it wasn't long before. I got involved with an animator there called Wally crook, who, as far as I know of her background, she worked at Anson and Daya in Hammersmith, and improbably worked at Tim Harrison, Bachelor and possibly Larkins before she came to permanently in studios. And so I worked with her at the studios at the time, and I went there. The directors were George Marino, and Fred Thompson. But this was just after a bust up without Digby Turpin and some of his animation people hang around with ponen, Dean and left. So I arrived just after that period. And Marina was obviously the major director there. And the production managers a guy called Harry Pousti, who had no film background, presumably, in fact, I think he came from a travel agency. So I remember, but he was the production manager there. So I worked with under Wally crook, there were various other people, animators there, there was a guy called Bill Hopper, who was a young guy called Don Stern. And this other guy, Lesley Kulish, called him jock boy, but it was Leslie Boyd. Now he came from the Merino studio prior, Marino still kept on his previous studio, but was working for permanent Dean at the time. There's a guy called Harry karda, which I think he came also came from the Marino studios. A woman called Hilda recolor I'm not quite sure where she was before then have fun, funny idea that she probably was traced and paint girl that went change over to or went into animation. But her name is Hilda recolor. And there was a guy which I've named came back and it's called Mario's sad burrito, who wasn't Bernadine, but I didn't really have any other further contact later on in my career in the animation business, but those were the principal people there. Apart from the usual it was a quite a large trace and paint department run by a girl called Think of it Dorothy Warren, Dorothea Warren. And there were quite a roomful of girls that worked under it's quite a large Chase and paint department. The other director there was
Speaker 1 4:13
can you put a date on when you started? It
Speaker 2 4:16
must have been about 60. Number 516 would have been maybe 50. I don't remember what 5657 Because I was 16 when I started there. So I was born in 40. So it must be about 5656.
Speaker 1 4:40
And just to go back a little bit as well in terms of can you talk a little bit about your, your parents were they sort of artistically inclined or were they were they both British we bought British.
Speaker 2 4:53
Both my parents were British. No. Artist background i I must have had a cousin on my aside, who was a book illustrator, if I remember rightly, meeting him once. That's the only link I had with the artistic world. Apart from the fact when I was at school, I went to Chizik county Grammar School, the art department. The art master, there was a guy called Jeffrey Paige, who his only other link up was his father was Freddie Page, who was involved with rowing and lonely rowing hierarchy and Jeffrey page road in the Canadian Olympics for England. So I did a lot of rowing also. So but that's my only affiliation to it was through my school, but Well, it's certainly not through family
Unknown Speaker 5:40
with a kind of supportive you going into
Speaker 2 5:43
this? Yes, sure. Yeah. Yeah, they were supportive. But it was a foreign world to them as well. I mean, I'll probably knew far more about things. And they were very supportive.
Speaker 1 5:55
And Poland Dean, it was a dedicated animation department, and how did it connect with other parts of what they were doing? Sort of out how?
Speaker 2 6:07
Well I think Pearl and Dean obviously, they were big cinema advertisers in those days. And they set up their own production unit, which was called Poland in studios, as well as the animation studios. So that was their own, they supported it. They were at 33 Dover Street, and the studio was at 38 Dover Street, on the top floor, 38 Dover Street, but close links with obviously, Bernadine. And
Speaker 1 6:38
so we can talk a little bit more about the sort of the work that you were doing and how it came to you. Right. Dean, and then maybe how that evolved? Yes,
Speaker 2 6:51
well, the work obviously, was all advertising. Cinema, at the cinema. It was the early days. That's right. That was the early days of television, because I can remember us doing all of our film work in black and white. And there was a point when we went into colour, so obviously the trace and paint department without him to use colour. But yeah, in the early days, we were doing black and white basically, various shades, obviously, of greys and blacks. But we did Black and White work.
Speaker 1 7:21
And was there do you think you would have been working on with cinema commercials as well as television commercials that time it was there
Unknown Speaker 7:28
any both? It was both how they were
Unknown Speaker 7:31
sort of random, the instructions
Speaker 2 7:34
would be about the same. It was some. I think when I first worked there, we were doing cinema work, obviously, to tie up with Bernadine. But television is the early days of television as well. So television world was just kicking off. And a lot of animation. People were setting up in smaller units to, to service, that TV side of work. Obviously, direct work came through advertising agencies, mainly, advertising agencies would have an account, and your account would want to go on television or cinema because sometimes you did TV versions of the films, but also film version, you know, the cinema versions, so you'd have to hold up prints accordingly. So there was a dual capacity for the films, which was cinema and TV. And
Speaker 1 8:30
were you able to get much sense or remember in terms of the briefs that were kind of come from the agency, how creative per diem and under the team animating could be in Greece, they make commercials dictated from the advertising. No.
