Friday, June 18, 2010


I have always been fascinated by "animation hair". (meaning hair styles in animated cartoons from 1980 and likely into the next couple centuries) You probably have too. If you ever met anyone in real life who had animation hair, your first instinct would be to beat the crap out of him.
Characters in these modern animations do not have natural instincts though. They just magically accept the galling hairstyles - and sideways nipples.For a few years in the 1980s teenage suburban boys who hung out at the Galleria actually had a form of animation hair - hair that was half shaved and half long. I used to call it the "2 Barber Style" - as if 2 barbers had fought over what kind of hair style would look best on you and ended up compromising.
The style didn't last long in the real world (probably because of the instinct mentioned above) but it has been reverently preserved in animated features (animated features are a veritable museum of archaic and mummified atrocities). Someone in charge of how to raise your kids believes that regular folks would want to hang out with people who have this hair.

Girls have their own forms of animation hair too. This one above has "Furry Hair" - which is actually not hair at all, but a character from Disney's Robin Hood curled up asleep on top of her head.
Here's a fine example of animation hair below. It's so wacky I can't even find words to describe it.What if your Dad came home one night with this hair style?
As everyone knows, Shemp was the pillar of hipness and animation executives have always liked his hair sense. A lot of them even wore the Shemp cut themselves. Shemp lives on to this day in animated features.To offset the Shemp hair style, some animation executives have devised the "Too far away nose".I had dinner one night with a Disney TV executive to discuss some show ideas. I had trouble concentrating because he had Shemp hair, and it was flopping around in front of his face and flinging his soup at me. One thing he said did sink in though. We were talking about how we got into animation. He said: "You're lucky John. You've always known what you wanted to do and you have the talent for it. Me, I have no talent and I wandered around aimlessly from job to job for years until, by accident I just sort of fell into a job as assistant to a rich guy who had just bought Harvey Comics. He made a deal later to make some cartoons and lo and behold, we were in the cartoon business! So I just fell into it and here we are! But I don't really know anything about cartoons, myself."

Paper fold out hair was big for a while too.
This animation hair style is the natural habitat of the Cardboard crunching Bug.Under those luscious blonde flaps lives a horde of these dung rolling creatures.

Here's another indescribable animation hair style. Even Shemp wouldn't try this.

The low forehead goes well with animation hair and too far away noses.
Animation hair is so hard to keep in order that even the tiniest movement could get it out of place, so animation characters are careful to keep their facial muscles under strict control; any sudden expression might mess up their flaps or even worse - reveal their emotions.

Feel free to print this blog post out and bring it to the barber the next time you want to look as hip as the boys in animated features. - or if you want regular Joes like Moe to tear your tonsils out.
"I refuse to go out of style!" - Shemp Howard, 1952