Spotlight
George Davis
Noell Wolfgram Evans · From fps #2 · May 1, 2005 | George Davis picked an odd time to get into animation. It was 1950 and most of the animation studios at the time found themselves at a crossroads. Television and its unique requirements were just coming together and calling for content; theatres were adapting to these new rivals with special processes like 3D, Cinemascope, Emergo and others. If those weren't enough, UPA exploded into the public consciousness with an Oscar win in 1950 for Gerald McBoingBoing, which brought a new style to the industry.

Still, this was animation and plenty of people were willing to get involved in the making of cartoons. One of these was George Davis. In 1950, Davis was working in New York City as a commercial artist and sometime photographer. He used his dual skills to keep busy, often landing referrals from artists for photographic work and vice versa. One of the referrals he got landed him a photography assignment from Paul Terry's Terrytoons studio in New Rochelle, New York. They wanted him to head to the Toy Fair Show in New York City and take some pictures of the Terrytoons licensed products that were on display.

The essential George Davis: a selected filmography
Schoolhouse Rock (1973-1984)
Annie Hall (1977)
Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991)
When he returned with the photos, he presented them to Paul Terry himself, who was very taken by he had done. They had a long conversation about photography and then got into Davis's other business, commercial art. Former newspaper photographer Terry must have sensed something of his own career path in Davis and, liking what he saw, offered him a job with the studio. Happy to have steady work, Davis agreed to become an opaquer. It's a position that he calls "the lowest of the low," but he knew that he had to take it and put his time in if he hoped to become an animator.

Want to read the rest of this spotlight?

You'll find it and many other articles in the May 2005 issue of fps, available as a free download.
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