Australian animation in the 1970s

Recently another Australian cartoonist, Bruce Petty, received a Hollywood Oscar for his short cartoon, LEISURE.

In 1970, Air Programs International, Sydney succeeded in selling 5 Australian originated cartoon specials for screening on the American CBS network of 180 stations.

The first of the cartoons, A CHRISTMAS CAROL was completed just before Christmas 1969 and shown on television in Australia. This served as a pilot for America. The other four specials were TALES OF WASHINGTON IRVING, A CONNECTICUT YANKEE in KING ARTHUR’S COURT, TREASURE ISLAND, and DON QUIXOTE.

Three years previously they made ARTHUR AND THE SQUARE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE, a TV series that was shown in Britain, Italy, Yugoslavia, New Zealand, Canada and U.S.

I haven’t been able to find any printed information on it, but I clearly remember that the TV series THE BEATLES was made here in the mid 60’s. (and is still being repeated).

Eric Porter, winner of the Raymond Longford Award.

The “Walt Disney of Australia”, Eric Porter created the locally popular WILLIE WOMBAT in 1939 and has produced a great array of shorts, commercials and features over the years. He said that Walt Disney became a personal friend and helped him enormously in the early days, freely passing on some of his secrets. He had a big success in 1973 with his feature
MARCO POLO JNR. VERSUS THE RED DRAGON. It’s the tale of young Marco’s journey to the fabled city of Xanadu and his hair-raising adventures. Visually it is often stunning, like a series of paintings and it uses vivid, dramatic colours. Much of the fun is quite sophisticated and pitched equally at adults. The film is fast and furious, with one trick after another and never succumbs to the temptation to linger, or even exploit to the full.

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