Monday, 10 November 2014

Carl Urbano Has Heart(s)

Pat Caldora brought my attention to this photo of Carl Urbano, the veteran animator who spent a good part of his career at Hanna-Barbera.

The source of the photo is undetermined, though it sure looks like a Life magazine shot. As for the cartoon on the storyboard, that’s undetermined, too. Here’s my wild speculation, based on a note in Broadcasting magazine, July 19, 1965: “Courtney Anderson named to write screenplay The Wonder Engine which Hanna-Barbera is producing for American Heart Association. Carl Urbano and Arthur Pierson will co-produce.”

Some personal background: Urbano was born in Chicago on December 20, 1910 to Urbano and Paolina (Ruffalo) Urbano. He was already animating when he got married for the first time in 1932. We’ll skip some marriage details other than to say as a young man, Urbano seems to have had a penchant for dancers, judging by Variety. Urbano worked for Harman-Ising and is responsible for the scene of a giant, bubbling, foaming wave sweeping toward the camera and forming into mer-babies in “Merbabies” (released by Disney in 1938). Like many ex H-I employees, he made the jump to MGM after it opened its own studio in 1937. By 1940, he was living on Olympic Boulevard, across the street from both Bill Hanna and Mike Lah (and making more than Lah). He was also active in the Screen Cartooonists Guild.

Urbano left Metro and worked for at least the first half of 1944 in Mexico City. He spent the later part of the ‘40s and into the early ‘60s as a director for John Sutherland Productions, working on its greatest industrial cartoons, including my favourite “Destination Earth” (1956), and the studio’s opus “Rhapsody of Steel” (1959). He also sidelighted with a company formed in March 1957 called Le Ora Thompson and Associates. You can find a Hanna-Barbera filmography, at least for his TV work, elsewhere on-line. He retired in 1992 (after 60-plus years in the business) and died in California on October 17, 2003.

C. Martin Croker posted this 1987 commercial featuring Urbano. Take a look.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting piece and nice find with Honda commercial. I must confess I thought I was familiar with most HB staff from early years up till 1967 but I actually never heard of Carl Urbano. Very cool, Yowp.