Speaker 2 8:50
In those days in Parliament, Dean, the guy a guy called Ron Wyatt, who was at Benson's advertising, originally, and he worked in their creative department, because sometimes agencies used to come to us with ideas or scripts and their own people and then would come to us as production companies and we would maybe slightly modify them to work, but we will be approached originally from their creative departments, Ron Wyden joined power and Dean. He used to work with a very creative ideas man at Ben Benson's the name slips me for the moment. He was quite he was quite well known in the advertising world. And Ron Wyatt was his protege if you like. But he obviously got much more advanced in his work long and successful on various accounts. He worked on ideas, and he came into the advertiser animation side through some of his ideas from Benson's which were then animated by production companies in China. motion. That's where I think the tie up with later on was Richard Williams came because Richard Williams and a freelance capacity also used to work on TV productions or work and ideas. And he made a prize winning film was Ron Wyatt, the combination of the two called Guinness Guinness at the Albert Hall which won awards. And obviously, Richard Williams was trying to get financed because he made his one of his early films, little island. And he was working on other projects, which he needed finance for, and realise that TV commercials could finance that. And that's why it originally was in his idea to set up Richard Williams animation films to to to form a company to finance his own personal films. Basically, they weren't necessarily commercials, but the commercial side paid, who financed them. And that's when he set up with Ron Wyatt in those days to do that, and I think that Ron Wyden also had contacts from working at Poland Dean with Tony Kataria. And that's when later on Kitano left, when Richard Williams When Marino cartoons started to break up a bit, he left and joined Richard Williams, to set up the Richard Williams film sign of it. And gradually a lot of people that myself we drifted across and also joined. Richard Williams film suddenly was a breakaway groups really reformed under Richard Williams films. We'll
Speaker 1 11:44
come back to Williams and worked on I just want to not leave behind wanting crook in terms of your your memories of her personal professional. Yeah, quite an attic magic figure in terms of
Speaker 2 11:59
Yeah, she was very, very strong figure in my animation life because I really trained under her. I mean, it was the first point I think in my life polling where we used to, as Yong Yong Joon has now worked other young people there, which was quite interesting, because the young people that work there were so many Junior Challenge personnel, I mean, people that are the guy called Bill picking will be yours. And a slightly older group of people. There was a guy called Colin Cheeseman, who went on later to work for BBC television. And he also went off with when he was from BBC, he was there for a long time as a senior designer. And he, the name escapes me again, he broke off and set up a company at the end. Last I heard of him, and a guy named slips me now but his, his roots were, he just left the national service and went into Poland Dean, and he was working as a trainee there. And other names like John. Now there's a guy called Tim Doddridge. Tim Doddridge. He was there, whether whether he went on later into the business, I don't know. But Patrick Savage was there and he came from Marina. And Colleen Cheeseman. John, whose name slips me he was there, whether he went on, I do not know. But also name appeared in those days, which featured strongly liked was Errol McCain. And he, he came over to well, Poland. Did you want me to expand on our again a bit? Because there's quite a lot of knowledge on him. But he appears life obviously. When he did great, but let's Yeah. Yeah, he was quite an influence later on in various areas. But certainly, Ron Wyatt was was there, and then went on to join Wyatt, Richard Williams.
Speaker 1 14:12
If we just go back to, to your, from your first day, at work in terms of how you were introduced to the Art of Animation and training in your past through sort of teaching you the different parts of the business? Yeah, well,
Speaker 2 14:28
I'd say my first day I was virtually a runner at the studio. So I would go around every morning and take everybody's order for coffee sandwiches. And it used to go across the road. Those feet there was a sandwich bar, which was to run a ticket out, they got to they were very kind to me the sandwich bar because I used to bring in constant amount of business in a week. But I used to do that and run around delivering film cans because in those days, everybody had film care where cans of film running around so I would pick up and deliver film cans. But in between times, when I was sitting in the studio, I was I really went under the wings of Wally crook. She had a junior or an in between worked with her called Eddie Grimmond. And I used to be the junior I used to give them to her. She used to teach me to in between do cleanups. So I suppose in a way, I worked as a small group with her, but it was all within the studio. Another, we had another Junior, I'm thinking of young lads, myself called Ken Randall, who worked in the background department, because they had a background department there with Beth McFaul, who'd come from Stroud cooking days. She was a young girl called Valerie Daniel, who worked out there was an Australian background artist called Ken, which I cannot get his second name to recall, he worked in there. And also a guy called workflow matching, who came from Marino days, and who nicknamed wacky, he was known as wacky matching. But he came from Marino studio, and they were brought over with him. So that was the background department basically. But Ken Randall was, I suppose the thing of Fame at the time were like a little bit later on his wife and himself, they had either Queen tubeless or six two pilots. But became quite famous, but he, he blew it because he, instead of the newest Act was taken an interest in following it through, he demanded control of it all. And I think that they lost interest in a massage. But I never had any more knowledge of him later. So whether he went out of the business, I'm not sure but he was a junior there.
