ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.10 - JANUARY 2000
The Dead Animators Society
(continued from page 7)
While he began working with Walter Lanz and ended his career at MGM, everyone knows Tex Avery best as the leader of "Termite Terrace" that crazy little Warner Bros. group that pushed the limits and transformed animation forever.
Tex Avery: The guys egged me on to do what we did. It started to become a game: how far could we go? It was really nothing all that special. There was this crazy attitude at the studios and you just wanted to go with these ideas and see how far you could take them, that's all. We don't feel there was that much to them now, though we are happy we made people laugh, and I feel a slight nostalgia for these days of life that you remind me of. What a difference now and then! What a strange thing it is to recall the feeling of being in a body then and doing the things we did. It almost feels like a dream as you ask me to remember the feelings I had then.
LC: How can I be sure I'm truly speaking with Tex Avery? There are about a million Frenchmen who'd kill for this opportunity, you know.
TA: You'll have to accept this reality as more outrageous than any in the cartoons we created, but it was somewhat god-like I have to admit, to be able to create worlds of your own, to animate, literally, life, into being. What fun! I'd do it again if I could. I don't have regrets. Oh, then I was a bit hardboiled. Too ready with my opinions that you'd call rather right wing, and I poured everything into my work and then the silly bowling and after-hours games we'd indulge in: drinking in bars and so forth. You might say that we spent ourselves at work, and there was little else to get excited about. I remember feeling transported out of the world when I really got down to focusing on my drawings. It was something sort of like stopped time and I was almost risen out of my seat and the drawings became real as you flipped from one sheet to another and sort of lived the life in the drawings in front of you; lived the action.
I am in a nice place and I feel good about things and I can tell everyone not to worry about anything. There's a good plan happening [laughs]. They've storyboarded everything and it's got a funny ending!
Lotte Reiniger began making her usual silhouette films in Germany in 1919. She created many independent films, including Europe's first animated feature with Die Geschichte des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed) in 1926. She worked in Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and later at the National Film Board of Canada.
Lotte Reiniger: Who disturbs me? I'm happy to talk about my work though it was so long ago. I had around me a small group of students or devotees that helped me in my work although it was late in the night, by myself, when most of my inspiration happened. I liked to work alone and bring my fantasies to life, and I'm glad I worked within a time when this was made possible for me. I have not achieved anything of too great importance, only in making a pleasurable pastime and doing things that have brought the interest of others. It was a sort of magic I was after though I did not feel like a magician. I felt more like a storyteller, and I attempted to give emotion to my characters. I was more of a masculine spirit in those days and I tried to live through my creations the things I could not live out in my real life. I succeeded to a great extent, but I became too critical of the [German] government and unhappy being within such a structure that felt so little for the value of human life. With my bitterness, my creativity seemed to dry up too, and I found myself creating less and being less able to sell my productions. I basically lost heart in it all but continued to create little shadow plays for myself into old age. I went a little bit insane you might say or just became senile. It was not a happy life except those bright spots in creating my masterpieces when I felt totally one with the process.
I cannot tell you what I think about today's animation for I am not of this world. I am returning soon as a girl child and will be given everything in life; all the riches, my needs met by two very understanding, doting parents who will be good to me. And this loving comfort is what I need now, to see what becomes of my creative urge in such an environment where my impetus shall not be inwardly motivated, but more outwardly so. I have been very happy to meet you but cannot continue to speak, goodbye.
Leslie Cabarga is the author of over two dozen books including The Fleischer Story, Dynamic Black and White Illustration, Designers Guide To Color Combinations, and Talks with Trees (a plant psychic's conversations with vegetables, flowers and trees). You can learn about all of Leslie's work, including his type fonts, clip art, illustrations, Betty Boop merchandise, and many books on his web site.
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