The Grasshopper Animators – part 3

In 1966 the Group moved to Shelton Street, home of the School of Film Technique. But with declining membership and minimal finance, a few years later the remaining stalwarts formed a limited company called Teamwork Films. They moved to Neal’s Yard and carried on in much reduced circumstances, relying for their existence on sponsored work. Eventually the venture failed leaving John Daborn with the few remaining group assets.

The last rites were performed in 1982 in a London hotel, with a flourish and a buffet. Twenty-nine years after the realisation of a youthful dream, the originators had grown up and moved on. Gerry Potterton had left in the Fifties to join the National Film Board of Canada; following an enviable succession of short cartoons he produced the feature cartoon HEAVY METAL. Derek Hill has risen from lowly film critic to become producer of commercial live action films. Bob Godfrey has his own studio devoted to the production of commercial and TV cartoons. Richard Horn was a producer on the recent cartoon series featuring “The Perishers” and “Fred Bassett”. Stuart Wynn Jones, after a stay at Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films became a successful freelance, probably best known for his titles and animated contributions to BBC TV’s OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST programme. John Daborn is the owner of a successful Audio-Visual production unit.

As for myself, I have been researching a book on the history of British animation. Much of my time is concentrated on tracing and interviewing the pioneers of this field who worked between the years 1896 to 1956. As well as forming the basis of my forthcoming book all this researched material will go to the National Film Archives for safe keeping.

I should like to think that the idea of linking individual animators by post might be repeated one day, and why not? Good ideas are worth repeating, though I hazard the guess that it might prove difficult finding an anchor man like John Daborn.

Model sheets from The Battle of Wangapore.

page 1 | page 2 | page 3

Originally printed in Animator’s newsletter Issue 3 (Winter 1982)