The Shadows Move – the 1940s

JACK JACKSON, the popular band-leader who became a celebrated disc-jockey on radio after the war, took time off from his music and his A.R.P. warden duties and animated a series of food-flashes for the Ministry of Food.

WILFRED HAUGHTON was a Disney-approved British artist, permitted by Walt to draw comic strips for the Mickey Mouse Weekly and to produce the drawings for the Mickey Mouse Annuals. In the Thirties he had devised the prototype ‘Bendy’ toy of foam rubber with wired skeleton frame. His desire to produce animated puppet films was never fully satisfied in this country because he lost a court action over the patent rights to the invention. During the war he was responsible for a series of short ‘Litter Bug’ films exhorting the public to be more litter conscious, and in post war years he made several successful films in South Africa.

The Naval barracks at Portsmouth erected it s own animation studio and KEN HARDY, who had been called up while with Diagram Films, was permanently posted there.

When peace was declared in 1945 the studios did not immediately drop their Government work. Analysis Films continued with their documentary/instructional films. Publicity Pictures/ National Interest were involved in the production of filmstrips for the Admiralty and LAURIE PRICE was ‘loaned’ to G.B. Instructional to make an official diagrammatic record of the invasion plans and a second film depicting the after-effects of the atom bomb (models).

HALAS & BATCHELOR Studios introduced ‘Charley’, a typical man-in-the-street character to explain to the public. Sir Stafford Cripps new post-war legislation. Seven films were made and these are reputed to have been seen by some 30 million cinemagoers. H & B had grown and matured during the years of inter¬national conflict into a highly efficient and competent studio.

Gradually, and in parallel with Government contracts, the return to normality was hastened by a pressing demand for commercial advertising shorts. It was of paramount importance to get the wheels of industry moving into top gear once more. Britain’s economy needed a boast. Creating a demand for home-produced commodities was the best way to ensure employment for ex-servicemen and women.

This problem was also occupying the thoughts of one J. ARTHUR RANK who was harbouring an idea designed to change the face of British animation. He was equally concerned with the needs of the children. Under his auspices, MARY FIELD took charge of the Children’s Entertainment Films in 1943 (releasing through G.B. Instructional). She commissioned a number of animated cartoons for showing at the Saturday morning children’s cinema shows.

WHO ROBBED THE ROBINS - 1947 Anson Dyer/Analysis Films
HEAVE AWAY MY JOHNNY - 1948 Halas & Batchelor

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