Friday, February 15, 2008

Scribner the Genius, the Sweet Guy

I personally think Rod Scribner was the most talented and versatile animator in our whole history. He worked in lots of different styles: He animated the wildest and best acted scenes of the 40s, then transitioned into the more stylized designy UPA world of the 50s. Many other classic animators tried to make the transition and never quite got it. A few excelled. Scribner jumped at the challenge and created a whole form of motion that matched the designs.

Here he is at what I think was the peak period of animation history-the mid 40s in Bob Clampett's super unit.

Eddie has a great analysis of what makes cartoon animation so much different than any other medium. Here's the scene in motion below.

Watch it then go read Eddie's theories. Then come back to hear a little story about the human side of Scribner, the complete genius who animated this.

You know, Clampett and his animators were not just animators. They were also great comedians. They control the animation and make all these wild actions flow around perfect comedy timing and staging.

Watch you favorite stand up comic and study his pauses, his poses, the way he or she focuses your attention on certain points of the jokes and their acting/reacting. This is all a high amount of skill in storytelling.

Imagine having to learn those difficult skills and also the crazy amount of animation skill that goes into 40s cartoons. Egad!

Among all these top animators, Rod was the star.

I also really like Bugs' personality in these cartoons. He's playful, rather than spiteful like he became later. A much more appealing down to earth kind of wiseacre.

A story of a warm wonderful man who also just happened to be a genius

Rod Scribner's granddaughter Julie has some really sweet stories about her funny Grandpa. It's great that she shares this with all his fans who barely know anything more about him besides the fact he was probably the most creative single animator in our whole history! It's really cool to see how such a talent was also a loving family man.

Maybe you could let her know in the comments how much you appreciate his talent and her generosity in sharing some stories about this cartoon hero!

Sweet “Papa” Scribner
Papa gave me my creativity, and I will never forget him, or the qualities that he possessed. He was a wonderful man, very funny, and so special to us all. I am attaching three photos: One of Papa and I when I was only about 3 or 4. I had a favorite doll named Drowsy, and he used to tease me about taking it from me. (you can see I had an old and a new one!).

Anyway, you can see what a stylish dresser he was. He did smoke cigarettes, and I don't remember him without one. The other two photos are of pictures that my husband had framed for me from Papa. He worked with Charles Shultz, and did the films like, "Snoopy Come Home".

Rod Scribner, my Papa, was a great grandfather, and used to bring my sisters and I pastel crayons, and drawing tablets. He would sit on the floor and show us how animation worked by drawing a character on 3 pieces of papers, and then flipping them quickly before our eyes.

The funniest story I have of Rod Scribner is when he told my sister and I to be creative, and after he left, we took all the pastel crayons he gave us and drew all over our bedroom walls until they were covered. We were so proud to show our Mom, but when she came in , she shrieked and made us scrub it off until the wee hours of the morning. When Papa heard of what we did, he held his stomach and laughed until he almost fell down. We weren't laughing because of course it took us hours to clean off the mess. Papa was always pulling pranks, and we loved him for that. You would always see a smile on his face, or his funny laugh, and it was contagious.

Eddie will be envious of Animation’s Greatest Salad Maker
The biggest secret I have about Rod Scribner, is that he invented a salad dressing that we have thought about patenting, and selling. If you enter our family, we joke about having to kill you if you ever find out the secret to "Papa's dressing". No one has died yet, but no one has yet to make it the way it's meant to be made (outside of the family that is!!) Some have tried, ALL HAVE FAILED!

That is it for now. I will have more later. I hope that I have given you some insight into Rod Scribner's life. He was a beautiful man, and one I am proud to call my PAPA.


Thanks a lot Julie! We sure love your Papa!