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WHAT DO MOE HOWARD, 3-D COMICS AND ANIMATION HAVE IN COMMON?

Everybody knows that Moe Howard, as well as his cohorts Curly, Shemp and Larry, were creative geniuses. But not so many know that Moe’s son-in-law, Norman Maurer, was a genius in his own right. 

WHAT DO MOE HOWARD, 3-D COMICS AND ANIMATION HAVE IN COMMON? 

Thought I’d diverge from screenwriting topics for a change and share some family history with you.

I come from a very creative gene pool. (Unfortunately, the pool man put too much chlorine into it before I climbed out.)

As some of you may know, my grandfather was Moe Howard of The Three Stooges. Others may know that my father, Norman Maurer, along with his childhood pal and partner, Joe Kubert, invented and created the world’s first 3-D comic book.

But few people know that my father, back in the 1950’s (30 years before computers were first used for animation) invented a film-to-cel animation process that was so far ahead of its time that when he pitched it to TV stations they said, “Animated series on TV? You must be joking!”

History (as well as Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera) proved he wasn’t.

The animation process my dad invented filmed live actors dressed in special costumes and makeup, and through a patented chemical process, turned the frames into realistic animation.

Below is a picture of me and my granddad, Moe, prior to an early animation test.

Below is another shot of Moe, in the same specially painted costume and makeup, followed by the resulting processed frame of “artist-free” animation (with background added).

It was a truly brilliant process for its time.

Unfortunately, Norman and Moe weren’t as good businessmen as they were creative geniuses. If they had been, a lot more people would know my father’s name.

But don’t feel sorry for my dad. After his animation process failed to get off the ground he went on to manage The Three Stooges during their resurgence in the 1960’s as well as write, produce and direct their movies. And in the 70’s and 80’s he story-edited and wrote animated series for Hanna-Barbera, ABC and CBS.

He brought me in to be his assistant-story editor on Dynomutt-Dog Wonder, and six months later I was writing and story-editing ABC’s hit series, Super Friends.

Turns out my dad was a great teacher as well.

Jeff

©Jeffrey Scott, All Rights Reserved

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