Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Krazy Kat and Ben Harrison

It’s been awhile since I posted box ads for Charlie Mintz’ Krazy Kat cartoons from The Film Daily. So here are a bunch more from 1928. Mintz hadn’t gone to sound yet; later ads pushed the fact they were sound cartoons.

Especially pleasing is the credit given to animators Manny Gould and Ben Harrison. Gould later went on to a fine career at Warner Bros. then into commercial films. Harrison just seems to have disappeared. The 1940 U.S. census finds Harrison without any occupation, living with wife Ruth (née Hildebrand) and daughter Myrna Jean in Los Angeles, while the 1942 City Directory lists his occupation as “cartoonist.” For whom, I don’t know. Trying to piece together information about him has been trying. In 1930, he was rooming in New York City with Gould and Jimmy Bronis, who was Mintz’ production manager; the studio moved that year to California. After trying to match census records, I can only conclude he was born in Portland, Maine on November 30, 1896, the fifth child of Louis and Minnie (Berman) Harrison. His parents arrived from Russia (either from Poland or today’s Belarus) in 1884 so I suspect “Harrison” wasn’t the family name. His father was a peddler in Maine, but became an instructor of languages when the family was living in Worcester, Mass. in 1900. A World War One draft card lists Harrison as a news dealer. He was in animation in New York by 1925.

Harrison and his young daughter were involved in a lawsuit that stemmed from a car accident, apparently in mid-1939, that took more than two years to wind its way through appeal court. The 7½ year old girl was run down while crossing the street. You can read the ruling HERE. The Daily News, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, of June 23, 1951 revealed the Harrisons were living on Long Island, New York; see Charlie Judkins’ note in the comments. When and where Harrison died, I haven’t been able to find.


  1. Hey Yowp,

    Ben Harrison returned to New York and around 1949 started a studio that produced early animated TV commercials. From what I've heard Harrison's studio was upstairs from an animated industrial studio called Film Graphics, which employed many obscure Terry and Famous veterans in the 1950s. My friend Jackie Bisset worked at Harrison's studio and told me when it shut down around 1951 everyone went downstairs and got jobs at Film Graphics.

  2. Film Graphics was Lee Blair's company. (Lee Blair was the brother of Preston Blair and the husband of Mary Blair.)

  3. Ben Harrison was my great uncle. He married my great grandmothers sister ruth Hildebrand. my grandfather who is 100 tells me that the last he saw him was the early 50's. he believes he passed in new York in the late 50's or early 60's. His wife then moved to Phoenix to live with or near there daughter Myrna Harrison, who was the president of rio salado community college. I have a 1981 phoenix magazine with an article of her in it. he also tells me that ruth was killed in phoenix by crossing the road by a car. I asked him about myrna being hit by a car in California and he didn't know about it. the article came from the huntingdon daily news i'm assuming because the wife had family in huntingdon. I look up krazy kat from time to time, just find it interesting, hope this information helps you. john McGregor,

  4. I have a wonderful guest book page signed by Ben Harrison and Ruth Hildebrand, adding a sketck of Kitty Kat!