Chapter 23: Self-Help For Nudnik
Between 1964 and 1966, we produced in Prague 12 Nudnik cartoons for Paramount. The first one, which for arcane reasons was originally titled, "Nudnik #2" was nominated for an Oscar in 1965.
You can see the clear development of Nudnik from my earlier character, Foofle, that I created at Terrytoons, and which was progressively undone after I left there.
This is a verbatim reproduction of a March, 1968 interview in the New York Screen Cartoonists' Union newsletter, "Top Cel." In spite of the union's fear of "runaway animation" at that time, the questions from the newsletter editor Ed Smith were polite. I was then just eight years working in Czechoslovakia. My answers were printed on 3 _ pages of their 6-page newsletter. You must read this in the context of its time; it was in no way an apologia for communism, but a straightforward reporting of my experiences so far in the country - an attempt to brush away some myths. You can gain some insight as to the realities of film production during that time of communist rule, and of my own reactions to it. It was also the time of the Vietnam war, and that too colors some of my remarks...
GENE DEITCH AND CZECHOSLOVAKIAN* ANIMATION
In recent years, Gene Deitch, formerly a N.Y. animation director and producer, has been living and working in animation in Czechoslovakia. Knowing our readers to be interested in Gene's activities and in Czechoslovakian animation, your editor asked some questions. Here are the questions and Gene's answering letter:
"Purposes of animation produced: For instance, theatrical, government? What are the main uses? Are animated shorts shown in theatres to any large extent? Are there any advertising commercials for television or theatres?"
"Are there any animated features in production or recently completed? (If so, information about them?) Where do animation people come from? Art schools? Government sponsored training? Are animation studios state-owned or subsidized? Are there privately-owned studios?"
"What is the status of animators as compared to other professions (lawyers, etc.)? What is the average salary of animator and how does it compare with the salary of an average Czechoslovakian wage-earner? Is foreign animation shown in Czechoslovakia? Any animated films which attracted special attention?"
"What is your exact role in Czechoslovakian animation? And last but not least, do animators still cook cabbages in the studio?"