Speaker 1 16:49
So you're, you're doing zoo inbetweening
Speaker 2 16:54
in between, in clean up, little bits of animation, but and also one of the guy I worked with as Jr was a guy called Patrick Savage, who was a very talented young animator who was first introduced to the business at Marino cartoons. Prior to Marina. His father bought he used to make his own films at home with I don't know quite how he did it, but he used to do projector through goldfish bowl or something. But he made some films that his father obviously reckoned he was an ordinary guys farther than not in your business. But he recognised his son had talent. And he came up to London with Patrick savage way back, and somehow must have fought you know, got Marino cartoon studios from somewhere and went to George and George took him on, because he could see the talent because George obviously being a very experienced and American animator in his own day, took him on in the studio. So Patrick savage first started at Marino's, and then went to Pearl and Dean and became a very talented animator. And as a group that was a small group of us, young boys, myself, Patrick savage. Ken Randall was one way of that age and we used to go around every lunchtime there was in Piccadilly. There was a film what do you call in those days? It should just run 24 hours a day animated cartoon films. I've forgotten the name of one but it was actually I think it was based on Piccadilly Circus there and newsreels rockin usual type of thing. But it was all animation. You know, we all the old Warner Brothers, Road Runners. And that's where I think we got a lot of influence. A lot of that influence and income from the Bugs Bunny films Road Runner why, and we used to spend our lunch hour sometimes sitting in there eating sandwiches watching, and that would then obviously spill into our repertoire of work. But we were greatly influenced in those days. By that,
Speaker 1 19:02
were you also did you have much of a sense of the work of other studios? Were you watching what others were doing? And was there a kind of not so much kind of hierarchy in terms of thinking about the other studios like TV cartoons? Bachelor?
Speaker 2 19:19
Not so much. We had to obviously I knew of Highness and bachelor through Ali. Ali crook in those days, that wasn't such an interflow. We did hear of other studios Larkins and some of their work. And I can remember now we, sometimes we had an American show that they for some reason they got hold of this is more than opponent danger is a show reel of American TV commercials and short stuff, which we went to a screening of in the theatre. And that was really quite influential because some of that was very slick animation work and Uh, yeah, TV commercial work. I can remember seeing that and be quite impressed by that. And obviously, every year, I think it was already poor or ponente used to put on their awards then, which we would go to see as a company and see various companies work. So obviously were influenced that way. But there wasn't a lot of tie ups between companies knows only through people that would go on to work somewhere, split off and go to another company, we would hear of people, but there weren't a lot of contact.
Speaker 1 20:36
Okay, so if we can see, can we tie off your time? ponente? Sure. When did you when did you leave? Why did you leave? And impressions of how the company?
Speaker 2 20:50
Yeah, there was a few. There was a few other people, I'm just saying future things in the business. There was the film editing side was was run by a woman called Nancy Treadwell, which I think her name went back in the company. And she had a young trainee, who was part of our young junior trainee group of friends called Colin Miller, who worked in editor know when, when he left, Pearl and Dean, he went on to work in the live action side of the business. And he became a sound engineer. And I've recently caught up with him. And his main thing he ended up doing, he worked on a lot of the Bond films. But he was a sound editor. And he went on to that, and I do constantly see him and I think we linked up through the oldie magazine, which is, uh, and, you know, we read his letters and so on, and I saw this name calling. And I thought, God, I know that name, and I made contact. So we do have contact now. But he went off into doing that sound editing and became quite influential, and worked on lots of the Bond films. So that was one link up there. The Russian camera side of things in those days, was under a guy called Charles Petters. And his his assistant to him was a guy called Graham Oren. And Charles Peters went back to the cooking days. In fact, in those days, he met his wife, they're called Rona. And she was a rush from the camera operator, and probably even better than he was, but they married and she obviously maybe took a backseat. And Charles set up his own business of freelance web company basically with a lot of animation companies used around so because it was quite a well known company Charles
Speaker 1 22:45
Do you remember what the restaurant was whether whether the make or where it come from?
Speaker 2 22:53
is about two or three rostrum cameras there? I'm not too clued up on cameras, but no, it did the names don't come to me probably if I heard the name, I would say oh, yes, I know I bought a camera from Charles a later time when he packed up to because we were doing some are used and built had made a setup where we could actually put a roll of film using the thing the Mitchell camera, and we could project single frames of film up onto like a drawing board glass. And we could trace off sections of live action which obviously people doing know in animation, but they can probably do it a lot easier. But we could put in 35 rolls or 35 mil film projected up and on a peg bar situations that was fixed. We could trace off whole sections. But that was from an extra camera of his but that's about all I can remember from his side of things but he was used by so many companies in an animation in the Soho area he would be shooting for Weicker, Tonio films, or ask him animation and you know, so many companies went through him.
Speaker 1 24:12
Were you looking at line tests using line tests as
Speaker 2 24:19
part of your Oh yes, for some movie? Oh, there was a war editing rooms had movie owners, which would run line test on obviously, it was quite a big thing and Richard Williams days we go down to a viewing theatre to watch line tests. But yes, everybody worked offline tests.
