Bob Privett. 19? to 1984. A tribute.

Obituary by Ken Clark.

Bob Privett at Halas and Batchelor during Animal Farm.

Bob Privett was not content just to practice his craft, he spent his latter years teaching the art to a succession of grateful students in the heart of London at the Central School of Art, Southampton Row, where he was Head of the Animation Department.
I visited him once during class time to find him contentedly puffing on his pipe while dispensing words of wisdom to those in difficulties – Bob always had a ready answer to problems related to animation.

He began his career in 1932/33 as an apprentice to a scene painter at King’s of Hammersmith. The year the Windmill Theatre opened he applied for a job as a stage-hand but was unsuccessful. As he left the theatre he noticed a name-plate on an adjoining building – it read Younger Films. On impulse he went in and got a job as title writer. But it was later, when he joined Hoppy Hopkins group at Publicity Pictures as a black and white artist, that he learned film animation.

Anson Dyer opened his studio in 1935 and Bob joined him when they were halfway through “Sam & His Musket”. During the war years 1939-on he was in charge of a fire fighting unit and he persuaded his men to animate “Oxygen Lack” for Publicity Pictures during waiting periods. He was also responsible for many other War Department training films.

He joined Halas & Batchelor in 1946 directing some of the highly successful films for British Petroleum, and ofcourse he worked on “Animal Farm”. Then, in 1961, he moved to the British Transport Films Division.

Bob was a born raconteur. I shall miss our chats over a pint in the bar at the National Film Theatre, but most of all I shall miss Bob Privett. The industry has lost yet another great character.

Printed in Animator Issue 11 (Winter 1984)