The John Canemaker Collection
Finding Aid: Documentary and Graphic Materials, 1928 - 1990
Compiled by Robert A. Landau
SUBSERIES B: PEOPLE
The material in each folder is arranged chronologically in the following order: correspondence; other related material; newspaper and periodical articles.
The largest amount of material in this subseries (Folders 18-46) consists of programs from animation film festivals and screenings (1967-1987), representing the work of hundreds of animators from around the world. The programs, often richly illustrated, are a useful source for compiling filmographies and for biographical data. Information about foreign film festivals in the International files (Folders 47-52) provides an overview of a particular country's animated film production.
Many illustrated catalogs, issued between 1977 and 1988 by Gallery Lainzberg, Museum Graphics, Sotheby, and others, are included under "Art and Collecting" (Folders 2-6) and provide information about animators and films. Primarily, however, this material is interesting for showing the development of animation art as a "collectible".
Folder 6 contains correspondence and articles. Catalogs in Subseries A include works of more than one animator; catalogs devoted to one animator are filed under the name in Subseries B.
The Walter Lantz Conference on Animation, sponsored by the American Film Institute in 1987 and 1988 (Folders 10-14),published a volume titled, each year, The Art of the Animated Image, with the subtitle "an Anthology" in 1987 and "Storytelling in Animation" in 1988. John Canemaker edited the 1988 edition. Besides containing transcripts of panel discussions, there are contributions by historians and practioners of animation. Folders 11 and 12 contain the published volumes and Folders 13 and 14 contain manuscripts and Canemaker's correspondence with contributors.
The material in Folder 52, about animation in the United Kingdom, is the largest in the International category and contains items collected during Canemaker's 1979 trip to England.
The Theory and Technique folder (Folder 55) contains the text of a 1936 layout training course by Tom Codrick and Charles Philippi; material on an animation seminar at the New School in 1979; and articles relating to technical aspects of animation and the new field of computer animation.
The UCLA Oral History of the Motion Picture in America interviews (1969) have been sorted among the interviewees' folders: Tex Avery (Folder 2), Dave Fleischer (Folders 98-99), Fritz Freleng (Folder 101), and Richard Huemer (Folders 112-113). The Huemer folder also contains correspondence Canemaker had with UCLA regarding restrictions on the use of Huemer's interview.
Art Babbitt (Folders 3-7), a Disney animator, gave a series of lectures in London in July, 1973. Two copies of these lectures,one on acid-free paper, are in Folders 4-7. In addition, five interviews (1971-1979) by Canemaker with this important artist are in Folder
3. John Canemaker's (Folders 19-54) own career as an historian and practitioner of animation spans the years from 1973, when he first visited the Disney Studios, to the animation he created for the 1988 Academy Award winning documentary, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DIE. The general folders (Folders 19-20) also include documentation on Canemaker's military, acting, and university careers (1965-1974). While his journalistic work generally is filed under the subjects and people treated, Folders 21-24 include material from his books and films.
Series One contains documentary material and Series Two, the artwork for the films. In addition to the technical aspects of filmmaking, the materials collected give insight into the problems of financing and the teamwork required to produce a film. The complete screenplay of THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP is in Folder 53. Reviews and articles about the films evaluate the results of the enormous effort involved. Donald Crafton's 321-page, 1977 Yale University dissertation on Emile Cohl, a French pioneer of animation, and articles dating from 1937 to 1973 are in Folders 56-59.
The Walt Disney material in Folders 66-86 relate to the productions of his studio regardless of animator. Additional Disney material will be found in folders devoted to animators whose careers include work at the studio (e.g., Babbitt, Johnston, Kinney, Klein, Thoams, Tytla). Items in the General folders (Folders 66-67) include articles about Disney and his studio (1932-1985), a 1935 list of books in the Disney Studio Library, and some unsigned letters from Walt Disney to Ub Werks (1928).
Among the richest documentary items about individual films are the analyses of ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Folder 69); inter-office memos about DON QUIXOTE (Folder 71); production/work drafts for DUMBO (Folder 72), FANTASIA (Folder 73), and THE JUNGLE BOOK (Folders 75-76). Comments by author P.L. Travers on the film script for MARY POPPINS are included in Folder 78. Information on other Disney productions (Folders 85-86) includes release sheets for 21 features, giving credits for films in the period 1940-1985, and a 47 page listing of shorts (titles, dates, plots) from the period 1928-1943.
Oskar Fischinger and his wife Elfriede (Folders 96-97), early refugees from Nazi Germany, are represented in the collection, through letters and items sent to Canemaker by Elfriede Fischinger. Although later acclaimed for his paintings, Fischinger did early work in animation. Included in these folder are copies of letters between Leopold Stokowski and Fischinger about FANTASIA.
A sampling of the artists included in Folders 98-170 is a veritable Who's Who of animation from FELIX THE CAT to ROGER RABBIT: Max and Dave Fleischer (Folders 98-99), Otto Messmer (Folder 132), Bill Tytla (Folders 160-161), Richard Williams (Folders 168-172) are a few of the creative talents represented in correspondence, interviews, and other documents in Series One: B.
Series Two, which consists of the extensive graphic material Canemaker has collected over the years, has been divided into three subseries according to form in order to facilitate archival storage: artwork, posters, and flip books. Within the subseries, when applicable, materials have been alphabetically arranged by name of animator or creator. Posters have been given a descriptive title and arranged alphabetically in the special collections drawer cabinet.
Other oversized graphic material is also stored in the drawer cabinet.
The graphic material includes:
1. Storyboards, layouts, cels, frame-by-frame analyses and other artwork used in producing animated films.
3. Non-animation drawings such as charicatures.
4. Illustrations used in vbooks about animation.
Canemaker's collected art work for the JOHN LENNON SKETCHBOOK (Folder 10), which was commissioned by Yoko Ono, includes copies of 25 drawings made by Lennon. Miscellaneous art work by Canemaker (Folder 22) contains self-portraits, sketchbooks of random work, and early sketches for his films. Storyboards for THE WIZARD'S SON and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP are stored in the drawer cabinet.
Art work by other animators includes thirty 20"x40"photostats (drawer cabinet) of Disney backgrounds, action drawings, story sketches, etc.; illustrations used in TOO FUNNY FOR WORDS, by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston (Folder 42); and 6 cels, approximately 70 blue pencil drawings, and eight story sketches for Richard Williams' RAGGEDY ANN & ANDY (Folder 45).
This series includes posters for conferences and festivals which depict favorite cartoon characters.
Format and material make flip books difficult to retain in most library collections. The 53 flip books in this series range from early French works to avant-garde creations. Instructions on making flip books are included in Folder 2.