Monday, 18 May 2015

March of 1945

Hugh Harman left MGM in 1941 to set up his own studio which, despite hopes of a deal with a major studio to make cartoons, ended up making industrial films.

One of them was “March of 1945” for the people who ran the transit system in the San Francisco Bay area. It runs 20 ½ minutes and it’s only in the last minute we see any animation. A little animated tram conductor runs onto the scene, twice using the same animation, and then once again. Here are some of the drawings. They look really good.

Finally, the conductor is lifted up by the narrator and deposited in a desk drawer in a fine bit of combination live action/animation.

The animation is by Arnold Gillespie, who had worked at Disney and Fleischer (on “Gulliver’s Travels”) and then for MGM before being hired by Harman (I suspect Gillespie had been at Harman-Ising at one point). He later moved to John Sutherland (and fit in some work on the “NBC Comics” before co-founding Quartet Films.


  1. Without seeing the film, I'm guessing that the K-in-circle is a reference to the Key System, which ran the lines in the Bay Area in that era. See:

    1. Actually, the Key System operated in the East Bay (as in Oakland and Berkely), with services across the Bay Bridge serving San Francisco from the Transbay Terminal until those were replaced by buses in 1958.

      Two years later (1960), voters in Alameda and Contra Costa counties approved takeover of the Key System by AC Transit.