Speaker 1 24:38
Okay, so against it to your end of your days at polar Dean, when and why did you sort of move on?
Speaker 2 24:51
Well, I'm just checking some notes or names if I'm missing anything. I mean, before I tell you that basically is that business when error came games who put him down, he sent some of his films to permanent Dean agents in Singapore, who then sent them over to the London office. And they sent them on to the animation studio. And they were very impressed, wrote to him and asked him if he'd like to come over. And they would employ him. So that's how, however Kane came in when I first started at ponente. And he made his own films. I think one was called the little goat herd in China was enchanted. In China was in chartered mouse. There's one and the other one was the little goat herd he made on his own 16 mil camera. And with a paper cutout animation, basically. And that was the two films that were shown to the studio in London. And they then asked him to come over and he came over and started working at Poland doing. I mean, obviously, I'll talk to you later about aeroplane. But that was his link up.
Unknown Speaker 26:01
What year that was.
Speaker 2 26:07
It probably was around the 50s 56, December, something like that. If there's six, I think he made two films in 56. And probably would have been long after that. He came over.
Speaker 1 26:18
Were you aware? I think he had some connection with the grasshopper group.
Speaker 2 26:22
Yes, there was an amateur Film Group. He was one. Yeah. So I remember that. Now. He, when he was working with us, he also was a member of the grasshopper group. That's right. And that was quite influential with him. Yes. He never had any connection. I have any connections with him. But error was a member. I know that and yeah, but I didn't personally have any connection, but I knew and heard of them through our
Unknown Speaker 26:49
so if there's anything else on your, well,
Speaker 2 26:51
nothing I can think of that. I don't need to really mention on that. Obviously, you know, when
Speaker 1 26:59
did what was what are you still doing when you left or she moved on to the west and
Speaker 2 27:05
trying to think of how that worked. The I think that when permanent didn't close down. For what it was he I think it was economic reasons more than anything that they closed down. I look obviously being a junior there wasn't privy to the actual things. But chum when they decided to close down, Marina would also earmark various juniors like myself to carry on under Marino cartoons and in the same studio with the same equipment. So really moved on in, in working function under Marina. But obviously, various people are people like I was eating take on Wally cook, or Beth McFaul. And I'm not quite sure I would have got a funny feeling that while he would have gone freelance, and probably not long after I know she died. She was quite a bad asthmatic. So she obviously must have done something whether she had worked in another direction, but I wasn't aware of where else she went. So a lot of those other people I didn't have any other contract with I know that that bill Hopper came a bill hopper and Jack Boyd came with Marina. People like Mario's snapper Ito I never heard of again. And so most people, I didn't leave any other juniors. So it's only once I remember the ones that came out and work under Marina. And I remember.
Unknown Speaker 28:37
And so when did that transition
Speaker 2 28:41
dates I'm a bit vague on dates on that respect. But to be perfectly honest, I can't think of I can't really think of when he took over, because it was such a smooth transition really, because I was still working in the studio, video offices and so on. So 38 hours straight. So one week we were under Pearl and Dean. And then next time, Maria are taken over. And I can't really be too clued up on those dates. The only thing I can think of is that when we were under marine Marina, we, we had done we want a second prize at Cannes Film Festival. And that would have probably dated it on thought, but I I can't really remember the name of that date when we won that award. Unfortunately, it may come to me later, but I'm very bad on dates, to be honest that I have to refer back to things up for dates, but I can only do it in terms of years maybe worked on because these transitions seemed to happen. Fairly painlessly, really. We moved over All of a sudden we were a smaller company under Marina. And likewise, I stayed with him when the same people I'd worked with at Pearl and Dean, I mean, he took Bill Hopper, John Boyd, Fred Thompson then became a director with him. And we were just Junior animators, myself, Pat Savage, and Bill Pitner. And Tony Caetano came over as a background artist, and also Errol located. I think Harry Carter came over if I remember rightly. But that's about as far as my memory goes with it, we were just still young trainees, basically trainee animators. And what happened was that pitarrio obviously wants you to develop his own work, wanted to become an animator and didn't really have any animation training. So he used myself and Patrick savage to help him or to teach him animation really. And when we worked on that film for activity string, and he was the principal design animator, really. And we did the the animation work or the fill in work. And, you know, we held his hand, really. And then he went from there, where he, he developed pretty quickly as an animator, and we work under him as well, because he always was a great designer.
Speaker 1 31:39
So that was the kind of pretty core staff there. How often did freelancers come into the animation room? And then also, how was it sort of set up between the different departments with your animation rights and paint camera?
