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“Together In The Weather” January 14, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1946 through 1960, Cartoons, Movies, Puppetoons, Zook.
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This week, a festival of George Pal Puppetoons designed by my father, Reginald Massie (1909-1989).

Below: George Pal

George PalGeorge Pal (1908-1980) had worked as an animator in his native Hungary and elsewhere in Europe, including Germany where he briefly ran Ufa’s cartoon division. He realized that while the flatbed animation cameras needed for cel animation were expensive and rare, if he worked with puppets he could use any camera. Fifty years before John Lasseter and Pixar, George Pal pioneered 3D animation techniques without the use of computers.

Below: Reg Massie self-portrait, 1945

Reg Massie self portrait, 1945Not long after Paramount signed Pal to a contract in 1939, Reg Massie came to work for him briefly between gigs at Disney. Along with much of the Disney studio’s best and brightest, Dad walked out of Disney in the 1941 strike, where he met my mother on the picket line. During WWII he was in charge of effects animation at the Army Signal Corps Photographic Center in Astoria, Long Island, working with Frank Capra and John Huston on animated maps and special effects. After the war, he returned to Pal in time for the Puppetoon’s brief golden era.

Although he was only credited for “backgrounds”, Dad was essentially the art director, responsible for the overall look of the shorts.

From 1946, “Together In The Weather”.

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Comments»

1. Tony DeCosa - January 24, 2007

Thanks for the info on your dad (his name is familiar, I know I’ve seen it in credits) and the Puppetoons you’ve posted. Though I have “The Puppetoon Movie” on DVD and can watch them anytime I want, they’re great and important work and I’m in favor of anything done to put them in front of more people.

2. David Pal - February 27, 2007

Really, I think it is a little much to say that someone than my father was responsible for the look of his films when my fathers style and look was controlled completely by him throughout his career. Everyone knows, that worked for him, that he was totally in control of the consistent look of his style and made all his own drawings of the puppets and sets, that were very closely adhered to. To put it mildly.

Even when he made feature films he made all his own story boards and production drawings. Of course he had many talented people working for him and your father was one of them.

David Pal

3. Jeff - February 28, 2007

I apologize for any perception that I don’t respect your father’s direction of the Puppetoons. And obviously, as the director, he had the final say on every aspect of them … including the art direction.

But I don’t think it’s out of line to say that my father was any more or less “responsible for the look” than any other art director of any movie, animated or otherwise. Eugenio Caballero, the art director of Pan’s Labyrinth, had to get Guillermo del Toro’s approval for his work. That didn’t make Caballero any less responsible for the design work that earned him the Oscar on Sunday.

4. maxwest - April 3, 2011

That’s a cool short. I’m actually waiting on a copy of the Puppetoon Movie DVD – George Pal was definitely ahead of his time when it came to stop-motion animation.

5. James Hatley - June 10, 2012

I have a painting by Reg. Massie! Is this the guy that worked for George Pal? My parent’s was going to trash it by taking the painting out of the frame and use the frame for another picture while tossing the painting. I save the painting because I thought it looked pretty cool and plus it had its original wooden frame. The signature is located on the bottom right of the painting. It’s of a country farmland background with a horse and buggy traveling up a pathway, up to a red two level red house with a woman outside feeding about 15 white chickens. There is also a red barn in front of the house with a huge tree centering the painting. I’m just wondering if this painting is done by the same guy that worked for George Pal? Pretty cool history and I am so glad I saved it from being junked!!!

Anonymous - December 11, 2012

I have the same picture with the chickens and the carriage. I too would like an estimated value?

Berry Norris - December 11, 2012

My email for last comment regarding Reg Massie painting values?


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