108 years ago today, one of my favourite early Hanna-Barbera animators was brought into the world. He toiled at the most B-list of cartoon studios in New York before a former co-worker rescued him. His arrival on the West Coast was heralded in the pages of Daily Variety of February 16, 1956.
Carlo Vinci Joins Cartoonery at Metro
Metro cartoonery yesterday hired Carlo Vinci as an animator. Initial assignments are on new Tom & Jerry and Spike and Tyke segments, under co-producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
Vinci and Barbera worked together at Van Beuren and when the studio closed in 1936, got jobs at Terrytoons in New Rochelle, N.Y. And that’s where Vinci stayed for 20 years until getting a call from Barbera to come west. His MGM career was comparatively short. Employees got the news around Christmas 1956 that the studio didn’t need them any more because of a backlog of cartoons. Barbera hired him after Hanna-Barbera Enterprises was created in July 1957.
Carlo had some fun quirks in his animation in the earlier H-B cartoons. For whatever reason, he abandoned them after the ‘60s began. He had distinctive, jaunty walks for some of his lumbering characters like Yogi Bear. He liked to do a little two-drawing stomp before a character ran away. And fear or shock would be with a different kind of two-drawing cycle, with one drawing having a character scrunched up with lines around him.
Let’s look at some of his work from “Hookey Days,” a cartoon from Huckleberry Hound’s first season. Here’s one of bratty kids stomping before taking off out of the scene.
Here’s a nice series of drawings of Huck pitching a ball to one of the little brats. What’s “limited” about this animation? Not much, other than the last drawing only moves an arm. They’re even shot one drawing per frame, except for the second last one which is held for a second frame for timing. Carlo loves finger movements and you can see it here.
Huck pitches the ball and the kid whacks it right back at him before he can move. Here’s one of those shock takes I mentioned.
Did you ever see Touché Turtle react this way? Squiddly Diddley? Hong Kong Phooey? I think not. Too bad. Of course, Huck didn’t react like this by the end of his run, either. And certainly not in his “Cartoons-only-exist-to-teach-kids-a-lesson” phase in the ‘70s.
My favourite Huck take ever is toward the end of the cartoon when our truant officer hero is tied to the toy railway tracks and sees a large train coming. Huck was never more expressive.
You can see a few more of Carlo’s takes at this post from a few years ago. And there are other examples on individual posts featuring his work from the 1958-59 season.
Since Carlo passed away a few years ago, it’s impossible to pass on birthday greetings or thank him for all the fun drawings. But his widow Margaret is still around so we can wish her continued good health and happiness.