Unknown Speaker 31:55
position now for when it was Marine, are
Unknown Speaker 31:57
you saying it was fairly seamless transition
Speaker 2 31:59
was seamless was virtually the same. I mean, I think that as far as I remember, pillars, Charles pillars, Ross rooms, may have split from the they were down in the basement of 38, Dover Street. And possibly, at the time, when Marino took over, he may still be down in the basement of Charles pillars animation, but he did move into Soho square at some point. And whether it was at that time, which it could have been, or not long after he moved into Soho square, and we would probably still have used him. But maybe just taking the work over to Soho square, that would have might have been a takeover time now, I'm not quite sure when he moved out premises, from Dover Street to Soho square, but I I'm not quite sure of that. In terms of the editing, I'm trying to recall, where we had our editing work done because the editing rooms were upstairs in 38 Dover Street, under Nancy Treadwell. And whether I'm pretty certain that they will, is the editing services must have gone as well when ponents been closed down. But I'm trying to think where we had our editing done. At I think maybe the editing rooms was still up in those. I'm trying to think whether Nancy Treadwell still ran them or a different hierarchy. I know there was a guy at one point and editor called Ken Davis, who must have gone on to doing other things if I remember rightly. But he I can't quite recall the editing side when we were under Marina. We must have had them because we used to do a very quick turn over TV. We should do commercial work for the TV for the TV times. And that was we turned that over in an afternoon because it was all tied up in their publication of of their TV, newsprint paper. We literally had from a lunchtime on a Friday the script and that must have come in and we literally had and the contents of the actual that's what it was was tied in with the actual magazine itself. We had an afternoon to put together very quickly made commercial for TV times and that was that one has been tied up pretty closely with the editing side. And I really it's got a blockage. I must admit to remembering on the editing because that was a quick turnaround editing as well. So that must have still been upstairs 38 Dover Street and whether Nancy Treadwell was running that side then, or somebody else. I can't I haven't been Welcome to unfortunately,
Speaker 1 35:01
you are in the animation we maybe could talk a little bit about the work there. Were you? Was it a sort of fairly common tracing pain? What sort of if or something like that TV times jobs? What shortcuts would you take with cut out and other things? Were you? Were you using kind of China graph on to sales, which I know that sometimes?
Speaker 2 35:20
Yeah, a lot of it was a lot of that quick turnaround work for doing that sort of film was cut out stuff with a bit of added animation, simple animation, trying to graph quick animation, or try some quick trace and paint, but we all used to try to paint ourselves as well. And so, there again, I think that we became much enamoured with Marina, we were much more of a compact unit of doing everything ourselves in a way we would do the animation, and possibly the trace and paint as well, in limited forms. I think when we had other productions there, we possibly use freelance trace and paint. It was in the days and when the industry was serviced by a lot of freelance people who were laid off in other studios originally, but then went freelance. And so many studios could call on a circle, or a pool of freelance choice and paint artists. And I think that's probably what, what happened. We would have called upon their services, if we couldn't do it ourselves.
Speaker 1 36:29
And with that particular accounts that you were working on repeatedly, as you mentioned TV times, do you have a reputation for a certain kind of advert or is it a mix?
Speaker 2 36:39
It was mixed? I think that yeah, they it's interesting, which is a personal thing that obviously we've been tied into advertising agencies. And the was an agency at the time, which slipped my mind. I had an account for jelly Mallow, which was a suite and I think that Kataria probably no, it could possibly be in in conjunction with Ron Wyatt, and somebody else with his advertising contacts. But we had to do a commercial 32nd commercial. And this is just as times change very interestingly, because Fred Thompson who was an animation director, with Marino, and he was he was an animator, an animator way back in the marine days. And he and this script came in it was big, a big deal for the studio, because it was quite a big agency and the account was big. And he I remember him going away and taking some days off working at home and came back with this first line test for jelly Mata who which it wasn't very well well, it was a little bit old fashioned, shall we say the animation style and things were moving on in those days the old style of of bouncing ball kind of animation wasn't that popular in TV terms and he wasn't very successful. So we are in a quite a rush worked with katanya as Ryan Patrick savage and I we work with Katana to, to knock out another line test base if you will a much more stylized animation or design thing, which which which worked in actual fact, and so we did this some jelly Mallow under Kataria was an animator and there again held his hand a bit getting through it. And and we kept the account on that work. And we did that film there. But it was quite an interesting turnaround from more of the traditional style of animator as to what was happening in the TV, television side of it. And that was one thing and that's an obviously well, we also then did the activity string underwear thing from that. So Caitanya became a main animator then George was pretty smart at realising which which way the business was going. And the agency contact likewise was with Caetani Oh, so and I suppose that's where the tie up later on with Ron Wyatt because agencies became a main source of work and the design work for them also. So Marino when we were still doing the TV times that you weren't mentioning was a very quick turnaround thing and the agency guy knew he could come to somebody like Marino and get it turned around in a more economic fashion. And they're not any more memorable things that we did there at the time with Elgin come to mind