Here are some cartoon backgrounds from 1960 you probably haven’t seen before.
They’re from a short film called “Smokey and the Little Boy” and were prepared for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rental by schools, church groups and so on, about forest fire prevention. The cartoon is fully animated, though there are lots of pan shots across the backgrounds which, of course, saves the cost of animation. Here are a few backgrounds that were panned.
Who’s the artist? I wish I knew. But here’s a bit of background.
The cartoon was made by ERA Productions. The company was founded in 1953 (source, International Motion Picture Almanac, 1962 edn.) by Brice Mack and the production manager was Milt Schaffer, both former Disney story men. Among the artists at ERA were Ed Aardal, Brad Case and Clarke Mallery, all ex-Disneyites. By the time this cartoon was made, the company had a studio at 3459 Cahuenga Blvd. West. It was one of many industrial firms of the era; its animated commercial client list included Shinola, Manor House Coffee and Chuckles.
Washed out prints of this have been on the internet for some time, but the U.S. National Archives recently posted a fine version with all the brilliant colours showing. Here are some more backgrounds. The fire you see in several of these screen grabs (in red) is animated. So is the stream below.
The short is narrated by Paul Frees. The music sounds very UPA-esque but I won’t guess at a composer.
If anyone has more information about the studio and whoever may have worked on this (made by cobbling together some 60-second public service annnouncements), please post a response.