Foo Foo in Colour - The Stowaway (1960)

In my last post I mentioned the Foo Foo series, which was an attempt by Halas & Batchelor to produce an animated series of television. 33 episodes were made for the ABC Television network that had the ITV weekend broadcast franchise for the North and the Midlands from 1956 to 1968. As television was black-and-white at that time, and used the 405-line system that carried less detail on the smaller screens of the time, the simple chinagraph outline drawings with minimal shading described in the last post were perfectly suitable for the medium. However one episode of the series was »

Pencil test

In 1959 Halas & Batchelor sought to break into television and make the first financially viable British produced animation series. The foundation of that approach was literally pencil thin. This is how their new breakthough was reported in the 12 September 1959 edition of "Television Mail" - a weekly industrial periodical for the commercial television sector. New Pencil Cuts Cartoon Costs With the arrival of the cellgraph pencil, which is specially manufactured by a leading pencil company in Britain in association with Halas and Batchelor, the largest company, producing animated films in Britain, a phenomenal reduction in the costs of »

We need to talk about Harold some more

Apologies for the long summer break1 Here is part 2 of my interview with Harold Whitaker. Make sure you have read part 1 first, otherwise we will jump right in. Harold (seated bottom left of frame) at Anson Dyer's studio - Dyer is the silver haired figure in the centre Sorry, I interrupted you. Well maybe we could go back before you started in the animation industry... That's going right back. ...what it something that you were particularly interested in, in terms of the cinema. Were you a big cinema goer? Oh well yes, I used to go when I »

We need to talk about Harold

Harold Whitaker plays a huge part in the Halas & Batchelor story. He joined the company in 1952 in the build up to Animal Farm and is the only animator credited on that film who had not been through the David Hand trained studio at Gaumont-British Animation. And he was the only one of those animators who remained part of the company for any length of time after the film was finished - becoming an increasingly important pillar of the company until it wound down in the mid-1980s. A portrait of the artist as a young man - Harold's self-portrait »

Halas & Batchelor at 40 - a Hungarian perspective

To mark the 40th anniversary of Halas & Batchelor in the early 80s, John and Joy co-produced a four part documentary series on the history of their company for Hungarian television. Understandably given its origins, one of the most valuable parts of the series is the insight into the early years of John's career in Hungary. The video below is an extract discussing this period, and begins with an interview with Sándor Bortnyik, an interesting Hungarian artist and designer who become involved in the Bauhaus in Weimar after moving there in 1922. As we learn in this clip, back in »