it was bread and butter work but I suppose the reason what happened with Marina was that you pitarrio was approached when Ron Wyatt went to form Richard Williams films. They also because of his design style, good Tanya was approached as he was also animating. We've made some Yes, we made some films for Pearl and Dean. When Marino was with his wife and some prize winning films cinnamal commercials were made by Wyatt. I think that Richard Williams made one tiny Kitano made ones do the animation thing. I think, basically, I remember Johnny Jenkins making one. That was a name from from another area later on, but I think he was out of TVC. But I can remember some prize winning parenting films being made a summer films, we've won prizes in Poland Dean in those days, were more interested in winning prizes, really, from the actual thing. So yeah, so But obviously, I think that's when he was approached to go and join Richard Williams films with Ron Wyatt, and that we still stayed on Junior's. But gradually, Patrick savage left, and I left to join Richard Williams films. And I think George then was left really a much smaller capacity. He left the premises there and went to smaller premises with I think we're Bill hopper and Jacque Boyd and we're still doing work. And you know, if I'm the smaller, more compact company again, but he went worked in out of a studio in old Compton street somewhere. I remember rightly, I remember going round there, for some reason or other a bill Hopper was still with him. Jock Boyd. And he had another Junior guy with him. But yeah, that was that necessitated the breakup of Marino, and everybody seemed to transfer across to Richard Williams. If they hadn't gone somewhere else, you know,
Speaker 1 42:10
just one very small thing. So we're permanent Dean. When the admissions he gives them the permanent Dean with a kind of acting as the advertising agency. And then what if George Marino he was dealing with advertising agencies, or was that what are the advertising agencies involved? Well,
Speaker 2 42:26
advertising agencies were involved all the main work in those days that came to production companies, the advertising agencies would come to a production company, be at Marino cartoons, or Pearland debt when the permanent deed thing that you were talking about was actually the time it I think, where I'm well, I know the why it was there as as an ideas man as well storyboard. So a lot of that was agencies approaching, approaching those companies to make the films and I think the Guinness at the Albert Hall obviously was made yesterday, the days I think it was in that transitional time. And when those animators went over to Richard Williams films, Pearl and D used to go to Richard Williams films to have the Cinemark commercials made. That's what it was. That's my Yes, of course, it would have been because the Charlie danke Jenkins, Richard Williams, and Qatar Niall made these films for Pearl and Dean advertising, but with winning awards as the main objective, and it was quite competitive amongst themselves, their commercials, their film, cinema commercials, because ponen Dean obviously financed it by coming to them, but it gave them a scope creatively, to make prize winning films, which obviously Paul and Dean didn't approach and when they came to get that expertise that we should Williams films.
Speaker 1 44:00
Yeah, no, I was just in terms of when you first started at parenting, whether they were obviously they're known for distributing adverts short.
Speaker 2 44:12
Cinema, the US we used to make Yes, that's right. You just remind me now, we used to make film type film. Films used to have advertised personalised advertising. The Indian in their commercial break in the cinemas, local companies, or like ironmongers, fish and chips or whatever car hire people. And Poland you used to sell a product with Excel films with the local dealers names on the end, so they would have a whole department permanent dean of title people was sitting there. Even the days before lecture set there'll be all handmade titles done for local build blogs. came down to their film. So they would have a whole range of films made local films, it was called local film departments made at the studios for use and to sell on and make money at the local cinema was basically and they will just tag on dealers names and credits. And there will be a whole room full of people doing this handmade lettering, which was decimated, I suppose, in the days when letraset came in. And that was a great leap. So you didn't need so many hand held artists doing it. But if it will be letraset then but yes, that's why I forgotten about the local filmmaking. And yeah, I also remember working on those now it's he have jogged my memory on that one.
Unknown Speaker 45:48
And so you joined, which Williams elevation
Speaker 2 45:54
I followed later on with Patrick savage did also.
Speaker 1 46:00
I mean, I can't remember quite when well, he gained 63 was Nick Williams sets out around was it 63 And it looks slightly earlier 60 Maybe
Speaker 2 46:09
he you see he was going a bit before I went there, but I know that Patrick savage went and I worked with Patrick Marino's so there must have been a time lapse. What I'm trying to think of is there was a time lapse. From the time I've joined. Patrick savage left slightly ahead of me to join them and then I joined them. Tony Caetani obviously was there ahead of us. And obviously, Ron Wyatt went originally to set up the studio with them. Richard Williams. So I went, Patrick savage went. There also were other young animators there was a guy, an animator called Roy Jackson, who I think had come from Larkins, if I remember rightly. He joined Richard Williams as an animator, Charlie Jenkins came from TVC. In those days, he worked there, but he joined Richard Williams. He was slightly ahead of me, and possibly katanya. But we all ended up there, Richard Williams. And there was another guy who I remember the other day, as a trace and paint guy, a guy called Roger way, who Richard Williams was very impressed with at some point, and he went to join Richard Williams now. I can't quite remember what your way came from. But he must have come across which had Williams or Richard Williams must have seen his work or he had done tracing paint work for Richard Williams films. And Richard Williams was very impressed with his tracing and painting. And he joined Richard wherever. So he also was in there.
