Chapter 1: Win Some, Lose Many
This first chapter lists everything the book covers. You can save a lot of time just by reading this chapter. If none of the topics interests you, ya don’t have to read any further!
In the movie business people like to talk about their successes. I have had many, but as I look back, I feel that a recounting of my many failures might well be more instructive to readers wanting helpful truth. I realize and am adjusted to the fact that at 77, I am only a former boy wonder, no longer on the cutting-edge of anything. The failures I have had were all involved in attempts to stretch the envelope.
Before I wallow in my flops, allow me the pleasure of first mentioning some of my successes in the little animated corner of the movie world:
- One of my short films won me an Oscar. I have had five films nominated. I was the only animation director to have two films nominated in a single year.
- My films have won over a hundred festival medals of the usual colors, gold, silver, and bronze, - and lots of plaques, statuettes, and certificates.
- I was the youngest person at the time to become an animation director in a major studio.
- I have been honored three times with tribute screenings at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
- I am mentioned fairly positively in nearly every book on the history of animation.
- I have a bio in the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons.
- My 1950s CBS-TV series, TOM TERRIFIC has entered the language.
- I have been interviewed countless times in newspapers, magazines, film documentaries, and on TV talk shows, and have lectured extensively across the USA and Europe, expounding on my animation theories and insights.
- My children’s films have been shown three times in The White House.
- I was a member of the original UPA studio, influenced by the masters, and have in turn influenced many rising animators.
- I am a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Should I rave on? No. Let’s get to the gritty tales I have never yet told, from my animation career. In the pages that follow, I will expound on these topics, and use as illustrations the pits I have personally had to climb out of.
- I will first lay on your head the benefit of my experience and deep thinking from over 55 years in animation and live-action film work.
- I will suggest how to think about, understand, and master animation; what is essential to it, regardless of style, content, or technology.
- How one producer expected me to be a "marxist" and accept a lower salary, and how another shielded me when McCarthyites accused me of actually being a marxist.
- How, by honestly stating to a new employer that I wasn’t specifically an animator, I nearly nipped my career in the bud.
- How my intended "renaissance" at Terrytoons was snuffed by a brillo-headed dragon.
- How a famous personal manager promised to make me a millionaire, and how I avoided that.
- How I unintentionally helped Hanna-Barbera to become the kings of schlock, and lost my main chance at the Big Time.
- How I was set up in my own New York studio, with my name on the door, and quickly became miserable.
- How I was dragooned to communist Prague, my life and career changed forever, but how at least I assured myself that I was not a marxist, and that animation art was global.
- How one producer intended to, and another did steal an Oscar from me.