Friday, June 20, 2008

Animating for the Concert Hall

(The following came to me from Børge Ring.)

At Toonder's Amsterdam Studios during the 70s, we made an animated film for the famous British rock band that called themselves Pink Floyd. We delivered the film in a silent version, and the Floyds ran it on the concert stage. Hidden behind the film screen, where they too could see the film, the Floyds performed the whole soundtrack in a live performance.

The film was written and designed by a well known London artist named Allan Aldridge. At that time Winsor McCay, the founding father of American animation, had not yet been rediscovered, excavated and repositioned on his rightful throne. McCay was practically unknown outside a small circle of comic page archeologists.

Allan Aldridge knew about McCay .He dug up one of Winsor's virtuoso newspaper comics of yore. Winsor's story (about a small boy) was named Little Nemo in Slumberland. Allan redrew it in his own drawing style and added ideas of his own, so as to bring the story on film length. Little Nemo dreams that his bed has long, long legs and gallops with him through Manhattan in the night.

Pink Floyd liked the story. Their backer sent it to us to be animated and everybody loved the finished film.

Some of you might call this artistic theft. But the majority of the highest regarded live action films - produced during Hollywood's golden years - were "based on" somebody's theatre play or novel or were a remake of an older successful film.

The name of Winsor McCay was not mentioned on the titles of the Floyd cartoon.

Their backer considered Little Nemo in Slumberland to be a grave find in the public domain.

To the lovers of rock music, Winsor's name was as familiar as Sutton Ho.

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