Speaker 1 48:02
So you say you joined were you approached? Did you approach them? Was it a kind of a
Speaker 2 48:08
now things I approach? I think they approached I was approached. Yes, I was approached. I certainly. Yeah, I think it was all the other way. I suppose poached or even I approached Boch. But they asked, yes, I think that they were building up the company and wanted to build up that side.
Unknown Speaker 48:31
in Soho square, I've got number. Yeah.
Speaker 2 48:34
Richard Williams in those days was was no, he was Indian Street, if I remember rightly. Oh, yeah, definitely. He was Indian Street. Yes. Because when I first worked with him, in fact, I don't think I ever worked in Soho square. When I worked for Richard Williams. It was Indian Street. In the studios that definitely yes. Yes. In fact, none of us why no Katana ever worked in Soho square. That was a later date when when they broke away. He went into silence. Yes, it was Dean Street. Number. I think it was 7373 days. Great. Graphic
Speaker 1 49:13
90 on Dean street. You have a graphic at 19 streets. Further down. Do you have a sense of the studios around
Speaker 2 49:21
you? I did. I can't remember biographic was another company. I've never really had much dealings with. The first Richard Williams studio was at 73 Dane street and there was another live action company adding company called heroin. Now, the name doesn't come to me but the mic? Well, obviously my first experience with Richard Williams was somebody three Danes feet. And there was a big working there were obviously others Roy Jackson, who I think came from TVC. Charlie. Charlie Jenkins came from TVC. Roy Jackson, I think came from Larkins. Very good animator. And he was there. And obviously Britannia was purely animation in those days, when they worked on those big GM cinema, prize winning films. There was Caitanya. Richard Williams, and Charlie Jenkins, I think, did some of these award winning cinema commercials in those days as well. But
Unknown Speaker 50:39
and then obviously, it went from Pat Savage, was, was there he was a junior animator, or Jeff and John Jenkins.
Speaker 2 50:54
And obviously, our cane join later as well. At some point, I don't think he was there originally. But yes, that's right. The, I think there again, in terms of using free freelance, a lot of freelance people were used mainly in trace and paint. I cannot remember being a very large trade and paint department, as far as I can remember, was all done by freelance people. The same with the rostrum camera work, was all done by prisoners. And when he was in Soho square, Charles pictures, there were some other Russian cameras that we used to use around Soho square. I think that when there was no if you couldn't get booked in, there were some other people we used to use. I think Brian Stevens in those days, although he had a production company later, had a rostrum camera, a set up, not far. I just offer Sony square. Which one would you use? Because I obviously, I don't know, Brian from later dates, but they were used a lot on a freelance basis.
Speaker 1 52:14
So what was the you're at Williams, Richard Williams, do you? Do you talk a bit about how that studio was run with any differences that you sort of had from?
Speaker 2 52:24
Yeah, it was Ron. He was quite a character, which and whenever needless to say, Everybody these become I used to think he was the tea boy, because he was such a young looking guy, no date and bumbling a bit. neurotic, a jerk and bouncy but obviously terribly creative. He, it was interesting, because when you're working on a product or so there, you used to find when you came in to the studio in the morning, he'd been round. He used to go out at night looking over everybody's what they've been working on, and then leave you a pile of drawings or suggestions. It was quite energetic, you know, his energy was there was quite high, he would actually not in a nasty way. But he would go around and just check what people are doing and give some thoughts and add drawings or not, and leave notes. But he used to do that. We used to have a series of split levels. And that studio was one of the big aerospace, they'd built these split level floors with just one really where people could work. And there was one area where he he'd have a bed or mattress to sleep on. But sometimes he'd retire during the day it was it was a bit strange, and he practised his trumpet playing. I remember he was a an area there but that's just his character. But He then got involved later with other other producers where there was after the the wire Catania leaving, because I stayed on for a while before I ever joined with like a Tonio, but he had these producers that got it he got involved with Omar Ali Shah was one he was very interested in East and middle soot and the Sufi thought or things but this Omar Ali Shah became involved. God knows how but I mean, I don't speak a lot of people, but I couldn't quite see what he would have these types of people that he got infatuated with. When they're going he got carried away with a bit picked out. Omar Ali Shah came in and finance a lot of his own projects and things. I mean, obviously, I don't know quite what the tie up was. But, you know, we used to speculate. And I know finally he ended up with called over producer which is much more sensible option. But one day he was in the early days. There's Omar Ali Shah. It's after Ron Wyatt left where he could run wire was more The business side of things oh, he was a creative and storyboard man and he would be a little bit more balancing for him. So um, but obviously in those days, there were so many people that got involved with the show. I mean, Richard, in tight with those people was quite vast from voiceover people. People like twist them and carry the musician. He was involved with lots of people that were very influential really in his work and style that suited him and he had contact with. So one tended to come across a lot of people that influenced the studio.
Speaker 1 55:38
Were you did you work on any of the
Speaker 2 55:42
major things news? What do you had? Let me let me let me know he'd worked on himself pretty well. I mean, he had a big project going which was caught either pitchforks. The confidence man. The tales of Nazareth in got changed a few times. It ended up being called the cobbler and a thief I then but the early days, that's where they are this Omar Ali chars influence was when he was doing that film, because other Marathi Shah, his brother was Idris Shah, who had written a book on the Sufi, which was very influential on deck at the time. So that's where I think he just Ali Shah got involved. Or popped up a picture. Yes, some type of work. Yeah, I mean, Arolla Kenny, when he was there, works on a lot of film title work, the liquidator and there was a film obviously called the sale on the devil, which Errol did totally himself there. But yes, I'm working on some of the stuff like tended to, I think I was more involved in their commercial TV work than maybe his film work. I may have worked a few days on bits and pieces of things, but not on a long capacity.
Speaker 1 57:01
Do you get do you get the impression those projects were kind of done on downtime between commercial work, or was there a dedicated unit on those?
Speaker 2 57:09
I think that the whole essence of the studio was, it was it was the commercial film, work, finance, his other work, which was, you know, which is fair enough. And yes, I think I was mainly involved in the commercial TV work. And his other major films, although it's quite interesting, because I know that katanya worked and people like that on his major works. But what was fascinating was that you would have somebody would say, like, a katana or somebody will work on a section of his major projects. Now, if they left most people when they left, possibly left under a cloud, I mean, I was lucky when I left. I left on pretty good terms with him, but I think people have to Andraka now he would go back and reanimate the sections they worked on. So he didn't have to give them a credit. Which believable, I mean, he was it was a very influential person in the British Film Scene, animated film saying that, you know, he was he was very obviously quite neurotic, but aren't we all well, you know, we will. We will Peter Pan's in a way I mean, most people that I came across in the industry were Peter Pan's you know, they, they they're I know they did roll in the end but they were Peter Pan's where he was very energetic, nervous, the energetic and yeah, he would totally reanimate whole sections.
Speaker 1 58:50
And perhaps this was later but he's sort of had this
Speaker 2 58:57
animators Americans Yeah, the Americans came they came in I just about as on I was still with him in those early days when some of the people I know he had people art Babbitt over there was an American came over who I've forgotten his name is not as well known as art Babbitt. But another guy came over and they would come over and do a stint at the studio. And we should window pay for them. I mean, he was great for that, because he was see a film, animation film of some kind, or some of the, because he was very immersed in the early American and Disney animators. And he would see a sequence of animation that he would pick up on, and immediately go and trace it off. And he was added to adding to his repertoire of animation. And that's why I think when he did all that, later in his life books on animation, his knowledge was quite vast and encyclopaedic really, but he would take make the effort to go and trace off a sequence and come back and say, it could be a sequence with some little characters swimming or doing something and he Come back and he absolutely go potty that it was only three or four drawings ourselves, you know, he to see how they worked out to do this. He was fanatical, acquiring more knowledge.
Speaker 1 1:00:11
Was that done in any kind of formal way with sort of time made for screenings or lectures or anything, really
Speaker 2 1:00:21
might have lectured later on, I'm sure later when I wasn't involved. But in those early days, no, he would have just acquired for himself. I mean, he would draw it often. And keep it for reference. But no, I wasn't aware of that in my day, because it was the early days of when he was doing that, because he realised that these guys were gradually dying off. And they had skills, you know, because in the early days of animation, TV animation in in the Soho era, basically, in England, it became stylized. It didn't, the early days that people used to scoff at the early Disney animation. And everything was stylized, very graphic animation, limited drawings. And he came back to realise that a lot of quality work was done by the Disney animation. And he made a specific point of doing that. Because that simple style of animation, very simple graphic work was much easier, it was more of a design animation. It wasn't easy necessary, but it was much more designing and it became a fashion pays you to do and produce. And it went back to Richard Williams brought back didn't want to do camera work Russia on track NZ withdraw, tracking and movement. So he was very, very influential. Reestablishing that. What
Speaker 1 1:01:47
do you think CTQ better the kind of the more UPA style or
Speaker 2 1:01:54
I suppose my style of animation was more up because, I mean, I never went to art school. So my drawing ability was never formed from going to art school, I learned business 16 years old, from actually working in it. And in those days, everybody was very influenced by UPA, simplicity, simplistic style of animation. And I suppose when I got involved in doing the animator, flower graders, I mean, it was very influential. And that means simple animation, although it did develop more. But I probably found it easier to work on design because I'm develop my sense of just style and design, probably through working in the industry. So I will be more influenced by that. But that's only because I know myself that my lack of drawing ability draughtsmanship, which I did have, but I seem to be able to make up for it or not, never wake up but cope with that. And say people like Roy Jackson, who worked in the business he he was much more of a full animation director. I mean, I don't know quite how much of his works advice. But he did work but he worked. He was doing an animated Lewis Carroll style of work, which was very, very labour intensive and in China graph working directly on cell. So a lot of his work will be quite valuable work but very intense, but it wasn't my area of working. I couldn't do it. I was meant to that but I survived or worked in other areas. We kind of yes, we take a comfort break
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